Homepage Feature — 9th October 2019
Thank you Dr Kent Brower.
Dr. Peter Rae Vice Principal and Academic Dean
It was the summer of 1973 when Kent Brower first arrived on the campus of what was then British Isles Nazarene College.
He had been accepted as a PhD student at the University of Manchester by the legendary F F Bruce, and the BINC principal, Dr Hugh Rae, had invited him to work part time for the College: as a lecturer in Biblical studies, and to serve as the College Bursar – keeping the College accounts.
Kent had completed an undergraduate degree at Canadian Nazarene College, then an MA in Boston, and had then returned to the family farm, in Wainwright, Alberta, before he and Francine (with their infant daughter, Deirdre), decided to venture abroad.
It was no easy adjustment: with a part-time job, and nowhere to live, they found 1970’s Manchester a little damp and inhospitable. But never ones to be daunted by a challenge, they dug in: found a wee place to live in a Didsbury back-street, then Francine found work teaching mathematics in a central Manchester school. And quickly, they became a key part of the small BINC family.
When combined with his vision for serving the Global church (serving on the International Board of Education for the Church of the Nazarene), and the endless capacity for hospitality that he and Francine quietly model, he has been – and continues to be – a remarkable gift to NTC.
It was 1978 when Kent completed his PhD (looking at the passion narrative in the gospel of Mark). And then a year later he and the family heard the call back to Canada – the role of Associate Professor at his alma mater, CNC – teaching Biblical Studies, coaching the College hockey team, working with some of CNC’s academic partnerships around the globe.
But in 1988 Manchester lured him back, and he returned to take up the role of Dean at a pivotal period in the life of the College. From 1973, the College had been awarding a degree accredited in Canada, but in 1989 the College, under Dr Brower’s expert direction, applied for the right to award a British degree. The approval of this application lead, over the next few years, to NTC’s enduring partnership with the University of Manchester, a relationship that Kent initiated and nurtured.
It is impossible to overstate the influence that Dr Kent Brower has had on NTC. His ability to balance the administrative work of the Dean’s office, the leading of the College’s Research Degree programme, his teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and his own academic research, will be a cause of jaw-dropping wonder to those who know the demands of any one of these roles. When combined with his vision for serving the Global church (serving on the International Board of Education for the Church of the Nazarene), and the endless capacity for hospitality that he and Francine quietly model, he has been – and continues to be – a remarkable gift to NTC.
Since 2002 he has served as Vice-Principal, with a special remit for Global Education. In particular, he has championed the support of students from the global South, to ensure that they can access the quality of education that gives them a voice in Church and society – and this has led to the College finding support for students from all regions of the world. The over 70 graduates of the PhD/MPhil programme in these past years show that investment, with students coming from – and serving in – nations across the globe.
Typically, when he stepped back from full time work with NTC (he is currently half time) he immediately took on the role of Pro-Vice Chancellor at Southern Africa Nazarene University, helping to shape and develop a new institution in Swaziland. And although this year sees him step back from the duties of Vice Principal, he continues to serve as the College’s Director of Research, to teach, and to be part of the College’s senior leadership team, still developing new initiatives – working passionately to see the College and the Church thrive in these ‘interesting times.’