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President’s Message eGod? I sent my first email from Acadia in 1996. The technology was so new that everyone who had access was enamored with it. Every ‘ping’ of the inbox brought excitement. Today, email feels like the bane of existence. It is immediate, constant, and demanding. The inbox fills up faster than we can clear it, and not always with the most useful correspondence. Technology seems to have made our lives more frantic and anxious. Every day in ADC classrooms, students are joined together from different locations and contexts, bringing the world to Wolfville. We are now equipped with ‘Zoom rooms’ that allow professors to enter the room, press ‘Start’ on a screen, and students in New Brunswick, British Columbia or Bolivia can join live. Students who previously could not take advantage of the excellent theological education offered at ADC can join no matter where they are located. One student in my class last year, who travelled for work, was in a different location each time class met, but easily connected online. Technology seems to have made our lives more flexible and fulfilled. Still, we struggle to make sense of what it means to be a learning ‘community’

ADC Today Editor: Shawna Peverill Contributors: Stuart Blythe, John Campbell, Eveline DeSchiffart, Steve McMullin, Andrew Sutherland, Trisha Urquhart, Danny Zacharias 2

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when some students live locally, and some are scattered abroad. How do we engage formative personal encounters when we meet online? How do we draw online students into chapel? Is it appropriate to livestream an act of worship that involves the movement of the Spirit in a specific place and time, and do those online count as participants, or mere observers? The questions are practical, and deeply theological. They are relevant not only to education, but to the lives of our churches in a technological age. How do we help students to navigate a world where we are ‘always on,’ and encourage them to tune into God’s voice in the midst of the noise? At the Tate Modern gallery in London earlier this year, I saw an art installation called ‘Babel 2001’ by Cildo Meireles. It was a ceiling-high stack of radios, hundreds of them, antique and modern, and each one was tuned to a different radio station. It reminded me of how challenging it is to hear the Spirit of God speak in a world of a million voices, thrown at us through email, social media, and other technology. This is the context of contemporary ministry. Learning to engage people in new spaces forged by technology is essential for ministry today. Yet, we still must wrestle with what physicality means, in a world where the human being is itself under transformation by artificial intelligence and robotics. The irony of using technology to enhance the human mind and body at a time when the physical planet is experiencing a crisis of human abuse is not lost on the alert theologian. Ministry has always been lived in a location – physical, real, between

By Dr. Anna Robbins, ’93, ‘97 people, and in time. Our sense of ‘place’ in the contemporary world is being significantly challenged and transformed by technology. Yet ministry still is to encounter, with one another, and ultimately with God in Christ, and it can happen anywhere. In this sense, any space created by technology, just like physical place, is full of both ‘glorious possibilities’, and ‘profound brokenness.’1 Christian values, and Christian presence, are needed. At ADC, we embrace the opportunities and challenges of ministry in an age of technology, seeking biblical wisdom to engage the gifts of technology with critical appreciation, for the sake of the gospel today. Thankfully, our God is already ahead of us. Since there is nowhere we can flee from his presence, he is online, in person, and ready to show us new horizons for an ethical ministry in a technological age. 1 Angela Williams Gorrell, Always On: Practicing Faith

in a New Media Landscape, Baker Academic, 2019.

Dr. Anna Robbins is the President, the Dr. Millard R. Cherry Professor of Theology, Ethics and Culture, and the Director of Andrew D. MacRae Centre for Christian Faith and Culture of Acadia Divinity College. She is also the Dean of Theology of Acadia University.


Flesh Matters. by Dr. Stuart Blythe

My wife and I live across the Atlantic Ocean from our parents and adult children. Therefore, for us, communication technology is a gift. Through social media and communication platforms, such as Skype, we are able to keep in touch regularly and cheaply. We can talk, message, and see one another. We can share information, audibly, and visually. The flexibility means we can easily negotiate time differences. As we expressed on social media at Christmas: “Technology is wonderful.” Yet when we part at airports, we hold, hug, and at times shed a few tears, for we will not “see” one another for at least several months. We will not be together. We will miss one another. Technology helps us keep in touch. But the nature of our relationships will be different. We will be apart. We will be distant. It is simply not the same, talking to a loved one on Skype, as it is

physically sharing time and space with them. In some situations, there can be a compensation for the lack of, but no substitute for, embodied presence. I recently taught a course with three virtual seats. That is, three students joined virtually on-screen in our high quality “Zoom rooms” where other students were physically present. In various ways, I sought to include these virtual students fully. I tried to remember to look at the camera as well as around the room when presenting. With the help of my teaching assistant, I included in-class students with the virtual seat students in online Zoom break out rooms. I addressed the virtual seat students directly. We negotiated how they would deliver their sermons in a meaningful way to allow peer feedback. Indeed, the technology meant I was able to listen, evaluate, and give feedback on sixteen

sermons in a reasonable time frame. I heard some live and watched some recorded in a group managed by my teaching assistant. For the students, the virtual seat option minimized the costs and time of travel, which might otherwise have prohibited them from taking the course. Technology gives. Yet, technology also takes away. I was not able to quickly improvise with in-class practical activities, move rooms, or take the class for a coffee. On the last day, I could not share the donuts I had bought with the virtual seat students. These are perhaps small prices to pay but pay them we did. While writing this article, I watched a recording of me preaching at an event. Although watching yourself can be a bit awkward, it is also very instructive about the medium. What is apparent is the recording of a sermon does not make ... continued on page 4 Spring 2020


a good or a lousy sermon any better or relevant. It does, however, make it different. The medium used controls the perspective, content, and possible responses. Watching such a recording may be a good experience, but it is not the same experience as being physically present at the live event. This is the case even with live streaming. For what you are participating in is not the live event but the “streaming” of a live event.

technology. Second, that technology can simultaneously offer opportunity and impose restrictions, benefits as well as drawbacks. This is the case both for those participating physically and those connecting virtually. Third, to connect with people through technology and to share time and space with embodied physical presence are not the same. They are qualitatively different.

In the theatre, they talk about the “fourth wall”. This fourth wall is the invisible wall between the performers on the stage and the audience. When material is presented on the screen, there is fifth wall; quite literally, the screen. Reach out, and you will touch the screen, not what it is representing. We might decide that this is okay; it may be beneficial. But, we should also recognize what we are watching. I was interested in watching the recording of me preach; it was simultaneously me and not me.

By the time you are reading this, Christmas will be over for another year. For a few weeks a year, or maybe just a Sunday or two, we stress that Jesus was real; real baby, real human. If we stretch into the Gospel of John, we talk about the Word becoming flesh. We speak the doctrinal term, incarnation. There is, however, a danger as the weeks pass. A risk that we lose the ongoing significance of the meaning of the incarnation. For if we understand the Scriptures correctly, the incarnation was not merely one communication technique equal to the rest. It was, instead, the supreme form of communication between God and humanity. Here was the sending

I hope that the three lived examples above demonstrate several things. First, I appreciate the benefits of


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of the Son of God to become a “Son of Man” so that the children of humanity could become the children of God. To put that more simply, the embodied physical presence of Jesus mattered in God’s plan of revelation and salvation. Flesh counts. It is through embodied humanity that God’s self-revelation finds its fullest expression, and salvation achieved. Of course, our faith comes to us today, not through the physical embodied presence of the human Jesus. Rather, it comes to us through the experience of Scripture and Spirit. Yet, it is precisely our task as believing people, as the body of Christ, to put the flesh on this experience. We do this to communicate as Jesus communicated: through embodied human words and actions. I will illustrate this with respect to preaching. And I will do this by drawing on the imagery of a writer called Charles Bartow in his book “God’s Human Speech.” With Scripture, we have “blood turned to ink.” That is, we have the story of people’s experiences with God recorded in print. It is the responsibility of the preacher to turn this ink back to blood. They do this as they seek to communicate the words of Scripture in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit through their embodied human words and actions. Through them, the words of Scriptures take on “flesh.” Similarly, it is the responsibility of all the people of God to put on the flesh of Scripture and Spirit in incarnational and embodied words and actions. For this is God’s primary way of revealing God’s self as in his Son, Jesus Christ. If we follow this argument when we record a sermon, we are turning blood not back to ink, but to code and data, something to be transmitted in a medium. Again, that may be fine, but it is what we are doing.

“We need to ask honestly to what extent the free and physical embodied presence of people is necessary. … Generally, you need to be in the room to share a meal, whether that be steak and fries or bread and wine.” The missiologist, Michael Frost, in one of his books, warns about “excarnation.” Excarnation, he explains, is the process of “defleshing.” One feature of such defleshing is the rise of “screen culture and virtual” reality. Frost claims that this separates people from the necessity of navigating reallife relationships and complexities. Among the examples he cites, is the use of technology in churches where people connect on screen from a distance rather than in person. Instead, he argues for the necessity of “an embodied, placed, fully present expression of faith in an age of disengagement, dislocation, and dystopia.” Do not “hear” me wrong. I am not arguing that we should not use technology in theological education or congregational life; I have, and I do. I am instead arguing that we need to think not merely practically, but theologically. We need to think theologically about what we are doing,

why we are doing it, and what the consequences are of such actions. We need to ask honestly to what extent the free and physical embodied presence of people is necessary. To what extent are they essential to make an event what we claim it to be? Generally, you need to be in the room to share a meal, whether that be steak and fries or bread and wine. We also need to ask honestly to what extent embodied physical presence is necessary to express and foster the type of relationships we claim are part of such an activity. Can technology birth and build the depth of relationship we want to name “fellowship”? To be sure, technology can sometimes be a compensation for the absence of embodied relations. Various strategies can be put in place to enhance the experience of all those participating, and we can affirm the value of technology. This is what we seek to do in our educational practices.

At other times, however, this technological compensation may limit the freedom of those participating in real space and time. Such instances may or may not include worship services. In such cases, the technological solutions should be dismissed both for the sake of those participating physically and for those participating virtually. They should be rejected because the mediated thing is not the thing, and we should not pretend that it is. In such a case, we should take the harder route of finding embodied solutions. Sometimes flesh matters.

Dr. Stuart Blythe is the John Gladstone Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Acadia Divinity College, as well as the Director of Doctoral Studies, the Director of Simpson Lectures, and the Dean of the Sarah Daley Nickerson Chapel. Spring 2020


From Reflection to Reflection: Towards a Thoughtful Relationship between Church, Culture, and Modern Technology Having just come through the Christmas season, most of us have seen at least one depiction of the Nativity, those familiar figures gathered around the infant Jesus, swaddled and laying in a manger. The act of nestling the new-born Messiah in a feeding trough seems like a desperate act of necessity, yet it also places the Christchild at the centre of our relationship with technologies, both familiar and unfamiliar. The manger might be a simple technological tool, almost unrecognizable as such next to the complexities of modern computers and communication systems. Yet it, like an iPhone or a digital projector, is a technology. Dr. Craig M. Gay defines technology as “the systematic application of [human] knowledge, methods, and tools to various practical tasks.” This robust definition covers a wide range of human behaviours which seek to make our work more efficient, our communication more effective, and our time less mired in repetitive tasks. Our desire for technological solutions to the challenges of life pushes us towards the automation and mechanization that continue to transform most sectors of the economy around us, a process which has only gained speed and momentum in recent centuries. Yet the onrushing current of technological development and its effects on how we see and interact with the world ought to give us reason to pause as Christian leaders. To what degree do we as the body of Christ merely reflect the technologically-driven culture around us. How easily should we rest in the cradle of the modern technological mindset? As Gay writes, the modern technological 6

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worldview that surrounds us is rooted in historical factors that have contributed to the way in which we inherently see the world today. The world appears to us as a series of components to be identified, broken down, and used for our selfdetermined purposes. Consequently, we see only a world of resources; natural resources, economic resources, human resources. We are trained to think as problem solvers, identifying first problems and then solutions, and then leveraging the resources around us to achieve our desired results. Is it possible that this kind of self-centred way of seeing the world might infect how we also see God? Could spending the majority of our weeks in workplaces that reduce employees down to interchangeable functionaries with limited individual value affect the way we gather on Sunday for worship, or how we ourselves work together? Alternatively, could the way we live in community in the church offer a better, more accurate narrative of what it means to be human than the automated systems and digital advertising that flicker across our screens? We often evaluate new technologies by asking one or more of the following questions. Can we afford the investment? Does it suit our tastes? Are we out-oftouch if we don’t adopt it? Does it help us to meet our goals? As we seek how to best follow God in a culture that relentlessly chases the next big thing, I would humbly offer two reflective questions to consider. First, does the technology in question help us to better honor God’s creative majesty by taking our focus off of ourselves and placing it on him and his desires for us? Secondly, does the technology in question

by Andrew Sutherland, ‘20 help us to better follow Christ’s obedient humanity, marked by compassion, authenticity, vulnerability, and selfless love? These open us up to reflecting on culture, rather than just reflecting it. Consider a proposal to replace traditional hymnals with a projection system. In considering how this affects our relationship with God in worship, one might investigate the effects of shifting from individually-held books to a single communal screen. The conclusions we draw might reveal our views concerning the nature and importance of unity in worship. Or perhaps a community might wrestle with replacing one binding (and bound) canon of hymns with the flexibility and need for discernment that come with being able to project any desired lyric. Which option reflects Christ more clearly? It is entirely possible, perhaps even guaranteed, that two congregations may arrive at different answers to these questions. And in their different contexts, each might make a different choice that responds faithfully to the Spirit’s leading. Yet what remains constant is the need for faith communities to discern how technologies around and within our congregations shape our perspectives and attitudes concerning God and others. As we have these conversations, we might begin to offer the people around us an approach to technology that centres us, once again, on the Messiah’s presence.

Andrew Sutherland is a third-year Master of Divinity student at Acadia Divinity College.

Digital Media and the

Local Church by Dr. Steve McMullin

Digital media is bringing change to the Christian church in ways and to an extent that few people expected. At first, many congregations saw new media as an opportunity to communicate with a wider audience but did not anticipate ways that media have transformed communication and the experience of community. We live at a time of great social change that is powerfully related to the digital revolution. The institutional church is in decline, and new media are changing how faith is experienced and practiced. These changes are more complex than many people realize, and the complexities of how digital technologies interact with the Christian faith make it even more puzzling.

congregation emphatically told me that their church would never use social media because they would not be able to control the content. At that moment I took out my cell phone, did a Facebook search, and showed them that young adults in their church, without asking for permission, had already started three active Facebook pages using their church name. The pastors were aghast. Later, as I met with the congregation’s young adults, they talked about how social media and texting made them feel part of their congregation—even though none of the content was being filtered by the congregation’s leaders. New media made the young adults feel empowered in their digitally mediated experience of faith and community.

After centuries of mostly one-way communication (from pulpit to pew, or from teacher to student), today people engage in online dialogue and experience online community. Online faith communities cross traditional social and cultural and ideological barriers. Congregations can provide online and multi-site opportunities for community that are likely to include individuals and groups who previously would have been excluded.

Digital media can empower people whose voices may have been marginalized in the institutional church. People with disabilities who were excluded from worship by an inaccessible building can now participate online; those who work shifts on Sunday can access worship online according to their schedule; a retirement home for the elderly can become a video venue for a multisite congregation. Weblogs facilitate open conversations about topics that had been taboo or at least unpopular

While I was conducting research, the two pastors of one historic

in traditional church settings; YouTube videos allow the wide dissemination of creative expressions of faith; online translation tools overcome language barriers that might previously have limited cross-cultural connections. These and other online platforms can operate entirely outside of the traditional institutions that had defined church life for centuries. It helps when congregations and their leaders understand that digital media do more than communicate information more quickly and more widely. Communication itself changes in a digital age. There are good reasons why young adults sit across the table from one another in a restaurant texting each other rather than just talking. They communicate through texts what they would not communicate in conversation. Similarly, there are ... continued on page 8 Spring 2020


empower young adults to lead. Baby boomers may learn how to use digital media as a skill, but people born since 1990 live digital lives. Churches that think the use of digital media is merely a tool or a technique for reaching younger people will be disappointed. Media is more than a tool. For the young in this digital age, media are essential for effective communication and for meaningful social connections. Media are like the air they breathe and the language they speak. That makes them experts in how to connect in meaningful ways about faith with their own generation. reasons why teenagers send messages to one another as YouTube videos or on Snapchat instead of phoning each other. Social life is experienced differently when mediated by digital technology, so church is experienced differently when mediated by technology. Because of media, people think of themselves differently as worshippers. They experience the church community differently because their connectedness to others is not based solely on gathering together in a building. The physical church building, which was an iconic symbol of religion and an essential aspect of community for centuries, no longer has the same meaning for a digital generation. That is a difficult transition for many traditional congregations. Old church buildings across North America are being closed, and some mistakenly presume that the closing of so many church buildings is a sign of the imminent demise of Christian faith. But in some cases, the closures of historic church buildings may free congregations from constraints in the long term. Many aesthetically and architecturally impressive buildings that were constructed more than a century ago are not very functional in a digital age. They require excessive amounts 8

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of money to maintain and modernize, they are not accessible for people with disabilities, and they do not provide the types of spaces for worship and for community and for spiritual formation that are now essential. Practically, here are examples that I have seen of how congregations use digital media effectively: 1. Woodstock Baptist Church live-streams their Sunday worship to the chapel of the retirement complex where my mother lived in her final years. Each week, hosts from the church go to welcome dozens of residents who attended the service. 2. A Baptist church in Maine sent young adults to record brief video interviews with the oldest members of the congregation and incorporated the video clips in Sunday worship each week over a period of months. Media brought the generations together— elderly members were enthused because technology was purposefully used to include rather than exclude them, and young adults benefitted from witnessing the depth of faith among the elderly. 3. From my research, congregations that most effectively use media

4. Perhaps most important of all, my research shows that congregations and their leaders who are thoughtful and intentional about their use and understanding of media (instead of simply using whatever some other church is using) are the congregations that are most effective in their ministry and witness. SOME HELPFUL RESOURCES: Campbell, Heidi and Garner, Stephen (2016). Networked Theology: Negotiating Faith in Digital Culture. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. McMullin, Steve (2019). “Church Renewal in a Digital Age,” Post-Christendom Studies 3, 3, 81–111. https://pcs.mcmasterdivinity.ca/wpcontent/uploads/2019/07/3.PCS_.81-110McMullin.pdf Sweet, Leonard (2012). Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press.

Dr. Stephen McMullin is the Academic Dean of Acadia Divinity College, as well as the Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain Professor of Evangelism and Mission, and the Director of ADC New Brunswick.

ADC on the Go Higher education continues to evolve. Over the past two decades, distance education has morphed from lone students doing correspondence courses on their own, to large online course offerings by major universities. Many seminaries adopted online offerings early, focusing on the ability to reach many people. While this ‘quantity model’ may have been the choice for some, Acadia Divinity College (ADC) moved ahead more cautiously. While we recognized that expanding distance education with a massive online model may have reached many, we were not prepared to sacrifice quality for quantity. Part of the ADC student experience is intimate classroom settings and especially face-to-face teaching and interaction. Because of this commitment to keep pedagogical standards, ADC made an intentional choice to not offer asynchronous online courses. We resolved to keep all courses directly connected to the professor with face-to-face learning. Yet, ADC knew that students’ lives and realities have changed, and the College is committed to innovating our educational delivery without compromising standards. Our first innovation was “Virtual Seats”: this allowed students anywhere in the world to join into our weekly residential courses through video conferencing functionality. This means that they are ‘virtually’ present in the weekly classroom session, with the ability to interact in the room like every other student. While this format is now more common in higher education, ADC was one of the first seminaries ever to use this delivery style. “Virtual Seats” is now ubiquitous in weekly ADC courses, with almost every course having virtual students joining in. Over the

past decade, the technology has vastly improved, and with our refurbished building’s latest technology, ADC’s classrooms are now the best on campus and enable an exceptional student experience. The next innovation in Acadia Divinity College’s distance education is ADC Go. An ADC Go course is a hybrid course, providing the highest flexibility possible for students without sacrificing our teaching standards. A typical ADC Go course moves in a week-byweek format through the semester. During each week, students have the normal expectations of reading and assignments. It also requires them to watch approximately 1.5–2 hours of video lecture each week, the bulk of which are professionally recorded lectures given by the professor. The professor and students also commit to an agreed-upon time to meet weekly in the evening for one hour via video conference. This format allows for people who work during the day to take courses and allows anyone in the world to take courses with us. We have had students throughout the Atlantic region,

by Dr. Danny Zacharias, ’06, ‘07

through Canada, in South America, and in the Philippines take ADC Go courses. This hybrid format allows the students to schedule their coursework according to their own schedule, but still maintains the face-to-face interaction with faculty and fellow students. ADC Go courses are offered every semester, and the courses offered in this format are chosen to allow students to complete the entire Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies, which is equivalent to the first year of the Master of Divinity program. With ADC Go, our courses are now available to anyone no matter where they are, and with both this format and virtual seats, students can engage in full or part-time studies no matter where they live.

Dr. Danny Zacharias is the Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at Acadia Divinity College, as well as the Director of Distance Education, the Liaison to NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, and the Director of Hayward Lectures. Spring 2020


News ADC

‘ADC Listening Tour’ In the fall of 2019, Dr. Anna Robbins, President, took to the road for the ‘ADC Listening Tour’ to hear first-hand the challenges faced in ministry today. Approximately 200 people attended the 12 sessions held across the Maritime Provinces and discussed the possible ways the College could assist their church leaders to be equipped and how to minister in their context. Two additional listening sessions are planned in January 2020 to capture the voices of youth and children pastors as part of the CBAC Summit event scheduled January 14 as well as current ADC students scheduled January 29. The valuable input gained from all these sessions will assist Dr. Robbins in establishing the future strategic priorities of Acadia Divinity College. The College would like to thank the churches who hosted these sessions and to everyone who participated in shaping the future of theological education.

Preserving Women’s Stories Technology is helping an ADC professor and student preserve the stories of pioneering Baptist women in ministry. Dr. Melody Maxwell and student Samantha Diotte received funding from Acadia University for the project “Called to Service: Oral Histories of Ordained Baptist Women Ministers in Atlantic Canada.” They are currently using Zoom video conferencing technology, along with a microphone and audio recorder, to interview women who were ordained by Atlantic Baptists between 1954 and 1987. If you know a woman from these or later years who should be included in this project, please contact Dr. Maxwell at: melody. maxwell@acadiau.ca


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100th Birthday of Rev. Dr. Harold L. Mitton On December 20, 2019, family and friends from Acadia Divinity College (ADC), Acadia University, and Wolfville Baptist Church (WBC) gathered at Wickwire Place in Wolfville, NS, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Rev. Dr. Harold L. Mitton, the 3rd Principal of ADC. The afternoon Service of Thanksgiving included words of welcome by Rev. Dr. Anna Robbins, ADC President, and Communion officiated by Rev. Dr. Scott Kindred-Barnes, WBC Senior Minister. Prayers were offered by both Rev. Heather McGregor, WBC Deacon Co-Chair, and Rev. Dr. Allison Trites, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Emeritus. Gale Colpitts, WBC Deacon, shared her reflections on the life and ministry of Dr. Mitton, followed by a Prayer of Thanksgiving by Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, 6th President of ADC and the first occupant of the Abner J. Langley and Harold L. Mitton Chair of Church Leadership. Worship music was led by Dr. Heather Price, WBC Director of Music.

Dr. Mitton with his birthday cake. The birthday cake reception included warm greetings by Dr. Robbins and Mr. Chris Callbeck, Vice-President, Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer of Acadia University. Acadia University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Peter Ricketts, honoured Dr. Mitton earlier that week with a President’s Certificate of Lifetime Achievement.

Left: Participants from Acadia. Front row (l-r) Dr. Robbins, Dr. Mitton, Dr. Gardner. Back row (l-r) Dr. Trites, and Mr. Callbeck

Can you identify the students in this photo? In this photo from circa 1970, church history professor Dr. Jarold Zeman enjoys a moment with his class. If you can identify any of the students in this photo, please contact archives@acadiau.ca.

Spring 2020


The Installation of the

Rev. Dr. Anna M. Robbins On September 5, 2019, the Acadia Divinity College (ADC) community gathered in the Festival Theatre at Acadia University to celebrate the installation of Rev. Dr. Anna Robbins as the College’s 7th president. Those assembled, including members of the ADC Board of Trustees and Acadia University Board of Governors, were privileged to hear a sermon by Rev. Dr. Stuart Blythe, the John Gladstone Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Acadia Divinity College, as well as music by The Sanctified Brothers from North Preston, NS. The Wolfville Baptist Church Choir also offered a special anthem under the

direction of Dr. Heather Price, piano, and Luke Henderson on trumpet. After a formal introduction by Mrs. Kathy Watt, Chair of the Board of Trustees, the Act of Installation was led by Rev. Dr. Peter Reid, Executive Minister of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC). Dr. Harry G. Gardner, the 6th President of Acadia Divinity College, officially passed on the ADC Presidential Gown to Dr. Robbins, and Dr. Peter Ricketts, President and Vice-Chancellor of Acadia University, affirmed Dr. Robbins’ role as the Dean of Theology of the University. Platform

guests, ADC faculty and some members of the Acadia University faculty, as well as representatives from the Atlantic School of Theology, Crandall University, Kingswood University, NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, and Tyndale University, were gowned and processed for this special service. ADC staff, students and alumni, members of CBAC churches, and local community members also attended to convey their support. Following the service, everyone was invited to gather in the atrium of the Festival Theatre for an after-party which included refreshments while a Celtic band played.

Photo: Platform guests, colleagues, and friends were invited to join in the laying on of hands during the Installation Prayer, led by Rev. Dr. Frank Guinta Jr.


Rev. Dr. Stuart Blythe gave an inspiring message. The Wolfville Baptist Church Choir, seated on the platform in blue gowns, lead the worship songs throughout the service.


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7 4


6 1 Rev. Dr. Anna M. Robbins pictured with her husband, Rev. Peter Robbins, and their son, David, outside Festival Theatre. Peter read scripture and David prayed during the service. 2 Three platform guests (l-r): Rev. Dr. Stephen McMullin, ADC Academic Dean, Rev. Dr. Terry LeBlanc, Director of NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, and Mrs. Kathy Watt, Chair of the Board of Trustees of ADC. 3

Rev. Dr. Peter Reid participated in the service by leading the Act of Installation.


Rev. Wallace Smith Sr., member of The Sanctified Brothers, responded to the Installation with Spirit-filled gospel music. 5

Dr. Robbins’ friend and former doctoral student, Dr. Olwyn Mark, who travelled from Northern Ireland to attend the installation, read scripture during the service. 6

Those in attendance were blessed to hear electrifying music from The Sanctified Brothers from North Preston, NS.

Dr. Peter Ricketts welcomed Dr. Robbins as Dean of Theology.


Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, is pictured with Dr. Robbins, following the passing of the ADC President’s gown.

Spring 2020


Development ADC

Major step forward by ADC in Distance Education Technology For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10 Some Christian leaders have ministry commitments that make it difficult to relocate to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in order to study full-time on campus. However, Acadia Divinity College (ADC) continues to lead the way in innovative distance education options so leaders can study while serving. Since the mid 2000s, ADC has developed and enhanced various systems in order to offer live, video-based distance education courses for students. With the recent refurbishment of the College

building, there was an opportunity to install a purpose-built solution, one that improves the overall distance education system. ‘Zoom Rooms’ technology provides an easy-to-use, reliable cloudbased system to manage and facilitate this system. New cameras, microphones and speakers in the classrooms provide high-quality video and audio, allowing distance students to see and hear everything that happens in the classroom and to participate fully as members of the class. New collaborative tools have enhanced the learning

experience for all students and increased the integration of distance students into the in-class environment. Acadia Divinity College is thankful for the generous support from individuals, alumni and churches towards this project, including the Atlantic Baptist Foundation. This strategic investment directly supports churches by enabling their leaders to study from a distance while still ministering in their local area.

Dr. Harry G. Gardner appointed Consultant to the President, Development Acadia Divinity College is pleased to announce that Past President Harry Gardner will continue to serve the mission of the College as Consultant to the President, Development. In this role Dr. Gardner will work with President Anna Robbins to build healthy relationships with churches and individuals, who support the work of the College in various ways. In particular, he will work to increase the donor base, ensuring the long-term financial health of the College and providing for the achievement of new strategic directions for the theological education of Christian leaders today.


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Four Students Awarded New Scholarships Established by David and Faye Huestis Four ADC students have been awarded new scholarships established by David and Faye Huestis. Each scholarship has a clear focus, supporting students with specific gifts and passions, and the diverse ways they are called to serve faithfully in ministry. The College remains grateful to David and Faye Huestis. Through their personal experiences with ministry leaders, they understand the need for excellent theological education.

The Power of Monthly Giving The College has been blessed with more than 200 donors who have given for at least 15 consecutive years. Our supporters believe in the important work of the College and give faithfully to ensure we continue to equip Christian leaders. This year, we are asking you to consider shifting your annual gifts to monthly gifts.

The four students who received the newly established Huestis Scholarships in the fall of 2019 are: (clockwise from top left): Hannah Bartlett (Scholarship of Multifaceted Ministry), J. Andrew Conrad (G. Keith Churchill Scholarship of Worship), Patricia (Trish) Purdy (Dennis M. Veinotte Scholarship of Pastoral Counselling and Hospital Chaplaincy), and Andrew Sutherland (Harry G. Gardner Scholarship of Pastoral Leadership)




It’s Convenient

It’s Dependable

It’s Effective

Automated monthly giving makes it simple for you. Donations can be set up to come directly from your bank account or your credit card at a date that is best for you. You can choose to receive monthly or annual receipts for your gifts.

Your monthly gift provides a dependable and predictable income for ADC and allows the College to better plan projects and initiatives.

Regular giving lowers ADC’s overall administrative cost and increases the effectiveness of your donation. Automated giving makes it simple for ADC to receive, record and report back to you on your giving.

To support Acadia Divinity College by giving monthly, please visit acadiadiv.ca/give-monthly or contact us at 902-585-2217. Spring 2020


News F A C U L T Y

President Anna Robbins keynote speaker at conferences throughout North America In October 2019, Dr. Anna Robbins, President of Acadia Divinity College (ADC), presented a keynote address and panel discussion on trends in Canadian culture and Christian responses at the North American Baptist Fellowship meeting in Washington, DC. In November, she moderated a panel discussing a new book on Christian women and the new right in American politics for the Evangelical Studies Group at the American Academy of Religion in San Diego, CA. Dr. Robbins was also the keynote speaker on Culture and the Malaise of Immanence for the Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents in Scottsdale, AZ in January 2020.

“Effective Research Supervision” recently published by Dr. Stuart Blythe Dr. Stuart Blythe had an article published in the Journal of European Baptist Studies (Vol. 19:1) which reported on his research carried out in Amsterdam into what constitutes the effective research supervision of part-time, largely distance learning, international, PhD theology students. This research formed the basis of his Master of Education Dissertation. He also had a review published in Regent’s Park College Review: Aaron P. Edwards, A Theology of Preaching and Dialectic: Scriptural Tension, Heraldic Proclamation and the Pneumatological Moment (London: T&T Clark, 2018). Dr. Blythe serves as the John Gladstone Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Acadia Divinity College. 16

ADC Today

Newly released book co-authored by Dr. Melody Maxwell Dr. Melody Maxwell, the Associate Professor of Church History at Acadia Divinity College (ADC), recently co-authored the book ‘Doing the Word: Southern Baptists: Carver School of Church Social Work and Its Predecessors 1907-1997’, along with Laine Scales. Dr. Maxwell is also the Director of Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies (ACBAS). Dr. Maxwell also recently received a $10,000 Harrison McCain Emerging Scholar research grant, to study Annie Armstrong, a historic Southern Baptist women’s missions leader, as well as a $3000 SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) Institutional Grant to conduct oral histories of Atlantic Baptist women in ministry.

Dr. Danny Zacharias completes proposal for CBAC response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission Dr. Danny Zacharias, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies and the Liaison to NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, recently published the Matthew volume of Lexham Press’s Literary Context Commentary. He is currently working on a publication with Lexham Press for the Matthew volume of the Lexham Research Commentary series, as well as a commentary entry on Matthew for Zondervan’s The Bible in Color one-volume commentary. Also, in 2019 Danny led the CBAC’s Indigenous Working Group, completing a proposal for the CBAC’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, which was adopted at Oasis in Aug, 2019.

Angels Associated with Israel - Book written by Dr. Matt Walsh published in December Last February, Dr. Matt Walsh, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and Dean of Students at Acadia Divinity College, co-authored an annotated bibliography on angels in the biblical tradition for Oxford University Press. In July, he wrote an essay for the website The Bible and Interpretation entitled “Claiming Israel’s Angels as Their Own: The Angelic Realm and the Religious Identity of the Qumran Sect”. It summarized his book, which was published in December: Angels Associated with Israel in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Angelology and Sectarian Identity at Qumran. In 2019, Dr. Walsh presented papers at the triennial meeting of the International Organization of Qumran Studies in Aberdeen, Scotland and at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Diego, CA. Spring 2020


Centres of




The MacRae Centre for Christian Faith & Culture

The Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies

produces research and resources to explore potential responses to cultural transformation and to help Christians explore issues of contemporary culture. Fearless was released in September 2018, and since that time, nearly 300 church leaders have downloaded the resource, used in multiple church groups nationally and globally. Teaching videos, downloadable bible study and discussion guide, Fearless is offered free, through the financial support of the Atlantic Baptist Foundation, as a small group study resource to help Christians begin to understand engagement between faith and the world today. In 2019, a podcast entitled “Raising the Conversation” was released. The first season includes interviews with Bruxy Cavey, Elie Haddad, Dr. Nancy Nason-Clark, and The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

(ACBAS) has a new look! You can visit the new website at acbas.acadiau.ca and the social media pages at:

ADC Today

Facebook: acadiacbas Twitter: @acadia_cbas Instagram: acadia_cbas In November 2019, ACBAS celebrated the release of three books about Walter Rauschenbusch by former director Bill Brackney. On March 31, 2020 at 7:00 p.m., ACBAS will host the Rawlyk Lecture with Dr. Hannah Lane speaking on Baptist women’s history in the Maritimes. Please plan to join us for this event. Don’t forget to visit the ACBAS website and social media links for more information about our travel grants, essay prize, and more. Send your comments and ideas to us at acbas@acadiau.ca.

Celebrating 50 Years of Kairos Marathons November 2, 2019 was a joyous day for friends of Concilio Prison Ministry (formerly the Christian Council for Reconciliation) when they, together with the Charles J. Taylor Centre for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care and Acadia Divinity College, celebrated ‘50 Years of Kairos Marathons: Celebrate. Rejoice. Grow.’ Kairos Marathons, established by the late Rev. Dr. Charles J. Taylor, have been held in Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) Springhill Institution since 1969. Recently, CSC staff acknowledged the Kairos Marathons as the longest-running volunteer program in Canada. As the Professor of Clinical Pastoral Education at Acadia Divinity College, Dr. Taylor had made it a requirement to attend Kairos Circles as part of his classes. Kairos Marathons create an environment of trust and openness for all present. Inmates and volunteers discover God’s healing for their deep wounds and forgiveness for their wrongful actions. In the circle, where all are equal, many have encountered God’s spirit working within them in His Kairos time, the kind of time when something deeply significant happens. This work continues today through Clarence DeSchiffart, who was mentored by Dr. Taylor, and who has been active in Kairos Marathons since 1987. He facilitates these circles in the Springhill Chapel and in classroom 201 at Acadia Divinity College and is the current President of Concilio. At the ‘50 Years of Kairos Marathons’ celebration, Concilio acknowledged key faithful supporters by presenting a commissioned artwork by Canadian textile artist, Lorraine Roy. Dr. Anna Robbins, President of ADC, received the original artwork on behalf of the College in recognition of their long-term partnership. Framed prints were also presented to Wolfville Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Amherst, and the Taylor Centre. During Dr. Robbins’ address, she said:

“It is almost impossible to overestimate the depth and breadth of the impact of Charles Taylor, and the Kairos Marathons he developed as a way of extending the love of Christ to prisons and communities. At Acadia Divinity College, his imprint has sunk deep into our curriculum and marked our institution not only for the duration of his long service, but far beyond. It became part of our DNA, shaping students for generations. This weekend was a marvellous celebration! We are grateful to Concilio for their ongoing commitment to Kairos Marathons, and for the beautiful work of art that will inspire us all through this very special ministry.” The morning workshops focused on lessons learned in the Kairos Circles, as well as how to welcome marginalized people into church communities. During the afternoon ceremony, a former resident of Springhill Institution gave a moving account of how God, through people in the Kairos Marathons and chapel, saved his life. A Kairos Marathons style worship service ended the formal part of the celebration in the Sarah Daley Nickerson Chapel. The following morning Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, former President of Acadia Divinity College and former student of Dr. Charles Taylor, delivered the sermon on “Divine Appointments” at Wolfville Baptist Church. He spoke on how Jesus ministered to those on the fringes of society or considered outcasts (Luke 4:14-21). To view recordings and photos from the event, please visit acadiadiv.ca/celebrating-kairos-marathons/

During the event, Concilio acknowledged key supporters by presenting a commissioned artwork by Lorraine Roy to: (l-r): Rev. Dr. Dan Green (First Baptist Church Amherst), Rev. Joe Green (Director, Taylor Centre), Dr. Anna Robbins (President, Acadia Divinity College), Clarence DeSchiffart (Concilio), and Dr. Michael Robertson (Chair of Deacons, Wolfville Baptist Church). Spring 2020


News A L U M N I

2015 - Anna Braun was ordained at First Baptist Church, Lethbridge, AB on September 1, 2019.

1981 - Alice Finnamore graduated in

2017 with a Diploma of Ministry from The United Theological College in Montreal, QC. Alice serves in the Prince William Pastoral Charge in New Brunswick.

1982 - Philip Scott retired and completed his ministry at Murray River Baptist Church, PE. 1988 - Gordon James accepted a call to Hopewell Hill Baptist Church, NB.

1989 - Neil Armstrong completed his ministry at New Beginning Christian Ministries, Kingston, NS.

1990 - Terry Brewer completed his

2006 and 2008 - RenĂŠe Embree

married Joe MacVicar on August 3, 2019, in East Sable River, NS.

2012 - Miriam MacDonald accepted a

call as Interim Pastor of Port Hawkesbury United Baptist Church, NS.

ministry at Milton Baptist Church, NS.

2013 - James Smith completed his ministry at Wentworth, Westchester, 1995 - Hudson Trenholm married Millvale, and Central New Annan Baptist Sarah Garnett (2017) hon September 28, Churches, NS and accepted a call to 2019. Hudson has been called to Debert Pugwash Baptist Church, NS. Baptist Church, NS. 1996 and 2000 - Eric MacKinnon

completed his ministry at Brookfield United Baptist Church, NS and accepted a call as Part-Time Interim Pastor of Glace Bay Baptist Church, NS.

2003 - Stephen Cogswell has been

called to Military Chaplaincy, Halifax, NS.


ADC Today

2014 - Sarah Stevens and husband, Raymond, welcomed their second son, Vincent Douglas Scott, on November 22, 2019. 2014 - Kimber McNabb contributed

a paper and co-edited a book entitled, Half a Millennium of Re-Forming Christianity: Living Traditions which has led to teaching at the Atlantic School of Theology.

2015 - Erin Jackman married Markus Bruegger on August 31, 2019 at Stevens Road United Baptist Church, Dartmouth, NS. 2015 and 2017 - Jennifer Smith

completed her ministry at Wolfville Baptist Church, NS and accepted a call as Associate Pastor at Forest Hills Baptist Church, Saint John, NB.

2016 - Angela Wade completed her ministry at Atlantic Community Church, Hampton, NB and accepted a call as Senior Pastor at Union Street Atlantic Baptist Church, St. Stephen, NB. 2017 - Chad Fletcher completed his ministry at Kingston Baptist Church, NB and accepted a call as Interim Associate Pastor of Youth and Children & Site Pastor of the Tide Church (part of Hillsborough Baptist Church), NB.

2017 - Sarah Garnett married Hudson Trenholm (1995) on September 28, 2019 at Midland Baptist Church, NB. Sarah completed her ministry as Associate Pastor of Youth & Family at Midland Baptist. 2017 - Joe Gosbee accepted a call as Pastor of Cambridge Baptist Church, NS. 2017 - Tim Higgs was ordained at Open

Door Community Church, Spryfield, NS on October 27, 2019.

2018 - Andrea Anderson was ordained at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hammonds Plains, NS on November 17, 2019. 2018 - Steve Patterson was ordained at Brunswick Street Baptist Church, Fredericton, NB on October 26, 2019. 2018 - Linda Perrin was ordained at Wirral United Baptist Church, NB on October 6, 2019.

2017 - Candice Main and her husband, Martin, welcomed their firstborn, Benjamin Michael, on March 10, 2019.

2018 - LeQuita H. Porter completed her ministry at East Preston United Baptist Church, NS.

2017 - Dorin Seicaru completed his

2018 - Ruth Tonn was ordained at First

ministry at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton, NB.

Baptist Church Truro, NS on September 29, 2019.

2018 - Allister Johnson accepted a call as Associate Pastor at Lucasville United Baptist Church, NS.

2019 - Chris Diotte accepted a call as Connections Pastor at New Minas Baptist Church, NS.

2018 - Christopher Johnston was ordained at Billtown Baptist Church, NS on September 22, 2019.

2019 - Jeff Milne completed his ministry as Associate Pastor at Centreville Baptist Church, NS and accepted a call to Nictaux Baptist Church, NS.

2019 - Jason Hooper was ordained at St. George Baptist Church, NB on October 27, 2019. Rev. Dr. Garth Williams (left in photo), Associate Executive Minister of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, attended the ordination of Jason Hooper (right).

Current Students Raphael Iluyomade has been called to Interim Ministry at Bethany Memorial Baptist Church, Aldershot, NS, while Rev. Sarah Stevens is on maternity leave. Siobhan Parr accepted a call to New Minas Baptist Church, NS as Care Pastor. Andrew Porter completed his ministry at Berwick Baptist Church, NS and accepted a call as Associate Pastor of Youth at Forest Hills Baptist Church, Saint John, NB. Grace Skeir accepted a call as Associate Pastor of Youth & Family at New Horizons Baptist Church, Halifax, NS. Jeremy Vincent completed his ministry at West End Baptist Church, Halifax, NS and accepted a call as Associate Pastor at Groundswell Church, Truro, NS.

We want to hear from you! If you are part of the alumni of Acadia Divinity College and would like to update us on your news, please email Trisha Urquhart at trisha.urquhart@acadiau.ca

Spring 2020


Acadia Divinity College Unveils Land Acknowledgment Plaque The 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada calls the church and educational institutions to action. In response, Acadia Divinity College (ADC) has been learning to walk in a posture of reconciliation with those to whom the Creator entrusted the land where the College is settled. The College community has been challenged and changed since 2014, through its partnership with NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community (NAIITS). Corresponding with the recent opening of the refurbished building, the President and the Board of Trustees of ADC decided to ceremonially recognize the College’s place on the land on which it sits. In this way, the College community acknowledges, in a tangible way, that it is there by the welcome of the people of Mi’kma’ki. This action also coheres with the apology and actions that were endorsed by the August 2019 assembly of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada at its annual conference, Oasis. A ceremony of acknowledgement took place during ADC’s Hayward Lectures in October, with special lecturer Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley, a Keetoowah Cherokee (legal descendent) teacher, poet, activist, former pastor, missiologist, and historian. To mark the occasion, Acadia Divinity College unveiled a plaque on October 23, 2019, that recognizes that the land on which the College sits is unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw people. The College was honoured to have local Mi’kmaw elder, and Acadia University Senate member, Carolyn Landry, help with the unveiling, along with her sister, Neenie Landry. Prior to the unveiling, Dr. Danny Zacharias, the Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at ADC, as well as the Liaison to NAIITS, read a letter from Dr. Terry LeBlanc, Director of NAIITS. His letter included these words, “We have worked together on this historic land recognition, an acknowledgement that is not simply articulated as a nod to a distant past, now understood differently. Rather it is a clear commitment that the present and future must be lived in a more honest and mutually affirming way.” Dr. Anna Robbins, President of ADC, remarked, “This is the beginning of the journey as the College commits to learning to walk well with Indigenous people in the local region and beyond.” 22

ADC Today

Plaque Unveiling. From l-r, Dr. Danny Zacharias, Carolyn Landry, Neenie Landry, and Dr. Anna Robbins. The plaque is prominently located in the main lobby of Acadia Divinity College and will continue to remind everyone of the College’s recognition and gratitude. It reads:

Rev. Sterling Gosman named Recipient of 2019 Alumni Distinguished Service Award Acadia Divinity College posthumously presented the 2019 Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Rev. Sterling W. Gosman during the annual ‘ADC Friends and Alumni Lunch’ on August 23, 2019 in Moncton, NB. With members of their extended family present, Sterling’s wife, Ann, and their son, Rev. Dr. Neville Gosman, Pastor of Maugerville United Baptist Church, received the award. Dr. Anna Robbins, President of Acadia Divinity College, noted during the award presentation, “Caring for people is at the heart of pastoral ministry. No one exemplified this more than Sterling.” Before he passed away in June, Sterling was deeply moved and humbled when he learned, in April, that he was selected as the 2019 Award recipient.

time. Five years later, in 2007, Sterling graduated and, shortly thereafter, accepted a call to serve as Minister of Visitation and Care at New Minas Baptist Church, where he was ordained and served until his death. Before entering ordained ministry, Sterling served the Lord as a layperson at Brunswick Street Baptist Church in Fredericton, NB, as a member of the Baptist Men’s Association, the Canadian Bible Society, and as former President of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada. He was also a very active community member in Fredericton as a city councillor, a Director of the

Chamber of Commerce, and as an Auxiliary Police Officer. Sterling was also inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame for his athletic accomplishments. Sterling’s ministry and life were rooted in his deep faith and love for his Lord Jesus, which was marked by profound compassion for people. He showed genuine care for everyone that he met, whether in the church, at coffee shops, on the streets of New Minas, or in the halls and rooms of the hospital in Kentville. His distinguished service is a testimony of his faith and an exceptional example of the importance and power of the ministry of pastoral care.

The ADC Alumni Distinguished Service Award, inaugurated in 1995, honours graduates of Acadia Divinity College (ADC) who have contributed significantly to the Christian Church in Canada and throughout the world. Rev. Gosman was recognized for his outstanding work in the ministry of pastoral care and visitation. Following his retirement from a 33year career at CBC Fredericton, Sterling experienced a call to ministry. At the age of 58, he moved to Kentville, NS to pursue a Bachelor of Theology degree at ADC, attending university for the first

Acadia Divinity College posthumously presented the ‘2019 Alumni Distinguished Service Award’ to Rev. Sterling Gosman on August 23, 2019. Dr. Anna Robbins (far left) presented the plaque to Sterling’s wife, Ann (beside Dr. Robbins). Sterling’s daughterin-law, Donna Gosman (second from right), and his son, Rev. Neville Gosman (’92, ’93) (far right) were also in attendance. Spring 2020


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