Is your community of faith interested in hearing about the work of the global church firsthand? Invite a speaker!

People in Partnership invites you to learn more about the work and mission of partners around the world by inviting an individual to come and share their stories with United Church of Canada communities of faith. Find out more about these pilgrims, companions, co-workers and learners below. Although speakers are grouped by region below, many are available to present and share remotely with your community of faith online. Please contact  pip@united-church.ca to invite a speaker.

Featured Speakers Currently Available

John Egger, Co-Worker in Mission, Republic of Korea

Portrait of John Egger
Credit: John Egger

John Egger served in the General Assembly Office of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, providing assistance with English-language communications and helping to mentor overseas interns working in Korea. John also shared his skills in Christian education, biblical studies, intercultural ministry, and interpreting mission principles and practices with Korean congregation. He has a PhD in New Testament Studies from Emmanuel College and has served in congregations in a variety of educational ministries in Canada.

John is eager to share about his experiences in Korea as ecumenical Co-Worker in Mission, and his insights and perspectives on the past and future of the rich relationship between the church in Canada and the church in Korea.

Bill Chambré, Companion in Mission, Palestine and Israel

Bill Chambré wearing a hat
Credit: Bill Chambré

Region: Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Waters

Bill is a retired military officer whose 34-year career as a Communications Engineer had him serving from coast to coast to coast within Canada, as well as overseas as a Peacekeeper in South Sudan. His experience has given him a great appreciation for just how good life is for most, but certainly not all, citizens of this vast and beautiful country, in contrast to the many places in the world where people’s daily struggle for survival means they can only dream of the quality of life that most of us take for granted. In a desire to apply his skills to try to be an instrument of change, he volunteered to go to the West Bank/Palestine to be an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA) with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, an initiative of the World Council of Churches (a Mission & Service partner). Participants of EAPPI monitor and report violations of human rights and international law, offer protection through non-violent presence, engage in public policy advocacy, and stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.

Rachel Webster, Co-worker in Mission, Jamaica

Rachel Webster wearing glasses
Credit: Rachel Webster

Region: Shining Waters

Rachel Webster, formerly Pellett, is a Co-Worker in Mission serving at Pringle Home for Children, a ministry of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. She is currently on home assignment in Toronto from her three-year appointment as Assistant Director at Pringle Home for Children, which has been caring for girls and young women ages 6‒18 years for over 70 years. Hers is a joint appointment between The United Church of Canada and Global Ministries (an initiative of the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ). Rachel grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, and has undergraduate degrees in psychology and social work from York University, post-graduate degrees in sociology and international development studies from the University of Guelph, and nearly two decades of experience in the non-profit, social services, and human development fields. She is passionate about issues of justice and grassroots efforts toward a more just world for all.

Cindy Bourgeois, Hyerim Park, and Ha Na Park, Jakarta Theological Seminary's 7th International Conference on Gender, Sexuality and Queer Theology, Indonesia

A cross made of bamboo branches hangs on a chapel wall draped in rainbow-coloured cloth.
Credit: Joseph N. Goh. Used with permission. Initially published in the Report from Jakarta: the International Consultation on Church and Homophobia (aacre.org).

Region: Living Skies and Prairie to Pine

The Rev. Cindy Bourgeois is the first trans woman to be ordained to ministry in a mainline denomination in the world. She has served in Toronto, Stratford, and Regina and is Co-Chair of Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble. Cindy is currently living in Toronto and working on a book.

The Rev. Ha Na Park is the minister at Immanuel United Church, Winnipeg, MB. She also serves on the General Council Executive.

Hyerim Park is a student in the Centre for Christian Studies (CCS) diaconal program and is part of Korean United Church of Winnipeg in Prairie to Pine Regional Council. 

In November 2020, this trio participated in the “Liberating Our Bodies: Sexual politics, queer resistance and religious alliance today” Conference hosted virtually by the Jakarta Theological Seminary. You can read more about the conference in the CCS post Queer Resistance and Religious Alliance based on interviews with Ha Na Park and Hyerim Park. All are available and interested in sharing their experience and reflections.

Joseph (Yong Wook) Kim and Peter Fergus-Moore, Pilgrim in Mission, Japan

Joseph (Yong Wook) Kim and Peter Fergus-Moore
Credit: Peter Fergus-Moore

Region: Shining Waters and Canadian Shield

Joseph (Yong Wook) Kim attended the Master of Divinity program at Emmanuel College and is part of the Malvern Emmanuel United Church in Scarborough, ON. Joseph is fluent in Korean and English. He participated in the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in Korea in 2019.

Peter Fergus-Moore is an active member of Harmony United Church in Thunder Bay, ON. He is a freelance writer and long-time adult educator. He served as an Ecumenical Accompanier in Palestine‒Israel in 2013‒2014 and has been particularly active in Middle East advocacy.

In March 2021 Joseph and Peter participated in the Seventh Global Inter-Religious Conference on Article 9, held virtually, an initiative of the National Christian Council in Japan, a Mission & Service partner. Watch for Peter's Round the Table blog in the near future.

Lenora Yarkey, Companion in Mission, El Salvador

Lenora Yarkey
Credit: Lenora Yarkey

Region: Northern Spirit

Lenora Yarkey lives in Edmonton, AB. She served as Overseas Personnel with ADES and has significant experience monitoring elections with Centro de Intercambio y Solodaridad in San Salvador.

In March 2021, Lenora participated in a Virtual Pilgrimage for Observation of Elections in El Salvador hosted by FECLAI and Global Ministries. Mission and & Partner Emmanuel Baptist Church participated as well.

Youth for Peace Pilgrimage, Pilgrim in Mission, Palestine and Israel

Region: Various

Eleven United Church of Canada young adults visited Palestine and Israel in August 2019. This national Youth for Peace program marked the 10-year anniversary of both the inaugural Youth for Peace Pilgrimage and of the release of Kairos Palestine’s A Moment of Truth document. You can read an interview with two of the young adults in their blog post Journey to the Heart of the Holy Land. You may also wish to read A trip to the holy land taught us to bear witness to injustice, an article from pilgrimage leader the Very Rev. David Giuliano published in Broadview (formerly the United Church Observer).

Participants came from the following regions: Prince Edward Island; Sherbrooke and Montreal, Quebec; Ottawa and Sudbury, Ontario; Winnipeg; Yorkton, Saskatchewan; Calgary; Kelowna and Kamloops, British Columbia. They are eager to share about their experiences.

Kelsi James, Co-worker in Mission, China

A photograph of Kelsi James

Kelsi is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Performance program. She recently served as the Music & Worship Coordinator at Camp Spirit, a summer daycamp program that is a collaboration among 14 United Churches in British Columbia. She is a multidisciplinary performance artist and creator, and is a strong believer in the power of community and collaboration to create positive social change.  

Kelsi has returned from teaching English in Lanzhou, China with Mission & Service partner the Amity Foundation. You can read about her experiences in her blog posts.

Keith Simmonds, Companion in Mission, Palestine and Israel

A photograph of Keith Simmonds in his Ecumenical Accompanier vest.
Credit: Courtesy of Keith Simmonds

Region: Vancouver Island

Keith Simmonds is the minister at Duncan United Church in Duncan, BC. Part of his ministry includes engagement in justice and reconciliation work. Keith used three months of his recent sabbatical level to participate in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, an initiative of the World Council of Churches (a Mission & Service partner). Participants of the programme monitor and report violations of human rights and international law, offer protection through non-violent presence, engage in public policy advocacy, and stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.

Paul Walfall, All Africa Conference of Churches, Kenya

Paul Douglas Walfall, a Black man with glasses and a graying beard, in a blue shirt, is shown from the shoulders up, speaking to General Council.
Credit: The United Church of Canada

Region: Edmonton area

The Rev. Dr. Paul Douglas Walfall is the minister of the Fort Saskatchewan Community of Faith in the Northern Spirit Regional Council; he is also a member of the 43rd General Council Executive.

In October 2019, he travelled to Kenya to attend the All Africa Conference of Churches symposium on “Misleading Theologies” and  visit United Church partners in the region. You can read about his symposium experience in his blog post Confronting Misleading Theologies.

Didn’t find a good match? There are more speakers available; please contact us at pip@united-church.ca  for more information. Don't let distance be an issue. Invite speakers to share via Zoom.

Do these profiles pique your interest in people-to-people opportunities with global partners? Visit our list of Current Opportunities to learn more about how to participate.