Continuing Education Opportunities

Aitken Workshop 2014

The Art of the Hymn
with Dr. John Derksen
Thursday, February 6
7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
AST St. Columba Chapel

The C.D. Ed Aitken Memorial Workshop will be held this year on Thursday, February 6. Our guest presenter will be Dr. John Derksen. Dr. Derksen presented the Aitken Workshop in February, 2011 and was our first Nicholson Scholar in Summer Term, 2012. The workshop design will be new this year. Dr. Derksen will work with classes on Thursday morning and afternoon. In the evening he will conduct a Hymn Festival in the St. Columba Chapel. This will be an opportunity to sing songs of our faith and reflect on the ways the words and music of Christian praise preach the gospel.

All members of AST's extended community are welcome, and all are asked to share this notice and the attached poster with others. A special invitation is extended to choirs and choir directors to join in this event in lieu of weekly Choir Practice, which we know is often held on Thursday night.

A westerner by birth, John Derksen studied at the University of Manitoba before moving to Toronto to complete his doctoral studies in musicology. He taught Church Music and Worship to seminarians at Knox College for many years, retiring as Associate Professor of Church Music in 2009. During this time, he served on the Presbyterian Church in Canada committees for the Psalter, and for the Book of Praise (1997). Since 1993, John has served as Minister of Music at Islington United Church in Toronto, where he oversees a vital, extensive program engaging many volunteers. John lives in Toronto with his partner Kristen, a teacher and baroque flautist. Both of their sons, Benjamin and Samuel, are university students.


As a memorial to the Rev. C.D. Ed Aitken (1939-1995), Director of Continuing Education, Professor of Homiletics, Vice President and President of AST, and as a way of furthering his high standards of proclamation, the Aitken Workshop is held annually and is intended to enrich the program of AST’s students in course.  The endowment income for the Aitken Workshop is made available as a gift to AST from the Board of Pine Hill Divinity Hall.


THE ART OF THE HYMN inspires other artistic expressions. In conjunction with the events of this great day you are invited to contribute to an exhibit and performance. Take a verse, phrases, or phrase from a hymn or worship song that moves you. Meditate on it. Then put your hands to work. As the Spirit leads you...

  • Choose a photograph from your collection or take a new one.
  • Take up paints and brushes (or fingers).
  • Sculpt.                        Carve.                        Mold.
  • Write a poem or create a spoken word piece that expresses your response to words and music.
  • Make a video.

Set your imagination free. The goal is not to write new hymns, but to translate lyrics and notes to other media that express and extend our response to what you love to sing and hear. Graphic pieces will be displayed during the Hymn Festival and then moved to the gallery space in the Library. New words may be performed during the event. Videos may be shown before, during, or after the Hymn Festival. We will be delighted to welcome submissions from folks who are unable to attend due to distance.

Please confirm your intention to contribute your work by February 1. For more information, or to test an idea, speak to Dr. Laurence DeWolfe (email: [email protected]) or Dr. Alyda Faber (email: [email protected]).

Fundraising from the Heart

The attempts to include the registration link to clergy via the clergy email list just would not work!  In both cases the links were tested before sending but there seemed to be something blocking access between our website and their platform.  Cutting and pasting the link address in the URL address box works for some, however one of our clergy investigated further and found this link that 'should' work.


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