KEYNOTE SPEAKER: SHANE CLAIBORNE
Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author. Shane worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, and founded The Simple Way in Philadelphia. He heads up Red Letter Christians, a movement of folks who are committed to living “as if Jesus meant the things he said.” Shane is a champion for grace which has led him to jail advocating for the homeless, and to places like Iraq and Afghanistan to stand against war. And now grace fuels his passion to end the death penalty.
Shane’s books include Jesus for President, Red Letter Revolution, Common Prayer, Follow Me to Freedom, Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers, Executing Grace, his classic The Irresistible Revolution, and his newest book, Beating Guns (2018, forthcoming). He has been featured in a number of films including “Another World Is Possible” and “Ordinary Radicals.” His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Shane speaks over one hundred times a year, nationally and internationally. His work has appeared in Esquire, SPIN, Christianity Today, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has been on everything from Fox News and Al Jazeera to CNN and NPR. He’s given academic lectures at Harvard, Princeton, Liberty, Duke, and Notre Dame.
Shane speaks regularly at denominational gatherings, festivals, and conferences around the globe.
WORKSHOP PRESENTERS AND PANELISTS
Frances Litman is a lifelong Vancouver Island resident who is passionate about creative and collaborative empowerment. Prior to creating her own thriving photography and communications business, Frances worked with the Times-Colonist for more than 16 years writing, editing and coordinating community news and content. She is an accredited Master of Photographic Arts and shares her knowledge of media, photography, public engagement and the arts, both privately and publicly, and her art is regularly accepted into adjudicated art shows. She also hosts international tours with Departures Travel.
In 2012, Frances launched the Creatively United for the Planet Earth Day Festival in recognition of the many unsung “heroworkers” in our community who protect and preserve our shorelines, salmon, whales, old growth forests, sensitive ecosystems, species at risk, watersheds, democracy and bring attention to the connection between social justice and environmental issues using creativity.
For six years, thousand of people have attended this free, volunteer-run event. Among her supporters has been Ann Mortifee and Paul Horn, Robert Bateman, Charlie Russell, Daniel Lapp, Guy Dauncey, Nik Bantok, Pauline Le Bel, The Right Honourable Judith Guichon, Franke James and many others.
For her efforts with creativelyunited.org, Frances has been the recipient of a CRD EcoStar Community Leadership Award and recently received a Community Leadership Award from Leadership Victoria.
Frances recently completed writing, hosting and producing, Solutions, a series of television programs showcasing local community members making a difference. It has aired on Channel 4 and can be seen at www.creativelyunited.org, where the public is invited to post their events, stories, solutions, book reviews, creative offerings and more
An interactive exercise to learn about the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. This exercise is being experienced by thousands of Canadians these days, from young people aged 10 and up,in classrooms, in work settings, in government agencies and community centres. This exercises ‘shifts’ our knowledge from head to heart and opens doors to better understanding of how we got to where we are today. How then shall we live? 1 hour for exercise,1 hour for talking debrief circle
For this event we need pre-registration. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Ian Hinkle is a communications specialist and documentary filmmaker currently based in Victoria, Canada.
From media tactics to traditional & trans-media documentaries, corporate communications to social-media, Ian is driven by the prospect of working with a team on smart campaigns that make a quantifiable difference.
He has been chasing essential stories globally since 1992, with a focus on expanding awareness about socially and politically important issues. From his directorial debut ‘The Living Coast’ (Director/Cinematographer: Discovery Channel) to ‘Born to the Wind’ (Camera: PBS, ESPN2, 1999) and ‘Long Road North’ (Writer/Director/Producer: 2008), he is a veteran of numerous award-winning broadcast and media projects worldwide.
Ian has lugged a camera in over a dozen countries to follow a story, and has worked with everyone from independent producers and interactive media companies to established nonprofits and think-tanks like the Club of Rome.
He brings two decades of experience in media- from interactive producer to cinematographer- and blends this history with a refreshing perspective on managing communications tactics. Ian continues to explore the fields of new media outreach, brand identity, and trans-media communications strategy.
THE REV. EMILIE SMITH
Emilie is the rector of St.Barnabas, New Westminster (Anglican) and has been extensively involved in justice and peace work in Guatemala and throughout South and Central America. She holds the honour of being the Chair of the Oscar Romero international liberation theology network. This is an international body of people working for justice and peace in their own communities in their Christian commitment.
Emilie also has extensive knowledge of the practices of Canadian mining companies throughout South and Central America and indeed throughout the world.
Danny Brock has taught high school religion for more than twenty-five years and has directed countless retreats in Canada and the United States. He has a master’s degree in pastoral ministry and is currently director of religious education at Saint Andrew’s Regional Catholic High School in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He is the author of Teaching Teens Religion: How to Make it a Favourite Class (Novalis)
Gregory Marchand has been a runner and competitive athlete all his life. Since suffering a cardiac arrest and subsequently undergoing open-heart surgery in 1998 at the age of 40, his running has continued to be a major focus in his life but now as a source of wellness and spiritual growth rather than competition. An educator and counselor for over 30 years, Marchand is also a prolific freelance writer, having published over 100 magazine and newspaper articles, and an engaging pubic speaker.
Open Heart Runner: searching for meaning after my heart stopped is his first book. It tells how, in the year following his cardiac arrest and 20 minutes without a pulse, he battled through a coma and debilitating brain injury to search for the meaning behind his survival that doctors called miraculous.
Star Weiss is an author, educator, and journalist/photojournalist whose work has appeared in The Vancouver Sun, British Columbia Magazine, The Georgia Straight, Harrowsmith and numerous other publications.
In 2007, she co-hosted and co-produced the CBC Radio One special Healing the Heart, a two-hour program which focussed on the places we go to and the music we listen to when we need to heal, and which has been nominated for two North American media awards.
Her new book Havens in a Hectic World: Finding Sacred Places is the culmination of her evolving spiritual beliefs and her lifelong interests in the outdoors and multiculturalism.
Star is also an experienced journalism instructor and former program manager of the Written Image journalism/photojournalism program at Western Academy of Photography, Victoria, BC.
A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier’s Business Administration program in Waterloo, Canada, Matt Jackson was lured away from the corporate world by the thrill of adventure journalism while still a university student. He is now an author, editor, photojournalist and professional speaker, and is the president of Summit Studios, a publishing company specializing in books about travel, humor and the great outdoors.
Matt’s first book, “The Canada Chronicles: A Four-year Hitchhiking Odyssey,” is a Canadian bestseller and won the IPPY award for best North American travel memoir in 2004. He has edited eight anthologies of short stories, including bestselling titles “Mugged by a Moose,” “A Beaver is Eating My Canoe,” and “Never Trust a Smiling Bear.” His writing and photographs have also been featured in more than two dozen popular magazines such as Canadian Geographic, Equinox, Backpacker, Explore, Canoe & Kayak, and BBC Wildlife.
He lives with his wife Stacey and daughter Louise in Victoria, BC, where they spend as much time hiking and kayaking as possible.
Yvonne Blomer has published three collections of poetry and co-edited Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press) an anthology out of the Planet Earth Poetry reading series. Her poems have appeared in Forcefield: 77 BC Women Poets (Mother Tongue Press) as well as in The Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope Books) and A Crystal Though Which Love Passes: Glosas for P.K. Page (Buschek Books). In addition, her work has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies in Canada as well as in the UK and Japan. Her first book, a broken mirror, fallen leaf was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. As if a Raven was published in 2014 with Palimpsest Press.
Yvonne lives in Victoria, BC with her husband and young son. In addition to poetry she also writes creative nonfiction and is currently working on a travel memoir titled Sugar Ride as well as new poems. Yvonne teaches poetry and memoir courses through Camosun College and privately. She has appeared on CFUV, The University of Victoria’s radio station, to interview poets and writers about their work.
Yvonne is proud to be serving as Poet Laureate for the City of Victoria from Jan. 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018. For more information about this position, visit the City of Victoria’s website. Yvonne is also the Artistic Director emeritus of Planet Earth Poetry in Victoria, BC.
For many years Barbara Pelman has taught English at high school and college, primarily in B.C. Born in Vancouver, she has degrees from the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto. She has been an active participant in the Victoria writing community: as a member of the Random Acts of Poetry team, a regular reader at Planet Earth Poetry, and the instigator of Victoria’s “Poetry Walls,” created by her students, in the downtown core.
Pelman’s poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Event, Fiddlehead, Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review and CV2. Borrowed Rooms is her second book of poetry, following One Stone published in 2005 by Ekstasis Editions.
Raised on Vancouver Island, Dan MacIsaac is a trial lawyer and served for ten years as a director on the board of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria. His poetry, verse translations, and fiction have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals and magazines. One of his stories was short-listed for the 2009 CBC Literary Awards, one of his poems received the 2014 Foley Prize from America Magazine, and another poem was short-listed for the 2015 Walrus Poetry Prize. He lives in Victoria. Cries from the Ark is his first poetry collection.
PHILIP KEVIN PAUL
Philip Kevin Paul is a member of the WSÁ,NEC Nation from the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island. His work has been published in BC Studies, Literary Review of Canada, Breathing Fire: Canada’s New Poets and An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English. Paul has worked with the University of Victoria’s linguistics department to ensure the preservation of the SENCOTEN language.
Philip Kevin Paul’s second book of poetry, Little Hunger, was shortlisted for a 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award. His first book of poetry, Taking the Names Down from the Hill, won the 2004 Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry.
Ms. Taft moved to Victoria with her family when she was 14. She loves living in this beautiful city. After teaching elementary school for four years, Ms. Taft returned to the University of Victoria and studied Physics and Astronomy. Ms. Taft’s love of teaching and Physics led to her return to the classroom at St. Andrew’s teaching both mathematics and Physics. It gives her great joy to share the amazing world of Physics with her students.
Henri Lock is the United Church of Canada chaplain at the University of Victoria. Henri’s role on campus is to support students to integrate spirituality into their student experience. He teaches meditation and facilitates spirituality discussion groups. He has a particular passion for contemplative practice, ecological sustainability, spiritual diversity, nature mysticism, and social activism.
Shoshana Litman tells lively stories filled with wisdom expressed in dramatic and engaging ways. Her stories and songs, drawn from Jewish and world sources as well as her vivid imagination, have inspired diverse audiences since 1997. Shoshana completed a two year study program with Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum of Brooklyn, which lead to her ordination as a Maggidah, a Jewish storyteller, speaker and teacher, in May 2008. She was also an administrator for the Mussar Institute of Vancouver for several years.
Shoshana began learning about storytelling from First Nations elders in 1977. Later she realized with delight that her own tribe had significant contributions to offer. Three years of study with an Orthodox tutor and more than a decade practicing Mussar (Jewish ethics), deepened Shoshana’s access to Jewish wisdom. She continues to share stories, songs and Torah commentary whenever the opportunity arises.
Shoshana (aka Suzanne Kort Litman) worked for 9 years as the South Vancouver Island Regional Coordinator for the Way to Go! School Program, an active school transportation program for B.C. elementary and middle schools. She has a degree in environmental science from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She has worked as a newspaper columnist, technical writer, research assistant, field biologist, registered massage therapist and travel author. Shoshana lives in a heritage house in Victoria, B.C. with her husband, Todd. Together they have raised
FR. KARAM ALRABAN
Fr. Karam Alraban was born in Baghdad, Iraq on Dec 14, 1987. In 2000, he began his religious studies there at the minor seminary of St. Peter for Chaldean Patriarchate. He later joined the major seminary of St. Peter for Chaldean Patriarchate in 2005 in both Baghdad and Erbil. He graduated from the Pontifical Babel College in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Theology.
In 2011, Father Karam was ordained a priest in the Syriac Catholic Rite and served in Our Lady of Salvation, Syriac Catholic Church until 2012. He then moved to St. Behnam, Syriac Catholic Church where he served until 2013. In 2014, Father Karam fled Iraq as a refugee to seek safety in Canada. After receiving refugee status, he was welcomed into the diocese of Victoria, B.C.
In Baghdad, Fr. Karam worked with poor, persecuted Christian families whom he visited in remote, unsecured districts of Baghdad. He coordinated with humanitarian organizations to provide them with food, bedding, and personal hygiene supplies. He also coordinated with the minister of human rights in Iraq to offer financial assistance to some of the victims of the October 31, 2010 attack on the parish of Our Lady of Salvation.
Father Karam’s ministry included the spiritual care of families through pastoral meetings in St. Behnam Church in Bagdad. These meetings provided the families with education on necessary social, psychological and spiritual issues as well as presenting them with the Church’s view of these issues. By coming together in this format, the families were given the opportunity to connect and support each other.
Father Karam also worked with youth. He led groups of young people to share the joy of the Lord by visiting the homes and care homes for seniors with special needs. He taught classes for the preparation of the sacraments in both Erbil and Baghdad. In 2011, he led a camp in Lebanon for 50 children from various religions to learn how to live in peace and to bring peace to others. In 2013, he acted as chaperone for a group of families, 48 people in total, from the parish of St. Behnam, to visit Turkey for social activities. In 2013, he went to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to replace one of the priests. There he celebrated Mass and provided activities for the Arabic speaking community in the Roman Catholic Church.
In Canada, Fr. Karam has volunteered in Catholic organizations to help refugees and make them feel welcome.
He received his Management Skills for Supervisors Certificate from Vancouver Island University on December 3, 2016. He began his ministry as the administrator of the Church of the Ascension, in Parksville, B.C., on July 13th, 2015 until April 23, 2017. He was assigned to the Church of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Victoria on May 15, 2017.