Christian Schools Canada Conference 2018

September 26-28, 2018

Ottawa Marriott Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

About The Event

Greetings from the Christian Schools Canada Leadership Conference 2018 Planning Committee! We look forward to welcoming you to the 9th Leadership Conference hosted in Ottawa Wednesday, September 26 starting at 6:30 pm to Friday September 28 at 12:30 pm. This conference, first launched in 2002 in Richmond, BC, continues to grow in size and prominence as a major leadership conference for Christian school leaders across Canada. The leadership organizations here in eastern Canada are pleased to host the 2018 conference at a venue that is steps away from our nation’s government. What better place to explore the faithful presence of Christian schools and their leaders in our world?

Our keynote speakers are Jennifer Keesmaat, the former city planner for Toronto, and Sylvia Keesmaat, adjunct professor at the Toronto School of Theology. Growing up in Hamilton, sisters Jennifer and Sylvia are alumni of local Christian schools. Although their individual gifts have led to different but dynamic vocations, they will blend their experiences to lead us in the theme of Faithful Presence.

Our Breakout Session Tracks are designed to explore the theme of Faithful Presence in a number of key areas. We have a lined up a number of speakers who on a wide variety of topics who will explore the idea of Faithful Presence within their realm of expertise

On Thursday afternoon, included with registration, we will be visiting key locations in our nation’s capital.

Again, this year we will be having a Deeper Learning Pre-Conference. This will be held on Wednesday, September 26, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. The cost of this pre-conference will be an additional $75.00 ($66.37 + $8.63 HST).

Our prayer is that this conference will inspire, challenge and strengthen you in your personal and communal leadership journey. We encourage you to use this unique opportunity also to build relationships and network with Christian school leaders from across Canada and from different countries around the globe. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Ottawa this fall!

The Host Committee: Justin Cook, Conference Chair, Jessica Bandstra, Tena Boven, Ray Hendriks, Ren Siebenga


Situated in downtown Ottawa, this luxury hotel’s location is just moments away from Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, as well as world-famous museums including the National Gallery of Canada. This event venue features 31,000 sq ft of event space, including Summit, a revolving room on the 29th floor where we will be having our welcome reception and included meals.

You are responsible for booking your own accommodations. Room rates start at $229 per night + applicable taxes (based on single/double occupancy) at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel. Please note that parking is extra. Contact the hotel for more information.

To reserve your accommodations, go to  or call 1-800-853-8463 and quote “Christian Schools Canada Leadership Conference 2018” when booking. Room availability guaranteed until 4 pm on August 24, 2018.

Follow CSC on Twitter  #cscconf

Keynote Speakers

Growing up in Hamilton, sisters Jennifer and Sylvia are alumni of local Christian schools. Although their individual gifts have led to different but dynamic vocations, they will blend their experiences to lead us in the theme of Faithful Presence.

Jennifer Keesmaat

The former City Planner for Toronto, Jennifer has joined the University of Toronto’s Department of Geography and Planning as a Bousfield Distinguished Visitor in Planning for the 2017-2018 academic year. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (Honours Degree in English and Philosophy) and York University (Masters of Environmental Studies – Urban and Regional Planning). Jennifer served as the Chief Planner for the City of Toronto from 2012 to 2017, and is perhaps best known for her advocacy of density, walkability, complete streets, and active transportation, as well as for a national urban agenda.

Sylvia Keesmaat

Currently an adjunct professor at the Toronto School of Theology, Sylvia taught Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics for ten years at the Institute for Christian Studies before leaving full-time academia in 2004 to pursue her interests in sustainable living and homeschool her children. In addition to teaching at the University of Toronto, she is an instructor in the Creation Care Studies Program in Belize and the Biblical Scholar in Residence at St James Anglican Church in Fenelon Falls. Sylvia is the author, most recently, of Romans Disarmed (forthcoming, with Brian Walsh) and Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire (also with Brian Walsh). Sylvia has spoken at Christian education conferences in New Zealand, Australia and across Canada on issues related to biblical faith and radical discipleship. She lives on an organic off-grid farm in Cameron, Ontario.

Conference Worship

In addition to being one of our breakout presenters, we are thrilled to welcome Karen Burke as our worship leader for the 2018 conference. Karen’s expertise and passion is to help others sing, especially through gospel music. Gospel music has played a powerful role in what it means for Christians to embody a Faithful Presence. Reggie L. Williams, a scholar of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s time in Harlem, describes this power well: “Bonhoeffer’s experience in Harlem demonstrates that a Christian interpretation of the way of Jesus must be connected to justice for a Christian to see beyond primary loyalties to self and kind, to recognize the needs for justice in another’s context, and to love neighbour as self.” Just as we will explore the theme of Faithful Presence in our keynote and breakout sessions, Karen is the perfect leader to help us sing it out as a desire for justice through diversity in our worship each day together. 

Karen is a conductor, clinician, songwriter, recording artist and educator. She is also the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Juno award-winning Toronto Mass Choir. Following twelve years of teaching music at Toronto District Christian High School, Karen became a Professor in the music department at York University in 2005, developing the first post-secondary gospel music curricular courses in Canada and establishing the York University Gospel Choir. You can catch one glimpse of her work in Faithful Presence through this four minute video of her City Youth Gospel Project with high school students.