Grebel to goConrad Grebel University College's mission is to seek wisdom, nurture faith, and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society. An important part of this mission includes resourcing the community in churches, schools, and civil society. 

Troy speakingFaculty members at Conrad Grebel University College provide expertise on a variety of topics, especially related to peace, music, worship, Mennonites, religious studies, theology, and history. They are willing to share in community and church settings through lectures, presentations, workshops, adult and youth education, and sermons. 

Grebel to GO is generously funded by Henry and Leonora Peatkau.  While serving as a board member and President at Grebel, Henry understood the important role Grebel faculty play as a resource to the church. 

A current list of available speakers and specific topics is found below.  

Logistics 

For a Grebel-to-Go presentation, a flat booking fee of $100 per session (approximately 60 minutes) covers expenses related to travel across Canada and an honorarium for the faculty member. Restrictions may apply. 

To book an in-person or virtual visit from a Grebel faculty member, contact Birgit Moscinski at bmoscins@uwaterloo.ca or 519-885-0220 x24265. Reference the Grebel-to-Go program, request a specific faculty member, and note your preferred date with a few back-up date options. 

Cheques should be made out to Conrad Grebel University College with “Grebel-to-Go” in the memo line. 

 


Alicia Batten Headshot of Alicia Batten

Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies 
Expertise: New Testament, Religion and Dress, Religion and Visual Art 

How Was the New Testament Formed? 
Most Christians throughout the world share the same New Testament canon. However, it took a few hundred years for this collection to become consistent. Many early Christian writings were produced during the first few centuries of the Christian church. Why were some books included in the canon and others were not?  
Suitable for adult education class. 1.5 hours 

James: A Puzzling Letter 
Unlike most New Testament texts, the Letter of James has no reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Yet some of the letter’s teachings bear striking resemblance to those attributed to Jesus, specifically those found in the Sermon on the Mount. Where might the Letter of James come from, how does its wisdom compare to that of Jesus, and why has this letter historically received less attention than other texts in the New Testament? 
Suitable for adult education class. 3 hours 

Religion and Dress
These days, there are many controversies about religion and dress. However, such debates are not new, and we see conflict over religion and dress in a variety of contexts at different points historically. Why is dress so controversial, and how does the study of dress help us understand the meaning of religion? We will explore examples from the ancient world up to the present day.
Suitable for adult education class. 1.5 hours


Jeremy Bergen Headshot of Jeremy Bergen

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies
Expertise: God as Trinity, Anabaptist/Mennonite Theology, Church Apologies for Historical Wrongs, Preaching from the Lectionary 

Church Apologies for Historical Wrongs 
What does it mean for a church (congregation or denomination) to apologize, repent, or ask forgiveness? In light of calls to truth and reconciliation, what is the role of an apology?  An apology calls for careful reflection on the relationship of the past and the present, as well as future commitments and relationships. We will also consider what an apology for past wrongs shows about the nature and mission of the church. 
Suitable as sermon and/or adult education session(s) 

Christian Martyrs and Christian Identity 
Christian martyrs such as those of the early church, the Anabaptist movement, or the 20th century may be inspiring, puzzling, and off-putting all at the same time. Martyrs have been celebrated as models of faithfulness and self-sacrifice, following in the example of Jesus. At the same time, such celebration might glorify suffering, foster problematic triumphalism, and inhibit reconciliation among Christians. We will explore these issues as we consider the legacy of martyrs for contemporary churches. 
Suitable as sermon and/or adult education session(s) 

Human Words About God  
The first followers of Jesus struggled to articulate their astonishing experience with him in light of their conviction of the oneness of God. Of the many ways to speak about the mystery of God, the Christian tradition has most consistently used the language of “Trinity,” even though it is not explicitly in the Bible. This framework continues to be one that Christians employ to speak about the experience of God in very different contexts. We will explore themes such as love and freedom, oppression and liberation, gender, creation, and religious pluralism. 
Suitable as a sermon and one adult education session or a sermon and series of four sessions 


Paul Heidebrecht Headshot of Paul Heidebrecht

Director, Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, Adjunct Assistant Professor 
Expertise: Incubating Peace, Peace Entrepreneurship, Political Advocacy, Technology and Ethics 

Advancing Peace 
In a world filled with conflict and injustice, the need for creative new efforts to advance peace has never been clearer. Drawing on examples from the dynamic mix of researchers, activists, and entrepreneurs who call the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement home, this session will provide a window into innovative and inspiring efforts that are making a difference in both local and global contexts.  
Suitable as an adult education session  

PeaceTech 
Many of us struggle to keep up with accelerating developments in technology, and are increasingly worried about how technology is shaping the way we live and relate to each other. This session will provide insights into how students and faculty at Conrad Grebel University College and the University of Waterloo are thinking critically about technology, and creatively using technology to make a positive impact. It will also create space for a conversation about how Mennonite faith and practice can help us all grapple with technology. 
Suitable as an adult education session 


Troy OsborneHeadshot of Troy Osborne

Dean, Associate Professor of History 
Expertise: Church History, Anabaptism, Mennonite History, The Reformation 

Being Anabaptist Mennonite in the Past and Present 
Explore the Anabaptist story in its historical and global context. How has Anabaptist identity changed over time and across the globe? How have “Anabaptists” and “Mennonites” told their stories? What difference does that story make in the contemporary, global church?  
Suitable as a sermon, Sunday School presentation, or 3-hour multi-session workshop 

What’s “New” in Anabaptist History? 
As Anabaptists prepare to celebrate 500 years of their tradition’s history, we will examine recent developments and approaches in the study of Anabaptist and Reformation history and thought. We will move beyond the easy story of the usable history to look at the ways that the study of Mennonites and Anabaptists has changed and provide new insights to the complex story of this diverse movement. 
Suitable as an adult education session 


Carol Penner Headshot of Carol Penner

Director of Theological Studies, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies 
Expertise: Equipping Worship Leaders, Equipping for Pastoral Care, Theology and Abuse/Boundaries/Safe Place Policies, Feminist Theology, Significance of Lament 

How to Lead Worship Faithfully and Effectively 
Being a good worship leader is connected to knowing the purpose of the role. In these sessions, we will explore the “whys” of worship leading and also the “hows.” We will survey the different components of a worship service, and how to craft or find words that suit the situation.   
Suitable as a 3-hour multi-session workshop 

Understanding Pastoral Sexual Misconduct 
Creating safe spaces is of vital concern to congregations.  When church leaders misuse their power by violating sexual boundaries, the ripples affect individuals, families and systems. How is misconduct addressed, and how can people move forward in healing ways? Themes of accountability, justice, and forgiveness will be explored.   
Suitable as a sermon, adult education presentation, or 3-hour multi-session workshop 


Derek Suderman Derek Suderman

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies 
Expertise: Psalms, lament, prophets, Wisdom literature, violence and the Bible, and the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament 

The Beginning of Scripture
The Bible starts with: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). In another sense, however, the function of the Bible as Christian Scripture begins in each community that dedicates itself to engage this foundational document. Focusing on Jesus’ inaugural message in Luke 4, this sermon explores often overlooked questions: what was missing in the scroll Jesus read? What does this narrative say about what grounded Jesus’ ministry? And what implications does this have for being a follower of Jesus in our time? This sermon depicts the church as a sport in search of players. Are you willing to get off the sidelines and into the action?
Suitable as sermon and/or adult education session(s) 
[Best when paired
with a Sunday School or Faith Formation session on a topic drawn from the ‘Biblical Explorations’ below.]

Land, People, and Covenant (Treaty!): Rediscovering the Doctrine of Discovery
When Europeans arrived in the Americas, they brought with them the conviction that they were able to claim the land they ‘discovered.’ How did they understand what they were doing? What was the biblical and theological logic that grounded this perspective, and the assumptions on which it was built? Most importantly, what antidotes are there for such a perspective? While we may assume that the Doctrine of Discovery reflects ancient history that we have moved well past, this workshop explores both where this belief came from and how it continues to reverberate in our own time.
Suitable as a workshop for adult education class. 3 hours 
[This workshop engages the TRC Call to Action to engage the history of the Doctrine of Discovery and its role in justifying Residential Schools in Canada.]

Biblical Explorations
Have you every wondered what the Bible says about key issues in our day?  Or questioned why people bother with the Bible anymore or if it is still relevant? These workshops facilitate encounters with the Bible that leave people both intrigued and scratching their heads. Assuming that Scripture is something to be shared and interpreted together, they provide new lenses for looking at biblical passages and topics with an eye to exploring their relevance for today. The topics listed are suitable for complete novices all the way to people who are very familiar with biblical material, from youth to seniors, and can be customized for your group and setting.
Suitable as workshops, faith formation events, or Sunday School classes. From 1-3 hours    

  • Beyond Creation vs. Evolution: Reimagining a Biblical Understanding of Science
  • Jonah: SO MUCH More than a Fish Story…
  • Gender from “the Beginning”: Exploring the Creation, Purpose, and “Fall” of Humanity in Genesis 1-5
  • Ruth the Moabite: A Radical Refugee Story and its Implications for Today
  • But what about Joshua?!?  Wrestling with a Violent Book as Followers of Jesus
  • Praying for What?!?  Why Many Psalms sound so Vindictive and Why They’re Important
  • From “An Eye for an Eye” to “Love your enemies” --- Exploring the Purpose of Biblical Law and How Jesus “Fulfills” it (Exodus and the Sermon on the Mount)
  • The Transformation of the “Messiah”: From Conquering King to Suffering Servant (Psalms and Matthew) --- especially appropriate for Lent/Easter season
  • Is God Still a Warrior (and Why)?  From Exodus to Jesus
  • Rethinking the “Great Commission”: What does Evangelism look like in the Gospels?
  • Church, State, and Civil Disobedience? (Does Romans 13 really mean what they say it does?!?)
  • When Christians were Jews… Reframing our Understanding of the NT (and our Jewish Neighbours)
  • A HUGE Biblical Sexuality Debate: is it Okay to Marry a Foreigner?!?  Implications for Ethical Discernment in Our Day

What is the Bible and How Should We Teach It?
Geared to Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, and others involved in facilitating Bible studies, this workshop guides participants to consider some strategies and pitfalls for leading biblical studies. It engages questions such as: what do people expect from the Bible? How can theological diversity be a resource for engaging the Bible? What are some common tendencies and stumbling blocks to avoid when facilitating a Bible study? This workshop explores various strategies and provides concrete tips for leading dynamic and engaging Bible studies in various contexts. 
Suitable as a workshop. 3 hours
[Workshop functions best as a follow-up to experiencing one of the “Biblical Explorations” listed above.]


Further Resources

Grebel can connect also you with choirs, instrumental ensembles, a Balinese gamelan ensemble, and student ambassadors who relate well to youth. Other resources to the church and community include: library, archives, Grebel Gallery, continuing education programs, and many events throughout the year.