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An online publication of Vancouver School of Theology Alumni Interlink Program spring/summer 2012 volume 1, number 1

VST is excited to welcome you to the very first edition of Via, a bi-annual publication dedicated to keeping in touch with the alumni of VST. This magazine is for you and about you, and as such we welcome you not only to read but also to contribute as writers, should the spirit so move! This first edition is also an introduction to the revitalized Alumni Program here at VST, and you will find these pages filled with information about our initiatives to draw our alumni back into community with us and each other. From our website to Facebook, from continuing education to public events, from feasts to celebrations, VST has much to offer our alumni as a place to continue lifelong learning and to reconnect with former fellow students and faculty. Publications of Via will be entirely virtual. In other words, we don’t plan on printing a hard copy of this publication to mail out - you’ll have to come visit the website link in order to read these issues. We are doing this for a number of reasons; firstly, as responsible financial stewards we are very aware of the costs associated with printing and mailing, and this alternative provides us with a very cost-effective way to publish.


Secondly, publishing virtually means that we are creating a much lighter footprint on our environment—saving numerous trees, and carbon loads for mail delivery of these publications. And finally, because print costs aren’t an issue, we can include as much information as necessary and still maintain a unique flexibility in terms of layout and design. We hope you enjoy reading Via, and look forward to welcoming you both as a reader and in person to VST as part of our vital link to our VST alumni.

The past year has seen a number of changes in the way VST presents itself to the wider world. As an institution which embodies a diverse spectrum of educational opportunities and experiences for students of theology, when serious thought was turned to the visual branding of VST as a leading edge theological college for the 21st century, one of the initial challenges posed was how to dynamically represent VST and its three centres of study—the Centre for Christian Leadership, the Indigenous Studies Centre, and the Iona Pacific Inter-religious Centre. The process of visual definition was undertaken by faculty and senior management over the summer and autumn months of 2011, and the end result was a logo for each centre of study, as well as a new logo for VST itself. These logos were introduced to our constituents in the Fall/Winter issue of Perspectives in November 2011. Once these logos were finally in place, it then became a matter of branding all the promotional and institutional material that originates from VST with the new logos. This is an ongoing process, and over the past year we have slowly replaced all of the old institutional print material such as flyers, banners, business cards, etc. to include the new visual branding. The next major project that required an overhaul was VST’s website. Besides a lack of visual cohesion, there was the over-riding issue of user-friendliness; the old website had grown large and cumbersome to the extent that it was often difficult to find vital information—not a great state of affairs for an institution that uses its website as the primary point of contact for potential students for both our academic programs and our continuing education events! As well, the website is the first stop for anyone interested in booking a conference or retreatm, and is the portal to our online library catalogue resources.


The project of redesigning the VST website had a couple of hurdles to overcome. First off, due to budgetary constraints the work had to be done primarily in-house. Most institutions contract out a project like this to a web design company, as it requires a great deal of technical and design expertise to put together a large, institutional website. Secondly, the VST staff who had at least the rudimentary knowledge to get this project started had many other responsibilities and could only devote a small portion of their time to this project. But to coin the cliché, “where there’s a will there’s a way!” With the assistance of a web technologist who was hired on an occasional basis to help build the back end of the new site, we have managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat, and are proud to present to you our new website. One of the things you’ll notice is that it’s much easier to find things— you won’t have to go digging around in the dark recesses of the site in order to find what you need to know. While we anticipate that serious potential students will be well served by the new menu options and our spiffy new sidebar which leads right to the ‘Request for Information’ or ‘Application’ forms, we have also made ease of use a priority for those wanting information about summer school, continuing educational opportunities, or upcoming events. So forgive us both our moments of professional pride, and also the inevitable tweaking that will need to take place as we hone the new website to bring it up to speed! Congratulations to Derek Sorenson, Shannon Lythgoe and Hunter Mueller for a job well done. We look forward to your feedback, and trust that the new look and increased usability meets your approval!


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Facebook. Twitter. Youtube. The very terms are sometimes enough to make those who were brought up before the advent of social media shudder. Like any tool whose popularity has mushroomed beyond the control of any reliable constraints, the virtual world is not always a good thing. Regardless, social media is now entrenched as a significant part of the post-modern landscape, and Vancouver School of Theology is determined to use it to create community, engage in dialogue, and impart news and information to our constituents, and that includes our alumni. All good things! So we hereby announce an official VST Alumni Facebook page. Our hope is to make this page another point of contact between you and VST, and provide a place for you to stay connected with each other. Here you can: • Share ideas • Post a picture • Ask a question of general interest • Commiserate • Rejoice! • Get the skinny on upcoming events • Announce your own event Why not make the Alumni page your VST livingroom where you can host your friends and colleagues from VST, and be invited into their virtual livingrooms in turn? We look forward to socializing with you!

“...we hereby announce an official VST Alumni Facebook page. Our hope is to make this page the first point of contact between you and VST, and provide a place for you to stay connected with each other.“


Keeping track of our alumni is a bit of a moving target! But for a whole variety of reasons VST would like to know where you are, and what you’re currently up to. And we’re not the only ones—we know that many of our VST grads are also keen to stay in touch with the activities of former fellow students. So consider this an invitation to drop us a line or two and help us to keep the news current about our alumni. Updates can be sent to Shannon Lythgoe at In the meantime, here are our first profiles—the first of many, God willing!

R E V ER EN D D R . G O R D O N C . H O W

B a c h e l o r o f Divinity (honours), 1968, D o c t o r o f D i v i nity, (honoris causa), 1984 The Rev. Dr. Gordon How is a familiar face around VST, having received his Bachelor of Divinity (honours) from VST in 1968 (then called Union College), and his honorary doctorate from VST in 1984. Between those two degrees he received his Doctor of Ministry from the San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1979, and since his honorary degree in 1984 he went on to obtain his Master of Business Administration from the Graduate Theological Foundation, becoming the first Canadian to receive an MBA in Church Management in 1991. Throughout his career Dr. How worked as a consultant and advisor to the World Council of Churches, was the Interim General Secretary in the Division of Communication for the United Church General Council, was the Minister and Skipper of the United Church Tahsis Inlet Marine Mission aboard the Melvin Swartout IV mission boat, worked as the Executive Director of Canuck Place Hospice for Children, and ministered to a variety of congregations throughout his career, including Knox United Church, Penticton United Church, St. Giles – South Hill United Church, West Point United Church, before retiring from his ministerial career from Shaughnessy Heights United Church in 2011. After a busy career as a church minister, administrator and consultant, when not watching EURO 2012 football, Gordon now stays connected through his work on the UCC Pension Board and the BC Conference ProVision Grants Committee.


R E V ER EN D M A R Y FO N TA I N E M a s t e r o f D i v inity, 2003

Mary Fontaine is a Mistawasis First Nation in Saskatchewan. After attending high school and college in Calgary, Mary worked as a secretary in the oil industry for a number of years. Mary received her BA in Native Studies from the University of Alberta, and then received a call from the elders of the Mistawasis Presbyterian Church to become a student minister there. During this time, Mary began her theological education in VST’s Native Ministries Program in 1996, transitioning into a full-time student in the VST Master of Divinity program in 1997, from which she graduated in 2003. Upon graduating, rather than returning in a ministerial capacity to the Presbyterian Church, Mary lobbied the Presbyterian Church to found her own healing and reconciliation ministry, which became known as the Hummingbird Ministries, now an independent ministry of the Presbytery of New Westminster. In 2008 Mary was ordained in the Mistawasis Presbyterian Church where she was robed with a Star blanket by her people, in addition to be being robed as an ordained Presbyterian minister of the PCC. A Recognition Service took place in May 2008 at the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) where the Presbytery gathered on First Nations land. The first Circle started at TFN which continues to this day, in addition to gatherings at Sechelt First Nation, Surrey, Vancouver, Richmond, Squamish in North Van, and Delta. As much as possible the Circles try to honor the traditions and worldview of First Nations people. Circles are open to all people, reflecting First Nations hospitality and respect for one another. Through this work, Mary spearheads many initiatives, including drama, dance and music projects in the context of the Peace through the Arts Festival, and Healing Path workshops. Mary is the only indigenous member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and is also the Convener of the National Native Ministries Council of the PCC. She has recently been appointed to serve on the Circle Committee of the Doctrine Committee of the Presbyterian Church to deal with Aboriginal Theology and Spirituality. A mother to a married daughter, she has two grandchildren, and has raised numerous nieces and nephews. She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Theology program VST’s Indigenous Inter-religious Program.

PITMAN POT T ER Maste r o f D i v i n i t y , 2 0 0 8 Dr. Potter is Professor of Law at UBC Law Faculty and HSBC Chair in Asian Research at UBC’s Institute of Asian Research. Dr. Potter’s teaching and research has focused primarily on PRC and Taiwan law and policy in the areas of foreign trade and investment, dispute resolution, property law, contracts, business and financial regulation, and human rights. Dr. Potter leads a major international research project on coordinating trade and human rights compliance. He is a Senior Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and is currently Chair of the national taskforce on human rights in Asia. He has published numerous articles and books on China and Asia, including most recently Law Policy and Practice on China’s Periphery: Selective Adaptation and Institutional Capacity (Routledge 2011) and Globalization and Local Adaptation in International Trade Law (with Ljiljana Biukovic) (UBC Press, 2011). Since Dr. Potter graduated from VST in 2008 with his Master of Divinity, besides his work at UBC he is also Deacon at St. Helen’s Anglican Church in Vancouver and is involved in the design and implementation of collaborative ministry with the parishes of St. Anselm’s and St. Philip’s in the neighborhood of West Point Grey. This ministry serves people in need on the streets of West Point Grey, sending out Street Ministry Teams of approximately three people to walk the streets of West Point Grey two days evening per week to provide fellowship and distribute care packages to needy neighbours. In 2011, the Ministry succeeded in placing 12 homeless men into permanent housing at the 16th and Dunbar supportive housing facility. Dr. Potter is also active in the design and implementation of mid-week musical vespers service at St. Helen’s offering jazz, folk, choral music, as well as other St. Helen’s ministries including participation in worship and pastoral ministry activities. . 6

K ER R I M ES S N ER M a s t e r o f T h eological Studies, 2010 Kerri is completing her second year as a doctoral student in the Centre for Cross Faculty Inquiry in Education at UBC. Kerri’s research explores the intersections of queer performative autoethnography and queer theology as tools in anti-oppressive education, with a particular focus on the connections between Christian theology and anti-queer violence. Kerri’s work explores autoethnography, art and spirituality, participatory theatre anti-oppressive education, a/r/tography, and queer and disability theologies. Kerri’s original theatrical work emerging from this research aims to articulate and push forward a new scholarly framework supported by an integrated creative praxis. Kerri was delighted to be the recent recipient of a two year SSHRC Fellowship to further support her doctoral research. Kerri is deeply appreciative of the rigorous foundation of her VST MATS degree that supported the development of this work.

REVEREND PA U L S N E V E Maste r o f D i v i n i t y , 1 9 9 9

Paul graduated with an MDiv in 1999 from the Native Ministries program. He completed half of the work in the Extension Program and the remaining half here at VST, which took two years. He was then ordained in the Diocese of South Dakota and has served at the same church (St. Matthew’s), an urban Lakota Mission church, for 13 years. During that time Paul has been on the Executive Board of the Indigenous Theological Training Institute, a tutor for VST’s Native Min Program, the Director for the Niobrara School for Ministry (Diocesan’s Ministry training program for those seeking ordination or lay ministries), the Commission on Ministry and Board of Examining Chaplains and was recently made an Archdeacon. Because of Niobrara School and ITTI, Paul has taught many classes such as Biblical Exegesis/Criticism, Theology, History of the Church in South Dakota, Lakota Culture in the Church and this summer he will teach a class called “Discerning Indigenous Theology” at the Native Ministry Consortium Summer School. Recently, St. Matthew’s and Paul were awarded a Lilly Foundation Grant for a Sabbatical this summer. He is currently spending the summer here at VST with his wife Tally Salisbury and youngest Son (age 9), Kenny, and working on a book about Lakota Christian Theology. Paul also professes a great fondness for Hawaiian Shirts!


M a s t e r o f T h eological Studies, 2010 Since graduating from VST in 2010 with a MATS, Caroline, a member of St. Andrew's Wesley United, accepted an appointment as the United Church of Canada Campus Minister at UBC. Caroline enjoys serving the students who participate in the campus ministry and collaborating with the congregation of University Hill and she is excited be entering her third year in this ministry. Caroline is also the co-founder and a director of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries, an ecumenical community ministry designed to come alongside churches who are seeking to enhance their ministry to those living with a diagnosed mental illness and their caregivers. Caroline has also discerned a call to the Order of Ministry and was recently admitted to the Diploma in Denominational Studies program at VST. Next year, now that her husband Guy has moved to Saskatoon for a great new job, Caroline will likely be moving to Saskatoon and seeking a ministry internship there.


REVEREND T I M S T E V EN S O N Maste r o f D i v i n i t y , 1 9 9 9

Tim Stevenson was elected to Vancouver City Council in 2002, and was re-elected in 2005, 2008 and 2011. Tim holds bachelor of arts (University of British Columbia), master of arts (Holy Names College, California) and masters of divinity (Vancouver School of Theology) degrees. He was first elected to the British Columbia Provincial Parliament in 1996 and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health. Subsequently, he became Deputy Speaker of the House and then was appointed Cabinet Minister, holding the portfolio of Employment and Investment. He became the first openly gay Cabinet Minister in Canada in 2000. Prior to being elected to office, he was the minister at St. Paul’s United Church. Currently, he also teaches Comparative Religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism) in the Religious Studies Department at Langara College in Vancouver. Tim was the first openly gay person ordained in a mainstream Christian denomination in Canada. Tim spent 10 years in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside working with the inner city poor while sitting on the Board of the First United Church. Tim has also worked in the Philippines and South Africa where he was one of the Canadian representatives at the African National Congress Conference in Durban in 1991 where Nelson Mandela was elected as the ANC’s party President. He was also one of the International Observers in the South African elections in 1994. Born and raised in Vancouver, Tim now lives in the West End of Vancouver with Gary Paterson, his partner of 25 years, who is also a United Church minister. Together, they have raised three daughters.

Victoria (Vikki) Marie

Maste r o f Pa s t o ra l S t u d i e s , 1 9 9 7 Since graduating from VST in May 1997, Victoria’s career pursuits have been seemingly diverse. She continued her work as a pastoral assistant for five more years and began studying for a doctorate at the UBC Educational Studies Department. Victoria graduated with a PhD in 2005 at age 60. From 2002 until 2012, she worked as an independent researcher, spiritual director, taught at UBC, St. Mark’s College and the University of the Fraser Valley. In addition, she mentored Field Education students, and also went to Columbia with Witness for Peace and served on the Steering Committee of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). For two years she studied indigenous ways of prayer with the Centre for Sacred Studies and was ordained a Minister of Walking Prayer in 2011. Victoria lives at the Vancouver Catholic Worker (Samaritan House) where in June of 2012 they will celebrate 14 years of opening their hearts and home to whomever the Spirit sends them. On the last weekend of July, after much discernment, Victoria will be ordained as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest (RCWP). The RCWP is an inclusive, renewed model of priesthood for women and men who believe that the time for women to be ordained in the Roman Catholic tradition is now. The name of her worship community in Vancouver, to be birthed on July 29th, 2012, is Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin (

What’s up with you?

We’d love to know! Send us a few lines or a few paragraphs and we’ll be sure to include it in the next issue of ‘Via’, which will hit the online stands in January of next year! Contact Shannon at 8

Frances Deverell is in training to paddle the Rideau Canal by canoe as a fundraiser for the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship. She has retired and is attending the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa these days. She has many projects on the go including President of the Canadian Unitarians For Social Justice and a Restorative Justice project in Vanier Overbrook areas of Ottawa. Louise Cummings writes that she is in the midst of a move to Kelowna for a 2 year Interim Ministry appointment. Ted Dodd was named as a co-recipient of the Davidson Trust Award for 2012. This national United Church of Canada award acknowledges excellence in theological education scholarship and teaching. He has been preparing students for diaconal ministry at the Centre for Christian Studies since 1998. Deb Stanbury reports that she will be starting her ThM at Toronto School of Theology in the Fall 2012. Bill Booth is between churches this summer having left Crescent United after nine years and starting a new ministry at Trinity Memorial in Abbottsford in August. Meanwhile he is on leave on June 30th to walk the El Camino Pilgrimage in Spain.   

Rev. Kathleen Ann Edmunds (nee Co ok) 1962 - 2012 Kathleen Edmunds peacefully passed away on May 31 following a brief but fierce battle with returning cancer after a seven year remission. Kathleen loved her family immensely and will be deeply missed by her husband Mark, children Hannah, Thomas and Megan, parents Donna and Ron, and brother Steve. Her life’s involvement in the United Church of Canada culminated in her Ordination in 2010. Though her tenure was brief she touched the lives of many and will never be forgotten. Most recently, her ministry at Pitt Meadows United brought her great joy, especially through her work with children and families. A service to celebrate her life and ministry was held on June 9 at 2:00 pm at Eagle Ridge United Church, 2813 Glen Dr. Coquitlam. Donations can be made to Eagle Ridge United Church - Kathleen Edmunds Children’s Ministry Fund. Sourced from the Vancouver Sun / Province online Obituaries


VST faculty have had a busy year for publishing. Please see below for a summary of publishing actvities:

STEPHEN FARRIS Farris, Stephen. “Preacing Joshua.” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 66, no. 2 (April 2012): 176. Preaching from the Book of Joshua can often be “trouble” because of the book’s content. To avoid trouble in a sermon is to rob the text of its potential healing power. In our contemporary world, preaching from this difficult book may prove necessary. This essay esplores several homiletical approaches. Farris, Stephen and Richard Topping. “First, Second, Third and Fourth Sundays in Advent.” In Abingdon Theological Companion to the Lectionary: Preaching Year C, edited by Paul Scott Wilson.

RICHARD TOPPING Topping, Richard. 2012. Review of Angus Paddison, Scripture: A Very Theological Proposal. International Journal of Systematic Theology 14, no. 3 (July): 356. Topping, Richard. 2012. Review of William J. Klempa, Exploring the Faith: Essays in the History and Theology of the Reformed Tradition. A Collection of William Klempa’s Essays from a Lifetime Commitment to the Service of the Church.

PATRICIA DUTCHER-WALLS Dr. Patricia Dutcher-Walls, Professor of Hebrew Bible, is currently at work on a manuscript for a book on biblical history, under contract with Baker Academic Press. This university level introductory text, Reading Biblical History, will introduce readers to aspects of the genre of history writing in the Old Testament in order to make their further reading and study of Scripture more informed and sensitive. Concentrating on books in the Old Testament that can be termed “historical” [Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah], the book will explore both the artistry and form of the text and the world behind the text that shaped the historical writing of this important part of Scripture.


SALLIE MCFAGUE Dr. McFague, accompanied by attended a conference entitled Ecology, Ethics and Interdependence hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamasala, India in October where she presented a major paper. Dr. McFague is also the author of a new book being released next spring, entitled Blessed are the Consumers: Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint (Fortress Press).

ROBERT DAUM Professor Daum published a chapter and co-edited an anthology of essays in a scholarly work published by the University of Toronto Press in 2011. His chapter is entitled Recalling the Nation’s Terrain: Narrative, Territory, and Canon. The volume is entitled The Calling of the Nations: Exegesis, Ethnography, and Empire in a BiblicalHistoric Present. The volume was co-edited by UBC Professor and Green College Principal Mark Vessey, along with VST Professors Sharon Betcher, Robert Daum, and Harry Maier. Dr. Daum published the lead article in the first issue of the second century of the Jewish Quarterly Review, which featured three scholarly articles and a series of book reviews. Professor Daum’s 26-page article was entitled Rhetorical Form and Didactic Content in a Rabbinic Poem. The JQR is published by the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, Rabbi Daum’s encyclopedia entry, Tosefta, was published in The Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish History, Religion, and Culture, edited by distinguished historian, Judith Baskin. Baskin is Knight Professor of Humanities and Associate Dean, Humanities at the University of Oregon.

PAULA SAMPSON Rev. Paula Sampson has recently submitted an article for the Anglican Theological Review, entitled Clan House, Cathedral and Shopping Mall: Indigenous Narrative and Local Relationships in the Global City. Many argue that the modern emphasis on time relative to place requires recalibration if global life is to survive and flourish. Recalibration is appropriate in the theological world also, where emphasis on the spiritual and universal has tended to overshadow the material and local. Even in Anglicanism, this incarnational equilibrium has been upset from time to time. The indigenous peoples of Canada are representative of tribal communities the world over where kinship with place grounds all spiritual, social and economic transactions. These ancient understandings remain and reveal themselves in the protocols and performance of Indigenous narratives. In an alternative understanding of anamnesis, these stories link place and time and maintain the balance between them. A respectful look at this worldview discloses ethical and theological promise.

HANS KOUWENBERG Kouwenberg, Hans. “Report for Truth and Reconciliation Meeting, Victoria BC, 2012: Truth and Reconciliation for BC’s Survivors of Residential Schools.” Perspectives 28, vol. 1 (Spring 2012). Kouwenberg, Hans. 2012. Review of Words of Witness: A Review of Eugene Peterson’s “The Pastor: A Memoir.” Presbyterian Record. (April).

HAROLD MUNN Munn, Harold. “Re-thinking how we do church.” Anglican Journal 138, no. 6 (2011). Column Award of Merit and Honorable Mention, Associated Church Press. 11

Dr. Harry Maier, Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at VST, is a productive man these days. When asked to submit a brief update on his academic publications over the past year or so, Harry sent us a tome. And even though he told us we could ‘cherry-pick’, it just seemed easier to feature the whole megillah. And besides, with no printing production costs to worry about—why not!

SABBATICAL IN GERMANY At the moment, Harry is currently on sabbatical working at the Max Weber Kolleg at the University of Erfurt and working with a research group on Individualisation in Cultural Perspective. This group is looking at how people become individuals. What are the social processes at work in religion, politics, art, etc. that theorize people as individuals? Is it that they have a soul, or civil liberties, or that they reflect on themselves through confession, the desire for absolution, or as sacrificers in a religious setting? Harry’s own work is to look at the question of social space in the creaiton of the individual and specifically the way that physical meetings places of early Christians was an important factor in determining the ideals that shaped a notion of Christian individuality. They met in small rented spaces or in the household of the poor. Place and economics with a meal at the centre created a particular notion of the individual as part of a larger community, centred in sharing and mutual care. Harry is using the work on Global Cities that VST undertook some years ago as a faculty research project, but working with reference to ancient cities and civic imagination. The idea is to theorize how Christians today and the meeting places where Christians gather create a particular kind of citizen and practice of civic imagination.

BOOKS & ESSAYS Mark Vessey, Harry O. Maier, Sharon V. Betcher, 
Robert Daum, eds., The Calling of the Nations: Exegesis, Ethnography, and 
Empire in a Biblical-Historic Present. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011. This book is the fruit of a colloquium co-sponsored by Green College and VST. The essays, including Harry’s on the use of the Bible in early Christian history, looks at how the Bible has been used to legitimate and make possible occupation of lands and territory. A Christian Gospel whose mission is to go forth and convert the nations has brought along with it, when wedded to ideas of the nation state, or Christian civilization, also the right of rule and dominion. These essays interrogate these ideas and consider how the Bible continues to be a part of the mythos of the nation state. Harry has a number of essays in The Calling of Nations, but the most important is on Eusebius of Caesarea and his use of Psalms and Paul to celebrate the Constantine as fulfilling Jesus’ command to baptize all nations. David Horrell, Cherryl Hunt, Chistopher Southgate, eds., “Green Millennialism: American Evangelicalism, Environmentalism, and the Book of Revelation”, pp. 246-65 in Ecological Hermeneutics: Biblical, Historical and Theological Perspectives. London/ New York: T&T Clark/ Continuum, 2010. 12

Written during Harry’s last sabbatical, this essay takes up the use of the Bible by Christians in varying degrees right of centre (from Evangelicals to Fundamentalists). His research shows that while some conservative Christians use the Bible to descry environmentalist causes, many—including those on what “Liberals” would consider the far right —in fact champion environmentalism as part of a very literal eschatological theology. If God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth by transforming the present one, then the best one can do now is start to the reality coming now as well. This means to live the renewal of creation now. Thus ecological concerns are often not far away from concerns of more conservative Christians who read the Bible literally. Martin Dinter and Emma Buckley, eds., “Nero in Jewish and Christian Tradition from the First Century to the Reformation”. A Companion to Neronian Literature and Culture. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, June, 2012. (forthcoming) This is a long essay that for the first time ever takes up the place of Nero in the Christian and Jewish imagination from the first century onward. Nero as the first emperor to persecute Christians and by legend martyred Peter and Paul. After his death grew the legend of Nero Redivivus—that is, Nero revived. The legend said that Nero did not die by assassination in 68 CE but either escaped Rome or was taken to perdition where he awaited his return as Anti-Christ. On one level the idea seems very odd. But early Christians used the Nero legend as a means of political critique of corrupt rulers. Nero thus reappeared regularly in history, especially as a form of examination of political and ecclesial corruption. This continued well through the Reformation and into early Modernity where Nero was transformed into the ideal bad ruler and became a means of renouncing an unjust civil and ecclesial order. lan Cadawallader and Michael Trainor, eds., “Reading Colossians in the Ruins: Roman Iconography, Moral Transformation, and the Construction of Christian Idenity in the Lycus Valley,” pp. 212-31. Colossae in Space and Time: Linking to an Ancient City. NOTA 94. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011. This essay is the fruit of several years of research on Colossians. It reads the letter in the context of Roman imperial iconography to show how Colossians uses ideas at home in civic imperial ideology to describe the death of Christ and his reign over creation. It is a piece of work that has been transformed into a book-length chapter of Harry’s forthcoming book: Picturing Paul in Empire: Roman Imperial Iconography, Text, and Persuasion in Colossians, Ephesians, and the Pastoral Epistles (London/New York: T&T Clark/ Continuum, 2013). Harry’s work has been to show how New Testament Pauline theology urges upon Christians a theologically based ideal of citizenship that expresses an order that is centres on eschatology, the self-giving of God in Jesus, and the practices of mercy. Paul’s letters used imperial imagery and language but as a form of subversion of the existing civil order. The book also describes where it doesn’t do this and why.


ARTICLES Michael D. Coogan. “The Shepherd of Hermas” . The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible Vol. 2, 317-22. Oxford University Press, 2011. A short article for a two-volume desk reference on all aspects relating to the Bible and its related literature. This piece is on a writing that used to be part of the NT canon -- a writer in second century Rome who used visions and heavenly revelations to descry the injustices of wealthy bishops and leaders and call them to repent and care for widows and the poor. Allison, Jr., Dale C. Allison, Jr., Volker Leppin, et al. “The New Testament in the Shepherd of Hermas” and “The New Testament in Ignatius of Antioch”. Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012. (forthcoming) These two pieces are part of a multi-volume series that takes up the Bible and its influence on literature and culture. Here Harry takes up a second century martyr, Ignatius of Antioch and the Shepherd of Hermas and show how they used the NT. It turns out that Ignatius knew and used 1 Cor extensively, that he probably knew Ephesians, and possibly some Gospel traditions relating especially to Matthew and John, but probably not any Gospel (at least his letters can’t really show that he did). Hermas used ideas very much at home in second century Judaism—a long and rambling text that shows itself most closely related to the Book of James, especially in its concerns to challenge the abuses of the rich. “The Church of Caesar”. Bible Study Magazine. (July/August 2012) One of a series of brief expositions of Revelation for Bible study in parishes. This piece relates Revelation’s call for resistance to the Roman Empire to the challenge of the Gospel to contemporary Christianity too at home in in our socio-economic order of First-World capitalism. Other short articles include pieces by cutting edge Revelation experts who use their expertise to help with the study of Revelation.

OTHER PROJECTS Other things on the go for Harry Maier include a volume coming out on Ideal Community in Early Christianity, which has to do with Space and Early Christian Ideals of Community. This volume argues that where Christians met very much affected what ideals they imagined for themselves. In addition, another piece is on intertexuality and the Book of Revelation—ie what texts influenced Revelation (OT, etc) and how did Revelation in turn influence other later texts. Harry is also working on a piece that looks at popular uses of the printing press in the Peasants’ Revolt here around Erfurt ca. 1525 and how images from Revelation were used in posters to show how the German princes were the Beast prophesied in Rev 13. His argument is that this prompted Luther to use Dürer’s woodcuts of the Apocalypse in his German Bible—a spiritualisation that matched his own interpretation of the Apocalypse. The third piece that is coming out is about the role of clothing in creating Christian identity in the second century for a volume coming out on Individualisation and the Self in the Second Century. Another piece coming out is an encyclopedia on Christianity, Archaeology, and Art which has to do with the role of households in the survival and spread of heretical movements in the 4th and 5th centuries. These various pieces represent Harry’s interests in several fields, all of which centre around social history.


We recently had correspondence with VST alumni Patricia Elford, OCT, B.A., M.Div., professional writer and poet, educator, promoter and presenter, clergyperson, and editor. We were intrigued to discover that Patricia is in the process of finishing a book entitled ‘A Cuddle of Cats’, which she hopes to publish shortly. We thought it would be fun to include some excerpts from her upcoming book...

Excerpts from A Cuddle of Cats by Patricia Anne Elford The cats featured in this book: Smokey (a dark grey short-hair), Butch (a light grey and white longhair), Ginger (a golden-eyed, orange and white tabby), Café-au-Lait (a blue-eyed, Seal Point Siamese), Mouse (a greengolden-eyed, black short hair), Anatole and Shamaya (blue-eyed, Tabby Point Siamese littermates), Lickorish and Bagheera (golden-green eyed, black shorthaired, long-tailed littermates). All of them bundles of mischief, yet each one of them unique.

Café–au-Lait Café-au-lait was upset about being left alone in my Ottawa apartment during the school week. If I returned after 5:00 p.m. from teaching, she would have tipped over the usually ignored garbage bag, or she would be up on the table—forbidden territory—crouched behind the serviette holder, as I opened the door, waiting for my “Get down!” to start our conversation. So, Café went to school. She wandered the classroom freely, often stopping to visit a student who most needed her comfort. After a few warnings to one boy who wiggled his fingers through the unused inkwell hole, or undid and jiggled his shoelaces to get her attention, work continued as usual. Each school day started with “Oh Canada”. In my class, the rule was: “Stand at attention, no matter what!” One morning, during the anthem, Café decided to climb the back of my nylon-encased legs, up onto my shoulder. Despite the agony of my body’s piercings, I stood as straight as possible, clenching my teeth. I did not sing. As soon as the anthem ended, we all burst into laughter. Unexpectedly, the French supervisor opened the door of my classroom during our French class. “Fermez la porte!” shouted the group as one. This had been a common chorus since Café had come to school. All knew the cat should not leave that room. Madame Doucet’s face darkened as a student slammed the door shut. Then she saw the reason. Perched on my shoulder as I stood at the board, was Café. “Une petite chatte! Ah, elle est très belle, n’est-ce pas? La classe, comment s’appelle la petite chatte?”


“Elle s’appelle Café-au-Lait, Madame Doucet!” “Bon!” The supervisor was completely won over, as much by the cat’s name, behaviour and beauty as by my teaching methods. Success! In that school area of many unhappy households, I chose children I knew were sad to kitty-sit at recesses and lunch hours. Café objected to the earth-filled basket provided as a kitty-litter substitute. One day, she demonstrated this by defecating on the floor beside the basket. The well-meaning kitty-sitter rushed to the maintenance closet and used the caretaker’s broom to try to clean up the mess. The caretaker was somewhat upset by the broom’s new state. Henceforth, the principal would then allow Café in the classroom only if she were caged. This was totally unacceptable for that free spirit. Home she stayed. Cats can be great at public relations, but not always.

Anatole In Alberta, gentle Anatole showed his territorial side. There were two yappy, snappy dogs in the neighbourhood. One of them had attacked our young son as I walked with him along the street, then nipped at my legs as I scooped Daniel up to get away. On a separate occasion, Anatole was looking through the screen as one of those dogs came into our back yard. Mistake! The window was open, screen closed. Anatole crashed through the screen and chased the bigger animal off his property! My work here is done. He calmly meowed to be let in the back door. A cat’s gotta do what a cat’s gotta do. Anatole, like Mouse before him, loved to trap a live fly in his mouth. He seemed to get a “buzz” out of this unsanitary habit. The odd look on his face was hilarious as he listened to the noise echoing in his head. He never seemed to suffer ill effects. When released, the sodden creature was an easy target for our swatter.   .............................. As we were packing to leave Scarborough for yet another move, this time to semi-rural Ontario, Anatole disappeared. With one exception, neither Shamaya nor Anatole had been outside of our Scarborough manse. On that occasion, we had been in the sitting room with visitors. I saw two tabbies through the patio doors and commented on how much they resembled our own. Seeing the tell-tale blue eyes, I realized, they were our own. They were waiting to be let back inside. “What’s taken you so long?” But now, with a week before the moving vans were to arrive, Anatole had gone. Daniel, the only offspring still living at home, helped me to put up large black and white posters of Anatole, eyes coloured with a turquoise marker to avoid any confusion with regular tabbies. I went door to door in the neighbourhood, sneaked into back yards, peered under decks and called. No answer. Suburban neighbourhood strangers became compassionate acquaintances who enquired regularly whether our cat had been found.


Daniel and I made the scary trip along the railroad tracks. I kept my eyes half-shut, hoping that we would not see Anatole there. We didn’t, nor did we find him in the garbage-littered woods. When we called the Humane Society, they told us that cats usually turn up within five houses of their home. Can cats count? What if the lots are different sizes? Day and night, we worked until all hours to prepare for the move. Rain fell. Shamaya wandered mournfully around house. Daniel clearly stated his feelings. “I don’t care if the moving van comes. I won’t leave until Anatole is found. How would he know where to find us?” At 5:30 in the morning, two days before we were to leave, a man from three houses away rang our doorbell. “Are you the people who lost the cat? I think it is hiding under our barbecue cover.” Robert was in his pyjamas. He insisted on dressing before he went to check. I was praying and chewing my thumbnail, fearful that Anatole, if it were he, would again disappear. Hurry! Hurry! Skittish when Robert picked him up out of his tiny shelter and skittish for a while at home, Anatole settled down in time to curl up with Shamaya for our drive through the night to Petawawa, Ontario, our next home. Cats can twist your heart into knots.

Anatole dozes without decorum.


VIA - A VST Alumni Magazine  
VIA - A VST Alumni Magazine  

A twice yearly magazine of specific interest to alumni of Vancouver School of Theology