The Rev. Canon Dr. Herbert O’Driscoll is many things: former parish priest and cathedral dean, internationally renowned conference and pilgrimage leader, hymnodist and storyteller, author of over fifty books (two more published just this year). Perhaps above all, he is a great preacher and teacher of preaching. When invited recently to give an Easter Day sermon on Zoom (at age 92) Herb accepted at once. “After all,” he explained, “I’m hard-wired for preaching.”
Paula O’Driscoll is a gifted musician and visual artist. She has sung as a soloist and in choirs all her life, and continues to create works on canvas and in fabric, frequently for liturgical purposes. Paula has also been the first audience for almost everything Herb has written, often contributing acute observations and suggestions for improvement. In short, they have been inseparable partners in life and ministry.
What, then, could be more fitting, as a permanent tribute to these two individuals who have given us so much, than to create an annual event designed to nurture great preaching and teaching, hymn writing and other aspects of the liturgical arts, as ways to tell the story of the Gospel? And, at the same time, to pass these skills on to future generations, by providing inspiring examples of excellence, alongside opportunities for practice in a supportive, collegial setting?
The Vancouver School of Theology is delighted to confirm that an international campaign to permanently endow a major new initiative in theological education has been gathering momentum behind the scenes, and is about to go public.
The O’Driscoll Forum is billed as “A Celebration of Preaching, Teaching and the Liturgical Arts.” Beginning next year, the multi-day program will be an annual highlight of the summer curriculum at Vancouver School of Theology. The Forum is named in honour of Herbert and Paula O’Driscoll.
A live, public, online launch event will be broadcast at 7:00pm Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday, May 31st, 4pm Pacific and 5pm Mountain Time. Herb will speak and read from his recent book of memoirs. There will be greetings and tributes from distinguished past and present colleagues, and reminiscences from folk who have gone on pilgrimage with Herb and Paula, or crossed paths with them in other ways. Richard Topping will speak about plans for the O’Driscoll Forum. The program will also be recorded and available for later viewing.
For more details about the Forum, to make a tax-deductible donation, and to watch the launch event live on May 31st (or recorded thereafter), please visit: https://vst.edu/odriscollforum/