Spiritual Support for Trent Students
Trent University works with a group of volunteer Chaplains and Community Liaisons from various faith traditions in the community. Chaplains are available for one-on-one appointments with students, and are trained to provide support and counseling to students. Community Liaisons, while not formally trained to provide spiritual care, can offer a point of connection with the faith group they represent. They can share information about the faith, service times, meeting locations, and may be able to discuss questions of an ethical, spiritual or religious nature with students.
Lorenzo Whetung (Kchi Matigamis) is an Elder and Knowledge Keeper who enjoys sharing his culture and teachings with others. Lorenzo has worked in the field of education throughout his career, including the Curve Lake Day Care Center and Kawartha Pine Ridge School Board. Lorenzo attended Trent University where he served as president of the Trent University Native Association. During Lorenzo’s time as a teacher, he supported non-Indigenous students and educators alike in their desire to learn about Indigenous culture. He later worked as Education Manager for Curve Lake First Nation and as an elected Council member. Lorenzo owns and operates his own business, Gabeshiwin: A Place to Gather by The Fire, where people can participate in Indigenous Reconciliatory Experiences. Lorenzo feels lucky to have grown up in Curve Lake at a time when he and his twelve siblings could experience life on the land, where they were raised to be respectful of their environment and in awe of all they had around them. It is with great pride and pleasure that Lorenzo is now able to help shape understandings of Indigenous culture through his work as Cultural Advisor in the First Peoples House of Learning at Trent. Lorenzo is available to Indigenous students who are seeking cultural or spiritual support.
Farheen Khan is the co-founder and Imama of the first Women's Mosque of Canada and is one of the Founding Directors of the Azeeza for Women. She is the author of two memoirs that speak to the impacts of gender-based Islamophobia and gender-based violence. Farheen has worked in the anti-violence-against-women sector for the last 17+ years. She has organized and spoken at several rallies, including Take Back the Night, Dec 6th vigils, International Women's Day gatherings, and Walks to end Violence Against Women. Outside her work with the Women's Mosque, Farheen is the Principal Consultant of FSK & Associates - an organization focused on building capacity of community organizations that are led by and for Black, People of Colour, Women and other marginalized communities to create a more equitable society for all.
Dr. Rabbi Denise Handlarski, a Professor in the Trent School of Education, is affiliated with Secular Humanistic Judaism. She serves people who are Jewish, Jew-ish, secular, agnotic, atheist, spiritual but not religious, or culturally Jewish. She is an ordained Rabbi through the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism and a member of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis. Denise can act as a guide to help folks through difficult moments, mental health challenges, decision-making, transitions, and more. She loves having conversations about how to have a more spiritually connected and engaged life. Find her at secularsynagogue.com.
Stephanie Wildheart (She/Her) is a Trent Alumni who has worked at Trent for just over 10 years. She graduated with an undergrad degree in Psychology and then went off travelling. She landed in Dingle, Ireland for 5 years running a mansion turned hostel and enjoyed travelling all over Europe in her off time, while always making it back to Peterborough to celebrate the winter holidays with her family. Stephanie has a daughter that she adores. Her family also includes two Yorkipoos and a Sphynx cat. Stephanie grew up in a religious family and while she wanted to very much to go into ministry, she took some time away to grapple with questions that arose in that setting. She found her spiritual home with the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough and has since held many roles including the President of the Board, chair of several commitees, and is a service leader from time to time. She is currently sitting on the Board of Directors as Past President and is thrilled to have the opportunity to support humans in the role of Lay Chaplain. Please feel free to reach out for more information about Unitarian Universalism, Rites of Passage ceremonies including transition celebrations of all kinds and any other questions you might have. Unitarians love questions and believe we are all on our own paths and journeys and good company only adds to the fuller adventure.
Christian - Catholic
Father Eric Mason grew up in Peterborough and graduated from Trent University with a B. A. in Anthropology. He studied for the priesthood at St Philip’s Seminary and St Augustine’s Seminary/University of Toronto. After ordination he served in parishes in Lindsay, Bowmanville, and Powassan, with diverse opportunities for ministry in hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and with young people. Currently, he also assists the Latin Mass community in Peterborough. From adolescence, Fr Eric has been interested in the interplay between belief and reason; especially the new horizons which open up when someone seeks the truth, wherever it may lead. Fr Eric looks forward to listening to and speaking with students at Trent and providing pastoral care for the University's Catholic community.
Christian - Non-Denominational
Ben Peltz lives in the north end of Peterborough with his wife and daughter. Ben and his wife were students at Trent University from 2006-2010 before going into pastoral ministry. He currently serves as a pastor at Curve Lake Christian Assembly and is a doctoral candidate at Tyndale Seminary. He also runs summer camps for First Nations youth and oversees a student-run group called Christians For Trent. Ben is always happy to meet with students to discuss spiritual matters, regardless of their background. If you wish to find out more about him or his work you can visit his personal website.
Christian - Non-Denominational
Cormac Culkeen holds a degree in Cultural Studies and Philosophy from Trent University (’10). Cormac has experience in many different faith spaces, and currently holds a number of leadership roles with the Anglican Church for the spiritual care of youth and young adults, including being the Area Coordinator for Youth Ministry for the Trent-Durham Area, and being the Director of Youth and Family Ministries at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Peterborough.Cormac brings an inclusive, affirming, and queer-positive attitude toward their spiritual care work. They love talking about all things spiritual, and they make space for students with wide-ranging beliefs and experiences. Cormac believes that everyone deserves to have safe spaces to explore and deepen their spiritual practices! When they are not working, Cormac likes being a volunteer Chaplain for Camp fYrefly – a camp for LGBTQ2SIA+ youth, producing radio at Trent Radio, and teaching their big, nervous rescue mutt Bruno how to be a dog.
Interested in finding out more about one of these faiths, including meeting times and locations? Please reach out individually to the Community Liaisons below.
Professor Saud Choudhry is a faculty member in the Trent Department of Economics, and is also an involved member of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association. He enjoys supporting Muslim students and participating in events with Trent Spiritual Affairs.
Michael Fox is a Professor Emeritus at Trent. He taught in the School of the Environment and the Department of Biology from 1989-2020. His area of research is Fish Ecology; he studies adaptations of fishes to their environment, exotic species introductions in Canada and Europe, and factors that affect their invasion success. Dr. Fox is an outdoor enthusiast, and he enjoys hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing and canoeing. He has been involved with the Beth Israel Synagogue for approximately 20 years, and now serves on the Board of Directors. Michael enjoys providing support and guidance for the student club TUJA (Trent University Jewish Alliance). Michael can be contacted with questions about the Beth Israel Synagogue, or Jewish community at Trent.
Terri Morrison has a degree in English from University of Toronto. Terri considers all spiritual journeys to be like paths up a mountain - the summit being the same regardless of which path one chooses. Terri has been practicing with The Buddhist Place in Peterborough for seven years. She would be happy to share with students the Buddhist teachings on alleviating suffering and finding peace and joy, as well as providing guided meditations. Terri also enjoys family, spending time in nature, yoga, reading, music, theatre, good movies, documentaries and podcasts.
Stephen Ginley is a member of Peterborough Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, a community sometimes more commonly recognized as Quakers. As a spiritual seeker, he was drawn to Friends because of their history of faith-grounded activism and emphasis on personal experiences with Spirit. He stayed because he is learning that even when our values, expression of faith, or desired course of action differ, we can still regard and honour each other as friends. Stephen is eager to chat with students curious about Quakers and their spiritually-grounded process of non-hierarchical group decision-making and discernment. He began reclaiming his faith and Christianity only a few years ago and finds great joy in sharing around his experience and challenges here with folks from all walks of life. In his spare time Stephen enjoys cycling, karaoke, food, basketball, and gaming.
Risk Management: All of the volunteers with Trent University Spiritual Affairs have signed a volunteer contract and have submitted a current criminal record check with vulnerable sector screening. If ever you feel unsafe when meeting with a Spiritual Affairs volunteer, please call security at x1333 and report the incident. Please feel free to share feedback on any experiences you have had, both positive or negative, by reaching out to Johanna Hart, Coordinator of Spiritual Affairs.