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Charmila Ireland receives Chris Vais Community Award at Knox’s Graduand Celebration, March 17

Charmila Ireland, completing Knox College’s Master of Divinity program in May 2017, received the Chris Vais Community Award at Knox’s Graduand Celebration on Friday, March 17. Knox’s faculty, staff, and students elect each year’s recipient.

The Chris Vais Community Award is presented to a theological student in his/her graduating year who has contributed to the Knox Community in an exceptional way by having a pastoral and community building influence on the College. Rev. Thomas Vais, brother of Chris Vais, presented the award.

Knox’s Graduand Celebration is an opportunity for College faculty, staff, and students to acknowledge and congratulate graduating students. This year, 13 of the 19 graduands were able to attend the banquet, along with family and friends.

The March 17 event began with a Service of Celebration, including a message by Principal Dorcas Gordon, liturgy of anointing, and litany of blessing. The group then enjoyed a reception hosted by Principal Gordon in the Rotunda before moving to the Dining Hall for a banquet. After toasts from faculty, staff, and students, Dr. John Vissers acknowledged each graduand present.

The lighthearted event also included a Knox-specific adaptation of The Sound of Music’s “So Long, Farewell” – sung by Knox Professors John Vissers, Dorcas Gordon, Nam Soon Song, Charles Fensham, and (the lyricist) Stuart Macdonald. Macdonald also provided the evening’s official musical entertainment, performing favourites on his guitar.

Come celebrate with the graduands awarded their degrees at Knox’s 173rd Convocation on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Find information about this year’s convocation and pre-convocation events here.

Find additional photos from the March 17 event on Knox’s Facebook page.

 

Photos:

1) Seaton Brachmayer anoints Julio Miranda with oil. Both intend to graduate Knox this May with Master of Divinity degrees.

2) Principal Dorcas Gordon speaks a benediction upon the group. In her sermon, “Letting God be God,” she reminded the graduands: “If we believe that the Spirit of God continues to move in the world, we must be ready for the surprising ways, the surprising people, through whom God will act.”

3) Graduands receive well-wishes following the service.

4) Rev. Thomas Vais (right) presented this year’s Chris Vais Community Award to Charmila Ireland (left).

5) Thirteen of the 19 graduands attended this year’s event on March 17.

Find additional photos from the March 18 event on Knox’s Facebook page.

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Reverend Dr. Esther Acolatse appointed as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology

Esther Acolatse

Knox College’s Board of Governors is pleased to announce the appointment of the Reverend Dr. Esther Acolatse as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Knox College, beginning July 1, 2017. Dr. Acolatse brings strengths in teaching experience, scholarship, commitment to ongoing learning, ability to be a role model for students, and compatibility with the Knox College community. 

Dr. Acolatse is a life-long member of the Presbyterian Church, first in Ghana, and more recently as ordained clergy within the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has been Assistant Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and World Christianity at Duke Divinity School (Durham, N.C.) since 2010.

Dr. Acolatse graduated with a bachelor’s degree (with honours) from the University of Ghana with a religion and psychology major, followed by a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University. She then earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Princeton Theological Seminary; her doctoral thesis is entitled “Cosmology and Pastoral Diagnoses: A Psycho-theological Anthropology for Pastoral Counseling in Ghana.”

Dr. Acolatse has demonstrated a deep commitment to research and is strong in her knowledge of intercultural values and practices. In 2014 she published her first book, For Freedom or Bondage: A critique of African Pastoral Practices. Her second book, Fleeing from the Spirit? Biblical Realism and the Demands of Contextual Theology, is under contract.

An experienced teacher, Dr. Acolatse has taught courses including Method in Practical Theology, Cross Cultural Pastoral Care and Counseling, Pastoral Care and Gender Issues, Psychology of Religion, and Death and Dying. She says, “My goal in teaching is to engage in serious theological reflection and dialogue with students…. My pedagogical approach encourages students to question the sometimes pre-formulated answers and lead them gradually to the place where their new answers are solid enough to invite even newer and deeper questions and answers…. Such an approach, I believe, best prepares students for appropriate pastoral interventions, especially in our increasing multi-ethnic and multi-faith family contexts.”

As Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Knox College, Dr. Acolatse will equip students to serve the church through specialized areas of pastoral ministries, spiritual care/therapy, and social service. She will focus on integrating Christian life and practice with theological insight and spiritual depth, preparing students to be leaders in lay and diaconal ministries in faith communities, pursue careers in the non-profit sector, and work as institutional chaplains, spiritual care practitioners, psycho-spiritual therapists, and community workers.

 

 

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