VST Speaker Series – Fall 2009

Vancouver School of Theology hosts a Speaker Series on alternate Wednesdays throughout the academic year. This series gives members of both our own and the wider community an opportunity to learn more about the work of VST students and faculty, as well as the wisdom of guest speakers both local and international.

Rev. Emilie Smith
September 30
Sojourn in the Highlands of Guatemala: The Cross and Resurrection on Maya Holy Land

The Rev. Emilie Smith is the assistant to the Suffragan Bishop of the Western Highlands, Guatemala and a recent graduate from VST’s M.Div and th.M programs.

Rev. Kerri Mesner
October 14, 1:00pm, Room 300
Queer Theology and Theatre of the Oppressed

What happens when Queer Theology meets Theatre of the Oppressed? Join us as we explore the intersections of queer theological thought and the praxis of Theatre of the Oppressed, a participatory and justice-oriented theatre methodology from Latin America. This talk will introduce Kerri’s thesis work in exploring the ways that TO might help bridge the gap between queer theological thought and praxis; the talk will also offer an experiential introduction to basic TO methodologies. Kerri will also discuss opportunities for involvement in her thesis project that will culminate in an interactive community-based Theatre of the Oppressed presentation.

Kerri is a MATS student at VST and an ordained minister with Metropolitan Community Churches, as well as a theatre educator and activist.

Dr. Philip Sheldrake
November 3, 5:00pm
Global Cities Public Lecture: Spirituality and Social Change: Rebuilding the Human City

The accelerating growth rate of cities world-wide and the intimate connection between urban environments and the enhancement of human life and well-being make cites one of the most critical spiritual as well as social issues of our age. This lecture first explores the close connections between Christian spirituality and social transformation, not least in urban contexts. It then explores how Christianity has thought about the meaning of cities and finally outlines two important ways of reflecting on spirituality and the urban: the impact of spatial structures and the nature of urban virtue.

Dr. Philip Sheldrake
November 4, 1:00pm
Roundtable Forum: Making a Good City – What can Faith Communities Contribute?

As Vancouver becomes a global city in the run-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics, it is a good time for faith communities to reflect on a compelling moral and spiritual vision for the city. What makes a “good” city, a hospitable city, beyond merely “successful” or “effecient”? How can faith communities contribute more effectively to the the public life of a plural city?

Professor Philip Sheldrake is the William Leech Professorial Fellow in Applied Theology at Durham University. Dr. Sheldrake’s research focuses specially on the public dimensions of spirituality and on spirituality in relation to cities, combining historical, theological and urban studies perspectives. He has been extensively involved internationally over the last twenty years in the development of Christian spirituality as an interdisciplinary scholarly field and is author of Spaces for the sacred: place, memory and identity.

Margaret Miller
November 18, 1:00pm, Room 300
“An Ecological Reading of Isaiah 5:1-7 (The Song of the Vineyard)”

Ecological readings of the Hebrew Bible explore how the ancient cultural wisdom of the Bible may address the ecological crisis. While the Bible has been criticized and condemned for providing the ideological foundation to this crisis (Gen 1:26-28), the Bible in fact possesses profound insights respecting the relationship between humans and the natural world. In her talk, Margaret draws an analogy between the social context and rhetorical strategy of Isa 5:1-7 and the Green Revolution in twentieth century India and environmental activist Vandana Shiva’s response. She will argue that reading the biblical passage in this way illuminates one of bible’s rich veins of ecological wisdom.

Margaret is a Masters of Theology student at VST. Following the completion of her degree she will either continue her studies or become a farmer.

Seth Klein
December 2, 1:00pm, Room 300
A Poverty Reduction Plan for BC: A more caring society is possible.

This roundtable will explore the reasons why BC needs a poverty reduction plan, the ways in which we all pay for poverty, why there is nothing inevitable about poverty in a society as wealthy as ours, and how community groups are building the call for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in BC.

Seth Klein is the British Columbia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social and economic justice.

Seth is a frequent media commentator and public speaker on public policy issues. He has authored numerous studies and newspaper articles. His research deals primarily with welfare policy, poverty, inequality and economic security. His recent publications include: Denied Assistance: Closing the Front Door on Welfare in BC (with Bruce Wallace and Marge Reitsma-Street); Living on Welfare in BC: Experiences of Longer-Term ‘Expected to Work’ Recipients (with Jane Pulkingham); Working for a Living Wage (with Tim Richards, Marcy Cohen and Deborah Littman); and A Poverty Reduction Plan for BC. CCPA Website: www.policyalternatives.ca

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