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Cornelius Buller – Our Tribute and Thanks

Following an extended struggle with cancer, Cornelius Buller, our good friend, colleague, and the sole non-Indigenous cofounder of NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, journeyed from this side of life to the next. Early Sunday morning July 19, Cornelius walked on into eternity, there to be with the saviour he longed to see, and for whom he had laboured so many years.

Until we meet again on the other side dear friend…

The services of commemoration and celebration for Cornelius Arthur Buller, held on July 24th, 2020, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, can be viewed by using the link below.

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In accordance with Cornelius’ wishes and with the family’s blessing, we invite gifts toward the ongoing work of NAIITS in memory of Cornelius.

Collectively, we begin by expressing our deepest condolences to Cornelius’ family. While we are grieved for the loss of our friend, we know that your loss is even more profound.

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From the North American Community

From the North American Community

From Terry, about my friend...

The Board Chair, Shari Russell...

All who knew Cornelius, whether his long time friends, brief acquaintances, or colleagues in some task or another, were witnesses of his deep love for Jesus. We were also observers of his deep passion for human beings and justice. He particularly loved and treasured his engagement with Indigenous peoples around the globe with whom he had been gifted many opportunities to learn. Watching joy spread across his face to brighten his eyes as “Aha!” moments came upon fellow learners, said all that needed to be said about what motivated Cornelius – particularly in these last years.

I first met Cornelius as he was arriving at college and I was preparing to leave. We overlapped by a semester and became acquainted in several classes that we took together. In those days we called him Corny Buller. After leaving college we connected intermittently for a few years and then fell out of touch with one another. It was years later when I was invited to speak at a Salvation Army conference in southern Ontario and discovered that Cornelius had also been invited, that we made contact once again. It took only a matter of minutes for us to decide that we wanted to tag team our presentations for better impact – but to be truthful, we just thought we could get into more mischief that way!

One thing led to another and as concerns for Indigenous writing and education began to move forward, Cornelius, the only one among us holding an advanced degree, became a significant resource and ally to us. When the time was right and the momentum seemed to be carrying us forward by the Spirit, the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) was launched.

Cornelius was there with our ragtag band of NAIITS conspirators at the very beginning. And, he was the perfect friend and ally because he always walked with humility and demonstrated a tremendous respect for Indigenous people. In fact, he approached everything with wisdom, respect and humour. He “got it”, but also knew when he didn’t – and that made all the difference.

The contribution Cornelius made to helping craft the framework for the cohort-based PhD within the partnership between NAIITS and University of Divinity was incalculable. It ensured the program got off the ground when it did, and without it we would have still been in the dreaming stage, hoping to implement such a program in the future.

I am so thankful for Cornelius’ life and commitment to the NAIITS community as a founding member and more recently with the Ph.D. program. When I first met Cornelius he was working for The Salvation Army Ethics Centre and invited me to attend the NAIITS symposium being held at Booth University. It was his humility, wisdom and gentleness that encouraged me to trust him and to attend the symposium. Little did I know the gift he was inviting me into which has profoundly impacted my life and ministry as well as the lives of so many others.

It has been a joy to be part of this and I am thankful that in recent years he had the privilege of sharing in the global impact of NAIITS. I greatly appreciated his sense of adventure especially on our trip to Australia where we ventured out on the town, discovering new places to see and experiencing the beauty of Indigenous cultures there.

We have all been blessed by his generous heart, quiet demeanour, tender laughter, desire for justice, brilliant wisdom and keen passion for learning. Cornelius’ legacy is rich indeed, as evident in his family and each of us who had the privilege to call him friend, colleague, teacher, and mentor.

From the Board...

We want to begin by expressing our deepest condolences to the family of Cornelius. As we are grieved for the loss of our friend, we know that your loss is even more profound. We are so thankful for Cornelius’ life and commitment to the NAIITS community as a founding member and more recently with the Ph.D. program. On behalf of the Board for Indigenous Pathways, we express our sincere appreciation for the significant contributions he made. His role as the only non-Indigenous founding member of the NAIITS board speaks to his passion for justice and his ability to journey well as an ally/advocate.

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From Our Global Community

From our Global Community

Aotearoa/New Zealand …

Australia…

Kua hinga te totara i te ao o ngā iwi taketake.


We acknowledge and mourn the passing of Cornelius Buller earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Cornelius was one of the founders of NAIITS and a beloved friend of the LeBlanc’s and others within the NAIITS community. He played a key role in the development of the Ph.D. programme and throughout all the years of his labour, he loved faithfully. His loss will be deeply felt.

We thank God for Cornelius and the gift he made of his life, and continue to pray that those who loved him and who were loved by him might know the comfort and peace of Jesus in the days and months ahead.

Our Creator and Father we come to you with sadness in our hearts. You have taken from us a very dear and loving friend and dearly loved Brother: Professor Cornelius Buller.

We remember and honour him through the story of another man named Cornelius. We read in Scripture how you used this Cornelius to change the mind, attitude and behaviours of Peter, one of your closest disciples. You revealed to Peter how his racially biased attitudes needed to change.

We thank you that you have raised Professor Cornelius Buller to help change minds, hearts, attitudes and behaviours in our contemporary world of academics.

We are so grateful that You have chosen Professor Cornelius, who gave his unwavering support and skills in helping us develop the academic qualifications that our Indigenous peoples needed to be able to understand Your Word more clearly and apply Your Word to the lives and challenges faced by Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Because of his sacrifice, our Indigenous peoples are more equipped now to confront the many spiritual, political and social challenges that we face with authenticity, integrity and faithfulness.

Your servant, Professor Cornelius Buller has left us with a wonderful example of how we can serve You with humility, obedience and a gracious heart. As we remind ourselves of his service and his commitment to us, may we forever be thankful and grateful to You for allowing us to walk with him and he with us.

May our prayers to You today provide comfort and hope to his family and to all those who knew him.

We ask, in Jesus name.

Amen

And from us all once again...

Cornelius, you will be deeply missed by all of us on this side of life’s journey. We pray that we may continue to live and work in such a way that as you walk with us in spirit you will be pleased with what we do now because you once did it with us.

Until we meet again on the other side dear friend…

The services of commemoration and celebration for Cornelius Arthur Buller, held on July 24th, 2020, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, can be viewed using the link below…

In accordance with Cornelius’ wishes and with the family’s blessing, we invite gifts toward the ongoing work of NAIITS in memory of Cornelius.

Honoured to be a candidate for accreditation by:

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NAIITS - An Indigenous Learning Community
NAIITS (formerly North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies) is one of two divisions of Indigenous Pathways, a non-sectarian organization dedicated to working together with the Indigenous community to develop and articulate Indigenous perspectives in theology and practice. We encourage Indigenous learning styles and world views in our instruction as we facilitate the development of a body of written work addressing biblical, theological, and ethical issues from within Native North American and other Indigenous perspectives. We do so in concert with partners of other ethnicities whom we have invited to speak into this context. NAIITS currently has five degree program partnerships offering undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs.
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