The 2012 McGeachy Senior Scholarship has been awarded to the Rev. Dr. Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd. This scholarship was set up to develop leaders who will provide discernment and direction to inspire the church toward creative and faithful mission.
Loraine received her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies in Systematic Theology and Feminist Theory at the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto School of Theology in 1998. In 1986 she received her MDiv and MCM (church music) at the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Loraine’s undergrad studies were at the University of Alberta.
Loraine’s pastoral ministry has taken her to Augustine United Church and Knox United in Winnipeg, a summer appointment at the Toronto Korean United Church, on-call chaplaincy at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, and campus ministry with the Northwest Baptist Convention at the University of Idaho.
Since 2007, Loraine has served as adjunct professor at the Faculty of Theology, University of Winnipeg; she has taught courses including Compassionate Listening, Creative Tools for Social Change, and Postcolonial and Feminist Interpretations of the Bible. From 2000 to 2004, she was coordinator for the In-Community Program for Ordination, a field-based educational program for candidates seeking ordination in the United Church. Previously, Loraine was assistant professor at the University of Winnipeg; at Emmanuel College she served as adjunct professor and teaching assistant.
Loraine is currently a member of the Worship Planning Committee for the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, the WCC’s Faith and Order Plenary Commission, and the United Church’s Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee. Other volunteer work includes the Women’s Interfaith Council, the Winnipeg Interfaith Roundtable, and Project Peacemakers.
Loraine has been recognized for her work on A Centre for Transformation and the Transformative Theologies Consultation. She has been awarded many scholarships, including the Russell Graduate Fellowship and the Mary Rowell Jackman Scholarship. Her publications include “Feminist Theology and the Church: A Postmodern Alternative for Canadian Faith Communities,” “Church of the Margins: A Call to Solidarity,” Story After Story (editor), and Feminist Theologies for a Postmodern Church: Diversity, Community, and Scripture.
Loraine will be exploring how United Church mission mandates and practices, both within Canada and abroad, have changed over the past century and how they have both contributed to and challenged colonizing attitudes and actions in the church. Her premise is that we need to continue reforming our basic theological assumptions and rationale for our ministries at home and abroad so as to reduce our chances of committing the same colonizing mistakes over and over.
In consultation with various individuals and groups, Loraine would like to propose a revised theological approach that is grounded in community and honours diverse identities and the complexity of oppressive situations. Specifically, she believes that the United Church can learn from postcolonial and post-liberal theologies, mediation theory, and traditional Aboriginal practices of communal wisdom and listening circles that welcome the perspectives of all people and creation.
Loraine will be developing and testing this theological approach with the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee, and its revision of the United Church’s response to Israel and Palestine. The committee realizes that it needs to address the issue of land in the Middle East through our own Canadian context of land and First Nations.
Loraine hopes to publish aspects of her work in formats that will be most helpful to congregations and committees within the courts of the United Church as they review their mission mandates and theological rationales for their ministries. If there is interest, she would develop interactive workshops for congregations and groups.
Further, Loraine hopes that this work will assist the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee in its work on the theology of the land and its inhabitants. There may be opportunity to use this work in her involvement with the World Council of Churches and to draw upon it in future teaching opportunities.
The McGeachy Scholarship will provide Loraine with more time for research and reflection that in turn will provide theological reflection of enduring value for The United Church of Canada.
Learn more about the McGeachy scholarship.
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