Manitoba Lieutenant Governor

Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

The Honourable Anita R. Neville, P.C., O.M.

Lieutenant-Governor to Present Award for Advancement of Interreligious Understanding

Lt.-Gov. Anita Neville will present the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding to Reverend Doctor Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd at a ceremony at Government House on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 5 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd has served rural and urban United churches for thirty years. She has brought a commitment to interdisciplinary studies from her doctoral work at the Toronto School of Theology and has built a deep passion for interfaith work. It is her conviction that building relationships with people of other faith traditions holds a greater possibility of effecting change in our world. This conviction has found expression in her teaching and writing. In recent years, MacKenzie Shepherd worked with the congregation of Westworth United Church to host a series of interfaith events which sparked a significant interest from the wider community. At her retirement service this past June, Mackenzie Shepherd was honoured with prayers and reflections from Jewish, Muslim, Indigenous and Christian traditions.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding is presented yearly at a ceremony at Government House, most often to an individual who best embodies understanding between all religious groups.

Past recipients include:

  • Bill Weissmann – lay clergy at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, where he has guided daily prayer services and welcomed visitors from many different faiths, and gives his time to explain Judaism to religious studies classes across Manitoba colleges and universities;
  • Rev. Bill Millar – a collaborative leader who during his many years as pastor at Knox United Church, united communities across cultures and beliefs;
  • John Longhurst – nationally respected advocate and chronicler in the fields of Christian ecumenism and interreligious dialogue and understanding. Founder and reporter of the Winnipeg Free Press project to increase religion coverage;
  • Michel Aziza – the driving force behind the Operation Ezra project to rescue, sponsor and resettle Yazidi refugees since its inception;
  • Manju Lohda and Ray Dirks – collaborators on numerous educational multi-faith initiatives including the In the Spirit of Humanity project and Leap of Faith DVD;
  • Devon Clunis – former chief of the Winnipeg Police Service;
  • Rev. Karen Toole – former provincial spiritual care co-ordinator, radio host and newspaper columnist;
  • Rabbi Doctor Neal and Carol Rose – Rabbi Doctor Neal has been a professor of religion at the University of Manitoba for more than 30 years and Carol is a writer, poet and spiritual teacher;
  • Lloyd Axworthy – former minister of foreign affairs and president of the University of Winnipeg and lifelong active lay member of the United Church of Canada;
  • the late Dr. Redwan Moqbel – former head of immunology, faculty of medicine at the University of Manitoba and a member of the Baha’i faith;
  • Dr. Atish Chandra Maniar – a Hindu priest;
  • Mae Louise Campbell – an Ojibway Métis elder; and
  • Zane Zalis – a composer and musician.

For further information on this award and others given to worthy individuals by the lieutenant-governor of Manitoba, visit the lieutenant-governor’s website at

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Contact: Kate Gameiro, 204-945-2752.