Two francophone theological schools become one
The Quebec Mennonite Brethren theological school ETEM (École de théologie évangélique de Montréal) has officially merged with the Christian and Missionary Alliance’s IBVIE (Institut Biblique VIE), unveiling its new identity as ETEQ (École de théologie évangélique du Québec) and cementing a long-term collaboration.
“The merger of ETEM and IBVIE sets an example of how Christian groups can work together in a secular, post-Catholic context,” says ETEQ president Kristen Corrigan.
“In Ezekiel 37:15–22, Ezekiel holds up two pieces of wood inscribed with the names of Judah and Joseph to show that what was once distinct is now joined,” says Corrigan. “We take this as our example of two schools uniting under God.”
The benefits of the merger include more efficient use of financial and human resources and the potential for fostering and strengthening other partnerships, including the relationship with Université Laval, through which students receive course credit and internationally recognized degrees.
Over the past five years of joint operations, ETEM-IBVIE has developed three certificate programs, a bachelor’s degree – and this past fall – a master’s program. In 2015–16, the college celebrated a record enrollment of 70 students (850 credit hours).
The relationship between the two schools has been growing for many years. In 2009, IBVIE moved from Quebec City onto shared premises with ETEM, and the two schools began blending courses in the 2010–2011 school year.
ETEM’s predecessor, Institut Biblique Laval (IBL), began in 1976 by “accident”: while in recovery from a car crash in Quebec, Henry Brucks, secretary of the MB Board of Evangelism, had a vision for training leaders for the Quebec church.
IBL students received academic credits through Université de Montréal starting in 1990. In 2000–01, under president Éric Wingender, IBL changed its name to ETEM to reflect the institution’s status as an undergraduate school of evangelical theology.
In 2011, ETEM transitioned from their partnership with Université de Montréal to a new agreement with Université Laval. That, and a closer relationship with IBVIE, injected new life.
The “du” instead of “de” in “École de théologie évangélique du Québec” changes the geographical focus from the narrow designation of Montreal or Quebec City to the whole province – the primary region the school serves.
ETEQ’s students are leaders in churches across Quebec and the francophone world, says Corrigan. BA graduate and MA student Danielle Lajeunesse is editor of the French MB publication Le Lien, and current student Matthew Riverin leads Shred le Messe, a growing skateboard ministry.
—Angeline Schellenberg with files from ETEQ, GAMEO and the MB Herald