Chapel Preacher

Dr. Mary Jo Leddy

Mary Jo Leddy, CM,  is a Canadian writer, speaker, theologian and social activist. Leddy is widely recognized for her work with refugees at Toronto’s Romero House. She began working for the centre as a night manager in 1991, and has been its director since then. . In 1973, she was the founding editor of the Catholic New Times. She is author of the books “Say to the Darkness We Beg to Differ” (Lester and Orpen Denys, finalist City of Toronto Book Award), Reweaving Religious Life: Beyond the Liberal Model (Twenty Third Publications, 1990), At the Border Called Hope: Where Refugees are Neighbours (HarperCollins, 1997 and finalist for the Trillium Award, Radical Gratitude (Orbis Books, 2002), “Our Friendly Local Terrorist” (Between the Lines 2010) and “The Other Face of God: When the Stranger Calls Us Home” (Orbis 2011). Leddy was the recipient of a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto with a thesis titled “The Event of the Holocaust and the Philosophical Reflections of Hannah Arendt” She studied under the direction of Emil Fackenheim, and she is currently a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, and a board member of PEN Canada and Massey College. After thirty years as a member of the Roman Catholic Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, she left the congregation in 1994. Leddy received the Human Relations Award of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews (1987), the Ontario Citizenship Award (1993), and the Order of Canada (1996).

Angie Peters

Angie is the President and CEO of the Yonge Street Mission. Her compassion for people on society’s margins comes from her own lived experience of growing up on social assistance. Often described as inspiring and resilient, Angie began her career in sales and marketing and had 16 successful years as a senior executive in the telecommunications industry, where she closed multi-million dollar deals and produced unprecedented sales. Soon after her youngest child was born, Angie experienced an increasing desire to align her career with her passion to advocate for vulnerable people, which ultimately led her to found and lead ZOE Alliance Inc, a for profit social enterprise. The encouragement and support of friends and family helped Angie take the steps to fully devote her life’s work to social causes which culminated in her appointment to the leadership of Toronto’s historic Yonge St. Mission in 2013.

A passionate and engaging speaker, when Angie is not influencing systemic change or advocating for the vulnerable and broken, she is working on her masters in leadership, taking art classes with her daughter and enjoying the outdoors with both of her adult children and Holly, their dog.  Angie is married to Arthur Peters.

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Keynote Speaker

Rev. Dr. Ray Aldred

Ray Aldred is a husband, father, and grandfather. He was ordained with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. He is status Cree from Swan River Band, Treaty 8. Born in Northern Alberta, he now resides with his wife in Richmond, B.C. Ray is the director of the Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver School of Theology whose mission is to partner with the Indigenous Church around theological education.

Formerly Ray served as the Assistant Professor of Theology at Ambrose Seminary in Calgary, Alberta. He is a former chairperson and board member for Indigenous Pathways. He is former Director for the First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada, and continues to work to encourage Indigenous churches. Ray’s passion is to help as many as possible hear the gospel in their heart language.

Ray and his wife, Elaine are also involved in ministry to help train people to facilitate support groups for people who have suffered abuse. Also, Elaine and Ray have coordinated Marriage Encounter. Ray and Elaine have four children.

Rev. Becca Stevens

Becca Stevens is the Episcopalian Chaplain of Vanderbilt University as well as an author, priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms.  As a survivor of abuse driven by a passion to promote healing and hope, Becca opened a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community in 1997 where women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home.  Twenty years later, the organization continues to welcome women by providing housing, medical care, therapy and education for two years. Residents and graduates earn income through one of three social enterprises. The Global Market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1,200 women worldwide, and the national network has more than 40 sister communities.

Becca has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC World News and NPR, was named a 2016 CNN Hero and a White House “Champion of Change.” She was featured in the PBS documentary, A Path Appears, named Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America and inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame. Stevens attended the University of the South and Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has been conferred 3 honorary doctorates.  Becca lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons.

Right Rev. Robert C. Wright

The Right Rev. Robert C. Wright serves as the tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, GA, to which he was ordained in October 2012. Formerly he was rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta Georgia, the oldest black Episcopal congregation in the state of Georgia.

Since becoming bishop, Wright addressed the Georgia legislature about gun control, spoke up for Medicaid expansion and has been a vocal and active opponent of the death penalty in Georgia. In commemoration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, he prayed with a City of Atlanta sanitation crew before taking an early morning shift on the back of a city garbage truck. In January 2015, he was named among the 100 Most Influential Georgians by GeorgiaTrend magazine.

Bishop Wright was born in a Catholic orphanage in Pittsburgh, PA. He served in the U. S. Navy as a helicopter Crew-Chief and Search and Rescue Diver. He was educated at Howard University, the Virginia Theological Seminary and Ridley Hall, Cambridge England.

He has worked as a child advocate, first for the Children’s Defense Fund and later for two mayors of Washington D.C. He served as Canon Pastor and Vicar at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City. He is married to Dr. Beth-Sarah Wright and they have five children.

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Rev. Peter M. Wallace

The Rev. Peter M. Wallace has been executive producer of Day1 since March 2001, and on-air host since April 2005. He was elected president of the Alliance for Christian Media in January 2012. A graduate of Marshall University (A.B. in journalism/advertising) and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.), Peter served as editorial director for Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, 1984-1990, then was senior copywriter and broadcast producer for Larry Smith & Associates Advertising in Atlanta for 11 years. Peter is the author of several books, including Getting to Know Jesus (Again): Meditations for Lent (Church Publishing); The Passionate Jesus: What We Can Learn from Jesus About Love, Grief, Fear, Joy and Living Authentically (SkyLight Paths, 2012); Connected: You and God in the Psalms (Morehouse Publishing, May 2009); Living Loved: Knowing Jesus as the Lover of Your Soul (Seabury Books); Out of the Quiet: Responding to God’s Whispered Invitations (NavPress); and TruthQuest Devotional Journal (Broadman & Holman). He is the editor of Faith and Science in the 21st Century (Church Publishing) and of the forthcoming Heart and Soul: The Emotions of Jesus (Church Publishing). He has also contributed to many books, study Bibles, devotional guides, magazines, teaching curriculums, and other resources. He is a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, GA.

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Workshop Leader

Rev. Dr. HyeRan Kim-Cragg

HyeRan Kim-Cragg holds Timothy Eaton Memorial Church Professorship in Preaching at Emmanuel College, Toronto. Committed to an interdisciplinary approach to homiletics in practical theology, her teaching and research address a range of topics related to biblical interpretation, postcolonial theories, feminist homiletics and liturgy, migration, and ecologically just preaching practices. She has published 11 books, including Interdependence: A Postcolonial Feminist Practical Theology (2018) and is currently finishing a manuscript on Postcolonial Preaching (Lexington/Fortress forthcoming). As a recipient of The Rowntree Scholarship at The United Church of Canada Foundation (2019), she has undertaken her research project on Intercultural Preaching as she examines how race, culture and language intersect in preaching event through interviewing racially and culturally minoritized preachers and analyzing their sermons.

Rev. Dr. John E. Morgan

John Morgan has been practicing collaborative preaching for over 20 years.  He has his Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from the Association of Theological Schools in Chicago and has been a member of the Academy of Homiletics since 2000.  He is Senior Pastor of a 1300-member church in Williamsburg VA.

“As a long-time practitioner of collaborative preaching, John Morgan knows how it actually works from “street-level” better than anyone I know.”

John S. McClure
Charles G. Finney Professor of Preaching and Worship
Vanderbilt Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Stephen Farris

Dr. Farris received his Doctor of Ministry and Masters of Theology from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, followed by his PhD from Cambridge University, England. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Kingston in 1981 and served as Minister for five years at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Amherstview, Ontario.

Since then he has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches where he was charged with negotiating the repudiation of apartheid by the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa and its readmission to the Alliance. He was the Moderator of the 140th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. And until 2016 served as the Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall and as a Professor of Homiletics and New Testament at the Vancouver School of Theology. Dr. Farris is the author of several books and has contributed to many other books, articles and resources. He has lectured and preached across North America and around the world.

Rev. Dr. Scott Hoezee

Scott Hoezee is a 1990 graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary. He served two congregations as pastor: Second CRC in Fremont, MI, and Calvin CRC in Grand Rapids, MI. In 2005 he began working at Calvin Theological Seminary as a member of the faculty and as the first Director of the Seminary’s Centre for Excellence in Preaching. Rev. Hoezee has written several books, including The Riddle of Grace, Remember Creation, Proclaim the Wonder, and most recently Actuality: Real Life Stories for Sermons That Matter. He also co-hosts theGroundwork radio program along with Rev. David Bast and is a regular contributor to the blog “The Twelve.”

Along with his wife, Rosemary, he has two adult children.

Rev. Susan Sparks

As a trial lawyer turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, Susan Sparks is America’s only female comedian with a pulpit.  A North Carolina native, Susan received her B.A. at the University of North Carolina, law degree from Wake Forest University, and Master of Divinity at Union Theological in New York City.

Currently, the senior pastor of the historic Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City (and the first woman pastor in its 170-year history), Susan’s work with humour, healing, and spirituality has been featured in O (The Oprah) Magazine, the New York Times, and on such networks as ABC, CNN, CBS, and the History Channel.

A featured TEDx speaker and a professional comedian, Susan tours nationally with a stand-up Rabbi and a Muslim comic in the Laugh in Peace Tour.  In addition to her speaking and preaching, Susan writes a nationally syndicated column through Gannett distributed to over 600 newspapers reaching over 21 million people in 36 states.

She is the author of three books, Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humour, Preaching Punchlines: The Ten Commandments of Standup Comedy, and Miracle on 31st Street: Christmas Cheer Every Day
of the Year – Grinch to Gratitude in 26 Days! (May 2020)

Most importantly, Susan and her husband Toby love to fly-fish, ride their Harleys, eat good BBQ, and root for UNC Tar Heel Basketball and the Green Bay Packers.

Rev. Dr. John A. Vissers

The Rev. Dr. John A. Vissers is interested in the history and theology of the Reformed tradition and its significance for the church in a global context today. He teaches and writes widely in the areas of Reformed theology, spiritual formation, theological education, Biblical preaching, missional leadership, and congregational renewal. His areas of academic research and writing focus on the theologies of John Calvin and Karl Barth, Trinitarian theology, Reformed spirituality, and Canadian Protestant theology in the 19th and 20th centuries.

John is a member of the Presbytery of Oak Ridges and served as Moderator of the 138th General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada (2012-2013). Previously he served as Principal of the Presbyterian College, Montreal at McGill University (1999-2013); Senior Minister at Knox Church, Toronto (1995-1999); and Professor of Systematic Theology at Tyndale Seminary (1987-1995).

John is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A.), Knox College (M.Div.), Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and the Toronto School of Theology (Th.D.). In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in sacred theology (D.D.) from the Montreal Diocesan Theological College affiliated with McGill University for his contributions to Reformed theology and ecumenical theological education.

Rev. Dr. Paul Scott Wilson

The Rev. Dr. Paul Scott Wilson is Professor Emeritus of Homiletics at Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto, where he taught from 1981 until 2019. He is known for his focus on the poetry of faith and the centrality of the gospel. A son of the manse, he is ordained in the United Church of Canada and has served several churches. A past president of the Academy of Homiletics, he has written many books including: The Four Pages of the Sermon (2018);  Preaching as Poetry (2014); Setting Words on Fire: Putting God at the Center of the Sermon (2008); The Practice of Preaching (2007); Broken Words: Reflections on the Craft of Preaching (2004); Preaching and Homiletical Theory (2004); and God Sense: Reading the Bible for Preaching (2001). He has edited fifteen book and won two Book of the Year awards. He has supervised many doctoral students. He received the United Church Davidson Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004 and in 2013 received a major research award from the Louisville Institute. He lectures, teaches, and preaches widely throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Canada. He is married to Deanna who is also ordained and they have three grown children and two grandchildren.

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