Vision, Mission, and Values


A world where spiritual seekers of all faith traditions and worldviews transform their communities into places of greater acceptance, justice, creativity, flourishing, and hope.


St. Stephen’s College engages and equips compassionate, globally conscious learners and leaders, researchers and practitioners who integrate spirituality into their lives, communities, and professions.


  • Academic, Professional, and Spiritual Curiosity
  • Openness to Self, Neighbour, and World
  • Inter-Personal, Intellectual, and Practice-Based Engagement
  • Relationships rooted in humility, mutual respect, and caring
  • Expansive, Integrative, and Resilient Imagination

Operating Principles

  • We nurture, and open ourselves to, sacred spaces for learning and transformation by respecting and caring for one another, exploring the spiritual complexities of life together, and uncovering sacredness in all our relations.
  • We foster a guided learning community that is self-directed, reflective, relevant, and which prioritizes transformational experiences.
  • We work for justice, belonging, and wholeness in language and practice for all persons,
    respecting diversity of ability, ethnicity, faith tradition, worldview, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
  • We cultivate a spiritually diverse multi-faith community that animates individuals to go deep into their own tradition and/or worldview while simultaneously and respectfully engaging the traditions and/or worldviews of their neighbours. This is enriched through our rootedness in the intercultural mandate and ecumenical heritage of the United Church of Canada.
  • We uphold and commit ourselves to high standards of intellectual freedom, academic pursuit, and professional practice in teaching, research, and practice-based engagement. This complements and aligns with our longstanding affiliation with the University of Alberta.
  • We nurture dialogue, open communication, and a consultative ethos among all members of the College’s community.
  • We honour and understand the need to be in care of one another and in care of the earth, recognizing the reciprocal relationship of our care for the earth and the earth’s sustaining of us.


In April 2022, the Board of Governors approved Five Strategic Directions for the College for the years 2022–2027.  The Board further directed the Principal and Dean to develop a set of Goals, Activities, Indicators, and Responsibilities for the achievement of these directions.  The Strategic Directions are presented below, with supporting Goals, Activities, Indicators, and Responsibilities still under development (anticipated completion in Winter 2023). 

1. Accessible
St. Stephen’s College will create greater pathways of access to the College’s programming and events.
2. Hospitable
St. Stephen’s College will foster rich hospitality among our students, faculty, staff, and community partners.
3. Educational Creativity
St. Stephen’s College will foster creative and reflective educational experiences that are student-centred, spiritually and culturally integrative, and which support diverse ways of knowing and learning.
4. Community Facing
St. Stephen’s College will be more community facing through greater visibility, engagement, and presence.
5. Witnessing Community Transformation
St. Stephen’s College will assess our effectiveness in inspiring and enacting greater acceptance, justice, creativity, flourishing, and hope in the world.


St. Stephen’s College self-consciously nurtures a learning community that is rooted in justice, belonging, and wholeness in language and practice for all persons, respecting diversity of ability, ethnicity, faith tradition, worldview, gender identity, and sexual orientation. There are unique factors to consider in this undertaking, including the College’s past, similar policies of other post-secondary Canadian institutions, and the national commitment to Indigenous reconciliation (particularly as articulated in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action). Additionally, St. Stephen’s has numerous working relationships with the University of Alberta and its EDI policy. Therefore, in alignment with relevant University of Alberta policies, St. Stephen’s College has developed:

  1. An Indigenous Framework and Relations policy based on reconciliation; and,
  2. An Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice (EDI-J) policy that builds on its commitment to social justice.

EDI-J Policy and Indigenous Framework and Relations Policy

 Affirming Statement of Diversity

affirm-swirlWe of the St Stephen's College community hold values that shape our responses to changing rural, urban and global perspectives, and which define our life together. These values lead us to work for justice, belonging, and wholeness in language and practice for all persons, respecting diversity of ability, ethnicity, faith tradition, worldview, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We recognize the challenges facing our faith communities, our society, and our world, and we endeavor to dissolve the barriers to deep spiritual reflection and study caused by homophobia, transphobia, sexism, xenophobia, racism, and other forms of intolerance, discrimination, and hate. We strive to create a safe, welcoming, and accessible space, within a climate of respect and trust, for all people to be open and honest regarding their life experiences. 

Definition of Multi-faith

"I live my life in widening circles" (Rainer Maria Rilke)

St. Stephen's College understands that people of all spiritual traditions and explorations are to be respected and treated with dignity, and encourages the members of its community to experience the sacred by engaging in enriching dialogue from diverse perspectives.

Definition of Ministry

Members of the St. Stephen's College community articulate their vision and practice of ministry using the languages, symbols, and images of the traditions and worldviews with which they identify. Within this diversity of tradition, St. Stephen's College understands that the practice of ministry includes the self-reflective awareness of the nurturing quality of service to the human community and earth. The St. Stephen's community consists of practitioners from such fields as education, faith/religious community assignments, chaplaincy, mediation, management, media services, the arts, healthcare, counseling, multicultural relationships, and care of our planet.


Educating the Whole Person