This first week has been a very interesting time here at the Atlantic School of Theology. We have welcomed new students, one from Newfoundland, and two from Southern Ontario. What we have come to realize is that this program has become, not just an educational program for the Maritimes, but a program for Canada, as we only have one student currently in the program from Nova Scotia. What does this mean for the school? I suppose that this is a question that the school needs to reflect upon.
The first class that I am taking this summer is titled The Reconciliation Journey and it taught by Paul Hutchinson from Northern Island. The work and subject matter is challenging but Paul approaches this subject and the students with such a gentle soul. He models for us what it means to engage with someone who believes those things which go against one’s own beliefs as there have been, and I imagine will continue to be, those students who might not be on the same page as others when speaking of these topics. Paul has been trying to get across to us in the class that reconciliation is not a moment in time, but rather it is a journey that one makes and can last a lifetime as there really is no end point. The Church as a whole, I think, is struggling with this as there are those who would say; “we just need to do this and get it done!” If it is a journey will we ever be finished in regards to working towards right relations and reconciliation with our indigenous brothers and sisters. I don’t have the answer to this question, but I believe it is a question that we might want to ask ourselves. What I have only come to realize, as I have only had 3 classes so far and there is already so much information to unpack, is that reconciliation is a complicated issue with no single answer or template to move forward, there is no quick fix. What that tells me is that we all must stumble, sometimes struggle, along working towards reconciliation within ourselves, with those who are important in our lives, with our communities, even sometimes with God. It is a challenge that I believe we are called to each and every day as people of God, we are called to find a new and better way of being.
The last thing that I wanted to share with you today is something that happened that was very meaningful for me. Last evening we, here at AST, had our Matriculation service. At this service new students come forward, announce their names to the community gathered, and sign the Matriculation book as they become full members of the learning community. The faculty chose this occasion to make the presentation of an award. I was awarded the Barbara Rumscheidt Award for 2017. The Barbara Rumscheidt award is for students who have completed half or more of their studies at AST, and who have demonstrated integration of a significant contribution to social justice and/or human rights with their program of study. I was honoured with this award in recognition of the work that I have done with Rainbow Ministry, the outreach, care, and concern that I offer to the LGBTQ community, my integration of social justice and human rights concerns in my school projects, and my work here at the school on behalf of the student community. I wanted to share this with all of you, my family of faith, as it is through your encouragement and nurturing that I am becoming the person that I am today. Thank you all so very much for sharing this journey with me.
That is about all for now, I will post again soon.
Peace and blessings,