March 28, 2024

Dean’s Easter Message

Dear residents at St. Andrew’s Hall,

Many blessings to you in this busy academic season, as we near the end of term with final papers and exams around the corner.  We’re so pleased to have you with us at St. Andrew’s Hall, and pray that this community has been a “home away from home” for you while studying on the UBC campus.

As you know, St. Andrew’s Hall is a college of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and as a faith-based college and residence we affirm an inclusive vision of learning and development that attends to body, mind and spirit, set within the rigorous demands of a university context.  Mind, body and spirit all come into focus in the Christian community as we approach Easter Sunday.

Today is Maundy Thursday, when we remember Jesus sharing a Passover meal with his friends on the night when we has betrayed and arrested.  Maundy comes from the Latin for New Commandment (Mandatum Novum) when Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you: love one another.”

Tomorrow, around the world, Christians pause on Good (God’s) Friday to acknowledge the meaning and the mystery of Jesus’ death on the cross in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.  Having led study tours many times to Jerusalem over the years, I often recall the busy marketplace atmosphere in the crowded streets of the old city, where you can still see the “stations of the cross” where tradition has Jesus moving towards his crucifixion at Golgotha.

On Saturday, (known as Holy Saturday) Christians pause and wait in the liminal space between death and resurrection, mindful that waiting is a spiritual discipline and facing an uncertain future with grace is a posture of faithfulness in the world.

Then comes Easter Sunday, the shock and surprise of an empty tomb, the encounter with angelic messengers and the risen Jesus himself.  This world altering event that has shaped cultures and communities over the generations around the world, reveals something important about God’s character.  When faced with the worst of human violence and cruelty, God’s response brings (breathes) life and forgiveness. How badly this beautiful yet broken world needs to hear and enact this reconciling action.

Easter Sunday is  a divine response to human suffering, disclosing the grace-filled nature of God for human flourishing.

Life triumphs over death.  Faith over fear.  Light over darkness.

However you mark these next few days, I pray that in the midst of your studies and assignments you may feel, experience and participate in the joy that is Easter – life renewed in Jesus for a world he died to save.


Many blessings,


The Reverend Ross A. Lockhart, PhD

Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall



“Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth.” – Karl Barth