Tom Esakin is formally-trained as an interfaith spiritual director (also referred to as a spiritual companion or coach) through the Jubilee Associates (Ontario). He is a member of SDI-Spiritual Directors International, serves on the Advisory Council of Pacific Jubilee, and offers supports in spiritual direction, pastoral conversations, and in end-of-life companioning. He also designs and facilitates retreats and Multifaith dialogues. He is seasoned in strategic management (strategic planning and visioning), community engagement, program design & facilitation, curriculum design & development, and fundraising through professional experience in the political, NGO, corporate, religious/spiritual, and university sectors. His experience includes training foreign trained professionals from over 40 countries and 6 continents.
Tom brings a breadth of interfaith knowledge and practice to his interfaith spiritual companioning. He is at home in: Christian ecumenism, Buddhism – the Theravada tradition, Sufism - Universal Sufism, Agnosticism and Atheism. Tom holds a general, practiced, understanding of Judaism and its Kabbalistic tradition, as well as of Hinduism.
A co-founder of Dying Matters Canada, Tom was a program Designer for Canada’s first End of Life Expo, held in 2017 in partnership with Simon Fraser University. From 2017-1019 he was a Member and a Co-chair of the Ecumenical and Multifaith Unit (EMU) of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster. Over 2017, Tom served as a Guest Host of the Death Matters Live show on Vancouver Co-op Radio, interviewing guests about religious considerations and death. Over 2016-2018, Tom co-facilitated four “Dying Matters: Information & Conversations” workshops and 14 Death Cafes with Vancouver-area community partners including the Vancouver Public Library system.
Tom has completed counselling and related trainings through Vancouver Island University (Counselling Skills Levels 1 and 2), the Vancouver School of Narrative Therapy (Certificate in Narrative Therapy Foundations), Douglas College (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and the Vancouver Island Crisis Society (ASIST - Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). He holds a certificate in Death Vigiling (End of life supports - Sacred Presence with the dying) through the Sacred Dying Foundation. Tom also holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development from Staffordshire University, U.K. and from SFU holds a minor in Philosophy focussed on ethics. From the Ryerson University Learning and Teaching Office, Tom completed the Instructional Skills 3-day workshop.
Rev. Dr. Gailmarie Henderson
GailMarie earned her Doctor of Ministry from the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto. Her Master of Divinity is from Wycliffe College also at the U of T.
She successfully defended her dissertation on rural ministry using a case study method where she identified the seminal cause of decline in rural churches, supporting her findings with a contemporary, transformative, adult educational theory and proceeded to develop a method of ministry to counter the decline.
She believes healthy and sustainable rural congregations are possible and that “where two or three are gathered “congregations have a vital role to play in the emerging church.
Her postdoctoral research interest lies, not in the transmission of the Gospel, but in its reception. This interest is leading her to ask questions concerning the role language, and narrative plays in the internalization of a life-giving perspective change, like transformative conversion.
She is a life-long learner, who sees the need to work towards a theology of learning, to serve as the theological framework to integrate the wisdom and fruitfulness emerging from many academic disciplines. She perceives the world sacramentally, her academic work stands squarely on a theology of the cross (falling up), learning as a spiralled journey, and mentoring this journey as a sacred calling. GailMarie has served over two dozen of the smallest of failure to thrive congregations; and knows from practical experience what is possible.
She is an Anglican priest of nearing twenty years, and for over twenty years has been an associate of the Sisters of St. John the Divine, an Anglican contemplative order based in Toronto. She is married with three adult children and three grandkids that are her heart’s delight.