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Meet Our Partners: The Online Encyclopedia of Canadian Christian Leaders

December 5th, 2017

This week, we are featuring one of our partners, The Online Encyclopedia of Canadian Christian Leaders (OECCL), an initiative that exists to guide the ongoing development of Christian leadership in the marketplace and the local church across Canada.

The OECCL was founded by Dr. Lloyd Mackey in partnership with Tyndale Leadership. Founded to provide access to the narrative legacies of leaders of faith who have shaped Canada’s evolution, this encyclopedia contains a survey of leaders that work in spheres ranging from media to business.

Notes OECCL founder Mackey, “The concept of the Online Encyclopedia of Canadian Christian Leaders grew out of half a century of faith-based, community-oriented journalism.”

Indeed, Mackey attributes the vision of founding the OECCL to a career in journalism. He notes, “My journalism career was carried out mostly in British Columbia and Ontario. From 1998 to 2013, I worked in Ottawa, with a desk in the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery. From that ‘perch’, I was able to observe and write about many Canadian leaders who were, so to speak, ‘doing politics Christianly.’”

During the final years of his career in journalism, Mackey enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program offered by Tyndale University College and Seminary. The OECCL was born as a thesis project that served as “a ‘manual’ for people who wanted to take on such a project.” In partnership with Tyndale, OECCL became an interactive reality.

Mackey cites others projects such as the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, the Global Anabaptist-Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO), The Canadian Establishment (a three-volume story-telling journal authored by long time former editor of Maclean’s Magazine, Peter C. Newman) and Canada: Portraits of Faith, edited by Michael D. Clarke as inspirations for this initiative that continues to serve Canadians today.

Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary served as an opportunity to amplify the voices found within the OECCL. From the Faith in Canada 150 emerged a partnership in the form of the Thread of 1000 Stories collection. Through contributions, reprints, and inspiring other journalists and authors to join in the preserving of these voices from our history, the vision and mission of OECCL was extended and enlarged.

The range of Canadians featured in OECCL is impressive including but not limited to, as Mackey notes, “climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, pipeline builder Edwin C. Phillips, former BC lieutenant-governor David Lam, historian George Rawlyk, pastor/politician Bernice Gerard, longtime Alberta premier Ernest C. Manning and many more.”

As the OECCL continues to look to the future, the preservation and celebration of story remains their top priority. Mackey reflects that “I would like to encourage journalists, authors and historians of various faiths to write the stories of Canadians who have shaped our nation in many ways – such as business, education, governance/politics, entertainment/arts, humanitarianism/health care/family, institutional faith and media.”

Story remains, for the OECCL team, at the heart of what it means to belong to each other and take ones place in the collective frame of Canada. “As we tell each other’s stories, we are reminded of what faith means in community and country. As I have read Thread stories written about people of faiths other than my own, I have been encouraged to understand my own story and my Christian faith in a diverse and complex world.”

To learn more about the work that the Online Encyclopedia of Canadian Christians undertakes, visit:

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