About Us

Building Thriving Congregations
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Our churches have tremendous potential to be places of transformation and joy. But they can also struggle to embrace their central calling, and reveal only too clearly our human imperfections.

 At ARC we believe that just as God remained present to his unlikely choices in the Scriptures, he reminds us and our organizations of our purpose and calling.  Sometimes that message can be hard to hear, and that’s when ARC can help.  At ARC we walk with you as you listen for God’s leading and we offer you our leadership, insight and compassion as we support you and your congregation through challenge, transition or renewal. 

OUR TEAM

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Marg Van Herk-Paradis

Marg has been serving in a leadership capacity in faith-based and not for profit organizations for more than twenty years.  Read more.

Marg Van Herk-Paradis
Managing Partner
Keith Regehr

Keith assists congregations to re-shape their identity, mission and direction. He teaches  at Conrad Grebel University College. Read more.

Keith Regehr
Managing Partner
Jason Dykstra

Jason’s background is in social services, and he has developed particular expertise in managing social media and conflict.  Read more.

Jason Dykstra
Managing Partner
Betty Pries

Betty has more than 20 years of experience coaching, mediating, training and consulting in the areas of conflict resolution and change.  Read more.

Betty Pries
Managing Partner
Kathryn Smith

Kathryn’s passion is for assisting and transforming the spiritual, structural and human resources within churches.  Read more.

Kathryn Smith
Partner
Pegi Ridout

Pegi  is  experienced both as a conflict resolution facilitator and as a coach of those preparing for ministry.  Read more.

Pegi Ridout
Associate
Kathy Underwood

Kathy possesses well-honed mediation and facilitation skills, as well as experience with congregational development.  Read more.

Kathy Underwood
Associate
Ed Heide

Ed provides assistance to churches  experiencing transition in leadership or differences in vision. Read more.

Ed Heide
Associate
John Borthwick

John has training in conflict management, congregational leadership and mediation, and is involved in community activities.  Read more.

John Borthwick
Associate
Peter Spratt

Peter’s passion is for helping people to work better together. He is experienced in facilitation, coaching and HR  management.  Read more.

Peter Spratt
Associate

ARC is a team of highly skilled and experienced associates

  • We build organizational and spiritual health in churches and faith-based organizations, and develop skills and spiritual strengths among churches, organizations and their leaders.

  • All of our associates are grounded in Christian faith and work from a solid knowledge of congregational and organizational issues.

  • We work with all denominations: our associates and board members together represent Baptist, Christian Reformed, Mennonite, Presbyterian and United Church of Canada denominations.

What People are Saying…

We recently engaged Betty and her firm for the purpose of working with our Personnel Committee and Church Council to ensure that certain of our congregation’s HR processes are aligned with current best-practices of healthy organizations and work environments, and that they are in accordance with how our congregation has grown and matured in size, structure and complexity.  The expertise that Betty and her team has brought to bear on our engagement has been relevant, timely, and has come from a place of experience and expertise developed over years of working with a variety of congregations.  The insights and recommendations that (ARC/L3) has been able to apply to our situation have been of significant value, and have allowed us to move forward with confidence and excitement.

Douglas Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, MB

What People Are Saying…

As the founding and lead pastor of a young church I regularly meet people who come to church hoping to escape the conflict they’ve experienced in their families or workplaces.  It’s like these people expect churches to be conflict immune.  The fact is, conflict is an inevitable part of all rich and real relationships and since these are the types of relationships we try to foster within our congregation we do see conflict from time-to-time.  So how do we address conflict in the best manner when it does arise?  We hired Jason with the intent of equipping a group of 30 of the leaders in our church to do this and we were not disappointed.  Conflict management is an area that Jason is very experienced in and passionate about.  From the start of our time together Jason engaged our group and kept them engaged through a series of interesting exercises that helped participants better know themselves as well as relate to others when working on a team.  Perhaps most interesting, Jason was able to change many leaders’ perception related to conflict – helping them to see the opportunity that is inherent in conflict situations.

 

 

Darrell Bierman, Pastor of River City Church

What People Are Saying…

Kathy greatly assisted Toronto Conference to develop a new pastoral relations system of matching ministers and congregations.  She was part of the planning team, listened attentively, wrote training manuals, appeared in YouTube videos, led workshops, and answered innumerable questions – all with grace and good humour.  She has a true ability to hear what people are saying, and to draw out the best of their ideas while responding to their concerns.  It has been a true pleasure to work with Kathy on this project.

Senior denominational staff person

What People Are Saying…

I first met Kathryn Smith and Keith Regehr of ARC ministries while looking for help to manage conflict on our staff team. 

Kathryn and Keith offered us a retreat in which they listened to our stories, taught transformative lessons on ‘triangulation’ and ‘intent-action-effect’, and facilitated activities that allowed us to explore personality differences in a safe and healing environment.  For me, those two days were the most important of the whole year.  They brought understanding, fresh perspective for team members, and new levels of openness that have only grown since.

Along the way, Kathryn and Keith were invited to mediate a fragile situation where a previous mediation had failed.  Kathryn and Keith asked insightful and thoughtful questions, named key factors that were at play, and helped all parties involved find a way forward.

Later, our Ministry Council (church board) wanted to gain a third party perspective on our congregation so we invited Kathryn and Keith to facilitate a congregational assessment.  Their involvement clarified our congregational unrest from a systems perspective, allowed everyone to see things more objectively, and significantly deescalated anxiety throughout the congregation.

Jason Mills, Lead Pastor, Hanover Missionary Church

What People Are Saying…

Cassel Mennonite Church has turned a corner with renewed energy and a vision of what our congregation can be. Kathryn Smith’s ability to lead meetings allowed us to talk honestly and openly about the past, the present and what our future might  look like. We gained the confidence and courage to trust our faith and make necessary decisions to move ahead.

Bill Roth, Former Church Council Member

What People Are Saying…

I thank Kathryn for her leadership during our visioning creation. It truly was a unique experience. Her leadership in guiding us through our own story helped us create a vision statement that we can both share and live with others.

Her personal style was engaging during what could be a very difficult process. She made it easy for us to spend the time required to create our vision statement. It felt comfortable as she led our congregation through the evolution of our own ideas.

Our vision statement stands alone thanks to Kathryn.

Tom Geiger, Chair - Hamilton Mennonite Church

What People Are Saying…

Betty Pries has been coaching me as I lead a congregation through crisis, confusion and major decisions. One day it dawned on me: “Meeting with Betty is like meeting with a spiritual director”  except with a specific focus on how the Spirit is leading through my role in this congregation.  Her questions are gentle and pointed and endless.  I have been bowled over by the insights I have come to, and the things I have been led to venture.   

Cathy Stewart, Interim Minister (Presbyterian)

What People Are Saying…

I have had the chance to attend two of Betty Pries’ workshops. She is an excellent teacher and facilitator, who brings a wealth of practical experience, learning and wisdom. I find I am applying constantly the things I learned from her. Also, when our Presbytery undertook a re-think of how we function, we engaged Betty to lead us through this process. Her assistance to our team was invaluable. She kept us on track, helped us work through challenges, and offered an outsider’s perspective that was most helpful. Finally, in my leadership role in the Presbytery I have had opportunity to work with congregations where Betty has done consulting work. She has laid excellent groundwork for heightened self-awareness about congregational culture and history, setting the table for healing, change and new beginnings.

Rev. Greg Smith-Young, Former chairperson Waterloo Presbytery, The United Church of Canada

What People Are Saying…

Thank you very much for the amazing work you did with the House of Bishops during their recent retreat. Thank you for helping us move into some difficult conversations with grace, courage, and respect. Thank you for grounding everything in prayer. The effect of your work was that a number of us engaged one another in ways we had not done before. You took us some distance in some cases in the building of such relationships and in other cases in the restoring of relationships strained by a lack of trust.

For the blessing of your presence, teaching, facilitation and prayers I am deeply grateful. 

Fred J. Hiltz

Archbishop and Primate

Anglican Church of Canada

Fred J. Hiltz - Archbishop and Primate - Anglican Church of Canada

Who We Work With

When a church or other organization is in a state of conflict or facing a time of transition, it can feel uncomfortable and overwhelming for everyone.  ARC’s role in these instances is to help those involved to walk into a place of groundedness, make space around the issue to breathe, and then chart a way forward.

ARC’s spiritual leadership has proven effective for:

  • congregations struggling with conflict or moving through a period of transition.

  • pastors feeling alone and struggling to support congregants as they deal with conflict and change.

  • churches or organizations needing renewal and longing to know their mission.



Why Choose Us?

Love

We love people as they are, for who they are.  We all have wisdom and talents and we aim to bring that to the forefront.

Listen

We listen deeply to each person, to the larger system itself and to God’s leading to enable us in hearing the wisdom that is in the room.

Lead

In all we do, we aim to lead with humility, honesty and courage.

We work with pastors, congregations, faith-based organizations, individuals and families to strengthen spiritual and congregational health. Leading from a place of holy encounter we engage leaders, customize our work to our clients’ needs and think theologically about our work.

ARC also works alongside Conrad Grebel University College at the Universiy of Waterloo to offer a variety of workshops each year.