Thursday, May 26, 2016

An Obituary of Note

The Revd Professor John Bainbridge Webster, DD, FRSE 1955-2016

We shared a lecture hall in Toronto back in the 1980's.  He told me of a German theologian of whom I had never heard and gave me a perspective on Karl Barth that still sneaks into a sermon from time to time.  Interestingly, I was just thinking of him the other day when I was on retreat and composing some notes to use in the autumn.

For those curious [in other words, no one], "The Rev'd Professor" is not an ecclesial title, necessarily.  Certain teaching positions in the British university system are only for the ordained, such as are many that had been filled by Professor Webster.  Additionally, "Professor" is a rather specific title that is granted only to full professors and not to lecturers or even assistant or associate professors.

An associate professor of mine was addressed as "Dr. Fontaine" in the classroom.  I made the error of referring to her as such the day after she had been promoted to full professor and was corrected by one of my colleagues.  "She's to be addressed as Professor Fontaine now".  Take that, you American, you.