In August 2019, the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC) passed a resolution at Oasis, in response to the 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada that calls the church and educational institutions to action. As the seminary of the CBAC, and the Faculty of Theology of Acadia University, Acadia Divinity College (ADC) has been learning to walk well, in a posture of reconciliation, with those to whom the Creator entrusted the land where we are settled.
During the ADC Big Summer Stop on August 26, 2020, Dr. Anna Robbins announced the appointment of Rev. Dr. Terry LeBlanc to serve as advisor on indigenizing theological education for a three-year term. Dr. LeBlanc, the Executive Director of Indigenous Pathways as well as the founding Chair and current Director of NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, is committed to theological education from an Indigenous perspective. He holds an interdisciplinary PhD from Asbury Theological Seminary, specializing in Theology and Anthropology and has served as a sessional or adjunct faculty member at various colleges, seminaries and universities, including at Acadia Divinity College. In 2015, Acadia University bestowed an honorary Doctor of Divinity on Dr. LeBlanc in recognition of his work in building partnerships between traditional Christian and Aboriginal faith leaders to deepen the theological capacity within Aboriginal communities.
Exposure to an Indigenous perspective in theological education is a key to equipping students and graduates to minister in a spirit of reconciliation in their own communities. It is an important step in helping the church to decolonize, and to become more Christlike in its journey with Jesus.
“The walk will not be easy, and we may feel vulnerable at times,” notes Dr. Robbins. “But with the guidance and leadership from an Indigenous advisor, we envision a journey that embraces diversity, builds greater trust and empowers Indigenous Christians and their perspective of the relationship with the Creator.”
Acadia Divinity College is deeply grateful to The Charis Foundation for a grant to support the creation of this role at ADC.
Through the indigenization of the curriculum, ADC faculty, students and alumni will be equipped to walk well with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and take this new knowledge forward into their communities on the path of reconciliation.
About NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community
NAIITS encourages Indigenous learning styles and world views in instruction and facilitates the development of a body of written work addressing biblical, theological, and ethical issues from within Native North American and other Indigenous perspectives.
About The Charis Foundation
The Charis Foundation was established in 1995 by Bob and Leslie Bernardo, along with their adult children Geoff and Karen, with the desire to bring hope and healing to the world in the name of Jesus. With a heart for the marginalized and the oppressed and an understanding of God’s transforming love for all creation, in the past 25 years, the Charis Foundation has supported work in approximately 90 countries through almost 800 grants.