Posted by: gcarkner | July 26, 2016

Welcome to GCU Fall 2016

 GCU Fall Term Welcome 2016

This group exists to help you reach your fullest potential as a graduate student. You help us build community among other grad students on campus and respond to those pursuing the deeper life.

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 4.48.51 PM 

UBC is a Great Opportunity to Expand Your Horizons and Sharpen Your Skills

 Welcome to UBC! GCU sponsors a reception for new students second week of classes Wednesday, September 14 at 6:00 pm at the home of Professor Emeritus Dr. Ed and Anne Jull, 1828 Western Parkway. Our study group begins in September on Thursday evening at 7 p.m.: rooted in the book of Philippians. Our hikes begin on September 10 and 17. Our Fall Retreat will be held at A Rocha Centre in White Rock on September 23, 24. We are all on a journey both academically and spiritually. We hope that GCU can add fun, spice, wisdom and colour to that adventure.

Our updates are on the GCU Blog Site We post important lectures, social events and study group information, places to intersect with others who can build your imagination. It is a great network of creative minds and you add much with your background experiences, academic passion and searching questions. We hope that you will find it a home away from home in a community of mutual support. You can also ask questions or get more information from Gord at or  Ute at

Key Words to Capture the GCU Narrative Curiosity, Community, Digging Deeper into Faith and Reason, Integration, Science-Religion Dialogue, Identity Capital, Big Questions, Meta-Biology, Meaning and Calling, Adding Value to Education, Culture Making, Justice and the Common Good, Creative Imagination, Good Scholarship, Innovation, Christo-centric Inspiration, Incarnational Humanism, Adventure and Fun, Celebrating Creation, Re-thinking the Secular, Social Relevance.

GCU is interdisciplinary and international, it creates a lively conversation as people bring their wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to the table. They also bring their heart, humour and their joy to community. Let’s get to know each other and explore new horizons together during this important journey of postgraduate education. GCU helps you keep perspective on your studies and career development.


Long hours in the laboratory, thesis proposals, the weight of comprehensive exams means that a grad student needs a support infrastructure. I can’t speak highly enough about getting involved with a group on campus like GCU, and also finding a good church home base. Also as you are walking into your office or biking into campus, try praying for your profs, fellow students, or admin staff; this can help stimulate surprisingly fruitful conversations. And don’t forget that you are here to serve undergrads with grace. Feel free to track me down for coffee; I love ideas exchange.

~Dr. Craig Mitton, PhD

Associate Professor

School of Population and Public Health

As a graduate student several decades ago I found the Grad Christian Union community at my university uplifting spiritually and socially. In an often chilly secular environment, it was a great venue to meet other grads outside my own field and cultural background and develop friendships and join in events with those who shared the same core values. I am still in contact with several of these friends 30 years later. With some other faculty and graduate students, I helped to launch the Graduate & Faculty Christian Forum a number of years ago. Gord has been a solid advisor to this group as well 

~Dr. David Ley

Professor Department of Geography

University of British Columbia

There is no more important bellwether for our society and our culture than the university — and yet Christians within academia often travel incognito, which isn’t good for them, isn’t good for the university, and isn’t good for other Christians, who often feel alone when really they’re not. A ministry to grad students and thus provides a vital venue where Christians can connect, show their colours, and stimulate each other to play the full role they’re called to play as fully alive and “out” followers of Christ. Decide to be a public Christian at UBC.

~Dr. Dennis Danielson

Professor of English

University of British Columbia

Graduate research is often like looking for a lightswitch in a totally dark room. It can be frustrating at times. It certainly was for me! It was invaluable for me to have close connection with other Christians whom I could share that load with, and who were praying for me.

~Dr. Bé Wassink

Instructor, Materials Engineering

University of British Columbia

We will buy you a free coffee of your choice. Looking forward to hearing your story and your aspirations for grad school.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 3.46.24 PM.png

Graduate Christian Union Fall Orientation

 Fall Dinner Reception for New UBC Students

Wednesday, September 14 @ 6:00 p.m. home of Dr. Ed and Anne Jull, 1828 Western Parkway: Find out about the GCU program and meet other students and UBC faculty.

Hikes and Coffee on Saturday, September 10 and 17    Contact Ute: Get to know the natural beauty of the local mountains.



GFCF Scholarly Lecture Series with Durham University Biophysicist Tom McLeish: November 1- 4 Includes fall book study on Faith & Wisdom in Science


First Study Group Meeting, Thursday, September 22, 7:00 pm @ 277 west 16th ave. (near Cambie) on the Book of Philippians under the theme Daring Greatly. T: 604-349-9497


Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 9.00.19 AM


How You Can Flourish with GCU

  • Building a Christian Voice with Integrity in Academia: faith and reason as partners
  • GCU Blog org   reaching students in 92 countries. Spark a conversation.
  • Scholarly Christian Lectures: UBC Graduate and Faculty Christian Forum
  • New Book: The Great Escape from Nihilism: rediscovering our passion in late modernity by Gordon E. Carkner, Ph.D.
  • Providing Cutting Edge Resources for Students and Faculty:    Mentorship and support by senior UBC faculty and Gordon Carkner
  • Apologetics Training and Resources: Ravi Zacharias Conference Sept 6 & 7; Apologetics Canada Conference March 5 & 6.
  • Hospitality and Friendship at our Bible Study in the Book of Philippians (Thursdays)
  • Prayer and Spiritual Direction: Contact GCU Staff Ute Carkner
  • Join our Listserv Today for information on future events and opportunities: Contact Gord Carkner, GCU Director and Mentor  


Our Core Values

  • Students engaging and encouraging fellow students on the cutting edge of thought and research.
  • Courage and integrity in the pursuit of excellence in research and noble personal character.
  • Winsome exploration of fullness and joy in our work and life, to live large with humility.
  • The agape love posture of respect in relationships with high goals for collegiality and friendship.
  • In preparation for global citizenship and pursuing hope for a better and more just world.
  • A stance of intellectual openness in the pursuit of a reasoned faith and faithful, responsible, virtuous reasoning, handling the pursuit of knowledge wisely.
  • A constructive contribution to campus discourse, raising important questions, and exploring fresh ideas and horizons.
  • Drilling down into the richest heritage of Judeo-Christianity, leaving no stone unturned. Exploring how this can inspire and open up channels for academic investigation.
  • Develop a deep identity in Jesus Christ and the biblical narrative while respecting difference in convictions of others, promoting a responsible spiritual quest for truth, beauty, goodness and community.
  • Encouraging intense curiosity that draws from the wisdom of faculty across the disciplines and scholarship from around the globe.
  • Advocating for others who are less fortunate or less privileged, pursuing their empowerment and freedom from oppression and grinding poverty. Pursuit of the common good towards an integral humanism.


Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 7.55.48 PM

GCU Staff Gordon Carkner is a visionary, passionate about dialogue on salient questions of meaning and identity, faith and culture.  He has worked as a meta-educator, a networker, and campus pastor for over 30 years in Canadian universities. As a voracious reader, his vision is to mentor future leaders within academia with excellent resources: to keep them on the cutting edge and to broaden their horizons. Together with his team of university faculty and graduate students, he has sponsored countless book studies, lectures, panels, discussions and debates on the connection between a wide range of academic scholarship and Christian faith, helping people find their voice, grow their identity, and develop a spirit of curiosity. His present work is located in Vancouver, Canada at the University of British Columbia. He is also keen to feed relevant scholarship intelligence and critical thinking insights to church leaders. He is joined in his work by his lovely wife and ministry partner Ute and their two charming daughters. As a family, they enjoy getting out in the mountains of British Columbia, Alberta, and the Austrian and Swiss Alps. Gordon and Ute together have hiked the Grand Canyon and Ute joined an Australian expedition in Nepal.

Dr. Carkner holds a B.Sc. in Human Physiology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada; a Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois; and a PhD in philosophical theology from University of Wales, with a strong emphasis on the moral self and the making of the modern identity. His curiosity and expertise lies in the arena of questions concerning freedom and the good, secularity, meaning, worldviews, and philosophical anthropology, as they get articulated, discussed and debated within late modern Western culture. His current intellectual hero is Canadian McGill University philosopher, Professor Emeritus Charles Taylor. He is also well read in history and philosophy of science, science and theology. Gordon co-authored with Michael Green the popular book Ten Myths about Christianity, which sold over 200,000 copies in twenty languages and assisted many people around the world to reconsider what faith offers to their journey in life. He has also authored a number of key papers on scientism, individualism, worldviews and pluralism, tools for effective dialogue, and Charles Taylor’s recovery of the good for moral discourse. He hosts an active blog for postgraduate students, which reaches people in 92 countries, at

Dr Carkner has just finished a book to be released this fall called The Great Escape from Nihilism.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: