New programs, the latest group of graduates and a crop of students preparing for residency are examples of a continued momentum at St. Andrew’s College, according to the college’s principal.
Lorne Calvert says the college is offering its students new opportunities in theological education and service to The United Church of Canada community.
“Things are changing at St. Andrew’s College. On Sept. 1 this year St. Andrew’s College will become home to the designated lay ministry program for the entire United Church of Canada,” Calvert says. “It will bring into our college about 25 new students. It will be an important service of the college and the church and will be important to the life of our community.”
The program is currently provided by the Calling Lakes Centre in Fort Qu’Appelle, also known as Prairie Christian Training Centre, which will cease operation at the end of 2014.
St. Andrew’s this year celebrated the first graduates of its new Doctor of Ministry program that offers study in rural ministry and community development and more changes are coming to its degree programs as the college works to broaden and increase access to opportunities in ordained ministry.
By September 2015 the college hopes to offer the program leading to a Master of Divinity degree — the qualification for ordination in The United Church of Canada — in a 90-credit format instead of the current 120-credit model.
At the same time, the college wants to offer a dual-degree track that will make it easier for those with no post-secondary education or just beginning their education, particularly young people, to find their way to ministry.
“In the dual degree program we will be able to say that . . . after two years of ministry residency you will be ready for ordination,” Calvert says. “We think this is an important offering of The United Church of Canada, an important way to draw new, young people to ministry in our church.”
The college saw a larger than usual class in 2013-14 and with many of those students preparing to enter their residency the college will see its students placed in churches from British Columbia to Ontario and as far away as South Korea through the college’s partnership with Hanshin University.
“We are touching the nation and we are touching the globe,” Calvert said. “It is my conviction that if ever in the life of The United Church of Canada, if ever in the life of the church in this nation, we needed that new generation of servant leaders it is today. Those who are studying at St. Andrew’s College are of that generation. They bring a commitment, they bring an optimism they bring a faith that this world and this church so desperately needs.”
The college’s ongoing partnership with Hanshin University is an opportunity for students from both university communities to broaden their theological horizons in an increasingly multicultural world and church community.
“We have now had a number of students from Hanshin come to study with us, four in the past year, and a number of our students have had the opportunity to study in Hanshin,” Calvert says.
“It has provided a rich experience for our students and we hope and pray for their students. We know it is building that global reality and the multicultural world we are all a part of.”