Congratulations: Faculty of Divinity Class of 2023

Posted: May 10, 2023

On May 9, 2023, Trinity College held the Faculty of Divinity Convocation 2023 for conferring of Degrees in Divinity and an Honorary Degree, and the presentation of Prizes to Divinity students.

Provost Mayo Moran welcomed graduates and their families, the honoree, distinguished guests, faculty and staff to the ceremony. Provost Moran also introduced the College’s new Chancellor Brian Lawson to Convocation. The Acting Dean of Divinity, Professor Marsha Hewitt, addressed Convocation and presented the prize winners to Provost Moran. Professor Joshua Barker, Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Research & Education, conveyed greetings from the University of Toronto to the graduating class. Registrar Nelson De Melo presented the candidates for degrees to the Chancellor, and the Chancellor conferred the honorary degree upon The Most Reverend Frederick James Hiltz. Archbishop Hiltz then addressed graduates with inspiring words themed upon how the world needs leaders who are wise, charitable and diligent.

On behalf of the College, congratulations to Trinity’s Faculty of Divinity Class of 2023, this year’s honoree and prize winners!

Select photos from Divinity Convocation 2023 are below in the image carousel. Please visit Trinity College’s Facebook Page to view all Divinity Convocation 2023 photos (Facebook album).

>> Get to know the graduates of the Faculty of Divinity Class of 2023! 

  • Faculty of Divinity Convocation: Class of 2023 in the Chapel
    Members of the Divinity graduating Class of 2023 gather in the Chapel before the ceremony



Click on name to view graduate’s bio.

Master of Divinity (MDiv)
Claire Bramma

BEng, MSc, Master of Defence Studies

The Reverend / Captain Claire Bramma is currently Assistant Curate in the Parish of the Valley, in the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and is in training to become a Chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces. She previously completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and a Master of Defence Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston. She also holds a Master of Science in Geographic Information from Cranfield University, U.K. She currently lives in Eganville Ontario and enjoys exploring the outdoors and volunteering in her community.

Adam Wayne McComb

BA, Wilfrid Laurier University

Adam came to Trinity College to pursue his Master of Divinity from a life at sea, with Cairo as his home base. In his time in Toronto, he was honoured to be Co-Head of Divinity with Ali McIntosh, to call Saint Mary Magdalen his home parish, and to serve the congregation of Martin Luther Church on the Lakeshore. He is currently ‘defrosting’ on the beach in Charleston, South Carolina where he is learning, and serving as a Resident Chaplain in a local hospital system. Adam is thankful to all of those who came alongside and supported him in pursuit of his call to ordained ministry which, God willing, will take place at the end of the year.

Paige Chantal Souter (Hons)

Bachelor of Applied Arts, Urban and Regional Planning – Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, Master of Arts, Political Science – University of Western Ontario

The Reverend Paige Souter is the Assistant Curate at Redeemer Church in Toronto, and was ordained on April 30, 2023 to the transitional diaconate. She was the inaugural recipient of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Bursary in Divinity Studies and in 2022-23 she served as Co-Head of Divinity at Trinity College. She currently serves on the Bishop’s Committee for Creation Care in the Diocese of Toronto. For over 20 years she has facilitated workshops on caring for creation, peace and non-violence, social justice, compassionate leadership, and faith formation. She also works with parishes helping them reimagine their ministry within the community in which they are situated. In addition to studying at Trinity, she previously studied theology at St. Michael’s College. Her academic work concentrates on peace, eco-theology, and the theology of place. She and her husband live in southeast Scarborough and have three grown children, Mackenzie, Sophia, and Matthew. God willing, she hopes to return to Trinity in the future to pursue doctoral studies.

  • Thesis: Emplacement in the Liturgies of Holy Week
  • Supervisor: Fr. Geoffrey Ready, Trinity College


Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
Clare Elizabeth Burns


Clare Burns has been a member of the congregation at St. Paul’s Bloor St, Toronto for more than a decade. On October 31, 2022 she completed more than twenty years as a vice-chancellor and then chancellor in the Diocese of Toronto. She is now Chancellor Emeritus of Toronto as well as being Vice-Chancellor of the Anglican Church in Canada. She and her husband, Mark Hemingway, have one daughter, Fiona, who will be graduating with a BSc from Dalhousie University later this month. Clare continues her full-time law practice at Weir Foulds LLP, while she considers her next steps in Theology.

  • Thesis: A reconsideration of Fish’s reader response theory through the lens of the song of Deborah
  • Supervisor: Dr. Walter Deller, Trinity College

Emmanuelle Christie

Bachelor of Arts Honours, English Literature

Emmanuelle Christie will be graduating with a Master of Theological Studies. They have previously completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature at Trent University, and postgraduate studies in fiction writing at Humber College. In 2021, they were awarded a creative arts grant for their work on gender and religion. Their poetry can be found in Victoria College’s literary magazine Acta Victoriana and elsewhere. Having undertaken their graduate research on the medieval church, they hope to move on to further advanced studies in theology and continue writing.

  • Thesis: Julian of Norwich’s Divine Eroticism and its Implications for Spiritual Care
  • Supervisor: Prof. Marsha Hewitt, Trinity College

Mikheil Ghonghadze

Bachelor’s degree, Certificate of continuing education

Mikheil has been a member of the congregation of Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, Georgian Orthodox Church, Toronto for eight years. He completed a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Georgian Technical University, Georgia and a Certificate of Continuing Education from the University of Cambridge, UK. He and his wife, Mariam Datuashvili have a daughter, Natali Ghonghadze.

  • Thesis: Orthodoxy flourished within a Byzantine state and culture; is it possible for Orthodoxy to thrive in an Orthodox manner within a North American democratic state and culture?
  • Supervisor: Fr. Geoffrey Ready, Trinity College

Karim Guirguis

BEng, Software Engineering & Embedded Systems, McMaster

Karim Guirguis has been a member of St. Mary & St. John the Beloved Coptic Orthodox parish in Pickering, for many years, and more recently, a member of the St. Mary & St. Maurice Coptic Orthodox parish in Kitchener. Karim is a reader in the Coptic Church, and, along with his wife, Rolanda, has served youth for many years, and continues to be involved in assisting with youth services at his parish. He completed a Bachelor of Engineering at McMaster University, Hamilton,  and has been working as a Software Engineer for several years. In September, Karim expects to continue his studies, pursuing a PhD in theology.

  • Thesis: The Friend of Man: A Love-Forming Participation in Divine Philanthropy
  • Supervisor: Fr. Geoffrey Ready, Trinity College

Hilda Hifawi

Bachelor of Religious Education

Hilda Hifawi is graduating from Trinity College with a Master of Theological Studies Degree, with a concentration in Orthodox and Eastern Christian studies. Before this, Hilda completed a Bachelor of Religious Education at Tyndale University College and Seminary. While at Trinity, Hilda was the Orthodox School of Theology Representative for The Divinity Class and Secretary for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. In the Spring of 2023, Hilda will be starting the Doctor of Ministry program, Spiritual Formation track with Tyndale University.

  • Thesis: Educational & Training Guide – Lay Pastoral Visiting Ministry
  • Supervisor: Fr. Geoffrey Ready, Trinity College

Reuel Inglis

Bachelor of Arts, Major History with Honours, Minor Political Science

Reuel Inglis has been a member of the Orthodox Church for five years, where he has been able to experience a variety of diverse traditions. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Laurentian University. He lives in Saint Antoine-Abbé Quebec with his wife Justine and daughter Anastasia.

Shereen Ishag

Resources Engineering Technology

Shereen Ishag is a member of the Coptic Orthodox Church where she served the youth for more than 15 years. Shereen is a missionary and has led youth groups to Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia multiple times, serving the Coptic Orthodox Church in Africa. Shereen rekindled a discipleship program at her local Coptic Orthodox parish and currently participates as a teacher to the youth, preparing them to serve in different capacities. Shereen plans to pursue further graduate studies.

  • Thesis: Renewing the Diverse Images of God in Orthodox Liturgy: Moving from Capacity to Belovednes
  • Supervisor: Fr. Geoffrey Ready, Trinity College

Matthew August Frederick Koovisk

BA, UBC, MDiv, Huron University College, ThM, Trinity College

The Reverend Matt Koovisk currently serves as the Rector of St. Mary the Virgin, Virden; St. Mark, Elkhorn; St. John, Reston; and Christ Church, Melita in the Diocese of Brandon. He currently serves the Diocese as the Secretary of Synod, and the Editor of the Mustard Seed, the Diocesan newspaper. In the community, he serves as the Chaplain to the Legion, as a Civilian Instructor with the 2528 XII Manitoba Dragoons Cadet Corps, as the Board Chair of the Association for Community Living, and as a on-call chaplain to the Brandon Regional Health Centre. Following graduation, he will continue this work within the community, and will be teaching a course through the Licentiate of Theology program at Huron University College this coming June and July.

Suzanne Elizabeth Rumsey

Bachelor of Arts (with Distinction), University of Alberta

A parishioner at Church of the Redeemer, Toronto, Suzanne has served the Church for 45 years as a provincial and national youth leader, a member of national and international, Anglican and ecumenical committees, as staff (1991 – 2001) to ICCHRLA, one of the predecessor coalitions of KAIROS and since 2001, as a staff member of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). She is the mother of Robin, a student at U of T. Later this year, Suzanne will be taking a sabbatical to begin work on a biography of her father, the Rev. Gavin Rumsey (1930 – 2012); his involvement in the liturgical experimentation that took place in the Diocese of Kootenay in the 1960s and 70s is the focus of her MTS thesis.

  • Thesis: “Do this and know that I am with you.” – Liturgical Experimentation in the Diocese of Kootenay, 1965-1975
  • Supervisor: Dr. Walter Deller, Trinity College


Certificate in Theological Studies
Dorothy Ann Ferguson

BScN, U of T; MBA, Northland Open University

After a long career in Hospital Administration, nationally and internationally, in 2003 Dorothy Ferguson, BScN, MBA, and her husband Ewen retired to Brooklin, Ontario. There they joined St. Thomas Anglican Church, where Dorothy contributed to the church in many roles, including two 4-year assignments as Warden for two Incumbents. Today, she coordinates St. Thomas’ Pastoral Care Program.

Patricia Ryan

BA (Hons), York; Master of Library and Information Science (Western University), Master of Arts, Political Science (Simon Fraser University)

Patti Ryan has been a member of the Church of the Transfiguration in Toronto for close to a decade. She has held a number of lay leadership roles, including Rector’s Warden, People’s Warden (current), and Chair of the Advisory Board. She currently works as librarian at York University. She and her husband Richard are proud parents of two teenagers, Henry and Audrey. Patti is delighted to have completed her Certificate and looks forward to using what she has learned to support current and future ministries in her home parish.


Diploma in Diaconal Studies
Eda Marina Louise Groulx

Marina Groulx has been part of the Anglican Communion all her life. Currently she is a volunteer at St. Cuthbert’s Church in Leaside, and St. Stephen’s Church in Maple, which is a Mission Church, and was a volunteer for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, translating books into Braille. Marina is a retiree of Bell Canada. She has a grown daughter, Wendy.


Master of Theology (ThM)
Barbara Christine Craig

BFA (Hons), York University; MTS, Trinity College, University of Toronto

In 2001, after finishing her MTS at Trinity, Barbara began the ThD program in biblical studies and proposed a dissertation on textual criticism. In 2023 she transferred to the ThM She had previously trained at York University as a visual artist. In September 2023 she will augment her current French-language translation competency through study at another university. In the context of a small group, she continues to read and parse Koine Greek. On this occasion Barbara’s late husband, David Fischer, would have cited 1 Cor 13:7.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Jimmy Wai Ming Chan

MDiv, ThM, Alliance Bible Seminary; MSc, U of T; BA, BSc, BASc, UBC

Jimmy Chan has been Assistant Professor of Theology at Carey Theological College (hereafter Carey) for almost two years (2021-present). He is a member of Richmond Hill Christian Community Church where he has previously served as pastor for five years (2016-2021). He holds three bachelor’s degrees: in applied science in chemical engineering and chemistry, in computer science (minor in commerce) in psychology. After earning a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Toronto and working in information technology for ten years, he pursued seminary studies, earning a Master of Divinity (2011) and Master of Theology (2014) from Alliance Bible Seminary in Hong Kong, where he had pastored for seven years before returning to Toronto to pursue a PhD in theological studies. He and his wife May have a teenage son named Koen. Jimmy will continue to take on his current faculty role at Carey, preach at various churches in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary and present papers at academic conferences in Toronto, Rome, St. Louis, Singapore and San Antonio while pursuing an MEd (Field in Online Teaching & Learning (Curriculum & Pedagogy)) and working on the publication of his dissertation.

  • Thesis: Living a Happy Life in a Troubled World? A Critical Exploration of Augustine’s Christian Reception of Stoic Ethics in De civitate Dei
  • Supervisor: Dr. David Neelands, Trinity College

When Augustine began writing De civitate Dei (hereafter DCD) in 413, Rome had been sacked by Alaric for three days in 410. The citizens of Rome were devastated: many lives were lost, women were raped, buildings were burned, and goods were stolen. To help him work through these criticisms and doubts from both pagans and Christians, Augustine drew on various source texts, including those of Stoicism, which was one of the most influential philosophies of his time. While the critical perspective on Stoicism is the predominant one in Augustine, I argue that his view of Stoic ethics (i.e., its account of virtue and happiness, its theory of emotion, and its theory of fate), while still predominantly critical, makes a positive contribution to his theology of happiness. Drawing on important works in Augustine studies by, among others, Christian Tornau and Sarah Byers, I argue through socio-rhetorical criticism of relevant texts in DCD that Augustine—through careful consideration of Stoic psychology—offered an ‘emotional therapy’ for these troubled readers in establishing the Christian theology of happiness (beatitudo/felicitas). By recovering the overarching rhetoric of emotions in his magnum opus et arduum, I show that Augustine’s pastoral message in DCD is relevant to readers across the centuries—that it would be possible to live a happy life (beatam uitam) if people could submit their emotions to God’s will and allow them to be transformed by his grace in the love of Christ. Overall, this dissertation sheds light on the Christian vision of human flourishing and the hope of redemption in today’s troubled world, where Christians can not only be freed from troubled hearts by rising above their own emotions with God’s grace and mercy, but they can also begin to transform the world with them.

David Lawrence Danner

BA (cum laude), Lawrence University; MDiv (honours) Trinity College; MA (University of Toronto); DMin (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

David Danner began his theological education at Trinity College 55 years ago in 1973. He was ordained for the Diocese of Toronto in 1976 and Served in the Diocese for ten years before moving to the States where he was in parish ministry until retirement in 2018. At that time, he and his wife Wafa returned to Toronto where David began his PhD studies. David and Wafa have two sons, Peter and John, and a granddaughter, Claudia. John is a 2011 graduate of the College. In addition to being a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Divinity, David is an honorary assistant at St. James Cathedral. David is enjoying a very busy and productive retirement, but wishes to reserve some time with Wafa for travel, especially to Calgary to visit their granddaughter.

  • Thesis: Disruption in Toronto’s Anglican Churches, 1960-1985: The Effect of West Indian and Other Minority Immigration on Parish Identity
  • Supervisor: Dr. David Neelands, Trinity College

Changes to Canada’s immigration regulations introduced in the 1960s opened the door to an influx of immigrants from non-traditional sources, that is countries outside of the British Isles and northern Europe. The challenge of incorporating this racially and ethnically diverse array of newcomers compelled Anglicans to rethink their conventional views on race, culture, tolerance, and assimilation. This transformation is most evident in Toronto where the racial minority population increased sevenfold in the years 1961 to 1986.

This study adds an important element to the thick description of the identity shift that the Anglican Church underwent in the latter half of the twentieth century. The research provides contextualization for today’s Canadians as they mutually negotiate the incorporation process, and for the Anglican Church as it presents the Gospel to an increasingly diverse population. By focusing on the interplay of immigration, a critical element in the formation of contemporary Canadian identity, and the Anglican Church, a body identified with Canada’s dominant culture and values, this thesis locates the historiographical discussion in the centre of Canadian history. By drawing upon unpublished sources, the thesis enlarges the existing narrative and makes a unique contribution to Canadian scholarship in immigration studies.

This thesis, which focuses on the seminal period 1960 to 1985, demonstrates that immigrants—primarily Black West Indies—seeking to find a home in Toronto’s Anglican churches disrupted established patterns of parish life in a church still largely British. While the opening chapters provide a national and diocesan context, the second half of the thesis looks at the changes wrought by immigration in three Toronto parishes. In seeking to incorporate newcomers, these parishes redefined their identity in relation to an increasingly multicultural Canada, their historic ties to Britain, and a multiracial Anglican Communion. While the number of parishes experiencing large-scale immigration was limited, the impact of the changing demographics was embraced by the diocesan leadership, resulting in policies and programs affecting the whole diocese. The self-understanding reached by the Anglican Church during the period 1960–1985 generated fresh opportunities for evangelism and challenges for the practice of ministry in an increasingly pluralistic context.

Milan Gavrilovic

Bachelor of Theology, Master of Theological Studies

Milan Gavrilovic (name at ordination: Very Rev. Basil Gavrilovic) serves the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church as the Assistant to the Bishop. He has completed a Bachelor of Theology degree at “St. Basil of Ostrog” Theological Faculty of the University of Eastern Sarajevo, and a Master of Theological Studies at the Divinity Faculty of Trinity College at the University of Toronto. He recently spent four years in Athens, Greece, studying the Greek language, Patristic texts, and Eastern Liturgical tradition, also preparing his dissertation at the Theological College of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He is ordained in the Serbian Orthodox Church and received the name Basil. Rev. Gavrilovic served as rector and parish priest for ten years at the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Milton, Ontario. Four years ago, he transferred to the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Rev. Gavrilovic is preparing to publish his first book and in future he aspires to teach and write.

  • Thesis: Δύναμις and Μετουσία: Theological Anthropology According to Gregory of Nyssa in De hominis opificio
  • Supervisor: Dr. David Neelands, Trinity College

The thesis deals with one of Gregory’s earliest works De hominis opificio (c. 379). The treatise, which is also one of the earliest “systematic” anthropologies, describes the human creature in light of being created in the image and likeness of God. In the thesis I focus attention on two specific terms of commanding importance to Gregory’s treatise, namely, δύναμις and μετουσία. Furthermore, the thesis explores the terms in relation to the bishop of Nyssa’s anthropology, soteriology and eschatology. The terms δύναμις and μετουσία are found throughout the three themes and moreover are important to the overall work dedicated to the problem of Christian anthropology. The goal of the thesis is to present the interrelation of the two terms, by virtue of which it is only in μετουσία in God’s goodness and life, that human δύναμις can truly prosper and progress. De hominis opificio is not a work of classical anthropology, rather it explores the human being in light of what she/he can become in the eschaton.

Jizhang Yi

Master of Divinity; BA in Fine Art

Jizhang Yi’s current research interests lie in the intersection of philosophy, religion, history, and language, with a focus on the philosophy of Kierkegaard, Chinese Chan Buddhism, comparative philosophy of religion, and classical Chinese language. His dissertation is a philosophical investigation of Kierkegaard’s approach to truth in relation to Chan Buddhist thought represented by Huineng.

  • Thesis: Truth and Subjectivity: Thinking Kierkegaard through the Lens of Huineng
  • Supervisor: Dr. Abrahim Khan, Trinity College

This dissertation is a philosophical investigation of Kierkegaard’s approach to truth and subjectivity in relation to Chinese Chan Buddhist thought represented by Huineng (638–713). A problem that seems to surface for the close reader with some familiarity with both thinkers is whether Kierkegaard’s “Truth Is Subjectivity” is indeed the same as Huineng’s “Dharma (truth or Buddha-law) Is Nonduality 佛法不二,” as lacking a subject and object distinction between the knower and what is to known (the referent). Adopting a comparative method based on the Conceptual Metaphor Theory in cognitive linguistics, this study embraces an investigation that is in effect an argument favoring a similarity between truth as subjectivity and dharma as nonduality. Through the lens of Huineng, Kierkegaard’s truth as subjectivity is how I (i.e., the knowing subject) live truthfully without attachment. Its core concern is to emphasize how a person relates to truth by inwardly achieving self-understanding through actively being involved in one’s daily life rather than being attached to objective things or abstract ideas. By borrowing terms or categories such as “nonduality” from Chan’s philosophical discourses, this research implies that Chinese Chan offers the resources for our contemporary inquiry into the relevant issue in Kierkegaard’s thought. It contributes to work in inter-religious dialogue and comparative philosophy or theology, deepening the dialogue between the two faith traditions or cultures.


The following candidate graduated with a PhD from the University of St. Michael’s College at their convocation on November 12, 2022: Min Hwan Kim



Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa): The Most Reverend Fred Hiltz
Fred Hiltz

Archbishop Fred Hiltz (photo courtesy of the Anglican Church of Canada)

Presented by Bishop Kevin Robertson

Hooded by Acting Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, Professor Marsha Hewitt

Trinity College conferred a Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) upon the Most Rev’d Fred Hiltz, in recognition of his long and distinguished service in the Anglican Church of Canada for more than 40 years, and in recognition of his significant leadership as Primate from 2007 to 2019. As Primate, he represented Canada to the wider international Anglican Communion, working to promote unity and reconciliation while maintaining clear and consistent support for full inclusions of LGBTQ+ peoples in the church and justice for Indigenous people, including his exemplary engagement with Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation process and for working to promote reconciliation within the Anglican Church of Canada.



First Year

Cailean James Cook: The Sidney Childs Prize in Dogmatics (systematic theology); and The Margaret L. Muckle Prize in Philosophy of Religion

Whitney Deware: Dean Feilding Scholarship for highest standing

John Karagiannidis: The Rupert Fenwick Williams Prize in New Testament

Yuhong Rose Wang: The Doolittle Prize in Reading for most improved preaching skills

Second Year

Clare Elizabeth Burns: The Kent Testimonial Prize for best Master of Theological Studies thesis

Denise Byard: The Alexander Burnside Chafee Prize for best preaching skills

Nicholas Fournie: Archbishop Kingston Memorial Scholarship for highest standing; and The Canon Charles Federick Pashler Prize in Moral Theology

Monica Green: The McDonald Prize for General Knowledge of the English Bible; and The Canadian Bible Society Prize for Excellence in Scripture Reading

Marc Guany: The Margaret L. Muckle Prize in Church History

Suzanne Elizabeth Rumsey: The Kent Testimonial Prize for best Master of Theological Studies thesis

Jennifer Sarjeant: The Fourth Bishop of Toronto’s Prize for General Proficiency

Third Year

Claire Bramma: The McDonald Prize for General Knowledge of the English Bible

Paige Chantal Souter: The Dorothy Shuter Prize in Liturgics; The Margaret L. Muckle Prize in Christian Education; and The Hamilton Memorial Prize for best honours thesis

Rebecca Vendetti: The J. Nicholson Prize in Liturgics; and The Gorden Stephen Memorial Prize for highest standing

The Integrity Award

Emmanuelle Christie 

Governor General Silver Medal for Highest Standing Overall

Paige Chantal Souter

The Governor General’s Academic Medal was first awarded in 1873 by the Earl of Dufferin, and has since become one of the most prestigious awards that a student in a Canadian educational institution can receive. The Governor General of Canada continues this tradition of encouraging scholarship across the nation and recognizing outstanding students.