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Drs. Reinerio Arce Valentin and Patricia Ares lived at Knox College from February to August, 2016, as visiting scholars from Matanzas, Cuba. There, Reinerio is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Evangelical Theological Seminary; Patricia is a specialist in family and society at the University of Havana.
First and foremost, we would like to thank the Principal, Dorcas Gordon, for the invitation to be with you as Visiting Scholars. Also we would like to thank professors and workers from Knox who welcomed us and behaved toward us with great hospitality and kindness. We feel a part of this prestigious institution, and we have enjoyed our stay and our participation in the activities organized during this term. The warmth you have shown us has compensated for the cold winter in Toronto. Last but not least, we must also mention and thank the United Church of Canada for financing our travel fares.
It is difficult to speak in so short a space of our experience in Knox College in the last six months. After several years of leading the Seminary of Matanzas, being able to dedicate time for teaching and writing has been very valuable for Reinerio. The same can be said of Patricia, who has been able to finish writing her book on Family and Well-being.
Many parts of Knox life had an impact on us and connected well with us, despite language and cultural differences. We appreciated the vocational orientation of this institution, whose principal objective is the formation of pastors for the churches of Canada, especially for the Presbyterian Church. Knox exists to serve the Church, and in this way to serve the Canadian people in all their diversity.
We were also impressed by the spiritual life at Knox. The weekly chapels with students and professors, and the community dinners over which we fraternized, were most inspiring. In the same way, we valued the stimulating community activities at the end of the term, particularly the graduation ceremony. It went beyond being a formal act to become a celebration of the successes obtained through years of graduates’ efforts, and of professors’ joy and satisfaction in seeing the results of their work. It was always so rewarding for us to observe the respect for cultural diversity. The presence of Korean students and students of other nationalities fills Knox with a special character that prepares us to live in a diverse world of respect for differences.
One might worry that Knox’s emphasis on pastoral training could affect the academic level of courses or students’ capacity to assimilate a high biblical theological level. However, this is not the case. We were impressed with the high academic level of this institution and its interest not only in the theology of North America but also in the theology in other contexts. Hence, Reinerio offered a course on Contextual Theologies. We also participated in other courses in which the interest in the life of the Church and theological production from other contexts was evident.
Lastly, we want to express our great satisfaction for the relationships between our two institutions. The exchange between our professors and students, especially the visits of Knox students to the Seminary of Matanzas, constitutes a significant program which makes students from both institutions understand the global character of the Mission of the Church and the diversity of today’s world.
We thank God for this opportunity to share and to learn together with you. May God continue to guide you in your educational mission for the glory of his name.
New six-week online Lay Education courses available for the fall.
Reformed faith and spirituality with instructor Rev. Dr. Dong Ha Kim: September 12 – October 24, 2016.
Reformed worship with instructor Rev. Dr. Emily Bisset: October 31 – December 15, 2016.
No prerequisites required. Learn more and register HERE.>>