Wycliffe College's Inaugural Reformed House of Studies Conference

Reformed House of Study Conference 2023
June 09th, 2023

Wycliffe College held its inaugural Reformed House of Studies Conference on Saturday, June 3, 2023. The conference, titled "Reformed the Church: Learning from the Westminster Divines," related the reform of the church today to a period of reform from the past, namely, the Westminster Assembly of the seventeenth century. 

It was an encouraging occasion of learning and fellowship with over 60 attending in person and some online. Bishop Stephen Andrews, Principal of Wycliffe College, opened the conference with a warm welcome and gracious commendation of the conference. 

Three main lectures were given on the day by Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn, professor of church history and director of the Craig Center for the study of the Westminster Standards at Westminster Theological Seminary. His first lecture was particularly appropriate as the inaugural lecture for the Reformed House of Studies at Wycliffe College, as he situated one of the most important texts of the Reformed tradition – the Westminster Confession – within the context of the Church of England's own history and identity formation.

The focus of the second lecture shifted from church reform to matters of the heart. It followed the reflection of one member of Westminster, William Strong, who asked how Christians could have communion with God. In the third lecture, Dr. Van Dixhoorn emphasized on the reform of doctrine: what it meant both to have and to hold a confession in the long presbyterian tradition. Each lecture was followed by a period of questions and answers.

Among those who attended the event were people who came from a wide range of denominational backgrounds. Some travelled from various parts of Ontario and Quebec to take part in the conference. Different life stages and occupations were also represented: students, pastors, lay leaders, professors, and academic administrators. 

Many connections were made throughout the day. Some attendees came to the conference as they were drawn in by the topic and the speaker, but had not previously visited Wycliffe College. During the event, they had the opportunity to connect with some of the students, staff, and faculty members of the College. Some of the pastors and professors from neighboring Reformed traditions who had never crossed path also had the opportunity to meet for the first time. We pray that this conference and our Reformed House of Studies course offerings will continue to nurture conversations and encourage biblical and theological training for those who would like to engage with the richness of the Reformed tradition.