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Cabinet of Canadians

The Cabinet of Canadians is an assembly of leading Canadians from industry, politics, religion, academia, and culture.

Their role will be to lend their respective voices to the discussion of faith as an integral part of our public dialogue. Leading up to our nation’s Sesquicentennial in 2017, this Cabinet will reflect the diversity of faith traditions in Canada, and will illustrate the integration of faith in all walks of life across this country.

The Cabinet Members

Dr. Andrew Bennett- Chair

Dr. Bennett served as Canada's first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016 during which time he led in defending and championing religious freedom internationally as a core element of Canada's principled foreign policy. At the same time, Dr. Bennett served as Canada's Head of Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a 31-country body which leads international efforts in Holocaust education, research, and remembrance.

An academic and public servant, Andrew holds degrees in History from Dalhousie and McGill as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Dr. Bennett served in a variety of roles in the federal public service. A man of deep Christian faith, Andrew is active as a Sub-deacon and cantor in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church through St. John the Baptist parish in Ottawa.

When not praying, studying, or advocating, Andrew can be found with his fly rod in a stream, listening to bluegrass or Bach, or reading the Church Fathers.

Dr. Andrew Bennett

Chair
Ms. Shachi Kurl - Co-Chair

Shachi Kurl is Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute. A public policy analyst, Shachi Kurl directs research, communications, partner development and operations at the Angus Reid Institute. She brings 15 years of experience to her role, spending the first part of her career as political reporter and as a representative for the small business community. Shachi is a recipient of the prestigious Jack Webster award for Best TV Reporting. A frequent columnist and commentator, she holds a degree in Journalism and Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa and serves on the boards of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation and the CKNW Orphans’ Fund.

Shachi Kurl is also an Advisory Member for Spirited Citizenship.

Ms. Shachi Kurl

Co-Chair
Mr. Balpreet Singh Boparai - Co-Chair

Balpreet Singh grew up in a rural community north of Toronto.  He completed his undergraduate degree in political science at the University of Toronto and received his law degree from the University of Ottawa.  After articling with a boutique disability and human rights law firm in Toronto, he became legal counsel for the World Sikh Organization of Canada in 2009. His practice focuses on human rights law and religious accommodation.  Balpreet Singh has helped resolve several key accommodation issues for Sikhs in Canada, including the accommodation of the kirpan in courthouses in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, on VIA Rail trains, as well as in Canadian embassies and consulates internationally.   He serves as spokesperson for the WSO and is regularly consulted on Sikh issues in Canada by national media outlets.  Balpreet Singh has worked with various public and private sector organizations to create resources and provide training on religious accommodation issues and best practices when interacting with persons of the Sikh faith.  Balpreet Singh is regularly called to speak about the Sikh faith for both Sikh and non-Sikh audiences.  He and his wife live in Newmarket, Ontario with their three children.  

Mr. Balpreet Singh Boparai

Co-Chair
Rev. Ray Aldred

Reverend Ray Aldred is ordained with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada.  

He is status Cree from Treaty 8.  Born in Northern Alberta, he now resides with his wife in Richmond, BC, Canada.  Ray is the Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at Vancouver School of Theology. He is former Director for the First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada, now committee member, where he worked to encourage pastors ministering to aboriginal people.  He is the chairperson of Indigenous Pathways and the North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Studies.  He is the former co-chairperson of the Native Ministries Council for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Ray also has had the privilege of addressing several college conferences and meetings related to cross-cultural ministry.  Ray’s passion is to help as many as possible hear the gospel in their heart language. 

Rev. Ray Aldred

Archpriest Peter Avgeropoulos

Fr. Peter Avgeropoulos was born in Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) Ontario to Greek immigrant parents. He received his primary education in Port Arthur and his secondary and post-secondary education in London Ontario. He attended the University of Western Ontario, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Honors History degree. His post-graudate studies were done in the United States, where he studied at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood New York. He graduated in 1987, receiving a Master of Divinity degree, and was the Valedictorian for his Class. He also pursued post-graduate studies at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline Mass. His life-long dream to serve the Church was realized in 1989, when he was ordained to the Deaconate and the Holy Priesthood in the Greek Orthodox Church of Canada. He has the distinction of being the first Canadianborn Priest serving his Church.

He has pastored Greek Orthodox Churches in Markham Ontario, where he was the founding Pastor of the St. Panteleimon Church, as well as the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church in Hamilton. He presently serves as the Presiding Priest of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Toronto since 1996. He is the Director of Inter-Church Relations for the Greek Orthodox Church in Canada, serving as his Church’s representative to the Canadian Council of Churches since 1990. He is also Professor of Patristics and Orthodox Pastoral Ministry at the Toronto Orthodox Theological Academy since 1998.

Fr. Peter is married to Presvytera Hara, and they are the proud parents of three sons. 

Archpriest Peter Avgeropoulos

Ms. Corinne Box

Corinne Box has served as director of government relations on behalf of the Bahá'í Community of Canada since June 2014. Her work focuses primarily on advocating, at the national level, for Bahá’ís in other countries who are experiencing state-sponsored religious persecution. This has included working closely with officials at Global Affairs Canada and with parliamentarians. A finance and marketing graduate of McGill University, she has held various management positions in both operations and commercial lending for one of Canada's largest banks.

Ms. Corinne Box

Ms. Anita Bromberg

Anita Bromberg is a lawyer by profession, and a member of the Ontario bar. She is a frequent spokesperson, lecturer, trainer and media representative on topical issues of the day, particularly as they relate to racialized communities. A court recognized expert on racism and extremism, she has also instituted and participated in numerous intercultural outreach and educational initiatives.

Anita is presently the Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, a Canadian Crown Agency dedicated to eliminating racism and maintaining harmonious relations across diverse communities. Previously, she was the National Director of Legal Affairs for the Jewish advocacy group B'nai Brith Canada and human rights coordinator for their League of Human Rights where she oversaw the legal initiatives of the organization’s advocacy efforts and was responsible for the operation of the organization's Anti-Hate Hotline and its annual report on racism. 

Anita Bromberg joins the cabinet in an advisory capacity bringing more than three decades of experience in interfaith and inter-community relationship building. Anita is also an advisor for The Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing.

Ms. Anita Bromberg

Mr. Bruce J. Clemenger

Bruce J. Clemenger took up the position of president of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada on June 1, 2003. He has served with EFC since 1992. In 1996 he established the EFC's Ottawa office and became the founding director of the EFC's Centre for Faith and Public Life.

He has served on the board of the Salvation Army Ethics Centre in Winnipeg, as an adjunct faculty member of Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, and at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C.

He has extensive contact with Christian leaders as well as key policy makers from coast to coast. He is also a member of the International Council (IC) of the World Evangelical Alliance, where he currently serving as secretary to the IC. He speaks and writes on religion, culture, ethics and politics, and is regularly interviewed by both secular and religious media.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in economics and history, and a Master of Philosophical Foundations in political theory. He is currently working on a PhD in political theory which examines the accommodation of religious, cultural and institutional pluralism within the context of political liberalism. Prior to coming to the EFC, he served with Samaritan's Purse Canada, a relief and development organization.

He and his wife, Tracy, and two daughters live in the Ottawa Valley.

Mr. Bruce J. Clemenger

His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins

ST. MICHAELS CATHEDRAL

Cardinal Collins received his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Bible Institute and a Doctorate in Theology from the Gregorian University. After holding various academic appointments, in 1997 he was appointed Bishop of St. Paul, Alta. Two years later, he was named Archbishop of Edmonton and then the tenth and current Archbishop of Toronto in 2007. On 6 January 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him a cardinal at the 18 February 2012 consistory.

His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins

Rev. Dr. Thomas Cooper

PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, CITY IN FOCUS

A businessman for over 20 years, Tom was in three partnerships and started two companies before entering the ministry. He holds a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

Tom was research assistant for two years to John Stott, one of the Chaplains to the Queen, London, England. He was Assistant, Associate and Senior Pastor for ten years in both California and Washington states.  In 1988-89 Tom was honorary Chaplain in residence at Regent College, University of British Columbia campus.

Tom currently serves on the Board of Street to Home, an organization that seeks to ensure all people in Vancouver have access to safe, decent and affordable housing by 2015, and he has been voted on to Vancouver Magazine’s Power list. Tom has written a popular bimonthly newsletter on the city and faith for over 20 years, that is received by thousands of readers, both locally and internationally. Tom was recently featured on an episode of a locally produced television production called Ecstatic! shown on Vision TV.  Tom chaired the “More than Gold” campaign for 5 years culminating in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  Over 1,100 churches and 100 Christian organizations, non-profits and schools partnered with “More than Gold” and countless volunteers participated in the outreach. 

For the past twenty five years, Tom has served as President of City in Focus, a chaplaincy that cares for the soul of the city though the dynamic business and political community of Vancouver.

Tom and his wife, Karen, have three children, Jonathan (Dawn), Matthew and Anna and two grandchildren, Austin and Adela. 

Rev. Dr. Thomas Cooper

Ms. Lorna Dueck

Lorna Dueck is CEO of Crossroads Christian Communications, Inc. and has explored the intersection of journalism and Christianity for over 30 years.  That curiosity led to the creation of Media Voice Generation, (MVG) a community held Canadian charity that exists to create boundary-breaking media that reveals Christ.

Context with Lorna Dueck is the flagship TV show and online production of MVG. As Executive Producer, Lorna enjoys interviewing culture -shaping guests for any evidence of God.  The award winning program is produced from Toronto, airs on seven networks, and is seen Sunday mornings on Canada’s largest network, Global TV.    Lorna is a regular commentary writer on faith and public life in Canada's leading national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and a frequent media commentator.    She has travelled the world reporting on church-led response to humanitarian crisis.

Lorna completed her undergraduate studies at Tyndale University College in Toronto, and earned a Master of Arts in Evangelism and Leadership from Wheaton College.  She has received honorary doctorate degrees from Trinity, Tyndale and Briercrest Universities. Lorna has received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to Canadian society.

Lorna and Vern live in Burlington, Ontario, have been married over three decades, and delight in the adventures of their grown son and daughter.

Ms. Lorna Dueck

Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham

DIRECTOR, LAURENTIAN LEADERSHIP CENTRE | SENIOR FELLOW, CARDUS

Janet Epp Buckingham is an associate professor at Trinity Western University and the Director of the Laurentian Leadership Centre, an Ottawa-based, live-in, extension program focusing on leadership in public policy, business and communications.

Dr. Buckingham has lived and studied in England, France and South Africa. It was while studying at bible college and working with the Jubilee Centre in Cambridge, England, that she developed a passion for applying Christian principles to public policy. Dr. Buckingham served in an advocacy role as Executive Director of Christian Legal Fellowship (1991-94) and with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada as general legal counsel (1999-2003) and director, law and public policy (2003-2006).

In the fall of 2006, Dr. Buckingham had a strong sense of calling to take on leadership of the Laurentian Leadership Centre. While she had taught courses at the LLC, being the director gives her greater opportunity to invest in the lives of students. She is also pleased to now participate in academic conferences on religious freedom and human rights in Canada and internationally.

Dr. Buckingham currently resides in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and two children. They are all foodies and enjoy cooking for their family and friends.

Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham

Dr. Bruce Fawcett

Dr. Fawcett serves as the 8th President and Vice Chancellor and Professor of Leadership and Religious Studies at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick. A native of Moncton, Bruce is a graduate of Crandall University (B.A.), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Harvard University (Th.M.), and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wales where he studied under noted empirical theologian Leslie J. Francis.

Bruce has served as a youth pastor, a denominational staff person, and a professor at Crandall and Acadia University, where he was Associate Professor of Leadership, Director of Doctoral Studies, and Academic Dean at the Divinity College.

He is the author or editor of nine books and has written many articles published in a variety of academic journals and other publications.

Bruce serves on a variety of denominational and community boards and is the current Board Chair of Christian Higher Education Canada.

Dr. Bruce Fawcett

Dr. Gerald Filson

BAHA’I COMMUNITY OF CANADA

Gerald Filson has served as the Director of Public Affairs of the Bahá'í Community of Canada since 1993.  He is currently a member of the National Spiritual Assembly, the national governing council of the Baha’is of Canada.  His education includes a Ph.D. (Toronto), M.A. (Concordia) and B.A (Saskatchewan).  Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Dr. Filson taught school on les Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec from 1972-79.  During the 1980s he taught at Sheridan College and George Brown College, and worked for TVOntario while completing his doctorate at the University of Toronto.  He served as Chair of the Canadian Network on International Human Rights, a coalition of more than 30 Canadian human rights organizations, from 1999-2002, and was a member from 1993 to 2002, of the Mosaic Management Group of VisionTV.  He served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs and was the Chair of its National Conference in 2006 and 2007. He has recently served as the Chair of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, a national interfaith coalition of 40 organizations.  Over the years, Dr. Filson has travelled widely for his work in South America and the Caribbean with repeated visits to India from 1996 to 2010, leading a project involving video and village development.  He is married with three children and one grandchild.

Dr. Gerald Filson

Mr. Shimon Koffler Fogel

Shimon Fogel serves as the CEO for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. He is a graduate of the Clark School of Government and International Relations in Massachusetts and pursued graduate and doctoral studies at McGill University. He also holds rabbinic ordination. 


Shimon joined the Canada-Israel Committee as Director of Government Relations in 1988 and was appointed as CEO in 2001. Prior to joining the CIC, he served as the National Director of Community Services at Canadian Jewish Congress.  


Shimon Fogel has served as a consultant to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and as a member of the prestigious Round Table on Global Security under the Department of National Defense.  


In 2002 he introduced the concept of the Shared Values strategy as a basis for securing support for Israel that has now been adopted by much of the international pro-Israel advocacy community, including Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2005 he developed a model for moving to sustainable peace in the Middle East that focuses on conflict management rather than conflict resolution – an approach that has won broad support internationally.  
He has written and lectured extensively in Canada and internationally on matters of public policy and has been engaged by numerous groups, including the Assembly of First Nations, the World Sikh Organization and the Canadian Tibet Committee, to advise on strategic planning and advocacy. 


The Hill Times recognized Fogel as one of the 100 most influential actors within the political sector, and Embassy Magazine ranked him among the 50 most important people influencing Canadian foreign policy.  
Shimon Fogel is married to Esti Gourarie, the founder of the philanthropic organization Ten Yad. The couple has two children.

Mr. Shimon Koffler Fogel

Rabbi Daniel Friedman

Rabbi Daniel Friedman is the rabbi of Beth Israel Synagogue, Edmonton, Alberta, the chair of the National Holocaust Monument Development Council of Canada, the assistant chief examiner for religious studies at the Caribbean Examinations Council, and a member of the executive committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.  Born in the UK, with degrees from Canada, Australia, the US, and Israel, he is currently a doctoral candidate in International Relations at the University of Alberta. 

He began his career at Newtown Synagogue, Sydney, at the age of 21, the youngest rabbi in Australia.   Having served the Edmonton Jewish community for the last fourteen years, he is one of the longest serving rabbis in the history of Western Canada.  He is a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Award and accompanied Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his official visit to Israel.  He is married to Rabbanit Batya Friedman, co-pastor of Beth Israel Synagogue and the director of the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative, and they have five daughters.  

Rabbi Daniel Friedman

Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl

BETH TZEDEC CONGREGATION

Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl is the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Senior Rabbi of Beth Tzedec Congregation. The focus of his rabbinate has been: (1) a commitment to family education and life-long learning; (2) a dedication to provide hesed support to the sick, shut-ins and bereaved; and (3) an effort to "open up" synagogue life through a “synaplex” of diverse ritual and educational opportunities for the congregation.  

The recipient of a Coolidge Fellowship for research in an inter-faith community at the Episcopal Divinity School at Harvard University, Rav Baruch has been a leader in interfaith activity in Canada, helping to organize the Path of Abraham missions to the Holy Land and serving as a member of the Canadian Jewish-Catholic Consultation process.  He has doctorate in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary and serves as a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem.

Rav Baruch has been involved with UJA Federation and has served as President of both the Rabbinical Assembly of Ontario and the Toronto Board of Rabbis. He helped to initiate the Jewish Leadership program of the Kellogg School of Management, serves on the University of Toronto’s Jewish Studies Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly.  

He and Josette are the parents of Yakov (married to Sarah), Rafi, and Amir (married to Amanda) and have  two sabra grandchildren.

Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl

Mr. Ihsaan Gardee

Ihsaan Gardee is the Executive Director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims. 

A graduate of the University of Windsor and the University of Western Ontario, Ihsaan Gardee has been involved with the NCCM for several years. As an employee, Ihsaan joined in 2006 when he first served as Community Relations & Operations Director. In October 2008, he took the helm of the organization as Executive Director.

As Executive Director, Ihsaan regularly appears on local and national news media & programs on issues related to Canadian Muslims, Islam and civil liberties and his writings have appeared in major Canadian dailies as well as international publications. He also speaks at numerous Canadian and global forums and conferences on public policy matters. In his professional capacity, Ihsaan has provided expert testimony to several Parliamentary and Senate committees on how proposed legislation, including national security laws, could adversely impact civil liberties and diverse communities.

Ihsaan has a background working in both the public and private sectors primarily in marketing, communications and management roles and has worked, lived and travelled extensively across Canada, Europe, the Middle East and South Africa.

Mr. Ihsaan Gardee

Dr. David Goa

David J. Goa teaches religious studies and theology, leads workshops and seminars on the demanding issues of religion and public life and engages the media on many of these issues. He was the founding director of the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life, Augustana campus, University of Alberta and shaped its work in universities, the public square, and with religious communities over the last decade. He continues as an International Fellow of the Centre. David built the program for the study of culture at the Royal Alberta Museum based on field research work in a full range of religious communities including Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, Muslim, and a range of Christian communities in Canada. In recent years he has also worked in the Muslim and Christian communities in Syria and Turkey. David was the chief curator of a major international exhibition in the year 2000 titled, Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries and of the recent internet based exhibition, U Encounter.  He has published widely on issues of tradition and modernity and his most recent book is The Christian Responsibility to Muslims (2015).

Dr. David Goa

Dr. Rebecca Horwood

Ahead of her time, Rebecca has paved the way for wealth management and investment leadership in Canada since 1980. It was Rebecca’s acumen in math and her desire to help people reach their financial goals that inspired her to become an Investment Advisor.

She prizes family. Daughters Alexandra Horwood, Vice President & Investment Advisor, and Rosemary Horwood, Investment Advisor, earned their way onto the Horwood Team after performing with distinction in other companies and gaining valuable experience. Rebecca is a philanthropist who offers mentorship and governance along with money. In 2010, Rebecca and John Horwood joined forces with like-minded families to create Stronger Together, a partnership foundation.

Rebecca began her record setting career in 1980 as the first female Investment Advisor at Richardson Greenshields in the financial hub of downtown Toronto. She became the first female to qualify for President’s Council. In 1985, John Horwood and Rebecca married and two years later he joined her at Richardson Greenshields where together they created one of Canada’s most successful wealth advisory teams. In 2003, Rebecca became a founding member of Richardson GMP (then Richardson Partner Financial). In 2008, the C. D. Howe Institute acknowledged Rebecca’s expertise and invited her to join their new Charity Advisory Board. Wealth Professional recognized Rebecca as a Women of Influence in 2015, who has helped change the face of Canadian Wealth Management.

Dr. Rebecca Horwood

Mr. Colin Jackson

 CHAIR OF IMAGINATION 150

Colin Jackson serves as Chair of Rosebud Centre for the Arts, Chair of imagiNation 150 (an organization dedicated to the celebration of Canada's Sesquicentennial in 2017), Chair of the Alberta Ballet Facilities Committee, as the Jarislowsky  Executive in Residence at the Haskayne School of Business and a member of the Senate of the University of Calgary.

 He was the founding Artistic Director of Prairie Theatre Exchange (Winnipeg).  His work history includes being a current affairs and drama producer for the CBC, on air host for a Global TV current affairs show, Executive Director of the Confederation Centre of the Arts (Charlottetown) and President of The EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts (Calgary).  He has served as a member of the Prime Minister's External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities, a member of the Mayor's Panel on Urban Sustainability, a member of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Strategic Council for the Renaissance City, a member of the Executive of the Canada Council for the Arts, a member of the Executive of the Canadian Conference of the Arts, a founding board member of the Calgary Arts Development Agency, Development Chair for the International Society for the Performing Arts,  Alberta Chair of Culture Days, Chair of ArtsSmarts (a national arts education advocacy organization), a member of the University of Alberta Senate and as Calgary Chair of Harvard's Schools and Scholarships Committee. He is the recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal and a Canada Council Senior Arts Award. He is married to Arlene Strom and is the proud father of Emma and Isabelle, and grandfather of Eliza and Angus Goodwin.

Colin Jackson holds a BA from the University of Manitoba and a MPA from Harvard University.

Mr. Colin Jackson

Rev. Dr. Rich Kao

Rich Kao is Founding Pastor of Five Stones Church in Vancouver, Canada. Rich is a regular conference speaker in Asia assisting key churches in their global mission, and is President of SCI which has equipped over 250,000 Asian leaders in the last 20 years. Besides ministry, Rich comes from a science and entrepreneurial background.  He was a pharmaceutical scientist with 3M and is managing director of a high technology company that has laboratories around the world specializing in air quality measurements. Rich's passion is to see gospel-centered churches and leaders raised up to serve the cause of Christ.  Rich has his B.A in biology, M.S. in immunology and Doctorate in Strategic Leadership.  He and his wife Memie have four children.

Rev. Dr. Rich Kao

Ms. Leah Kostamo

CO-FOUNDER, A ROCHA CANADA

Leah Kostamo is Co-founder of A Rocha Canada, a Christian environmental organization with conservation, education and sustainable agriculture projects in BC, Manitoba, and Ontario. In an environmental context often characterized by fear and paralysis, A Rocha is bringing hope through care of both people and places by preserving sensitive habitats and threatened species, growing organic food and feeding people living on low income, inspiring school children and training young people. 

Leah and her husband Markku set up A Rocha’s first Environmental Centre in Canada in 2003. She currently serves as A Rocha’s Communications Director and is the author of Planted: a Story of Creation, Calling and Community, which tells the story of A Rocha’s beginnings in Canada.

 Leah and her family share life and land with five other families and a myriad of chickens on Kingfisher Farm near Vancouver, BC.

Ms. Leah Kostamo

Mr. Jeff Lockert

Jeff is a graduate from the University of Saskatchewan with a B.Sc. in Kinesiolology. For more than two decades, he has been involved with Catholic Christian Outreach – a Canadian university student movement –and has served as its President and CEO since 2001. CCO has regional offices throughout Canada and well as a number of international projects and collaborations.

Jeff has been involved in many national and international events and conferences for young people. He has engaged people throughout the world on many topics including faith formation, leadership, strategic planning, teamwork, character formation, etc.  Jeff writes a blog, Cultivating Virtue and Leadership, focused on topics related to personal development and organizational effectiveness. Jeff has served on or is currently a member of a number of boards and international committees relating to leadership, youth and faith.

Jeff is married to Renée and they have six children.  Originally from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, he and his family currently live in Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, where CCO has its national headquarters.

Mr. Jeff Lockert

Mr. Lal Khan Malik

NATIONAL PRESIDENT, AHMADIYYA MUSLIM JAMA’AT

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

Lal Khan Malik is the National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at of Canada. He lives in Peace Village close to Baitul Islam Mosque in Maple, in the City of Vaughan, Ontario. Mr. Malik has served the community in Canada in various capacities for over two decades. Before moving to Canada in 1987, he served as an engineer  in South Asia, and East Africa. Lal Khan Malik is a strong advocate of social services and was recently presented the Lifetime of Service Recognition award by the Ontario Non Profit Housing Association for his 20 years of service with the non-Profit Housing Association.

A student of the Holy Qur’an, he is ever willing to present the peaceful message of Islam and dispel the myths about its teachings.  He is a passionate proponent of inter-faith dialogue and has spoken at many conferences throughout Canada. He strongly promotes the Islamic teaching that love of the country is part of his faith and he urges Canadians to publicly show their love for Canada.  

As National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at, Mr. Malik extensively travels across Canada. His love of Canada extends not just to the Ahmadiyya community he serves but to all the citizens of our glorious land. He believes in and practices the motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at, “Love for All, Hatred for None.” 

Mr. Lal Khan Malik

Mr. Michael Messenger

Michael Messenger has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of World Vision Canada since June 2015. With its Canadian operations based in Mississauga, Ontario, the Christian charity works in more than 100 countries around the world.

Michael travels regularly to take part in World Vision’s work. This has included on-the-ground assessment during the 2015 earthquake in Nepal and during Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and an extended visit to Zimbabwe in 2013 to participate in community development and humanitarian relief programs.

He is passionate about seeing every child reach their God-given potential, and about child and maternal health issues, community advocacy, and education. He believes strongly in the power of innovation to help bring lasting solutions to poverty.

Michael holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts and a law degree from the University of Toronto. Outside of his professional role, he is a board member of Tyndale University College and Seminary, and the Burloak Canoe Club. He and his wife, Yvonne, have two high-school aged children, Aidan and Annie, and live in Oakville, Ontario. He attends The Meeting House.

Mr. Michael Messenger

Ms. Janet Noel-Annable

CHRISTIAN HORIZONS

As the Chief Executive Officer, Janet leads Christian Horizons, a faith based organization that provides services to people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Christian Horizons serves thousands of people in Ontario and Saskatchewan and around the world.

Appointed as CEO in 2011, Janet began her career with Christian Horizons in 1988, as a part time developmental services professional in Ottawa, while attending Carleton University.

Janet graduated university with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Sciences, and has continued her education through programs such as Arrow Leadership Executive Leadership Program and the Ivey school of Business Leadership Development Program.

Personally, Janet has extensive volunteer experience with community based athletics organizations, church, and other interest groups. Professionally, Janet participates in various industry committees and task groups, committed to promoting employment, post-secondary education and full citizenship with people with intellectual disabilities. Janet currently serves as Chair on the Ontario Provincial Network on Developmental Services.

Janet's commitment is to build communities of belonging: communities that recognize the importance of all contributors participating including those with disabilities. As the leader of Christian Horizons, she is particularly concerned to see communities of faith recognize, be enabled, and be committed to be communities where people with disabilities belong and are embraced.

Ms. Janet Noel-Annable

His Grace Bishop Ken Nowakowski

Bishop Ken Nowakowski is Eparch of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of New Westminster. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 19, 1989 at St. George's Cathedral in Saskatoon, SK and consecrated Bishop as Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop of New Westminster on July 24, 2007 in Vancouver, BC.

His Grace Bishop Ken Nowakowski

Ms. Karen Pascal

Karen Pascal was appointed as the Executive Director of the Henri Nouwen Society in 2014. Having served as a Board member of the Society since its inception, Pascal is passionate about the importance of Nouwen’s contribution to our understanding of Christian spirituality and brings her vision, energy and experience to lead this ministry. 

Karen first met Henri Nouwen in 1993 when she featured him on the television series Cross Currents.  After Henri died in 1996, Pascal produced the award-winning documentary film Journey of the Heart – the Life of Henri Nouwen(Vision/PBS), telling the moving story of this beloved yet restless ‘wounded healer’. 

Henri Nouwen was an internationally renowned priest and author, respected professor, and beloved pastor who wrote 40 books on the spiritual life. Nouwen enjoyed an impressive academic career with positions at the Menninger Clinic, Notre Dame University, the University of Nijmegen, Yale and Harvard University. In later life, he was chose to serve as the chaplain of the L’Arche Daybreak community, where people with developmental disabilities live with assistants. Henri Nouwen died in September 1996.

As Founder and President of Windborne Productions, Karen Pascal brings to her role as Executive Director of the Henri Nouwen Society her extensive background in the arts, her strong business acumen, and her success as a film and television producer. 

Pascal is passionate about extending the legacy of Father Henri Nouwen – one of the most sought after spiritual guides of our time. The Henri Nouwen Society exists so that others can discover the unconditional love of God that Henri discovered in his life.  We recognize that our frailty and brokenness shares common ground with our belovedness.  We aim to promote Henri Nouwen’s life and legacy to existing and new audiences of spiritual seekers worldwide.

Ms. Karen Pascal

Imam Dr. Abdul Hai Patel

DIRECTOR, INTERFAITH RELATIONS | CANADIAN COUNCIL OF IMAMS

Imam Abdul Hai Patel is founder and past Coordinator of Canadian Council of Imams, representing the Islamic religious leadership. Currently, he is Director of Inter Faith relations. He has been serving as Imam and Community Leader for 46 years in Canada.

He served as a Commissioner of Ontario Human Rights Commission from 1999-2005. He is past member of National Board of Governors of Scouts Canada.

Imam Dr. Patel is the immediate past President of Ontario Multi Faith Council, and a member of Interfaith Advisory Committee of Federal Gov’t’s Corrections Canada. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of Ontario Law Commission on End of Life Care.

He is a Muslim Chaplain at the University of Toronto, York Regional Police, and he has served as visiting Chaplain at CAM-H (Centre for Addiction & Mental Health) for three years.

He served as a member of Interfaith Committee and Chaplain for 2015 Pan Am & Para Pan Games in Toronto. He is a Founder, Director and Patron in Chief of Muslim Children Aid and Support Service.

Imam Dr. Patel is a founder and member of several interfaith groups and he is active in interfaith dialogues and training. He is a regular speaker in national and international conferences.

He was a recipient of the Governor General and Ontario Government’s awards for Community Service and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal. Imam Dr. Patel holds a Doctorate degree from Canadian Institute of Islamic Studies.

Imam Dr. Abdul Hai Patel

Rev. John Pellowe

CANADIAN COUNCIL OF CHRISTIAN CHARITIES

Rev. John Pellowe has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities since 2003. CCCC provides support services and education to more than 3,300 member registered charities.

John is ordained by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and has earned four degrees. He has a BBA and MBA from Wilfred Laurier University, an MDiv from Tyndale Seminary, and a DMin from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has studied governance for nonprofits at both Harvard Business School and the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.

John’s publications include: The Church at Work: A manual for excellent church-agency relations, Serving as a Board Member, Stewardship Handbook for Christian Ministries Volume 1, and The Board’s Most Important Relationship.

John also writes a blog, Christian Leadership Reflections, focused on strategic, organizational, and team leadership in Christian ministries, the personal life of a Christian leader, and leadership’s spiritual aspects. 

Rev. John Pellowe

Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner

Ephraim Radner is Professor of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, as well as a priest in the Episcopal Church (Diocese of Colorado).  Following ordination and work in Burundi (East Africa), he served congregations in Brooklyn, Cleveland, New Haven, Stamford, and Pueblo. He has taught at Yale University and Iliff Seminary, as well as at the Episcopal seminary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 

His latest books include, A Time to Keep: Theology, Mortality, and the Shape of a Human Life (2016), and Time and the Word: The Figural Reading of Scripture (2016). 

Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner

Dr. Colin Saldanha

Dr. Colin Saldanha is presently the Board Chair of the Trillium Health Partners Foundation, which serves one of Canada’s largest community hospitals.  Dr. Saldanha is a Family Physician who has a long and distinguished history of public service and has been a staunch advocate for the marginalized members of our society, primarily in the areas of social justice and mental health.

As a committed and tireless community leader, he has served as Chair of the Peel Police Services board, Mississauga Board of Trade, United Way, Canadian Association of Police Boards, and the Health Policy Committee of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.  He has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Ontario Museum and was a member of the fundraising cabinet of the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre of the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus.

Dr. Saldanha has also served as Chair of the Mental Health Task Force for the Mississauga Halton LINH and Co-Chair of the System Access Model in the development of new psychiatric care model.  As Chair of the Public Policy Committee of United Way of Peel Region he initiated a non-pharmacological approach to mental health.

As a man of faith, Dr. Saldanha has been instrumental in initiating and establishing a Faith Group that has raised significant amount of money towards assisting the youth in living their faith in the public square.  He has chaired numerous forums including “Faith and Politics," “Coward or Courageous Christian,” and “Persecution of Religious Minorities."  In 2014 Dr. Saldanha was conferred with a Papal Knighthood when he was received into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

In recognition of his longstanding service to the community, Dr. Saldanha has received several commendations.  He was honoured with the Sir Charles Tupper Award presented by the Canadian Medical Association for Political Action and Advocacy, the Governor General’s Medal for Volunteerism, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Sam McCallion Award for community service by the Mississauga Board of Trade, and the Paul Harris Award by Rotary International.  Dr. Saldanha was selected as the Mississauga Citizen of the Year 2010. In November 2016, Dr. Saldanha will be inducted into the Mississauga Legends Row.

Dr. Colin Saldanha

Pandit Roopnauth Sharma

Pandit Roopnauth Sharma is the founder and Spiritual Leader of Mississauga’s Ram Mandir, a Hindu temple, where he attends to a community of over 4,000 families from the Region of Peel and surrounding areas, on all religious and social matters.

He is also the founder of Canada Hindu Heritage Centre (CHHC). CHHC is focused on addressing the social, economical cultural and recreational needs of the Hindu community. Pandit Sharma is also the driving force behind projects related to family issues, poverty, youth violence and seniors. He is actively engaged in providing spiritual care and counseling services.

Pandit Sharma has received many community service awards and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal Pandit Sharma currently is engaged in senior positions in diverse community service organizations including President of the Hindu Federation, President of the Canadian Multi-faith Federation, and President of Canada Hindu Heritage Centre, as well as others.

Professionally Pandit Sharma has an extensive banking background combined with thirty years of information technology and management consulting experience. During this period he served in many senior management positions in public and private corporations. Which includes Senior Manager PricewaterhouseCoopers, Manager Oracle, Manager Ernst Young Cap Gemini and Director Information Technology.

His philosophy: “Service to others first then the self.”

Pandit Roopnauth Sharma

Ms. Palbinder Shergill

PARTNER, SHERGILL & COMPANY

Palbinder Kaur Shergill, QC, is a lawyer and mediator. She was appointed as Queens Counsel in 2012. Her practice focusses on personal injury law, complex commercial and general litigation cases, class actions, and constitutional law.

In addition to her private practice, Palbinder is the General Legal Counsel for the World Sikh Organization of Canada. She is a leading Canadian human rights advocate, appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada in landmark human rights cases dealing with religious freedoms. Palbinder is currently serving her fourth term as a Governor for the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. She has served as a Director of the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) Board and as National Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Administrative Law Section.

Palbinder is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and community organizations, addressing issues such as culture and identity, human rights, and gender equity. She lives in Surrey, British Columbia, with her husband and 3 children.

Ms. Palbinder Shergill

Mr. Mukhbir Singh

Mukhbir Singh is President of the World Sikh Organization of Canada. An active member of his local community, Mukhbir is a frequent speaker, addressing issues such as the relationship between religion and modern secularism, human rights and identity. Mukhbir’s involvement with multicultural organizations in the community has been recognized by community organizers and public representatives and has since extended to the national stage as he joined the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO). The WSO works to promote the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status. 
 
Mukhbir Singh grew up in Montreal, Quebec. He completed his studies at Concordia University where he received a B.Sc. in Actuarial Sciences and M.Sc. in Finance. He and his wife live in Ottawa, Ontario.

Mr. Mukhbir Singh

Imam Dr. Hamid Slimi

Dr. Hamid Slimi is an Academic scholar, a spiritual leader, a teacher and a Community Developer. He is:

(1) The current chairman and senior lecturer of the Canadian Centre for Deen Studies (a Muslim Theological Seminary for educating and training future Imams and chaplains).

(2) The Resident Scholar, Imam and Founder of Sayeda Khadija Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. He has been serving as an Educator, Imam, Chaplain and Consultant in Canada for 19 years in different religious and educational institutions.

(3) The Founder and President of Faith of Life Network (A Charitable organization focused on providing spiritual and educational programs as well as bridge building with other faiths for peace building and harmony).
He is also: (1) The Former Chairman of the Canadian Council of Imams (2006-2013), (2) Lecturer at the Islamic Institute of Toronto (2005 to present), (3) Consultant on National and International issues related to religion and spirituality, Islam and Islamic Law, religious dialogue and Social issues, (4) Board member of different Interfaith and Community bodies/groups, (5) TV Producer of Faith of Life TV Shows, videos and documentaries and (6) CEO of a Management and Marketing Solutions Business in Ontario.

Dr. Slimi’s traditional and academic speciality is in Islamic studies and Law as well as Comparative World Religions. In addition to the traditional degrees known as Ijazah, he holds two Masters degrees with High Honors in both disciplines from Morocco and the US and a PhD in Islamic Law from the U.K. He received both his traditional and academic learning in Morocco and attended other renowned institutions and universities in other parts of the world.

In 2009 and 2015, Dr. Slimi was featured by Georgetown University as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World for his community development and building as well as his spiritual leadership and interfaith work.

Imam Dr. Hamid Slimi

Elder G. Lawrence Spackman

G. Lawrence Spackman (Larry) was born in May 1951 in Edmonton, Alberta. He married Flora Walker in August 1975. They have 5 children and currently have 10 grandchildren. 

He has served most of his life in the lay (unpaid) ministry of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In April 2013, he received his current calling (assignment) in the Church to be an Area Seventy, in the North America Central Area. Some of his previous Church callings include: Stake President of the Calgary Alberta Stake from 2008-2013, Mission President of the New York New York South Mission from 2000-2003, Bishop of the Edworthy Park Young Single Adult Ward in the Calgary Alberta Stake from 1996-1999, and Bishop of the Glenmore Ward in the Calgary Alberta Stake from 1986-1992.  As a young man, he served as a full-time missionary in the England Central Mission from 1970-1972. 

At the same time, to support his family, Larry Spackman has had a professional career in the energy industry in Canada.  Currently he is on the board of directors of a number of companies in Alberta.  Prior to that, some of his other jobs were President of TransCanada Energy Ltd. from 1998 until 1999, President of TransCanada Power LP from 1997 until 1999, and President of Northridge Gas Marketing Inc. from 1992 until 1998.  He served on the Natural Gas Advisory Committee of the New York Mercantile Exchange from 1992 until 2000.  

His education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, as well as a Master in Business Administration degree from the University of Calgary. He has been designated a Professional Engineer by APEGA.

Elder G. Lawrence Spackman

Dr. Brian Stiller

Brian C. Stiller, born and raised in Canada, was appointed global ambassador of World Evangelical Alliance – a world community which serves some 600 million Christians – in 2011 and visiting many countries, meeting those leading in the civic forums and churches. He is a graduate (undergraduate and graduate degrees) from the University of Toronto and doctoral degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He began his vocational service in Youth For Christ (YFC) in 1967 and president of YFC/Canada, then president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and president of Tyndale University College & Seminary, Toronto. He is author of 12 books, the latest Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century (General Editor) and An Insider’s Guide to Praying for the World. He can be sourced at brianstiller.com. His blog is dispatchesfrombrian.com.

Dr. Brian Stiller

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Stirling

SENIOR MINISTER, TIMOTHY EATON MEMORIAL CHURCH

Andrew Stirling is the Senior Minister of Timothy Eaton Memorial United Church in Toronto (17 years). 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 Politics and Law from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, a Master of Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology in 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 1997 he was a nominee for Moderator of the United Church of Canada.

Andrew has written two books: What’s Good About The Good News? and The Christian Imperative (both by Lancelot Press), is the Editor of The Trinity: An Essential For Faith In Our Time (Evangel Publishing House) with a Forward by Wolfhart Pannenberg and has written over 50 theological and devotional articles. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity School (with courses at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School) and was a founding faculty member of Augustine College in Ottawa. In the Hilary Term of 2016 he was an Academic Visitor at Regent's Park College, Oxford University, during which time, he conducted research on Richard Baxter, lectured at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, and preached throughout the UK. He 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 Emmanuel and Wycliffe colleges of the Toronto School of Theology.

Andrew has preached and given lectures on four continents. His theological interests are: Evangelism, Church/State Relations, Inter faith dialogue, Missions and Homiletics. He can be heard on the radio weekly CHIN 1540 AM (Ontario) and on a Podcast (available here). He was trained in religious broadcasting by BBC Radio Teesside. He has appeared on numerous T.V. shows including: Eye to Eye, Cross Currents, 3D Dialogue, Spirit Connection and Reach Out For Life.  He is married to Marial, who is Corporate Counsel at CPA Canada. Andrew loves playing the guitar, golfing, auto racing (He is an Indycar Chaplain) and supporting Manchester United football club and the Montreal Canadiens.

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Stirling

Mr. Dave Toycen

Dave Toycen was the President and CEO of World Vision Canada, Canada's largest humanitarian relief, development and advocacy agency, for 18 years. His career with World Vision internationally spanned more than 40 years.

He is the author of The Power of Generosity (Harper Collins, 2004), and is also a member of the Order of Ontario.

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Mr. Dave Toycen

Dr. Aileen Van Ginkel

Dr. Aileen Van Ginkel is Vice-President, Ministry Services at The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and has recently taken up a position as Co-chair with the Canadian Interfaith Conversation. Aileen is also a Principal with The FIELD Collaborative, a consulting company that seeks to meet leadership and organizational development needs. She has training and wide experience in facilitating group dialogue and partnership development. She completed her Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) degree in 2012 at Tyndale Seminary, where she focused her research on practices of communal discernment. Aileen and her husband, Edward, are parents to three children, and live in King City, Ontario.

Dr. Aileen Van Ginkel

Mr. Sam VanderVeer

Sam VanderVeer joined Scotiabank in 2014 after serving four years with the Federal Government in Ottawa. While in Ottawa he worked for the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, followed by two years as a policy advisor to the Minister of Finance. His final role in Ottawa was Director of Budget Planning for the 2014 Canadian Federal Budget. 

Sam earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, and a certificate in Leadership and Applied Public Affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.

Sam lived for several years in Pakistan as a child, where his family were Christian missionaries. He is interested in the role of faith in public service, and faith communities in the public space.

He has served as as Volunteer Chairperson of the Canadian Red Cross' National Youth Engagement Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Board of his Federal Electoral District Association.

Mr. Sam VanderVeer

Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian

Vicar of the Armenian Church Diocese of Canada
Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church of Toronto

Fr. Zargarian graduated from the Kevorkian Seminary of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, Armenia, in 1989.

He was invited to serve in the Armenian Apostolic Church in Canada and was ordained as priest in 1992 and assumed the duty of Parish Priest at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Cathedral in Montreal.

Fr. Zargarian was transferred to Ontario in 1996 and was appointed Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Toronto. 

In 2007, Fr. Zargarian received his Master of Theological Studies degree from the St. Augustine Catholic Seminary, University of Toronto.

Since 1998, he has been a member of the Governing Board of the Canadian Council of Churches, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Council of Churches, Toronto Council of Churches, and the Ontario Multi-Faith Council. Fr. Zargarian has maintained close relationships with the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal Government bodies as an exemplary representative of the Armenian Church. Fr. Zargarian speaks Armenian, English, Russian, and French.

In 2016 Fr. Zargarian was appointed Vicar of the Armenian Church Diocese of Canada by His Grace Bishop Abgar Hovakimian, Primate.

Fr. Zargarian and his wife Naira Samvelian have three sons.

Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian

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