Bishop’s Message – February 2011
February-06-11// by: Bishop Barry B. Clarke
“To teach, to delight, and to move” St Augustine
How many of us are aware of the great resource we have in the diocese called the Montreal Diocesan Theological College? Many of the clergy serving in the diocese are graduates of the College. I, myself, am an alumnus of the College and also happen to be the seventh graduate to be consecrated bishop. Bishop Ron Cutler, Suffragan Bishop of Nova Scotia and PEI is the eighth.
“Dio”, as the College is affectionately known, is part of the Montreal School of Theology, an ecumenical body consisting of three autonomous theological colleges affiliated with the Faculty of Religious Studies of McGill University (the two other colleges are the United Theological College and the Presbyterian College). Students are registered to one of the denominational colleges as well as at McGill.
The College was founded by Bishop Oxenden in 1873 who saw the need of a training college in theology in the diocese. In its early years, the College was located in the Library of Synod Hall situated at University and Burnside (now boulevard de Maisonneuve). The Principal, the Reverend Joseph Albert Lobley, taught all the classes. Incorporated in 1879, the College became affiliated with McGill University in 1880. By the end of the 1880s, the College needed a more suitable building. Andrew Frederick Gault, the “Cotton King of Canada” and a warden at St George’s Church, offered to assume the cost of a new building on a lot he had previously acquired on University Street. Bishop Bond enthusiastically accepted the offer and the College opened the new building in October 1896 and has resided there ever since.
The College is an integral part of the life and mission of the diocese and of the wider Church. It is an important community that both educates and forms clergy in their ministry and their vocation. Dio also houses the Centre for Lay Education (formerly the LAOS Institute) which is another important part of the College’s and the Diocese’s life. Under the able leadership of Canon Tim Smart, the Centre provides opportunity through its various programmes such as EFM for lay individuals to study and reflect upon the nature of the Church. We are gifted as a diocese with wonderful educators both in the College, in our ecumenical partnership with the Montreal School of Theology and with the teaching members of the Faculty of Religious Studies.
Sunday February 13th has been designated as Theological Education Sunday and I invite our diocesan family to keep our students and faculty in our prayers on that day. I encourage you to learn more about the importance of theological education in our Church by:
visiting the College’s website (www.dio-mdtc.ca),
by inviting a student or a faculty member to visit your parish and speak about their ministry,
by making a financial contribution to the College in support of the ministry and mission of theological education,
by arranging a visit of the College and experience the life and community of the College in its worship and teaching.
Principal John Simons, the staff and students of the College are eager to share their stories and experiences.
I truly believe that, in my thirty-three years of ordained ministry, our diocese has been shaped and challenged by the changes in both church and society; new liturgies, new forms of ministry, new understanding around human issues, new insight unto our understanding of the ministry and mission of the Church. Still today, God continues to call men and women to ordained ministry and their call is being shaped by the education and knowledge they receive from our theological colleges.
O God, you have called the students and faculty of Montreal Diocesan Theological College to a common life of study, prayer and ministry: May your Spirit, working through their study, bring them to a mature faith, and likewise move them, in their prayer, to an ardent love; so that, made confident to act in your Name, they may enable your Church to accomplish the mission you have entrusted to it; for the sake of Jesus Christ and his kingdom. Amen.
A Collect for the College, for use on Theological Education Sunday