New gift to Dio helps lay groundwork for future

The Diocese of Montreal is investing in the future of theological education with a substantial gift to Montreal Diocesan Theological College.

At diocesan synod on November 14, 2020, Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson announced that the diocese had invested the proceeds from the recent sale of St. Mark’s Church in Longueuil and was committing the income of the investment to help endow the position of principal at the college.

Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson with members of the college community at a recent Convocation.

“As a graduate of Dio and now bishop of this diocese, I know what a great gift this college is to the whole church,” said Bishop Irwin-Gibson. “As we move into the future that God is calling the church to, it is vital for us to have a flourishing theological college in our midst and for us to invest in the ministry of lay people and clergy. That’s why we are taking this step.”

St. Mark’s Church, Longueuil

St. Mark’s was founded in 1842, as a gift from Charles William Grant, the 5th Baron of Longueuil. After many years of faithful ministry, the remaining congregation moved to St. Barnabas Church in St. Lambert in 2014. A final service of thanksgiving was held on St. Mark’s Day in 2015. After work to plant a francophone congregation, the building was sold to the city of Longueuil at the end of 2019. The net proceeds of the sale exceed $1.1 million dollars and it is the income from this amount that has been designated as support for the college.

“This support is one step in an ongoing campaign to strengthen the future of our work,” said the Rev. Canon Jesse Zink, principal of the college. “As a pluralist, secular, and multicultural city, Montreal is an incredible place to prepare for Christian ministry in the 21st century. Our relationship with McGill University is a unique gift to the broader church. This gift helps encourage that work as we serve a changing church.”

Montreal Diocesan Theological College (long known simply as Dio) was founded in 1873 by the Rt. Rev. Ashton Oxenden, second bishop of Montreal, leading to a long-standing but not formal relationship between the college and diocesan synod. Since 1880, the college has been affiliated with McGill University. It works closely with the other theological colleges in the Montreal School of Theology to prepare people for lay and ordained leadership in the church. The consortium was recently reaccredited for 10 years by the Association of Theological Schools, who wrote that the partnership was a “unique collaboration of a public university and three theological colleges (in the midst of a multi-lingual, multi-cultural city) that provides for excellence in theological education.”

Montreal Diocesan Theological College