Vancouver School of Theology

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


VST Summer School 2019

During the beautiful month of July, VST will again host an exciting array of courses. This is a terrific way to spend some time on the beautiful UBC campus while sampling what VST has to offer.


Monday, July 8th, 7-9pm
We Are Creatures of the Living God:
Helping Christians Have An Actual Doctrine of Creation

with Willie Jennings

St. Mary’s Kerrisdale
2490 W 37th Ave, Vancouver, BC


Tuesday, July 9th, 7-9pm
Why “God Can’t” is Good News!
A Solution to Why God Doesn’t Prevent Suffering
with Thomas Oord

Canadian Memorial United Church
1806 W 15th Ave, Vancouver, BC
(Corner of Burrard St & W 15th Ave)




WEEK 1: July 8th – 12th, 2019
(9am – 12pm unless otherwise noted on course description)

  • The Book of Acts: Reflections on Discipleship, Racial Identity, and Community [NT5/711]
    with Willie Jennings
    The book of Acts speaks of a revolutionary life together in and through the Spirit. Examining the contours of that with a view toward the racial dilemma of the western world, our goal will be to think together through our challenges of building Christian community caught as we are between nation-state builders and those who are displaced, migrant, and/or excluded.
    Willie James Jennings is Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale Divinity School.
  • Storytelling for Preaching, Teaching, and Chaplaincy [IPC/HOM510]
    with Mark Novak & Renee Brachfeld
    Storytelling helps us articulate the sacred in everyday life. Adding to your spiritual tool chest, this participatory experience will elevate both your sacred telling and sacred listening skills, and be a lot of fun!
    Co-founders of the Multifaith Storytelling Institute (, Mark & Renée are masters at teaching the art of storytelling and in creating sacred space.
  • Thank Goodness, God is not in control! [TH5/729]
    with Thomas Oord
    Open and Relational theologies provide winsome resources for answering big questions. This course answers two: Why doesn’t God prevent suffering and evil? Can God stop climate change singlehandedly?
    Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian, philosopher, and scholar of multi-disciplinary studies. He is known for his contributions to research on love, open and relational theology, science and religion, and the implications of freedom and relationships for transformation.
  • Dreams and Schemes: Creativity, Innovation, and Strategy for Church Planters and Renewers [PT527]
    with Emily Scott
    Rooted in the instructor’s experience as a church planter, students will explore a theology of creation and develop skills applicable to any situation in which a new thing is coming into being: from a new ministry for an established congregation to a not-for-profit start-up; together, we will explore a six-part process of creation: void, hunger, vision, reality, identity, and growth.
    Emily Scott was the founding pastor of St. Lydia’s Dinner Church in Brooklyn, NY and is currently stewarding a new church community in Baltimore that grows from the faith and witness of LGBTQ+ folks where congregants might encounter the fullness of God’s love for them.

(2pm – 5pm unless otherwise noted on course description)

  • Wisdom and Compassion as a Way of Life in the Buddhist Tradition [IPS511]
    with Michael Newton
    Buddhist practitioners seek to ease the suffering found in the world by giving life to wisdom and compassion through vows and practices that cultivate the virtues of generosity, ethics, patience, joyful effort, meditative concentration.
    Michael Newton was ordained as a Zen priest in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition fifteen years ago and is a guiding teacher of the Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver.
  • A Theology of Subversive Friendship [IPT/TH5/710]
    with Joas Adiprasetya
    Rooted in the idea of God as Friendship, this course proposes a constructive ecclesiology that is interfaith, risky, subversive, and clowning in character.
    Joas Adiprasetya is the Dean of Public Relations of Jakarta Theological Seminary where he also teaches Constructive Theology and Theology of Religions.


WEEK 2: July 15th – 19th, 2019
(9am – 12pm unless otherwise noted on course description)

  • Ministry for Decades, Not Just Next Week: The Preaching Life for the Long Haul [HOM5/718]
    with Catherine MacLean
    The preaching life is the best gig in the world. Sustaining it takes disciplined attention and a village. This class considers practices, resources – and menaces.
    Catherine Faith MacLean is pastor of St. Paul’s United Church in Edmonton, AB; she holds a DMin in Preaching and she is one of the authors of A Song of Faith, the newest statement of faith of the United Church.
  • Indigenous Awareness 101: Becoming Indigenous Friendly in your Life and Ministry [INT510]
    with Ray Aldred
    This course aims at helping build a healthy respect for Indigenous identity neither vilifying or idealizing but seeking to become an ally by building a climate of collaboration within the learner’s life and that of their community.
    Ray Aldred is the director of Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver School of Theology.

(2pm – 5pm unless otherwise noted on course description)

  • Revelation, Mission, and the Spirit: The Apostle Paul’s Journeys into Unexpected Spaces [HOM/NT5/712]
    wtih Douglas Campbell
    This course begins with Paul’s theological vision–which lies at the very basis of the church–as that unfolded and developed through his extraordinary missionary work. But this vision developed over time into a supremely practical program that successfully planted and nurtured churches in a forbidding pagan context. A knowledge of Paul’s vision and its accompanying program will benefit missionaries, teachers, and preachers today as they seek to plant and nurture Christian communities in our own increasingly paganized contexts.
    Douglas Campbell teaches New Testament at Duke Divinity School. His research interests centre on Paul using a variety of approaches from modern literary theory and linguistics to ancient rhetoric and modern theology.
  • Spiritual Care with Older Adults [SP/PT511]
    with Jean Morris
    Join lay people, clergy, and chaplains to explore opportunities for spiritual care with older adults, including people who live with dementia, in congregational and clinical contexts of ministry.
    Jean Morris is an associate minister for pastoral care at Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary, AB and former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.



Course Outlines and Required Reading

Course outlines and required reading texts will be posted online as they are submitted by the instructors (likely by mid-March).

View Course Outlines


Audit and Continuing Education Credit registration only.
Please see below for Degree Credit registration.

Register Now

Tuition Fees

VST keeps the cost of its summer courses as low as possible so that they are accessible to all. The cost to audit a course is $255. To take a course for continuing education certificate credit is $330. Degree tuition follows the regular tuition rates set for the 2019-2020 academic year.  Each 15-hour class earns 1.5 degree credit hours. Please contact the VST Registrar for information on degree credit tuition.

Course Expectations and Course Credits

Summer courses are open to all interested participants. There are no prerequisites or theological training needed to audit a course. Auditors attend and participate in the course but are not required to submit any assignments for grading.  Summer School intensives require 100% on-site attendance for all students.

Continuing Education Certificate Credit

If reading and writing help you engage more deeply with course material, you may want to consider taking a class for Continuing Education Certificate credit. Work expectations include preparation and reading before the start of the course with a graded reflection paper following.

Certificate in Theological Studies

Degree Credit

Most Summer School courses are also available for 1.5 credits of either basic or advanced graduate degree credit. If you are interested in taking a course for degree credit towards your VST degree program, or to transfer into a comparable theological degrees elsewhere, please email Do not register online.  Degree registration will begin in March 2019.


Please make your own arrangements for acquisition of the Required Texts for your course through your local bookstores. Online bookstores such as or have competitive prices with fast shipping to your neighbourhood.

Financial Aid

The H.R. MacMillan Fund for Clergy Continuing Education provides funding for Clergy continuing education in British Columbia, or for any clergy person taking courses at Vancouver School of Theology.

Application Forms

Course Cancellation

In the event of low registrations, some courses may be cancelled.  Please register early to avoid disappointment. Information on course cancellation will be available on our website in early June. If VST has to cancel a course, you will be given a full refund.

Withdrawal Policy

If you withdraw from a course, notification must be received in writing to the Registrar by the dates below, in all cases $25/course will be non-refundable. Of the remaining fees, the following are refunded depending on the date of withdrawal:

• 100% refunded if notification received 7 days prior to the 1st day of classes;
• 80% refunded if notification received between 7 days and the 1st day of classes;
• 40% refunded if notification received by the 2nd day of classes;
• After the 2nd day of classes, no refund can be given


Carey Centre:  Phone: 604-224-4308
Next door to VST. Single or queen rooms with en-suite bathrooms and linen service.  Also a limited number of fully furnished apartments.

St. Andrew’s Hall:  Phone: 604-822-9720 or e-mail
Also next door to VST, St. Andrews offer summer Quad Apartments: four single, private bedrooms, two shared baths, and shared kitchen and common area, including a limited number of fully disabled-accessible.

UBC: Pacific Spirit Hostel, West Coast Suites and Walter Gage Towers: – Phone 1-888-331-4194 or email  

TRIUMF House: Phone (604) 222-7633 or email