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Principal Voss Roberts Reflects on a New Term

Jan. 14, 2021

The Methodist roots of Victoria University are part of our story at Emmanuel College. Administrators here often praise the “shrewd Methodist businessmen” who purchased the Bloor Lands long ago and secured the financial footing of the University for generations to come.

As we begin this term watching the desperate throes of white supremacism in the United States, I want to celebrate the theological legacy of our Methodist roots, including the traditional United Methodist baptismal vows to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they may present themselves.”

The violence at the U.S. Capitol must not overshadow the work of Stacey Abrams and her grassroots organizers in Georgia. Her organization, Fair Fight, said “no” to voter suppression. Their work in the community led to the election the first Black U.S. senator from the south, Raphael Warnock, the minister who preaches from the same pulpit as Martin Luther King, Jr..

Where did they get their motivation? “My faith tradition as a Methodist tells me that the most profound demonstration of our faith is service,” Abrams says, citing the influence of her clergy parents who viewed working at soup kitchens as well as boycotting businesses with links to apartheid as part of their Christian witness. Her parents attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University–a United Methodist seminary.

As a graduate of the same theological school, I celebrate the commitment of Emmanuel College to “inclusive practices of justice and care.” Regardless of our religious or spiritual traditions, if we study and work at Emmanuel College, we inherit a model of theological education that makes a claim for their social relevance. I encourage all of us to consider at the start of this term: How will your faith commitments impact our world?

Rev. Dr. Michelle Voss Roberts, Principal and Professor of Theology

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