Mike Hogeterp, founding director of the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue in Canada, is leaving the role after more than 21 years. His last day is Sept. 22, just before he begins working for NAIITS, an Indigenous learning community, on Sept. 25. He will be the lead facilitator for the Canadian Learning Community for Decolonization and Innovation in Theological Education, a collaboration of four academic institutions.
Hogeterp said the partnership aims to build learning communities where participants exchange insights and knowledge about their approaches to doing justice, inclusion, and decolonization work as seminaries. What they learn together will then shape curriculum to help transform theological education, he said. Hogeterp values that this collaboration begins to fulfill calls to action 59 and 60 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which call for “ongoing education strategies to ensure…congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization…” and for the development of “curriculum for all student clergy, and all clergy and staff who work in Aboriginal communities” which will address the history and legacy of residential schools, religious conflict, “and the responsibility that churches have to mitigate such conflicts and prevent spiritual violence.”
During his time with the Centre for Public Dialogue, Hogeterp said that advocacy work toward peace in Afghanistan stands out as a “really remarkable set of exchanges and stories that left a big impression on me.” The connections he has made with Indigenous leaders and people have also made an impact, including leading to his next work. “Ecumenical and other connections drew us into rich and meaningful relationships with Indigenous people in communities around the country,” Hogeterp said, particularly in the Hearts Exchanged learning groups that have been the focus of his work for the past few years.
Although he was the Centre for Public Dialogue's only employee (aside from periodic interns), a Committee for Contact with the Government (formed in 1968) is the grassroots group behind the center's advocacy work.
There are currently only four of the usual six members on the Committee for Contact with the Government. With Hogeterp leaving and the committee needing new members, Al Postma, the CRCNA’s transitional executive director, Canada, said the three Canadian justice-related committees “are currently discerning the overall direction and strategy.” These committees are the Committee for Contact with the Government, the Canadian Indigenous Ministries Committee, and the Decolonization and Antiracism Collective.
Hogeterp said he feels confident in the senior leadership as he leaves. The leadership includes Adrian Jacobs, senior leader for Indigenous justice, and Pablo Sun Kim, senior leader for antiracism and intercultural conciliation.
About the Author
Kristen Parker is a freelance writer. She has a passion for words and creativity. Kristen and her husband Chris, enjoy board games and thrift shopping. They attend Stratford CRC in Stratford, Ont.