Plenary Speaker

Marjorie J. Thompson

Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Marjorie brings to her ministry over thirty years of retreat work and teaching in Christian formation and spiritual practice. She has served two congregations in pastoral ministry and as adjunct faculty for several seminaries. Her educational path includes Swarthmore College, McCormick Theological Seminary, and a research fellowship at Yale Divinity School where she was deeply influenced by her mentor, Henri Nouwen.
As director of Pathways in Congregational Spirituality with Upper Room Ministries, (affiliated with the United Methodist Church), Marjorie served as chief architect of Companions in Christ, an innovative small-group series for adult transformation which she shaped for more than a decade. Marjorie is also a Prepared Facilitator for Circle of Trust retreats, through the Center for Courage & Renewal developed by Quaker teacher and author, Parker Palmer.
The author of several books, including best-selling Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, Marjorie considers writing a central dimension of her calling. Some of her other titles for pastoral leaders and engaged laity are The Gift of Encouragement and Forgiveness: A Lenten Study. Most recently, Marjorie has written a book and related workbook for the Caregiving Initiative of the Henri Nouwen Society, titled Courage for Caregivers: Sustenance for the Journey in Company with Henri J. M. Nouwen. Marjorie was married for 33 years to her beloved life partner, John Mogabgab, the founding editor of Weavings journal and a guiding influence with Upper Room Ministries for 29 years. John crossed the threshold to Eternal Life on their anniversary in 2014. Marjorie now lives in Nashville, TN. She enjoys music, travel, friends and family.


Carolyn Arends

Carolyn has released 12 albums and is the author of 3 critically acclaimed books. Internationally recognized, 15 of Arends’ songs have become top 10 radio singles on the Canadian pop and US Christian charts, earning 2 Dove Awards, 3 Juno Nominations and recognized as the West Coast Music Awards’ Songwriter of the Year. Her prose has been recognized by The Word Guild, The Evangelical Press Association and The Canadian Church Press Awards. Carolyn has been a regular columnist for Christianity Today, Faith Today, and CT Women.   With degrees in Psychology and English (Trinity Western University) and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (Regent College) College she has served as an adjunct professor at ACTS Seminary, Pacific Life Bible College, Columbia Bible College, and Prairie Bible College. She lives in Surrey, BC with her husband, Mark, and their children Benjamin and Bethany. Carolyn is currently the Director of Education for Renovaré, where she oversees several initiatives including the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation and the Renovaré Book Club. She is wildly interested in spiritual formation, music, creativity, and the beautiful sport of hockey.

Workshop Leaders

Andrew Sheldon

Andrew Sheldon is an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Toronto. Ordained for 25 years he has served in 4 parishes, as Incumbent in 2, and is currently doing children’s ministry at St George’s On The Hill. Andrew is also on the Faculty of Trinity College at the University of Toronto where he teaches in the areas of leadership in the church and congregational studies as well as teaching the course Beyond Religious Education: Implications of the Spirituality of Children for Theory and Practice. Some years ago, Andrew was introduced to Godly Play and was convinced of the importance of this approach in ministering to children, and in the church at large. He has introduced Godly Play in three parishes, been accredited as a storyteller and a trainer, and regularly spends time on the floor with a circle of children. He has spoken extensively on the place of the child in the church and the nature of children’s spirituality, as well as having trained hundreds of individuals throughout the world in the art of Godly Play.

Richard Hovey

Richard Hovey serves as the Executive Director of Renovaré Canada as well as an Associate Pastor in Regina, SK. Richard has over 20 years of ministry experience, primarily as a pastor but also in para-church organizations. His desire in ministry is to see others brought to a deep place of ministering out of a rich experience of Christ which leads to doing life with God. Educationally Richard holds a BA in Sociology, MA in Pastoral Counselling, MA in Theology, and a DMin in Leadership and Spiritual Formation.

Paul Brammer

Dr. Paul Bramer has taught at all levels of education, from elementary through doctoral levels. After completing his graduate degree in educational administration, he completed theological studies at Regent College, Institute for Christian Studies, and at Tyndale, culminating in his doctoral work in Christian education and psycho-spirituality. He also received his training in spiritual direction at Shalem Institute, (Washington). Most recently, Paul was professor of Christian Formation and Leadership at Tyndale Seminary where he also founded and directed the Doctor of Ministry program. Founder of Formation Insights, Paul now offers educational consultancy, spiritual direction, editing and is presently studying depth psychology, and teaching for Emmaus Formation Centre.

Lee Beach

Dr. Lee Beach is the Associate Professor of Christian Ministry at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario where he completed his PHD studies. Lee pastored for 18 years with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada and currently serves the denomination as a Minister at Large. He is the author of the book, The Church in Exile: Living in Hope after Christendom (IVP). His areas of specialization include pastoral studies, Spirituality in ministry, the church in culture and the mission of the church.

Meghan Matthews

Meghan is a passionate follower of Jesus, committed to the building of His kingdom. Meghan works with Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec Next Generation Ministry Department and can often be found hanging with Kingsway Baptist Church Youth where she is a mentor and small group leader; in the summer Meghan works as the Spiritual Formation Coordinator at Camp Kwasind. Meghan is currently pursuing her MDiv at McMaster Divinity and is happily married to a cool guy named Jon.

Catherine McMulkin

is Executive Director of CFCSD. She has 30+ years, of Pastoral and ministry experience, throughout North America, the Caribbean and Europe. After her graduate degree in Christian Education (Tyndale Seminary), she did studies at New Orleans Theological Seminary, United Theological Seminary (Ohio) and Northern Seminary (Chicago) culminating in her doctoral work in spiritual transformation. She is a certified spiritual director (Global Certification) with training from Tyndale Seminary and spiritual direction supervision with the Mercy Centre (Burlingame, California). She has extensive experience in supervision of spiritual directors and those in Pastoral Ministries. Cathy is married and lives in St. Catharines, ON.

Robynn Bliss

Robynn’s greatest joy is to come alongside someone and see where God might be at work in their stories…what he might be inviting them into… where he might be bringing redemption, healing and hope.   Robynn is a spiritual director with training through the Souljourner program of Mt. Saint Scholastica (Atchison, KS).  Robynn co-authored the book, Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission in 2009 (William Carey Library, 2010). Many of the people who Robynn ministers to are missionaries scattered across the globe! Robynn and her husband, Lowell, were missionaries in India for thirteen years, and recently moved to Port Colborne, ON from Kansas, USA. Lowell recently joined Frontier Ventures (formerly the US Center for World Missions) and Robynn continues her ministry through Christar Canada where she is a member of the the Member Care Network.   

Richard Wukasch

Through discernment in spiritual direction, Rick transitioned from a career in environmental biology into studies at Tyndale Seminary and pastoral ministry in 1987. He served in associate pastoral, spiritual formation and care ministries for 30 years at Spring Garden Baptist Church, North York, and The Meeting House, Oakville until retiring in 2018, and is credentialed through the Be In Christ Church. A longstanding recipient of spiritual direction, Rick trained at Tyndale as a spiritual director, practicing this calling in partnership with the Holy Spirit, Tyndale Association of Spiritual Directors, and Emmaus Formation Centre. Currently Rick volunteers as a Caregiver in Healing Care, seeing the church as a “Gospital” that provides wholistic health care in the presence of Jesus, the Great Physician and Spiritual Director. He journeys in person and online with pastors, students, and diverse people, helping them recognize, experience, and respond to God in everyday life. His spirit is nourished in a 43-year marriage and family life with Doris, in community, and through sacred pathways, the arts, gardening and the wonders of creation.