Host a speaker in Ontario

The staff from MCC have a wide range of passion and expertise, and they're eager to share with your church, school or event.

A man speaking to a group of people

The staff from MCC have a wide range of passion and expertise, and they're eager to share with your church, school or event.

Below you'll find a list of staff who are available to speak in Ontario. To book a speaker for your event, contact Katie Buchnea today at or 1-800-313-6226 ext 235.

Photo of Wendy Adema
Wendy Adema, Director of People and Programs, MCC Ontario

Wendy, who has served with Mennonite Central Committee Ontario as Program Director since 2008, provides oversight to MCC Ontario’s Human Resources department as well as the five Ontario program areas: Indigenous Neighbours, Material Resources, Migration and Resettlement, Restorative Justice and Walking with People in Poverty. Wendy holds a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University, where she specialized in community development and social planning. She has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector, having worked for social planning councils, United Way and other community-based organizations. Wendy is married to Michael Thiessen and they are members of Wanner Mennonite Church and are active in their home community of Glen Morris. Wendy can speak about MCC’s Ontario-based programs as well as the ways that people can get involved in MCC as staff, volunteers or service workers.

Photo of Darlene Bartha wearing purple long sleeve shirt
Darlene Bartha, Manager of Donor Relations, Major Gifts

Darlene, who has worked with Mennonite Central Committee Ontario since 2016, currently serves as Manager of Donor Relations. Her passion is to connect MCC’s partner donors with projects that enable them to make their desired impact in the world. She enjoys sharing stories about MCC enriching the quality of life for vulnerable people, addressing root causes of injustices and building peace. Darlene has worked with other international development organizations and learned much from travelling to several developing countries. She now lives in Kitchener with her husband and three young adult children. Darlene speaks clearly about current needs MCC is addressing both locally and internationally.

Headshot of Andrew Benson

Andrew Benson, Walking with People in Poverty Program Coordinator

Hey there, I'm Andrew, a Newfoundlander by birth but a wanderer at heart, soaking in the diverse landscape and experiences of Canada's cities and towns. From coast to coast, I've wandered through cities and towns, but my true home is wherever my dog Nova and I find ourselves, reveling in the simple joys of a good hike and a campfire. Life's been a journey of sharing with those who care about community, poverty, justice, love, and of course, a hearty laugh and good food. Over the last 20 years I have been involved in various projects and programs in the non-profit sector, government, social enterprise, local grassroots initiatives and even a brief time as a pastor.

Since 2015, me and some friends host an annual event we call Concert for Socks—a series of concerts across Canada, not just for music but to raise a ruckus (awareness and support) for local homelessness initiatives. I've also tried my hand at writing with a book called "Friendships Last Longer than Sandwiches." It's my way of exploring the enduring magic of real connections and seeing the presence of God in the everyday situations and people of life.

Currently, I'm the Program Coordinator for the Walking with People in Poverty Program at MCC, blending passion with profession. Faith in God isn't just on Sundays; it fuels my adventures, curiosity, and the desire to serve alongside my neighbors. Every day, wrapped in God's love and grace, is a good day if you ask me. Let's keep the journey rolling, friends!

Headshot of Christina Edmiston

Christina Edmiston, Refugee Sponsorship Associate

Christina serves as the Refugee Sponsorship Associate with MCC Ontario’s Migration & Resettlement Team, guiding sponsors through the onboarding and sponsorship application process. She is an ordained minister with MCEC and a credentialed lawyer with 15+ years of in-depth experience as a sponsor, as well volunteering to assist asylum seekers here in Canada. She is available to speak and to resource congregations on all things related to refugee sponsorship. She is passionate about encouraging congregations and individuals as they explore the opportunity to extend unconditional hospitality to refugees. Christina is available to speak about how churches and individuals can respond to the global refugee crisis through refugee sponsorship. 

Headshot of Rod Friesen

Rod Friesen, Ontario Programs Team Lead

Rod began working with Mennonite Central Committee Ontario in May 2017. Rod has had a lifelong career within the nonprofit sector and has held various leadership roles in areas of program and human resources management. He has a passion for building peace by supporting creative ways to build healthy communities and organizations. Rod graduated from Conrad Grebel University College in the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies program and is also a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL). Rod can speak about MCC Ontario programs and specific topics such as peacebuilding, restorative justice, and being an active bystander. 

A headshot of Kim Lester
Kim Lester, Associate Executive Director

Encouraging, resourcing and empowering others to achieve great outcomes has always been a momentous passion for Kim. Over the years, she has held several leadership positions – primarily in the not-for-profit sector. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph (BASc.) and the Waterloo Region Community Leadership program. A little over seven years ago, her experience and passion culminated as she began working with the Mennonite Central Committee in Ontario, first as the Director of Revenue Development, and more recently as the Associate Executive Director. Kim continues to give pioneering leadership to MCC’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising strategy and has taken the program from a two-staff operation to a multi-staff team, raising over $10 million annually. She also provides leadership on a national level, supporting the implementation of these strategies across Canada..

Kim and her husband Todd (who serves in denominational leadership with the Be In Christ Church of Canada) have two young adult daughters. One is an RN, and the other is pursuing a law degree focusing on international human rights. In their downtime, Kim and Todd love embarking on cycling and hiking adventures, both in Canada and internationally. Kim is willing to provide general presentations about the work of MCC through impact stories complemented by some biblical content.

Headshot of Lynda Lynch

Lynda Lynch, Thrift Director

Lynda is a faithful professional with over a decade-long tenure at MCC Ontario. Joining in 2013, she initially gained insights and learned the inner workings of thrift at MCC Thrift on Kent before transitioning to a key role supporting the Thrift Network, Lynda's 17 years of broadcasting experience in marketing, client services, and storytelling bring a wealth of expertise to her current position. Her unwavering passion for thrift's sustainability aspect and being conscientious stewards of resources and the environment drives her commitment to the transformative power of thrift. Lynda finds inspiration in the remarkable generosity and gifts of volunteers who contribute to the network of thrift shops, and she eagerly anticipates the future potential of both the talented staff and the profound impact thrift can have on communities.

Headshot of Moses Moini
Moses Moini, Migration and Resettlement Program Coordinator

Moses serves as Mennonite Central Committee Ontario Migration and Resettlement Program Coordinator. After graduating from Brock University with two bachelor degrees in business and economics and an MBA, he worked in Tanzania in the field of community development from 2000-2003. In 2004, Moses started working with the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program where he eventually found his calling. As a registered Canadian immigration consultant, Moses has extensive knowledge of and experience with the Canadian Immigration system.

Having resettled in Canada in 1992 as a refugee from South Sudan, Moses is passionate about refugee issues. Committed to advocacy and serving as a voice for refugees and newcomers to Canada, Moses’ greatest desire is to continue to seek church engagement in being the hands and feet of Jesus by creating welcoming spaces and providing safety to those fleeing persecution and other human rights abuses. Moses is available to speak on how MCC Ontario continues to work for peace and justice in the name of Christ through its Migration and Resettlement program.

Headshot of Scott Morton Ninomiya
Scott Morton Ninomiya, Indigenous Neighbours Program Coordinator

Born in Waterloo Region, Scott lives with his family on the Grand River Watershed – the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Neutral peoples. His diverse career has included work and learning in non-profit, academic, provincial and municipal government contexts. He attends St. Jacobs Mennonite Church and is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in the Environment Faculty at the University of Waterloo. Scott is a trained yoga instructor who loves to hike, camp and kayak whenever and wherever he can. Scott can speak about MCC’s work with Indigenous people and explore topics including Indigenous-Settler relations, the connections between Indigenous justice and climate justice and the role of churches in helping to pursue both.

A headshot of Stephen Roy
Stephen Roy, Church and Community Relations Associate

Stephen, who has been part of the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario team since 2021, focuses on building and nurturing relationships between MCC and supporting churches. He comes from a background in faith-based post-secondary education as an academic administrator and instructor with over 30 years of experience. His education includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in urban planning (Honours BA and Ph.D.) and theology (M.Div.). With his interest and involvement in charity leadership and governance, Stephen serves on several church and ministry boards, including Be In Christ Church of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities. Personal interests include watching soccer, reading historical fiction and researching family history.

Stephen can share a biblical message that speaks to the motivation for MCC’s work. He explores themes such as peace, justice and God’s concern for the poor and marginalized. He can also provide an overview of MCC’s work internationally and in Ontario or speak about a specific program or country if requested.

Headshot of Laurie Warkentin

Laurie Warkentin, Education and Engagement Program Associate

Laurie is passionate about connecting and collaborating on changemaking efforts – especially building relationships across unjust systems and working towards mutuality. Laurie looks to draw from the strengths and synergies of others and holds spaces for listening, curiosity, engagement and co-creating new possibilities. Laurie’s skills and background are in life coaching, facilitating team and leadership development both locally and cross culturally, and she holds a Master of Arts in Global Leadership. She is a certified facilitator of the EQi2.0 assessment tool (Emotional Intelligence).

At MCC Ontario, Laurie is piloting a project that is practicing ways that MCC can better support an ongoing learning and change-making journey for churches, organizations and partners, and is always open to bridging new connections and looking for common ground to grow our collective efforts towards change. Laurie is most comfortable facilitating experiential workshops, so if asked to speak, don’t be surprised if she sneaks in an experiential element. Laurie can speak or facilitate workshops on Practicing Changemaking, The Journey of Becoming a Good Relative to Indigenous Peoples, and Doing Good…Better.

Headshot of Clara Wheaton

Clara Wheaton, Indigenous Neighbours Program Associate

Clara has worked as the Indigenous Neighbours Program Associate on the traditional territory of the Cree, Ojibway, and Oji-Cree people since 2021. Based out of the northern regional office in Timmins, she works to build relationships and develop partnerships with First Nation and Indigenous organizations in northern Ontario. Clara is currently working on her Bachelors in Human Rights and Social Justice and values the many opportunities to learn from partners across the north while continuing her studies. She is passionate about sharing stories that invite people into a journey of learning, discovery, challenge, and hope. Clara can share about MCC’s work with Indigenous neighbors in the north with a focus on food sovereignty and the Niska Artisan program.

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