About the lecture
The Rodney and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar Lecture was established in 2004 to honour Rodney’s tenure and Lorna’s involvement at Conrad Grebel University College.
Dr. Rodney Sawatsky joined the faculty of Conrad Grebel in 1974, teaching in the areas of History, Religious Studies, Mennonite Studies, and Peace and Conflict Studies. He served the college as Academic Dean from 1974-89 and as President from 1989-94.
Sawatsky provided inspiration and impetus for the development of the College’s graduate program in Theological Studies. As Dean and then President he significantly shaped the strong faculty that defined Grebel’s distinctive academic profile for more than three decades.
Rodney and his wife Lorna were key figures at Conrad Grebel, the University of Waterloo, and in the local community. Since Rodney’s death in 2004, Lorna has continued to support and advocate for causes that were important to them both.
In keeping with Rodney Sawatsky’s own academic interests, the Sawatsky Visiting Scholar is awarded to renowned scholars, practitioners and performers — representing a wide range of academic and creative disciplines — who bring their expertise to the Grebel community.
Contributions to the endowment fund that supports the Sawatsky Visiting Scholar are welcome. See Director of Development, Fred W. Martin.
Don E. Saliers (2018)
About Don E. Saliers
Dr. Don E. Saliers is a Theologian-in-Residence at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. For many years he directed the Master of Sacred Music program at Emory, and was an organist and choirmaster at Cannon Chapel for 35 years. Before joining the Candler faculty in 1974, Saliers taught at Yale Divinity School, and has taught in summer programs at Notre Dame, Boston College, Vancouver School of Theology, St. John’s University, and Boston University School of Theology.
An accomplished musician, theologian and scholar of liturgics, Saliers is the author of 15 books on the relationship between theology and worship practices, as well as more than 150 articles, essays, chapters in books and book reviews. He co-authored A Song to Sing, a Life to Live with his daughter Emily Saliers, a member of the Indigo Girls.
Saliers sits on the editorial board of Worship, Weavings, and Spiritus journals, and is involved in the development of United Methodist worship resources. He has served as president of the North American Academy of Liturgy and the Society for the Study of Christian Religion, and helped found the Academy for Spiritual Formation.
Public lecture: "Psalms in a Difficult Time: the Rhythms of Doxology and Lament"
Date: Thursday, February 15, 2018
Mary Jo Leddy (2017)
About Mary Jo Leddy
Dr. Mary Jo Leddy is a writer, theologian, and social activist well known for her work with refugees, including as founder and director of Romero House in Toronto. She is author of The Other Face of God: When the Stranger Calls Us Home (2011) and Our Friendly Local Terrorist (2010), among many other publications. Leddy is an adjunct professor at Regis College, and an Honorary Fellow at the University of St. Michael’s College, both at University of Toronto.
Public lecture: "Room Enough for Hope: Canada’s Response to the Refugee Crisis "
Date: Friday, March 3, 2017
Sir James MacMillan (2016)
About Sir James MacMillan
Scotland's most celebrated composer, Sir James MacMillan was the 2016 Rodney and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music.
Public Lecture:"The Spiritual in Music"
Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Robert Johnston (2015)
About Robert Johnston
Dr. Robert Johnston is Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
Robert Johnston is professor of theology and culture at Fuller Seminary. He is a pioneer in theology and film and the church and the entertainment industry. The author or editor of 15 books, Johnston has published in a variety of fields, including theology, selected Old Testament topics, evangelical theology, theology and film, and theology and culture. His recent books include Useless Beauty (2004), Finding God in the Movies (co-written with Catherine Barsotti, 2004), Life Is Not Work/Work Is Not Life (co-written with J. Walker Smith, 2001), and Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue (2000, 2nd ed. 2006). He is editor of Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline (Baker Academic, 2007), the co-editor of Don’t Stop Believin’, an Old Testament general editor of the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Baker), and co-editor of both the Engaging Culture and the Exegeting Culture series for Baker Academic, as well as the Religion and Film series for Routledge. A past president of the American Theological Society and the recipient of two major research grants from the Luce Foundation, Johnston is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is married to Catherine Barsotti, has two grown daughters, and likes the beach.
Public Lecture: "If you have Eyes to See": God's "Presence" at the Movies
Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015
Carol Muller (2014)
About Carol Muller
Carol Muller is a Professor of Music (ethnomusicology) at the University of Pennsylvania, who has published widely on South African music, both at home and in exile. Her intellectual interests include the relationship between music, gender and religious studies, migration and Diaspora studies, and critical ethnography. Musical Echoes: South African Women Thinking in Jazz (Duke Fall 2011) with Sathima Bea Benjamin; Shembe Hymns (Univ. of KwaZulu Natal 2010); Focus: South African Music (Routledge 2008); Rituals of Fertility and the Sacrifice of Desire: Nazarite Women’s Performance in South Africa (Chicago 1999) are some of the books she has authored and edited. Muller has published on South African jazz, religious performance, traditional and popular musics in a variety of journals that represent her interdisciplinary interests.
Public Lecture: A Voice in Exile: Sathima Bea Benjamin
Overview: A Voice in Exile: a portrait of the South African born jazz singer Sathima Bea Benjamin. She recorded with Duke Ellington in 1963, came to live in New York City after the Soweto Uprising, returned to South Africa about three years ago and died in August 2013. She has a powerful story and exquisitely rich and emotionally evocative voice.
Muller worked with Benjamin for two decades, and co-authored a book, Musical Echoes: South African Women Thinking in Jazz.
This presentations involves listening to Benjamin's voice, seeing pieces of a documentary about her made by St-Helenian Canadian scholar, Dan Yon, and a discussion about issues of gender, politics, Diaspora, voice, global citizenship etc.