Introducing Our New Alumni & Church Engagement Officer
We’re pleased to introduce you to Regent College’s new Alumni & Church Engagement Officer, Conor Wilkerson (MA ’19, ThM ’21). Conor joined the Advancement Team in this role in the Spring of 2021. We are grateful to have him on board as we expand our work serving and equipping our alumni and church partners. Read on to learn more about Conor and why he’s passionate about his new role.
What did you do before you attended Regent?
Prior to coming to Regent, I was a pretzel maker, a radio broadcaster, and a pastor. After a few years of radio broadcasting, I felt the need to understand my faith at a deeper level. This led me to an undergrad program at Columbia Bible College, then to pastoring in Burnaby, BC, and working with camp ministries on Vancouver Island.
Pastoring brought many joys and challenges and, after five years of full-time ministry, I wanted to take an even deeper dive into the academic world, which brought me to Regent. I came to Regent in 2016 for both academic inquiry and the need to refresh my own faith, and I’m still here! Perhaps one day I can launch a radio show that discusses the theological and pastoral implications of pretzel making, and finally bring all of my occupational endeavours together.
What attracted you to Regent?
Regent first existed as an echo in my mind––a place some of my former professors had attended, and a place where my wife bought London Fogs at The Well. These and a brief campus visit eventually brought me to Regent, and I’m grateful!
One thing that has endeared me to Regent is the fact that Regent students come from all walks of life. I took classes alongside people who were old friends with words like hermeneutics and kenosis and those who had never heard of them before. My fellow students were pastors and engineers, teachers and artists. They came from Canada, Finland, Brazil, Korea, and more. This mix of perspectives and experiences reminds me that our theology must impact real life, and all of it.
In what ways does this role align with your sense of vocation and calling?
In simplest terms, I'd say my vocation is journeying with others in their questions. I’m fascinated by the questions that drive people and how the journey of answering those questions shapes them. Alumni and church leaders are asking critical questions about our calling as the church in these unsettled times: What’s next for me and for the church? How do I apply theology to all of life? How do I shepherd well? Some of us are even asking: what are the right questions to ask, and how do I ask them well?
I see working in the Alumni and Church Engagement Office as a way to journey with alumni and church leaders in their ongoing questions and to provide fruitful engagement with those questions by connecting them to Regent people and resources. But the road goes both ways, and journeying with alumni and churches also helps Regent ask better questions about how the College can continue to serve Jesus Christ, his mission, and his world.
What is exciting about working with Regent alumni and churches?
As an alumnus, I experienced a transformative and deeply shaping journey at Regent. A big part of that was the conversations and friendships that were forged in the halls and sitting over a coffee in the atrium. I’m excited about helping our alumni stay connected with each other and with the broader Regent community, so that those transformative experiences can continue to take place.
As a former pastor and current lay leader, I know Regent has much to offer church leaders in the form of resources, respite, and community as they face their own questions and strive to shepherd their communities. I’m excited to foster connections with churches that are life-giving both to the College and to church leaders and the communities they support.
Share a memorable experience from your time as a student.
Picking just one meaningful experience from my time at Regent is a challenge; there were so many—and hopefully more to come! That said, one memory that will stick with me forever comes from the 2019 retreat talent show. It had become quite the tradition for there to be a faculty band performance to round out the evening and this year was no different. It all began when Iain Provan ended our TA meeting by asking whether I also played electric guitar (an interesting transition from the topic of research and paper grading!) and ended with me and my fellow alumni, Lucas Freitas (MA ’19), Jesse Chui (MDiv ’21), Corey Janz (MA ’17), all backing up a star-studded faculty band in a performance of Iain Provan’s “Hotel Eudaimonia” (to the tune of "Hotel California" by The Eagles).
Regent College is the only place in the world where you’ll have professors who are true A-class scholars in their field, will quote Douglas Adams novels to illustrate the importance of studying the OT, and are also part Weird Al Yankovic. If that isn’t “theology for all of life” then I don’t know what is.
What is one encouragement you would give to Regent alumni right now?
You are still part of the Regent community! This means we are still thinking about you and praying for you; we still want to connect and journey with you as you grow deeper in your faith and in the places God has called you. You are part of a global community that is still asking big questions and living into the answers. So whether it’s been decades since you left Regent or just a few months, we’re here for you.
What is one thing you’d like Regent alumni to know about you?
I was one of those people who did homework in the atrium. People would stop and chat, and at some point in the conversation say, “Sorry if I’m bothering you.” To this I would always reply “If I didn’t want to be bothered, I wouldn’t sit in the atrium.” I now sit in the basement of the building, but my desire to be bothered hasn’t changed. So, please, bother me! I’d love to get to know you, hear your story, and help you stay connected to life at Regent.
You can get in touch with Conor at [email protected], or on the phone at 604-221-3382 or toll-free at 1-800-663.8664 ext 382. He’d love to hear from you!