Comfort & Hope

Presentations & Workshops

KEYNOTE ADDRESSES

Speakers are listed in alphabetical order.

Kathryn Belicki, PhD, MTS, CPsych
Kathryn Belicki is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Brock University. She has studied and written on the topics of dreams, the impact of childhood trauma on well-being in adulthood, and most recently forgiveness and forgiveness seeking. She has appeared on numerous radio and television talk shows. She has a deep passion for identifying and addressing the errors that can come into Christians’ thinking about God; errors that can become obstacles to our drawing close to God and that can deepen our pain in times of suffering.

Title of Address: An Ever-Present God
There are repeated promises in Scripture that God is with us—not as a passive observer, but as an ever-present help. The mere fact that God judges it necessary to repeatedly reassure us of this shows that God knows that at times it feels like He is not with us. We will consider possible reasons why God chooses to at times be silent. However, it is often the case that God is not silent—that He is active in our lives—and it is we who are blind to His presence. Therefore, we will look at the obstacles to our seeing God clearly.

Faith Holwyn, RN
Faith Holwyn is a Strategic Associate with Canadian Baptist Ministries and travels internationally to India, Bolivia and the United States, as well as within Canada, to First Nation Communities, to churches, and to other groups. As a Registered Nurse (now non-practicing) who has had many years experience as a Psychiatric Nurse, Faith developed the Groups of Hope Program in 2003 based on the principles of Brief Solution Focused Therapy. It has been used effectively with women, men and youth in various settings, including in prison ministry and in churches. Over the past 10 years she has mentored over 8,000 individuals in workshops and introduced the program to well over 14,000 people in groups and churches. You can learn more about her work at www.groupsofhope.ca

Title of Address: Hope: Walking with God in Difficult Times
When we experience pain in our lives – whether that is from relationships that fail or from loss and grief, we need to know that God is there beside us. The Groups of Hope is a program of eight one hour long sessions that present the reality of God’s presence and healing to participants in a small group setting. It is based on Brief Solution Focused Therapy and encourages exploration of new ways to view the painful times in our lives, but does not allow time in the sessions for sharing of individual stories. All can benefit from the program even if they are not in a particularly difficult time in their lives. The presentation will allow you to participate in a session to see how powerfully the Holy Spirit works through the seven simple parts of each session.

Wanda Malcolm, PhD, CPsych
Wanda Malcolm is Professor of Pastoral Psychology at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, and a registered psychologist who specializes in Emotion-Focused Therapy. She works with individuals and couples in her private practice, specializing in the process of healing after an experience of interpersonal hurtfulness. She has published in the areas of emotional healing and forgiveness. A popular speaker she has given presentations and workshops to lay people, pastors, and mental health professionals in Canada, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.

Title of Address: Navigating the "Valleys": When it is Hard to Trust that God is With Us
The time that comes after a calamitous event or profound loss and lasts until there is some kind of resolution is often a valley that is very difficult to get through. It is filled with uncertainty and questions, and it is sometimes incredibly difficult to trust that God is with us, especially when we can't see how He could possibly be working things together for good for us (Romans 8:28). How we navigate these in between times is crucial and this talk focuses on what it would look like to find God in the midst of suffering.

Don Neufeld, MSW
Don Neufeld is a clinical social worker in private practice in St. Catharines, Ontario. After graduating with a social work degree in 1991, Don spent 18 ½ years in child protection services, beginning as a front line caseworker, and ending as a senior manager. Following a transition year, which included a Clinical Pastoral Education training unit in a hospital setting, Don pursued private practice as a general therapist, beginning in fall of 2010. This work has included extensive group work with men who have been convicted of domestic violence offenses and with men who are seeking to be better fathers. Since entering the field of social work Don has become increasing interested in the dialogue between theology and the social sciences, most recently as it relates to the needs of men in the gender justice conversation. Don and his wife, Gayle, have three sons and live in the town of Virgil, Ontario.

Title of Address: Men and Suffering: Broadening the Vision
In a cultural environment where the majority of men are socialized to minimize their emotional expressiveness and vulnerability, and where individualistic and stoic behaviour is idealized, men’s encounter with suffering creates a troubling dilemma. When the need for emotional comfort and support is greatest, men’s inability to identify and own that need, and the lack of freedom to reach out in brokenness and pain, inhibits men’s capacity to benefit from the healing that is possible. With the caricature of masculinity that is unfortunately encouraged by some within Christianity, we relegate too many men, young and old, to suffer alone in silence. How might we begin to envision an alternative masculinity that embraces the breadth of men’s humanity, lauding not only traditional definitions of characteristics such as strength and courage, but also honestly recognizing that true strength and courage are demonstrated when men themselves enter times of pain and suffering with an openness to the full range of human experience? Can we find a way forward that would support and enable men to embrace their vulnerabilities, celebrate their strengths with humility, and to open themselves anew to the healing embrace of Christian faith within community?

Lisa Whittingham, BA (Hons)
Lisa Whittingham is a behaviour consultant from Hamilton Brant Behaviour Services and has worked with adults with developmental disabilities in a variety of settings for 10 years. She has a committed interest in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), working with high-risk offenders, and client self-advocacy. She enjoys sharing her knowledge in a variety of community settings and has presented at a variety of workshops and conferences. When she’s not working, Lisa can be found training for endurance runs, walking her poorly behaved dogs, or reading a good book.

Title of Address: ‘Reaching Out:’ Supporting People with Developmental Disabilities to Fulfill Spiritual Lives
Jesus’ teaching to ‘love as he loved us’ does not just apply to the people with whom we are comfortable: it embraces diversity, including people of varying abilities. In this presentation Lisa will explain the importance of including people with intellectual disabilities in spiritual communities. She will provide information addressing attitudes towards people with varying abilities and practical tips on how to interact with them, particularly those with complex needs that manifest as problematic behaviour.

2014 Theme: Immanuel, God With Us
"Remember, I am with you…" (Gen 28:15)