GCU at a Glance

Graduate Christian Union at a Glance

GCU puts value on academic excellence, creative exploration of ideas, personal integrity and wholeness—in general, a vigorous pursuit of an integrated academic and personal life. We affirm balance in all dimensions and offer a community environment to strengthen student resilience. GCU seeks to celebrate and complement the postgraduate student’s academic work, to encourage the students in that work, and yet to help put that work within a larger life and worldview frame of reference. Our vision is five-fold: 

(a) the development of a robust and fertile Christian mind,

(b) the nurture of a supportive community among graduate students which includes prayer and Bible study and mutual listening, lively debate and discussion,

(c) to assist with the personal/pastoral/psychological needs of students and get them the help they need as soon asap—to head off a crisis and deal supportively with discouragement or loss,

(d) to encourage a compassionate engagement by these students with colleagues—growing one’s identity through service to others and becoming a contribution to moral and social capital of the UBC campus community,

(e) mentorship and hospitality by faculty and GCU Staff workers Gordon and Ute Carkner.

The group and its events are open to all UBC postgraduate students and postdocs, students with a Christian background/ the spiritually curious/people of other faiths and philosophies. It also benefits much from the positive, wise and visionary input from UBC faculty members, and other professionals at UBC and beyond. Creative media  and the GCU Blog (ubcgcu.org) plays a key educational and fun role, offering opportunity for student dialogical experiments.

During the year ahead, we look forward to active dialogue with biblical text, investigation of great books, interaction with scholars who are making an impact in their career. We are flexible whatever the situation for the coming fall during the COVID-19 challenges: virtual oprions. GCU encourages students to share and build friendships across disciplines and also to contribute to a vision for healthy, loving university community.

GCU is an inter-disciplinary discussion of a unique sort, providing a reflective niche for religion and culture dialogue. Its philosophical foundation is progressive Christian theism, drawing on a broad and deep tradition of thought, while seeking to be current and articulate in culture engagement. Student leadership development and presentation is strongly encouraged in the places where they work and reside such as Thunderbird, St. John’s College and Green College. 

Students are able to problem solve, and take what they learn in GCU to help other students—grads and undergrads. In many cases, it has enhanced their own academic work. GCU will provide support and some of the resources to help them reason, live and speak with sensitivity and integrity. The group is committed to both spiritual nurture and academic excellence, using the full range of the human imagination and all intelligences: in science, the arts and humanities and the social sciences. GCU and its affiliates help students negotiate the challenges and uncertainties of academia.

The community welcomes those who wish to explore the full meaning and relevance of a deep and enduring Christian faith. We make a home for many people from various countries seeking to connect with like minds here at UBC. Finally, we keep in touch with alumni to support them through various life transitions. They also feed back into the group with great ideas and resources, so the conversation continues.

We heartily welcome you to become a vital member of GCU!

Gord & Ute Carkner 604.349.9497

gcarkner@shaw.ca ucarkner@shaw.ca

Perhaps GCU could be a vital part of your postgrad experience.

Who am I?

PhD in Philosophical Theology

Author of The Great Escape from Nihilism; Mapping the Future.

Ministry Support to Faculty and Graduate Students at UBC.

Meta-educator

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