Public Lectures at The King's University

September 2021

IS Public Lecture: What Play Can Teach Us About God

September 22, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The King's University

As Christians we are called to worship, study, disciple, fellowship, and love. But are we called to play? When we play, we learn about ourselves, our neighbours, and our great God. As we explore different types of play, may we capture the joy of the Lord and renew our matter the calling. Join us for the Interdisciplinary Studies Conference


A student outcomes focused leader in Christian teaching & learning for over 25 years, Dr. Susanne Huizing is adept at emphasizing academics, ethical and spiritual values, social responsibility, and personal development through her demonstrated ability in teaching excellence. As a lifelong learner with dyslexia, she understands the need for authentic relationships, role models, and champions for Christ in our classrooms.

Huizing received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, from Liberty University in 2017 with a focus on teacher efficacy with ESL students. She is a wife to her best friend Albert of 33 years, mom of four adult children (all living too far away), and very recently, a Grammy to her grandson Henry.

Public Lecture: Beyond Purity and Promiscuity, Rethinking Women’s History

October 18, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
L116, Zoom

Understanding the history of women’s sexuality is a challenge for scholars. From the Salem Witch Trials, to the Victorian era, to late twentieth-century purity culture, women have frequently been depicted at the extremes; as dangerous temptresses or innocent angels. Slavery and colonialism also weaponized ideas about women’s sexuality to dehumanize and exploit people. The historian’s job is to analyze the power and politics behind these images and also to appreciate the vulnerability, complexity, and humanity of the real women beneath.


Dr. Caroline Lieffers is an Assistant Professor of History at The King’s University. Her current research focus is disability history but she also writes about the history of childhood, food, and domestic life.

Public Lecture: Finding the Roots, My Education in Black History in Alberta

October 25, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
L116, Zoom

In 2015, I found myself elected as only the third Black person to serve as an MLA in the Alberta Legislature. So in 2016, I was invited to speak at a number of events for Black History Month and realized that after 40 years living in Alberta, I knew nothing about Black history here and decided it was time I learned.

In the years since, I’ve begun to delve beyond the better-known names like John Ware and Violet King Henry to learn the hidden history of how Black men and women established themselves in Alberta; the things they accomplished and the challenges they faced from racism and discrimination. This history is deep, rich, and diverse, and has served as an inspiration to me in my work.

I look forward to sharing some of what I’ve learned from Black elders, community historians, and story-keepers in Alberta.


MLA David Shepherd is a second-generation Canadian and life-long resident of Edmonton. His mother arrived from the Netherlands in 1948 and his father from Trinidad in 1967. As a family they attended a small Brethren church where David learned public speaking and was involved in music. Shepherd’s first love was music and he spent many years as a professional musician and studio engineer. He holds diplomas in music performance and studio recording from MacEwan University and a BA in professional communications from Royal Roads University.

Through his work, Shepard has developed a reputation for engaging speeches, thoughtful commentary on public policy, and candid discussions of his own journey with mental health.

Public Lecture: Residential Schools and the Continuing Work of Reconciliation

November 01, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
L116, Zoom

This lecture will provide information on the history of Residential Schools in Canada and the generational impact of trauma that is currently affecting Indigenous peoples. Veronica Graff will explain the four principles of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity and how they can be utilized in schools, organizations, communities, and personal growth. Graff will explain how the Circle of Courage program supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action and provide information on how all of us can actively participate in contributing to the goals of the TRC.


Veronica Graff was born in Manning, Alberta and is from the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement. She is the oldest of six children born to Bill and Beatrice Supernault. Her family moved to Pouce Coupe, BC, where she started school and the Peace Area became her home for many years.

Graff started her education journey in 1982 in the Social Work diploma program at Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, BC.  She has extensive work experience in the human services field including roles supporting Indigenous young people to complete their education. For the last five years, Graff has been working for Edmonton Public School District as an indigenous advisor.

Graff has developed and implemented the Circle of Courage framework into the two schools where she works. The program has been very successful in introducing students on how to apply the principles of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity into their lives.

Public Lecture: Engaging Religion in the Public Sphere

November 08, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
L116, Zoom

Public responses to the draft K-6 curriculum, released by the Alberta government on March 29, 2021, were fierce in many social spaces. Especially contentious was the social studies curriculum for several reasons, including the addition of requiring students to learn about the beliefs and practices of several religious traditions. Professor of Education, Dr. Marge Patrick and Rev. Jonathan Nicolai-deKoning, Program Director of the Micah Centre for Justice and Development, educated themselves about the draft, engaged in social media conversations, participated in various events, and then decided to jointly write an Op-Ed as a teacher educator and pastor/parent. The hope was to inject a more thoughtful and balanced perspective into a polarized debate.

Much of the ensuing public response to the op-ed and related discussions affirms that polarization about religion exists in the Canadian public, the extent of religious illiteracy throughout Canadian society, and the need for Christians in Canada to recognize the challenges and opportunities they face at this time. Patrick and Nicolai-deKoning will explore the question of how can we speak about religion in a way that respects the wider community’s reticence and resistance and contributes to the common good.


Jonathan Nicholai-deKoning is Program Director at the Micah Centre at The King’s University. He also teaches in King’s theology department and is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He and his wife have three elementary-school age children. Before King’s, Jonathan worked in a number of social justice and anti-poverty initiatives where he encountered first hand the public resistance to religious initiatives and the good work of religious communities for the common good.

Margie Patrick teaches in the Faculty of Education at The King’s University. Her research examines how secondary social studies teachers in public schools teach about religion. One of the courses she teaches prepares beginning teachers to confidently and competently teach about religion in all types of schools.

Public Lecture: Ancient Spirituality at Work

November 15, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
L116, Zoom

The spirituality in the workplace movement has tended to focus on spirituality rather than religion in spite of the key role religion has played in the social sciences. In this qualitative study we show the value of ancient spirituality, that is, historic faith, for the spirituality in the workplace movement. We conducted in-depth interviews with Christian business leaders in five businesses from across Canada that explicitly identified themselves as operating from a Christian faith base. We find that each business leader is deeply grounded in the biblical themes and the Christian worldview. In other words, their practice of Christian faith integration in business is comprehensive.  This foundation provides them with the impetus and fortitude to be ‘subversive’ in relation to mainstream business rationality.


Elden Wiebe, PhD (from the University of Alberta) is currently Associate Professor of Management at The King’s University and the former Dean at the Leder School of Business. He also has a Master of Arts (Biblical Theology) from Regent College, Vancouver, and has over seven years’ experience in various pastoral roles in two congregations, one in Vancouver and the other in Edmonton. The intersection of faith and business has long been an important pastoral concern for him.

Public Lecture: Julian of Norwich, A Companion For Our Times

November 22, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
L116, Zoom

The English mystic, Julian of Norwich, lived in the late 14th/early 15th century—a time of social, political, and ecclesial turmoil. Her voice that calls to us from across the ages.

As she lay near death, at age 30, she received a series of revelations that were subsequently captured in two texts known to us as “Revelations of Divine Love.” This remarkable work, a classic of medieval religious literature and the first known work authored by a woman in the English vernacular, is filled with theological insights about the Trinity, Christ’s suffering, and the nature of the Christian believer’s relationship with the divine. At its heart lies Julian’s greatest understanding—that of God’s infinite and boundless love for his greatest masterpiece, us.

This “lecture” is not an academic presentation of Julian and her times. It is an invitation to enter her world and receive a small taste of her revelations. Revelations that included the words that “al shal be wel, and al shal be wel, and al manner of thyng shal be wele.”


Witty Sandle describes her vocation as, “inspiring others to discover all they are called to be in this world.”  She works at The King’s University as the Manager of the Centre for Career and Calling. Her paid and unpaid experiences span career development, programming for students, and youth work. Sandle holds a Masters in Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary and is a certified spiritual director, hosting space for people to slow down and listen for the voice of the Spirit amid their everyday lives. She is deeply interested in exploring the ways in which God’s people can grow to become Christ-like through the lens of vocation and identity formation.

Witty Sandle is married to her husband Mark who works at King’s as a history professor. Together they have three adult children, two grandchildren, and one dog. She loves being behind a camera and is partial to curry and cheesecake.

Public Lecture: Soul Care in an Age of Disconnection, Rediscovering Practices that Draw Us In and Send Us Out

November 29, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
L116, Zoom

We have the ability to be connected to others at every moment of the day thanks to technology and social media. We can be busy (or at least entertained) from the moment we wake until the moment we fall asleep. We can be constantly available to our friends, our family, and our jobs. With all of this “connection,” we often end up feeling disconnected from ourselves, each other, and God. How do we create space in our lives to reconnect? What is soul care and why does it matter? Join us as we consider ancient Christian practices that invite us to slow down, rest, and nurture our souls.


Rev. Julianne Gilchrist is a spiritual director and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church. She and her husband have a small business that provides coaching and spiritual direction to ministry leaders and teams. Gilchrist serves on the leadership team of the Studion School for Spiritual Direction and loves facilitating and speaking at retreats.