VST mourns the passing of Art Van Seters, Saturday, May 21st. Art had
been coping with an aggressive form of non Hodgkin lymphoma for over
five years. His influence on VST was immeasurable and he will be sorely
For those who would like to share in the celebration of his life there
will be two opportunities in Toronto – an informal gathering at Armour
Heights Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, May 25th at 7:30 p.m. and a
memorial service at Knox College on Thursday, May 26th at 7:30 p.m.
Notices will be in the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.
Our prayers go out to Art’s family, and particularly to Rowena, his wife
and companion of 53 years.
My first recollection of Art was during our first furlough from Japan in 1968 when he challenged me to be careful not to give people a guilt trip when talking about mission!! He was a good friend and mentor, and it was an honour to follow him as moderator in 2000.
I will be a commissioner at Assembly in June where, I am sure, Art’s great contribution and service to Christ and the church will be recognized.
Please accept our love and prayers.
“Because He lives, we shall live also.”
Glen & Joyce Davis
Art communicated a wonderful sense of love for the church and for teaching within the church which has been an inspiration to many. I think he truly understood that his teaching was a gospel call and the ministry that he did best for the church. He always insisted that one could be both deeply faithful and committed to scholarship in service of the church. He made sure that the Bible was at the heart of preaching and knew how to keep that connection lively both in his own preaching and for the students who studied with him over the years. For that witness and the personal inspiration he was to me, I remain deeply grateful.
When I arrived for my first interview in October 1986, Art picked me up at the airport. He was on sabbatical, so all my correspondence had been with Terry Anderson who was Acting Principal. On the way to the car I asked Art, “So, Art, are you a student or a spouse?” “I’m the Principal,” he said firmly. I thought to myself that my goose was cooked, but it seems Art thought that I redeemed myself during the interview process.
The second memory is his care for our children. Art had an ‘open garden’ policy at the Principal’s house: Any child was welcome to pick berries and fruit so long as Art and Rowena were not entertaining in the garden and so long as the children put the picking buckets away. I still have a vivid memory of Art and David on a ladder in the apple tree, David sandwiched between the ladder and Art so as not to fall.
May Art rest in peace and may the angels greet him.
(The Rev’d Dr) Richard Geoffrey Leggett
Emeritus Professor of Liturgical Studies
Art’s gifts of utterance of knowledge and of prophecy-proclaiming God’s
Word- have served, and will continue, through his influence, to serve the Church well. He taught us, by example, respect for a sermon preached as being a vital, interactive entity, an honour and responsibility.
Through him I first learned to become more aware of the potential inner responses of the members of a congregation, not as an “audience” but as unique persons joined through the Holy Spirit with the opened Scriptures and with the spiritually and intellectually prepared preacher in a holy, in-the-moment opportunity.
Thank God for Art’s frank, caring, sometimes humorous, responses as he taught us to live and to convey the excitement of God’s Word.
He, himself, was and is, a gift.
Patricia Anne Elford (and Robert)
I miss Art and our regular phone conversations together. He has been a loyal friend and colleague for thirty years. I admired his passion for the gospel of Christ – cross and resurrection were especially central for him, his generous orthodoxy in the Reformed Tradition, his dedication to and teaching of solid biblical preaching combined appropriately with a deep, enduring commitment to social justice and action. As Principal of Vancouver School of Theology, he was a key figure in the formation of our Native Ministries Consortium and Program for training in partnership with First Nations indigenous Christian clergy, counting it as one of the most significant events of his academic administrative career. Until the very end, he remained eager to hear any news of it progress.
And what a wonderful witness to faith in the grace of God he has given to his family, friends, and church in the couragious and gracious way he has walked this long journey of living with all the burdens and uncertainties of cancer, confident in God’s love and presence in his final stages of dying. Praise be to God!
May he rest in peace,
Art was a provocative friend in Christ. He embodied the best of being a churchman – a thirst for learning, a passion for justice, a pastor’s heart, and a determination to do his best for Christ’s kingdom. He touched many lives, made many institutions better, and flourished in the faith. Heaven is richer for his presence there, as we are richer for his presence here.
Brentwood Presbyterian Church