University description (as per official university website)
In 1903, the then “North-West Territories” of Canada comprised a vast area which extended from Manitoba west to the British Columbia border and north to the Arctic Ocean. Federal policies were encouraging migration west, and by 1911 the population of Edmonton had reached a staggering 30,000!
As population numbers increased, the Methodists in Edmonton saw the need for an institution of higher learning. And so, in 1903, the Edmonton District of the Methodist Church established Alberta College to provide high school and early university training. The school met first in the new Freemasons’ Hall on 102nd Street south of Jasper Avenue, until a new building could be erected.
With increasing population, the need for ministers in the west also increased, and in 1908 Alberta College decided to form a Faculty of Theology – at the same time making the decision to cross the North Saskatchewan River into the City of Strathcona and to join there in the foundation of Alberta’s new provincial university. The rest, as they say, is history: the community of learning and transformation which was to be named “St Stephen’s College” was born. In 2008, we celebrate one hundred years of that rich heritage here in the West.
From its beginnings, St Stephen’s has had a reputation for innovation in theological education. Here, we value flexibility, non-traditional modes of learning, an action-reflection model of education, the testing of new methodologies, collegiality, inclusive imagery, self-directed learning, and the integration of theology with the arts. Here, we assume students have as much to offer the learning process as they have to receive from it. Here, we seek to discover new and creative ways of education for the whole person–body, mind and spirit. Here, we are committed to learning that both informs us and transforms us, and that helps us to shape the society in which we live.
As part of the St Stephen’s community, you will be encouraged to develop learning goals that fit your life experiences and faith commitments, whatever those are. We will make available to you faculty from a wide variety of backgrounds whose experience and expertise in other contexts will broaden and enrich your own. As well as courses offered in five-day intensives on campus, we have semester-long, online, directed reading and correspondence opportunities. We are committed to making courses and programs as accessible as we can, while maintaining a diverse learning community. Our success is evidenced by students and faculty who come to us from across Canada and the United States, and from overseas.
St Stephen’s is primarily oriented toward graduate theological education. However, if a formal program is not what you need, most of our classes are open to occasional learners as well. We seek to live out our commitment that study and integration for all persons is fundamental in equipping members of our communities to live in a changing world which is no longer satisfied with pious platitudes and unfounded authoritarianism.
St Stephen’s will continue to equip persons of spirit to meet the opportunities and challenges of life in a turbulent and globally-aware society, by offering spiritual nourishment and vision, reflection and adaptation. We invite you to join us on that journey!
Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire, God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known.
Affirming Statement of Faith
We of the St Stephen’s College community share values that shape our responses to changing rural, urban and global perspectives, and that define our life together. These values are characterized by inclusiveness and justice in language and practice for all persons, regardless of their race, creed, gender identity, age, sexual orientation or physical ability.
We recognize the challenges facing our church, our society, and our world, and we endeavour to dissolve the barriers to deep spiritual reflection and study.
We strive to create a safe space, within a climate of respect and trust, for all people to be open and honest (personally and intellectually) regarding their life experiences.
We open ourselves to Sacred Spirit to guide our lives within this community