Vancouver School of Theology

Forming thoughtful, engaged and generous Christian leaders for the church in the 21st century


Rev. Brenda Fawkes

Educational Background

B.A. University of Winnipeg , M.Div Vancouver School of Theology 97.

Area of teaching specialty

Director of Theological Field Education and Instructor of Studio For Strategic Leadership.

What makes you passionate about teaching?

I am always encouraged, surprised and grateful that although the Christian church and Religious Communities sit on the sidelines of our secular and consumer-oriented society people still keep experiencing a call to leadership and to the vocation of loving the world that God loves.

What inspires you about teaching at VST specifically?

The opportunity to work across boundaries of denomination and faith traditions as well as working within a curriculum that continually takes into account the challenges and opportunities of contemporary cultural, context and church. 

What kind of student do you love having in your class?

People passionate about connecting the theory and study of theology to practical application. Those who find the courage to live on the edge of their leadership and live into the challenge and privilege of their vocation.

Current academic projects

Research of leadership practices and how they integrate into the specifics of pastoral and public leadership. Historical summary and record of learning sites that VST students have worked in as reference for future students. The development of online resources for supervisors and mentors.

What do you see the future holding for you in your academic profession?

Field Education is now often called contextual education. I am interested in maintaining the crucial bridge between study, reflection and practice. I seek to maintain relationships with communities of best practices. I am very interested in supporting models of emerging ministries and how we resource them. 

What challenges do students face today that may represent new challenges with respect to changes in practices of education?

It is true that none of us know the exact skill and gift set that will be required for the future church. The list of competencies and expertise leaders are required to have gets longer and longer and the demand for shorter and quicker education increases at the same rate.  Therefore one of the best approaches to education seems to be to be able to read the opportunities and demands of particular contexts and then ways of accessing resources to equip ourselves. This is a key component of the Studio for Strategic Leadership.

What gives you hope for church?

The rapid changes present us with an urgency to look for and pay attention to our essential DNA and how we maintain it as well as pay attention to what is emerging as faithful in our time and place.

What advise or guidance would you give to students thinking about coming to VST?

It is a place for exploration and discernment that will open up your passion for theology and living spiritually rich and examined lives. The diversity will challenge and enrich you. 

Hold on to your hats. You will be challenged, you will be delighted, you will be not be allowed to remain the same. Be prepared for joy. Be prepared for hard work. Be prepared for being brought to a place you cannot right now imagine. Trust that your teachers are seeking your best. Trust that this school is dedicated to your flourishing. Trust that we will care for you and be honest with you. Trust that we have your back and when you come to us you will be met with high professional standards, dedication to authenticity and adherence to principled and ethical application of academic policies and standards. We are seeking to model the kind of leadership and Christian/religious identity we are shaping you to live in the world. We take what we do seriously and we expect you to meet us with the seriousness and dedication with which we treat you.

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