This week’s Renewal Week speaker, Deirdre Brower Latz, is the principal and senior lecturer in pastoral and social theology at the Nazarene Theological College in England. Brower Latz shared with The Point about herself, her passions and a glimpse into what students can expect this week.
The Point: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is something that most people do not know about you?
Deirdre Brower Latz: I’m a third culture person, Canadian parents, British by dwelling, citizenship, but have lived across North American and Britain. I have missing pieces from each place that mean I’m always slightly restless! I am political, care a lot about thinking things through and don’t like easy answers. I enjoy very ordinary things: fires, books, gardening, earth beneath my fingers, walking. I love sports, though don’t really understand all the rules to some of the American sports. I play on a team weekly in a Netball league (a bit like basketball crossed with ice hockey, only quite different too!). Little known fact (but now widely known, I suppose if you print it): I once played field hockey for the Manitoban provincial team.
What does your faith journey look like?
DBL: Complex, messy, open, challenged…
How were you chosen to speak at this semester’s renewal week?
DBL: Ohh, great question: I have no idea! Though I have been before and loved being at PLNU. I know Tim Whetstone from his time in Italy, and he and his wife rescued my husband and me once in Washington when we were stuck there.
What are some of the joys you have discovered in your position at the Nazarene Theological College? What do you find most rewarding about your work?
DBL: Well, I love teaching and especially enjoy the classes that I am engaged in teaching – which are generally very pastoral and theological. As Principal (which is the British term for President), I love strategic thinking, I love asking hard questions and moving us forward in creative and imaginative ways. I really am blessed (if that’s not too twee) by the team that I work with.
What do you find most challenging about your work?
DBL: The most challenging thing is not quite having enough time to do things and the need
to find ways of having enough money to do the things we dream of doing. That’s a big stretch. Because we’re a theological college, we’re not as easy to fund as some other places… I also deeply and sincerely miss pastoring a particular church congregation (although I’m still involved in the congregation I was team leader of).
What are you most passionate about?
DBL: Well, the easy answer would be Jesus, I’m sure. And to an extent that’s probably true, but I think if push comes to shove I’m passionate about people, about the church as an expression of the life of Jesus, about change and growth and communicating grace. I’m passionate about hope
and the need to be a people of hope.
Are you related to President Brower by chance?
DBL: Nope, but if I were, it would be ace!
Do you have any college student stories/experiences you could share with us?
DBL: Yikes. I accidentally ended up studying theology and then discovered I loved it! I enjoyed being a student, though now when I look on it, I maybe could have been a bit more committed! But my strongest memories are probably about late night conversations with people. It was also within my student years that I responded to God calling me to a particular kind of ministry. I also remember as a consequence of working night shifts, late night chats and a hot day falling deeply asleep in a class once, and waking up with my face stuck to the desk and all my friends gone…!
… I’m looking forward to being with you – forgive me for the jet lag!