Our People

Rev. Dr. Joe Boot

Joe Boot

Rev. Dr. Joseph Boot (M.A., PhD) is a Christian thinker, cultural theologian, noted Christian apologist, founder of the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity (EICC) and founding pastor of Westminster Chapel in Toronto. Proud to call Canada home, Joseph is originally from Great Britain and has worked in the fields of Christian apologetics and church leadership for over twenty years on both sides of the Atlantic. He has spoken and guest lectured all over the world at numerous university student events, seminaries, churches, colleges, and conferences. He regularly addresses pastors and Christian leaders as well as academic, medical, legal, and political professionals in the English speaking nations and has publicly debated leading atheistic thinkers and philosophers in Canada and the United States.

Joe did his undergraduate studies in Theology (Birmingham Christian College, U.K), earned his Master’s degree in Mission Theology with a focus on the philosophy of culture and apologetics (University of Manchester U.K), and holds a PhD in Christian Intellectual Thought (Whitefield Theological Seminary, Florida, USA). A contributing author to Thomas Nelson’s major Christian apologetics volume, Beyond Opinion, Joe’s own apologetic works include Searching for Truth (Crossway), Why I Still Believe (Baker), and How Then Shall We Answer (New Wine). His most noted contribution to Christian thought, The Mission of God (Wilberforce Publications/Ezra Press), is a systematic work of cultural theology/philosophy exploring the biblical worldview as it relates to the Christian’s mission in the world. His latest published volumes, Gospel Culture and Gospel Witness further develop this theme and serve as an introduction to a scriptural worldview and a Christian philosophy of culture.

Joe serves as Senior Fellow for the cultural and apologetics think-tank truthXchange in Southern California; is Senior Fellow of cultural philosophy for the California based Centre for Cultural Leadership; and is director of the annual Wilberforce Academy training program (Christian Concern) in Cambridge U.K, as well as faculty for the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone Legal Academy in Washington DC. In 2011 he was recognized by Toronto’s Centre for Mentorship and Theological Reflection as ‘Best Preacher Apologist’ for his contribution to apologetic and expository preaching. Joe is general editor of the Ezra Institute’s journal, Jubilee, and is founding chancellor of Westminster Classical Christian Academy in Toronto. The Ezra Institute’s new Centre for Reformational Culture is on the Niagara Peninsula in Grimsby, Ontario, where research, publishing and new programs of study are being developed. Joe is married to Jenny and they have three children: Naomi, Hannah, and Isaac.

Suzie Van Seters

Suzie is Vice-President of the Ezra Institute and joined the EICC Executive Committee of the Board in 2016. She oversees operations, staffing and strategic planning. She has a background in political engagement, working for federal political parties at the national and riding levels, as well as the National Citizens Coalition.

Suzie has over 18 years of experience in corporate communications and communications planning, including roles as Senior Project & Finance Manager at Flint Learning Solutions in Toronto, Communications Consultant with Trillium Corporate Communications and working with an architectural design company as a project and client manager.

Suzie completed her degree majoring in Political Science with a minor in History at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College, and obtained a post-graduate diploma in Corporate Communications from Seneca College, graduating on the President’s Honours List.

Suzie lives in Toronto with her husband Russ Hiebert. They attend Westminster Chapel at High Park, Toronto and have 9 children. 

Rev. Dr. Michael Thiessen

MikeThiessen

With a heart for training and mentoring young adults and pastors and advancing both church and cultural renewal, Michael Thiessen is Director of Development and Advocacy for the Ezra Institute, joining the EICC Executive Committee in 2018.

Michael did his undergraduate studies in Pastoral Ministry (Heritage College, Cambridge, ON), earned his Master’s degree with a focus in New Testament and Ethics (Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary), and holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). Michael is the author of Pursuing a First Class Marriage: Find the One Without Trying Many (Deep River Publications). Michael’s D. Min major research project is entitled: Responding to our Hemorrhaging Faith in Canada by Exploring a Family-Integrated Church Model as a Solution.

Michael also serves as Associate Director of Church Planting for the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches (FEBCentral). He has over 20 years of pastoral ministry experience, including international missions experience involving journeying to Mozambique to be director of a startup college. He formerly served as Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Alliston where he continues to minister as a Teaching Pastor.

Mike is married to Sarah. They have four children: Simon, Gabriel, Maylah-Belle, and Galilee-Ling.

Ryan Eras

Ryan Eras

Ryan Eras is Director of Content and Publishing at the Ezra Institute. He holds an undergraduate degree in History from Tyndale University, and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Toronto, with a focus on bibliographic control and the history of censorship.

Ryan has served in several educational and support roles, providing bibliographic research and critical editorial assistance for several popular and academic publications. He lives in the Niagara region with his wife Rachel, and their children, Isabelle, Joanna, Simon and Gideon.

Rick Manafo

Rick Manafo

Rick Manafo serves the Ezra Institute as Program Director and works alongside our staff to shape events that create an excellent and enriching experience for those who attend. Rick is a pastor, musician and gospel-oriented thinker. He does not shy away from difficult questions and invites others to engage in the complexities of the issues that face followers of Christ in our culture. He received an A.R.C.T from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and a Masters of Divinity from Tyndale Seminary. He is an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church in Canada and is the lead pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Kleinburg.

He and his wife Cathia live in Woodbridge, ON and together they have survived the teen years and are the proud parents of two adult children.

Lauren Tamming

Lauren Tamming is the Program Coordinator at the Ezra Institute. She graduated from Redeemer University College where she majored in English and International Studies. Her extracurricular activities included varsity athletics and working as a teaching assistant and writing tutor.

 Lauren is an outdoor enthusiast and spent many summers working at Camp Mini-Yo-We where she organized various leadership programs and canoe trips. She enjoys working with children and youth and helped run an after-school program in downtown Hamilton.

Lauren is passionate about raising awareness for human trafficking and she volunteers for STOP THE TRAFFIK, where she conducts research on cases of human trafficking specifically within North America. She is a member of Forestview Community Church in Grimsby and is involved in leading worship and youth ministry.

Board of Directors

The Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity operates as a charitable corporation and is overseen by the following directors.

Randall S. Currie

Aaron Ferguson

James Glover

Ryan Kidd

Rob Stephenson

Suzie Van Seters

Kevin Young

To contact our directors please use the Contact Form.