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Public Events & Important Dates

Public Lectures

Canadian Mennonite University presents a number of annual lecture events, including:

Other past lectures


The J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series

Founded in 1978 by Canadian Mennonite Bible College, the J.J. Thiessen Lectures are named in honour of a founder and long-time chairperson of the CMBC Board. The lectures seek to bring to the Canadian Mennonite University community something of his breadth of vision for the church.

Dr. Willie James Jennings
Dr. Willie James Jennings
(photo: The Presbyterian Outlook)

Gathering the pieces that remain: Weaving life together from the fragments of faith, race, and land

with Dr. Willie James Jennings
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies, Yale Divinity School

October 27, 2023
7:00 PM | in person at Marpeck Commons and via Livestream

news release

About Dr. Willie James Jennings

Dr. Willie James Jennings is an American theologian, known for his contributions on liberation theologies, cultural identities, and theological anthropology. He is currently an Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at ale Divinity School at Yale University.

Jennings’ book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale 2010) won the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in the Study of Religion in the Constructive-Reflective category the year after it appeared and, in 2015, the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the largest prize for a theological work in North America. Englewood Review of Books called the work a “theological masterpiece.” His commentary on the Book of Acts, titled Acts: A Commentary, The Revolution of the Intimate (for the Belief Series, Westminster/John Knox) received the Reference Book of the Year Award from The Academy of Parish Clergy in 2018.

Jennings has also recently published a book that examines the problems of theological education within western education, entitled After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging (Eerdmans, 2020).

Jennings is an ordained Baptist minister and has served as interim pastor for several North Carolina churches. He is in high demand as a speaker and is widely recognized as a major figure in theological education across North America.

A Calvin College graduate, Jennings received his MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary and his PhD in religion and ethics from Duke University.


Previous J.J. Thiessen Lectures

Past annual J.J. Thiessen Lectures published by CMU Press.

2022: Dr. Robin W. Jensen, Patrick O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
Topic: Picturing the Bible: How Artists Tell the Story

2021: Dr. Edith M. Humphrey, William F. Orr Professor Emerita of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA
Topic: Mediation and the Immediate God

2019: Dr. Nancy Elizabeth Bedford, Georgia Harkness Professor of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL
Topic: Christology Revisited: Why Jesus Matters

2018: Dr. John Witvliet, Director & Professor of Worship, Theology, and Congregational and Ministry Studies at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in Grand Rapids, MI
Topic: Violence, Injustice, Trauma, and the Ordinary Practices of Christian Worship in a Social Media Age

2017: Dr. C. Arnold Snyder, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Waterloo
Topic: Faith and Toleration: A Reformation Debate Revisited

2016: Dr. J. Richard Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis, Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY
Topic: The Silence of Abraham, The Passion of Job: Explorations in the Theology of Lament

2015: Dr. Darren Dochuk, Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Notre Dame
Topic: Crude Awakenings: The Faith, Politics, and Crises of Oil in America's Century?

2014: Dr. John Swinton, Professor and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen, Scotland
Topic: Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefulness and Gentle Discipleship

2013: Dr. P. Travis Kroeker, Professor of Religious Studies, McMaster University
Topic: Mennonites and Mammon: Economies of Desire in a Post-Christian World

2012: Dr. Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Helen H. P. Manson Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary
Topic: From Powerlessness to Praise in Paul's Letter to the Romans

2011: Dr. Peter Widdicombe, McMaster University
Topic: Scripture and the Christian Imagination: Text, Doctrine, and Artistic Representation in the Early Church and Beyond

2010: Dr. Belden Lane, Saint Louis University
Topic: From Desert Christians to Mountain Refugees: Fierce Landscapes and Counter-Cultural Spirituality

2009: Dr. Peter Ochs, Edgar Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia
Topic: The Free Church and Israel's Covenant

2008: Dr. Mark Noll, Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
Topic: A Yankee Looks North: Toward an Appreciation and Assessment of the History of Christianity in Canada.

2007: Dr. Ellen Davis, Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School
Topic: Live Long on the Land: Food and Farming from a Biblical Perspective.

2006: Dr. Joel J. Shuman, King's College, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Topic: To Live is to Worship: Bioethics and the Body of Christ

2005: Dr. Paul J. Griffiths, Schmitt Professor of Catholic Studies at University of Illinois at Chicago
Topic: The Vice of Curiosity: Towards a Theology of Intellectual Appetite

2004: Dr. Peter C. Erb, Professor of Religion & Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario
Topic: Late Medieval Spirituality and the Sources for Peace and Reconciliation: Bridget of Sweden, Catherine of Siena, Julian of Norwich

2003: Dr. Paul G. Hiebert, Distinguished Professor of Mission and Anthropology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Topic: Doing Missional Theology

2002: Dr. Seán Freyne, Professor of Theology in the School of Religions and Theology at Trinity College, Dublin
Topic: Jesus, Jews, and Galilee

2001: Dr. Letty M. Russell, Yale University Divinity School
Topic: Practising God's Hospitality in a World of Difference

2000: Dr. William P. Brown, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
Topic: God and the Imagination: A Primer to Reading the Psalms in an Age of Pluralism

1999: Dr. T.D. Regehr, Professor of History, University of Saskatchewan
Topic: Peace, Order & Good Government: Mennonites & Politics in Canada

1998: Dr. Eugene H. Peterson, Professor of Spiritual Theology, Regent College
Topic: Christ Plays In Ten Thousand Places

1997: Dr. Richard B. Hayes, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School
Topic: New Testament Ethics: The Story Retold

1993: Dr. Phyllis A. Bird, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Topic: Feminism and the Bible

1990: Dr. Werner O. Packull, Mennonite Archives of Ontario, Conrad Grebel University College
Topic: Rereading Anabaptist Beginnings

John and Margaret Friesen Lectures logo

John and Margaret Friesen Lectures

The John and Margaret Friesen Lectures in Anabaptist/Mennonite Studies are co-sponsored by Canadian Mennonite University, the Mennonite Heritage Centre, and the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. The inaugural lectures in November 2002 were delivered by Dr. Abraham Friesen (Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara), the generous donor who initiated the lecture series.


Revisiting the Mennonite Experience in Ukraine

with Dr. Nataliya VengerProfessor of History and Chair of the World History Department at Dnipropetrovsk National University, Ukraine

Dr. Nataliya Venger
Thursday, January 18, 2024

The 2024 Friesen Lectures are unified by a geographical context and dedicated to understanding the history of Mennonite communities in Ukraine. Addressing diverse themes from distant historical periods, Ukrainian professor Dr. Nataliya Venger will provide listeners with the opportunity to immerse themselves once again in the unique world of Mennonite history in both a remote and more immediate historical perspective.

Venger is Professor of History and Chair of the World History Department at Dnipropetrovsk National University, Ukraine, and a visiting professor at Canadian Mennonite University and the University of Winnipeg, and sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba.

NOTE: These lectures will be only available in person; however, video recordings of the lectures will be available here.



Read "MoM 100: Ukraine’s past, present come together" in Canadian Mennonite

Lecture 1 | Mennonites and the Romanov Dynasty: Loyalty and…Impasse

11:00 AM | CMU Chapel (600 Shaftesbury Blvd.)

The engagement with monarchy played a crucial role in the shaping of the political culture of Mennonites across different periods of their history. As their historical experience showed, the patronage of the monarch and the accompanying privileges served as sufficient conditions for the successful development of communities in a multi-confessional environment. In 19th century Russia, which was undergoing a period marked by both modernization and the nation-building processes, Mennonites faced a new challenge, namely Russian society, a political entity that acted unpredictably and often independently from the traditional institution of monarchy. This required Mennonites to compromise and partly led to a shift in their patriotic focus.

Lecture 2 | The Mennonites ‘Return’ to Ukraine: Dialogue with Lost and Regained Motherland

7:00 PM | Marpeck Commons (2299 Grant Ave.)

The Mennonites, who lost their Ukrainian homeland due to political and religious repression during the 1920s–1940s, preserved memories of their past for several decades. Their "return" to Ukraine became possible only in the new political realities when the country gained independence. While the initial visits were merely expressions of nostalgic tourism, that return quickly evolved into a socially active phenomenon involving elements of public diplomacy and philanthropy, fostering cooperation and mutual enrichment of cultures. It was crucial for the Mennonites to reintegrate into the public and historical context of Ukraine. They initiated significant commemorative projects, driven by a sense of duty to their ancestors and their former homeland. This "return" to historical memory helped the ethno-confessional group address its longstanding social trauma resulting from the loss of their homeland and the unjust policies imposed by the Communist regime.


Previous John and Margaret Friesen Lectures

2023: The Neglected Role of Dutch Mennonite Innovators in the Scientific Revolution and Early Enlightenment
Lecturer: Dr. Gary K. Waite, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of History, University of New Brunswick

2022: Reading Mennonite Writing Now
Lecturer: Dr. Robert Zacharias, Associate Professor of English, York University

2020: What if Mennonites Had Never Left the Netherlands? – CANCELLED 
Lecturer: Dr. Piet Visser, Professor Emeritus of Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

2019: A Twentieth Century Reformation: Anabaptism in Guatemala
Lecturer: Dr. Patricia Harms, Associate Professor of History, Brandon University

2017: Faith and Toleration: A Reformation Debate Revisited
Lecturer: C. Arnold Snyder, Professor Emeritus, History, at Conrad Grebel University College

2015: Come Watch This Spider: Animals, Mennonites, and the Modern World
Lecturer: Royden Loewen, Chair in Mennonite Studies and Professor of History at the University of Winnipeg

2009: Mennonite Women in Canadian History: Birth, Food, and War
Lecturer: Marlene Epp of Conrad Grebel University College.

2008: Church and ethnicity: The Mennonite Experience in Paraguay
Lecturer: Alfred Neufeld, Dean of the School of Theology of the Protestant University of Paraguay.

2007: Mennonite Identity in the 21st Century
Lecturer: John D. Roth

2006: Sacred Spaces, Sacred Places: Mennonite Architecture in Russia and Canada
Presenters: Rudy Friesen, Harold Funk, Roland Sawatsky

2005: Recovering A Heritage: The Mennonite Experience in Poland and Prussia
Lecturer: Peter Klassen, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University, Fresno

2004: Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Church in Africa
Lecturer: Barbara Nkala, Director of the International Bible Society of Zimbabwe and Malawi

2002: Russian Mennonites and World War One
Lecturer: Dr. Abraham Friesen, Professor Emeritus of History, University of California

CSOP logo

CSOP Lecture Series


Unfortunately, this event has been canceled due to external factors beyond anyone's control. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please watch for information on rescheduling.

"Going Local with International Crises: The Storytelling Dilemma"

with Monika Maria Kalcsics, a journalist with more than 20 years of experience in public service media, print, TV, and film as a reporter, producer, and commissioning editor of award-winning documentaries and reports


How do international non-governmental organizations tell their stories when the pressure from news outlets is increasingly to create a hyper local connection?

  • 30-minute presentation with Monika Maria Kalcsics
  • 10-minute response from Susan Tymofichuk – Managing Editor, CTV News Winnipeg
  • 30-minute Q&A with audience

About Monika Maria Kalcsics

Monika Maria Kalcsics

Currently employed by the science, education, and society department at Austria 1, the national information radio channel of ORF (Austrian Public Broadcasting Corporation), Kalcsics is also the head of the multimedia initiative "Fixing the Future – Casting New Ideas." She is also a founding member of the production company name>it positive media, covering underrepresented areas in the media. Across this time, she also made emergency aid missions, establishing communication lines.

Kalcsics' combined career as a journalist and emergency aid worker has allowed her to understand the challenges we face when confronted with a humanitarian disaster and the need to report it. She was granted a fellowship at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University to research the relationship between aid organizations and the media in a "competitive compassion market".

Wednesday, June 14, 2023 "Dignifying Story Angles: The Ethics of Representation Dilemma," a professional development event with Monika Maria Kalcsics.

click for more info

Unfortunately, This event has been canceled due to external factors beyond anyone's control.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Please watch for information on rescheduling.


Previous CSOP Lectures

2022: Choosing Love in the Wake of Wounding
Lecturer: Dr. Johonna McCants-Turner
Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo

2020: The Myth of Religious Violence
Lecturer: Dr. William Cavanaugh, Professor of Catholic Studies, DePaul University

2019: Imagination, Courage, and Resilience
Lecturer: Dr. Emily Welty, professor and director of Peace and Justice Studies at Pace University, NY

2018: A Transformative Spirituality for Peacebuilding
Lecturer: Dr. Fernando Enns, Professor of Theology and Ethics at Vrije Universiteit (Free University), Amsterdam

2018: The TRC, Calls to Action and the Mountain Before Us: Stories of Hope and Challenge
Lecturer: The Honorable Senator Murray Sinclair

2016: Living with Uncertainty: The Road to Peace
Lecturer: John Ralston Saul, award winning essayist and novelist


Past Public Lectures

Rev'd Dr. David Widdicombe – And His Hands Prepared the Dry Land: political theology of climate change

news release

In the face of historical emergencies, societies are always being invited to reconsider priorities and possibilities. Climate change is here—whether catastrophic or not, climate change is here.

This lecture will:

  • Explore some of the theological tools for thinking about the climate crisis and consider how all the outdated values of the past might be our last chance to still have a future.
  • Embark in a conversation about the climate emergency and how churches ought to respond
  • Attempt to retrieve Christian perspectives from the past for use in resisting the dominant scientific/technological assumptions of our time
  • Challenge the sense that nature has no soul—that if nature is merely a thing, then everything on it and in it is available for human consumption.
  • Claim that in the midst of the climate crisis our call as Christians is to honour the God who rules over earth and heaven. Local and national communities should find ways to conserve their own fossil fuels in the depths of the earth...and so re-create the historic and customary connections between nature and culture, land and life, love for neighbour and nature which are central" to the messianic love of the Jewish and Christian communities.
  • By faith we must ask what God has to do with the climate and how we should think about and understand the climate in the light of the death and resurrection of Christ.
  • In hope, we must ask, what we can hope for, work for, and expect to have to deal with in the future, whatever it may turn out to be.
  • Through love we must ask how we shall live together, survive together, as a church and as a wider set of communities whatever the future may bring. We should know now and commit to whatever is for the good of this place and neighbourhood in acts of friendship, solidarity, and love because we will need each other.

Rev'd Dr. Widdicombe is the Rector of Saint Margaret's Anglican Church in Winnipeg.

Wednesday, November 13 | 7:00 PM

Marpeck Commons | 2299 Grant Ave.


Rev'd Dr. David Widdicombe – To Sow the Wind: An Argument Against the War on Terror and Other Bad Ideas

Just War theory has received a lot of attention in recent times but the results have been mixed. It is no longer a tradition of thought designed to place strict restraints upon the use of force in the necessary use of force in restraint of evil. Under the pressure of humanitarian interventionism, theories that democracies do not fight wars against each other, American (and Western) exceptionalism, supposed states of emergency, and other ideological adventures upon the turbulent seas of the international order, the tradition has lost its profound Augustinian political skepticism and moral realism. This lecture will ask whether the restraint of force wasn't always a better (foundational) idea than the pursuit of justice in the just war tradition, a tradition that once thought war tragically endemic and sometimes justified, but never simply unambiguously just.

Rev'd Dr. Widdicombe is the Rector of Saint Margaret's Anglican Church in Winnipeg.

news release


Winter Lecture Series

The CMU Winter Lectures was an annual public lecture series that highlighted the arts, science, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies at CMU and to foster dialogue between these disciplines and the Christian faith. The series ran from to 2006 to 2011.

Audio/video recordings of these lectures are available through CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre.

2011: Resonance, Receptivity, and Radical Reformation
Lecturer: Dr. Romand Coles, McAllister Chair in Community, Culture, & Environment at Northern Arizona University. Resonance, Receptivity and Radical Reformation

2010: Paradoxes of Reconciliation
Lecturer: Vern Redekop, Associate Professor of Conflict Studies at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Topic: Paradoxes of Reconciliation

2009: Placing Our Faith in a Placeless World?
Lecturer: Dr. Norman Wirzba, Research Professor of Theology, Ecology and Rural Life, Duke Divinity School. Topic: Placing Our Faith in a Placeless World?

2008: Art, Beauty, and Christian Theology
Lecturer: Erica Grimm Vance, Assistant Professor and Visual Arts Coordinator, Trinity Western University. Topic: Art, Beauty and Christian Theology.

2007: Cosmology, Evolution, and Resurrection Hope
Lecturer: Dr. Robert Russell, Professor of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union, and Director for the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. Topic: Cosmology, Evolution and Resurrection Hope.

2006: Psychology and Theology
Lecturer: Alvin Dueck, Evelyn and Frank Freed Professor of the Integration of Psychology and Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary


Proclaiming the Claims of Christ Lecture Series

This lecture series has been offered at CMU since 2007. The series addresses the various dimensions of Christian apologetics (theory, evangelism, Gospel and society, singularity of Christ in a multi-cultural context, etc.).

Previous Lectures

2012: The Unique Gift of Christ
Lecturer: Dr. Benne Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion Emeritus and Director of the Center for Religion and Society at Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia.

2011: Cancelled

2010: Proclaiming the Unique Claims of Christ; Negotiating the Christian-Muslim Interface
Lecturer: Emmanuel Ali El-Shariff

2009: Being a Christian in the public media, radio broadcaster, and media commentator
Lecturer: Michael Coren

2008: Proclaiming Christ in a Post-Christian World
Lecturer: John Stackhouse, Regent College.

2007: Joe Boot, evangelist, apologist, author and the executive director of Ravi Zacharias Ministries in Canada.

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