If you are eager to learn and anxious to explore both inside and outside the classroom, you are in good company here! Vancouver School of Theology tends the work of community and spiritual formation in many ways. It is the case that theological education is a deeply personal undertaking. However, it is also the case that we make our sojourn in the company of others. Faith and maturity contribute to competence in ministry as well as knowledge and skills. Praying together, eating together, and playing together are an integral part of the School. In close cooperation with the denomination from which a student comes, the community at VST seeks to be a centre for creative growth in the love and service of God.
Covenant Groups at VST
One way that VST tends to community life and spiritual formation is participation in a VST Spiritual Covenant Group. All M.Div students are required, and all others invited to participate in such a group. These groups meet at least once per month, and each group will explore and practice one particular spiritual discipline (i.e. Lectio Divina, centering prayer, fasting, the spirituality of song etc.).
Worship is one of the most important ways community is built at VST. Students and faculty from each denomination conduct traditional worship services — from once a week to twice a day! As well, the entire community of students, staff and faculty meet for Community Worship on Thursday at noon. Students, staff and faculty are all involved in orchestrating this worship. Friends of VST and visitors are most welcome to attend.
Students, faculty, and staff have many opportunities to gather together in casual conversation over a shared meal. On Thursdays, a simple soup and bun lunch is prepared and made available for everyone in the VST community. There is no fixed cost, though donations are accepted.
The Research Studies Committee organizes lectures and roundtables throughout the Fall and Spring terms featuring student and faculty presentations.
Somerville Community Event and Public Lectures
The Somerville Event promotes spiritual vitality and community leadership and is made possible through The Somerville Fund for Spiritual Formation. The fund was established in appreciation for the pastoral presence and spiritual guidance of Archbishop T. David Somerville. The Somerville Event is normally scheduled during Fall term.
The G. Peter Kaye Lectures
This is a school event for everyone. Students, faculty, staff and the general public are invited to attend the public lectures during Spring term. Many alumni attend this event. More information will be available in the Fall.
Parties and Socials
Occasional parties and social gatherings are organized by students, staff and faculty throughout the year, such as summer BBQ’s, a Christmas banquet and Year End Party.
Recreation & Health
VST is situated in a naturally beautiful area — especially good for running, cycling, walking on the beaches or in the woods. All VST students pay a fee to the University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society, permitting access to recreational facilities on the UBC campus — including swimming pools, a gymnasium with weight rooms, hot pools and other facilities such as UBC libraries. Other cultural activities on campus include noon hour concerts, plays at the Frederic Wood Theatre, performances at the Chan Centre and public lectures. Students also organize sports and cultural events. Check with the VSTSA (Student Association) for more information on up-coming events.
The Vancouver School of Theology Students Association, provides a forum for students to discuss items of mutual interest and concern. All students registered at VST are members of the Association and pay student fees each academic year. Each spring, the VSTSA elects a new executive which is responsible for calling monthly meetings and planning the agenda for the following academic year. Student representatives sit on the Worship and Spiritual Life committee, as well as on Faculty Council.
Families / Child Care
Our community life is enriched by the presence of families with children living on campus. Normally, no formal arrangement is made for child-care by the School, although students tend to organize as needed. Children are always welcome at worship.
Downtown Vancouver can be conveniently reached with TransLink buses which can be boarded a 5 – 10 minute walk away at the UBC bus loop.
There are many small boutiques and retail stores on and off-campus. Grocery stores, dry-cleaners, banks and other necessities are a short distance away and can be accessed by car, bike, bus or on foot.