Meet the Faith Representatives

The Faith & Spirituality Centre is very thankful for the generous support of many different religious and spiritual communities for providing chaplains to serve the campus community.

Sandra Brask

I was a student at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in 1968 when I heard about, and became attracted to, the Baha’i Faith. I had been raised as a Christian but found myself curious about other religions.

The Baha’i Faith appealed to me because it recognizes all the Great Religions as coming from one and the same Source. So as I deepened in my study of the Baha’i teachings my interest in, and respect for, other faiths grew.

The Baha’i Faith is “young” as far as religions go. It was founded in 1863. But it quickly spread world-wide and is recognized by the United Nations as an independent world religion.

I committed myself to being a Baha’i, translated to mean “Follower of the Light”, back in 1968. It has been a humbling journey but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. It sustains the very core of my being.

I recently retired as a Real Estate Agent. I am now teaching spirituality classes to young children. We call our classes “Camp Unity”. We teach the fundamentals of prayer, the Human Spirit, and the importance of living by the Virtues that are common to all sacred traditions. Unity in diversity is also celebrated.

My new role as Representative for the Baha’i Faith on campus is an honour for me and an opportunity to serve in a new way.

I look forward to this exciting adventure!

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-4165

    Email: sandra.brask@ucalgary.ca

Rev. Dr. Carmen Maier

Study is an opportunity; it is also a challenge; it shapes how we view ourselves and our world.  Sometimes companions on the way can help.  I’m here to listen, to share the journey, to encourage, to be a sounding board.  My passion is to see how our lives are intersected by the Divine Presence, sometimes mysteriously, sometimes more obviously.   

My studies have covered the breadth of Christian traditions and history.  My PhD is in Church History and my Masters studies are in Theology and Early Christian Studies.  I have done some teaching in practical theology and spirituality.  I am most interested in early Christian practices like meditation, hospitality, community life, silence…  as many of these are so relevant for life today.

When I’m not at the University I am at Holy Cross Anglican church, half-time, enjoying the life of the local congregation.  When I’m not there, I’m usually outside, ideally mountain biking or hiking!

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-6367

    Email: carmen.maier1@ucalgary.ca

Jef Tsui

Jef Tsui is a graduate of the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane and has been involved in student ministry since 1995.  His desire is to help young people become passionate followers of Jesus Christ and to know God experientially and holistically. He is also a jeweller, a photographer, and an artist. 

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2281

    Emailjtsui@ucalgary.ca

Fr. Cristino Bouvette

I am a Roman Catholic Priest ordained in 2012 and working in the Diocese of Calgary in a newly created position. I am known as the "Vicar for Vocations and Young Adults." Fancy, right? I'm still figuring out what it means!

We have created a new platform of outreach for university students and young adults called the St. Francis Xavier Chaplaincy at our off-campus centre in St. Bernard's Church. I will be visiting campus at least once a week every Tuesday as I split my time between MRU and SAIT as well.

I enjoy just hanging out with students near the Jugo Juice in Mac Hall or at TFDL when I'm not in the Faith and Spirituality Centre. We chat about life, celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation and share my love of food. I hope to meet you soon!

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-5933

    Email: cristino.bouvette@ucalgary.ca

Rev. Paul Verhoef

What to tell people about me? I'm a husband, father, son, friend, pastor in the way of Jesus, and ultimate frisbee player. I love people, books, my work, fresh air, and yes, even the University of Calgary.  My life at the University seems to be filled with listening to people's lives, laughing and crying alongside of friends (new and old), creating space for people of varied spiritual paths to share a life of meaningfulness together, fostering thoughtful Christian academic community, and nurturing others as they shape beautiful dreams. I like living through the messy-loveliness of my heart out into the messy-loveliness of the world - and see the Spirit's vitality through it all. And there's a bunch more, but no space for it here; feel free to ask.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2596

    Emailpverhoef@ucalgary.ca 

Pearl Nieuwenhuis

Pearl Nieuwenhuis (BEd, MA, trained in spiritual direction). The journey of faith is too hard and too dangerous to do alone.  We need companions who will walk with us, listen carefully to us, care for us with compassion and tenderness, companions who tenaciously encourage us to bring our whole self – especially our inner self. Those who call us to honesty about our lives – the good and the difficult – those who help us live out of our deepest truth.  We need those who will co-discern with us where God is lovingly active in our lives.  This deeply personal and compassionate care for another is the heart of spiritual friendship, the heart of Spiritual Direction.  And this is what I hope to offer during my time at the University of Calgary.

A little bit about me?  Well, I am married, a mother of 2 adult children, a sister to 8 siblings and daughter to aging parents. I love reading, gardening, playing squash and praying with food; living the way of the heart.  I initially lived out my sense of vocation in the field of education as a middle and high school teacher in both public and private schools, as well as a home education consultant. No longer teaching and primarily accompanying others in spiritual direction and facilitating training in spiritual direction, I am paying attention to God’s loving invitations in my life – to trust, to be open and receptive, to being fully alive, to flourish alongside new ideas and people, to deepen what is true in my life and gently welcome difficult things......the list goes on.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-4339

    Emailpnieuwen@ucalgary.ca 

Rev. Margaret Propp

Margaret has a B.A. in Studio Arts and Chemistry before going to the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon to get her M.Div.  Ordained into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in 2005, Rev. Margaret Propp served as a parish pastor in Davidson, SK before moving to Edmonton - where she was a Chaplain of St. Thomas Health Centre.  Recently she moved back to her hometown of Calgary, and serving as the Lutheran interim Chaplain.  Margaret has two active boys and a husband who cheers for the Roughriders. 

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2716

    Emailmpropp@ucalgary.ca

Rev. Kelly Johnson

Kelly loves the energy and diversity of campus life. He is passionate about helping people encounter God in the every day world of studies and research and through service learning locally and globally. Kelly met Barb during his first degree, have four kids now and have traveled in many countries of the world together.

Kelly spends most of his time at the UCalgary but also oversees University Campus Ministries at MRU (Craig Murray) and SAIT (Art Kung).  Valerie Salkeld (Wycliffe) also serves with UCM on Mondays at UCalgary.

Worship @ the U happens in the Council Chambers in MacEwan Student Centre (MSC) every Monday at noon during fall and winter semesters. 

Students help to lead and organize this joyful time of connecting with each other and God.

Friendship Program Invitation: Over 60 families and 120 international students are developing friendships in Calgary through Home Away from Home.


Want to get involved? We want to link international students with Canadians to help them appreciate all that Calgary has to offer. The simple idea is for you to experience hospitality 3 times a semester (simple things like tea or games night or even a holiday meal together).  Contact Kelly at the Faith and Spirituality Centre or go online to http://home-away-from-home.ca

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-3900

    Emailkelly.johnson@ucalgary.ca

Rev. Phil Aud

After serving in full-time pastoral ministry for nearly 20 years, Phil excited to join the team at U of C. With a desire to see culture impacted and created through imaginative and hospitable conversation, authentic community, and inspired artistic influence, Phil is passionate about the academy and the possibilities for holistic growth that exist there. 

Phil is a book nerd, coffee connoisseur, musician and outdoor sports wannabe. He’s also a listening ear and would to get to know you. Phil’s wife Marisa is a Worship Pastor in Calgary, and they have three incredible children who fill their home with joy and laughter.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-8257

    Email: phil.aud@ucalgary.ca 

Rev. Tim Nethercott

Tim was ordained in the United Church of Canada following careers in book publishing, teaching English and working for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.  He has worked and studied in Europe and Asia and has been very involved in Environmental and Social Justice issues.  His interests include Contemplative Christian Spirituality, Multi-Faith conversation, drumming and cycling.  Tim has a young daughter named Esmé and loves his work with the campus ministry.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-3896

    Emailnetherco@ucalgary.ca

Usha Sharma

I am a retired kindergarten teacher and have also instructed adults in an Early Childhood Program.  I have lived in Calgary since 1994 and have been a life member of the Hindu society of Calgary. I have worked and volunteered at the Hindu temple in various capacities.  One of these responsibilities has been to speak with and conduct tours of our temple for individuals and interfaith groups, students from schools or universities seeking to learn about the Hindu faith.

My interest and knowledge of personal faith and spirituality comes from a life-long pursuit of my faith.  I seek out individuals who are interested in the same pursuit, read books, attend lectures and seminars by scholars and learned people.  I have been fortunate to meet and join a study group under the affiliation of the world-wide Chinmaya Mission Group.  This group meets regularly to read, meditate and discuss our scriptures to gain knowledge of our scriptures but also how to apply this understanding to daily encounters.  This has been of tremendous benefit and advantage to my personal and spiritual growth. This also makes me very suited to inform and guide others who seek to know my faith, its traditions, festivals and practices.

Chinmaya International Mission is a world-wide organization that facilitates knowledge and understanding of individuals' spiritual connection with the Supreme Being. It exists to advance a cross cultural forum to for the exchange of knowledge as a bridge between East and West, between science and Spirituality. It also carries out many humanitarian projects to help people become self reliant in work and education.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2991

    Email: usha.sharma@ucalgary.ca 

Nidhi Lodha

I have lived in Calgary since 2005 and have been a life member of the Hindu society of Calgary. I am involved in various charities in Calgary and helping with various fundraising initiatives for Calgarians in need. I am a researcher by training and have worked my whole like finding the truth about diseases. But twist and turns of life beyond my control started my journey of faith and spirituality. I love to talk to people on the same journey and would like to explore the place and power of religion in modern society.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2991

    Email: nidhi.lodha@ucalgary.ca

Suresh Bhat

Bio coming soon!

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2991

    Email: suresh.bhat@ucalgary.ca

Rabbi Mordechai Groner

Born and raised in Israel, Mordechai Groner studied in various ‘Yeshivos’, beginning in Israel than continuing his learning at the Central Chabad Lubavitch Rabbinical College in Brooklyn, New York.

At the age of twenty, he was sent on an outreach mission to Rostov, Russia and the surrounding communities in order to revive Jewish life in that part of the world.

After returning to Brooklyn, Mordechai was ordained as a rabbi at the age of twenty-three.

He later spent a year in Worchester, Massachusetts teaching in the local Jewish high school and after getting married to his wife Esther, the young couple moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where Rabbi Groner served as a Rabbi in the local Chabad Educational Centre.

For the last 13 years, Rabbi Groner has been the Director and main teacher of the Calgary JLI (Jewish Learning Institute) under Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-8379

    Email: mordechai.groner@ucalgary.ca

Danielle Braitman

A lifelong volunteer in the Jewish community, Danielle is passionate about educating the world about Jewish traditions and practices. As the current Hillel Director for University of Calgary, Danielle aims to engage and encourage growth with the campus’ Jewish student body, as well as educate the secular, unaffiliated, and non-Jewish populations on the opportunities that being involved with Calgary’s Jewish community can award. Having studied extensively with the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jewish movements, Danielle is well versed in the intricacies of the different sects and traditions that lay within.

When she is not on campus, Danielle works for the Calgary Jewish Federation as the Emerging Gen Coordinator, engaging the 18-40 year old Jewish demographic in meaningful programming, community outreach, and tikkun olam (repairing the world). She also enjoys hiking, concerts, and playing with dogs.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-3898

    Email: danielle.braitman@ucalgary.ca

Zahid Abid

Zahid Abid was born in Pakistan, is an Ahmadiyya Muslim educator, mentor, and speaker.
Currently, He is serving the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at in Calgary. Besides leading the daily prayers and delivering the Friday Sermons, he is involved in educating the youth in Islamic teachings. Zahid is a graduate of the Ahmadiyya Institute for Islamic Studies and graduated in 2010. In 2017 and 2018, Zahid was able to serve as a host and guest speaker for Radio Ahmadiyya, a live radio program that broadcasts Friday and Saturday from Toronto.

Since graduating, Zahid has served in U.S. Ghana and various cities in Canada. Zahid enjoys playing basketball, cricket, and being outdoors.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: TBA

    Email: zahid.abid@ucalgary.ca

Asif Arif

Asif Arif is an Imam for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at and is currently serving the Calgary chapter. Asif was born in Pakistan and raised in Calgary. As an Imam, Asif educates the youth about Islamic teachings and provides moral and spiritual guidance. Asif graduated from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Islamic studies in 2010 and had the opportunity to serve in the beautiful Fiji Islands! As an Imam, Asif has dedicated his life to serving Humanity and passionately adheres to the very motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at – LOVE FOR ALL HATRED FOR NONE!

  1. Contact

    Office number: TBA

    Email: asif.arif@ucalgary.ca

Imam Hadi Hasan

Born and raised in India, Imam Syed Hadi Hasan acquired his qualifications of BA (Hons) in Islamic studies and BA (equivalence) in Urdu and Persian Literature. Thereafter, for further Islamic studies embarked upon the prestigious seminary in Qom, for around 10 years.

His studies culminated with a Master’s Thesis in Farsi entitled “Peaceful Co-Existence among Religions according to Quran and Sunnah’’.

By Dec 2009 Imam Syed Hadi Hasan assumed the position of Resident Aalim/Scholar at the KSIMC of Leeds, UK where he engaged in and conducted all the educational and practical duties of an Islamic Scholar.

His repertoire extends to having penned over 50 scholarly articles on a wide variety of Islamic and social topics in addition to undertaking the translation of several scholarly Islamic titles mainly from Persian language.

Imam Syed Hadi Hasan continued to develop his knowledge and skill set in the UK by undertaking a variety of courses including:

  • Leadership Development Programmes
  • Certificate and Diploma to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector

As s religious scholar for over 15-years to date, Imam Syed Hadi Hasan has lectured and engaged in educational activities extensively in India, UK, Switzerland, Canada, Burundi, Kenya…  

Since March 2015, Imam Syed Hadi Hasan has been working with Hussaini Association of Calgary-Canada in the capacity of the Resident Alim/Islamic Scholar. In addition to fostering enhanced relationship among Muslim communities in Calgary, he has also been playing a vital role in building bridges and promoting harmonious relationship with other religious communities by active participation in Calgary Interfaith Council and by ‘Interaction through Education’ project.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2435

    Emailsyedhadi.hasan@ucalgary.ca

Imam Fayaz Tilly

Fayaz Tilly is an Islamic scholar, educator and Muslim Chaplain.  At present, he is the Khateeb, one who delivers the Friday sermon to congregants, Imam and Religious advisor for the Muslim Council  of Calgary and also serves as a full time Chaplain at the University of Calgary and a part time Chaplain at Mount Royal University and SAIT. He holds multiple ijazaat (trained to teach) in various Islamic sciences from the Al-Madania Islamic Seminary in Buffalo, New York where he graduated with distinction. He has and continues to serve various communities across Canada and the United States and has great interest and experience in collaborating and building bridges with different faith/spiritual and philosophical traditions promoting inclusivity, and religious pluralism.  He enjoys skiing and bike riding and has a keen interest in youth oriented activities and community development . He lives in Southern Calgary with his family.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2599

    Emailtfayaz@ucalgary.ca

Noureen Tilly

Noureen Tilly who was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta is an Islamic educator, mentor and speaker. 

At present, apart from being involved with many Mosques and Islamic Centres in Calgary, she is the Lead teacher of the Al Noor Quran and Islamic Studies Academy founded by her in 2007, an instructor for Ilm intensive, and a teacher of Quranic Exegesis for the Dar al Tajweed institution. She is also multilingual and fluently speaks both French and English. 

She obtained certification in higher Arabic and Islamic studies from the Al-Madania Islamic Seminary in Buffalo, New York where she graduated with distinction in 2001. 

She continues to serve various communities across Canada and has a keen interest in building community, inspiring positive change and empowering people of all ages. She is also completing her certification of becoming a health coach from the Health Coach Institute in Idaho. Noureen enjoys skiing, swimming, biking and spending quality time with her family.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: 403-220-2599

    Email: noureen.tilly@ucalgary.ca

Vishavdeep Warring

Dr. Vishavdeep Singh Warring is a practicing Sikh born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. His love for Sikhi, widely known as Sikhism, grew from his trips to Punjab, India and being uplifted by spiritually focused individuals and communities.

Dr. Warring developed an early interest in the concept of Naam, which focuses on going within, meditating, and empowering your mind. He started learning music from a young age which is an important component in the Sikh tradition and eventually became a part-time music teacher at Khalsa School Calgary. Additionally, he trained and taught Gatka, the Sikh martial arts, and performed for over a decade at the University of Calgary’s Sikh Awareness Weeks, and at many events in Western Canada.

Dr. Warring is a University of Calgary alumni with a Bachelors of Kinesiology with distinction and served as the first Sikh Student Representative at the Faith and Spirituality Centre. His interests in health and helping others led him to complete his Doctoral in Chiropractic at the Palmer College of Chiropractic in San Jose, California. Dr. Warring is currently living with his family and practicing in Calgary. In his free time, you can find Dr. Warring playing basketball, training in MMA, and travelling.

  1. Contact

    Office Number: TBA

    Emailvishavdeep.warring@ucalgary.ca