New research chair enhances theological study at UWinnipeg
The University of Winnipeg congratulates Dr. Arthur Walker-Jones on his appointment this week to the newly created position of The United Church of Canada Research Chair in Contemporary Theology — the purpose of which is to provide a fiscally sustainable way to continue the tradition of theological research and education at UWinnipeg.
“The title of the new research chair at The University of Winnipeg honours our longstanding association with The United Church of Canada and signals our intention to continue the tradition of theological study on this campus,” says Dr. Mavis Reimer, Dean of Graduate Studies.
The United Church of Canada and its predecessors, the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, were the founding bodies of UWinnipeg. In 1967, the United Church donated United College to the Province of Manitoba, and the University was incorporated as a public institution of higher education. The Church financially supported the University’s Faculty of Theology (now called The United Centre for Theological Studies) until 2010, when declining denominational funds caused the church to discontinue its endowments.
While the study of theology is changing as fewer people are choosing to train to become clergy, adds Reimer, UWinnipeg recognizes the importance of theological inquiry in developing responses to the range of human, aesthetic, ethical, and environmental challenges facing the contemporary world.
Walker-Jones has been a Professor of Biblical Literature in Theology Programs at UWinnipeg since 1999 and his research focuses on interpretations of the Bible as they relate to the environment and global ecological issues, such as climate change.
He has published numerous scholarly articles on the topics of ecological hermeneutics and has explored the ways in which Psalms can influence environmental understanding in his book The Green Psalter: Resources for an Ecological Spirituality.
As chair, Walker-Jones will be assigned a Research Coordinator and receive administrative support for the planning of annual conferences that will include academic workshops and public lectures — the dates and keynote speakers of which have yet to be finalized.
“I’m looking forward to fostering theological research and reflection in keeping with the traditions of the United Church,” says Walker-Jones. “Especially theological reflection that is contextual and engages issues of interfaith dialogue, and social and ecological justice.”
Walker-Jones was appointed to the three-year term by President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Annette Trimbee on the recommendation of Provost and Vice-President, Academic, Dr. Neil Besner.
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