Acadia Divinity College achieves Weston Foundation “Challenge Grant”

in Advancement, College News

John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship to be the first fully endowed academic chair of Acadia Divinity College

Wolfville, NS, February 10, 2016 – The training by Acadia Divinity College (ADC) of future church ministry leaders to preach and conduct worship has recently received $1.5 million in gifts and pledges.

In early November 2014, there was slightly over one million dollars endowed in the John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship.  Since then The W. Garfield Weston Foundation made a gift of $500,000 and offered an additional $500,000 as a “challenge grant” to match any other gifts to the Gladstone Chair, on a dollar-for-dollar basis made or pledged before the end of 2015.

Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, President of ADC and Dean of Theology of Acadia University, today announced that ADC has received $404,800 in gifts and $95,400 in pledges for 2016 and 2017 towards the Weston Foundation “Challenge Grant”.  These gifts and pledges from more than 50 donors in 4 Canadian provinces, along with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s matching grant, will result in the first fully endowed academic chair of Acadia Divinity College.

“We are honoured by the Foundation’s willingness to partner with the College to reach this significant milestone,’ stated Dr. Gardner, “And we are also deeply grateful to the Atlantic Baptist Foundation. Their gift of $250,000 was critical in securing the The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s matching grant offer.  Acadia Divinity College owes its donors a huge debt of gratitude.”

Reaching the target of $2.5 million places Acadia Divinity College in a position to attract a top scholar-practitioner to occupy the Gladstone Chair, ensuring excellence in the preparation of students.

In making the announcement, Dr. Gardner explained that the John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship is one of the key academic Chairs that is part of the College’s four strategic priorities between 2015 and 2018. These priorities are:

  • Refurbishing the College building on Acadia’s campus;
  • Ensuring quality instruction through increasing endowments for key academic Chairs;
  • Supporting students through increasing scholarships and bursaries; and
  • Going public with the Gospel by securing an endowment for the new Centre for Christian Faith and Culture

The announcement was made during the friends and alumni supper portion of the annual Simpson Lectures, held annually on the campus of Acadia University. Dr. Gardner noted that thirty-two years ago, Acadia welcomed Dr. John Gladstone as the Simpson guest lecturer, and therefore the timing of this announcement is fitting.

Rev. John Gladstone


Dr. Gladstone enjoyed a vibrant and distinguished preaching ministry at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church from 1965 to 1991.  He also mentored a number of theological students, including Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes, the current Minister of the Congregation and a graduate of the Acadia Doctor of Ministry program.

“Sunday by Sunday John offered up great sermons at Yorkminster Park,” shared Dr. Holmes, “God blessed him over and over.  John’s approach is not outdated.  In fact the need for strong preaching and carefully prepared worship is more important than ever. I do not believe we have heard the last of the great preachers, and I trust that God will raise up a vast number through the ongoing work and ministry of the John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship at Acadia Divinity College.”

The John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship

The Acadia Chair of Preaching and Worship is named after The Rev. Dr. John N. Gladstone (1921-2005), the highly regarded Senior Minister at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario, where he served for 26 years.  He was widely recognized for his vibrant and distinguished preaching and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from McMaster Divinity College in 1970.  A strong supporter of Acadia Divinity College throughout his career, he was the Gerald K. Simpson guest lecturer in 1984 and also shared the teaching of a Doctoral course in Preaching and Worship in 1994.

About Simpson Lectures

Mr. Gerald K. Simpson of Fairhaven, Deer Island, New Brunswick, established an endowment in 1979 to finance an annual series of lectures on the practice of ministry prepared primarily for students, pastors, and spouses. The lecturers are outstanding persons in ministry who focus on the role of the minister as both preacher and pastor. This lectureship has welcomed many distinguished preachers including John N. Gladstone, Haddon W. Robinson, Alan Sell, and Gardner Taylor. For more information about Simpson Lectures, visit www.acadiadiv.ca/simpson.

About Acadia Divinity College

Acadia Divinity College is the Faculty of Theology at Acadia University and is the official seminary of the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches. Acadia Divinity College offers theological education at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, preparing men and women for leadership roles in churches, chaplaincies, denominational leadership, university and seminary teaching, cross-cultural mission, para-church leadership, and other areas of ministry. Graduate degrees are approved by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. All degrees are awarded by Acadia University. For more information about Acadia Divinity College, visit our website at www.acadiadiv.ca.

About The W. Garfield Weston Foundation

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a private Canadian family foundation, established in the 1950’s by Willard Garfield Weston, his wife Reta and their children.  In 1924 Garfield inherited his father’s company and during his life established baking and retail businesses throughout Canada and in many parts of the world. The founders believed that as the funds are generated through the hard work and success of these Canadian companies, grants should be given in Canada for the benefit of Canadians. For three generations, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has maintained a family tradition of supporting charitable organizations across Canada. Today the Foundation directs the majority of its funds to projects in the fields of land conservation, education, and scientific research in Canada’s North. In addition, it provides funds to further Canada’s research in neuroscience.

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