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Knox College mourns the death of Principal Emeritus The Rev. Dr. Art Van Seters

The Rev. Dr. Art Van Seters, Principal Emeritus of the College, Moderator of the 125th General Assembly, and Convenor of the Presbyterian World Service & Development Committee, died Saturday, May 21st, 2011.

The thoughts and prayers of the entire Knox College community are with his wife Rowena and his family.

A memorial service has been scheduled for Thursday, May 26th at 7:30 p.m. in the College Chapel.


In God’s own timing, Arthur Van Seters was called to his eternal home on Saturday, May 21st. He was a pastor, seminary professor and administrator for over 45 years. Most of all he was a husband, father, and friend. He was profoundly loved by his wife Rowena (married 53 years) and will be deeply missed by David (Adine), Stephen (Andrea), Timothy (Vivian), Philip and Thomas (Susannah), and grandchildren Philip, Juliette, Sarah, Luke, Alexa, Samantha, Aaron, Nathaniel and Naomi. He will also be missed by his brothers John (Elizabeth), Richard (Judi), and Fred (Joanne). His sister, Phil, and brother, Hugo (Pat), predeceased him. He was ordained by The Presbyterian Church in Canada, served for a decade as a pastor and then as a professor and chief administrator in Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto. He travelled widely in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. In 1999 he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of his denomination. In his battle with cancer since 2003, he received compassionate care from the Princess Margaret Hospital. An informal gathering to greet the family will be held on Wednesday, May 25th at 7:30 pm at Armour Heights Presbyterian Church, 105 Wilson Ave. A Memorial Service will take place in Knox College Chapel at the University of Toronto on Thursday, May 26th at 7:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Presbyterian World Service and Development.


Born near Bronte, Ontario, in the depression years, Art was the third oldest of six Van Seters children. He was keenly aware (and proud!) of his Dutch heritage with its particular idiosyncrasies. After high school he graduated from the University of Toronto, then Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia and finally Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia where he completed his doctoral degree.

Married to Rowena Elliott, they have five sons, David, Stephen, Timothy, Philip and Tom. After ordination in 1965 Art was appointed to a three-point charge centred in Sackville, New Brunswick. Two and a half years later he was called to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in St. Lambert, Quebec. In 1974 he began 26 years of teaching and administration at our church’s three colleges in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.

After retiring from the principalship at Knox College, he was appointed Moderator of the 125th General Assembly. He and Rowena have been active members of Armour Heights Presbyterian Church since 1993. In addition to his publications, lectures, workshops and preaching, Art enjoyed gardening, carving in stone and wood, and reading serious novels.

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Celebrate 400 Years of the King James Bible

Join us as we explore the history of one of the most influential books in the English-speaking world!

Thursday, April 28 – 5:00-7:30 PM

From Scrolls to Scriptures: The Curious Story of the English Bible with Dr. Brian Irwin

The King James Version of the Bible has dominated the Christian world for the past 400 years, but it was not the first Bible to be translated into English. Join Professor Brian Irwin as we uncover how the rise and fall of empires and a church in turmoil influenced translation and resulted in the English Bibles that we read today.

Thursday, MAY 26 –5:00-7:30 PM

Plotting and Piety: The Tumultuous World of King James I & VI with The Rev. Dr. Stuart Macdonald

King James faced tumultuous times in both his Kingdoms. Religious change had been dramatic, and religious factions in each of the nations he ruled sought differing visions of what the church should be. In Scotland, Presbyterians sought to create a godly society ruled according to the scriptures. In England, the church was divided between those who were content with the reforms which had already been enacted, and those who wished to purify the church. How was King James, who believed God had entrusted him with the responsibilities of crown and church, to bring peace?

Cost of each lecture: $25 Regular, $15 Students

Each presentation is followed by a viewing of the most significant collection of
English Bibles ever assembled in Canada.

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