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

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.

Tony Snow, Conference of Parties 25 (COP25), Madrid, Spain

Photo of Tony Snow speaking at microphone
Credit: Sara Stratton/The United Church of Canada

Region: Alberta

Tony Snow is from Stoney Nakoda First Nation and is currently a student at Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre (he plans to be ordained in 2020). He currently works in Indigenous ministry at Hillhurst United Church in Calgary and spiritual development at McDougall United Church in Edmonton.  

Tony Snow and Wendy Evans represented the United Church at the United Nations' 25th climate negotiations conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain in December 2019. More about their experiences is available online: COP25 Delegation Announcement2019 UN Climate Negotiations Fall Short, and their videos from COP25 (United Action for Justice's Facebook page)

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.

Wendy Evans, Conference of Parties 25 (COP25), Madrid, Spain

Portrait of the Rev. Wendy Evans
Credit: Wendy Evans

Region: Montreal, Quebec

The Rev. Wendy Evans is an ordained minister currently living and working in Montreal. She teaches liturgy at United Theological College and serves as board chair for Montreal City Mission, a United Church community ministry. Tony Snow and Wendy Evans represented the United Church at the United Nations' 25th climate negotiations conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain in December 2019. More about their experiences is available online: COP25 Delegation Announcement2019 UN Climate Negotiations Fall Short, and their videos from COP25 (United Action for Justice's Facebook page).

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.