Vancouver School of Theology

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Vancouver School of Theology
Type Private
Established 1971
Principal Richard R. Topping
Dean Pat Dutcher-Walls
Students approx. 200
Address 6015 Walter Gage Road, University Endowment Lands, BC, V6T 1Z1, Canada
Campus University of British Columbia
Colours Burgundy and white
Affiliations ATS

Coordinates: 49°16′15.79″N 123°15′2.44″W / 49.2710528°N 123.2506778°W / 49.2710528; -123.2506778 Vancouver School of Theology, located on the campus of the University of British Columbia, is a multi-denominational graduate school.


  • Rev. Dr. Patricia Dutcher-Walls, Dean, Professor of Hebrew Bible
  • Rev. Dr. Jason Byassee, Professor of Homiletics
  • Rev. Brenda Fawkes, Director, Field Education
  • The Rev. Janet Gear, Assistant Professor of Public and Pastoral Leadership and Director of Denominational Formation (United Church of Canada)
  • Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart, Director of Presbyterian Formation
  • Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan Kaplan, director, Iona Pacific Inter-religious Centre
  • Dr. Harry O. Maier, Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies
  • Dr. Sallie McFague, Distinguished Theologian in Residence
  • Revs. Grant Rodgers and Travis O'Brian, Co-Directors of Anglican Denominational Formation
  • Rev. Dr. Ray Aldred, Director of Indigenous Studies Program
  • Rev. Dr. Richard Topping, Principal, Professor of Studies in the Reformed Tradition and Principal


Union College of British Columbia building in 1928

Vancouver School of Theology was established in 1971, as an amalgamation of the Anglican Theological College (ATC) and Union College of British Columbia (UCBC), affiliated with the United Church of Canada. The two colleges had existed side-by-side for a number of years prior to the amalgamation.

ATC was formed in 1920 as a merger of two Anglican seminaries. The evangelical Latimer Hall was founded in 1910, while the more liberal and high church St Mark's Hall followed two years later at a nearby location. The merged ATC moved into the Chancellor Building at UBC in 1927.[1]

Westminster Hall (formerly Presbyterian) was the first formal theological college in Vancouver, and classes started in 1908, first at McGill University Vancouver (1907–1915) Campus, then in their own building at 1600 Barclay Street from the fall of 1908 until 1927, when the first part of UCBC (west wing of the Iona Building at UBC) was ready for use. Ryerson College formerly Methodist, and named after educator Egerton Ryerson, was meeting in Westminster Hall since classes began in 1923. It was an extension of the Columbian College started in New Westminster in 1892. There is little available data on the Congregational College of British Columbia, as according to the United Church of Canada's First General Council's Minutes, in 1925, the College was incorporated, but never held any classes.

The tower section of the Iona Building was completed during the 1930s.

From initial discussions with Anglican and the then separate Methodist and Presbyterian groups in 1922, there has been open discussion on joint studies, and was a reason Ryerson Hall never constructed a separate building. Throughout the 1960s, the two colleges cooperated in offering courses and access to materials, and discussions started regarding the creation of a new theological school to serve the area. The current-day Vancouver School of Theology was formed in 1971.The creation of VST occurred in a climate in which full communion between the Anglican Church of Canada and United Church was under serious consideration, although this union did not take place.

Saint Andrew's Hall, a residence established by the Presbyterian Church in Canada during the 1950s, officially became affiliated with the VST. The school has also been recognized by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church, both of the United States, as a training institution for their clergy.[2]

The Institute for stained glass in Canada has documented the stained glass at Vancouver School of Theology.[3]

Degrees awarded[edit]

Vancouver School of Theology currently offers the following degrees and certifications:[4][5]

Continuing Education

Certificate in Theological Studies

Move from Iona Drive[edit]

On January 8, 2014, the Vancouver Sun reported that UBC had purchased the 85-year-old Vancouver School of Theology building on Iona Drive for $28 million and will convert it to the new home of UBC's Vancouver School of Economics (VSE) since the building was too large and costly for VST's 115 full- and part-time students to maintain.[6] The Christian graduate school will move—in the summer of 2014—to a smaller building "on the north side of the UBC campus, called Somerville House. The school will retain its A-frame Chapel of Epiphany".[6] While the 1927 9,290-square-metre (100,000 sq ft) Iona building is the longtime home of the Vancouver School of Theology, it needs only about a "quarter of the space" and it is finding it difficult to keep up with operating costs.[6] VST will use a portion of the sale proceeds to relocate their operations to more suitable space in the UBC theological neighbourhood and place the balance of the funds in an endowment to support its educational mission and operations.[7]



  • William S. Taylor 'Step by Step by Step: An Anecdotal History of the Growth of Union College, 1948-1971 Vancouver School of Theology and University Hill United Church' (Vancouver: 1993)
  • Ralph C. Pybus, 'The Story of Union College' (Vancouver: Board of Governors, Union College of British Columbia, 1971 Pamphlet)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burkinshaw, Robert (1995). Pilgrims in Lotus Land: conservative protestantism in British Columbia, 1917-1981. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 29. 
  2. ^ About | Vancouver School of Theology
  3. ^ stained glass at Vancouver School of Theology
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c "VST 'Castle' will convert to eocnomics from spirituality". The Vancouver Sun. January 8, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2017. 
  7. ^ Vancouver School of Theology sells Iona building to UBC, January 7, 2014, University of British Columbia Media Release

External links[edit]