Trinity College, Faculty of Divinity, University of Toronto

New Dean of Divinity: Rev Professor Christopher Brittain

The Orthodox School of Theology at Trinity College welcomes the announcement of the appointment of the Rev Prof Christopher Brittain to the position of Dean of Divinity for a five-year term commencing 1 July 2017.

Announcing the appointment, Mayo Moran, Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, said: “We are so thrilled to welcome Christopher Brittain back to the College in this important leadership role. As a consummate educator and researcher, and a graduate of Trinity, he has an accomplished record of academic excellence and significant experience in institutional leadership. His unique combination of mastery, creativity and energy will enrich the community and the Faculty of Divinity’s rigorous academic programs while fostering a culture of openness, diversity and dialogue.”

Along with serving in a prominent leadership role in the College as a whole, the Rev Prof Brittain will build upon the Faculty of Divinity’s longstanding leadership role in theological education. He will also be instrumental in the formation of individuals for Christian ministry and supervise doctoral students.

“I am excited by this opportunity to join the Faculty at Trinity College and the wider community at the Toronto School of Theology and the University of Toronto. I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students to broaden the impact of theological education on our community, and to contribute to the future of the church. I am committed to helping the Faculty of Divinity remain a vital part of Trinity College and a leading theological institution in global Anglicanism,” the Rev Prof Brittain said.

The new dean also addressed himself to the Orthodox School of Theology, an integral part of the Faculty of Divinity: "I am excited to be joining the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College and look forward to working with the Orthodox School of Theology to ensure its ongoing vitality and growth. The dialogue between Orthodox and Anglican theologians has long been a fruitful conversation, and I am pleased that it has become such a significant part of the Trinity community."

The Very Rev Geoffrey Ready, co-director of the Orthodox School of Theology, said: "The outgoing dean, David Neelands, has been a tremendous friend to Orthodox Christianity and a torchbearer for Orthodox studies at Trinity College over many years. We are delighted with the appointment of Rev Prof Christopher Brittain and look forward to working collaboratively with him to enable the Orthodox School of Theology to continue to grow and thrive—and also to help support all aspects of the Faculty of Divinity and the College—in the coming years."

The Rev Prof Brittain is currently a Professor of Social and Political Theology at the University of Aberdeen, UK, and serves in the Diocese of Aberdeen, Episcopal Church of Scotland. He was ordained a deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1996 and a priest in 2003.

He has published five monographs, authored more than 25 articles and book chapters, is on the editorial board of the book series “Studies in Critical Research on Religion” and of the journal Critical Research on Religion. His current research focuses on three areas in contemporary global religion: inter-faith partnerships, the issue of power in theology, and current issues in the Anglican Communion. On varied topics in religion and politics, he blogs occasionally, makes media appearances, pens op-eds, delivers keynote papers at conferences, and has also contributed to a YouTube video lecture series on faith and thought.

“An innovative and forward thinker, the Rev Prof Brittain’s course ‘Religion at Ground Zero’ is not only popular among students—with the largest enrollment in Divinity and Religious Studies in Aberdeen—it reflects his ability to effectively design teaching that merges tradition and student interest,” said Trinity alum Andrew McFarlane, Vice-Chair, Trinity College Board of Trustees. “On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank my fellow search committee members for their outstanding work. We are indeed fortunate to have the Rev Prof Brittain—an accomplished and respected leader and alumnus—return home to Trinity.”

At the University of Aberdeen, where the Rev Prof. Brittain has worked since 2007, he has served as Academic Dean of three disciplines – Divinity, Religious Studies and Philosophy – overseeing undergraduate and postgraduate programs in each discipline while managing a team of administrative staff. He is an elected member of Aberdeen’s Board of Governors (University Court), which oversees the strategic development of the University. From 2002 to 2006, he was Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He completed his PhD from the University of St. Michael’s College, MDiv from Trinity College, Toronto, and BA from the University of New Brunswick.

The Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College has for 175 years led the way in providing an Anglican theological education in a university setting. For the last 15 years, the Faculty has been led by the Rev Canon David Neelands, who will end his third term as dean on 30 June 2017.

“Not only has David strengthened the College’s academic and theological education program, he has contributed greatly to the spiritual wellbeing of the community and has been an advisor and mentor to so many people over the years. We are extremely grateful for his dedicated years of service and for all he has contributed to the vitality of the Faculty of Divinity and to Trinity College,” Provost Moran said.