Dr. Cheryl Bear of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation is an award-winning singer/songwriter and educator who serves as an Indigenous Relations Specialist with Canadian Baptists. As part of her role she seeks to inspire and educate through music and dialogue. Cheryl has travelled to over 600 Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States sharing her songs and stories. She is also one of the founding board members of the North American Indigenous Institute of Theological Studies (NAIITS). Her doctoral work presented an approach to First Nations ministry from the foundations of Indigenous worldview and values. Cheryl is based in Vancouver and has three adult children.
IONA PASSAGE features some of Toronto’s finest Celtic musicians. They have played together for many years, but have more recently formed as an ensemble with Eric Robertson to offer the musical leadership at Yorkminster Park’s Iona liturgy services. Iona Passage features Eric Robertson on keyboards, violinist/fiddler Anne Lindsay, Sharlene Wallace on the Celtic harp, and vocalists, Colleen Burns and Stephen Ellison. While a number of these artists have released solo albums and been featured on others, we look forward to the recording at Yorkminster Park of Iona Passage’s first album in the fall.
Patricia Dutcher-Walls is Dean and Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Vancouver School of Theology, an inter-denominational graduate school that prepares students for ministerial leadership in Canada. She holds a Doctor of Theology in Old Testament/Biblical Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School. She has published several books and a number of articles in scholarly and religious journals. A life-long Presbyterian, she was ordained by the United Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1978 and now is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. With a love of teaching and preaching, she regularly appears as a guest preacher in Presbyterian, Anglican and United congregations, and has led numerous adult education courses, retreats, and continuing education courses. She is married to a Lutheran pastor and has two grown children.
Terry Leblanc, a Mi’kmaq-Acadian, is the Executive Director of Indigenous Pathways and also the founding Chair and current Director of the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS), an indigenous learning community. Terry holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from Asbury Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida, and specializes in Theology and Anthropology.
In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Tyndale, he also teaches at George Fox University and Seminary, in Portland, Oregon, and Acadia University and Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Terry has accrued over 38 years of community work experience in Native North American and global Indigenous contexts, including as an educator in theology, cultural anthropology and community development practice.
Terry has won several awards for his varied writings. In June 2010, he received the Dr. E.H. Johnson Memorial Award for Innovation in Mission for his work on the creation of NAIITS. In May 2015, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Acadia University.
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 where she was President of her Class and a law degree from Wake Forest University.
After ten years as a lawyer moonlighting as a standup, she left her practice and spent two years on a solo trip around the world, including working with Mother Teresa’s mission in Calcutta, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and driving the Alaska Highway. Upon returning home, she entered Union Theological Seminary in New York City where she earned a Master of Divinity and wrote an honors thesis on humor and religion. In May 2007, Susan was installed as Madison Avenue Baptist Church’s 15th Senior Minister and the first woman in its 170-year history.
Susan is also a professional comedian touring nationally with a Rabbi and a Muslim Comic in the Laugh in Peace Tour. Her work with humor, healing, and spirituality has been featured in O (The Oprah) Magazine, the New York Times, and on such networks as ABC, CNN, and CBS.
A nationally syndicated columnist for GateHouse Media, Susan also blogs for Psychology Today, Baptist News Global, and the Huffington Post. Her first book, Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor, was named one of the best spiritual books of 2010, and her second book, Preaching Punchlines, is to be released in 2019. Susan is the 20th recipient of the John L. Haber Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts given by the University of North Carolina and the Intersections International Award for her interfaith work to promote justice and reconciliation among diverse communities.
Most importantly, Susan and her husband Toby love to fly-fish, ride their Harleys, eat good BBQ, and root for North Carolina Basketball and the Green Bay Packers.
Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Swansea, South Wales on 14 June 1950, into a Welsh-speaking family, and was educated at Dynevor Comprehensive School in Swansea and at Christ’s College Cambridge where he studied theology. He studied for his doctorate – in the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought – at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975. After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection at Mirfield, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral before returning to Cambridge.
From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge: first at Westcott House, being ordained priest in 1978, and from 1980 as curate at St George’s, Chesterton. In 1983 he was appointed as a Lecturer in Divinity in the University, and the following year became Dean and Chaplain of Clare College. 1986 saw a return to Oxford as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a Fellow of the British Academy in 1990.
In 1991 Rowan Williams accepted election and consecration as Bishop of Monmouth, a diocese on the Welsh borders, and in 1999 on the retirement of Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones he was elected Archbishop of Wales, one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion.
Thus it was that, in July 2002, with eleven years’ experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed on 2 December 2002 as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.
Rowan Williams stepped down as Archbishop of Canterbury in December 2013 and entered the House of Lords as a life peer in January 2013
Lord Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding thinker, writer, scholar and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. His more than two dozen books cover a very wide range of related fields – philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics: he has published studies of Dostoevsky and C.S. Lewis (a Fellow of Magdalene), and his most recent book, Faith in the Public Square , is a collection of public talks and lectures on the implications of religion for politics and social policy. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.
His interests include music, fiction and languages. In 1981 Lord Williams married Jane Paul, a lecturer in theology, whom he met while living and working in Cambridge. They have a daughter and a son.
The Rev. Dr. Anthony Bailey has been lead minister at Parkdale United Church in Ottawa since 1999. Originally from Barbados, he has lived and served in various parts of Canada, Africa and the Caribbean.
Anthony obtained a Bachelor of Social Work from McGill University in 1980. In 1986, he received a Master of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology and was ordained by the United Church of Canada the same year. A pastor and teacher at heart, Bailey taught at the McGill University’s joint theological colleges and the Theological College of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.
Anthony is a recipient of the Dreamkeepers’ Martin Luther King Jr. Life Achievement Award for Racial Reconciliation. He wrote the biblical and theological study resource for Sankofa: The Histories and Heritages of Black Peoples in the United Church of Canada. As well, he has written a chapter entitled “Against Racism: All Nations, Including Black Peoples, in the Imagination of God” in Triumph of Hope: Essays in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Ottawa School of Theology & Spirituality.
Anthony currently serves on the Justice Global and Ecumenical Relations Committee of the Ottawa Presbytery. He is a member of the Stewardship Committee and part of the Montreal and Ottawa Stewardship Education and Justice Ecumenical & Global Relations Networks.
Anthony’s wife Wendy has an engineering degree and a Masters in Applied Science from McGill. They have four children.
The Rev. Dr. Emily Bisset (Th.D. in homiletics) is minister of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Toronto. Calvin worships and serves in ecumenical shared ministry with Deer Park United Church.
Emily is a preacher and teacher, as well as being married to a preacher and sharing the joys and challenges of parenting a young child. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2000, she has been a minister in The Presbyterian Church in Canada since 2007. She provides leadership and writes resource material for the national church, works with students preparing for ministry, and enjoys the challenge and inspiration of ecumenical ministry.
Stuart Blythe is an ordained Scottish Baptist minister. Over a 15 year period he was a pastor in two churches, a small urban church, and a large suburban church. For ten years he taught at the Scottish Baptist College near Glasgow. In 2014 he became the ‘Rector’ of the International Baptist Theological Study Centre in Amsterdam. In 2017, he relocated to Canada to become the Associate Professor in the John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship at Acadia Divinity College. His qualifications include both a MTh (University of Wales) and a PhD (University of Edinburgh) which focus on preaching. He is married to Susanne and they have two grown up children. They live the Scottish stereotype in that they both play bagpipes as a hobby.
The Rev. Dr. Paul R. Dekar is Professor Emeritus of Evangelism and Mission, Memphis Theological Seminary having previously served on the Memphis faculty as well as on the faculty of McMaster Divinity College and as the Acting Director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University. As a professor and scholar Paul has pursued peace studies with excellence. As a preacher he has proclaimed peace and justice with passion. He is the author of numerous books and articles. His most recent book is, Dangerous People: The Fellowship of Reconciliation Building a Nonviolent World of Justice, Peace, and Freedom. In retirement Paul returned to Canada and settled in Dundas where he continues to mentor D.Min. students, teach and write. He participates in the academy through several professional associations and volunteers with Dundas Community Services and Canadian Friends.
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.
The Rev. Dr. Cheryle Renee-Chapman Hanna is the fourteenth person to be called to lead the Fourth Avenue Baptist Church in Ottawa, Ontario and the first woman. Cheryle most recently served as Minister of Discipleship at the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario. She previously served as the Interim Pastor at Gracious Saviour Lutheran Church and the Director of Youth Ministries and Christian Education at the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, both in Detroit, MI.
Cheryle earned a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. She also holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Kettering University which she put to good use in a former 14-year employment with General Motors. Rev. Hanna has published her first book, a book of children’s sermons, Lessons for Heart: 52 Ways to Share God with Children.
Cheryle is married to Michael Curtis Hanna and they raised four children; Natalie Randall (Kyler), Michael Anthony, Adese, and William, have two grandsons, William Kato Hanna, II and Jackson Timothy Hanna and one granddaughter, Simone Marie Randall.
The Rev. 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 Center 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 the Groundwork 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.
LeeAnn McKenna is a trainer-facilitator in conflict transformation and third-party non-violent intervention in zones of conflict around the world. Her work also includes the critical themes of identity – gender, religious and race, as well as economic literacy – getting at the economic roots of violence. In the course of this work, LeeAnn felt the need to explore the violent and tortuous narrative of our default doctrines of atonement and, from there, to define a lens, a compass, for navigating our violence-filled sacred text. Peacemaking by the Book is the working title for a curriculum she hopes to publish in 2019. LeeAnn lives in Mono Township near Shelburne, Ontario. She is married to Jeff and granny to Owen and Morgan.
The Rev. Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes has been ministering at Maple Grove United Church in Oakville for 28 years after seven years of teaching at two theological colleges. Morar has been described as a courageous preacher, challenging herself and taking risks in preaching to ensure that she remains fresh over the years. She publishes weekly articles based on her sermons in an online community news e-zine.
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.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Scott Wilson is Professor of Homiletics at Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto and the Toronto School of Theology, where he teaches at the basic and doctoral levels.
Paul is the son of a minister, ordained in the United Church of Canada. He has served several churches in both full-time and interim capacity and has a long involvement with youth ministry. Paul is a past president of the Academy of Homiletics, and the author of numerous books. He lectures and preaches widely throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and Canada.
Paul is married to Deanna, who is also an ordained minister. They have three grown children.