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RENEW 2015

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Knox College is delighted to announce the return of RENEW, a continuing education event for those on the frontlines of theology and practice. Come and be renewed, strengthened and encouraged.


This event is FREE, but we kindly ask you to REGISTER HERE>> so we can plan for the event.

Unable to make it to Toronto for the event? Watch RENEW 2015 on your computer in real time thanks to Knox’s video conferencing technology. For more information about how to participate remotely, contact John Henderson by clicking here>>.

To access Knox’s YouTube channel click on the YouTube icon at the bottom of the screen.


Tuesday, November 10 Wednesday, November 11 Thursday, November 12
9:30 AM
12:30 PM
1001 New Worshiping Communities
with Vera White
Singing the Story of Advent and Christmas
with Hilary Seraph Donaldson
M.A., M.S.M.
1:30 PM
4:30 PM
1001 New Worshiping Communities
with Vera White
Doctor Assisted Suicide
a panel discussion



1001 NEW WORSHIPING COMMUNITIES – an exciting new movement in the Presbyterian Church (USA)

In 2012 the PCUSA initiated a movement to develop 1001 new worshiping communities, using new and varied forms of church for a diverse and changing culture intended to form new disciples of Jesus who will change and transform the world. To date hundreds of new communities have been established focusing on a more outward, creative and disciple-making (as opposed to maintenance) model of church.

Learn from places where God is breathing life into the church and the world beyond. Be inspired by the visionaries, the risk takers and their compelling stories.

  • Learn about the pastor who moved into a trailer park to start a new worshiping community;
  • Learn about the new church that started in the basement of a tattoo parlor;
  • Hear the story of the new worshiping community that by its 5th anniversary had already given birth to 7 other new churches.

DOCTOR ASSISTED SUICIDE – a panel discussion

On Feb 6th 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that people with grievous and irremediable medical conditions should have the right to ask a doctor to help them die. The ruling only applies to competent adults with enduring, intolerable suffering who clearly consent to ending their lives. The Court has given federal and provincial governments 12 months to craft legislation to respond to the ruling; the ban on doctor-assisted suicide stands until them. If the government doesn’t write a new law, the court’s exemption for physicians will stand.

There’s an emotional range of perspectives on assisted suicide. Clergy, as well as family members, will face challenging real life circumstances as they deal with parishioners and loved ones who wish to exercise this right. What are the questions? What principles can guide us?

The panelists are:  

  • Dr. Anne Woods
    Director of Palliative Care, St Joseph’s Health Sciences, McMaster University Hamilton ON
  • Peter Allatt
    Clinical Ethicist, Bridgepoint Hospital Toronto
  • Dr. Tom O’Connor
    Lecturer, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Therapist in private practice, Supervisor in Pastoral Counselling Education and Institutional Ministry with the Canadian Association of Spiritual Care

The panel will be moderated by the Rev. Dr. Pam McCarroll, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Director of Field Education Knox College, University of Toronto.

Singing the Story of Advent and Christmas

The journey toward Bethlehem has many songs along the way, from Mary’s prophetic canticle of justice and promise, to the joyful song of the angels pointing the way to the stable, to the lullabies we now sing to the infant Christ. To sing the story of Advent is to breathe it in and send it out, to mutually incarnate the Word in a season which remembers the Word Incarnate. In this participatory session, we will explore how congregational song can be used to sing the mystery and theology of Advent. Drawing on selections new and old from hymnody, the Taizé and Iona Communities, and songs of the global church, we will explore the unique perspective that congregational song can lend to embodying a festive season with a prophetic edge.


Vera White - 1001 Worshipping Communities
Vera White – National Associate, 1001 Worshiping Communities
After helping to start several new churches in the Pittsburgh area, Vera made her way to Louisville, KY, to provide leadership for the 1001 New Worshiping Communities Initiative of the PC(USA). Vera believes that the best way to make new disciples, expecially among young adults and new immigrants, is through the starting of new worshiping communities. Vera is a Ruling Elder and the author of numerous educational and devotional resources. When not working, Vera loves travel, gardening, cooking and theater. She is married to Tom and is mom to Alex and Adam.
Hilary Seraph Donaldsona
Hilary Seraph Donaldson, M.A., M.S.M.
Hilary plays with the pulse of worship and the talents of the assembly to help congregations find their voice. She is a graduate of the Master of Sacred Music programme at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX, and a PhD student in Musicology at the University of Toronto. Hilary is in demand as an enlivener and presenter and will chair the programme committee of the 2017 conference of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in Waterloo, ON. She currently serves as Pastoral Musician at Eastminster United Church, Toronto. Her original web series, Break into Song, is a how-to for exploring and teaching new songs www.breakintosong.ca. For more information about Hilary, visit her website www.transformingeveryguest.com.