Past Conferences

Change is in the Air

 2016 Winter I.S. Conference Brochure

Change is in the air, and in more ways than one.  On one hand, the climate is changing.  Overwhelming scientific consensus confirms the reality of climate change and warns of the threat it poses to the planet and its human and non-human inhabitants.  These warnings have prompted urgent appeals, not simply for changes in action and policy, but also deeper changes in how we think about and imagine our relationship to the creation itself.  But change is in the air in other ways too – as vulnerable communities respond to the challenge of global warming, as our reliance on the carbon economy is being questioned, and as political leaders try to hammer out a global climate agreement, change is inevitable. 

The King’s University welcomes you to its Winter I.S Conference, Change is in the Air: from Climate Chaos to Climate Justice, to be held January 20, 21, 2016.  Join us to learn from keynote speakers Katharine Hayhoe and Michael Northcott, and several other guest presenters.  In addition to daytime events there will be a panel conversation featuring Hayhoe, Northcott, Andrew Leach, John Parkins, Willard Metzger and others on Wednesday evening, January 20 at 7:30 in the Atrium at King’s.

More information to follow in January or contact


Keynote address descriptions:

Listen here:
 IS WINTER 2016 Jan 20 AM Hayhoe
Climate change is one of the most hotly debated scientific issues of today. But, is the evidence solid? Are proposed solutions viable? And why would anyone care? Join Katharine Hayhoe as she untangles the complex science behind global warming and highlights the key role our faith and values play in shaping our attitudes and actions on this crucial topic.

Listen here: IS WINTER 2016 Jan 20 PM Northcott

The science is now pretty much unambiguous. And if that weren't enough there if no place on earth where the weather is normal any more. For people in the developed world new weather is a problem they are learning to deal with. For people in the developing world new weather including stronger storms, rising sea levels, enduring droughts and extreme precipitation events are increasingly presenting survival issues. Fossil fuels burned mainly in the developed world are responsible for the problem. But despite decades of understanding the response this far has been very weak. From a Christian perspective the duty to reduce the human influence on the climate arises first abs foremost from the human victims of climate change. In this lecture Professor Northcott lays out the case for the churches treating the climate crisis as a confessional moral and spiritual challenge. 

Listen here: IS WINTER 2016 Jan 21 AM Hayhoe

As Christians, we believe that God gave us this amazing planet we lived on, and calls on us to express His love to the world. If we view the Earth as God’s gift to us, how can we be good stewards of that gift? What does it mean to love others, when those with the least resources to adapt—both here at home, as well as on the other side of the world—are already being harmed by climate change? And how can our faith inform our perspectives on the provincial, national and international actions that are already being taken to tackle this global challenge?

Listen here: IS WINTER 2016 Jan 21 AM Duncan

Successive Canadian Governments have failed to live up to the commitments they made under international agreements to reduce greenhouse gases.  What actions should Canada take to ensure it makes a fair contribution to the goal of keeping global warming to 2°C or less?  Linda Duncan will look at the challenges facing Canadians and their governments and some of the solutions that will make the difference.

Listen here: IS WINTER 2016 Jan 21PM Northcott

It is easy to think of climate change as a problem for future generations. However the long run nature of the problem means that failure to act now locks future generations into a set of problems which will be irresolvable without active and deliberate management of the atmosphere. Some argue that the recently concluded Paris Agreement 2015 with its talk of carbon neutrality and holding global temperature rise to 1.5C already commits the nations to geoengineering. But there is currently no need for this extreme option other then a failure of political will. Some nations have already transitioned their energy systems to majority non carbon sources. However others and especially fossil fuel extracting nations are resisting moving to a post fossil fuel economy. But there are many other benefits to such an economy, leaving aside the fossil fuel smoke screen of climate science skepticism. In this lecture Professor Northcott argues that there are longstanding features of modern political economy that stand in the way of resolving the climate crisis, and that Christian political theology has unique elements which can aid in unmasking these and in revealing a hopeful alternative approach. 

Playing God: The Gift and Risk of Human Power (Fall 2015)


Audio recordings:
Keynote 1 - Power and Flourishing with Andy Crouch
Keynote 2 - The Broken Image
Keynote 3 - Jesus the Image of the Invisible God
Keynote 4 - Mission as Restoring the Image

Christians, and perhaps all people, have an ambiguous perspective on power. Many have bought into Lord Acton’s dictum that power corrupts and are therefore  wary of claiming any power at all, fearful of falling into the temptation to abuse or misuse power.  At the same time many of us are aware that the very fact of our privileged, secure and educated lives, gives us a tremendous amount of power.  How should we think about power?  Must power always corrupt?  What can safeguard its proper uses?  Andy Crouch has thought long and hard about such things and he has learned much from his conversations with others in various parts of the world.  His recent book, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power is an astute reflection on the dynamic between power and vulnerability. We are very pleased to welcome Andy Crouch as our keynote speaker at this fall’s Interdisciplinary Studies conference where he will lead us in conversation about these ideas.  Andy is a gifted speaker and musician, executive editor of Christianity Today and a senior fellow of International Justice Mission. Invite your family and friends since this event is always open to the public.

The conference takes place September 23 and 24, 2015, beginning at 9:00 AM each morning.  In addition to lectures / performances by Andy Crouch, a variety of other speakers will lead breakout sessions that help us explore how power and vulnerability are experienced by refugees, Indian residential school survivors, homeless persons in Edmonton’s inner city and others.   Comic relief will be offered by Dan Taylor, a local award winning comedian.  We are also glad to welcome back Justine Vandergrift who will perform a lunch time concert on Thursday.

Fall 2015 Conference Schedule and Conference Schedule and Brochure


Being Human: God, Evolution and the Moral Imperative (Winter 2015)

January 28 & 29

The Winter 2015 Interdisciplinary Studies Conference is being co-sponsored by The King’s University and Professor Paul Allen of Concordia University in Montreal under the auspices of the Biologos Foundation. This is an ecumenical conversation about the intertwined problems of human uniqueness, creation and evolutionary thought. 

Click here for the conference program. 
A more detailed description can be found HERE 

2015 Winter I.S. Conference Audio is available through the King's Library 


Being Human: Rediscovering our creaturely calling (Fall 2014)

September 17 - 18, 2014

“being human: rediscovering our creature calling” is a conversation about what it means to be human in creation. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Norman Wirzba who is Professor of Theology and Ecology at Duke University. Dr. Wirzba will present keynote presentations allowing our campus to consider the implications on calling the world ‘creation’ and being ‘creatures’ in it.  Dr Wirzba will also present a public lecture on Wednesday evening, titled The Spirituality of Eating in Room N102 at 7:30 p.m.

In addition to several break out session in which the variety of ways of “being human” will be considered, Dr. Peter Mahaffy, will offer a keynote lecture on the Anthropocene Era, describing for us the impact of human beings on the planet.T

The conference is free and open to the public. Students registered for I.S. are to “check-in” and collect a conference booklet on Tuesday, September 16 from 11-2 p.m. at the table just east of the cafeteria (accords from the Registry).

Click Here For Fall Conference Information & Schedule

Missed the conference? Conference audio files are available through the King's University library.


Truth and Reconcilliation Commission (Winter 2014)

March 27 & 28, 2014

The 2014 Winter Term I.S. Conference was offered in conjunction with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event being held in Edmonton March 27-30.  An education day was held at The King’s University on March 27, during which students will learned about the history of the Indian Residential Schools, the ongoing legacy of trauma inflicted on aboriginal communities and the settlement agreement of which the TRC is one component. 
The second day, Friday March 28, students attended the hearings at the Shaw Conference Centre and participated in scheduled events there, including a debriefing event at the day’s conclusion.

Resources for the conference can be found on The Micah Centre Website

Click here to see the 2014 Winter IS Conference Schedule.

See Rev. Canon Travis Enright's presentation The Role of Churches

Mind Over Matter (Fall 2013)

September 18 & 19, 2013
Our special guest speaker for the Fall I.S. Conference was Professor Matthew Dickerson from Middlebury College in Vermont. Dickerson is professor of environmental studies and computer science, as well as a published novelist and Tolkien scholar. He enlists his wide range of study and concern in his book, “The Mind and the Machine” in which he considers the question of what it means to be human in the face of claims that we are nothing more than sophisticated and complex machines. He engages Richard Dawkins, Raymond Kurzweil, Daniel Dennett and B.F Skinner, all proponents of ‘physicalism’, by exposing the fallacies of their basic assumptions about God and nature. He also draws heavily on the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien to support an alternative Christian anthropology. More about Professor Dickerson HERE

In addition, the conference featured a performance of the highly acclaimed Fringe Festival hit, “Freud’s Last Session” and a variety of breakout sessions.

Click here to see the Mind Over Matter Schedule

Missed the conference? Conference audio files are available through the King's Univeristy library.

Just Worship (Winter 2013)

January 23 & 24, 2013

Keynote Speakers:

  • John Bell, hymn writer, teacher, preacher of the IONA community in Scotland
  • Ruth Padilla Deborst, Latin American theologian and missiologist and recently appointed as Director of Spiritual Formation for World Vision International.

For the winter I.S. Conference, King's will revist a topic that was addressed 10 years ago: Justice and Worship. With special presentations by our two Keynote Speakers, the conference will also feature Terry LeBlanc of My People International and JUST FOOD travelling art exhibit sponsored by the Canada Food Grains Bank.

Missed the conference? Conference audio files are available through the King's Univeristy library.


Love That Minds That Love: “What’s So Christian About King's?” (Fall 2012)

Featuring Christian Scholar David Naugle, Singer Songwriter Martyn Joseph and King's Faculty.

Christian learning and teaching. At King’s we say that this is what we are all about, but what does it all mean and why should we care? What has faith got to do with reading Shakespeare or dissecting frogs, or learning about business management? Is ‘Christian’ scholarship different from other varieties of learning and researching, and if so, how? One possible answer is to think about intentional mind-FULL-ness as a way of loving God and neighbour. This I.S. Conference explores these basic questions for students at a Christian liberal arts university. We will be led in our reflections by Professor David Naugle who will deliver a provocative keynote lecture each morning, and then we will hear several of our own faculty offer their most compelling reason for doing what they do, for loving what they love, and for minding what they mind.

Missed the conference? Conference audio files are available through the King's Univeristy library.

Economics and Christian Desire (Winter 2012)

Black Friday, Occupy Wall Street, economic instability – these topics are front and centre in public discourse – and front and centre at this season’s The King’s University’s semi-annual Interdisciplinary Studies conference. Our theme is “You’re Richer WHEN you Think” – a play on the popular Scotiabank slogan. Globally, we are the 5%, not the 99%, and because of this often spend money too freely – buying anything we please without much thought. This conference challenged students to see their spending choices as a voice that reflects their own Christian values.

Culture Making (Fall 2011)

Christians have long had a love-hate relationship with the cultures they are called to change, vacillating between fearful avoidance on the one hand and indiscriminate consumerism of culture on the other. The resulting temptation is to seek some middle ground, a balancing of caution and copying, critique and embrace. But the Christian cultural task is far more exciting than striking a middle ground. We are called to make culture, not just to critique, copy and consume what others make. Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making, and an accomplished musician, lead the I.S. conference in an exploration of our role as creative composers of culture. In addition to lectures / performances by Andy Crouch, a visual feast was prepared by local artists who displayed their art at King’s. Other presenters include John Franklin, founding director of Imago, who spoke at the art show opening and John Van Sloten, author of The Day Metallica Came to Church, several King’s faculty and a jolly jamboree with Justine and Joel.

Oil Things Considered (Winter 2011)

The Alberta Oilsands developments have sparked a debate locally and around the world. This winter's I.S. conference at King's brought the debate to students, to form opinions and discern the underlying values and assumptions upon which the various viewpoints are founded.

Special Guests:

  • Hon. Premier Ed Stelmach
  • Andrew Nikiforuk, Author
  • Jennifer Grant, Pembina Institute
  • Melody Lepine, Mikisew Cree First Nation 
  • Dr. John Hiemstra, The King's University

KNOW FEAR: Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (Fall 2010)

All around us people are afraid, and we are too. Some fears are well founded, but many are not. And yet fear can paralyze us into inaction and make us indifferent to the needs of others. Fear of strangers makes us close our borders to refugees, or express itself in racism. Fear for the future may make us timid and afraid to embrace life. Fear of scarcity may make us stingy instead of generous. Fear of the unknown may lead to war. Where do such fears come from and what can we do to live courageously and joyfully – swim against the current of fear mongering?

Home (not so) Sweet Homeless (Winter 2010)

Today, we are confronted with many daunting statistics related to our idea of home. In Edmonton there are over 3,000 homeless individuals living on the streets, a number projected to double within the next ten years. Each day within Canada there are up to 300,000 people without a permanent place to stay. Globally, that number expands to over 40 million refugees and displaced persons left vulnerable due to warfare and internal conflicts. Furthermore, the earth, the only home we have ever known, is being exploited and polluted at a greater rate than ever experienced before.Yet, what is home? What is the significance of home in our own lives? What does it mean to be homeless? What are we separated, displaced or dislocated from?

Brian Walsh, Chris Turner and Jim Gurnett and a host of other presenters lead King's to explore questions such as these as well as the various forms of homelessness – socioeconomic, ecological, and psycho-spiritual – creatively discovering how biblical attentiveness and the Christian faith can heal the profound dislocations in our society and within our own lives.

Identity & Technology (Fall 2009)

Think about IT—identity and technology are inextricably linked in today’s society. Whether we view technology as a necessary evil or integral part of our everyday existence, we are defined both individually and as a culture by the technology we use.

The fall I.S. conference focused on the theme of “Identity & Technology,” and challenged King's to ask how we define technology and what we should do about it. Of course “technology” includes things like Twitter, facebook, and text messages, but it also refers to a complex system and patterns of behavior with deep sociological and spiritual implications.

Through lectures and discussion, we were reminded of our essential identity as human beings made in God’s image and explore what our relationship to technology says about that identity.

Remembering the Children (Winter 2009)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has issued an apology to Aboriginal communities expressing sorrow for the ill treatment suffered by many children in Indian Residential Schools. The painful legacy of those schools continues to be manifest in many ways. But the force of healing is also manifest in powerful ways as communities take action to change the trajectory of a painful history to a future of hope. The journey from Truth to Reconciliation is not traveled by "others", of whom we are mere observers - we must all travel that journey together.

This conference was co- sponsored by the Aboriginal and Church leaders "Remembering the Children" Initiative

The Invisible Dignity Project (Fall 2008)

The theme for this I.S. conference was inspired by the Invisibly Dignity Art Exhibit. Featuring artists from across Canada, the exhibit portrayed people who are often overlooked and marginalized to the extent that their inherent dignity as image bearers of God is rendered invisible. One of the most radical things that Christians believe is that all human beings bear the image of God. The implications are staggering. Human dignity, rights, self-respect, love for others - all stem from that basic and essential belief.

Thought For Food (Fall 2008)

Food security, eating habits, global poverty, climate change - all of these issues were "on the table" at the "THOUGHT FOR FOOD" conference.  Speakers included Cathy Campbell (author of Stations of the Banquet), representatives of the Canada Food Grains Bank, Cathleen Kneen and members of Stage Left Theatre Company. In addition to lectures, students attended workshops, concerts, drama, and a cooking class led by Our Chef, Michel Lamontagne.

In addition there was a mini-farmers market featuring local producers, an evening Taize worship service, and international potluck dinner.