We’re pleased to introduce Dr. Kimberley Morrison, Columbia’s newest faculty member! Dr. Morrison holds an MA in Global Leadership and a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. She’s currently working on a PhD in Intercultural Education with Biola University. She has served in ministry roles across Canada and the United States, most recently helping to launch Urban Abbey, a missional church community in Northern Ontario. Kimberley will teach courses in intercultural studies, mission, and communication. She took a break from her course prep to answer a few of our questions:
Can you give us a few career, ministry, and family highlights from your life so far?
God has graciously filled my life with a multitude of learning, living and loving adventures. A highlight for both ministry and family would be Lake of the Trees Bible Camp in 100 Mile House BC. The majority of our campers joined us from a tribal community or inner-city context. This was a place where my children did the majority of their growing together as a family. We were remotely located and experienced the felt presence of God as this rustic and primitive place provided a thin space between heaven and earth. We worked on a daily basis with the Shuswap peoples of Canada and this interaction provided meaningful relationships and growth opportunities.
A second ministry highlight would be Urban Abbey. This church plant grew out of a dissertation I wrote while seeking to configure a church model contextualized to a postmodern, post-Christian context. An ancient Abbey in the most at-risk city in Canada provided opportunity to reflect the face of Jesus to sorrowing contexts by working closely with local government to address some of its most thorny social crises. Urban Abbey’s doors are open 24 hours daily, she provides shelter and meals for the poor twice daily 365 days of the year, individuals with mental health concerns and street populations find this to be a popular place for companionship on a daily basis – especially in cold months. A home for moms and infants called Thrive offers 18 months of recovery-oriented learning. In cooperation with Lakehead University and The Alzheimer’s Society, Urban Abbey created Dementia Café: A Place to Belong as a safe space for folks with a dementia diagnosis and their care partners to spend time socially. Urban Abbey follows a Rule of Life and the Daily Office, her staff take vows of simplicity, humility and fidelity. Urban Abbey also creates their own sacred art and is a space for public art with performing artists engaging daily in works ranging from drama to dance to music whether in performance or practice.
What drew you to your new role as Intercultural Studies faculty at Columbia? What excites you about this opportunity?
Two things, drew me here, really. First, I am passionate for the fame of Jesus and I think the culture of Columbia in terms of its commitment to biblical and practical theology shares a kindred spirit in pursuing this value. Second, I find delight in the millennial generation – they are faced with the challenge of arriving on the planet at the end of Western Civilization’s heyday and will be invited to create culturally coherent ways of imaging Christ.
You have a doctorate in Intercultural Studies and a PhD in progress! What questions have driven your research?
A few questions have driven my research. First, what sort of communities do we need to create if we are to nurture a prophetic voice within the contemporary Canadian context? Second, what might primitive Christianity tell us about missional formation for leaders embedded in vocational contexts outside the church?
You have a deep passion for the everyday local church. How does that connect with ‘Intercultural Studies’?
Intercultural Studies is all about learning how to bring the culture of heaven close to the cultures of earth. The everyday church, sited in geographies all around the globe, gives material shape to Divine realities. When we are joined to Christ, we are joined to each other and to God’s grand social imaginary. The more we live into this identity the more invitational our lives become.
What’s one book (other than the Bible) you would bring on a year-long retreat?
Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis.
If you had to choose a non-North American place to live, where would it be? Why?
Mongolia – I have had a long connection to its peoples through prayer and friends who reside there.
Canoeing, hiking, reading, wilderness wanderings with my husband Bill.