Montreal Diocesan Theological College held this year’s convocation at St. Andrew and St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Dorval, served by the incumbent Rev. Elizabeth Welch. The parish is also home to an Aboriginal community ministry led by the Rev. Annie Ittoshat.
In celebration of an academic year marked by both productivity and transition, Acting Principal Rev. Dr. Karen Egan highlighted a number of initiatives undertaken by college students, faculty, and staff, and confirmed the conclusion of a long period of anticipation around the appointment of a new college principal: Dr. Jesse Zink, presently Director of Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide, will be starting his term in August, 2017.
The conferral of degrees took place in three stages. First, Education for Ministry diplomas marking the completion of a four-year training in biblical literacy, church history, and theology, were awarded to Sandra Gallichon and Violet Konrad of the Diocese of Quebec. Rt. Rev. Bruce Myers, newly seated Bishop of Quebec, presented the EfM graduands. The Licentiate in Theology and Diploma in Ministry were awarded to Jane Bell, who completed her In Ministry placement this year at St. Andrew and St. Mark’s. Finally, the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree was conferred on Michael Patry, former partner at the legal firm Borden, Ladner, Gervais. Patry has been an active lay minister at the college and in the wider diocese. He is a long-standing member of the college Board and Board Executive, and has served as warden at Christ Church Cathedral. In his presentation of the D.D. degree recipient, former college principal Rev. Canon Dr. John Simons offered a moving account of Patry’s committed support to the college over the years:
“The temporal well-being of the church would suffer greatly were it not for the competence and commitment of individuals like Michael Patry. But the church is not just a secular institution. It is a sign and sacrament of God’s gracious purpose. This is why we need people like Michael Patry who is exemplary in embodying secular competence, the practice of piety, and a lively, inquiring faith.”
The ceremony concluded with a moderated dialogue on the theme of truth and reconciliation between the Rev. Annie Ittoshat and the Rev. Elizabeth Welch. Ittoshat, originally from the northern Quebec community of Kuujjuarapik in the Diocese of the Arctic, presently ministers to a community of Inuit who gather at St. Andrew and St. Mark’s. She graciously shared some of her journey from childhood to present day, which was heard and responded to by Welch. This year’s dialogue format replaced the customary formal convocation address.
Alumni and friends of the college mingled with parishioners and visitors during the convocation reception. The college extends a heartfelt congratulations to all the graduates and award recipients of the evening.