Thomas Esakin


Tom Esakin is an interfaith spiritual director and counsellor; formally-trained through ‘Jubilee Associates Ontario’ and in ‘Death Vigiling’ (Sacred Presence with the dying) through the ‘Sacred Dying Foundation’. Tom was a program designer of the SFU ‘End of Life Expo 2017’, which presented Canada’s first one-stop venue of transformative learning and marketplace resources on end of life matters. A past host of the 'Death Matters Live' show on Vancouver Coop Radio, he is a regular facilitator of Death Cafes. Tom also holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development, as earned from ‘Staffordshire University’, U.K.

As a co-founder of ‘Dying Matters Canada’, Tom offers workshops and supports in the End-of-Life area. He is also a co-founder of and former spiritual director with the ‘Julian of Norwich Ministry in Spiritual Companioning’ program at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Vancouver, and over two years offered this program at two other Anglican parishes in Metro Vancouver, Canada. He is a member of ‘Spiritual Directors International’ and serves on the Council of the ‘Pacific Jubilee’ educational program. Tom brings a breadth of interfaith and multicultural knowledge and practice to his interfaith spiritual companioning and work in sustainability. He is at home in: Christian ecumenism, Buddhism – the Theravada tradition, Sufism - Universal Sufism, Agnosticism and Atheism. He holds a general, practiced, understanding of Judaism and Hinduism. From SFU, Tom holds a minor in Philosophy focused on ethics. He also serves as Co-Chair of the “Ecumenical and Multifaith Unit” (EMU) of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, which in Fall 2017 organised the first ever “Islam 101” day for Anglican clergy in the Diocese.

Tom is experienced in university- and community- level instruction, curriculum design, and public speaking; including with both youth at risk and foreign trained professionals from over 40 countries and 6 continents. A Program Facilitator for the Nanaimo Youth Services Association, he has recently redesigned an employment training program for youth with employment barriers. In 2018 for the SFU Continuing Studies - Liberal Arts & 55+ Program (Downtown Vancouver Campus), he designed and instructed in two courses: 1) “Dying and Death: Conversations and Reflections” and 2) “Sustainability: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else”. Tom also designed and taught sustainability/sustainable development curricula for Ryerson University (Toronto), Universidad del Caribe (Cancun, México) and George Brown College (Toronto). He is published in the field of sustainability… and also as a poet.

Tom is seasoned in strategic management (strategic planning and visioning), Educating for Sustainability, community engagement, and program development through professional experience in the political, NGO, corporate, religious, and university sectors.

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.