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Public Events

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. Edith M. Humphrey

Mediation and the Immediate God

with Dr. Edith M. Humphrey
William F. Orr Professor Emerita of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

October 26–27, 2021 

In this lecture series, which will be amplified in a forthcoming book, Mediation and the Immediate God (Darton, Longman, and Todd 2022), Dr. Edith M. Humphrey pursues a long-standing debated question: how we can both say that God has a direct relationship with each Christian, and that God uses others in order to bring us to health and glory? Guided by key scriptural passages, and key understandings of this topic and these passages, Dr. Humphrey will probe the significance of intercessory prayer and our mutual dependence in the body of Christ.

The first lecture will lay a common foundation by looking to the chief mediator between God and humanity, the LORD Jesus. Lecture two considers our common mediation for each other, and for those outside the Church. Finally, in lecture three we will consider how the matriarchs in Matthew’s gospel provide a model for mediation, and venture into the debated topic of the mediation of the saints. In the end, we will see how mediation is an essential mark of the Church: Christians are meant to be mediators, because we bear the image of Christ, the Great Mediator.

2021 J.J. Thiessen Lectures promotional poster

Lecture #1: Tuesday, October 26, 7:00 PM

Mediation, the “Immediate” God, and Our Great Mediator


Lecture #2: Wednesday, October 27, 11:00 AM

Mediation Inside and Outside the Household of God


Lecture #3: Wednesday, October 27, 7:00 PM

Mediation, Matriarchs, and the Communion of Saints

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.

2022 Friesen Lectures Poster

"Reading Mennonite Writing Now"

with Dr. Robert ZachariasAssociate Professor of English, York University


Thursday, March 3, 2022

Mennonite literary studies in North America is in a period of transition, with new scholarly avenues opening as critics respond to a fast-growing body of Mennonite fiction, poetry, and life writing. What does Mennonite literature look like today, and how can we read it most productively?

Lecture 1 | “Distant Reading, Mennonite Writing: On the Past of Mennonite Literature in North America”

11:00 AM | CMU Chapel

The first talk in this two-part lecture will consider the quiet role that literary history plays in focussing our collective critical gaze, and draws on recent work in the digital humanities to reconsider what we think we know about the emergence of Mennonite writing in English. What happens to our understanding of Mennonite literature, I want to ask, if we take a step back and rethink the assumptions and parameters that helped to establish it as a field of study?

Lecture 2 | “Endure: On the Future of Mennonite Literature in North America”

7:00 PM | Marpeck Commons

The second talk will build on our distant reading of the field’s past with close readings of two works of contemporary Mennonite literature: in Little Fish, Casey Plett presents a vibrant but vulnerable community of trans women in Winnipeg, several of whom are looking to the Mennonite past in search of a future community; in “Fallow,” Sofia Samatar weaves together theological and migration histories to present a colony of intergalactic Mennonites far in the future. In the work of Plett and Samatar we find not only two of the most acclaimed works of Mennonite writing in recent years, but also two of its most generous investments in possible Mennonite futures.

CSOP logo

CSOP Lecture Series

"Choosing Love in the Wake of Wounding"

with Dr. Johonna McCants-Turner
Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo

2022 CSOP Lecture Series poster

Thursday, June 16, 2022 | 7:30 PM
Marpeck Commons | 2299 Grant Ave.

Join us as Dr. Johonna McCants-Turner will talk about how women of colour essays, activists, organizers, and practitioners in the restorative and transformative justice movements reflect on the role of love in responding to violence through healing and accountability without punishment.

McCants-Turner is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo. She formerly served as a special education teacher with the District of Columbia Public Schools, the founder and director of the Visions to Peace Project, and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, where she earned her PhD. She also holds a Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland. Dr. McCants-Turner is a founding advisory board member of Life Comes From It, a US-based grant making fund that invests in Black, Indigenous, People of Colour-led movements for restorative justice, transformative justice, and Indigenous peacemaking. She is currently working on her first book, In the Wake of Wounding: Black Womanist Ethics and Reparative Justice (Wm. B Eerdmans Press).


Past Public Lectures


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