Page 20 - Presbyterian Connection Newspaper
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fall 2017
neWS and annOunCemenTS
Partnering with Prisons
By Barb Summers, Communications Office
Prison work crews... While images of a chain gang may be the first thing that comes to mind, the reality is much more dynamic and exciting. Picture several inmates and the cor- rectional officers who labour along- side them, working in partnership with local churches to complete a variety of maintenance needs.
Knox Presbyterian Church in Mil- ton, Ont., is one of the beneficiar- ies of the Maplehurst Correctional Complex community work program, where work crews are helping so- lidify the church structure by remov- ing the clay that is compromising the stability of the building. The Rev. Brad Shoemaker, minister in association at Knox Presbyterian Church, serves as chaplain.
The program provides a way for in- mates to give back to the community. It’s a chance for them to find purpose and to thrive in meaningful work, and to make a difference.
Doug Bowerman, the correctional officer who runs the program, says the inmates take a sense of pride in their work, and they are able to com- plete projects as well as any profes- sional company.
As Pastor Howard Sullivan explains, beyond the physical accomplish- ments of the projects, “something much more valuable has been learned and shared through this experience.”
Earlier this year, the church
hosted the crew for a meal that also included special guests from the church and community, like the mayor. It’s been a time of fellowship that has brought diverse groups of people together in a shared space of
In terms of social justice, the ben-
efits to inmates have been invaluable, and some participants are learning new skills that will assist them in finding employment once they are re-
leased. This is a program that has potential for other communities across the country. It cuts costs for churches and connects the church to a prison in a meaningful way that benefits both parties.
Knox College Update
There have been several changes to the staff at Knox College in Toronto. To learn more, visit
The Rev. Dr. John Vissers, Princi- pal (formerly Director of Academic Programs at Knox):
Raised in The Presbyterian Church in Canada, Dr. Vissers was ordained by the Presbytery of West Toronto on May 24, 1981. He has been an ac- tive and suppor tive Presbyter, holding many offices and serving on many committees, both at the presbytery and national level. In the year 2012– 13, he was Moderator of the 138th General Assembly. He has also served the church as senior minister at Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto and as professor and Principal of Presbyteri- an College, Montreal. Currently, he is a full professor (Historical Theology) at Knox College and the Toronto School
of Theology, and he is the Director of Academic Programs at Knox College.
Dr. Angela Schmidt, Director of Ex- periential & Innovative Learning and Assistant Professor of Leadership:
In this role, Dr. Schmidt will oversee and administer the contextual learning components required in Knox’s basic degree programs. Dr. Schmidt brings us: experience in spiritual care man- agement in healthcare facilities; broad teaching, learning and experience in areas critical for Knox students’ pas- toral education; and a commitment to ongoing learning.
The Rev. Dr. Esther Acolatse, Asso- ciate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Intercultural Studies:
Dr. Acolatse has been Assistant Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and World Christianity at
Duke Divinity School (Durham, N.C.), since 2010. At Knox College, Dr. Aco- latse will equip students to serve the church through specialized areas of pastoral ministries, spiritual care/ther- apy and social service. She will focus on integrating Christian life and prac- tice with theological insight and spir- itual depth, preparing students to be leaders in lay and diaconal ministries in faith communities, preparing them to pursue careers in the non-profit sector, and to work as institutional chaplains, spiritual care practitioners, psycho-spiritual therapists and com-
munity workers.
The Rev. Dr. Dong-Ha Kim, Interim Director of Academic Programs and Director of the Centre for Asian-Cana- dian Theology and Ministry:
From 2009 to 2017, Dr. Kim served as Minister of Word and Sacrament at First Presbyterian Church in Bran- don, Man. As Interim Director of Aca- demic Programs (80%), Dr. Kim will administer the College’s academic programs to ensure academic excel- lence, ministerial skill and spiritual development, and to meet the require-
ments of The Presbyterian Church in Canada and the Toronto School of Theology. As part-time (20%) Direc- tor of the Asian-Canadian Centre for Theology and Ministry, he will build relationships with Asian-Canadian and Asian churches, and will research the future of Asian-Canadian churches.
Also as of July 1, Professor Stuart Macdonald (Knox Faculty member since 1996) is serving as Knox’s Vice- Principal and Director of Graduate De- gree Studies for a one-year term, to assist with the many transitions.

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