Taylor Mourns the Loss of Dr. Joe Sonnenberg, Celebrates his Life

Sonneberg_Joseph2Taylor College and Seminary mourns the death of President Emeritus Dr. Joseph Sonnenberg. Dr. Sonnenberg, who was president from 1970 to 1981, passed away in Kelowna on November 8, 2010.

Born in Poland in 1922, he was married to his wife Ella for over 61 years. Together they had a son Brian (Carlene) of Portland, OR, and a daughter Cheryl (Jim) Nichols of Edmonton, AB, and the family grew to include five grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Dr. Sonnenberg was a towering figure in Taylor's history. He led the building projects that included the Schalm Memorial Library, the Gymnasium and a dormitory, and also oversaw significant growth in the student body. High school education was phased out during this time, and Taylor Seminary got its start as a divinity school. When he stepped down as president, he said that he had accepted the job with "fear and trembling" but that he came "to pay a debt to this College for the great impact it had upon my life in its formative years."

Friends and former colleagues remember "Joe" Sonnenberg as a disciplined, hard-working honest man who valued spiritual development and intellectual growth; one remembers that he followed a pattern of reading at least one book per week. He also loved nature, and was responsible for the trees that line the Taylor campus. 

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Dr. Sonnenberg's honor to the Taylor College & Seminary Scholarship Fund or to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association. The Sonnenberg Leadership Scholarship was first set up in 1999, and since then has distributed over $10,000 to 24 deserving students. Donations to the Sonnenberg Leadership Scholarship Fund may be mailed to:

Taylor College and Seminary
11525 - 23 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
T6J 4T3

The Celebration of Life Service for Dr. Sonnenberg will take place on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm at Trinity Baptist Church, 1905 Springfield Road, Kelowna B.C.

The Conservatory of Music at Taylor is pleased to announce the Christmas and Advent concert schedule for 2010.

Vivaldi's Gloria (Taylor Community Choir)
The Taylor Community Choir will be joined by a live orchestra for a pair of exceptional performances. the choir will be presenting Vivaldi's "Gloria" along with other seasonal pieces, and the Taylor Community Flute Choir will also make an appearance.

This event will be held at Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church (11210 - 59 Avenue, Edmonton). There will be two performances, as noted below, and there will be no fixed admission charge. However, we will offer an opportunity to contribute towards the cost of this event.

Saturday, December 4, 2010 -- 7:00 P.M.
Sunday, December 5, 2010 -- 3:00 P.M.

Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church: 11210 - 59 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB

Festive Flutes (Taylor Community Flute Choir)
The Taylor Community Flute Choir will present a light-hearted mix of Christmas and Advent music -- along with a little bit of mischief. Come and enjoy the fun as these gifted performers share the gift of music. No charge, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

Monday, December 6, 2010 -- 7:00 P.M.

Stencel Hall (Taylor College and Seminary): 11525 - 23 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB

Hark, the Herald Angel (Taylor Children's Community Choir)
The members of the Taylor Children's Community Choir have been working this fall on a Christmas musical drama. the story centres on Hark, a young bundle of energy and questions, and features (of course) Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, as well as various shepherds and other angels. Funny and yet meaningful, this is a great performance for your whole family. There is no cost to attend -- come and join us! (Donations will be accepted to help cover the costs associated with this event.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010 -- 7:00 P.M.

Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church: 11210 - 59 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB

Taylor Seminary is pleased to announce that a modular course will be offered in Grande Prairie, AB over three weekends in the New Year. Dr. Allan Effa will teach a course on Spiritual Formation; this course may be taken for graduate credit through Taylor Seminary or for undergraduate credit through Taylor College (ask for details). This course may also be audited for those who would appreciate learning, but do not need/want academic credit.

This course is part of an ongoing initiative of Taylor Seminary to make theological education more widely available. Numerous courses are being offered in one-week or weekend modular formats; a number of courses are being offered in a modular format in various western Canadian cities, and numerous online courses are attracting students from around the world.

Read more about the course below, and be sure to contact us right away to register your interest in the course and to explore what steps might be needed for registration. Applications will be accepted up to the start of the course date, but early registrations are very helpful and greatly appreciated.


PT 540 Spiritual Formation (3 credits)
Spiritual formation is all about the ways the Holy Spirit works in our lives to conform or transform us toward Christlikeness.  WeAllanEffa2 will learn from biblical and historical examples and explore a number of practices together in this three credit course.

This modular course will be offered in Grande Prairie over three weekends in Winter 2011 for graduate credit through Taylor Seminary, or for undergraduate credit (as REL 262 Christian Spirituality) through Taylor College.

Professor: Dr. Allan Effa
Location: Christian Fellowship Assembly, Grande Prairie, AB
Dates: January 21-22, February 25-26, March 18-19, 2011
(Classes will run on Fridays 6:30–9:30 PM and on Saturdays 8:30 AM–4:30 PM)
Taylor Seminary Admissions Contact:  Rick Heavenor (Rick@TaylorSeminary.ca), 1-800-567-4988, ext. 215 or 780-431-5215
GP Contact: Kim Penney (kpenney@cfachurch.ca)


Remember, applications are welcome at any time, however early applications for courses and programs are often helpful and are greatly encouraged; call or write today.

NOV. 12-13, 2010

The apostle Paul often began his letters with eloquent prayers that contain vital concepts for anyone interested in authentic, dissident discipleship. At Taylor’s onWORD Bible conference, Dr. Gary Nelson will share insights from a lifetime of study and pastoral leadership in a series of talks called ‘And this is my Prayer for You... Sorting out what Really Matters for the Church.’

Paul's prayers to the emerging church in the first century provide a window into the challenges for the church and for followers of Jesus in the 21st Century as well. What really matters? How do we find the foundations that effectively and deeply ground us in the possibilities of a faith that is dissident and alive? Paul prays for the things that really matter – and we should too!

This conference will also include a number of workshops and breakout sessions where scholars and Bible teachers will help us journey through scripture.

Join us for onWORD: the conference, a journey through scripture – an exploration of Biblical proportions!

Conference Schedule at a GlanceonWORD speakers


7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
General Session #1 (Stencel Hall)
Speaker: Dr. Gary Nelson

Join us for refreshments following this opening session.


10:00 PM - 11:30 AM
General Session #2 (Stencel Hall)
Speaker: Dr. Gary Nelson

Workshops: 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Session A – The Excellency of Christ (Dr. Jeffrey McPherson)
The soaring language of the first chapter of Colossians is among the greatest expressions of the work of Christ. It provides a profound understanding of who Christ is in relation to the world and, as such, merits closer examination. Dr. Jeff McPherson, visiting scholar at Taylor Seminary, will lead this discussion.

Session B – 'Helping Johnny Read' –
Thoughts on Biblical Literacy (Dr. Jerry Shepherd)
Dr. Jerry Shepherd, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Taylor, has spent much of his adult life reading, studying and teaching the Bible -- in English and in Hebrew. Lately, he's been giving a lot of thought to the challenge of 'Biblical illiteracy' -- a general lack of knowledge of the people, places and stories of scripture. Join him for a lively discussion of some of the ways we can foster general familiarity with the Bible.

Workshops: 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Session C – Praying the Psalms (Len Thompson)
Join Len Thompson of Urban Sanctuary (also an adjunct professor at Taylor Seminary) as he leads you through an experience of scripture as prayer. Through teaching, reading aloud, writing and prayer, students at this session will have the opportunity to experience the Psalms in a new way.

Session D – Living into the Good News
(Bishop Jane Alexander)
Bishop Jane Alexander of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton will discuss the Good News. She will speak from Luke 4:16-21, in which Jesus reads a passage from Isaiah then declares "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
General Session #3 (Stencel Hall)
Speaker: Dr. Gary Nelson

5:30 PM – Conference Ends


WHAT:  onWORD Bible Conference
WHEN:  November 12 - 13, 2010
WHERE: Stencel Hall, Taylor College and Seminary
 (11525 - 23 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB)
COST:  free, but you must register; pre-register online now in 60 seconds or less - click here.

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