OSTS Courses for the year 2021/2022

Fall Term 2021 (September 20 – November 29, 2021)

First half - Sep 20-Oct 25  (7:30-9:30 p.m.)

Course A:  Sacred Song and Social Change
Josh Zentner-Barrett is an organist, liturgist, and musical enlivener with a passion for the songs of the global church. He holds degrees in organ and sacred music, and serves as Minister of Music at Kanata United Church and Director of Music for the Anglican Studies Program at Saint Paul University, where he is also a Master's student in liturgy.

Does our sacred song matter? Does it make a difference? This course introduces what it might mean to be a singing people of faith as we confront challenges in our world today. Classes will explore the diversity of song in liturgy and worship today, and its impact on our wider ministry. There will be lots of music-making!


Course B:  Ecclesiastes and the Meaning of Life
Prof. Jane Dawson is a writer, spiritual director, and adult educator. She currently works for the United Church of Canada supporting congregations in their work for social justice and faith formation. She also teaches for St. Francis Xavier University and has taught previously for OSTS.

Ecclesiastes (Qohelet in Hebrew) is arguably the most enigmatic book of the Hebrew Bible. This course explores historical, literary and theological aspects of Ecclesiastes and its relevance in present times. Although often seen as a pessimistic book, Ecclesiastes offers rich insights into life’s perplexities and how to live more fully.


Course C:  Christian Meditation
Reverend Chris Clarke grew up Roman Catholic, dabbled in Buddhism, studied the Beat Generation, felt the call of God to minister in the Presbyterian Church and currently pastors at Westminster Presbyterian in Westboro where he lives with his wife and three young boys.

For many, meditation is thought to be mainly an Eastern spiritual practice and we forget that it also has a long history in Christianity. In this course we will study the art and practice of Christian meditation, its history and its theory. Ultimately, how can it contribute to enriching our spiritual lives?

Second half - Nov 1-Nov 29  (7:30-9:30 p.m.)

Course D:  The Celtic Saints and The Celtic Christian Tradition
Reverend Steve Clifton currently serves Rideau Park United Church in Alta Vista. Steve holds a passion for the history of Christian spirituality in all its rich diversity and forms. In particular he finds the Celtic spiritual tradition to be deeply rich and resonant.

Today, Celtic prayer and theology resonates deeply in us through its emphasis on Creation’s sacredness and on the immanent presence of God. Together, we will explore this resurgent Christian faith tradition.


Course E:  Women in the Church
Reverend Cheryle R.C. Hanna is in the eighth year of service to the Fourth Avenue Baptist Church and the first woman to serve this historic congregation. She is also the author of a book series Lessons for the Heart, a collection of sermons to children. Her PhD thesis on the practice of ministry has positioned Fourth Avenue to engage its 21st century community with an outward focus and energy.

Women have always been a part of the community of faith Jesus Christ came to inaugurate. The egalitarian message of the Cross spoke to the hearts of all and the ‘all’ included women. This course will follow women’s involvement in the church and disenfranchisement by the church both historically and biblically.


Course F:  The Gift of the Diversity of Christian Worship
Rev. Dr. Frank Emmanuel is an ordained minister with the Vineyard denomination who has served both inner city and suburban congregations. Currently he is a part-time professor at both St. Paul University and Algonquin College here in Ottawa. His passions include the political dimension of contemporary evangelical Christian theologies, spirituality, and systemic theology.

The Bible in the 21st century often gets lost between the extremes of literalism and scientific dismissal. This course is for anyone who wants to brush up on Bible basics (structure, language, historical context) and explore approaches to reading the Bible with eyes open to both its challenges and possibilities.


Winter Term 2022 (January 10 – March 21, 2022)

First half - Jan 10-Feb 7  (7:30-9:30 p.m.)

Course G:  One Bread, One Body - Divided at the Table: The Eucharist and the Churches Today
Reverend Kevin Flynn is the Director of Anglican studies at St Paul University where he teaches Christian liturgy, ecumenism, ministry and Anglicanism. Rev Flynn also serves as an Honourary Assistant at St Matthew’s Church. A hatha yoga teacher, he is frequently invited to lead retreats that combine meditation, reflection and yoga.

Christians generally agree that the Eucharist is important; its theologies have also divided them at the table. From its origins, we will survey the main lines of development of the Eucharist, including contemporary ecumenical agreements.


Course H:  Worship and Culture — Unity and Diversity
Josh Zentner-Barrett is an organist, liturgist, and musical enlivener with a passion for the songs of the global church. He holds degrees in organ and sacred music, and serves as Minister of Music at Kanata United Church and Director of Music for the Anglican Studies Program at Saint Paul University, where he is also a Master's student in liturgy.

What is the relationship between worship and culture? We will explore this question in light of the Incarnation, in which God entered our humanity in all its richness. Beginning from a human — or anthropological — perspective, we will ask what it means to worship as a diverse people.


Course I:  The Book of Job: Is There a Meaning to Suffering?
For Reverend Herve Tremblay O.P. the love of beauty – in nature, in music and in literature, especially language - is a defining trait. Language studies and the call to religious life led him to the Bible. Following graduate studies in Rome he completed a PhD at DUC and since 2002 has been teaching Old Testament at DUC. Among the Biblical books Job, the subject of his thesis, continues to hold a particular interest.

The book of Job is a discussion about justice between Job and his “friends”. As they uphold the traditional principle of retribution, Job constantly defends his innocence and accuses God. This course will briefly present the book of Job and study the main issue, which could be either God’s (in)justice or the meaning of suffering.


Second half - Feb 14-Mar 21  (7:30-9:30 p.m.)

Course J:  Our Christian Faith and Covid-19
Reverend Dr. Anthony Bailey is the Lead Minister of Parkdale United. His academic background in social work, theology, philosophy and ethics commits him, in the way of Jesus and by the grace of God, to deploying his gifts and background to inspire faith, justice, engagement and the advancement of God’s commonwealth.

Pandemics exact a heavy toll worldwide, causing untold misery and loss of life. In this series of lectures we will examine the lessons that were disclosed by the pandemic about our human arrangements. What faith teachings and wisdom have been evoked? How do we reflect on this theologically and from a justice perspective?


Course K:  (Aboriginal history and spiritual practices of the Algonquin people)
Claudette Commanda is an Elder in Residence for the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and Executive Director of the First Nations Confederacy Of Cultural Education Centres.

(Course description is forthcoming.)


Course L:  Collective Wisdom in a Time of Crisis: Exploring Laudato Si Together
Reverend Dr. Jessica Hetherington holds a PhD in theology from St Paul University with an area of expertise in ecology and theology. An ordained minister who serves within the United Church, she is passionate about inviting people to deepen their discipleship response to ecological and social justice issues.

This course offers an ecumenical reading of and conversation about Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the ecological crisis and the need for a religious response of action and faith. The text will be augmented by class material from scholars in religious studies, theology, and ecological education.