The president of the Mennonite Brethren training institute in Quebec brought encouraging news to B.C. and Manitoba this spring: God is working to revive what some had believed was a dying theology school. And the resuscitation is coming at a dizzying pace.
Kristen Corrigan, president and fundraiser for ETEM (École de théologie évangélique de Montréal), said the sudden death of vice-president and professor Eric Wingender last autumn was the worst of a series of setbacks that threatened the very existence of the school. But one by one, she said, elements of viability have returned.
• a new accreditation agreement with Laval University, replacing and improving upon a previous association with the University of Montreal;
• merger with IBVIE (a Christian and Missionary Alliance institution) and exploratory talks with other
• a three-year commitment of financial help from the Canadian Conference of MB Churches, responding to a threatening financial crisis;
• a new focus on a key age group, 19–24 year-olds, in student recruitment;
• more emphasis on practical application to course content, and a new international practicum for students;
• exploration plans for ETEM and IBVIE to provide student housing, to find ways to work with a leading Christian bookstore, and to build up their francophone library.
Corrigan said it’s an exciting journey that leaves her with a sense “we’re still trying to design and build this airplane while we’re flying it.”
ETEM is once more able to recruit new students and faculty – and is doing so with more freedom than leaders had dreamed of in the Quebec educational context,
Corrigan brought her message in April to Winkler, Man., and Winnipeg, and in June to two churches in B.C. – Gracepoint in Surrey, and Bakerview in Abbotsford. She intends to spread the good news of Quebec theological training as often as she can, both within Quebec and through the rest of Canada.