WHO AM I? .............. filefolder001.gif

Currently I am Professor of Christian History and Spirituality at Ambrose University College, government accredited Christian liberal arts university college in Calgary, Alberta. I am also Visiting Professor of Spirituality at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario.  As well as having been Scholar-in- Residence at Oxford University in England, Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem and Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Madurai, South India, I have also taught numerous courses in selected aspects of Christian spirituality at graduate schools and seminaries in both Canada and the United States: (Regent College, Vancouver BC; Canadian Theological Seminary, Calgary AB; McMaster Divinity College; Hamilton ON; Wycliffe College, Toronto ON; Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland OH; Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore KY; Trinity Seminary, Ambridge PA; Regent University, Virginia Beach VA; Bethel Theological Seminary, San Diego CA). Presently, I serve on the Faculty of the Pecos Benedictine School for Spiritual Direction near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I received my Ph.D. in Early Modern European/Reformation History from the University of Waterloo (1985).  For almost three decades, my teaching, research, writing and ecumenical retreat ministry has focused on the historical and practical dimensions of spiritual renewal. Ironically my surname ‘Nienkirchen’ translates as ‘new church’ providing a certain genealogical confirmation for my vocation. Additionally, numerous educational travel ventures, research, teaching and a variety of other professional commitments have taken me across North America, to Central America, the British Isles, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, giving me an extensive exposure to Christianity’s capacity to incarnate itself in a broad spectrum of host cultures. .................................................................................... globe0008.gif
My ancestors were Lutherans who in the late 19th century emigrated from Mecklenberg, Germany to Canada where they became Methodists.  My theological orientation could be appropriately described as ‘conservative Protestant’.  Nevertheless, it is my conviction that the fulness of Christ is expressed in the rich and colourful global tapestry of Christian truth woven by the major ancient and modern, eastern, western, and southern streams of Christianity.  This appreciation of ‘Christ’s fulness’ mirrored in the ‘fulness of the church’, however, does not in my mind diminish the importance of the distinctive doctrinal, liturgical and ethical contributions made by each of these respective traditions.  I resonate with the convergent tenets of ‘The Chicago Call’ composed by a group of conservative Protestants in 1977 and the summons contained within that document for Christians of diverse and admittedly sometimes conflicting heritages to dialogue, worship and pray together as well as learn from each other. Such is the ‘communion of saints’
My personal spiritual journey (and I have been a pilgrim in the church) has been undeniably ‘multi-culturalized’ in a religious sense and immeasurably enriched by both life empowering formational experiences in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican and numerous Protestant and Pentecostal/Charismatic contexts and participation in inter-faith dialogue with Muslims and Jews. Cultivating and maintaining a global, ecumenical perspective on Christian trends and issues has been a longstanding personal priority. In many respects, the ‘Down Ancient Paths’ travel study program grew out of and seeks to reflect and promote the above stated values and perspectives.