Plan now to attend the 52nd Atlantic Seminar in Theological Education!

Theme: Falling in Love with the Earth: Embracing Compassion for Life
When: June 14-19, 2020
Where: Tatamagouche Centre, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, Canada

Guest Speakers

Hilary Scharper Hilaryand Stephen ScharperStephen

Biographies for Hilary and Stephen

Dr. Stephen Scharper is associate professor at the School of the Environment and the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He is also cross-appointed in the department of anthropology at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, and is associate faculty with the Toronto School of Theology.

A Senior Fellow of Massey College and a Fellow of Trinity College, Dr. Scharper holds a Masters in Theology from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from McGill University, where his thesis supervisor was Professor Gregory Baum.

Dr. Scharper’s research and teaching are in the areas of environmental ethics, worldviews and ecology, liberation theology, as well as nature and the city. His most recent book, For Earth's Sake: Toward a Compassionate Ecology(Novalis 2013), explores the notion of how we are being called to develop an affective relationship with the natural world in light of contemporary ecological challenges. His other books include The Natural City: Re-envisioning Human Settlements (co-editor, University of Toronto Press), The Green Bible, co-written with his spouse, Hilary Cunningham, and Redeeming the Time: A Political Theology of the Environment (Continuum).

Embodying the values of “public scholarship” and a deep commitment to engaging with environmental issues, Dr. Scharper currently serves as a columnist for The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper. He has appeared as commentator on TVO’s “The Agenda,” CTV News, VISION-TV, CityPulse 24, and CBC’s Counterspin as well as CBC Radio’s “Tapestry,” “Sounds Like Canada,” “Here and Now,” “The Current,” and “The World at Six.”

He has also contributed over 500 reviews and articles to various academic and popular journals, including Religious Studies Review, Worldviews, Environmental Philosophy, The University of Toronto Quarterly, Social Analysis, as well as Commonweal, America, Alternatives, The National Catholic Reporter, The Hour, The Montreal Gazette, The Walrus, and The Globe and Mail.

Formerly President of the Religious Education Association of the US and Canada, and editor with Orbis Books and Novalis, Dr. Scharper has taught at McGill University, Prescott College, the University of Waterloo, the University of Vermont, and the University of Notre Dame, where he held the John A. O’Brien Chair in Ethics as a Visiting Professor.

Providing a unique blend of the scholarly and the accessible in both histeaching and public speaking, Dr. Scharper has addressed and inspired a wide range of audiences and remains a much sought-after lecturer.

Hilary Cunningham (Scharper) is a cultural anthropologist and a Canadian novelist. Her academic work centers on boundary-making as itself a multi-faceted encounter with "nature"--one which ultimately generates certain types of human-nature interactions while excluding or marginalizing other kinds. Because "borders" can encompass geophysical spaces, metaphysical catergories , ecological zones, as well as human and non-human actors, Hilary focuses on "nature" itself as a kind of borderscape. Her current research on animal sanctuaries develops this approach through the concept of "gated ecologies," i.e., nature-borderscapes in which human and nonhuman marginalization (and destruction) unfold as a contingent, interconnected reality. Owing to her literary work (see below), Hilary also focuses on innovative approaches/methodologies to anthropology, including socially-engaged and participatory-art.

Hilary also publishes literary fiction and is associated with a newly-minted subgenre of the Gothis called the "ecoGothic." literay scholars have described this as a "more ecologically aware Gothisc, "attuned to the spaces of "dark nature" and the roles which human feat and ambivalence play in shaping responses to the agency of the natural world. Her current writing project is a two-volume tale unfolding in the bioscapes of the Great Lakes and their remote, 19th-century lighthouses: Vol. I "Perdita" (2013); Vol. II "Lonely Island" (forthcoming). Hilary has also published a collection of short stories exploring the "dressed body" and the metaphysics of "the dream dress" ("Dream Dresses," 2009).

In 2013, Hilary and her spouse (Stephen Scharper) achieved precedent-setting legal protection for urban trees, resulting in changes to municipal by-laws in Ontario and providing (internationally) the first holistic definition of a tree's "trunk" in English law. See Boundary Trees: Whose Woods These Are.


2020 Brochure

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Past Brochures







Accomodations can be found in one of the many hotels in the area, or one of the bed and breakfasts.