Insight: Wycliffe College, December 1997, No. 43, Online Edition


December 1997, No. 43, Online Edition

Becoming a Bishop

Ralph Spence, Coadjutor Bishop of Niagara
by Alan Hayes

If you visited the parish hall of St. Luke's Church, Burlington, on any day in the past fifteen years, you probably found about half a dozen events going on all at once, and in the middle of the commotion you probably saw Ralph Spence, greeting people in his trademark droll-and-hearty way, checking on arrangements, rattling the cage of a curate or two, and occasionally withdrawing into a conversation with a parishioner. Then, with a cheery word, off he flew on a pastoral call or to yet another meeting.

You probably left with the feeling that Ralph Spence finds ministry thoroughly great fun. Yes, he works hard at it, and he's unstinting of himself. He experiences all the frustrations and misunderstandings and burdens that other clergy experience. But for all that, you can tell that he loves his calling. He seems so grateful that the pageant of human life is as diverse and intense as it is. He is wise about the vulnerabilities of human nature, and about the artificialities which we construct to protect ourselves. He seems to be made for ministry. He also has unexpected interests, such as collecting flags. He has 3,000 of them, and he gives advice on protocol to the Chief Herald of Canada and the Department of External Affairs.

Ralph has to be one of the country's most engaging raconteurs, and for me it's a delight when he begins recalling, in an ironic mode, his experiences at Wycliffe in the late 1960s. His stories make you laugh, but you can tell that some of them still touch a sensitive nerve with him. At the peak of the great secular meltdown, the College was still content with a curriculum designed in the days of Christendom and the British Empire. Liturgical change was happening, but Wycliffe stood as a kind of low-church Alamo, defending the north-end position against the Mexican army. The principal and dean, no love lost there, communicated almost exclusively by rumour. The residence of single young men was run like a boys' school. And there was Ralph, senior student, college organist, wry observer, dissident spirit. He was known to fly the Vatican flag from his residence window, and his un-Wycliffe-like liturgical tastes provoked comment.

Some graduates have retained to their dying day a resentment towards Wycliffe which the gospel of reconciliation has seemed incapable of penetrating. But Ralph has been immensely proud of his Wycliffe background, and everyone in the diocese of Niagara knows it. He has been active on our College Council and assiduous in raising funds. When he was consecrated bishop, the name of his alma mater was conspicuous in the order of service.

I ask him how he can be loyal to a college which got so much wrong. "I'm just grateful that Wycliffe gave me the opportunity for ministry," he begins. Then he says, "The message of Wycliffe was so wonderful," and he talks about that. And he adds another reason for remaining involved at Wycliffe: he want to improve it. By the way, he has given some subversive gifts to the chapel, including candle standards and a processional cross.

Ralph is a priest and bishop with evangelical instincts, a critical mind, a pastoral heart, a human touch, a grateful spirit, a sense of humour, an enjoyment of life, and a great capacity to work with people of diverse views. If we wanted a description of the kind of priest that Wycliffe should be training, it wouldn't be easy to improve on that. NOTE: Ralph is to be the speaker at the 98 Fellowship Dinner, April 14th.

Mark MacDonald, Bishop of Alaska
by Alan Hayes

Mark came to Wycliffe as a student in 1975, the year I came as a professor. My wife and I liked him a lot, but it never occurred to us that anyone would ever dream of making him bishop. But then, we didn't know the diocese of Alaska, which is as unusual as Mark is.

Yes, one reason we liked Mark was that he was, well, different. He didn't care to impress people with either his piety or his leadership potential, though he had both. He wasn't out to climb the ladder of ecclesiastical preferment. He didn't take himself awfully seriously, although he took Jesus Christ very seriously indeed. He was allergic to stuffiness. He could never be at rest with either traditional Church parties or cutting-edge theological fashions. He said what he thought. In most dioceses, people like that might not find the episcopal office a very comfortable place to be. After his graduation, we stayed in touch and sometimes visited each other. When we adopted Alexandra, we asked Mark to be her godfather.

Mark became involved in Indian ministry, though not because he had ever made that part of a master design for his life. When he was rector of a parish in Portland, Oregon, an Episcopal Indian congregation asked to use his building. Pretty soon Mark was their interim priest, and the ³interim² lasted several years. Then he spent four years in Navajoland at Fort Defiance, Arizona, and then four years at an Ojibwe parish at Red Lake, Minnesota. He was definitely not campaigning for prestigious appointments.

Mark began to be recognized in the Episcopal Church as someone with solid experience and good wisdom in multicultural theology and the acculturation of liturgy. He was appointed director of an Indian ministry program at a seminary in St. Paul. He published a book, A Strategy for Growth in the Episcopal Church: Joining Multiculturalism with Evangelism (1994), which became widely used.

He and his wife Virginia visited Alaska seven years ago in connection with the work of a national Church committee. With a few others, they boated 1200 miles down the Yukon River, stopping at Indian villages where people loved Jesus but had no resident minister. Even at the height of the salmon run the people would drop what they were doing and sing praise to the Lord far into the night and hear Scripture and celebrate the Eucharist. Mark loved all this.

It's hard to imagine that any other diocese would have ever elected Mark a bishop. But the diocese of Alaska is heavily involved in ministries involving native people, and most of the non-natives, it seems, are white adventurers, misfits, back- to-the-earth people, and general lunatics, who wouldn't be particularly troubled by the prospect of a bishop with an unkempt beard and Indian pony-tail.

Alexandra wanted to be with Uncle Mark when he was ordained bishop, so I took her to Fairbanks for the service on September 13. She got to join the procession, along with Markıs own two young children. We loved it, and I can tell you that I felt pretty proud that Wycliffe College had played some small part in the story of Mark MacDonald and the diocese of Alaska.

Eliud Wabukala, Bishop of Bungoma, Kenya
by Grant LeMarquand

I first encountered Eliud Wabukala as one of twenty-seven second year Divinity students in my New Testament Exegesis and Systematic Theology classes in a small classroom in the highland of Kenya. This was a very lively class of students (the administration called them "trouble-makers) who loved to debate and argue. Eliud was one of the quiet ones. If he had a question which was important to him he would wait for the break or the end of class and come to me privately. He was fascinated with theological ideas, and hungry to learn. When I received the students' written material three students stood out as exceptional - Eliud was one of them.

He soon began to stand out in another way. The college was going through some difficult times. There was tension between students and administration, and quite a bit of anger. In the midst of this turmoil. Eliud was the only one who preached about forgiveness and reconciliation. Eliud's studies led him to grapple with issues of pastoral importance to his people, the Babukusu of western Kenya. For his B.D. thesis he wrote an intriguing study entitled "The Idea of Hanging on a Tree among the Babukusu People of Kenya & Implications for the Teaching of the Message of the Crucifixion of Jesus." After his ordination in the Diocese of Nambale, Eliud was made the Principal (and only full-time faculty member) of St. Philip's College in Maseno where he trained others for the ministry. His background as a teacher stood him in good stead for this position.

Coming to Wycliffe in 1991, Eliud focused on biblical and theological courses. He finished the entire three year M.Rel. degree in two and a half years, writing his thesis: "Crisis in the African Understanding of Sin: An Interaction of Faith and the Traditional Religion of the Babukusu." When he returned to Kenya in 1994, he was appointed as a tutor at St. Paul's United Theological College, Limuru, where he had studied for ordination. In addition to being instructor in Old Testament, he also taught missiology and a number of other subjects. Before the year was out he was also the Anglican representative (the liaison between the church and the students) and the new college chaplain. The following year he became the Dean of Studies. During this time he also served as a member of the committee editing the new Swahili Study Bible.

Eliud's election as the first Bishop of Bungoma was not a surprise. Although he loved teaching and was himself much loved at St. Paul's, his heart was with his people in western Kenya. "Despite my protestations and misgivings, the Anglicans of Bungoma Diocese chose me as their Bishop" on August 31, 1996. He was consecrated in October 1996 by the Archbishop, David Gitari. In a letter he wrote to me shortly after the event he noted that his task as Bishop will not be easy; he has no means of transportation (he had to borrow a vehicle to move his family from Limuru) and little administrative infrastructure. He has "30 parishes and 120 congregations with only 15 clergy." He is the only one with a theological degree. In such a situation one might think the obvious strategy would be to "consolidate." Not in Africa: "I have put evangelism and mission as my first priority", he says. He also hopes to build an educational centre to encourage better training of the clergy, and to start an agricultural project to generate income to alleviate the poverty of the clergy.

Words from the Principal

by Michael Pountney

The Wycliffe College community has been much saddened by the death last September of Margaret Scrivener who, throughout her public professional career, also served the College as a trustee, working on the Admissions Committee, adding energy and guidance to the New Testament Chair Committee, and contributing her considerable wisdom to the Executive Committee. Margaret was a great friend and supporter of the College and we shall miss her.

Writing about Margaret in a journal like this causes me to reflect on the work of the College Trustees. Without them, Wycliffe would grind to a screeching halt, I think, for their hours of patient and devoted service are essential not only to the well-being of the College but to its basic functioning also. We owe a great deal of gratitude to people like Peter Harrington, who chairs the Development Committee; Roy Hogg, the Honorary Treasurer who chairs the Finance Committee; and Bruce Raymond, the Chair of the Property Committee. These leaders, and the women and men who serve with them, give countless hours on top of their own busy professional personal lives to give leadership to issue of College life, from audits to advertising, development to drains.

At the Council meeting this November, Mr. James Kennedy will step down after ten years of leading the College in the role of Chair of College Council. Jim has worked with enormous distinction in this position, a calling that has demanded sacrificial service on his part in terms of hours, and intelligent thought in terms of action. Honored and fêted at a Council Dinner in his honor, Jim deserves every accolade the College can give him for his wonderful commitment to governance.

The search for new Trustees continues. The College needs good trustees, ones who can pick up the torch from a Margaret Scrivener and a Jim Kennedy. While we are in no hurry to fill vacant positions just for the sake of filling vacant positions, we do encourage readers of Insight to consider helping us recruit. New Trustees must be able genuinely to commit time, energy, and financial support to the College; more than that, they must enthusiastically embrace the Mission of the College with some degree of understanding as to what it means for Wycliffe to be an Anglican College in the Evangelical tradition. Our historic theological positionality must be defended and upheld and not jeopardized by new ways of "doing Wycliffe." At the same time, without creative and imaginative and, yes, risk-taking leadership, we could very well stagnate in a side swamp and rot!

Why I am a Volunteer at Wycliffe

by Charles Fenton, Trustee since 1979

In my dictionary, the word volunteer is defined as "one who enters into any service voluntarily". At Wycliffe, this I humbly and proudly do, and with great interest and assuring satisfaction. Why? As a Christian of the Anglican variety, I wholeheartedly agree with the six founding principles of Wycliffe College which it continues to proclaim and uphold to this day. Having read the history of Wycliffe College, I am constantly reminded of the remarkable group of laymen who, with a profound commitment to their Christian beliefs and principles, declared them publicly and backed them up with their resources to establish a new theological college. I continue to be inspired by their convictions and their courage and I feel privileged to have been invited to have a small part in carrying on what the founders began well over one hundred years ago. The New Testament calls all Christians to have a part in proclaiming the Gospel to the world. My "volunteer" contribution to Wycliffe College is part of my response to this proclamation.

Jesus and the Gospel

by John Webster

(In June, Professor John Webster, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in the University of Oxford, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural meeting of SEAD Canada. This is the new Canadian branch of Scholarly Engagement with Anglican Doctrine, founded in the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. in 1989, and brought here by a group of Wyclffe faculty members and their friends. About a hundred people attended the conference, including five bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Professor Webster delivered two addresses, "Jesus and the Gospel" and "The Gospel and the Church." The following is a very abbreviated version of his first address. The two addresses will be available in their entirely in December, and may be ordered in advance by sending Alan Hayes a cheque for $10 payable to Wycliffe College.)

One of the chief themes for the forthcoming Lambeth conference is that the Church is "called to live and proclaim the gospel." As I have pondered that phrase in the course of a bit of writing in preparation for the conference, I have come to think that - however correct its instincts - there is a basic flaw in that formulation of the Church's calling. My suggestion is that the Church is not called first of all to live and proclaim the gospel, but to hear the gospel. Only because it has heard and continues to hear the gospel is the Church called to testify to what it hears in life and proclamation.

What is involved in hearing the gospel? This 'hearing' is much more than indolent passivity; nor can it be made a matter of comfortable routine. The Church hears the gospel in the repeated event of being encountered, accosted, by the word of gospel as it meets us in the reading of Scripture in the midst of the community of faith and its worship. Hearing the gospel in this way involves repentance and faith. That is, it involves constantly renewed abandonment of what the gospel excludes and embrace of what the gospel offers. Such hearing can never be finished business.

What does the Church hear when it hears the gospel? Nothing in the New Testament suggests that the gospel is other than something clearly expressible, with a sharp and perceptible outline and content. But what is perceived and expressed in the gospel is mystery. It concerns God and God's actions, and so is known only in the miracle of revelation and faith, and present among us after the manner of God, that is, spiritually, and not as some kind of religious or ecclesiastical possession.

The gospel is 'the gospel of Christ'. Jesus himself, the proclaimer and embodiment of God's good news, is the gospel. His person and acts, his proclamation, his humiliation and exaltation and rule over all things constitute and do not simply illustrate the gospel.

To get some sense of this point, we may turn to the Gospel of Mark. Right at the beginning of the story of Jesus' public ministry (Mark 1:21 28), Mark narrates the absolute opposition between God and sin. And at the centre of the conflict stands Jesus, the "Holy One of God." Crucially, in this conflict Jesus is victor. His victory is almost effortless: as Mark presents the matter, it is unquestionably self-evident that Jesus is utterly and indefatigably "authoritative". And as the one possessed of this startling authority, he evokes wonder and worship.

Like all doctrine, the doctrine of the incarnation flows from amazement, a questioning about and confession of Jesus as a "lordly" reality, one who judges and renews our lives. And like all doctrine, the doctrine of the incarnation is an attempt to get some kind of conceptual purchase on these things, not by stating them better or in a more sophisticated way than they are stated in Scripture, but by pointing us back to the biblical story and saying, "Read, and be astonished." The doctrine of the incarnation means that to think of Jesus properly is to think of him as God. And, no less important, to think of God is to think of him as Jesus.

"Conversion" is not primarily an experiential reality. That is to say, it is not best described in terms of the little drama of what happens to me, but in terms of what faces me: Jesus himself. To be converted is to exist in faith - to abandon the whole project of self-sufficiency, to let God be God, our God, and to live in the light of his inexpressible gift of himself.

The health of the people of God is bound up with the vitality of their confession of Jesus Christ. If they stand in a disordered relation to that confession, neglecting it, treating it with scepticism, or simply letting it be crowded out by other concerns, then the church of Jesus Christ will find itself crisis-ridden about its own identity. In short, it will begin to wonder what it is.

From this vantage point it would, of course, be a relatively simple matter to look at the life of some of the contemporary Church, and of our own denomination in particular, and find it wanting. But to do so would be to miss the point, for two reasons.

First, Christian beliefs about the incarnation need to be presented as gospel, not as threat. The good news of the gospel of Christ is not a weapon with which to attack; it is an invitation to delight in and celebrate the lavish goodness of God.

Second, and more important, those who are self-consciously "orthodox" have no mandate to regard the doctrine of the incarnation as something which they may possess. Orthodoxy is valuable not merely because it enables us to "settle" issues but because it enables us to be faced and critically interrogated by what lies at its heart: the gospel. Recovering orthodoxy is quite different from recovering the kind of bitter traditionalism that confuses one rendering of the gospel with the gospel itself.

Such, I believe, is what is involved in "incarnational orthodoxy": a summons to us and to the whole Church to astonishment at the gospel, repentance for our slowness to believe, and unfettered delight in the ever new goodness of God.

Good News - You too can be on line!

by Stephen and Sarah Peake

The Rev. Stephen Peake is the incumbent in the Parish of Shanty Bay (Diocese of Toronto)

I remember as a child watching my father "print" the parish bulletin - up to his elbows in Gestetner ink, muttering words unfit for a man of the cloth, shouting in frustration, "There's got to be a better way of doing this!" I would nod in assent, and think to myself, "I sure hope he finds it..." As a priest myself now, as well as a self-confessed computer junkie (just ask my wife), I am relieved that technology has improved substantially in the intervening years, and that for clergy and lay workers, access to computer equipment has simplified so many tasks around the church. It is more than likely that your church already has a computer sitting in its office, printing materials quickly and with considerable ease, tracking the finances of the church, and churning out flyers for next weekıs potluck supper in jig-time.

A computer shouldn't just be a glorified typewriter though, if its real potential is to be tapped. Recently, I have been working on two ways of incorporating computers into church life. Both take little knowledge of computer lingo, although for the true novice, it may be useful to keep the phone number of your parish's computer geek handy (just try the nearest twelve year-old - they're all miles ahead of the rest of us!). The first is a "Contact Database"; the second, a connection to the Internet. A Contact Database is simply a "Parish List Plus". You can either create your own database using commercial software, or try out any number of programmes designed especially for churches (some are even available free on the Internet). Begin by entering information such as names, addresses and phone numbers. Then, add birth dates, baptism or confirmation anniversaries, or anything else you'd like to be reminded of. Include records of committee or small group involvement, and soon you'll be able to sort parish lists in a few seconds by whichever categories you choose. A list of all parishioners living in the west end of town belonging to a Bible study group was never so easy to come by! I heard recently of one priest who has his database programmed to print an on-screen reminder message for birthdays and such - a great idea that's not too difficult to duplicate. A database can also be linked to notes made following a pastoral visit, so that important details of a conversation can be quickly recalled. Of course a password will ensure that access to confidential information is limited.

Once you have your parish's database up and running, it's time to try out the second challenge: the Internet. If you haven't explored the incredible array of church resources available on the Internet, head for the library or a friend's computer, as soon as you can. You'll be amazed at the information out there, from sermon writing groups (one group will critique a sermon that you post, another will give ideas for any text or topic) to music resources, to discussion groups that might act as "support groups" for other clergy and church workers. It won't take long until you're wondering how you lived this long without the Net. Your church may want to consider setting up a homepage, something similar to a billboard on a highway. I know of one church which has a homepage on the Internet and anyone "surfing" around can access it to learn about the history of the building, the activities of the congregation, the life of the church. An amazing number of people have visited that site; many have contacted the staff at the church by E-mail with questions and inquiries. How exciting to think of someone learning the Good News online! Other churches post weekly sermons (which you can either read or listen to) along with other educational and devotional materials. Perhaps the most immediate use of Internet connections, when all the lay people in your parish are connected, is the ease of communication - instant distribution of minutes, arranging meetings, etc. This Internet connection can help you remember that you're not alone out there. There are plenty of regional and national church organizations on the Net that will keep you in touch with issues facing the church today. A great site to visit is Anglicans Online:

As with any great invention, there are pitfalls for computer use in the church. Generally these can be avoided by living by the credo that a computer is meant to work for you, rather than the other way around. If you worry so much about the form and design of your Contact Database that the information it contains is negligible, then your computer is working against you. Similarly, if you spend all day Saturday surfing the 'Net for sermon illustrations, so that Sunday comes and you haven't a thing to say, you've missed the boat. But if you keep in mind that your computer is a tool, like the world's greatest secretary-librarian-accountant-mailman, you won't go wrong. Once you've come up with a few ways to use your computer in church, the possibilities will seem endless. Make sure you share your best ones with the rest of us! - or visit our homepage:

Comings and Goings - Wycliffe's Faculty

Alan Hayes has published an essay in the Festschrift for Reg Stackhouse, and has completed two other short works which he expects to be published by the end of the year: a chapter for a history of St. James' Cathedral, Toronto, and an historical study of the decline of Morning Prayer as a principal Sunday liturgy. He is also a member of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee of General Synod, which has approved for trial use a new eucharistic prayer, to which he contributed, reflecting Reformed theological conscience.

Chris Barrigar, Alan Hayes, and Glen Taylor, with a friend of the college, Dean Mercer, organized an inaugural meeting in June for SEAD Canada. SEAD stands for "Scholarly Engagement with Anglican Doctrine," and promotes a dialogue on Anglican doctrine which seeks to transcend ecclesiastical partisanship, though within the framework of "dynamic orthodoxy".

Ann Jervis spoke at a clergy conference near Peterborough on the topic "Shedding Light on our Book: Using the New Testament in Contemporary Preaching". Ann is also the Programme Chair of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies and attended that conference in St. John's, Newfoundland last June.

Andrew Lincoln is on study leave for the first term of this academic year. One major project is a commentary on Colossians for the New Interpreter's Bible series published by Abingdon Press. The series is designed both to provide analysis of the texts and, with its sections of Reflection, to be of help to those preaching from the texts. The other major project is a book on the trial motif in the Gospel of John, to be published by Hendrickson, that will look at this topic from a number of angles - literary, historical, sociological, theological and hermeneutical. Andrew will also be presenting a paper on the topic of the Household Code in Colossians at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature in San Francisco in November.

David Reed was a participant in a "World Council of Churches Consultation" with worldwide Pentecostals, in Geneva, Switzerland, November 10 to 14. He preached at the induction of the Rev. Dr. Patrick Yu, W81, as Incumbent, St. Timothy's Church, Scarborough, on November 30th.

Professors Glen and Marion Taylor attended the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies in early June. En-route to and from Newfoundland they visited more than a dozen graduates who resided at Wycliffe between 1987 and 1997.

Chris Barrigar's year as Acting Director of Extension Studies has come to an end and he and his wife, Fiona, are awaiting their impending departure for India where Chris will be teaching.

John Bowen has been appointed as Wycliffe's Associate Director of the Institute of Evangelism. He is also a National Evangelism Consultant with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, and is currently completing his Doctor of Ministry degree at McMaster Divinity College.

Grant LeMarquand has been appointed Dean for Extension Ministries and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge, Pennsylvania, effective June 1, 1998.

Merv Mercer arrived at the college August 1st to begin full-time responsibility as Director of Basic Degree Studies, and Assistant Professor of Anglican Formation.

Welcome to: Kim Melvin-Long who comes to Wycliffe as the Front Desk Receptionist. Kim is the wife of M.Div. student Greg Long. She was formerly a teacher in the North West Territories; and Paula Thomas who joined the staff in May as Administrative Manager of the Institute of Evangelism. Paula is a parishioner of St. Paul's, Bloor Street.

For your information...

Did you know that all Wycliffe graduates may audit courses at no cost? In addition, spouses of students may also audit courses, free of charge, and are given a 50% discount on courses for credit.

There is a new bookstore at Wycliffe College that is different from all other Christian bookstores you may have encountered. First of all virtually everything the bookstore sells is discounted. Almost everything from special orders to textbooks for the colleges of The Toronto School of Theology has a price that cannot be beaten. The bookstore specializes in overstock, recently out of print, and slightly damaged books - discounts are from 40 to 90%. There are also good used books at great savings. The store has discount commentaries, reference works, langauge tools, software, Bibles, philosophy, ethics, theology, Christian literature, world religions, spirituality, feminism, missions and others - and whatever we do not have in stock we will be glad to find and order for you. We are also interested in buying used Christian books be it one book or a whole library - we will give you a quote and pay the shipping from anywhere. Please call Patrick Paas at 416-599-2749, Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

NOTE: New college telephone number: 416-946-3535 FAX: 416-946-3545


THE END OF THE WORLD? A New Look At An Old Belief
written by Reginald F. Stackhouse, reviewed by Harry Hilchey
Published by Paulist Press (available at the Anglican Book Centre)

Christian people, says Dr. Stackhouse in this scholarly but delightfully readable book, are faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, their credal statements, based on the Bible, affirm that Christ will come again. On the other hand, what the author describes as "two thousand years of mistaken, disillusioning predictions" about that history ending event must come to terms with the fact that Christ has not returned and "the old order seems firmly entrenched."

The "heart" of the book is an exposition of what the author believes are the three main interpretations about "the Second Coming". The first of the three interpretations affirms a literal return of Christ to reign on earth. Dr. Stackhouse concludes this section of the book by stating that this view has not been welcomed by "ecclesiastics and academics", nor embraced by "men and women at home in the world, at ease with its demands, and enthusiastic about its opportunities". Rather, it has appealed in the main to people who are disillusioned with the status quo and "open to alternatives that say the losers of this age will soon become the winners."

Dr. Stackhouse uses the word "pastoral" to describe the second group of interpretations. Rather than speaking of a physical re-entry of Christ into the world of space and time, the pastoral interpretation emphasises His spiritual coming to the Church and to individual believers. "Instead of Christians always having at least one eye on a world yet to be born, they can revere the divine society to which Christ has already come". It is our privilege as Christians to rejoice that Christ has come, that He comes time and time again, and that He will continue to come to His people.

In the final section, Dr. Stackhouse makes an impassioned plea for interpreting the Biblical message about the end of the world as much more than "a religious belief that can be piously professed and practically ignored". He quotes several twentieth century thinkers who speak of Christians as "not yet" people who hold to the hope that there can be a better world than the one we know, better for all of us, better for all of life. There is, says Dr. Stackhouse, a question which is not asked often enough: "which Christ do we want to return? The miracle worker? The crucified victim? or the spectacular Christ of some New Testament prophecies? It is a key question, not a flippant one...So for what Christ should we look? This theology exhorts us to seek a liberating Christ who alone can meet the challenge of social evil."

Dr. Stackhouse's book of 136 pages is indeed, as the title states, "a new look at an old belief." The author's impressive academic credentials are plainly evident in his writing. Equally obvious is his confidence that the "old belief" of which he writes has practical implications for the facing of the future with confidence and hope.

Connecting the Gospel and the World
"Dare Talks" - a series of evangelistic booklets by John Bowen and others is reviewed by Rev. Dr. Michael Knowles, Hurlburt Professor of Preaching, McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton.

If some plant, others water, and still others harvest, John Bowen describes one aspect of his own ministry as representative of a much earlier stage, that of ³clearing the stones from the field.² In his work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the Institute of Evangelism, he has a particular knack for identifying points of spiritual interest in the culture of our day, and addressing them in Christian terms. Drawing from his work with university students over many years, he has initiated a booklet series addressing foundational issues of Christian faith, life, and spirituality.

Love: Is it Worth the Hassle? discusses the various dimensions of friendship, romance, and spiritual love, concluding that our hunger for true love points to its Creator. Does God Care? A Christian Perspective on Evil and Suffering offers a closely-reasoned series of responses to the questions that any theological explanation of evil and suffering must provide: namely, why does God allow evil and suffering to exist, why does God not put a stop to it, and what is Godıs answer? In a similar vein, although addressed to a post-modern audience, Jesus the Only Way: The Arrogance of Christianity? provides a classic apologetic defense of the uniqueness of Christ. On the other hand, Jesus is Alive, Elvis is Alive: Whatıs the Difference? offers an intriguing and amusing if intentionally far- fetched comparison between the two situations, although one wonders whether this particular address loses something of its vitality in being reduced from verbal presentation to printed form.

Without question the most creative in the series are two booklets that describe ways of entering and following the path of Christian discipleship. Both are richly informed by the wisdom of long pastoral experience. Becoming A Christian: A Practical Guide to the Why and the How examines eight possible reasons for exploring Christian faith (a sense of emptiness, concern for truth, guilt, or pain, etc.), and invites the reader to turn to whichever discussion seems most relevant. As a next step, The School of Jesus: A Beginnerıs Guide to Living As a Christian argues that the closest analogy to discipleship is that of a school, complete with textbook, assignments, and assemblies. The analogy particularly for a university audience is both simple and compelling.

The series currently includes two booklets by other authors. A Jesus for Generation X? A Place for Faith in a Post-Christian Age (by Mark Harris) is a sensitive and thoughtful address to the spiritual longings of a particular generation, and fits well with Bowenıs work. By contrast, Euthanasia: A Christian Perspective (by John Patrick and Sheila Rutledge Harding) was originally written for submission to a Senate committee, and while persuasively argued, seems somewhat out of place given the evangelistic and apologetic intent of the other treatments.

This raises the question of intended audience. Apart from the exception noted, these booklets would helpfully accompany a student mission, which is no doubt how Bowen and Harris intend to use them. They would prove immensely helpful to anyone involved in evangelism, especially with high school or university students. But their appropriateness to this age group suggests the limitations of the print format: they might reach a far wider audience by being posted on the Internet, where they could invite discussion and response.

More volumes are planned for the series, which is published by Digory Designs of Vancouver. Costing $4.00 to $5.00 apiece, they are available from John Bowen, c/o Wycliffe College Institute of Evangelism.

M.T.S. Programme Has Good Beginning

by Merv Mercer, Director, Basic Degree Studies

It is exciting to see new educational opportunities take shape for those desiring theological education. The Masters of Theological Studies degree programme at Wycliffe College has now received its Association of Theological Schools (A.T.S.) and Toronto School of Theology (T.S.T.) accreditation and has already welcomed its first students. This degree programme makes part-time studies in Christian scholarship available to those who may be considering more advanced theological studies in the future. It is our hope that it will also provide a variety of individuals with "a clearer and more systematic theological context in which to understand their lay ministry...and to develop skills for the practice of ministry." The course requirements allow the student to develop a flexible learning programme to meet his or her specific needs and to focus the learning experience in the most helpful way possible.

We continue to have many inquiries about this new offering and already some students have accepted places for January 1998 while others are considering a Fall '98 start. To date, several students have also transferred to the M.T.S. programme from the three-year Master of Religion programme; this has allowed them to accommodate changing personal circumstances and still complete a degree.

Entering students in the M.T.S. degree begin their studies with "Foundations of Theological Inquiry" which introduces them to the overall landscape of theological education. They share this experience with students in the ordination stream, and have the opportunity of meeting the Wycliffe faculty through this interdisciplinary approach to education. This helps part-time students with their integration into the life and community of Wycliffe and establishes a firm context for theological learning.

If you have encountered individuals with prior degrees who have mentioned to you that they have thought about doing more study in the faith, you might encourage them to consider this part-time M.T.S. programme at Wycliffe. You can get descriptive brochures from both The Director of Development and the Registrar. We will be happy to explore possibilities with anyone you suggest.

Anglican Spirituality Project

by Stephanie Douglas

Theological education results in spiritual formation, right? Not necessarily, says the Rev. Dr. Merv Mercer, Wycliffe's Assistant Professor of Anglican Formation. Church leaders are expressing growing concern that graduates from seminaries across North America lack the kind of personal spiritual formation one would hope to find in future church leaders. In order to address this concern, Wycliffe College will launch a mentorship programme in the fall of 1998.

According to Mercer, the programme aims at providing students with spiritual companions or ³mentors² who would share their spiritual walk and offer guidance. The mentorship programme would be a resource, not a requirement, for Wycliffe students. Ideally, interested students would meet on a monthly basis with their spiritual mentor for the duration of their time at Wycliffe. The goal is to instill in students the habitus of reflecting with another person about personal spiritual matters, and to develop practices which foster spiritual growth. Spiritual guides would also serve as models for mentoring, for later application in the ministry setting.

Mercer, who is developing the programme, believes such mentoring is invaluable. Just as academic programmes help build the church by providing scholarly, reflective priests, so a mentorship programme contributes to church life by attending to the spiritual formation of future leaders. "After all," said Mercer, "isn't spiritual growth what the Church is all about?"

Minden Off Campus College - A new experience in learning

Rev. Brian Parker is a graduate of Wycliffe, 1987 and is the incumbent in the Parish of Minden-Kinmount (Diocese of Toronto).

Have you ever noticed how the smallest events can lead to major outcomes? The minor event in this case was a dialogue at the door of the Toronto Skating and Curling Club after this spring's Wycliffe Fellowship Dinner. The major outcome was a whole new means of learning which saw Wycliffe personnel being welcomed in the central Ontario village of Minden this summer.

"For a number of months, I have felt God leading our parish in a new direction" reported the Reverend Brian Parker. "I knew that we were being lead toward making advanced Adult Christian Education a real possibility." One aspect of this new concept in ministry was realized this summer as Dr. Marion Taylor and Ph.D. student John Harvey travelled to The Parish of Minden-Kinmount to present lectures on "Daniel and the End Times" and "Narrative Art in Jonah, Ruth and Judges". It was an exciting realization of many months of praying and planning. The word was spread, not just throughout the parish, but to all the surrounding area and to churches of all denominations.

On August 8 and 9, we welcomed Dr. Taylor and her family to our area. Her topic arose because of the times in which we find ourselves. People are looking to scriptures for understanding in an age of change and doubt. How do we faithfully interpret the stories of the end times, gleaning peace for a period of flux, yet remain true to the original meanings? What of the role of poetry and imagery? What is meant by the image of a statue in different materials? What does Daniel and the book of Revelation tell us about modern concerns and experiences? Dr. Taylor skilfully unravelled the mystery and left us with much to think about as we approach the year 2000.

John Harvey, a doctoral student (by now graduate) followed the next weekend. He discussed what biblical criticism is and then related a relatively new form of biblical interpretation. Narrative art criticism involves looking at the lay-out of the story rather than just the story itself. How is the story told? We saw the parallels between the sea captain and king of Nineveh. Similarly, Ruth and Judges also betray hidden "messages" and insights in their respective forms.

For everyone who took part, the experience was enriching. Evaluations done afterward included many positive comments e.g. "I was reinforced in the pleasure of studying scripture"; "what God teaches is truth!" Everyone agreed, the experience should be repeated next year.

Alumni/ae News

The Annual Alumni/ae Conference was held this year on October 23rd at the College. The theme was "Small Group Ministries".

Rev. Bill Campbell, W57, has been appointed rector of the parish of Sallaghy with Clones. Sallaghy is in Northern Ireland and Clones is eleven miles to the south in the Republic of Ireland.

Rev. John Frampton, W57, hosted a dinner at his home on the eve of the 97 Alumni Conference. Present were other members of the class of 57, including John Yamane who came from Japan.

Rev. David Adams, W65, is now retired. He was formerly rector of St. George's, Barrie.

Rev. Jim Dorion, W66, is enjoying retirement. He is making good recovery from a stroke, and we pray for continuing good health.

Rev. Canon James Woolley, W71, was made a Canon of the Diocese of Toronto in January, 97. (see letter)

Rev. Canon Bill Kibblewhite, W72, led a group of 30 on a pilgrimage tour of the Holy Land in November.

Tyler Barnes, W73, began work as a Social Policy Analyst in February 97, in Prince George, BC.

Rev. Paul Frost, W76, wrote "you may be interested to know that we are pastoring the Portugese-language mission of First Baptist Church, Kingston. Paul and Isabel moved to Kingston from Prince Edward Island.

Dr. Kerry Edwards, W81, lives in Denver, CO. This summer he visited his brother-in-law in Cobourg, Ontario where he enjoyed the sailing.

Rev. Dorothy Thorpe, W82, spent the month of March in Uganda, and reports that in spite of the many adverse conditions there "church members are faithful and active". Bishop Kyamugambi invites any Canadian Anglicans to come and help with this ministry on a short term basis. The only expense would be air-fare and medical insurance. Accommodation and meals would be provided.

Rev. Peter Lai, W86, has moved to Burlington, New Jersey.

Rev. Dr. Anne Lindgren Brandly, W90, has returned to mission work in the Arctic. Her address is Box 296, Kugluktuk, NT X0E 0E0.

Rev. Tim Parent, W90, is now the incumbent of Holy Trinity Church, Pembroke in the Ottawa Valley.

Rev. Robert Roe, W90, sent us an update of events in his life since leaving Wycliffe. In '92 he married Valerie; he was ordained in '95 and is presently serving as assistant curate and youth pastor at Trinity Anglican Church in Sarnia. Robert and Valerie have a one year old daughter, Christine.

Rev. Gordon Thompson, W90, rector of the Parish of St. George, NB, will be the Chair of the Board of Directors for Anglicans for Renewal Canada (ARM), effective November 97.

Rev. Gavin Dunbar, W91, began, in July, as Priest-Associate at St. John's Church, Savannah, Georgia after serving six years as rector of St. Barnabas, Ecum Secum, a five-point parish in Nova Scotia.

Rev. Shelley Schneider, W92, has accepted a call from Strathcona Baptist Church in Edmonton to be their pastor beginning in September. This is an historic and traditional church in serious decline, situated close to the university. Shelley says she is alternately excited and scared by the huge challenge ahead.

Rev. Keith Todd, W93, is now in Halifax, NS, working with the Deaf at Christ Church. Keith's ministry in Cambridge Bay (Diocese of the Arctic) lasted for four years and he says it was no easy task to leave that place.

Rev. Byron Gilmore, W94, has been appointed Rector of Christ Church, Markdale and St. Mary's Church, Maxwell (Diocese of Huron).

Rev. Haynes Hubbard, W95, and his wife Sue are now the proud parents of Sebastian Aidan Haynes Hubbard, born October 6, 1997.

Rev. Allen Tapley, W95, describes an interesting event shortly after his arrival at the Parish of Waterford and St. Mark, diocese of Fredericton, when an Easter Vigil was planned, including the ritual of baptism by immersion - a portable tank was used (after emergency repairs) and the mayor of the village was baptized.

Graduates of '97 and '98 Ordained...
Jenny Andison, Murray Bateman, Susan Bell, Chris Doering, Elizabeth Hopkins, Maggie Milne, Katherine Treganowan, and Suren Yoganathan.

Convocation '97

The Degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) was conferred on Bishop John Junichiro Furumoto of Kobi Shi, Japan. Bishop Furumoto graduated from Wycliffe in 1967. Paul Helliwell, a trustee of the college, was installed as the First and Founding Fellow of the College. This is the highest dignity that the college awards to its volunteer supporters. Susan Bell, senior student of 96/97 presented the Senior Stick to Brent Ham, senior student, 97/98.

The graduates of 1997 are:

The Degree of Doctor of Theology
Harry Alan Hahne
John Dyer Harvey
Ronald Vincent Huggins
Robert Van Johnson

The Degree of Doctor of Divinity
Mervyn Robert Mercer
Patrick Tin-Sik Yu

The Degree of Master of Theology
Barbara Ann Sykes

The Degree of Master of Divinity
Jennifer Ann Andison
Sheilagh Marie Ashworth
Christopher Roland Doering
Carsten Hennings
Elizabeth Ann Hopkins
James Allan Macnamara
Katherine Lynne Treganowan
Suren Yoganathan

The Degree of Master of Religion
Randy Donald Barclay
Cheryl Ann Kaunismaa

Title of Licentiate of Theology
Joanne Gail Bennett
Thomas Richard Moorse


REFOCUS is Wycliffe's invitation to graduates to return to the College for scholarly and spiritual refreshment. REFOCUS 98 is now in the planning stage and we welcome your input regarding its content and format. QUESTION: If you were to attend, what would you hope to achieve and learn during this experience? Send your reply to the Development Office.

U of T Day

Our student volunteers Stan Edwards, Peggy Hudson, Brian Ingram & Brent Ham participate in the annual U. of T. Open House Day. For the first time, Wycliffe took part in this recruitment event.

Stephanie Douglas
Alan Hayes
Harry Hilchey
Michael Knowles
Grant LeMarquand
Brian Parker
Steve & Sarah Peake