Historic: Emmanuel CollegeEmmanuel College, Affliation with United Church Training School, 1930 – 1969
Master of Religious Education 1972-1989
This material is adapted from: Mary Anne MacFarlane, Carol Stevenson Seller, Dawn Wood, “The History of Diaconal Ministry”, Committee on Diaconal Ministry, Division of Ministry Personnel and Education, The United Church of Canada, 1987.
Emmanuel College, part of Victoria University on the campus of the University of Toronto, signed an agreement with The United Church Training School in 1930 formalizing their affiliation, an arrangement which was to last almost 40 years. The two schools agreed:
- “That the I year course for university graduates shall be of a standard similar to that of first year work in theology;
- That the 2 year course for matriculants be of a standard similar to that of undergraduate courses of a university.”
This was not, though, the beginning of the relationship between the universities and the Deaconess schools. In both the Methodist and Presbyterian traditions, prior to union in 1925, professors from the Colleges (Victoria and Knox) taught some of the courses required to obtain the diploma from the Deaconess school. With the new affiliation agreement that pattern continued, sometimes the deaconesses students were taught separately and sometimes they were integrated into existing classes. The students also took courses at UCTS and had requirements for field work.
Over the next twenty years changes in the expectations of Deaconesses, particularly in regard to their leadership in the area of religious education, lead to evaluation of the Training School curriculum. Beginning in the 1950s the school increased the number of theoretical and academic course offerings to its own curriculum.
At the same time Emmanuel College was seeking approval to institute a Bachelor of Religious Education degree. In 1954 approval was given to begin “a two year post-graduate course of study intended for those who seek to specialize in some form of educational work within the Church, at home, or overseas”. The degree granted was changed several years later to a Masters Degree in Religious Education. In 1959 an agreement was approved between the United Church Training School and Emmanuel College whereby the 1959-60 class of UCTS students, if they were college graduates, could enroll in the BRE program of Emmanuel and the UCTS diploma program at the same time. Thus, previous graduates of a university could for the first time simultaneously obtain a diploma from the Training School (and with it the right to be designated a deaconess) as well as a B.R.E. from Emmanuel College (and with it the right to do post-graduate studies in theology).
The dual arrangement offered many new opportunities in the area of academic course work. It seemed to work fairly well, although some students spoke of the lack of understanding which candidates for ordination had of diaconal ministry, and of the possibility of conflicting loyalties arising when they were students of two parallel institutions. Many described it as a valuable opportunity.”