Derek B.M. Ross (Executive Director)
Derek B.M. Ross, LL.B., LL.M., is the Executive Director of Christian Legal Fellowship. He earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario and began his career articling with a leading firm specializing in charity law. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2008 and subsequently accepted a fellowship with the University of Toronto to pursue graduate legal studies in constitutional law and private legal theory, leading to a Master of Laws degree in 2009.
From 2009 to 2012, Derek practised civil litigation, primarily in the areas of insurance defence and municipal liability, in London, Ontario. He then joined the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, Canada’s largest association of Christian charities, to serve as its Director of Legal Affairs. Derek is the editor of the Charities Handbook, 19th Edition (2014), a comprehensive legal guide for Canadian ministries, and editor-in-chief of the Christian Legal Journal. Derek has regularly represented CCCC and CLF on various provincial and national committees and conferences. Derek's constitutional law practice is centred on the intersection of law and religion, and he has worked as co-counsel on legal interventions including the recent Loyola and Trinity Western cases.
Derek is an Executive Member of the Charity and Not-for-Profit Law Sections of both the Canadian Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association.
John Sikkema (Associate Counsel)
John Sikkema is Associate Counsel of Christian Legal Fellowship. John works on various CLF interventions, public policy and educational initiatives, publications, and programs. John first learned about CLF in high school when he attended its pre-law student conference. A few years later, he attended the Christian Legal Institute, which he considers a milestone on his journey into the practice of law.
After completing his B.A. in Political Science and Business at Brock University and his J.D. at Queen's University in 2014, John articled with a leading firm in Toronto specializing in education law and was called to the Ontario bar in June 2015. Always interested in law, politics, and public policy, John interned with the President of the Treasury Board of Canada in 2010, for the think tank Cardus in 2012, and for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (under the mentorship of CLF members Faye Sonier and Don Hutchinson) in 2013. John is also an Executive Member of Advocates for the Rule of Law, a Canadian legal think tank. His writing has appeared in the National Post, Comment, and Policy Options.
TIMOTHY STONHOUSE (REGIONAL DIRECTOR - WESTERN CANADA)
Timothy Stonhouse has practiced criminal and family law for over 22 years. He articled with a well-known criminal firm in Edmonton and then opened his own office. Tim is trained as a mediator and collaborative family lawyer. He was a presiding Justice of the Peace in Edmonton for 10 years. Beginning his working career as a teacher in a private, Christian school, Tim served as a board member and finally, as president of the Association of Christian Schools and Colleges of Alberta where he contributed to the drafting of the School Act in the 1980’s.
Tim has always had an interest in politics and government. He has served on social action groups in various churches, has travelled to Ottawa to petition M.P.’s in the area of the rights of private schools and served on various municipal committees and election campaigns. Tim has been a member of Christian Legal Fellowship since the early 1990’s, serving on the board for several years. As CLF's Regional Directot for Western Canada, Tim meets with Christian lawyers, judges and law students, encouraging them to integrate their faith into their area of the law. He also assists local churches with legal issues whenever possible.
CALVIN BERESH (DIRECTOR OF STUDENT MINISTRIES)
Calvin Beresh graduated with a B.A. from Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1975 before obtaining his LL.B from Western University in 1978. During his final year at law school, he hosted the student law conference at Western during which the Christian Legal Fellowship was founded and was a member of the steering committee for incorporation of CLF.
With a strong entrepreneurial spirit and an even stronger desire to take Christ into everyone's world, he began his own law practice in 1980. He joined with another CLF member, Ashley R. Gnys, and, together, they took over a practice established in 1894 to form the firm of Sharpe, Beresh & Gnys in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The firm now has three lawyers and fifteen support staff. Mr. Beresh's practice emphasis is on Wills, Estates and Wealth Management.
Mr. Beresh has a passion to share his vision of the practice of law as a ministry particularly to students. He enjoys meeting with law students across the country.
REV. REID COOKE (CHAPLAIN)
Reid retired as a senior pastor in 2008, after 35 years. He now serves as Chaplain with Christian Legal Fellowship. In this role, he is blessed to be able to connect
with Christian lawyers and law students who desire to pursue excellence in their walk with Christ, through their profession. He does this via personal and confidential Biblical counsel, phone calls, emails, conference speaking, devotionals at CLF chapters, and travel to law schools from coast to coast.
Reid studied at Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University College, Toronto) graduating with his Bachelor of Theology. He completed a second degree through Mount Allison and Waterloo University.
Reid is married to Esther, keyboard musician and worship leader. Reid and Esther pastored in New Brunswick for 19 years, moving to Redeemer Bible Church in Niagara Falls in 1991, where they enjoyed 16 years of ministry.
Reid and Esther reside in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where they enjoy sailing their boat on Lake Ontario. They love to share this experience with others as often as possible. They have a son (with his wife and 2 grandsons) who lives in Austria, and a married daughter, in St John’s, Newfoundland.
Shawn Knights (Student Ministries Support)
Board of Directors
Robert Reynolds (President)
Robert Reynolds graduated from Bishop’s University in 1965 with an Honours B.A. in French and Philosophy (magnis cum honoribus). He received a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from McGill University’s Faculty of Law in 1968. He was admitted to the Bar of Quebec in 1969, and has practiced law in the Province of Quebec since that date. He has maintained a general practice with a special interest in freedom of religion and other fundamental freedoms. He has pleaded before all levels of court including the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Reynolds is married to Judy and is the father of three daughters and three grandchildren. He is a teaching elder at Faith Community Bible Church in Beaconsfield, Quebec. He has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, and has been the President of the Board of Christian Legal Fellowship since September 2013.
Shayna Beeksma (Secretary)
Shayna A. Beeksma is a civil litigation lawyer in Hamilton, Ontario, practising law with ESB Lawyers LLP. Her practice focuses on commercial litigation, estate litigation and professional liability. Shayna is an effective advocate, having appeared before all levels of court in Ontario and regularly appearing before the Superior Court of Justice. She summered and articled at a prominent Bay Street law firm in Toronto prior to being called to the Ontario Bar in 2012. Shayna sets herself apart to her clients by not only being skilled at the art of advocacy but by also being dependable, practical, and strategic
Jessie Legaree (Student Representative)
Jessie Legaree has been involved with CLF since her first year of undergrad when they held a pre-law conference at Trinity Western University (TWU) in 2006. She holds a BA and MA from TWU and is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Born and raised in BC, Jessie returned home to article at RDM Lawyers LLP, a full-service firm in the Fraser Valley. Jessie will be staying on as an Associate Lawyer focusing on litigation. In her free time, Jessie loves debating religion and politics. (Side note: she’s not the best dinner guest.)
Roger is a commercial and corporate lawyer based in Calgary. He is an alumni of Christian Legal Institute in Canada and Blackstone Legal Fellowship in the United States. Roger holds a Juris Doctor from University of Calgary；a LL.M in International Studies from New York University; and a Bachelor of Law and Master of Law from Beijing University. Roger is also admitted to the Bar in New York State. In addition to serving on the board and the local chapter of CLF, he teaches bible at the Sunday school and serves on the board at his church in Calgary, a mandarin speaking congregation of Chinese immigrants.