November 30, 2023

St. Andrew’s Day

St. Andrew’s Day 2023

Warm greetings from the Dean’s Office at St. Andrew’s Hall! We are in the midst of another busy and fruitful autumn term here on the University of British Columbia campus.

Just as the leaves are changing colour around us, University education can be an incredibly transformative season in one’s life. Thank you for your generous and ongoing support of the ministries of St. Andrew’s Hall that nurture a vibrant Christian community in the heart of one of Canada’s most important research universities. Your gifts to St. Andrew’s Hall help in three primary ways. First, St. Andrew’s Hall (SAH) funds the Presbyterian theological education at Vancouver School of Theology (VST) with both direct financial support to VST, as well as tuition and housing bursaries for Certified Candidates preparing to serve the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Second, through the Centre for Missional Leadership, SAH directly equips congregations and their leaders (Teaching and Ruling Elders) through programs and publications nurturing faithful Christian witness in Canada today. Third, your financial support impacts the Christian residential community at SAH with 250 students and their families, ministered to through our Chaplaincy and helping people deepen (or indeed discover!) their Christian faith.

Together, we are living into our vision of being called to discern and equip the future church that God is bringing. We engage this vision daily through our mission to educate and equip missional leaders through teaching, hospitality, and witness for Christ’s church of tomorrow, today. Guided by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, our Board meets four times a year (two in person and two online gatherings) to evaluate and encourage management and staff to implement our strategic framework and embody our values of being a faithful, courageous, innovative, collaborative, and missional community. Let me share more now in depth about the ministries of the Hall so you can see the impact of your generous support.

Your support of the ministry of St. Andrew’s Hall enables us to live out the Board’s strategic directions that includes deepening theological education through our General Assembly endorsed agreement with Vancouver School of Theology, as well as the equipping of current leaders and congregations through the Centre for Missional Leadership. St. Andrew’s Hall has three professors seconded to teach next door at Vancouver School of Theology where Presbyterian students prepare for Ordained ministry in degree programs: Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart, Professor of Mission Studies; Rev. Dr. Richard Topping, Professor of Studies in the Reformed Tradition; and Rev. Rebecca Simpson, Director of Presbyterian Formation.

We have 38 Presbyterian Church in Canada students enrolled at Vancouver School of Theology and St. Andrew’s Hall offers care and hospitality not only to those students, but also to many from the international Reformed community studying who feel at home in our Presbyterian community.

Presbyterian students on retreat at Camp Douglas
Presbyterian students on retreat at Camp Douglas


We appreciate partnering with VST not only in the classroom but also in events that help bless the wider church. For example, it was a pleasure working with Vancouver School of Theology this summer for the first “Cork Lecture” where we welcomed Dr. Andy Root from Luther Seminary, who reflected on “Christian ministry in a Secular Age” with a Friday night academic lecture, followed by a Saturday workshop for church leaders.

Dr. Ross Lockhart and Dr. Andrew Root

It was a great success, and we are already working with VST on another joint Cork Lecture for next year. The Cork Lecture is funded through the generous bequest from Ms. Mardi Cork whose financial gift to St. Andrew’s Hall supports Presbyterian students and the ministry of SAH. I encourage you to remember St. Andrew’s Hall in your estate planning, as an investment in the future leadership of Christ’s Church for the generations to come.

Our strategic directions also attend to the non-degree programs offered through St. Andrew’s Hall as a blessing to the wider church. Under the direction of Rev. Albert Chu, the Centre for Missional Leadership offers a certificate program led by Rev. Dr. Tim Dickau, seasonal pastoral leader zoom calls for ministers and elders, congregational consulting, pastor’s retreats, and a robust church planting network known as Cultivate led by Andrea Perrett. Over the years, CML has produced a wide range of publications to help leaders with missional theology.

Earlier this year, CML published its latest project entitled Vancouver: An Asian Religion in Vancouver based on ethnographic interviews with Asian Christian laypeople in Vancouver, challenging the secularization thesis of church decline in the West by naming the growth and vitality (often underreported in the media) of Asian Christian witness.

This past summer CML welcomed the latest cohort for the Guder Scholars program. Named in honour of our CML Senior Fellow Rev. Dr. Darrell Guder, the program receives applications from Reformed pastors in their first fifteen years of Ordained ministry. A select number of pastors were selected from across North America, and St. Andrew’s Hall funded their travel, accommodation, and meals for the onsite retreat focused on the theme of “Missional Leadership and Evangelism.” Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison and Dr. Jack Levison from Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas served as our theme speakers and offered a public lecture as part of this year’s program. As one Guder Scholar wrote, “From Albert’s warm communication to the breath-taking setting of the UBC campus, the lavish hospitality and leadership of the CML team, the warm and thoughtful engagement of the other Guder Scholars, to the incarnational teaching of Priscila and Jack; the Lord’s presence was experienced in rich and meaningful ways.”

Our strategic directions also attend to our ministries of hospitality, chaplaincy, facilities, finance, and governance. The housing ministry at St. Andrew’s Hall creates a home away from home for full-time UBC students and their families from around the world. Our chaplain Rev. Sumarme Goble leads Tuesday worship for the community, weekly Bible study, a vocational discernment group and, along with our Community Co-ordinators a weekly soup night as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

Many of our students come to St. Andrew’s Hall as committed Christians, and others hear the gospel for the first time while engaged in their university studies and living in our Christian college. Your financial gifts enable both the vibrant programs and hospitable space for us to host students from around the world and share the love of Christ on the UBC campus. To that end, last year the Board approved the capital replacement of all furniture within the residences and this past spring we completed upgrades to our twelve Quad rooms, including the addition of a second shower in each unit blessing our forty-eight undergraduate students.

All of this is made possible by your generous and ongoing support of St. Andrew’s Hall. While proudly a college of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, St. Andrew’s Hall receives only a little over $60,000 a year in financial support from the denomination which means that the overwhelming costs of educating Presbyterian students for ministry at Vancouver School of Theology are funded directly by St. Andrew’s Hall. I can confidently say that we practise prudent financial management of our resources but to fulfill the mission God has given us in theological education, we rely on you, our friends across the country. I look forward to reaching out to you every year on St. Andrew’s Day and ask you to join me in offering a financial gift this November to St. Andrew’s Hall, to further the mission of educating and equipping missional leaders through teaching, hospitality, and witness for Christ’s church of tomorrow, today? I invite you to make your St. Andrew’s Day gift today to support the ministries of the Hall online today – click here. A one-time donation is much appreciated, or you could join my family in making a monthly donation to the Hall. In particular, we are always in need of support for student bursaries in order to help those preparing for Ordained ministry with the cost of education and housing. I would also love to speak with you about much needed legacy gifts for the ongoing ministry of St. Andrew’s Hall, as you make plans for honouring God with your financial assets in the future. In whatever way you support the vibrant and transformative ministry of St. Andrew’s Hall, I thank you with deep and sincere appreciation. I am truly honoured to serve as Dean of the Hall, leading this community of scholars, staff, and students in discerning, participating and celebrating what God is doing in our midst for the sake of the church and world.

Grace and peace in the name of Jesus,

The Reverend Ross A. Lockhart, PhD Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall

Download the St. Andrew’s Day 2023 Letter HERE.