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Room 205




Rev. Dr. Cameron Harder

Professor of Systematic Theology

Personal: Ordained into the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, Nov 1, 1981. Married to Dorothy since July 6, 1975 with three children–Joel, Kristel and Ryan. Residing in Saskatoon, SK, Canada. 

A. Professional Positions Held


  • Professor, Systematic Theology (2008), tenured (2001), Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon, SK.
  • Founder, Executive Director of the Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry (“CiRCLe M”), Saskatoon SK (since 2007).
  • Director of the Doctor of Ministry program, Saskatoon Theological Union (since 2012).


  • Director of  Contextual Education, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon, SK (2000-2008, 2010)
  • Acting Dean of Studies, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon, SK (2009-2010)
  • 2002-2008 Assoc. Professor of Systematic Theology, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon, SK.
  • 1997-2002 Assis. Professor of Systematic Theology, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon, SK.
  • 1982-1997 Pastor, Emmanuel Lutheran, Calgary AB and Messiah Lutheran, Camrose, AB.

B. Educational History

Degrees and Diplomas

  • 1999–Ph.D. (interdisciplinary—theology/sociology), University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto School of Theology.  Dissertation: “The Shame of Farm Bankruptcy: A Sociological and Theological Investigation of its Effect on Rural Communities.”
  • 1986–S.T.M., Graduate Theological Union at Saskatoon. Thesis: “The Church Growth Movement: A Lutheran Perspective on the Emerging Shape of the Church.”
  • 1981–M Div., Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon, SK. 
  • 1977–B. A. (sociology and psychology) University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
  • 1973–diploma of graduation, Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute, Camrose, AB.

Major Honours, Grants and Awards

  • 2011- Seeds of Hope Scholarship, United Church of Canada Foundation
  • 2009 – Rural Alberta’s Development Fund – core funding for CiRCLe M ($313,313)
  • 2003–Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion Grant ($63,000 Cdn)
  • 1999–Governor General’s gold medal for best doctoral program and dissertation, Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto, ON Canada.
  • 1993–Wilfred May Scholarship for Graduate Study ($30,000)
  • 1977– Gold medal, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB highest standing, department of psychology.

C.  Major Projects (since 2007)

  • “Building Bridges” – 2012-13 Initiative under CiRCLe M to build friendships between adjacent rural and aboriginal communities.  Funding support from Rural Alberta Development Fund, presently working with a group of leaders in AB from Wetaskiwin and the four First Nations of Hobbema.
  • Faith in the Oilpatch.  2011-2012 interviews with people of faith in the oil industry—executives, oilsands camp workers, aboriginal businesspeople, farmers, etc.  Examines how people of faith make connections between their theology and their work in  the oil industry.
  • The “Spirit” of Rural Communities. 2011-2013.  A project co-led with Mary Smillie of Davidson, SK, funded by the United Church of Canada Foundation ($30,000) and CiRCLe M  examines the spirituality of rural people, individually and as a community,  in Davidson, SK.  What is it that brings them happiness, a sense of deep fulfillment, gratitude, a sense of being deeply connected to each other?
  • Development of the Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry (“CiRCLe M”) Background: CiRCLe M grew out of doctoral research with 70 insolvent farmers, lenders, and others involved in farm bankruptcy  as well as sabbatical research under a Wabash grant including 108 individual and focus group interviews with rural development  projects and rural leadership training  institutes in four countries ($64,000 Cdn grant).  Research led eventually to the development of CiRCLe M, a charitable non-profit which secured $313,000 in funding from the Rural Alberta Development Fund to help churches bring their gifts more effectively into rural community development, and to assist seminaries in training for rural ministry.  Over the years Dr. Harder has led CiRCLe M in developing:
    -   ATS accredited STM degree and later ATS accredited DMin degree in rural ministry and community development with 13 students enrolled from across the denominational spectrum.
    -   Bi-annual rural ministry conferences.
    -   On-line rural ministry resource centre
    -   Assisted development and accreditation of rural community-based CPE unit in Swan River MB.
    -   Webinar-based program for dealing with disaster and economic stress in rural communities
    -   First Nations Rural Neighbours Friendship Initiative (see Building Bridges above)
    -   Bi-monthly newsletter to a variety of denominations and rural parishes
    -   Interdisciplinary field education in rural contexts for students of various disciplines in central AB.
  • Study of Confirmation Ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.  2007.  Sponsored by  the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission of Canada, Dr. Harder and Dr. Richard Leggett (Anglican) surveyed excellent practitioners in confirmation ministry in the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada.  Findings were submitted to respective bishops.

D. Courses Developed and Taught through the Lutheran Theological Seminary

  • SL110 AND SL111 Introduction to Systematic Theology I and II
  • SL115–Hermeneutics ( team-taught-LTS)
  • SL330–Contemporary Theology and Theologians
  • PL170 and PL171– Contextual Education, first and second year
  • SL 234 What is Theology and Who Needs It? – Douglas Hall’s Theological Method
  • SL234–SL335–Christian Mission in a Pluralist World
  • SL236–The Life and Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • SU410–Interdisciplinary Methods in Theology (team-taught ecumenical)
  • IU605- Foundations for Rural Ministry and Community Development
  • SA/SL282 Food, Faith and Rural Community (team-taught ecumenical)
  • PL346 Pastoral Integration
  • PL240 Vocational Formation (team-taught-LTS)
  • SL345  Science and Theology (interdisciplinary, team-taught with a physicist)

Reading courses

Principles of Lutheran Theology; Developing a Confirmation Curriculum;  Modern Culture, Media and Church Relations; The Life and Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Contemporary Catholic Theology, Rural Theology: Shame, Honour and the Farm Crisis, Hospitality as a Theological Motif in Christian Tradition; Introduction to Systematic Theology; Introduction to Qualitative Sociological Methods in Theology; Qualitative study of the Spiritual Needs of the Mentally Disabled.

Parish Nursing

Community Assessment Module


  • A variety of Internship Supervisor Training modules.
  • A variety of interdisciplinary guest lectures at the local university and colleges on rural culture and ministry, asset-based tools for congregation and community assessment and development, and cultural-religious factors in the rural economy. 

E. Church and Community Seminars, Courses and Workshops (1997-2013)

  • About 50 workshops offered around the world in various denominations and contexs esp in areas such as:
  • Tools for engaging church and community (esp asset-mapping and appreciative inquiry).
  • Re-imagining mission and ministry in rural contexts
  • Trinitarian theology in relation to community development and community organizing
  • Haugean Pietism and its potential for social transformation
  • Ecology and the Oilpatch
  • Debt, shame and honour in the  Bible and the Rural Economy
  • The gifts of small churches

F. Publications

  • Discovering the Other: Asset-Based Approaches to Building Community Together, Herndon VA: Alban, 2013.
  • “New Shoots from Old Roots: The Challenge and Potential of Mission in Rural Canada” in Green Shoots in a Time of Drought: Alternate Futures for the Church in Canada, John Bowen, ed.  Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2013.
  • “Neighbour-loving: Ecology from an Oilpatch Perspective” in Eco-Lutheranism: Lutheran Perspectives on Ecology,  Karla Bohmbach and Shauna Hannan, eds. Mpls MN: Lutheran University Press, 2013.
  • To Love and to Serve the Lord: Diakonia in the Life of the Church; co-author of the Jerusalem report of the  Anglican-Lutheran International Commission (III).  Geneva, LWF, 2012.
  • “Pietism and the Social Transformation of Norway” in Pietism and the Challenges of Modernity: Lectures by David J. Goa, Cam Harder, and Eugene L. Boe.  Chester Ronning Centre, Augustana University College, 2011.
  • “Using Participatory Action Research in Seminary Internships,” in The Practicum in Professional Education, Edwin Ralph et al, eds. (Calgary, AB: Detselig, 2010): 123-138.
  • “Does the Bible Leave Room for Evolution?” Canada Lutheran, June 2009.
  • “Fragile Vessels,” Canadian Mennonite, Nov 12, 2007. 
  • “Using Participatory Action Research in Seminary Internships” Theological Education, 42 (2), 2007.
  • “The Peace of Piety” The Canada Lutheran, August, 2006.
  • “How a Rural Context Affects the Shape of Field Education on the Prairies,” Journal of Supervision and Training in Ministry, Vol 25, 2005, 116-121.
  • “Faith in Farm Crisis,” Mennonite Central Committee Health and Disabilities Newsletter, August 2005.
  • “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Pacifist, Nazi Resister.” By Martin Doblmeier.  Film review in Anglican Theological Review, Vol 87, No.4, 2005, pp. 687-689.
  • “Faith in the Farm Crisis?” The Messenger, April 21, 2004.
  • “The Healing Power of Weakness,” Consensus, Vol. 29 (1), 2003, 41-54. 
  • Bi-monthly articles on rural community, economics and ethical questions in the “Moral Economy” column in The Western Producer (weekly Western Canadian farm paper)About 50 articles 2003-2011.
  • “The Real Issue Behind GMO’s,” The Manitoba Co-operator, Jan 9, 2003.
  • “Alone in the Midst of the Land,” Canadian Mennonite, June 3, 2002.
  • “Beyond ‘Survival of the Fittest’: Pastoral Resources for Rebuilding Rural Community,” in Doing Ethics in a Pluralistic World, Phyllis Airhart, Marilyn Legge and Gary Redcliffe, eds. (Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2002), 167-202.
  • “Overcoming Cultural/Spiritual Obstacles to Rural Revitalization” in Writing Off Rural Communities: Globalization, Governments and the Transformation of Rural Life, Roger Epp and David Whitson, eds.  (Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta Press, 2001).
  • “Justification and the Farm Crisis in Canada” in  Justification in the World’s Contexts, Wolfgang Grieve, ed. (Geneva, Switzerland: LWF  Department for Theology and Studies, 2000).
  • “The Shaming of Canadian Farmers: A Christian Response” Consensus  21 (2) 1995.

G. Scholarly Papers and Presentations

  • “Neighbour-loving: Ecology from an Oilpatch Perspective,” Keynote address, Conference of Teaching Theologians, Columbus, Ohio, Aug 14, 2012.
  • “Asset-mapping as a tool for revitalizing rural churches and communities,” skill-building workshop, CUEXPO 2011, May 12-14, 2011 Waterloo, ON.
  • “Hans Nielsen Hauge: his impact on social reform in Norway,” at Religious Perspectives on Civil Life: A Muslim-Christian Dialogue, Ronning Centre for Religion in Public Life,  Mar 18-20, 2011, Edmonton, AB.
  • “Survival of the Fittest” Thinking: Its Impact on Rural Communities, and the Role of Rural Churches in Challenging it,” Alberta Rural Development Network researchers conference,  Lethbridge, AB  May 2010. “Pietism and the Social Transformation of Norway” Ronning Centre for Religion in Public Life: Series on Pietism.  Lectures at Messiah, Camrose, AB, Jan 11 and at Trinity, Edmonton, Jan 12, 2010.
  •  “Survival of the Fittest” Thinking: Its Impact on Rural Communities, and the Role of Rural Churches in Challenging it,” workshop, Alberta Rural Development Network conference,  Lethbridge, AB  May 12-13, 2010.
  • “Accompaniment in Theology and Practice,” response paper given to the Association of Teaching Theologians, Jan 11, 2008, Itasca, ILL.
  • “The Theology And Practice Of Asset-Mapping As a Tool For Field Educators” – workshop given at the Association of Theological Field Educators International conference, Jan 2007, Dallas, TX.
  • “Using Research Tools in Field Education,” Keynote Presentation to the Association of Theological Field Educators, Jan 16, 2005, Toronto, ON.
  • “The Four “S’s” (Forces) That are Destroying Rural Communities,” “Re-Faithing” Rural Community: Discovering Trinity as Community and the Power of the Weak” and “Rebuilding Rural Communities from the Bottom Up and the Inside Out”— 3 keynote lectures at the Augustana Theological Lecture Series, Oct 2004.
  • “Community Participatory Research as a Contextual Training Tool for Seminarians,” St. Andrew’s College, May 2004, Saskatoon, SK.
  • “Rekindling the Spirit of Community,” “The Trinity as Community”and “Reflections on the Church in the Community of the Gaspé”  Keynote addresses,  Beacons of Light, Communities of Hope–Ecumenical theological conference,  Black Cape, QC, October, 2002.
  • “Forming Alliances in Rural Communities: Social/Spiritual Obstacles and Possibilities” at Building Alliances for Recapturing Wealth on the Canadian Prairies.  Rural Professionals Conference, Oct, 2001, Winnipeg, MB
  • “Cultural/Theological Elements of Shame in Rural Communities.”  Paper, University of Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture Grad Seminar, March, 2001.
  • “A Theology of Rural Community” –paper presented at “Gifts of the Earth,” forum for agricultural scholars, November, 2000, Winnipeg, MB.
  • “Honour and Shame as Impediments to Local Resistance of a Globalized Agricultural Economy”–paper and workshop at the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative: International Theology Event, May 2000,  St. Michael’s University College, Toronto, ON,.
  • “Land and Spirit: Doing Contextual Theology in Rural Communities” –paper presented to Canadian Caucus of Theological Field Educators, March 2000, Saskatoon, SK.
  • “Honour and Shame in Rural Communities: A Christological Re-framing of Farm bankruptcy,” Graduate Seminar of the Saskatoon Theological Union, Jan.25, 2000, LTS, Saskatoon, SK.
  • “Theological Reflections on The Intergenerational Effects Of Farm Bankruptcy” lecture, International Conference on Aging, 1998, Calgary, AB.

H. Current Community Volunteer Positions

  • Board member and chair of The Micah Mission, which oversees ministry to offenders and ex-offenders.
  • Associate chaplain at Saskatoon Correctional Centre and Saskatoon Regional Psychiatric Centre
  • Various committees, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Saskatoon.     

I.  Wider Church Responsibilities (2007 to present)

Includes: ELCIC Court of Adjudication,  Anglican Lutheran International Commission (ALIC III), ELCIC National Taskforce on Faith, Order and Doctrine,  Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission for Canada (JALC), ELCIC Committees for Theological Education and Leadership, SK and ELCIC Examining Committees, ELCIC National Church Council