The Rev'd Dr Robin Gibbons appointed Ecumenical Canon
The Reverend Dr Robin Gibbons, Director of Studies in Theology and Religious Studies, has been appointed Ecumenical Canon at the Cathedral College of All Saints', in the diocese of Edmonton, Canada. The appointment has been made in recognition of Dr Gibbons' broad experience in theological education and outreach, including his work as an Eastern Rite Catholic priest with other churches.
Historically, the duties of cathedral Canons varied: they might maintain the daily round of sung services, act as teachers, or have a specific responsibility within the cathedral and diocese. While Cathedrals often had educational centres attached to them for prayer and learning, the Cathedral College of All Saints' is reinvigorating this ancient tradition for modern times: to promote educational outreach, in particular theological continuing education for clergy.
Dr Gibbons brings a wealth of experience in teaching to his appointment. He is a specialist in eastern Christianity, and in the juxtaposition between faith and the natural environment. He intends to conduct yearly retreats, with lectures and seminars, on site at All Saints'.
As Director of Studies, Dr Gibbons oversees all the Department's programmes in Theology and Religious Studies. Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education Theology summer school is an international programme of long standing, for clergy, theologians, teachers of religious education and lay people with an interest in theological study at University level. The theme for the 2012 summer school is 'Texts and Images', with a focus on interpretation of texts, how scientific and philosophical texts have impacted on Christianity, theological concepts expressed through the imagery of icons, and the cultivation of moral imagination.
He has recently spearheaded the creation of a new Oxford qualifications course, the Undergraduate Certificate in Theology and Religious Studies, a one-year, part time award which is an introduction to Theology, with the choice of a pathway in the study of world religion. Open to anybody who is interested in the subject, this course will launch in the autumn of 2012.
Dr Gibbons' appointment as Ecumenical Canon at the Cathedral College of All Saints' will take place on 8 May, 2012. Installations are usually associated with a particular saint, and Dr Gibbons' will be associated with St Brigid, known as a law giver, princess, prophet and sage.
The appointment is an honour and a strong gesture of friendship between the Anglican churches of Canada and the United Kingdom; it is one of the first of its kind in this diocese of Canada.