Vol. 54, No. 1 - Spring 2 013
learning together published by Taylor College and Seminary
Creation Care Taylor Professor Dr. Allan Effa on Being Stewards of the Earth, pg. 3
Prof. Peter Ristau Remembering a Gifted Scholar, pg. 7
Grad 2013 Celebrating Together, pg. 8-9
Upcoming Events onWORD, STEP conferences, pg. 14 COVER: Dr. Allan Effa stands in a ravine not far from Taylor, along the running trail he loves and uses frequently.
A Note from the President As we have been reminding readers of The Bridge and those who get my update letters, Taylor continues to work towards longterm partnership agreements to ensure the sustainability of Taylor Seminary. That work has been taking place in earnest in recent months; detailed conversations with two possible partners continue at this writing. A previously reported, we have explored possible partnerships with Carey Theological College, Sioux Falls Seminary and others. In the Spring of 2012, the Board of Trustees instructed me to identify and explore all potential partnerships. Since then, two conversations have moved ahead in earnest. The ACTS Consortium, based out of the Trinity Western University campus in Langley, BC is made up of five likeminded, evangelical seminaries. There have been very productive discussions around shared resources, budgets, joint curriculum and faculty, but ACTS is currently in the midst of changes, and some questions (such as governance) remain open at this writing. Another set of discussions have been taking place simultaneously with Ambrose Seminary in Calgary. There are some obvious benefits to that potential partnership (including our proximity to each other), and we are encouraged by our discussions to date. There have been many meetings, emails and phone calls throughout this process. Our trustees have been fully engaged and have added invaluable insight and guidance, and it has been a pleasure to get to know the
administrators and officials of these other institutions. God has blessed western Canada with some wonderful educational institutions whose commitment to faithfully prepare men and women for the work of the Kingdom is clear. Please continue to pray for Taylor regarding these partnership discussions. We believe that the end result of our work will be an institution that is stronger and more vibrant, one that can move confidently into the future God has called us to. At the same time, change is not always easy, and we need wisdom from above to navigate these changes. Thankfully, we serve a God who promises to grant us wisdom whenever we ask (James 1:5): so, let us ask! As always, I value your input and I hope you will feel free to call or write with questions or concerns about this educational ministry. One another matter, I want to thank Pastor Sam Nikkel and Dr. Ray Seutter for their partnership with the Wahl Centre as we have launched a new program in support of healthy pastoral ministry. These men have tremendous wisdom to share, and we believe that many pastors and churches will be blessed by this initiative. Finally, my warmest congratulations go to each graduate this year; it has been an honour to walk this educational journey with you, and we rejoice with you. Shalom!
David Williams, Ph.D. President, Taylor College and Seminary Director, E P Wahl Centre
It isn’t easy to stay in touch with former students – there are thousands of alumni of Taylor and its predecessors (NABC/NABDS, EBS and CTI). Some people are content with distance, while others continue to engage with their fellow students and with the school. Often, we hear through the grapevine about some great accomplishment, milestone or ministry opportunity involving our alumni, and it is always a thrill to hear directly from those involved. It is particularly satisfying in this edition of The Bridge to have content contributed by several former students. Dr. Allan Effa (’79), who is also a current faculty member, Carmyn Effa (’06), Chantelle Behrens (’06), Tyler Williams (’88) and Arlyn and Annette van Ens (both ’94) have all made this edition of The Bridge possible. Thanks to each of them, and to each of you who stay in touch with Taylor; it’s always a joy to hear from you. Tim Willson Communications and Marketing Director Editor, The Bridge P.S. Join us at www.Facebook.com/TaylorUpdates for regular news and conversation about Taylor. You can also find interesting videos at www.youtube.com/AllThingsTaylor.
Vol. 54, No. 1, Spring 2013 Published by Taylor College and Seminary to communicate with students, alumni, friends and supporters.
Editor: Tim Willson TheBridge@Taylor-Edu.ca Taylor College and Seminary 11525 - 23 Avenue NW Edmonton, AB T6J 4T3 Cover Photo: © 2013 Carmyn Joy Effa
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Creation Care as Worship
Dr. Allan Effa authoring a new book on Christians and the Environment by Tim Willson
abbaticals are a much-needed and welcome part of the rhythm of academic life. In 2012, Dr. Allan Effa took a six-month sabbatical – his first as an ‘empty-nester’. Allan and his wife, Karen, had more freedom to travel and do an extended period of research on a new writing project. The Effas spent five weeks in Europe, including a few days with their daughter, Corrie (who was studying in Norway). “If I had to pick the top three experiences of the trip,” says Allan, “they would be Luther's Wittenberg, the Dresden Opera, and the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz and Birkenau.” It was in Pasadena, California that Allan was able to spend considerable time researching and writing a new book that explores the work of stewarding creation as an act of worship and faithful discipleship. PRIORITIZING CREATION CARE A running and cycling enthusiast, Allan has a strong love of nature. He has also been significantly involved with spiritual formation at Taylor Seminary and at his church, and these two passions have informed his work, exploring themes in the growing area of ecotheology and ecomissiology. “My writing
“Theology is always the product of questions and issues that arise out of a context, and the environmental crisis is taking us back to the biblical text to discern new meaning to guide our life today,” he says.
identifies ‘creation care’ as a top priority of public policy. Pope John Paul II helped bring this issue to the forefront in the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Francis has been even more vocal about its importance. The Anglican Communion has adopted Five Marks of Mission to guide the ministry of all of its churches worldwide and one of them is ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.’” One puzzling dimension of the environmental movement is that local churches are often silent on the issues. “Despite strong leadership at the highest levels and a rapidly growing body of theological literature on the subject, I do not find that many local evangelical churches have embraced this concern,” he says. “When I preach on creation care as a guest speaker I am often told by congregants that this is the first time they have heard a sermon on the topic.” Allan believes that evangelicals may have been influenced by faulty theological thinking promoted by popular fiction works like the “Left Behind” series or dispensationalism.
“Some Christians seem to think that the earth is of little concern to God and that it is just a temporary moral playing field where project is we determine our final destiny in some focused on the special otherworldly heaven or hell,” he says, adding that the problem could go much role of the Holy Spirit deeper than that.
in creating, sustaining life and renewing the whole creation.” -Dr. Allan Effa
Allan says that the global church, in all of its theological camps, has come to recognize the priority of creation care as a missional concern.
“I see a loss of prophetic voice in the evangelical church in North America. Perhaps this is the result of decades of church growth orientation and a seeker-sensitive church culture. Evangelicals are terrified of losing numbers and of declining like mainline Protestant groups, so they invite people to become followers of Jesus without the demands of discipleship. We want people to come as they are and don't expect them to evaluate their lifestyles right down to the nitty-gritty issues of the kinds of transportation they use, where they shop or what they eat. As a result, the church ends up becoming a mirror of the predominant culture.”
“In the USA the National Association of Evangelicals
From what he has observed, Allan concludes that
“My writing project is focused on the special role of the Holy Spirit in creating, sustaining life and renewing the whole creation. By sharing in God's love for creation, celebrating the diversity of life, and taking care of what God has entrusted to us, we not only demonstrate our love for God but anticipate the renewal of all things and the redemption of creation.”
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Christians are not being called to participate in creation care because there really is no radical call to transformational discipleship. And that is where Dr. Effa’s passion for spiritual formation connects with his passion for God’s excellent creation. SPIRITUAL FORMATION 2013 marks the twentieth anniversary of Dr. Effa’s arrival at Taylor (he came to NABC in 1993). As a faculty member at a small school, he enjoyed the opportunity to teach in more than one discipline. He began teaching spiritual formation right away and continues to do so because “it zeroes in on the transformation of the very core of our lives.” “The longer I teach,” he says, “the more passionate I am to see spiritual formation integrated in all of my courses, whether it be Christian Worship, Gospel and Culture, or Integral Mission.” Through his current research and writing, Allan has come to see even more clearly how central spiritual formation is to everything – including being faithful stewards of all God has made. “If spiritual formation is all about aligning our lives with God's life and seeking union with God's heart, then our love for creation is an expression of that union,” he says. He points to Psalm 145:9, 13: “ The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.... The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made” (Psalm 145:9, 13). “Even our acts of worship must be seen as a joining with all of creation, animate as well as inanimate objects, in the unceasing praise to the Creator (Psalm 148).” Three years ago, Allan stepped in to teach a course on Christian worship, taking over from an instructor
who had degrees in music (“all I had was one worship course in seminary plus a few years of practice in planning and leading worship at a church in Edmonton,” he says). His course prep led him to approach the subject from the angle of spiritual formation. “It has been an absolute delight! I have learned so much and have been able to develop some wellgrounded convictions on what worship is about,” he says. Worship can be a hot and divisive topic in the church, and as a self-described “high church, liturgyloving professor” he wondered how his students would respond. It turns out, he needn’t have worried, as he received his highest-ever marks in student evaluations of the course. “I have been surprised by the positive response of students to consider following the Christian calendar as a tool of spiritual formation, and their eagerness to explore ancient practices as a way of deepening their experience of God,” says Allan. “This reinforces my conviction that a primary task of theological education is to foster character and spiritual formation. Ultimately, a pastor's success will not be measured by how well she preaches, or how competently he administrates, but by how deeply grounded he is in God's love and how capable she is to lead others into transformation. This is what keeps me at Taylor and forms the core of all that I do here. As our motto says, we are ‘Developing ChristMinded Leaders who Make a Difference in the World.’” THE RUNNING PROFESSOR Tall and lanky, Dr. Effa has the build of an athlete. In fact, he is an avid cyclist and runner, with four
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marathons to his credit; he runs year-round, and often cycles to work in the winter.
encounters wildlife, his headlamp lighting the eyes of deer and other creatures. In the summer he sees everything from beaver to moose – all near his home.
“Thankfully I live only 4 km from the Taylor campus so the bike rides are not as challenging as some of my students might think!” he laughs. “Because I grew up in Brazil, winter sports were not part of my repertoire and even the thought of choosing to be outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures was anything but enticing. After a few years of shivering and complaining I decided it was time to embrace the elements and, I have to say, I have been much happier since. I agree with the Norwegians who say, ‘There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.’”
He jokes that he will live to a ripe old age.
Allan even straps a headlamp to his head and goes running throughout the winter months in Edmonton’s extensive trail system. He frequently
“As I envision my ideal death someday, it will be in a forest, with my running shoes on, around 90 years of age.” TB
Karen Effa shares her husband’s love of cycling, and the couple have taken their bikes on trips through Turkey, Germany, Costa Rica, and on a 6-day trip through the Canadian Rockies. “I suppose my running and cycling are expressions of my love for God's creation,” says Allan, “though they bring me significant health benefits!”
e use the term “spiritual formation” frequently here at Taylor. Some people might prefer to speak of discipleship or sanctification or spiritual growth. Those are all good words, but spiritual formation is preferred because of the rich meaning it conveys. It is “spiritual” because it has to do with the inner core of our being and because it is primarily a work of the Spirit of God (John 3:6; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 5:25). We seek “formation” because we are all broken people who need to be reformed and transformed into all that God wants for us (Romans 12:1-2; Gal. 4:19). We call it a “journey” because there are many unexpected surprises and turns along the way and because it is something that we engage in for an entire lifetime. Simply put, spiritual formation is the process of making space for the Holy Spirit's work of transforming us into the image of Christ. We believe that this does not typically happen through a dramatic experience whereby a quantum leap in spiritual progress is attained, but that it is a life-long pursuit of union with God, sustained by spiritual practices. We speak of a two-fold movement: journey inward/journey outward. The journey inward refers to the transformation at the core of our being. Through spiritual practices we seek to listen to God in prayer, study and read Scripture, listen to and care for one another, offer spiritual companionship and direction to one another and worship together. These practices ground us in God's love and transform us into people who reflect the beauty and wonder of God. The journey inward finds its expression in mission, or the journey outward. Outreach must flow from the abundance of hearts that have fallen in love with God. We seek to express this by teaching and modeling service to the poor and marginalized, through our partnerships with agencies and ministries that serve our city and the larger world, and through the people we interact with in our workplaces, neighbourhoods and homes.
Spiritual Formation and Christian Ministry
As we share life with people outside of the community of faith, we invite them to join us in the journey of spiritual formation. The call to follow Christ is an invitation to be healed, mended and transformed from the inside out.
by Dr. Allan Effa the Ray and Edith DeNui Professor of Intercultural Studies
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This is part of God's work of salvation: making all things new. TB
iscussions continue with two potential long-term educational partners for Taylor Seminary. As reported in The Bridge over the past number of issues, Taylor believes that the future of the seminary will be best served by a long-term partnership agreement. Resources can be shared and put to best use when we work together. As mentioned in President Dr. David William’s letter (see pg. 2), detailed discussions have been taking place over the winter with two organizations: ACTS (Langley, BC) and Ambrose (Calgary, AB). Each of these prospective partners has the potential to strengthen the education offered at Taylor, and Taylor’s resources in turn would add value to each of them. The chair of the Board of Trustees, Bob Teskey, and Dr. Williams have been actively involved in these discussions on behalf of Taylor, with input from all trustees, faculty and administration. ACTS is experiencing some change at this time, with the recent resignation of Jonathon Raymond, president of Trinity Western (the largest member of the ACTS consortium). In the case of Ambrose, a new president was installed just last fall. These changes have necessitated a patient approach, giving all parties time to thoroughly explore and discuss the complex issues involved. There is no deadline for any decision, but Taylor believes that a formal proposal could be ready to present to the board sometime in 2013. TB
White Cross continues to make a significant impact in Africa. This humanitarian ministry of the NAB (the Canadian office is part of the Wahl Centre at Taylor), helped equip the Cameroon Baptist hospitals to serve more than one-million patients in 2012 – the highest total ever.
There have been a number of recent changes on the Taylor Board of Trustees. Jenn Neufeld stepped down to prepare for the birth of her fourth child (see pg. 9). Dr. Ken McDonald and Grant Sardachuk both completed multiple terms as trustees. Dr. Anne Bellamy and Dr. Brian Stelck have recused themselves from the board during this period of time of partnership discussions with other institutions (both are affiliated with a potential partner). Dr. Mike Hagan, who has been a trustee by virtue of his role as President of our sister seminary in Sioux Falls, is retiring.
White Cross Canada shipped thousands of kilograms of bandages, gowns, sheets, diapers, etc. on behalf of supplying churches, as well as many other items, including: hospital beds an entire operating room (including a very
valuable retinal camera) thousands of pounds of medical and surgical supplies office supplies (e.g. chairs, filing cabinets) eye glasses (new and used) personal items for missionaries materials for a water treatment plant wheelchairs, crutches, and much more Each of these items were requested or approved before they were shipped. If you have access to medical items for donation, please contact us first to confirm that they can be used in West Africa. Our next shipment is being collected and prepared with the help of the many volunteers who make the ministry of White Cross possible. Thanks to every church and individual who supports this vital ministry of mercy. TB
We welcome one returning and one new trustee: Don Howell (who served on the board a few years ago), and Pastor Stefano Piva (Bethany Baptist, Richmond, BC). Our current board consists of MR. BOB TESKEY, Chair (Edmonton, AB) DR. ANNE BELLAMY (Edmonton, AB) MS. MARITA GOLTZ (Oakville, ON) MR. DON HOWELL (Edmonton, AB) MR. BARRY KOSSOWAN (Edmonton, AB) DR. ROB McCLELAND (Folsom, CA) MR. ERIC PETERS (Edmonton, AB) DR. STEFANO PIVA (Richmond, BC) DR. BRIAN STELCK (Vancouver, BC) There are also non-voting members of the board, including president Dr. David Williams, as well as representatives of the ABA, NAB and TSSA. TB
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Remembering Prof. Peter Ristau (1939-2013) NABC/Taylor OT Prof: scholar, mentor, colleague and friend by Prof. Tyler Williams (’88)
packed chapel at Millwoods Shepherd's Care Centre paid tribute to Peter Ristau on May 24, 2013. Former colleagues and students joined Karin and the family in a Celebration of Life service to honor a gifted scholar and teacher. Peter passed away on May 21 after a long battle with cancer. Prof. Hans Peter Ristau was Professor of Old Testament at North American Baptist College (now Taylor) for some 33 years, actively teaching for 25 years(health problems led to long-term disability until officially retiring in 2005). Epilepsy may have cut his career short, but his legacy continues to cast a long shadow. He was not only my colleague, but also my former undergraduate professor and a big reason why I followed the career path I did. When I first enrolled at NABC over 25 years ago, I knew little about the Bible, and pretty much nothing about the Old Testament. During my time as a student at NABC, I took as many courses from Prof. Ristau as I could. These courses expanded my knowledge of the Old Testament, encouraged me to examine the Hebrew Bible from a number of different perspectives, and—most significantly— instilled in me a deep love of the Old Testament and a desire to make its study my lifelong goal. I have many fond memories of those courses but they were challenging — especially for a generation raised on sound-bites and TV. His tests were fair, though comprehensive (I will forever remember Old Testament personalities such as Shamgar, Abishag, Ehud, Shear-Jashub, and many others). I particularly recall his overheads — they were literally filled with valuable data so there was hardly a space left blank with little or no margins. His courses were definitely not for the faint of heart. Peter’s passion to learn and teach was a recurring theme at the memorial service. Another colleague, Dr. Dick Paetzel, called him a gifted scholar. “In over 20 years of teaching, Peter wanted students to know and understand the context of the Old Testament,” said Dr. Paetzel. He recalled that Peter was often in his office before 6 AM — as early as 5 AM, adding, “He was known for his thoroughness.” I remember those early morning office hours—at least, I remember hearing about them at the time. Anytime between 6 AM and 3 PM, he was always accessible to students. And whenever you came to
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his office he would be poring over one of the many books scattered on his desk—but significantly he would put the book down and give you his undivided attention while you were there. Prof. Ristau's friendship was important to me after graduating from NABC and moving on to further studies. In 1997, it was a surprise and an honour to be contacted by the College and invited to apply for the position of Old Testament professor. That was when I learned about Prof. Ristau's failing health. I ended up getting the position and following in his footsteps as professor of Old Testament at NABC. I am only one of countless students whose lives have been influenced by Peter; many were inspired to do further studies in the Old Testament, including Dr. Bill Anderson, Dr. John Harvey, and Peter’s son, Ken. The eulogy for Peter at his memorial service was given by Ken. It was eloquent and poignant; it also included interesting details that I hadn't heard before. For instance, I didn’t know that he helped pay for his education as an artist. I knew that Peter had studied at Hartford Seminary, but had forgotten that he had also been accepted to Princeton (a mail strike delayed notice of his acceptance to Princeton until after it was too late).The eulogy also reminded me that his dad pastored—not one, but two churches while he was studying in Massachusetts. On behalf of the family, Ken paid well-deserved tribute to his dad's scholarship. “My dad's love of learning guided the entire course of his life,” he said. But he also described a man with many other diverse passions and interests: movies (westerns and historical epics), soccer, racquetball, art and stamp-collecting, and most of all, family. Peter's final spoken word was that great ancient word from the Near East, “Amen.” The family called that a fitting coda to a life lived in service to his family and the Church. TB Tyler Williams (’88) served as Old Testament professor at NABC/Taylor from 1997 to 2009. He recently served on the faculty of the King’s University College, and was just named as the new pastor of Greenfield Baptist Church in Edmonton.
in pictures | Grad 2013 1.After a more serious photo, the Taylor Seminary Class of 2013 hams it up a little. (Several graduates are not pictured, as they were unable to attend.) | 2. Parry Stelter (MDiv) can’t resist joking about the size difference between himself and our petite Registrar, Su Jin Chong. | 3. Natasha Korner (MAIS) celebrates with her mom, Kathy (’83) (see #14.). | 4. Dr. Willy Muller, who serves as Taylor’s Field Education Co-ordinator. | 5. Evan Yang (MDiv) planted a new Chinese church in Edmonton while earning his MDiv. | 6. Alanna Gronberg (MAIS-TESOL), gets help adjusting her graduation gown from son Benjamin; daughter Marita captures the moment with the camera on her phone. | 7. Taylor president Dr. David Williams presents Michelle Kool (MDiv) with the 2013 William Sturhahn Preaching Award, set up by the Sturhann family to recognize a graduating student who demonstrates special 1. proficiency in preaching. | 8. Cecilia Chan (MAIS-TESOL), Alanna Gronberg (MAIS-TESOL) and Lisa Clarke (MAIS). | 9. Pat Goodall (MTS), flanked by Elaine Chu (MTS), right, and Paul Hartman (MDiv). | 10. Edi Balian (MAIS-TESOL and MTS), who earned two degrees, stands with his wife, Seabel , and daughters Scarlet and Sybilla. | 11. Paul Hartman (MDiv) stands with his dad. | 12. David Haitel (MDiv). who serves in chaplaincy work at a senior’s centre, stands with his youngest daughter, Ariana.
13. Loretta Stadt (MDiv) delivers the Valedictory Address at the 2013 Taylor Seminary Graduation Ceremony. | 14. Natasha Korner (MAIS) is joined by her family – all alumni of the school: her mom Kathy Korner (’83) on the left, dad Ralph Korner (’82) in the middle, and maternal grandparents Henry and Loretta Strauss (both ‘53). | 15. Lisa Clarke (MAIS) accepts her diploma from president Dr. David Williams. (This photo has more ‘likes’ and comments than any other photo on Taylor’s Facebook page, a testament to Lisa’s strong relationships in two countries (see pg. 12). | 16. Loretta Stadt (MDiv). | 17. Cecilia Chan (MAISTESOL) (right) and Alanna Gronberg (MAIS-TESOL).
2013 Scholarships and Academic Awards Faculty Scholarship: Amy Israelson This scholarship is awarded to the individual who achieves the highest grade point average during the two semesters of the current academic year. The Taylor Alumni Association Scholarship: Loretta Stadt This award acknowledges a student who has performed at an exceptional academic level, whose behaviour and conduct are exemplary, and who is seeking placement in full-time vocational ministry. Doris and Gerald Borchert Scholarship in New Testament Studies: Nathaniel Gurnett This scholarship is awarded to a second-year student who distinguishes him/herself in New Testament Studies. Dewey Intercultural Studies Award: Deana Verge Former Taylor President Marvin Dewey and his late wife Becky established this scholarship to be awarded to the student who demonstrates competence in and concern for intercultural ministry. Sonnenberg Leadership Scholarship: (Four Recipients) Matt Hammond, Robert McLaren*, Linda Poelzer and Myrna Wilson This scholarship, established by the late Dr. Joseph Sonnenberg (former president), is awarded to a second-year student(s), to recognize outstanding leadership ability. William Sturhahn Preaching Award: Michelle Kool Made possible by the family of Dr. William Sturhahn, this scholarship is for a graduating student who demonstrates special proficiency in preaching. Dan Leverette Memorial Scholarship: Daniel Schultz This scholarship is given to a Master of Divinity student committed to the practice of youth ministry and who is preparing for full-time vocational ministry with youth. Canadian Bible Society Award for Public Reading of Scripture: Michelle Kool Each year the Canadian Bible Society awards a Bible to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the public reading of Scripture. *Distance Student We are deeply grateful for the friends of the seminary who have made these scholarships and awards possible; thank you for your generosity. Come and learn with us! 1.780.431.5200 | www.Taylor-Edu.ca
in pictures | Winter & Spring 2013 1.
ABOVE: 1. At the 2013 Sydneys (a faux awards show put on by students), Heather Breitkreuz reads a poem called The Student. An homage to Poe’s The Raven, the poem paid tribute to the use of social media during class. (“But no notes of lecture learning, from his fingers did outpour, For it was only internet, email & Facebook that he did explore, Merely this, and nothing more...”) | 2. At the close of a chapel service led by Loretta Stadt, students joined hands in a hymn of benediction. BELOW: 3. Pastor Sam Nikkel and Dr. Ray Seutter share a moment during a break from a day-long seminar for pastors as part of a new Wahl Centre initiative. The men are helping provide leadership for the new program which will help address some of the biggest ministry needs identified by pastors in their ministries. | 4. Academic Dean Dr. Eric Ohlmann addresses graduands during the annual Commissioning Chapel, near the end of the year. | 5. Seminary student Allan Fiebich serves as MC for the 2013 Sydneys. | 6. Taylor student Amica Beulshausen (left), Heather Breitkreuz, Dave Kool (centre) and Dr. David Williams (right) play a Taylor version of Clue on stage in Stencel Hall during the 2013 Sydneys. | 7. Dr. Reginald Bibby of the University of Lethbridge was the featured speaker at the 2013 E.P. Wahl Lectures at Taylor Seminary. He described the most recent research on religious life in Canada, indicating that there are many reasons to feel encouraged. | 8. Among the many events organized by the Taylor Seminary Students’ Association (TSSA) this year was the annual Chili Cook-Off. Student Curtis Haugen won this year with a chipotle-flavoured meatless chili (for Lent). He says one the key ingredients was corn.
News and Notes In Sympathy Many former colleagues and students of Professor Peter Ristau joined Karin and the rest of the family in celebrating his life on May 24, 2013. (Read our tribute to this long-serving faculty member on pg. 7.) Ruth Weiss (nee Unger) passed away February 24, 2013 in Surrey. Ruth and her late husband, Rev. Harold Weiss (’47), were long-time friends and supporters of Taylor, and Harold served as a trustee from 1964-73. Ruth was also involved at CTI in many ways, including playing piano for the weekly radio program. The couple's three children are alumni: Rod Weiss (’76), Carolyn Murdock ('77), and Dan Weiss ('82) (Dan is pictured above with his mom. Myrtle Funnell (nee Hein), one of the earliest graduates of CTI and one of the early faculty of the school, recently passed away in Britain. Myrtle also helped raise money to help get CTI started as part of a music group that toured local churches. She served at CTI for a few years, then moved to Cameroon as a missionary. She later married an English businessman and moved there with him.
Alumni News Congratulations to Becky Hilbich (nee Goltz, ’81), who has just earned her Master of Arts in Christian Studies from ACTS Seminary in Langley, BC. Congratulations to Jason Ruff, DBS (’90), who married Amber Coerver in Spokane, WA, on August 10, 2012. Baby News Jesse ('04, '09) and Diana (nee Lohse, '01) Fox are the blessed parents of Samuel Jude, born on March 17, 2013. 7 lbs, 3oz, 21" long. Diana writes, “…those smiles and baby giggles make the night feeds and dirty diapers worth it :) What a gift from God!” Congratulations to recent Taylor grad Nick Thiessen Come and learn with us! 1.780.431.5200 | www.Taylor-Edu.ca
('12) and his wife Amy on the birth of their daughter Magnolia Katelyn Victoria (March 19th). Congratulations to Jenn Neufeld (’00) and her husband Joel (’00) of Elk Grove, CA, who gave birth to their fourth child (and first son), Canaan Joel, on March 6, 2013 (pictured at right in Joel’s arms). Jenn has most recently been a member of the Taylor Board of Trustees, but is also an alum and served as Athletics Director at NABC. Sarah Hennessey (nee Wagantall, ‘09) and her husband Rodney welcomed baby Kayleigh Elaine on January 4, 2013. Sarah worked at Taylor after graduating. The family is living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Congratulations to Tyler Williams (’88) of Edmonton, who has just been named pastor of Greenfield Baptist Church in Edmonton. Tyler is a former Old Testament professor at NABC/Taylor U-C
Faculty and Staff News Congratulations to Dr. Randal Rauser, who has been granted tenure by the Board of Trustees. Dr. Rauser is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Taylor Seminary, and is a prolific author and blogger. Dr. Rauser’s newest book has just been published by Baker, titled “God or Godless?” It is a discussion of twenty challenging questions about the existence of God by Rauser and co-author John W. Loftus, an avowed atheist and former minister. Ed Link, who served as a faculty member during the CTI and NABC eras (1953-1980) has (finally!) retired from his second career. Ed has been serving as chaplain at Salem Manor in Leduc, AB since 1993, following in the footsteps of Dr. E.P. Wahl. Now 87, he said it was time to pass along the baton. Ed has mostly recovered after a stroke over the winter.
Campus News New Website Taylor has a newly re-designed website. To see what’s new, click over to www.Taylor-Edu.ca.
Alumni Updates We invite you to share your news with us -marriages, moves, careers... we want to note these important events! Please stay in touch by email: alumni@Taylor-Edu.ca. Telephone: 780-431-5200
ABOVE, Left: Lisa Clarke (’13) is surrounded friends from the worship team at her church in Mexico City as they say goodbye at the airport. Lisa spent several years on the mission field in Mexico while studying at Taylor via distance learning. ABOVE, Right: Parry Stelter (’13) closes a chapel service where he shared his testimony; he ended by singing a heartfelt rendition of ‘Fill My Cup, Lord.’
Taylor Students – Here, There and Everywhere Three new graduates reflect the changing nature of Taylor Seminary by Chantelle Behrens (’06)
s Taylor continues to minister to students of all ages and professions, we continue to modify our programs and methods to suit the needs of our community. Many of today's students are serving in ministry long before they complete their theological studies. Others are working full-time or busy raising a family. In recent years, Taylor has added distance and online learning opportunities to our course offerings, as well as occasionally offering courses in places like Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat. Intensive, modular courses also make an appearance in our course calendar. The overwhelming majority of our students are from the Greater Edmonton area, and about 80% of these local students opt to study part-time, rather than committing themselves to full-time study. This trend enables students to sustain full-time jobs in ministry or the work force, supporting themselves and perhaps a family while they continue their studies and serve their church and community. Even the definition of a full-time seminary course load has changed, reduced from twelve credits to nine; this allows Taylor students to acquire necessary financial support for their studies without overloading on course-work. These changes have all been introduced to help Taylor students pursue many different ministry opportunities at home and abroad while continuing their education. STUDYING ON THE MISSION FIELD Lisa Clarke (’13, MAIS) began her studies at Taylor in 2002 while working as a youth pastor at a local
church, and completed the majority of her course work abroad while serving in cross-cultural ministry in Mexico City. “I was delighted that Taylor had the program that I needed, was close by, and offered a substantial number of courses on-line,” she says. “I knew I would not finish my degree before I left Canada, but wanted to continue to study while abroad, so having on-line courses was key for me.” Of her experience serving in Mexico while continuing her studies, Lisa writes that “as I learned, those very skills and ideas were put into practice. I was living ministry as I was preparing [to minister].” Lisa's undertaking was not without its challenges; obtaining supplies and resources for her courses was often difficult, as mail service was rather unreliable, and the distance ensured she remained disconnected from the rest of the student body. However, she found her professors extremely supportive, and Lisa still appreciates the many benefits of studying at a smaller institution. “Even though it took me over 10 years to complete my degree I am grateful for the opportunity I had to learn and grow. Maturity is a process and taking my degree over an extended period certainly helped facilitate my growth and maturity in ministry and in my own spiritual formation.” PARRY'S ROAD TO TAYLOR Despite the growing popularity of part-time and distance learning, students continue to opt for traditional full-time studies on location at the
Edmonton campus. Parry Stelter ('13, MDiv) is one such student, and cites a reluctance to uproot his young family as one of the many reasons he chose Taylor as the place to purse his studies. Born into the Alexander First Nation and adopted as an infant, Parry struggled with rebellion and alcoholism for much of his life, before “submitting to God [and]…to the desire of full time ministry.” Parry had attended NABC in the early nineties, and when he acknowledged God's call he decided to return to attend seminary here: “I knew that Taylor had all I was looking for.” He is extremely grateful for the support given by his Taylor family, from financial aid in the form of Taylor bursaries to a local church's present of a much-needed vehicle. "There were many miracles throughout my experiences despite the financial bind. To this day I'm still struggling...but God has been so good to me, and I have no reason to complain." While he waits “in active anticipation of what God is going to do,” Parry reflects on very positive memories of his time spent at Taylor. Through the joys and challenges of interacting with the faculty, staff and his fellow students, Parry says that the most important relationship he nurtured was with his Saviour. He shares his struggle to accept that God wanted to use him in ministry despite the sin and turmoil of his past, and acknowledges: “[My experience at] Taylor helped to confirm that God wasn't finished with me, and that I had a lot to learn about his Word, and how to approach people and ministry in the church.” Now that he has finished this page of his education, Parry aims to continue ministering to his community at the Hope Mission, in his church and at Taylor, and give all the glory to his Creator. DISTANCE LEARNING As mentioned earlier, the majority of Taylor Seminary students are part-time students who take fewer classes each year in order to continue working and serving in ministry. And while most Taylor Seminary students are local, some of these students are from other countries or other parts of Alberta.
bit too much.” Molly took a little more time with the rest of her studies, spreading the remaining four courses over two years. She took some classes online, some as weekend courses in her hometown, about five hours northwest of Edmonton. She took the rest at Taylor to help meet residency requirements (there are a certain number of courses which must be taken in a face-to-face instructional format). Molly loved the variety of her program, and says each of the different modes of delivery had something to offer. “I likely found the weekend courses in Grande Prairie the toughest, coming at the end of a long week at work” she says. “But it was great to be able to spend time with other students from my own community.” The online courses offered the most flexibility, with no set class time, though there was still enough structure to keep things on track. “I really liked the way the online courses were laid out. If I had events in the evenings, I could plan around them by doing assignments when it suited me, but there were still deadlines and there was accountability to get things done. It was just so well laid out that it made it easy to plan ahead.” Besides online and weekend courses in Grande Prairie, Molly was also able to take courses on the Taylor campus. Week-long modular “intensive” courses helped her get to know faculty, staff and students personally, and she loved being away from home to focus exclusively on her studies. “To be able to take three of my courses at the school? Wow!” she says. “Especially the one on systematic theology. I’m really glad I took that one in the classroom because I had a lot of questions, and it was great to interact with the professor and other students.” Distance ed worked well for Molly, and she recommends it to others – with a bit of advice. “We don't realize how much time we waste! It's amazing what we can do if we carve out time and set our minds to a task. However, you have to balance family and school commitments. This really forced me to be organized and intentional with relationships.”
One such student in Molly Lacoursiere (’13, DCS), a Grande Prairie, AB resident who just graduated with her Diploma in Christian Studies. The DCS program requires eight courses, and Molly says she was a little overly-ambitious at the beginning.
Molly is already looking ahead to further studies at Taylor – an MDiv program, likely – but first she plans to take the next year off. TB
“I took four courses in my first year while also continuing to work full-time,” she says. “That was a
Chantelle Behrens (nee Olson) is a former Taylor University College English student who loves to write – and who loves to learn; this is her second article for The Bridge.
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Alumni Profile Mike Neuherz Student: CTI, ‘63 (High School Diploma) Current Hometown: Edmonton, AB “I’m still a student - a life-long-student!” LEFT: Mike Neuherz (’63) stands with his wife Ursula at the 2013 Taylor Seminary Grad banquet (April 27, 2012). ABOVE: Mike’s 1963 CTI year-book photo, age 28, high school graduate. He immigrated to Canada after WWI, and needed English training and high-school upgrading, and found both at CTI.
ike Neuherz is over 80, but he continues to take advantage of every opportunity to learn. He works hard to develop and maintain his language skills for cross-cultural ministry, and has invested time and effort to learn Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic and Hebrew. (Born in Hungary in 1933, he also learned Hungarian, German and some Russian as a boy.) A few years ago, he traveled with a friend to the Punjab for several weeks to immerse himself in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. So, it’s both fitting and ironic that in 1961 Mike came to learn English at CTI, a German Baptist school (now Taylor). He had moved to Canada in 1955, but struggled with Ontario’s Grade 13 curriculum. Told about CTI by the pastor of his NAB church, he moved west and at age 28, graduated with a high school diploma. That became a springboard to a lifetime of learning. He still considers himself a student – a life-long learner. “Absolutely! That's the only way to live,” he says. “Things are changing so fast – if we don't keep up we fall behind.” His wife, Ursula, who was a schoolteacher in Leduc County for 17 years, just laughs. “My husband has about 10,000 books downstairs, and we can never move from this house into something smaller until he gets rid of them,” she says. “As of now, he is still interested in learning – he doesn't want to get rid of the books!” Mike’s love of learning was sparked by an uncle, a Catholic priest, who also had a big library.
Alumni Association: Serving Graduates
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“He was really a big model for me when I was young, to study theological books, to study languages in order to communicate better,” he recalls. “You know, you have to work hard to... add new vocabulary words, new rules of grammar. Never be stale or inactive... ” Mike and Ursula regularly spend time with Pakistani, Indian and Chinese immigrants. “We get together and socialize,” he says. “Recently, (some friends) had a course in grand-parenting, and they invited me to come over to be with them. So they learn English from me and I learn, in turn, Urdu from them: they correct me very gently!” The most important lesson he learned at CTI (besides learning ping-pong from Dr. Schalm)? Easy, he says: The importance of God’s Word in daily life. Talking with Mike is inspiring – and for one of the 2013 graduates, Mike is the reason he finished his program. Pat Goodall (’13, MTS), who rents his home from Mike, says that he came close to giving up his seminary studies at one point, but Mike’s example and inspiration helped keep him going. “Opportunities come, but they are only useful when we take advantage of them,” Mike says. Busy sharing his faith at every opportunity, Mike says his language studies are scaled back in the summer (“In summer I do more gardening and fishing,” he says). But he’ll be back learning and teaching soon: he’s been asked to lead a Sunday School class at a Chinese church this fall. TB
Special thanks go to the Taylor Alumni Association for their help at the 2013 Graduation Ceremony. Association president Eric Peters officially welcomed grads into the TAA during the service at West Meadows Baptist Church. Once the ceremony ended, he and a number of alumni hosted a reception in the foyer. This meaningful act of service embodies one of the key message of the Taylor Alumni Association: “Honoring our past, Blessing those who come after us.”
Wahl Centre Planning The Wahl Centre has added two new programs aimed at serving church leaders, and continues to plan ahead for the continuation of events that are meeting the needs of the local church. The annual onWORD Conference will be held in partnership with an Edmonton church this fall, and will feature Mark Buchanan (see below). CAPS, a one-day symposium for church administrators, will return in the spring of 2014. One new event is a justice conference (JusticeYEG), to be held at First Baptist Church in Edmonton this fall. Another is Living Generously, organized by Tom Berekoff to offer transformational teaching on leading churches into a new kind of stewardship. Details on two of these Wahl Centre events are below.
ABOVE: Pastor Darren Platt (’04) sits in his office at Steele Heights Baptist Church following a planning meeting for the upcoming onWORD Conference. (Love seeing that Taylor diploma on the wall!)
Some of Our Upcoming Events 2013 onWORD Conference
Your Church is Too Safe
featuring Dr. Scott Rodin
with Mark Buchanan
Taylor is honored to help present an important stewardship conference, an essential event for church leaders. The featured speaker is one of the leading writers and speakers of our day on this topic, Dr. Scott Rodin. This weekend event will equip steward leaders to live with greater impact, and to lead their congregations to be people of impact – a truly transformative event. Sessions include: Session #1 – The Journey: Understanding and mapping the steward’s journey is the foundation of every area of life of the Steward Leader. Session #2 – Heart of the Sower - Faith and Impact: Our transformation from harvester to sower will have life changing implications. Session #3 – Getting Ready: We will unpack the areas of danger we face as we choose to be faithful as Steward Leaders. Session #4 – Grace in Action: As faithful stewards lead, they are blessed with special gifts from God, but face new temptations. Disciplines for a life of joyful obedience are shared. Session #5 – Being and Doing - Life Plan A Steward Leader Life Plan is offered as a tool and guide for wherever you are called.
Popular author and speaker Mark Buchanan is the featured speaker at the fourth annual onWORD Conference. Speaking on the theme of his most recent book, Mark will challenge us to be willing to risk more. In three main sessions over two days, he will speak about Jesus as the Holy Dangerous One. Other speakers will expand further on this theme with a series of practical, bible-based breakout sessions. MAIN SESSIONS, with Mark Buchanan Friday evening: Holy: Being Like Jesus Saturday morning: Dangerous: Being Those Who Turn the World Upside Down (Acts 16:10-17:7) Saturday afternoon: One: Being a Church that Overcomes the World (John 17) Saturday Breakout Sessions Jon Bauer: The Heart of a Worshiper Dr. Randal Rauser: What on Earth Do We Know About Heaven? Dr. Keir Hammer: Challenged by Parables? Dr. Syd Page: In The Footsteps Dr. David Williams: The Sermon on the Mount: Not Safe but Good Pastor Darren Platt: Doers of the Word September 27-28, 2013 at Steele Heights Baptist Church in Edmonton, AB.
October 4th & 5th, 2013 at Terwillegar Community Church in Edmonton, AB.
Details for these and other Taylor events can be found at our website: www.Taylor-Edu.ca/Events Come and learn with us! 1.780.431.5200 | www.Taylor-Edu.ca | www.TaylorSeminary.ca
Come and learn with us! 1.780.431.5200 | www.Taylor-Edu.ca | www.TaylorSeminary.ca
Sunset on the Slave River (2008), Annette van Enns (’94) Photograph, supplied as 3.5 x 5 print
ABOUT THIS IMAGE Annette van Enns (’94) and her husband Arlyn (’94) serve as church planters in Canada’s sub-Arctic, working with Northern Canada Evangelical Mission in remote aboriginal communities. The couple also spent time at Taylor as ‘missionaries in residence.’ About this photo, Arlyn writes: This view captures some of the loneliness and beauty of Alberta’s largest river, the Slave. The evening that Annette shot this photo, we’d been delayed at the portage on the side channel pictured above. We ended up sleeping under a canvas spread on the bedrock, under the stars. In the morning, we awoke below a blanket of fresh snow, and with a large bear just below us, fishing next to our home-made skiff.
Taylor alumni are invited to submit photographs, paintings and other visual art projects for publication or display on campus. Learn more at www.Taylor-Edu.ca/creative
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