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Lectures

Joel Robichaud, college teacher of chemistry & biochemistry

After obtaining his baccalaureate in biochemistry (University of Moncton), Joel Robichaud completed his graduate studies in organic chemistry (Laval University: total synthesis of natural products) and worked twelve years in medicinal chemistry (Merck Frosst Canada: osteoporosis, infectious diseases, etc.). For the last three years, Joel has been teaching chemistry and biochemistry at several colleges and he is currently also completing graduate studies in education (University of Sherbrooke). While initially steeped in evolutionary theory, Joel was eventually confronted with the claims of the Bible and this led him to undertake a journey examining all of the scientific data pertaining to the subject of the origins of life. For almost ten years he has been lecturing about key aspects crucial to this delicate but important subject. The approach taken entails objectivity and respect, avoids questionable issues, and maintains the focus on solidly established scientific principles and observations. The goal of his presentations centers on equipping hearers with all of the facts so that they may draw informed conclusions.

Ron Harris, certified biblical counselor and missionary

Ron Harris was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1986, and has more than 30 years experience in church-based biblical counselling and counselling training. He and his wife Linda have serve the Russian-speaking church as missionaries since 2002, training and supporting national leaders to conduct his 3-year counselling training program – the first formal training program in the former soviet Union. Hundreds of graduates now impact over 150,000 in 5 countries. Ron has published 7 books (Russian). He occasionally counsels and trains from his missions home-base in Trent Hills since 2009. Ron and Linda have been married 28 years, have three children walking with Christ, and two grandchildren.

Jojo Ruba, executive director of Faith Beyond Belief

Jojo equips Christians to effectively explain and defend their faith using reasonable arguments that make sense to non-believers. He has spoken at venues that include Sunday morning services, secular debates on universities and morning chapels at Christian schools. Jojo focuses on practical ways to defend the faith. He teaches Christians how to explain their worldview using tools that non-Christians can understand. For example, he helps audiences think of the right questions to ask non-believers not just the right answers they ought to give. Much of what Jojo has learned comes from his work speaking on the need to defend innocent people from abortion. Jojo has taught pro-life apologetics for both Christian and secular audiences for over 12 years. In that time, he saw how easily people embraced moral relativism and learned how to effectively challenge this worldview. As a Christian apologist, Jojo teaches Faith Beyond Belief’s worldview course. This includes 11 topics that Christians should understand about their faith, starting with an explanation of why truth matters.In 2009, abortion advocates at St. Mary’s University in Halifax shouted Jojo down for 45 minutes in an attempt to stop his presentation.Because of the publicity the protests received, more people attended Jojo’s subsequent talks in the area. A similar protest happened a year later at McGill University in Montreal, PQ.In 2012 Jojo participated in four abortion debates with three philosophy professors from British Columbia. During those debates, he defended objective morals and the value of human life in front of the professors’ own classes. Many of these students admitted Jojo’s presentation challenged their perceptions. Jojo earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa. He is executive director of Faith Beyond Belief, based in Calgary, AB, Canada.

Brian Brodie, dairy farmer and long-time ruling elder at the Hudson-St. Lazare Reformed Presbyterian Church, which meets near Montreal, Quebec

Brian Brodie was born and raised in rural Dalkeith in Eastern Ontario. After graduating from Lakehead University, he returned to dairy farming and continues to farm today. Brian married Gwen in 1976, and they have three grown children and two grandchildren. He grew up in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA), and was ordained as a Ruling Elder in 1985. He temporarily pastored the Hudson-St. Lazare RP church for 16 years (1985-2001) while it was without a pastor. He continues to teach each Lord’s Day and conducts a weekly Bible Study, as well as preaching when necessary.

Rev. Tony Zekveld, pastor of Hope Centre URC, Toronto

Tony Zekveld was raised in a Christian home, on a farm near Woodstock, Ontario, the oldest of eight brothers and sisters. His home life was most influential in raising him and leading him to profess his faith in Christ. Since elementary school years, Tony had an interest in missions and missionaries, and very much enjoyed hearing their stories, their labor of love and sacrifice. During his high school years, he had a desire to go in this direction but said very little about it, keeping it to himself. Eventually he felt pushed into the direction of entering into the ministry, realizing his own inadequacies and over time, realizing that Christ’s church must confirm externally to the inner call.During Tony’s years at Reformed Bible College, he got to know Arley-Ann Noorloos, who was also a student there and they married after he completed his last year of college and her year in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer with the Hegemans (1987).Three years later, Tony attended Mid-America Reformed Seminary (1990 – 1993). During this time, Tony and Arley had three children (1989, 1990 and 1993). Their last two were born in 1994 and 1997. After completing seminary, the Covenant Christian Church (URC) of Wyoming, called and sent Rev. Zekveld (with my family) as missionary to Brooklyn NYC with Urban Nations, under the oversight of Messiah’s Congregation (1993-1995). Since 1995 he and his family have lived in Toronto, Ontario ministering to the vast population of South Asians, who are mainly Sikh, Hindu and Muslim.

Rev. Brian Murray, director of Gillespie Academy in Woodstock, Ontario, and associate pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church

Rev. W. Brian Murray serves as Director of Gillepie Academy, a one year post-secondary program designed to prepare students for university, future employment, or the building of a Christian home. He teaches Systematic Theology and Ethics at Gillespie. Rev. Murray received his B.R.E. Heritage College, Cambridge, ON. and his M.Div. from Haddington House, Charlottetown, PEI. He is currently completing the MTh. at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI. Rev. Murray was ordained in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in 2003. He is married and he and his wife Melissa have 4 children.