The West Coast Centre for (r)Evolutionary Theology is an ad hoc group that has been discussing starting up such a Centre for several months, with some inspiration coming from those who attended a Process Theology conference at the Claremont School of Theology in June of 2015; for others, it has been the work of Sallie McFague at VST; and still others bring different theological directions such as evolutionary theology, panentheism, creation spirituality, Caputo’s “weak theology,” liberation theology and ecofeminism.
We’re planning for an ongoing forum for conversation that keeps pushing the edges of God-talk, and how theology makes a difference in our lives, and in the world. Many of us don’t believe in supernatural theism, but also don’t believe the only alternative is atheism. Rather, we are excited about engaging in theological discussion that opens up new ways of understanding and talking about God.
Many people are wanting opportunities to have conversations that explore new ways of imagining and talking about God. All kinds of questions emerge:
- Theism or panentheism? What’s the difference?
- What is “Progressive Theology,” “Ecotheology,” “Process Theology,” “21st Century Liberation Theology,” “Evolutionary Theology?”
- How might our theological discussion be enriched by Postmodern thought, and the discoveries of science?
- How does the way we imagine God make a difference in our lives, in the way we understand and act in the world?
So, an ad hoc group of church ministers and lay people began to dream of organizing a CENTRE to promote such discussion. We’re calling it:
The West Coast Centre for (r)Evolutionary Theology
Born and raised in Victoria, BC, Trevor completed a double undergraduate degree in philosophy and environmental studies at the University of Victoria, and a graduate degree in philosophy at Brock University. He just graduated from the Vancouver School of Theology (May 2016) with a Master’s of Public and Pastoral Leadership, and is on an ordination track in the United Church of Canada. He will be serving his first congregation (TBA) beginning in September 2016. Trevor’s exploration of Christian theology has been greatly influenced by evolutionary Christian mysticism, which examines the integration of science and religion, and Christianity within an evolutionary worldview. These teachings have inspired various pursuits, including co-founding the West Coast Centre for (r)Evolutionary Theology, which supports the exploration of God through an environmental, politically radical and scientific lens.
An “army kid” who travelled the country, the Very Rev. Dr. Gary Paterson’s roots are in Vancouver, and most of his ministry has been in this city, from the west-side (Marpole and Ryerson United Churches) to the Downtown Eastside (First United). He is presently the lead minister at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in downtown Vancouver. From 2012 to 2015 he was the Moderator of the United Church. Gary is passionate about creating inclusive communities, social justice and opening up lines of communication about God and the role of religion and spirituality in a modern context. As an openly gay person, Gary has been involved in the liberation movement of the LGBT community. Gary became one of several co-founders of the West Coast Centre for (r)Evolutionary Theology, with the vision of establishing a centralized space to explore how to talk about God in our times and to share conversations about new expressions of theology, such as Process thought, Evolutionary theology and Ecotheology.