Dr. Kae Neufeld
Edmonton – A former associate pastor of a Mennonite church, who launched an annual Christmas banquet for inmates serving life sentences and their families, is this year's winner of the Kevin Carr Christian Leadership Award.
Dr. Kae Neufeld has been a stay-at-home mom, teacher, school principal, minister and director of the doctor of ministry program at St. Stephen's College at the University of Alberta.
Neufeld completed her doctorate in ministry at St. Stephen's two years ago with a dissertation on the challenges women face in assuming leadership roles in the Mennonite Brethren Church.
It was through her work as co-interim director of Community Justice Ministries of the Mennonite Central Committee-Alberta, beginning in 1999 that she developed experience and understanding of prison ministries.
Through this work, Neufeld developed an interest in restorative justice.
She began working with and visiting female inmates at the Edmonton Prison for Women and began to examine the effects of domestic violence on men, women and children.
Because of that experience, she established the annual Christmas banquet at Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church for "lifers" and their families.
At the banquet, members of the congregation work alongside inmates from halfway houses or on parole to prepare and eat the banquet.
The Kevin Carr Award is named after the first layperson to serve as president of Newman Theological College. Presented by the college, it recognizes individuals whose outstanding Christian leadership reflects the values of the college and the qualities that Carr cherished and exhibited in his work as president.
The 2012 award will be presented to Neufeld Sept. 19 at a luncheon at the Royal Glenora Club. Ticket information is available from Michelle Maxwell (780-392-2455) or Lorraine Kasha (780-392-2450) at the college.
Neufeld has also been involved in Habitat for Humanity and in coordinating meetings among members of the Mennonite Brethren, Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.
As well as her work at St. Stephen's College, she coordinates a group for women coping with domestic violence and abuse, leads a church Bible study group, visits prisoners, coordinates discipleship ministries and takes part in a quilting group.