CLF Staff & Support Team
Derek B.M. Ross
(Executive Director &
Derek B.M. Ross, LL.B. (Western), LL.M. (Toronto), is the Executive Director & General Counsel for Christian Legal Fellowship, where he oversees all aspects of the organization's operations, education and training programs, publications, and advocacy. He maintains a litigation practice with a focus on human rights and religious freedom, and has acted as lead or co-counsel for public interest interveners in 13 cases involving the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including 5 before the Supreme Court of Canada. He has appeared before every level of court in Ontario, as well as the Courts of Appeal in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. He has also appeared before numerous legislative and Parliamentary committees to present submissions on constitutional and legal issues.
Derek previously served as Director of Legal Affairs for the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, Canada's largest association of religious organizations, where he served on the Canada Revenue Agency's Technical Issues Working Group and as the general editor of the Charities Handbook, 19th Edition (2014), a comprehensive legal guide for Canadian charities. Prior to that, Derek practiced civil litigation with a focus on public, education, and municipal law.
Derek has served as an Executive Member of the Charity and Not-for-Profit Law sections and the Constitutional, Civil Liberties, and Human Rights Law sections of both the Canadian Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association. He regularly presents at legal conferences and law faculties on constitutional and charity law. He is editor-in-chief of the Christian Legal Journal, a quarterly periodical examining the relationship between law and religion. His writings have appeared in numerous publications, including Policy Options, Lawyer's Weekly, Canadian Lawyer, Montreal Gazette, Public Discourse, and the Chronicle-Herald. He is the general editor of a forthcoming special edition of the Supreme Court Law Review (2018).
Derek spent his formative years growing up in Port Hedland, Australia, surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Pilbara Outback, and considers himself a Quasi-Aussie (he can still speak fluent Australian, if you ask him). As much as he loves his second Aussie home, he couldn’t be prouder to be a Canadian (and a Canadiens fan).
You can find Derek on Twitter @derekbmross.
Sarah Mix-Ross, B.A., M.S.W., J.D., serves as associate counsel at Christian Legal Fellowship.
Sarah was called to the Ontario Bar in 2016 after articling with an insurance defence boutique in Toronto with a focus on professional malpractice claims.
In 2015, Sarah earned a Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Ottawa (Dispute Resolute and Professionalism specialization) where she was the recipient of an oral advocacy award. Sarah also earned a Master of Social Work from the University of Windsor in 2012 and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours, with distinction) from Western University in 2010.
Sarah remains an active alumni member of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law in both the Legal Writing Academy and JurisMentor programs. Having earned her undergraduate degree in music, Sarah enjoys teaching piano and voice to young learners in her spare time.
(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 Director for Western Canada, Tim meets with Christian lawyers, judges and law students, encouraging them to integrate their faith with their practice and study of the law. He also assists local churches with legal issues whenever possible.
(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
Rev. Reid Cooke served as senior pastor for 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 through personal and confidential Biblical counsel, 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, 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.