Guest Artist

Karen Burke

Karen Burke, director of the Toronto Mass Choir,  holds a Master of Education Degree from York University, an Honours Bachelor of Music Degree from McMaster University, and an A.R.C.T. Diploma in Piano Teaching from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Karen and her husband, Oswald, established Burke Music Inc., a Gospel music production and publishing company in Ontario, Canada. In 1988, Burke co-founded the Toronto Mass Choir (T.M.C.), a Juno award-winning gospel choir. The choir has recorded 14 albums and toured in ten countries, including Italy, Poland, and the Dominican Republic.

In 2005, Burke became a professor in the music department at York University, developing the first post-secondary gospel music curricular courses in Canada and establishing the York University Gospel Choir.

Burke has offered workshops for many schools and organizations, including the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario, the Ontario Music Educators Association (O.M.E.A.), and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Burke has also traveled abroad teaching Gospel music in countries like the United States, Poland, and Romania.

In 2019, the Black Business and Professional Association (B.B.P.A.) awarded Burke the Harry Jerome Award in the Arts, Media, and Entertainment category. This award acknowledges a history of outstanding achievement in the creative arts, media, and entertainment industry. The Harry Jerome Award is one of the most prestigious national awards in the African-Canadian community in Canada.

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Guest Artists

Toronto Mass Choir

Toronto Mass Choir continues to be on the cutting edge of Canadian gospel music bringing their distinct sound to the world stage. Their music incorporates contemporary gospel, traditional gospel as well as Caribbean music influences.

The seeds of this gospel choir were sown during the choir’s initial live recording concert in October 1988. Since then the choir has recorded twelve albums including the Juno award winning album, Instrument of Praise, which won Contemporary Christian/Gospel album of the Year in 2003; Going Home, an all Caribbean gospel project in 2008 and Made For Worship which was released in 2014 as a CD+DVD combo. Most recently, TMC released, By Special Request in June 2018.

Karen Burke, a professor of music at York University, is the director of the diversified group of singers and musicians along with her husband, Oswald Burke, who is their Executive Producer. Now 45-strong plus a five-piece band, the not-for-profit choir consists of adult members from all across the GTA.

Toronto Mass Choir continues a busy concert schedule, appearing on many radio and television broadcasts and has been the focus for several television documentaries.

TMC’s travels abroad has taken them to several different countries including England, Poland, Romania, Italy, Barbados, Dominion Republic and the United States.

The choir has also been a special guest at countless church services, festivals, award shows and venues such as The Ottawa Bluesfest, the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Canadian National Exhibition, Roy Thompson Hall with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Hamilton Place with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra . The choir has also appeared with well-known Gospel singers such as Tramaine Hawkins, Alvin Slaughter and Take 6, Canadian recording giants such as Michael Burgess and Jane Bunnett and jazz legend, Jon Hendricks. 01/2022.

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Guest Leader

Brian Craig

Rev Dr. Brian Craig currently is semiretired, teaching in the seminary programs at Tyndale University in Toronto, as well as serving as a docent with the Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition program at the Diocese of Hamilton.  During his career, he served in various pastoral roles across Canada with Canadian Baptists.

Christopher De Bono

Christopher De Bono, PhD, M.Div.,  is a highly regarded Catholic senior leader, ethicist and practical theologian with more than 20 years’ experience in progressive and strategic health-care roles in secular and Catholic sponsored health care in both British Columbia and Ontario.

Prior to joining Unity Health in November 2021, Christopher was a vice president with Providence Health Care, a Catholic health-care network in British Columbia, where he held a variety portfolios in Mission, Ethics, Spirituality, and People (Human Resources). During this period out west, Christopher also served as Providence Health Care’s Executive Sponsor for Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation. Before joining Providence Health Care in 2016, Christopher held a number of progressive roles in Ontario, including being a clinical ethicist at Unity Health Toronto’s Centre for Clinical Ethics as well as a bioethicist with what was then called the Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre.

In this role at Unity Health Toronto, Christopher also works as the Executive Director for Mission Integration with the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario.

Christopher holds a PhD in Practical Theology a post-doctorate in Catholic Bioethics, and a Master of Divinity. Christopher is also certified as a specialist in spiritual care through the Canadian Association of Spiritual Care.

Jim Hannah

Msgr. Jim Hannah was born in 1947 and raised in Toronto. He attended Neil McNeil High School and St. Augustine’s Seminary. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1972 and to the priesthood in 1974 and then assigned to St. Mary of the People Parish in Oshawa from 1972 to 1979. He went away for studies from 1979 to 1983 to become a Teaching Supervisor in Clinical Pastoral Education so that he might be able to train others for ministry. He then returned to the Archdiocese in 1983 and was asked to establish the Office of Lay Ministry for the Archdiocese. In 1994, the office expanded and became the Office of Lay Ministry and Institutional Chaplaincy. In 1999, the office expanded again with the mandate to initiate Volunteer Screening in all the parishes of the Archdiocese. Monsignor Hannah continued as Director of that Office until 2003 when he was reassigned as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in 2002.

Michelle O’Rourke

Michelle O’Rourke RN MA, is a nurse with an extensive background including Emergency Nursing, Parish Nursing and Hospice Palliative Care. She also spent 14 years as a lay pastoral minister at a large urban Roman Catholic parish and two years as the Lay Ministry Specialist for the RC Diocese of London, Ontario.

Her Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry included thesis work on spirituality and dying that was published by Orbis Books, titled ‘Befriending Death:  Henri Nouwen and a Spirituality of Dying’. It has sold over 6,500 copies internationally.  Two more books followed, including her latest, “Healthy Caregiving:  Perspectives for Caring Professionals in company with Henri J.M. Nouwen”.  (Novalis 2020)

Prior to retiring from full time nursing, Michelle was instrumental in helping to design, build and open a ten-bed hospice residence.  She is a sought-after speaker and workshop facilitator, and has recently been named a Trustee with the Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust.

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Keynote Speaker

Ray Aldred

The Rev. Dr. Ray Aldred is Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver School of Theology whose mission is to partner with the Indigenous Church through theological education.

Ray is status Cree from Swan River Band, Treaty 8 who was born in Northern Alberta and ordained with the Indigenous Anglian Church.  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, and the former Director for the First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada, with whom he was also ordained.  Ray’s passion is to help as many as possible hear the gospel in their heart language.  Ray and his wife, Elaine, also train people to facilitate support groups for people who have suffered abuse and coordinate Marriage Encounter seminars. Ray and Elaine have four children.


Nicole Martin

The Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin serves as the Senior Vice President for Ministry Impact with the American Bible Society where she oversees The American Bible Society’s ministry efforts in five key areas including: Trauma Healing. Martin is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and earned a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where she now teaches courses in ministry and leadership development. Nicole is the author of two books: Made to Lead: Empowering Women for Ministry and Leaning In, Letting Go: A Lenten Devotional.  Martin has been inducted into the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Board of Preachers at Morehouse College. Martin currently resides in Baltimore with her husband, Dr. Mark Martin, and their two daughters, Addison and Josephine.


Becca Stevens

The Rev. 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.


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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Workshop Leader

Emily Bisset

The Rev. Dr. Bisset is the minister at Calvin Presbyterian Church, Toronto.  She holds a Th.D. from the University of Toronto/Knox College in homiletics and has taught the advanced Preaching Practicum at Knox College for the past 5 years.

Emily is a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.  She was ordained in The Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2000.  As a minister of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, she has preached and planned worship for the General Assembly, Canada Youth (national youth conference), the National Women’s Gathering and Stewards by Design (national stewardship conference).  She has written resources for the church on worship planning, human sexuality and congregational life.  She is married to another Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Alex Bisset, and is mom to Rachel – a bright, creative spark who makes the world a better, more joyful place.


Stuart Blythe

The Rev. Dr. Blythe is the John Gladstone Professor in Preaching and Worship at Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University, Nova Scotia. He teaches preaching at introductory and advanced levels to students preparing for Christian ministry. He claims that he once learned Argentinian Tango and plays the bagpipes but has never done both at the same time. His current areas of interest include theological education, rhetoric, and storytelling. He lives in Wolfville, Nova Scotia with his wife Susanne and their Romanian rescue dog, Japie. They have two adult children who live in Glasgow Scotland.


Jeffrey Crittenden

The Rev. Dr. Crittenden is an Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Huron University (London, Ontario), the Sr. Minister of Metropolitan United Church (London, Ontario), and the Director of the Centre for Practical Theology (Canada). Jeff holds degrees in Theology from Laurentian University, McGill University, The University of Alberta, and The University of Chicago. Jeff is an international lecturer/preacher and enjoys participating in triathlons, pilgrimages — such as walking the Camino – and sailing.  His Ph.D. thesis is on leisure and theology.


Stephen Farris

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Farris is a semi-retired Presbyterian minister and is presently serving as Visiting Professor of Preaching at Knox College, University of Toronto. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, and Cambridge University, England, from which he received his PhD. He is Dean Emeritus of St. Andrew’s Hall, Vancouver, and Professor Emeritus of Preaching of Vancouver School of Theology. Dr. Farris was elected Moderator of the 140th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, has served on the Executive Committee of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and as President of the Academy of Homiletics, the international association of teachers of preaching. He has preached and taught internationally and nationally, and is the authour of four books, many academic and popular articles, and a murder mystery short story. His most recent book is So, Tell Me a Story: The Art of Storytelling for Preaching and Teaching.

Stephen Farris is married to Patricia Farris, a retired school principal, and has two sons, two daughters in law, and four grandchildren.


Sarah Han

The Rev. Dr. Han is an Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Tyndale University Seminary and brings practical ministry experience as an ordained minister and theological expertise as an academic. Dr. Han considers herself to be “third culture” Canadian-Korean-Chinese and her formative theology was shaped on the mission field abroad. She has provided leadership in the Canadian immigrant church context for over a decade and has diverse experience in the Canadian public and private sectors. Dr. Han’s vocational commitment and theological passion are to critically observe and reflect on how ecclesiology shapes and informs missiology and her research focuses on an intercultural, intergenerational, missional ecclesiology for Canada.


Scott Hoezee

The Rev. Dr. 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.


HyeRan Kim-Cragg

The Rev. Dr. HyeRan Kim-Cragg was appointed Principal of Emmanuel College beginning on July 1, 2022. She has been a valued member of the faculty of Emmanuel College since 2019. She graduated from Emmanuel College in 2006 with a Doctor of Theology and was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2021. Dr. Kim-Cragg has had an academic career characterized by intensive research and publishing with a focus on integrating Christian practices with postcolonial, feminist and anti-racist approaches.

Dr. Kim-Cragg also serves as the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church Professor of Preaching at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. She is the first racialized full professor in Emmanuel’s 100-year history and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2021. Her most recent book is Postcolonial Preaching: Creating a Ripple Effect (Lexington, 2021).

Previous to her roles at Emmanuel College, Dr. Kim-Cragg was the Lydia Gruchy Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon for 10 years. She has influenced many graduates who are actively involved in ministry across the country.


Jason Meyers

The Rev. Jason Meyers spent 18 years as a communications consultant for charities and not-for-profits in North America and Europe, before entering ordained ministry within the United Church of Canada. His work focused on helping organizations build grassroots movements of support, primarily using digital communication channels.  He has also presented workshops in conferences across the country on the intersection of ministry with marketing, communications, social media and branding.  Jason completed his Master of Divinity from Emmanuel College in 2019 where he was awarded the Dr. Hugh Pritchard Memorial Preaching Scholarship and the Sanford Gold Medal for academic excellence. In 2021 was called as the Minister of Worship and Faith Formation at Metropolitan United Church in downtown Toronto.


Susan Sparks

The Rev. Susan Sparks is the senior pastor of the historic Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. She is also a professional comedian on tour with a Rabbi and Muslim comic in the Laugh in Peace Tour, and the author of five books. Her 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.


Andrew Stirling

The Reverend Dr. Andrew Stirling is the Ambassador for the Canadian Bible Society. Prior to that appointment in 2022, he served as the Senior Minister of the historic Timothy Eaton Memorial United Church in Toronto from 1998 to 2021. Andrew was born in the United Kingdom and is a Canadian Citizen. He received his education in England, Bermuda, Canada and South Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Comparative African Government and Law from the University of Cape Town (South Africa), a Master of Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and a Doctor of Ministry in preaching from Acadia Divinity College (Wolfville, Nova Scotia).

In 2008 Wycliffe College (Toronto), recognized his contribution to preaching with an honorary Doctor of Divinity. In 2016 Dr. Stirling was appointed a Lifetime Fellow of Acadia Divinity College and in 2019, in recognition of his contributions to preaching, Emmanuel College, (Toronto) created a scholarship in Homiletics in his name.

Andrew has written two books: What’s Good About the Good News? and The Christian Imperative (both by Lancelot Press). He was the Editor of The Trinity: An Essential for Faith in Our Time (Evangel Publishing House) and has published over 55 theological and devotional articles. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity
School (also taking courses at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School) and an Academic Visitor at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University. He was a founding faculty member of Augustine College in Ottawa.

Andrew has taught Church History at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto, Systematic Theology at Tyndale University Seminary (Toronto) and Homiletics at Acadia Divinity College and Emmanuel College at the Toronto School of Theology.

He has preached and given lectures on four continents. His theological interests include Evangelism, Church/State Relations, Biblical Theology, Missions and Homiletics. He has media training and has appeared on numerous television programs including: Eye to Eye, Cross Currents, 3D Dialogue, Spirit Connection and Reach Out For Life. Andrew enjoys playing the guitar, golfing, auto racing (he is an IndyCar Chaplain) and supporting Manchester United Football Club.


R. H. Thomson

Canadian stage and screen actor RH Thomson was awarded the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and is a Member of the Order of Canada. He has appeared in theatres across Canada and has filmed in Canada, the US, Greece and the Czech Republic. He has earned multiple awards for his work as an actor. He directed the award winning production of The Crucible at Theatre Calgary and performed in The Message by Jason Sherman and This Was The World by Ellie Moon, both directed by Richard Rose at the Tarragon Theatre Toronto. He played Matthew Cuthbert in the CBC/NETFLIX series Anne With An E for which he received two Canadian Screen Awards. As well as being an advocate for the arts, Mr. Thomson has worked on many history/education/arts projects. He has built The World Remembers-Le Monde Se Souvient, an international WWI names Commemoration exhibit with twenty-one participating nations, that is now installed at the Canadian War Museum –

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Workshop Leader (virtual presentation)

Karoline M. Lewis

The Rev. Dr. Lewis is the Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, where she has taught since 2007.

Lewis is the author of A Lay Preacher’s Guide: How to Craft a Faithful Sermon; Embody: Five Steps to Leading With Integrity; SHE: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Women in Ministry (including an accompanying facilitator guide, participant guide, and DVD); and John: Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries, as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Lewis was one of the 100 religious scholars in the United States to be a part of the Values and Voices Campaign 2016 ( and again in 2021. Her current book projects include John and Method, Belonging: Five Keys to Discipleship, and Grace Upon Grace: A Lectionary for the Gospel of John.

Ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Lewis holds degrees from Northwestern University (B.A.), Luther Seminary (M.Div.), and Emory University (Ph.D., New Testament Studies and Homiletics). She is the Program Director for the Festival of Homiletics, a contributing writer for Working Preacher, and co-host of the site’s weekly podcast, Sermon Brainwave.  Lewis leads conferences, workshops, and retreats internationally on the Gospel of John, the New Testament, interpreting the Bible, preaching, leadership, and women in ministry. You can learn more about Lewis and connect with her at


Luke Powery

The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery is the Dean of Duke University Chapel and Associate Professor of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School. A national leader in the theological study of the art of preaching (homiletics), Powery regularly delivers sermons at Duke Chapel as well as at churches throughout the United States and abroad. He is often a keynote speaker and lecturer at educational institutions, conferences, symposia, and retreats. His teaching and research interests are located at the intersection of preaching, worship, pneumatology, and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora. He is the author of Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in PreachingDem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and HopeRise Up, Shepherd! Advent Reflections on the Spirituals; and Were You There? Lenten Reflections on the Spirituals. He has co-authored an introductory textbook on preaching, Ways of the Word: Learning to Preach for Your Time and Place. He is also a general editor of the nine-volume lectionary commentary series for preaching and worship titled Connections: A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship. Powery was ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention and has served in an ecumenical capacity in churches throughout Switzerland, Canada and the United States. He received his bachelor of arts in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Stanford University, his master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his doctor of theology from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto.


Anna Robbins

The Rev. Dr. Anna Robbins is President of Acadia Divinity College and Dean of Theology of Acadia University.  Anna is a leader committed to serve the mission of Christ’s church locally and globally, with faithful integrity that applies the gospel to real-life issues and relationships with justice, innovation, academic rigour, and joyful expectation. She has an international profile in theology and apologetics, ethics, and contemporary culture, and is sought after as a speaker and teacher.

Anna came to faith at a young age in Saint John, New Brunswick. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in political science at Carleton University in 1989, and later graduated from Acadia University with a Master of Religious Education in 1993 and a Master of Arts (Theology) in 1997.  She served several churches as an ordained minister of the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada. Near the end of her doctoral studies in Wales (PhD 2001), she was appointed to the faculty of the London School of Theology in the UK where she served for 12 years as a teacher and academic leader.

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