I chose St. Andrew's because of the emphasis on the integration of our theological studies with practical ministry experience and community involvement.
St. Andrew's blessed my life with social struggles and deep faith.
St. Andrew's prepared me
for a lifetime of ministry
and congregational service.
I grew in confidence over time, due in large part to the support of teachers, family and friends and the tenacious presence of the Spirit.
I am grateful for what I have experienced and learned from
St. Andrew’s College including
a strong sense of community.
The theme for Winter Refresher 2014 is “Confronting Racism with Solidarity: Untangling Colonial Webs and Creating New Contexts.”
The content of this theme is certainly not new to The United Church of Canada. There are many leaders and teachers, communities and congregations with long practices of working on racism and of finding ways to live and learn together as indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, and as people with a great diversity of experiences in relation to the histories that shape us.
The theme is of course also not new to people of many different traditions and places of justice-seeking, community building and faith. It is the long work of policy-makers, preachers, educators, parents, social justice activists, community leaders, youth, elders, musicians, poets and writers in many different contexts.
We are extremely honoured to have as our speaker Dr. Andrea Smith, a Native American anti-violence activist and scholar and associate professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside, Calif. Dr. Smith received a Ph.D. in History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz in 2002 and previously earned a bachelor’s degree in comparative study of religion at Harvard University and a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary.
She is widely known for her inspiring ability to engage a wide range of audiences to address realities we are all tangled in from long histories of racism in our world. She is a Native American, Cherokee, anti-violence activist and scholar with strong involvement in community organizing.
The question may not be new, but our response is as urgent as ever: How do we live together well and create a future together, reckoning courageously and honestly with histories and present realities of racism?
The theme calls us, as we are always already called, to face together the injustices and violences that continue to pain the world and the Spirit among us; and, as always we are called to refresh each other on the journey in a spirit of faith and hope. As Andrea Smith writes in one of her recent publications, and has proclaimed in other speaking engagements: “…we need to create movements that are so much fun, people won’t be able to wait to join!”