Institut d'études anglicanes francophones à Québec

The Anglican Way in French: Vive l’anglicanisme !

The Institut exists, as its name implies, to provide Anglican theological education in French in this corner of the globe, where the Anglican Church has been since the 18th century. It does this at university level. Accommodation can be made for those, especially from other countries, who have had no opportunity for advanced level studies before. The Institut has designed a micro-programme susceptible of being recognized by existing universities as an accreditable part of their relevant programmes.

The micro-programme consists of four courses, one a general overview, the other three dividing up the long history of Anglicanism into three units. This was, we felt, a bare minimum for giving the ‘ethos’ of the Anglican identity. For those training for ordination, the micro-programme would not constitute all that was necessary, but it would cover the specifically Anglican academic requirements. For those pursuing these studies within an academic degree, the micro-programme would satisfy either B.A. or post-graduate levels.

Informal History

When I was a parish priest in Québec city, I found, one way and another, that more and more francophone Quebeckers were seeking us out and becoming part of the community. This led me to develop some bilingual liturgies to reflect the changed nature of the parish. Meanwhile I had introduced an Open Doors programme for several months each summer, and the top of the question list was always, ‘What is the difference, really, between your Church and ours?’ Not that all visitors were Roman Catholic, and certainly not that they were all practising, but there’s the inescapable fact that most people in this capital city were brought up Roman Catholic – or their parents were, or their grandparents were. It’s an ‘identity thing’, as the Bouchard-Taylor Commission results (2008) made abundantly clear.

And yet the curiosity about this other identity, the Anglican one, and the questions, and the thirst to know, increased. I did my best to have answers, I was much there in person at the Open Doors, I found what I could in print in French, but it wasn’t enough. It came to me rather forcibly that we could do with a publishing resource producing texts in French more fully addressing the many questions (hence the birth of Les Éditions du Lys Vert), and that we could do with offering university-level studies here in the Anglican tradition – in French. So what the heck, I thought, let’s do it.

And thus the Institut d’études anglicanes francophones à Québec, or Institut anglican, or IÉAFQ, was conceived. In 2008 it offered one course in the spring, taught by the Revd Dr Ephraim Radner (in French, of course), now professor at Wycliffe College in the Toronto School of Theology, and a name much in evidence because of the Covenant Design Group. It was an excellent course, an overview of the tradition; we filmed a DVD of it all. There were three students for university accreditation, and more who audited. The accreditation was given by Wycliffe, that being at the time the simplest, speediest way to get it up and running. More permanent arrangements are forthcoming.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Institut’s Patron. We were fortunate to receive an initial grant from the diocese of Montreal to help get us launched. IÉAFQ has its Lettres patentes, and as a Québec ‘entreprise’ has six members on its administrative council (five of whom are PhDs, four of whom continue in active professorial roles in theology). We see the Institut as a kind of mission not only to the Québec diocese, and not only to the Montreal diocese, but to the Provinces of Burundi, DR Congo, Madagascar and simply anywhere French is lived the Anglican Way, and Anglicanism the French way. We especially count on welcoming overseas students, and we actively seek to provide bursaries for them – an ongoing struggle not helped by the recent financial crisis.

We had hoped to hold the next semester in 2010, but in organizing the micro-programme more concretely we have realised the great advantage for the students of offering 2 of the 4 courses at a time, and this we cannot begin before 2012. Again, they will fall in the gap between winter and summer semesters from which IÉAFQ has already profited. They are likely to continue to be in this intensive form and slot in the near future (one month or less per course), though the students have the rest of the summer to complete the requisite term work. Students coming from a distance may also find it advantageous to augment their programme of studies from among the excellent resources at Laval University’s Faculté de théologie.

For further details about IÉAFQ (e.g. the micro-programme orientation, course descriptions, dates, registration) please revisit this website of les Éditions du Lys Vert and click as you did on the IÉAFQ button. We may not have more news for you for a while yet, but it will be coming. Other inquiries to mia@lysvert.org.

(If you would like to help out either the Lys Vert project or the Institut d’études anglicanes francophones project, it would most certainly help us and we would be enormously grateful. You can make a donation here.)

The growth of a worldwide Anglican Communion has fundamentally changed what it is to talk of being an Anglican.

Alan Bartlett