Staff Contact Information

General Inquiry   (204) 783-4490
Principal Alan Lai (204) 783-2728 ext 21
Office Administrator Cheryl Thiessen (204) 783-4490 ext 20
Program Staff Janet Ross (204) 783-2728 ext 23 email:
Program Staff Alcris Limongi (204) 783-2728 ext 26
Program Staff – Integration Year Marcie Gibson (226) 343-7799 (text/talk) email:
Program Coordinator, Registrar, Library  Scott Douglas (204) 783-2728 ext 28 email:
Development Coordinator Lori Stewart (204) 783-2728 ext 22  email:
Communications   (204) 783-2728 ext 28

CCS staff: Scott Douglas, Alan Lai, Janet Ross, Cheryl Theissen, Alcris Limongi, Lori Stewart, and Marcie Gibson

Alan Lai, Principal

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Alan was born and raised in Hong Kong. His first language is Cantonese. He also converses and understands Mandarin. Growing up as a colonized person when Hong Kong was under the British rule, he also learned English. In 1982 Alan came to Toronto as an international student to pursue university education. He graduated with a major in Economics from Bishop’s University in Quebec and went on to pursue theological education in Saskatchewan.

Alan is an ordained United Church minister who has served both Chinese-speaking and English-speaking congregations. Most recently he has been in leadership at South Arm United Church in Richmond, BC.

Alan is also a practical theologian with a focus on cultural, theological, and religious interconnectedness. He holds a Master of Sacred Theology degree from the Saskatoon Theological Union and a Doctor of Education from Columbia University and Union Seminary. Alan came from a family of teachers, and his love for theological education is reflected in his dissertation and publishing. Alan has written book chapters in Reading In-Between: Biblical Interpretation in Canada, 2019 (Néstor Medina, HyeRan Kim-Cragg, and Alison Hari-Singh, eds) and in People of Faith, People of Jeong (Qing), 2020 (Nam Soon Song, et al, eds).

Alan formerly taught at Vancouver School of Theology in the area of teaching and learning, Asian theologies, and Jewish-Christian relations. Alan has a keen interest in interfaith dialogue, intercultural ministry, and global citizenship.

In his spare time, Alan loves playing piano, singing with his guitar, and taking photographs. He has a photography website to showcase his works. He also loves producing YouTube content to share his religious ideas and life in general. Alan is married to Fanly, they have three adult children.

Janet Ross, Program Staff

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Janet joined the CCS community as Program Staff in 2016, coming from Emmanuel College and McMaster University where she taught in the areas of Contextual Education, Religion and Culture and Biblical Studies. Janet’s past work experience includes Interim Director of the Teaching Fellows for Ministry Programme at Emmanuel College, Program Coordinator, Intercultural Education and Engagement at the United Church of Canada General Council Office in Toronto, and Asst. Professor at Clark Atlanta University (an Historically Black College and University, Atlanta, GA). In her doctoral work at Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia), Janet majored in Jewish Scriptures and minored in Christian Testament and Islamic Studies.

Janet has published and written on such topics as “The Biblical Basis of the Friends’ Peace Testimony”, Ancient Near Eastern Adoption Formulas and Hebrew Theology, “Hidden Manna, Hidden Meanings: Unveiling Revelation”, the Hodayot (Thanksgiving Psalms) from the Dead Sea Scrolls, W.E.B. Du Bois and Apocalyptic Themes and Interpretations in Christian History.

Janet’s areas of interest focus on religion and social change—including Indigenization and ecology, apocalypticism, ancient and modern monsters/the ‘other’, and practical ethics. Janet is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She enjoys hiking with her spouse and their charismatic miniature Australian Shepherd. If Janet had her choice of super-powers she would be a time-traveler.

Alcris Limongi, Program Staff

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Alcris is an ordained United Church minister who has most recently been serving as Minister of Pastoral Care at Parkdale United in Ottawa, ON. She has also served the church as Racial Justice, Gender Justice and Sexual Minorities Coordinator for the United Church of Canada’s General Council Offices. In her leadership of Racial Justice training she draws on the principles of “courageous conversation.” She is an educator at heart.

Alcris has a passion for transformative pedagogy, intentional community, compassionate and inclusive ministry, pastoral care, social justice, and contextual theology. Her theological boundaries have broadened, from theological and biblical studies in Venezuela to her MDiv and her years of Doctoral studies at Emmanuel College and the Toronto School of Theology. While at Emmanuel she studied with Latino professors and theologians across the US, affirming her identity as Latino/Canadian and, as she says, “the gift of my brown eyes to the church.”

Marcie Gibson, Program Staff

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Marcie is a graduate of the Centre for Christian Studies (2013), and a diaconal minister with the United Church.  She is passionate about diakonia, transformative educational praxis, social justice, and inter-religious dialogue. Joining the CCS Program Staff part-time in 2017, Marcie works remotely from Hamilton ON, and travels to Winnipeg as needed.  Primarily she is responsible for the Integration Year component of the diploma program. Marcie co-facilitated the 2014-16 CCS Program Review and Redesign Process and appreciates the multi-denominational affiliation of CCS, as she grew up in the Anglican tradition.

Marcie is a current PhD student in Practical Theology with the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley CA), focusing her studies on the interaction between diakonia and pedagogy for theological education.  She holds an MA in Spiritual Disciplines and Ministry Practice (U of Winnipeg), a Graduate Certificate in Community Economic Development (Concordia, Montréal) and a Bachelor’s in Social Work and Women’s Studies (McGill, Montréal). With a passion for community engagement, pastoral relations and equity, Marcie was co-researcher on the United Church Thriving with Equity in Pastoral Relations Research Project (2022-23), and lead researcher on the Shining Waters Pastoral Relations Equity Research Project (2021).  She has served four Communities of Faith, two of which were ministries with Indigenous communities of the All Native Circle Conference.  Marcie has taught United Church Polity courses and been involved with Presbytery, Conference, Regional, and Office of Vocation pastoral relations governance.

When not engaged in education, she is likely celebrating something with her large queer interfaith family, in Hamilton or in a canoe or kayak.

Scott Douglas, Program Coordinator

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Scott is an award-winning playwright, and co-editor (with Nanette McKay) of The Unofficial United Church Handbook. His plays include The Touring Test (winner of the Rintoul Award for best new Manitoba play at the 2012 Winnipeg Fringe), Treading Water(performed at the 2009 Winnipeg Fringe Festival),Undiscover’d Country (produced in Edmonton at the Catalyst Theatre in 2005), as well as Maybe One?A Christmas Karl, and Strange Angels. He has written plays for various church gatherings and social justice resources, many of which can be found in his bookStrange Angels and Other Plays published by Wood Lake Books. From 2006 to 2008 Scott served as overseas personnel for the United Church, working with the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education, and Advocacy in the Fiji Islands. Scott currently works part-time at the Centre for Christian Studies, providing admin support and comic relief to the Program Staff. He looks after student records, student resources, website, communications, and the CCS library.

Lori Stewart, Development Coordinator

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Lori joined the CCS staff as Development Coordinator in 2013.  She graduated from CCS in 1987, and spent a year at St. Michael’s College in Toronto completing my MRE. After four years in congregational ministry, she moved into a position as Stewardship Minister in the London Conference office, where her diaconal skills were put to good use in designing workshops, consulting with congregations, and building a strong stewardship network all over southwestern Ontario and in Algoma.  In 2001, an opportunity came to participate as overseas personnel in Jamaica, where she spent six years with her family: Paul worked as an agronomist, and Brose and Ellen (then 7 and 5) attended school, while Lori was assigned to a regional branch of the International University of the Caribbean where she coordinated a training program for elders and lay pastors, and tutored ministry students in their field placements. Following six more years in Canada in congregational ministry, and completing her doctoral studies, Lori finds herself at CCS.

Cheryl Thiessen, Office Administrator

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Cheryl joined the CCS staff as Office Administrator in March of 2015. She holds a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and worked in this field in her younger years. Cheryl has lived in Winnipeg all her life and grew up in the Wesley United Church. As a young adult, she moved away from the church, and spent many years exploring different spiritual paths and traditions. After years of searching, Cheryl has found her way back home to Christian community in both her personal and professional life.

When not at work, Cheryl enjoys reading, biking, camping vacations and listening to live music with her husband.

CCS Staff Vision Statement

“Sharing a commitment to CCS, the staff will value and risk mutual encouragement, support, and deep reflection in a spirit of trust, laughter, and a sense of the sacred.”