Super, Natural Vancouver – Christian Witness and Mission in a Secular Age

The Annual Carr Lecture in Fall 2023 features Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart, Dean of St. Andrew's Hall and Professor of Mission Studies at Vancouver School of Theology. Dr. Lockhart will offer a lecture titled Super, Natural Vancouver – Christian witness and mission in a secular age.

West Coast Witness: The City of Vancouver, British Columbia statistically reports “no religion” as the number one “religious identity,” consistent with the broader Pacific Northwest region of North America called Cascadia. Scholars have argued that part of the reason Christianity struggles on the West Coast is that Christendom was never fully established here. And yet, Christian communities continue to worship, work and witness in the midst of this increasingly secular context, where residents express their spirituality through what one scholar calls “reverential naturalism.” Over the last five years, Missiologist Ross Lockhart has conducted an ethnographic research project on Christianity in the city focusing on fourteen different sites. The study asks, “How are Christians in Vancouver today, as a minority expression of the majority secular population, organizing their communities, shaping their beliefs and expressing themselves in mission?” This includes exploring how Christians are interacting in their secular environment, and how Christian communities are equipping their members for witness and practice in the broader community. Could it be that rather than simply declining, Christianity in the city is changing in response to such factors as immigration, decolonization, and pluralism?

Biography:The Reverend Ross Lockhart, PhD is the Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall, the Presbyterian Church in Canada college at the University of British Columbia. Ross also serves as the Professor of Mission Studies at Vancouver School of Theology where he teaches courses in practical theology. Ross is a graduate of The University of Winnipeg; The University of Toronto; McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago; and Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He is the author of Lessons from Laodicea: Missional Leadership in a Culture of Affluence; Beyond Snakes and Shamrocks: St. Patrick’s Missional Leadership Lessons for Today; co-author of Better Than Brunch: Missional Churches in Cascadia as well as Christianity: An Asian Religion in Vancouver and editor of Christian Witness in Cascadian Soil. A friend of St. Mark’s College, Ross has taught Homiletics in the Permanent Diaconate Program for over a decade.


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