Our People

Rev. Dr. Joe Boot

Rev. Dr. Joseph Boot (M.A., Ph.D.) is a Christian thinker, cultural apologist/philosopher, founder of the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity (EICC), and founding pastor of Westminster Chapel, Toronto. Proud to call Canada home, Joseph is originally from Great Britain and has worked in the fields of Christian apologetics, worldview education and church leadership for over twenty years on both sides of the Atlantic. He has spoken and guest lectured globally 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 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 dissertation focused on Christian cultural philosophy 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 Center for Cultural Leadership; and is senior Fellow of Wilberforce Academy and public theology for Christian Concern, London, UK), 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 farmstead, the Centre for Reformational Culture, is on the Niagara Peninsula in Grimsby, Ontario, where research, publishing and new internship programs of study and training 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. 

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.

Nathan Oblak

Nathan Oblak is the Relationship Manager at the Ezra Institute. He holds a Master of Science in Education degree from Niagara University and has worked as an educator in both public and private institutions for the past 11 years. During this time, he taught a variety of subjects including English, History, World Religions and Apologetics.

Early on in his career, Nathan recognized that the development of positive, authentic relationships between teacher and students was fundamental to educational success. At the Ezra Institute, he now has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with churches, schools, organizations and individuals in the work of advancing God’s Kingdom. Nathan currently lives in Fonthill, Ontario with his wife Becki and their four children: Levi, Luke, James and Jacob.

Davie Peter

Davie Peter is Program Coordinator at the Ezra Institute. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in English from Tyndale University, and is currently working towards a graduate certificate in Publishing from Ryerson University.

Davie has served in various cultural, communications, and event planning roles, including as a museum digitalization assistant, a church children’s ministry intern, and as the communications coordinator of a non-profit.  She lives in Toronto with her husband.

Rev. Dr. Michael Thiessen

With a heart for training and mentoring young adults and pastors and advancing both church and cultural renewal, Michael Thiessen serves the Ezra Institute as Ministry Associate – Advocacy. 

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 Baptist 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.

Michael Gusche

Michael is Facilities Manager for the Ezra Institute. He also oversees the building and custodians at Westminster Chapel in Toronto, where he serves as a deacon. He studied Architecture at George Brown College and Engineering at Ryerson University. He was born in Toronto, raised in Mississauga, and currently resides in Toronto. Michael is married to Nancy, and has two sons, Gavin and Grant.  In his spare time, Michael enjoys cycling, wilderness camping, and playing with his two grandchildren. He was a Director at George Bell Arena, he is a member of the Etobicoke-Mimico Creeks Watershed Coalition, and he retired as a Boy Scout leader after serving for 32 years.  He is also the former CEO of Joalna Inc.

Bob Eras

Bob is Farm Manager for the Ezra Institute. He studied Resources Engineering at Georgian College Barrie. While there he met Joanne and they were married in September of 1980. Bob has worked as a retail food store manager for 3 years, worked with Ducks Unlimited wetland development, and worked in engine assembly at Honda Canada Manufacturing. He also served as a police constable with the North Bay Police Force for 8 years and as a Community Development missionary in Jamaica.

Bob continues to go on frequent short-term community development trips to Nicaragua. He is the father of five married children and grandfather of eleven active grandchildren. Bob enjoys reading detective novels, playing ice hockey, weight lifting and playing musical instruments. He is the worship team leader at his local church in Barrie where he lives with his wife Joanne.

Rev. Michael and Helen Boot 

Mike and Helen were both born in Great Britain, although Mike is of Dutch background – his father emigrating from the Netherlands to the UK after WWII. Mike has served in both church-planting and bible teaching ministry for over 35 years. Mike and Helen were married in 1970 after meeting at Bible College in U.K.  As a mature student, Mike later went on to obtain his Master of Theology degree through Sheffield University. Having planted a church in the South West of England in which Mike worked as lead pastor for twelve years, they were called on to foreign missionary service in Pakistan 1996-2011. There they both taught in the Full Gospel Assemblies Bible College in Lahore, where Mike became the Academic Dean of Studies.

They have four married sons and nine grandchildren.  Joseph, founder of the Ezra Institute and founding pastor of Westminster Chapel, is the only one of their sons living in Canada. Mike and Helen came to join Joe and his wife Jenny here in 2012 to help in these new ministries.  They continue to serve at Westminster Chapel where Mike is an elder and the director of prayer ministry.  Both Mike and Helen also serve as chaplains with the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada, and it is in this chaplaincy role they now work with the Ezra Institute, living at the Ezra Farmstead (Centre for Reformational Culture) in Grimsby as the residential chaplains.

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.