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How Shall We Then Read? 

The History, Theology, & Spirituality of Reading





Is all reading equal? Is it passive? Can it – should it – be a matter of mere leisure? How does reading impact our non-textual lives? Can words on a page invite wisdom as well as knowledge? How does reading in community differ from reading in isolation? How has reading, and regard for the activity, changed through the ages? Can it be a relational act? Is it possible to read too much? Does digital reading have a different neuropsychological impact? Is there a specifically Christian approach to reading and to hermeneutics?


Dr. Sharon Jebb Smith, with Dr. Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson, will lead this conference with an intent to question assumptions and provoke thoughtful consideration of the role of reading in all its forms… fiction and non-fiction, digital and inked. 

Questions such as those above shall be addressed and discussed through the weekend, in a variety of formats. Some meals will be included, and Dr. Rev. Valerie Michaelson will lead a service on Sunday morning.


​Sharon Jebb Smith


Sharon is a freelance lecturer and speaker on literature, theology, and Christian spirituality.


She studied English Literature at Queen’s University, Belfast, and Theology at Regent College, Vancouver; her Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews was received while a member of the Institute for Theology, Imagination, & the Arts.


In her teaching and writing Sharon greatly enjoys delving deeply into her disciplines, and finds that exploring literature (whether fiction or non-fiction) is a very powerful way to facilitate thought and learning. She is the author of Writing God and the Self: Samuel Beckett and C.S. Lewis.


Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sharon is currently based in Aberdeen but commutes to work, sometimes as far as Regent College, Vancouver.

Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson


Kirstin is a free-lance writer and lecturer on literature, theology, and the Arts.


She studied English Literature at University of Alberta, Edmonton, and Theology at Regent College, Vancouver. Like Sharon, her Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews was received while a member of the Institute for Theology, Imagination, & the Arts.


Kirstin's dissertation addressed the concept of Mythopoesis in the work of George MacDonald – considering the development and presentation of his understanding of Revelation and Relationality, and the theological role of Story within that context.


She writes for numerous journals in the subjects of Literature, Art, and Theology, and also lectures nationally and internationally in these areas.




Ann Chow

Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson

Valerie Michaelson

Kathleen Patchell




Ann Chow, an MTS graduate of Regent College, Vancouver, is an independent contractor and consultant, as well as an urban chaplain. She specializes in Christian non-profit organizations with her business “Ann Chow Event & Project Management,” and is a director at NextLEVEL. Ann is also a trained vocalist.


Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson - prior to her doctorate - assisted in the direction and development of Summer Schools for several years both at Regent College, Vancouver, and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. Raised on a farm in the Ottawa Valley, she has a passion for the history and future of the region.


Valerie Michaelson is an associate priest at St. James’ Anglican Church, on the campus of Queen’s University. She is also a post-doctoral fellow at Queen’s University, cross-appointed between the School of Religion and the Faculty of Public Health Sciences.


Kathleen Patchell, currently a lecturer at Tyndale University College, received her Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa; her doctorate traces and compares the popular and critical reception of a Presbyterian author and a Methodist author through the twentieth century into contemporary Canada.






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