The President and the Board of Trustees of Acadia Divinity College are pleased to announce the appointment of Rev. Dr. Dorothy Hunse as the Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care.Read More
Dr. Harry Gardner has recently announced a major gift to the College that will provide further development of the pastoral care curriculum at the College.
The Beatty Ryckman Trust has committed $20,000 per year for five years to support the new position of Professor of Pastoral Care at ADC. The Trust will also match donations and pledges received by the College over the same five-year period, to a maximum of $30,000 per year.Read More
In May 2017, I had the opportunity to travel to Cuba for a two-week mission trip as part of the Crandall-Acadia Bachelor of Theology Partnership. I had heard amazing stories from previous trip participants—yet I was a bit skeptical of the full impact. However, I was curious to see how much change could happen in a short time.Read More
Acadia Divinity College Congratulates Colonel (Rev.) Barbara Putnam ‘95
Barbara Putnam, a Chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces since 2000, was recently promoted Colonel and appointed Director of Chaplaincy Operations in the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (RCChS). She is the first Baptist Chaplain and first woman to hold this rank and appointment in the RCChS.Read More
The event was held on the 24th of November at The YORK Club in Toronto. It was a fitting venue for the leadership boards of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church and Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, as two long-time friends were celebrated for their exceptional work in ministry and their longstanding commitment to Acadia. Both men graduated from the Doctor of Ministry program at the College, and their ministries have been distinguished by their exceptional preaching and teaching.Read More
Remembering The Reverend Dr. Andrew D. MacRae, BD, MA, PhD
Devoted to family. Passionate about evangelism and pastoral ministry. A deeply committed servant of God. These are the words that most frequently come to mind when remembering our friend and colleague, Dr. Andrew D. MacRae.
Andrew was born in Lasswade, near Edinburgh, Scotland, and with the early encouragement of his pastor, he became a street evangelist as a teenager in Edinburgh. Ordained in 1957, Dr. MacRae was called to a pastoral ministry in Scotland that focussed on urban ministry. He was appointed General Secretary and Superintendent of the Baptist Union of Scotland in 1966, providing leadership and pastoral care to pastors and churches. Dr. MacRae served extensively in Europe and the Soviet Bloc, working with the Baptist World Alliance and also preaching, teaching, and leading conferences in more than 50 countries on every continent. His leadership led to the introduction of the Evangelism and Education Division of the Baptist World Alliance. In recognition of his work, Dr. MacRae received a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, from the Campbellsville University, Kentucky.
Dr. MacRae’s road to Acadia Divinity College (ADC) began in 1978 with an unexpected phone call from the College, inviting him to an interview for a position as a member of faculty. It was almost two years before he was persuaded to move to Wolfville with his wife, Jean, and two children, Findlay and Fiona. Dr. MacRae began his service at the Acadia Divinity College by establishing the first Chair of evangelism and mission in Canada, the Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain Chair of Evangelism and Mission, and in 1983 became its first occupant. After much deliberation, he accepted the position of Principal of ADC and Dean of Theology of Acadia University in 1985 and within months the College underwent a review of its accredited status by an examining team from the Association of Theological Schools. The College received accreditation for five years, the longest term available at the time and a strong affirmation of the high academic standing of the College.
During his tenure, Dr. MacRae travelled the country, teaching and preaching in churches in every province, building relationships with Baptists across Canada. It became apparent to Dr. MacRae that God had taken him around the world for a purpose: by affiliating schools in Nigeria and Hong Kong, he led Acadia University into a new concept of an expanded international reach. Dr. MacRae introduced the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at ADC, now one of Canada’s largest DMin programs, enrolling students internationally from many denominations. He was key in launching the Lay Pastor’s Program, a curriculum designed to meet the needs of the smaller churches, as well as the Lifestyle Training Schools to prepare ordinary Christians to share their faith. His door was always open to students, and alumni remember his passion in the classroom, sparkling wit and involvement in student life. Perhaps Dr. MacRae’s most significant contribution to the long-term future of the College was the Living Legacy fundraising campaign that strengthened the endowment for student bursaries and the College’s financial position. Every step of the way, Jean ministered by his side with kindness and gracious hospitality to ADC faculty, staff, and students.
Dr. MacRae retired in 1998 after 13 years as ADC’s longest serving Principal. His leadership was recognized by Acadia University through the bestowing of a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in 2004. In retirement he served as a pastor, taught evangelism, and after a brief absence from the College, returned to direct the Doctor of Ministry program. Until March 2014, he served as Senior Consultant to the Doctor of Ministry Program, Life and Ministry Coach, and Liaison to Hong Kong Ministries. Dr. MacRae’s connection with the Acadia Divinity College continued as the Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain Professor Emeritus of Evangelism and Mission.
In honour of his valuable leadership at the Acadia Divinity College and in recognition of his global impact and lifelong commitment to evangelism and mission, The Andrew D. MacRae Centre for Christian Faith and Culture was established in 2016.
In addition to his many accomplishments, Andrew will perhaps be most remembered as a deeply caring and humble Christian man with a great sense of humour. He was a true servant of God who touched so very many lives.
You are invited to submit for consideration names of those individuals worthy of an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree.
Honorary Doctorate Guidelines
An Honorary Doctorate is an honour bestowed by the University and is intended to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the academy and/or society and whose accomplishments, leadership, and/or community service are deemed to be extraordinary and thus worthy of honoris causa.
Criteria & Conditions of Eligibility
Acadia University seeks to honour individuals whose contributions or accomplishments are exceptional and reflect an appropriate standard of excellence, consistent with the values and the spirit of the University. The criteria to be considered include:
- Recognition as exceptional scholars or leaders in their field.
- A demonstrated commitment to Higher Education.
- Individuals who are known for their humanitarian leadership.
- A significant contribution to the local region.
- Exceptional service to the University.
Nominations for an Honorary Doctorate will not normally be considered for an individual who is currently:
- a member of federal parliament or provincial legislatures
- a member of the Board of Governors
- a member of the University faculty and staff
1. Nomination materials should include:
- a letter of nomination from the nominator
- a brief statement (one-page maximum) explaining why the candidate is worthy of an Honorary Doctorate from Acadia University
- an up-to-date curriculum vitae of the nominee
2. Nominations are to be received at the Office of the President of Acadia Divinity College by October 31, 2016.
Executive Assistant to the President
ACADIA DIVINITY COLLEGE
15 University Avenue
Wolfville NS B4P 2R6
All nominations will be reviewed, and the Senate of Acadia Divinity College will recommend a nominee to the Acadia University Awards Committee.
While the recent passing of Tracy vom Hagen (née Demmons) deeply saddened the Acadia Divinity College family, we thank God for the life of this remarkable young woman.
Tracy first came to ADC as a student, earning a Master of Arts (Theology) with Distinction in 2004. During her studies at Acadia, she also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education; each unit consisted of 400 hours of instruction or practicum. All the while, she was living with, and rising above, the effects of Neurofibromatosis type 2, a disorder characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors throughout the nervous system.
Surgery to remove tumors on her brain stem affected Tracy’s hearing, ending her ability to answer her calling as a chaplain. Rather than dwell on her hearing loss, Tracy listened with an open heart and recognized God’s hand at work in her life. She turned towards an academic approach to chaplaincy, studying at the venerable University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where she completed a dissertation on the knowledge of God and people with intellectual disabilities.
As she neared the end of her doctoral program, Tracy accepted an internship with the United Nations Critical Incident and Stress Management Unit in New York conducting training for UN support staff in psychosocial support. She then spent 18 months in Afghanistan as a staff counsellor providing psychological and spiritual support to UN staff working under extreme duress.
Her health finally necessitated a return to Canada.
In February 2011, ADC formally launched the Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care, appointing Dr. Tracy Demmons as its first Director. In three brief years, Tracy, interrupted by several serious operations, worked with ADC to define the mission and vision of the Taylor Centre and re-connected ADC with the chaplaincy world in Canada.
With her vibrant personality and tenacity in teaching and counselling despite her physical limitations, Tracy inspired and touched the lives of students in profound ways. In 2015, she was honoured by the Acadia Divinity College Alumni Association with its Distinguished Service Award – the youngest recipient of this award.
Tracy believed that God works wonders with whatever you give Him. This was certainly demonstrated in her own life. Acadia Divinity College will long remember Tracy’s indomitable spirit, positive outlook on life, and deep faith in a loving God.
NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community
by Dr. Terry LeBlanc
Article originally published in the 2016 Summer Edition of the ADC Today
ADC Introduces the Master of Arts in Indigenous Community Development Studies
Indigenous scholar Taiaiake Alfred asks, What is “Indigenizing the academy?” To me, it means that we are working to change universities so that they become places where the values, principles, and modes of organization and behaviour of our people are respected in, and hopefully even integrated into, the larger system of structures and processes that make up the university itself.
From its very creation, the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) has been asking a similar question. Not just within the academic community, however, but also within the Indigenous and non-Indigenous evangelical Christian community.
In 1999, in response to the increasingly controversial issue of Christian mission and theology attuned to Indigenous culture, a small group of Indigenous evangelicals were prompted to explore ways to address the issue. Missionaries, theologians, and lay people had been struggling for many years to make sense of the issue to little effect. NAIITS was born in response to this inability of the church to fully include Indigenous North Americans in a manner that affirmed who their Creator had shaped them to be.
It was simultaneously a simple and complex problem: how to articulate a Christian faith in which Indigenous people’s culture was not further eroded or altogether decimated. Stated another way, “How could Indigenous people express their commitment to Jesus Christ and celebrate their God-given indigeneity within that faith without contradiction. Finding little in print or experience that addressed the theological, biblical and missiological issues at hand, NAIITS determined to gather a group of people together to explore the issue of holistically contextualizing the gospel.
For the participants, in what has now become NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, questions of culture and faith have been circulating for many years. Questions surrounding contextualization and the redemption of Indigenous North American culture in mission and ministry have surfaced through the many seasons of their lives. Most of the questions that drive the work of NAIITS flow directly from a community that has much invested in the answers.
The emergence of NAIITS is directly tied to the many years of labour invested by its board members in the Indigenous Christian community. From the day of its formation to the present, NAIITS has been an Indigenous North American led organization dedicated to introducing change into the education and practice of evangelical Christian mission and theology.
Believing that since the earliest period of colonization the Christian community had essentially written them (and their culture) out of the story of the church, NAIITS emphasized the inclusion of Indigenous worldviews, especially as they relate to training Indigenous people in theology, biblical studies, and mission. Since the North American evangelical church had become almost irrelevant to Indigenous peoples as a result of its unwillingness to make this change, NAIITS faculty and students were often left isolated from their own communities of faith in this endeavour.
NAIITS is unique in that its founding and management was, and continues to be, by Indigenous people. Prior to NAIITS there were few efforts in advanced theological education. Most that did emerge were birthed in the hearts and minds of the non-Indigenous community, delivered in a non-culturally inclusive way.
In the spring of 2014, Acadia University, through Acadia Divinity College, entered into a working agreement with NAIITS to begin delivery of a Master of Arts in Indigenous Community Development (MA-INCD). The first cohort of three students began that fall. The total enrolment for 2016 is four. This and four other partnerships with different institutions, delivering unique degree options, are the first partnerships of their kind delivered entirely by an Indigenous organization focused on higher theological education.
Since its conception in the late 1990s, and its organizational birth in the year 2001, NAIITS has become a well-recognized and well-respected group of Indigenous North American men and women dedicated to the advancement of Indigenous people’s education within the wider compass of those who follow the Jesus Way.
Since 2003, NAIITS partnerships have graduated seven people with doctoral degrees and nine people with Masters of Divinity or Masters of Arts degrees. Presently, NAIITS has five people in PhD programs (two at the dissertation stage) and one in a ThD program at the candidacy stage. Three of these students are enrolled in an ongoing program partnership created by NAIITS, two in a concluding agreement, and one in a single student arrangement.
In the twelve years that NAIITS has been engaged in the delivery of higher education, through its partnerships, we have graduated more students with advanced high-quality degrees than in the previous 150 years in the traditions of the church from which our membership has been drawn combined.
NAIITS believes Indigenous followers of Jesus have something of value to contribute to the Christian community as a whole in terms of mission and theology, but more particularly, that they need to create their own tools for mission to the Indigenous community.
Acadia is helping us make that point!
Dr. Terry LeBlanc, a Mi’kmaq-Acadian, is the Executive Director of Indigenous Pathways and also the founding Chair and current Director of the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS), an indigenous learning community. Terry holds an interdisciplinary PhD from Asbury Theological Seminary, and specializes in Theology and Anthropology. In May 2015, Terry received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Acadia University.
Acadia Divinity College presented the 2016 Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Rev. Lennett Anderson during the ADC Friends and Alumni Supper at Crandall University on August 26, 2016.
The ADC Alumni Distinguished Service Award, inaugurated in 1995, honours graduates of the Acadia University School of Theology and/or Acadia Divinity College whose gifts for ministry have contributed significantly to the Christian Church in Canada or throughout the world.
Rev. Anderson, a Class of 2000 graduate of the Acadia Divinity College Master of Divinity program and recipient of the University Silver Medal in Theology, was ordained into Christian ministry in 2001. He has served as Senior Pastor of his childhood church, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Upper Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, since 1999. Maclean’s magazine named Rev. Anderson as “one of five Canadian pastors who are breathing new life into their communities”.
In partnership with three other pastors from the African Nova Scotia community, Rev. Anderson created “Save our Sons, Save our Sisters Rites of Passage Youth Mentorship and Empowerment Program”, an initiative that received the Nova Scotia Minister of Justice’s Award for Leadership in Community Crime Prevention Award.
A retired commissioned Officer in the Canadian Forces where he served as Unit Chaplain for HMSC Scotian, Rev. Anderson has been recognized with numerous awards including the Medal of Excellence from the Navy League of Canada, the Canadian Forces Decoration Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Citizenship and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from St. Thomas Christian College.
Wherever throughout North America he preaches God’s messages of healing and hope for a better tomorrow, Pastor Anderson inspires and encourages. His passion for community is evident through his contributions as consultant for the Halifax Regional School Board on leadership and race relations, as a member of the Halifax Regional Municipality Chief of Police Roundtable on Diversity and Race Relations, as Moderator of the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia, and as a board member of the Nova Scotia Chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
With great pleasure, Acadia Divinity College recognizes and honours Rev. Anderson’s commitment to “serving his generation with Godly purpose” by presenting him with the 2016 ADC Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Join us for our annual
ADC Friends and Alumni Supper
August 26th, 2016
333 Gorge Road
Moncton New Brunswick
Share a meal with friends and colleagues,
and hear about the ongoing work of Acadia Divinity College.
Supper is free of charge and open to everyone to attend.
Registration is required.
ADC Alumni Distinguished Service Award
Acadia Divinity College is pleased to award the 2016 ADC Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Rev. Dr. Lennett J. Anderson, CD. Rev. Anderson will be presented the award on Friday, August 26th during the ADC Friends and Alumni supper in Moncton, NB.
Since Pastor Anderson’s return to his home church in 1999 and his subsequent ordination into the Christian Ministry in September 2001, he has been credited by the National MacLean’s Magazine as “one of five Canadian Pastors who are breathing new life into their communities.” His leadership has led to the formation of a blended community of worshipers who meet to exemplify unity within the Body of Christ. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dalhousie University in 1997, Pastor Anderson later completed a Master of Divinity degree at Acadia Divinity College in May 2000. He later received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from St. Thomas Christian College. On August 2007, Dr. Anderson was elevated to the position of State Overseer for the Canadian Region with the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, under the leadership of International Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton. Rev. Anderson is also a retired commissioned Officer in the Canadian Forces were he served as Unit Chaplain for HMCS SCOTIAN. Honours are several: The Canadian Forces Decoration Medal (2009), The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012); the Acadia University Medal in Theology (2000); and inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2 (2006). Through his dynamic presentation of the Gospel, Pastor Anderson’s message has been a source of spiritual inspiration and encouragement to many. His messages of hope and deep healing, which abound from God’s wisdom and compassion, have been a guiding light throughout Canada and abroad. His continued commitment to teach and reach souls, by living the Word of God with conviction and boldness is truly a testament to his invaluableness in the Kingdom of God. Truly Pastor Lennett Anderson is a gifted preacher and teacher who is living up to his life’s calling: “To serve his generation with Godly purpose.” (Biography taken from http://ebcmeet.com/about/our-pastors-and-leaders)
Registration is now closed for this event.
For more information about this event, please contact
On Monday, August 8, 2016, the Reverend Dr. Harry Gardner, President of Acadia Divinity College and the Dean of Theology of Acadia University, officiated at the Service of Dedication and Naming for
The Sarah Daley Nickerson Chapel.
This event was in response to a memorial gift by Dr. Granville H. Nickerson, Sarah’s father, Acadia Class of 1942, and a native of Nova Scotia.
The memorial plaque, which will hang near the entrance to the Acadia Divinity College chapel, includes a childhood picture of Sarah, duplicated from an original portrait painted by the artist Madame Anna de Romer. The plaque contains the following inscription:
In Loving Memory
Sarah Daley Nickerson
A brilliant child and adult gifted in music and friendship
A follower of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Remembered forever by her loving family
The greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Following the unveiling of the memorial plaque, the well-known hymn by Civilla D. Martin, 1905, His Eye is on the Sparrow, was played by Dr. Heather Price, School of Music, Acadia University.
The naming of the Chapel was witnessed by several members of the Nickerson family from British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.
Other special guests included:
- Ms. Susan Mesheau, Vice-President of Enrolment and Student Services, Acadia University;
- Dr. Peter Reid, Executive Minister of the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches; and
- members of the ADC Board of Trustees and Acadia University Board of Governors.
Also in attendance was Dr. Harold Mitton, the 3rd Principal of Acadia Divinity College, a fellow Acadia classmate and friend of Dr. Nickerson more than 70 years ago. During the luncheon that followed the ceremony, they reminisced about performing on the theatre stage together during their student days.
Greetings were shared by a number of attendees as well as notes from University Chancellor, Libby Burnham, and University Chaplain, Rev. Timothy McFarland:
I want to join the Acadia community in expressing thanks to Dr. Granville Nickerson for this generous contribution to Acadia Divinity College. Dr. Nickerson has a long history of supporting our wonderful University, and his continued commitment is greatly appreciated. The Divinity College holds a prominent place in our history as well as on the present campus.
- Libby Burnham, Chancellor, Acadia University
I extend my gratitude to the Nickerson family on the lovely support for the chapel in my Alma Mater. As Dean of the Manning Memorial Chapel on Acadia University campus, I value the partnership the University and the College share as well as the mutuality in spiritual growth and maturity for who are part of Acadia.
- Rev. Timothy McFarland, Chaplain, Acadia University
Granville H. Nickerson, M.D., C.M.
Dr. Granville H. Nickerson was a dedicated Acadia student, earning the coveted Cox Cup and Medal for his outstanding record in intercollegiate athletics, other extracurricular activities, and scholarship.
Following his Bachelor of Arts at Acadia University, he attended medical school at McGill University, graduating with a medical degree in 1945, and a Diploma in Pediatrics in 1950. He was named a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians the following year. In 1951, he pioneered the successful treatment of children with tubercular meningitis, a previously fatal disease in children.
He had a distinguished career in pediatrics and education, including an appointment as Teaching Fellow at Harvard University and twenty-five years of continuous post-graduate teaching at McGill University.
He served as a physician at the Montréal Children’s Hospital, and was Pediatrician-in-Chief at the Royal Victoria Hospital for eleven years. He was a consultant to the Montréal Neurological Institute and a part-time medical health officer to the Town of Mount Royal, where he initiated numerous valuable health programs.
Dr. Nickerson also devoted his energies to his country, his community, and his church. He was a reserve member of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (1944-1945) and a member of the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve (1950-1953), sailing on the HMCS Magnificent. He served as a Councillor for the Town of Mount Royal, was an elder in United Churches of Canada (1968-1991), and sang in church choirs for more than 50 years.
The Nickerson Family Legacy of Giving
The Nickerson family began their relationship with Acadia nearly 90 years ago.
Dr. Nickerson’s late parents, Freda Edith (Cox) and Hubert Granville Nickerson, residents of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, gave to Acadia after the destructive fire of University Hall in 1926. They were deeply moved by the appeal of Dr. Frederic Patterson, University President between 1923 and 1948. At the time, they had $500 in their bank account, and Hubert gave it all to Dr. Patterson with this admonition,
“Who knows but someday I may have children attend Acadia.”
Eventually, four of their five children attended and graduated from Acadia over a period of 13 years:
- Mary: Bachelor of Arts 1939, Bachelor of Education 1940
- Granville: Bachelor of Arts 1942
- Dorothy: Bachelor of Arts 1944
- Ronald: Bachelor of Arts 1949
Acadia Divinity College is deeply indebted to Dr. Granville Nickerson for his ongoing contributions to the training of Christian leaders.
In 1997, Dr. Nickerson and his late wife, Mary Louise, established a bursary through a trust fund in memory of his parents. This bursary has supported more than 30 students, including four recent graduates who attended today’s special event: Evan Colford, Kayla Colford, Christoph Deutschmann, and Joseph Green.
Today, Dr. Nickerson gave another memorial gift of $250,000 to the College in memory of his daughter, Sarah. This donation will help fund one of the College’s strategic priorities to refurbish the College building to keep it structurally sound and useful for future generations of students.
Dr. Gardner stated, “We will endeavour to prove ourselves worthy of the trust that has been placed in us.”
View Photo Album of Event
ADC Go courses are delivered in a format to meet people where they are, without sacrificing the quality education that students have come to expect from Acadia Divinity College.
Combining the flexibility of online learning with the educational experience of face-to-face interaction, ADC Go courses follow a weekly format within the semester. Individuals work through the assigned weekly material at their convenience, and then students meet together online for one hour a week with the professor.
ADC Go courses are designed to make theological education accessible to a broader number of people, while still providing the opportunity for discussion and community.
FALL TERM (September – December 2016)
Interpreting the Old Testament (BIBL 5023 T1)
Dr. Glenn Wooden.
This course will introduce the student to the different sections and genres of literature in the Old Testament, to interpretative methods appropriate to them, and to theological principles, and survey aspects of the historical and cultural context of the Old Testament.
Introduction to Christian History (CHUR 5013 T1)
Dr. Robert Wilson.
Christians have developed many ways to live out their faith in the world. In this course the student will gain a critical appreciation of Christian tradition both in its relationship to the norm of Scriptures and in its changing diverse regional, cultural, and denominational expressions.
WINTER TERM (January – April 2017)
Interpreting the New Testament (BIBL 5033 T2)
Dr. Danny Zacharias.
This course will introduce the student to the different sections and genres of literature in the New Testament, to interpretative methods appropriate to them, and to theological principles. The course will also survey the world of Jesus and the early Christian Church.
Transformational Discipleship Ministry (DISP 3013 / 5013 T2)
Dr. Carol Anne Janzen.
This course seeks to equip students to become transformational leaders in the discipleship ministries of their churches. Recognizing the uniqueness of every ministry context, the course presents pedagogies, programs, and models that can lead to transformation in the life of individual believers of all ages as well as the corporate faith community.
For more information about these, or other courses, contact
Samantha West, Recruitment Coordinator
Over 40 people gathered on June 22-25, 2016 on the campus of Acadia University for the 17th International Believers’ Church Conference. The theme of the conference was “The Tendency Toward Separation.” This conference marked the renewal of the Believers’ Church conference series that originated in 1967. Conference papers ranged from broad historical, theological, and sociological presentations to specific denominational and regional case studies.
With strong representation from the Baptist, Mennonite, and Disciple/Stone-Campbell traditions, the gathering also included participants from groups who were not ordinarily part of the earlier Believers Church gatherings: e.g., European Baptists, Hutterites, African-American Baptists, and Pentecostals. This was the first time Hutterites had attended in person. Major addresses were given by Martin Rothkegel (Germany), Karen Smith (Wales), David Goatley (US), John Roth (US), Teun van der Leer, (Netherlands), Allison McGregor (Canada), William Brackney (Canada), Paul Wipf (Canada), and Douglas Foster (US). Keynote speaker was Prof. Eileen Barker of the London School of Economics.
The separationist (or “Come-Outer”) tendency has been a significant theme in the Believers’ Church tradition, both historically and in our churches today, first noted in modern times by Franklin H. Littell. All Believers’ Church groups began as renewal movements within a larger tradition that eventually led to a clear break, according to John Roth, a participant and co-author of the Findings Report. Even as participants celebrated the distinctive theological, Roth observed, participants noted ethical and ecclesial convictions that birthed believers’ churches—sometimes at great cost to early members:
- the quest for holiness and purity of ideals has often resulted in separation, division and lack of clarity about the locus of authority
- a commitment to the primacy of the local congregation has led to a weak theology of the church in its broader expressions and an overly negative view of ecumenism
- a focus on religious voluntarism and response to religious liberty can easily become confused with modern individualism and autonomy
- the perfectionist and sectarian impulses in the Believers’ Church tradition can foster a tendency to self-sufficiency that can be narrow, schismatic, and even idolatrous
On-going challenges among Believers’ Churches include: a more robust understanding of the nature of the church beyond the local congregation; greater attention to the nature of power and competing claims of authority; and a clearer theology of church unity.
The next meeting of the International Believers’ Church Conference will be held at Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana, September 14-16, 2017. The theme will be: “Word, Spirit and the Renewal of the Church: Believers’ Church, Ecumenical and Global Perspectives.”
For further information, contact Dr. William Brackney, Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadian and international students studying on the Wolfville campus are welcome to apply for College Assistantships at the Divinity College.
Audio Visual Assistant
Chapel Refreshment and Events Assistant
Chapel Worship Leader
Social Media Assistant
The detailed job descriptions are available by Clicking Here.
The Board of Trustees of Acadia Divinity College met on May 5, 2016, and a number of positive decisions were made that will strengthen the Faculty of Acadia Divinity College and is cause for celebration. These changes will become effective July 1, 2016.Read More
Acadia Divinity College welcomes Rev. Matthew L. Walsh as Lecturer in Biblical Studies.
Matt is a graduate of Acadia University, having received his Master of Arts (Theology) in 2006 and his Master of Divinity in 2005. He also holds a degree from Mount Saint Vincent University (2001, Bachelor of Science). Matt is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program at McMaster University, completing his dissertation on Angels Associated with Israel in the Dead Sea Scrolls. At both Acadia and McMaster, Matt has received numerous scholarships, awards, and prizes for his work, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship.
Since his graduation from Acadia in 2006, Matt has served three different local congregations in Canada. He was the Pastor of Stewiacke Baptist Church, Nova Scotia (2007-2010); he provided Pulpit Supply for Stone Ridge Chapel in Hamilton, Ontario (2011-2014); and, he is currently the Pastor of West End Baptist Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia (2014 to present).
His academic employment includes sessional lecturer at Acadia Divinity College between 2008 and 2011, as well as tutorial instructor / teaching assistant at McMaster University between 2010 and 2014.
Rev. Walsh is married to Christine and they have four children Elijah, Joseph, Sarah, and Oliver. He will begin his service at the College on July 7, 2016. Please join me in welcoming Matt and his family to Acadia.