A Faith Representative is a religious leader that is recognized as such by a broad religious community and has been trained to work with specific populations, such as university students. Faith Representatives are here to provide spiritual/religious support and guidance and crisis support to students, staff and faculty regardless of their beliefs or outlook. Many also engage in building communal opportunities for gathering, worship, growth and reflection. We have more than 20 Faith Representatives at UCalgary!
Most of our Faith Representatives can be contacted by email for one-on-one conversations, though you can also find them hosting events on campus, supporting student clubs, or hanging out at the Faith & Spirituality Centre. Read on to discover their biographies and contact information!
Interested in meeting with a Faith Representative but have some questions? You can email email@example.com to talk with the Pluralistic Engagement Coordinator about what might be a good fit.
I was a student at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in 1968 when I heard about, and became attracted to, the Baha’i Faith. I had been raised as a Christian but found myself curious about other religions.
The Baha’i Faith appealed to me because it recognizes all the Great Religions as coming from one and the same Source. So as I deepened in my study of the Baha’i teachings my interest in, and respect for, other faiths grew.
The Baha’i Faith is “young” as far as religions go. It was founded in 1863. But it quickly spread world-wide and is recognized by the United Nations as an independent world religion.
I committed myself to being a Baha’i, translated to mean “Follower of the Light”, back in 1968. It has been a humbling journey but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. It sustains the very core of my being.
I recently retired as a Real Estate Agent. I am now teaching spirituality classes to young children. We call our classes “Camp Unity”. We teach the fundamentals of prayer, the Human Spirit, and the importance of living by the Virtues that are common to all sacred traditions. Unity in diversity is also celebrated.
My new role as Representative for the Baha’i Faith on campus is an honour for me and an opportunity to serve in a new way.
I look forward to this exciting adventure!
Learn more about Sandra here.
Office Number: 403-220-4165
Bhante Chanda is a Buddhist monk who completed monastic training in his very young age and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sri Lanka. He has spiritual experience with extensive knowledge in Buddhism, Meditation, Buddhist source languages of Pali, Sanskrit, Sinhalese and
Chinese, and Buddhist Education. He was also a full-time student of Devry University College in Calgary where he obtained additional knowledge of English and computer science.
Bhante will be visiting campus at least once a week, every Monday to meet with and support students. He would like to share his spiritual and moral experience with young friends which promotes mental health and spiritual well-being.(Overcoming negative feelings by developing Mindfulness and Loving kindness). He desires to share his practical knowledge in Buddhist meditation, Chanting and Pali doctrine.
He always appreciates cultural differences and the dynamic lifestyle of everyone. Bhante is also interested in the spiritual and mental benefits of martial arts and loves to enjoy nature and fresh air, hiking, and biking.
Phone Number or WhatsApp: (403) 401-4454
Rev. Dr. Carmen Maier
Study is an opportunity; it is also a challenge; it shapes how we view ourselves and our world. Sometimes companions on the way can help. I’m here to listen, to share the journey, to encourage, to be a sounding board. My passion is to see how our lives are intersected by the Divine Presence, sometimes mysteriously, sometimes more obviously.
My studies have covered the breadth of Christian traditions and history. My PhD is in Church History and my Masters studies are in Theology and Early Christian Studies. I have done some teaching in practical theology and spirituality. I am most interested in early Christian practices like meditation, hospitality, community life, silence… as many of these are so relevant for life today.
When I’m not at the University I am at St. James Anglican church, enjoying the life of the local congregation. When I’m not there, I’m usually outside, ideally mountain biking or hiking!
Learn more about Carmen here.
Jef Tsui is a graduate of the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane and has been involved in student ministry since 1995. His desire is to help young people become passionate followers of Jesus Christ and to know God experientially and holistically. He is also a jeweller, a photographer, and an artist.
Fr. Cristino Bouvette
I am a Roman Catholic Priest ordained in 2012 and working in the Diocese of Calgary in a newly created position. I am known as the "Vicar for Vocations and Young Adults." Fancy, right? I'm still figuring out what it means!
We have created a new platform of outreach for university students and young adults called the St. Francis Xavier Chaplaincy at our off-campus centre in St. Bernard's Church. I will be visiting campus at least once a week every Tuesday as I split my time between MRU and SAIT as well.
I enjoy just hanging out with students near the Jugo Juice in Mac Hall or at TFDL when I'm not in the Faith and Spirituality Centre. We chat about life, celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation and share my love of food. I hope to meet you soon!
Learn more about Fr. Cristino here.
Rev. Jacqui Mignault
I am an ordained pastor, trained spiritual Director and am lucky enough to spend time on Campus as a chaplain too.
I love to ask questions about the Christian faith and justice, faith and art, faith and embodiment, faith and politics, faith and creation care, faith and culture, faith and spiritual transformation… I just ask a lot of questions.
I have a particular interest in connecting the dots between an embodied Jesus and our faith now, having experienced some of the damage that comes from an abstracted faith. Some of this work can be seen where I write and where a friend and I experiment with podcasting!
In my other roles, I co-Pastor The Road Church which is a small community close to campus as well as I am involved with The Centre for Public Dialogue, an office that advocates for refugee, climate and Indigenous justice in the churches and at the policy making levels of government.
The thing I love to do the most is wander and wonder outside with my family and dogs in the forests near my home. The second thing I love is treasure hunting at thrift stores. And the third I love to do is talk about both those things incessantly.
I'm available for coffee anytime - just reach out!
Office Number: 403-220-4339
Rev. Layne Kilbreath
I am very excited to be at UCalgary one day per week. My primary focus here is helping the Faith and Spirituality Centre stay connected to the University's Indigenous Strategy in a good way. Another thing that I have been asked to do and am super-excited about, is to meet with and support students.
What might you want to know about me? I am a husband, father to three students - one who is attending another University. I love watching sports and participating in good community. My friends describe me as a good listener who loves Jesus and his ways, and a fiery red-headed-Irish person. I have a story of walking away from the faith and coming back to it and would love to listen to your story too! Please email me if you would like to meet!
Office Number: 403-220-2596
Pearl Nieuwenhuis (Spiritual Direction)
Our spiritual lives are too hard to do alone! We need companions who will walk with us, listen carefully to us, care for us with compassion and tenderness, companions who tenaciously encourage us to bring our whole self to our relationships. Those who call us to honesty about our lives – the good and the bad – those who help us live out of our deepest truth. Those who help us wake up and become aware of a divine loving presence in our lives. This deeply personal and compassionate care for another is the heart of spiritual friendship, the heart of Spiritual Direction. If this is something that sounds good to you, let’s meet together one on one at the UofC’s Faith and Spirituality Centre. We have a private space where a gentle conversation can be had over a cup of tea!
A little bit about me? Well, I am married, a mother of 3 adult children, and a sister to 8 siblings. I love reading, ‘Calgary-style’ gardening, riding my motorcycle and offering spiritual direction. I am so drawn and grateful to be on a path of opening to Love’s invitations in my life.
Please feel free to contact me for some time to spaciously sit and listen to your precious life together!
Learn more about Pearl here.
Office Number: 403-220-4339 or Text: 403-467-1270
Rev. Paul Verhoef
What to tell people about me? I'm a husband, father, son, friend, pastor in the way of Jesus, and ultimate frisbee player. I love people, books, my work, fresh air, and yes, even the University of Calgary. My life at the University seems to be filled with listening to people's lives, laughing and crying alongside of friends (new and old), creating space for people of varied spiritual paths to share a life of meaningfulness together, fostering thoughtful Christian academic community, and nurturing others as they shape beautiful dreams. I like living through the messy-loveliness of my heart out into the messy-loveliness of the world - and see the Spirit's vitality through it all. And there's a bunch more, but no space for it here; feel free to ask.
Rev. Margaret Propp
Margaret has a B.A. in Studio Arts and Chemistry before going to the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon to get her M.Div. Ordained into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in 2005, Rev. Margaret Propp served as a parish pastor in Davidson, SK before moving to Edmonton - where she was a Chaplain of St. Thomas Health Centre. Recently she moved back to her hometown of Calgary, and is serving as the Lutheran Chaplain. Margaret has two active boys and a husband who cheers for the Roughriders.
Learn more about Rev. Margaret here.
Office Number: 403-220-2716
Rev. Peter Chau
I came from Hong Kong and received my high school, university and Seminary education in Saskatchewan. Later, I also completed my graduate studies at the University of Alberta. I was ordained by the Rhenish Church (Lutheran Denomination), Hong Kong Synod and served as a parish pastor and school principal in Hong Kong. In 1990, I was accepted into the Clergy Roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and served as parish pastor with the New Life Lutheran Church in Edmonton. In 2007, I was appointed by the Bishop of the Alberta Synod, ELCIC as the Mission Developer in Northwest Calgary and later served as parish pastor of the Mission Church - Abundant Life Lutheran Church in Calgary.
In August 2022, the Lutheran Care ministry was set up under the auspices of the Alberta Synod to assist international students and their families from Hong Kong, which is now my main focus at the University of Calgary. My wife, Amy, is a school teacher and my daughter, Debbie, is working with an accounting firm.
Office Number: 403-220-2716
Rev. Kelly Johnson
Kelly loves the energy and diversity of campus life. He is passionate about helping people encounter God in the everyday world of studies and research and through service learning locally and globally. Kelly met Barb during their first degrees at the University of Calgary, have four adult kids, a canary and a dog.
Kelly spends most of his time at UCalgary but also oversees University Campus Ministries at Mount Royal University and SAIT(Art Kung). https://www.ucmcalgary.org/
Bob Osborne also works with UCM providing spiritual direction for students, staff, faculty and alumni. https://www.robertosborne.info/
Friendship Program Invitation: Over 600 international students are developing friendships in Calgary through our Friendship Program. Sign up to experience or offer hospitality – maybe a games night, tea time or a holiday meal together – we’ll do the initial introductions and would like you to try to meet up 2-4 times as you get familiarized with Canadian culture. https://www.thefriendshipprogram.com/
Learn more about Kelly here.
Daniel Mok - Intern
Daniel is excited about encountering God and students on campus. Equipped with a degree and a half, he taught English abroad in Asia for 3 years before coming back to the University of Calgary as an intern with UCM where he now gets to serve and care for this beautiful campus. In addition to campus life, Daniel is currently enrolled as a student in a Master of Theological Studies at Tyndale Seminary. Drop by and say hi to him some time, he doesn't bite.
Stephanie Alexandre - Intern
Stephanie is a recent UCalgary graduate from the English and Drama program, and a hockey goalie-turned-theatre-nerd. She is passionate about getting to know people and their stories, and sharing God's love through hospitality and the Arts— whether through music, on the page, stage, or over a cup of tea and some good conversation. Steph is ecstatic to be interning with UCM and have the opportunity to be back on campus and connect with the UofC's wonderful student body.
Office Number: 403-220-3900 or or 403-703-3125(cell)
Rev. Tim Nethercott
Tim was ordained in the United Church of Canada following careers in book publishing, teaching English and working for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. He has worked and studied in Europe and Asia and has been very involved in Environmental and Social Justice issues. His interests include Contemplative Christian Spirituality, Multi-Faith conversation, drumming and cycling. Tim has a child named Esmé and loves his work with the campus ministry.
Learn more about Tim here.
Office Number: 403-220-3896
I have enjoyed working closely with youth and young adults on faith and spirituality for the last 20 years, including serving as a Bishop for young adults. Born and raised in Alberta, faith has been a major part of my and my family's life. I served as a missionary in France for 2 years as a young adult and my career took me to many parts of the world that helped in nurturing an attitude of diversity and inclusion.
University/College life is stressful and rewarding. I earned a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA that opened the doors for many great life experiences. My faith is integrated into my life and I love to learn from interaction with others.
My role as Education Chaplain for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to:
- help students integrate their faith and spirituality into their lives and future careers
- look for and find joy in serving others, and
- encourage more Tolerance, Understanding, Respect and Service.
I have a wonderful wife, Evelyn (we were married while at University). We have five children (all married) and 18 fabulous grandchildren that bring us great joy.
I have lived in Calgary since 2005 and have been a life member of the Hindu society of Calgary. I am involved in various charities in Calgary and helping with various fundraising initiatives for Calgarians in need. I am a researcher by training and have worked my whole life finding the truth about diseases. But twist and turns of life beyond my control started my journey of faith and spirituality. I love to talk to people on the same journey and would like to explore the place and power of religion in modern society.
Learn more about Nidhi and the Hindu Chaplaincy here.
Office Number: 403-220-2991
I am a retired kindergarten teacher and have also instructed adults in an Early Childhood Program. I have lived in Calgary since 1994 and have been a life member of the Hindu society of Calgary. I have worked and volunteered at the Hindu temple in various capacities. One of these responsibilities has been to speak with and conduct tours of our temple for individuals and interfaith groups, students from schools or universities seeking to learn about the Hindu faith.
My interest and knowledge of personal faith and spirituality comes from a life-long pursuit of my faith. I seek out individuals who are interested in the same pursuit, read books, attend lectures and seminars by scholars and learned people. I have been fortunate to meet and join a study group under the affiliation of the world-wide Chinmaya Mission Group. This group meets regularly to read, meditate and discuss our scriptures to gain knowledge of our scriptures but also how to apply this understanding to daily encounters. This has been of tremendous benefit and advantage to my personal and spiritual growth. This also makes me very suited to inform and guide others who seek to know my faith, its traditions, festivals and practices.
Chinmaya International Mission is a world-wide organization that facilitates knowledge and understanding of individuals' spiritual connection with the Supreme Being. It exists to advance a cross cultural forum to for the exchange of knowledge as a bridge between East and West, between science and Spirituality. It also carries out many humanitarian projects to help people become self reliant in work and education.
Learn more about Usha here.
Office Number: 403-220-2991
Rabbi Mordechai Groner
Born and raised in Israel, Mordechai Groner studied in various ‘Yeshivos’, beginning in Israel than continuing his learning at the Central Chabad Lubavitch Rabbinical College in Brooklyn, New York.
At the age of twenty, he was sent on an outreach mission to Rostov, Russia and the surrounding communities in order to revive Jewish life in that part of the world.
After returning to Brooklyn, Mordechai was ordained as a rabbi at the age of twenty-three.
He later spent a year in Worchester, Massachusetts teaching in the local Jewish high school and after getting married to his wife Esther, the young couple moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where Rabbi Groner served as a Rabbi in the local Chabad Educational Centre.
For the last 13 years, Rabbi Groner has been the Director and main teacher of the Calgary JLI (Jewish Learning Institute) under Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta.
Learn more about Rabbi Groner here.
Office Number: 403-220-8379
My name is Hannah Giesinger and I'm delighted to be the new Emerging Gen Coordinator for the Calgary Jewish Federation! I'll be working predominantly on campus with Hillel Calgary, the Jewish Students Association on campus. My work in the community also extends to Jewish Adult Calgary (JAC).
I am a born and raised Calgarian and have been active in the Jewish community from a young age. From teaching religious school at Temple B'nai Tikvah, to participating in multiple Jewish youth movements (including United Synagogue Youth (USY) and Hillel Calgary), my love for our community has been constant and deep. I am a current student at the University of Calgary in open studies with hopes of completing my degree in social work.
Some fun facts about me: I worked as a unit clerk for Alberta Health Services for 6 years before making the decision to return to school. The bookstore is my happy place, and I am an avid bibliophile. I love to bake, and crochet - which is a skill I taught myself during the pandemic!
Imam Atta-ul Wahab
Atta-ul Wahab is serving as Imam at Baitun-Nur Mosque Calgary belonging to Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. He was born and raised in Pakistan. He graduated from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Islamic studies in 2005 in Pakistan and had the opportunity to serve in Sierra Leone and Ghana for two years. He moved to Canada in 2010 and first served as a teacher at Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada (Missionary Training College) for 8 years and then as an Imam at Mubarak Mosque Brampton for 3 years. He is a Hafiz (one who has committed the whole Qur’an to memory) and also recently graduated from York University majoring in Humanities. He loves hiking and biking.
Office number: TBA
Hafidh Amanallah Abbas
Amanallah Abbas is the Sunni Muslim Chaplain from the Academy of Arabic and Islamic Science for UCalgary. He has served the City of Calgary for more than a decade throughout different Muslim facilities and capacities, such as delivering Friday sermons, youth sessions and mentoring. Founder of the Ahmed Abbas Foundation, his current focus has been on mentoring youth and young adults through faith navigation. His services on campus will be to tend to students and staff who have questions regarding faith and being involved with curriculum review with various faculties. Of his accomplishments, he is most proud of the memorization of the Holy Quran, in his hometown - Calgary (Go Flames Go)!
Shaykh Iqbal Gora
Shaykh Iqbal Gora is a Canadian Muslim serving as the representative for the Muslim Council of Calgary. A proud born-and-raised Calgarian, he grew up in the NW quadrant of the city and upon completion of high school, attended the University of Calgary briefly before deciding to pursue Islam and Islamic sciences full-time after developing a deep love and appreciation of his faith. His journey began locally with the memorization of the Qur'an. He thereafter traveled to Cape Town, South Africa where he completed a six-year intensive, graduating with 'Alimiyyah in Islamic Studies from Dār al-Ulūm al-‘Arabiyyah al-Islāmiyyah.
Upon return to Calgary, Iqbal has since engaged, taught, and provided spiritual counseling to both Muslims and the broader community on the topic of Islam in all quadrants of the city. Iqbal served as Imam of Calgary's oldest masjid - Calgary Islamic Centre - SW Masjid for two years. Additionally, he taught advanced Islamic sciences with Al-Ansaar Foundation, led tour groups to the Islamic sacred sites of Makkah and Madinah, and served as principal of the Islamic Centre of South Calgary's Weekend Qur'ān School.
Presently, Iqbal is serving as the resident Imam of NW Islamic Centre/Ranchlands Musallah with the Islamic Association of Northwest Calgary - the very same masjid he grew up frequenting! He has been active in delivering Friday (Jumu’ah) sermons in the city for six years, and currently alternates between the NW Islamic Centre (Ranchlands) and Maryam Masjid (Beddington). Shaykh Iqbal also holds a diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology from SAIT.
His other interests include Computer-Aided Design (CAD), aviation, archery, playing/watching ice hockey, spending time with his wife and 4-year old son, and public speaking.
Shaykh Iqbal is keenly interested to open any dialogue or discussion about what it means to be Muslim to everyone and anyone. Feel free to reach out!
Office Number: 403-437-2325
Dr. Vishavdeep Warring
Dr. Vishavdeep Singh Warring is a practicing Sikh born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. His love for Sikhi, widely known as Sikhism, grew from his trips to Punjab, India and being uplifted by spiritually focused individuals and communities.
Dr. Warring developed an early interest in the concept of Naam, which focuses on going within, meditating, and empowering your mind. He started learning music from a young age which is an important component in the Sikh tradition and eventually became a part-time music teacher at Khalsa School Calgary. Additionally, he trained and taught Gatka, the Sikh martial arts, and performed for over a decade at the University of Calgary’s Sikh Awareness Weeks, and at many events in Western Canada.
Dr. Warring is a University of Calgary alumni with a Bachelor of Kinesiology with distinction and served as the first Sikh Student Representative at the Faith and Spirituality Centre. His interests in health and helping others led him to complete his Doctoral in Chiropractic at the Palmer College of Chiropractic in San Jose, California. Dr. Warring is currently living with his family and practicing in Calgary. In his free time, you can find Dr. Warring playing basketball, training in MMA, and travelling.
Office Number: 403-220-4172