Report from FJC Professor Pierre Sovann

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Dear Friends,

As the end of my first term of service with the FJC coincided with Christmas celebrations, I have not been able to give you this update earlier in December, as planned. But it is not too late to wish you a very happy and blessed New Year 2017!

My first impressions were very positive in every respect: my relations with the administrative team, my integration into the board of Professors, my contacts with students, were most satisfying, far beyond what I anticipated.

Of course I am still in the process of discovering and learning new things, but I can already say that my first term of “getting acquainted” was most encouraging. Especially my assignment as the secretary (taking notes) of the Faculty weekly meeting contributed tremendously to my understanding of the proceedings, the regulations and the functioning of the Faculté Jean Calvin as a whole. Of course, I still have things to discover such as the exam period which is taking place this week, but things are going well and I have good working and personal relationships with my colleagues and the other members of the team. I was also asked to give a 40 min. lecture at our 2/3 December Conference, focussed on the Lausanne Covenant and the Manila and Cape Town Declarations. I was asked to deal with their purpose, their methodology and their possible limits. The audience showed interest and appreciation for my presentation.

Above all, I am delighted to teach my new students! For the first time I had to spread 24 hours of a course over a semester. After a few sessions, I sensed the need to alleviate my oral input by 25 %. This allowed me to reduce the pace of my oral delivery and to encourage more interaction with the students. Twelve teaching sessions were devoted to the person and work of Jesus-Christ. During six weeks we dealt with the person of the Son of God. The following five weeks were strongly focussed on His work, dealing with the two aspect of His mediation (3 weeks on the death of Jesus and the meaning of the cross) and the final week on the work of Christ with the emphasis on the three offices of the mediator.

I also took account of the precious advice offered by Paul Wells with regards to the weaknesses he had observed in first-year students and thus gave them some extra homework. The purpose of these exercises was to enhance their analytical capacities, to help them formulate a set of issues and a thesis, to choose a specific type of outline in view of developing a proper response to the problems stated, and to learn how to draw up an introduction, a paragraph, a conclusion etc. I have already observed improvements in this realm and hope to see the progress reflected in the results of the examinations.

As I conclude I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Lord and to all of those who have contributed to my smooth integration, the administration team, the professors and the students, by their prayers and faithful generosity, have allowed me to serve the Lord here in Aix-en-Provence.

May His Name be highly praised in 2017, even more so than in 2016!

In the joy of His fellowship,

January 2017
Pierre Sovann,
Professor of Systematic Theology