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Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis to speak at Providence graduation

Chief Devon Clunis of the Winnipeg Police Department will be the guest speaker at both Providence graduation ceremonies this weekend.

Saturday morning, at 10 a.m., Chief Clunis will address the thirty-ninth graduating class of Providence Theological Seminary in the Jubilee Auditorium. Chief Clunis, himself an alumnus of the seminary, will address the 37 students receiving masters and doctoral degrees. The seminary will also award its annual alumnus of the year to Major Greg Costen.

Sunday afternoon, at 2:30 p.m., Clunis will address the eighty-seventh graduating class of students with 63 graduating from the University College. In addition, the University will be honoring alumna of the year, Wilma Arnold-Hebert and Terry LeBlanc with the Distinguished Christian Leader award.

Clunis, a 25-year veteran who is also the police service chaplain, was sworn in as the city's 17th police chief in November of 2012. Clunis began his career with the Winnipeg Police Service in 1987 and has served in all major areas of the organization including uniform patrol, traffic, plainclothes investigation, community relations, organizational development, and duty office, as well as a number of administrative leadership positions.

Major Greg Costen earned his Master of Divinity from Providence Theological Seminary (then Winnipeg Theological Seminary) in 1990. He served for thirteen years as a small town pastor in central Alberta with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada. During these years he served the Evangelical Free Church on the Ministerial Standing Committee and as chair of the Pastoral Couples Renewal Committee. Major Costen also served the missions department by briefly instructing internationally at the Free Church seminary in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.

Major Costen enrolled as a chaplain in the Canadian Forces (CF) in 2003. He currently serves in the rank of Major as the senior chaplain at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton. Major Costen leads a team of 10 chaplains in Edmonton, Wainwright and Suffield as they do the on-the-ground work of meeting the spiritual needs of CF members. Prior to his promotion from Captain to Major in 2011, he served in Ottawa, at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, and in the United Kingdom. He also trained in Clinical Pastoral Education with the American Navy in Virginia. Greg and his wife Mary have three grown daughters: Amy, Ashley, and Ainsley.

Wilma Arnold-Hebert graduated from Providence University College (then Winnipeg Bible College) with a Bachelor of Religious Education in 1971. Her ministry experience began in the early 1970’s, volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission and the Salvation Army in Winnipeg, as well as a drop-in centre known as “House of Peter.”

In 1995, Wilma was approached by several individuals asking her to serve on the board of a youth centre, which was starting up in St. Pierre. As Wilma enthusiastically exclaims, “I didn't have to even think or pray about it! To work with youth, many of whom might need a little extra love and attention, this sounded like ‘heaven’ to me!” Wilma joined the St. Pierre YFC board and became the director in 1997. Her first term as director lasted until 2000. Her second stint has been from 2003 to present. Wilma explains, “our drop-in is open well over forty hours a week, with staff and volunteers always there to welcome you. A youth can come in and out ten times a day and be welcomed each time! I LOVE the concept."

Wilma lives with her husband Ray in St. Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba. She is a proud mother and grandmother, and is actively involved in her local church, St. Pierre Bible Fellowship.

Terry LeBlanc is Mi’kmaq /Acadian, with family roots in Listuguj First Nation and Campbellton, NB, Canada. He and his wife Bev are in their 40th year of marriage. Together, they have three adult children: twin girls age 35 and, a son, age 31.

Following almost nine years as Aboriginal Programs Manager with World Vision Canada, Terry took up a position first as National Programs then Executive Director with My People International – a holistic, training-focused ministry program with and for Native North Americans. This is his current position. Terry has served in full-time Native ministry since 1979, has been ordained since 1983. He completed his PhD in Intercultural Studies at Asbury Seminary in 2012. 

Active in Native Canadian affairs for many years, Terry has served the Native community in a variety of training and facilitative capacities. As a panelist for Sacred Assembly ’95, organized by Native Canadian Member of Parliament, Elijah Harper, Terry co-authored the event’s Reconciliation and Principles documents. In 1998 he served as co-chair of the second World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People held in North America and is currently serving as one of the movement’s international “Keepers of the Vision.” His other work includes the Aboriginal Ministries Council under the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and membership on the board of Inter-Varsity, Canada.

 In his regular work with indigenous communities Terry facilitates asset-based planning and development workshops on holistic, sustainable community development methodologies for indigenous peoples. The focus is on positive community growth and change. He mentors others in the same process. He, of course, is also actively engaged in those same communities, helping Native men and women embrace the person, work, teaching, life, death and resurrection of Jesus – as indigenous people.

Trained in reconciliation processes, Terry has spoken and taught in many contexts not only in North America but elsewhere in the world on principles and practices of reconciliation including South Africa, Rwanda, New Zealand and Australia. Terry speaks often on the development of cultural bridges between Aboriginal people and the majority cultures. He has participated in many reconciliation events across the world.

In June of 2010, Terry was recognized for his contribution to Christian Mission as the 28th recipient of the E.H. Johnson Award during the 136th sitting of the Presbyterian General Assembly. Past recipients include Elias Chacour, Archbishop of the Melkite Church and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

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