It is with sadness that we share news that the Rev. Dr. William J. Klempa passed away on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Dr. Klempa was Principal Emeritus of The Presbyterian College and a theologian and historian of the Reformed Tradition of the first order. In November of 2016, Dr. Klempa saw the publication of his final book entitled A Unique Time of God, a collection of Karl Barth’s World War One sermons, edited and translated.
Dr. Klempa earned post-graduate degrees at Knox College (BD), the University of Toronto (MA), and the University of Edinburgh (PhD). Over his academic career he published extensively, with writings focused on works of the 16th century Reformer John Calvin, and of the 20th century Reformed theologian Karl Barth. In addition to other essays, two key publications include For Such a Time as This (a collection of sermons) and The Burning Bush and A Few Acres of Snow (an edited collection of essays on the Presbyterian contribution to Canadian culture). During his twenty years as Principal of The Presbyterian College (1978-1998), he also served as a Lecturer in the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University.
In addition to his academic work, Dr. Klempa served as an ordained minister at Gorge Presbyterian Church in Victoria, B.C. (1962-1966), at Knox Presbyterian Church in Burlington (1966-1970), and finally at Rosedale Presbyterian Church in Toronto (1970-1978). He was a servant of the church, who offered his gifts in administration, pastoral care, popular writing, education, and intellectual endeavour for the upbuilding of Christ’s Body and for the glory of God.
As is written of Dr. Klempa in the Editor’s Preface to Exploring The Faith: Essays in the History and Theology of the Reformed Tradition (a collection of his essays published by The Presbyterian College in 2009):
Standing in the tradition of Calvin and Barth, Principal Emeritus Klempa is committed to doing theology in the service of the church. Such a theology is centred, he believes, in Jesus Christ the Living Word of God to whom the written Word of God in Holy Scriptures bears witness. The task of the theologian is to interpret the Word of God for the gather, upbuilding, and sending of the church.
The Rev. Dr. William J. Klempa is pre-deceased by his beloved wife Lois. We remember his children Catherine, Michael, and Mary-Margaret in this time, committing them to the gracious care of Christ.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 18th, 2017 at 11 am at the Church of St Andrew and St Paul, 3415 Redpath St, Montreal.
There will also be a service held at Rosedale Presbyterian Church on Saturday April 8th.