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Meet the 2022 Moderator
  Reading with the Next Moderator
Here are some of the books on Bob’s bookshelf that have been important to him on his faith journey.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
The Cost of Discipleship
Jurgen Moltmann,
The Crucified God
Sally McFague,
Metaphorical Theology
Gustavo Gutierrez,
A Theology of Liberation Leonardo Boff, Church: Charism
and Power and Ecclesiogenesis The Kairos Document
from South Africa
John DeGruchy, Liberating Reformed Theology and The Church Struggle in South Africa
Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity
Serene Jones, Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World
Charles Fensham, Misguided Love: Christians and the Rupture of LGBTQI2+ People
Jesse Thistle, From the Ashes
Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America
Esi Edugyan, Washington Black
Bob has read quite a bit of
John Irving, most recently Avenue of Mysteries and he likes Shyam Selvadurai (Cinnamon Gardens and Funny Boy)
A historian at heart, Bob
has enjoyed Margaret MacMillan’s
books and how she personalizes the great moments of history to give insight into the people who have shaped our world.
 The Rev. Dr. Bob Faris.
By the Rev. Ian Ross-McDonald, General Secretary
The Rev. Dr. Robert (Bob) Faris, B.A., MDiv, M.Th., PhD
Bob is a lifelong Presbyterian who has an ecumenical spirit and open- ness to the new thing that God is do- ing. This has included more than 35 years of innovative ministry within the PCC that has been focused on understanding and working toward
the improvement of lives and com- munities negatively affected by social injustice and colonialism.
Raised in Newmarket and Sarnia, Ontario, Bob completed his under- graduate studies at Queen’s Univer- sity. Both his parents were elders and Bob felt called to ordained ministry early in life. His involvement in the Presbyterian Young People’s Society and Camp Kintail led to his ordination to camping ministry as the first full- time director of Kintail in 1984. His creative ministry influenced a new generation of leaders and helped set Camp Kintail on a path toward be- coming a model of church camping.
After receiving an M.Div. from Knox College, he worked for some time with a congregation in Hamilton where issues of child poverty were part of the ministry. His passion for the life of the global church was fed at New College in Edinburgh, where Bob completed an M.Th. in 1987, then responded to a call to serve with the Presbyterian Church of Mozam- bique as a professor at the Seminário Unido de Ricatla. He was the first Ca-
nadian Presbyterian to be appointed to Mozambique. After language study in Brazil, Bob spent six years in the context of Mozambique’s civil war as well as the ending of apartheid in neighbouring South Africa. His admi- ration for the courage and witness of Christians in Mozambique in the face of immense violence and pov- erty informed his doctoral thesis at the University of Cape Town, which was published with the title, Liberat- ing Mission in Mozambique: Faith and Revolution in the Life of Eduardo Mondlane. His experience in south- ern Africa also opened his eyes more fully to the legacy of colonialism in Canada and particularly to the cata- strophic harm done to Indigenous peoples.
The Presbyterian Church in Can- ada has benefited from Bob’s aca- demic work and teaching. He has taught courses in pastoral ministry and mission at Knox College and ac- companied students to Cuba. In the lay education program at Knox Col- lege, he taught a course in spirituality and politics.
Bob has been a key ecumenical leader at a time of significant chal- lenge and change. He was Director of the Canadian Churches’ Forum for Global Ministries and the Churches’ Council on Theological Education in Canada. He also served on the PCC’s Church Doctrine Committee and was convener of both the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee and the Cutting Edge of Mission Commit- tee. He chaired the Board of Coop- eration Canada Mozambique, was a member of the Governing Board of the Canadian Council of Churches, was a delegate to the Uniting General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and accompa- nied the Moderator’s visit to Leba- non, Israel and Palestine in response to the KAIROS Palestine document.
In 2011, Bob was called to St. An- dew’s Church in downtown Toronto. He shares in worship leadership, co- ordinates Out of the Cold and Refugee Sponsorship programs, has provided innovative leadership in adult educa- tion and has fostered a partnership relationship with Marabella Church in Trinidad. He has had a significant role in St. Andew’s growth among a younger demographic living in con- dos and working downtown and its deepening commitment to being an intercultural and inclusive congrega- tion. He has also taken a leadership role in the Presbytery of East Toronto.
Bob has taken some time to reflect on the year ahead and on some of the matters he would like to focus on
while Moderator. Relationships are at the forefront in his mind, especially in two different but connected themes.
First, Bob spoke about the im- portance of working toward new relationships with Indigenous peo- ple. “Truth-telling around the experi- ence of Indigenous people and the church’s history in Canada is of highest priority for the church’s at- tention.” He hesitated to move too quickly to use the word reconciliation because there is still much truth-tell- ing yet to be done. “Telling the story is how we forge new pathways,” Bob said.
Second, the church’s work toward inclusion of LGBTQI2+ people is im- portant for Bob, who said, “We still have a long journey ahead of us on that front.”
Bob served as co-convener of the General Assembly’s Special Listen- ing Committee re LGBTQI, known as Rainbow Communion. As a gay man, Bob has experienced the harm done to people who identify as LGBTQI2+ in the church. He has sought to live with integrity, while calling the church to change its doctrine and practice that has diminished and harmed God’s beloved LGBTQI2+ children. He rejoiced when last year’s General Assembly adopted the remits that al- lowed for same sex marriage and the ordination of people in same sex re- lationships as well as all the recom- mendations brought by the Rainbow Communion.
Bob doesn’t believe that the church is beyond the divisions around sexu- ality and inclusion and knows that important discussions will continue to be part of the conversation that the church is having. “But decisions have been made and we are in the place where we are working out what it means to be the church with these new decisions,” he said. “It is hard work, but it is where we are called to be. I hope we can still listen to each other and all the perspectives among us, recognizing that some of the voices we will hear now will be new.”
Bob sees these two focuses as part of the larger issue of inequality and injustices in Canadian society and globally. He says that the church needs to understand the reality of in- justices from a biblical and theologi- cal perspective and recall scripture’s focus on God’s call to justice.
Reflecting on the decision that the General Assembly will again meet online this year, Bob noted that meet- ing in person encourages relation- ship building and a greater sense of community and connection. At the same time, he acknowledged that
 The Rev. Bob Faris in personal protective equipment for take-away meals for the Out of the Cold program at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Ont.
there are good things to be learned by the church that come from meet- ing online. “Meeting online does not need to limit our discernment; for some it made participation easier and enhanced their ability to contrib- ute. It is good for the church to know that we can do both and look at hy- brid models.”
Amid the many challenges and pe- riods of grace experienced during the pandemic, Bob continues to look for- ward to responding to God’s calling and to sharing the journey into this new time that lays ahead for us all.

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