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 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.
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.
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.
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.