Adrian Helleman

Adrian and his wife, Wendy, were GSC’s first scholars! They have served with Global Scholars Canada since 1995. He has taught on 11 campuses in 5 different countries as a GSC scholar, including Russia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and The Gambia. Most of his classes focus on Philosophy or Theology. Adrian is also an author, and has written and presented many other articles and lectures. He continues to fundraise for the Gambian Scholarship program as both he and Wendy have transitioned to part-time service with GSC back home in Canada.


Russia, Nigeria, Tanzania & The Gambia

  1. RUSSIA – St. Petersburg & Moscow – 1995-1998

Click here to read a 16-page account of the Helleman’s first year in Moscow

  • Moscow State University – Civil Society, Ethics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and World Religions
  • Moscow Christian School of Psychology – Theological Anthropology
  • Open Christianity, St. Petersburg – Reformation

Adrian discussing Moscow Times article with political philosophy student at Moscow State University

Adrian teaching in St. Petersburg, Russia

2. NIGERIA – Jos & Ogbomosho – 2003 – 2008

  • Theological College of Northern Nigeria – Inter-disciplinary Colloquium (masters level)
  • Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary – Issues in Contemporary Theology (masters level), Post-modernism and Religious Pluralism (doctoral level)
  • St. Augustine’s Major Seminary – History of Medieval Philosophy, History of Contemporary Philosophy
  • Nigerian Missionary Institute – Ecclesiology
  • University of Jos – Many courses at Diploma, Under-graduate, and Post-graduate levels

Teaching at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria

Teaching in Jos, Nigeria

2012 – Adrian consulting with Cosmos, his graduate student.

3. TANZANIA – Mwanza – 2009

  • St. Augustine University – History of Political Thought (masters level)

2009 – “This is a very special photo taken at the ‘tea-break’ for the seminar which we organized in the last few weeks of our stay at St. Augustine University of Tanzania, focused on a Christian Worldview in dialogue with African and secular worldview approaches. We were thankful for the warm reception of our presentation. Here you see a very lively interaction with fellow faculty members during the break.”

4. THE GAMBIA – Kololi – 2012-2015

  • Gambia Theological Institute – Systematic and Historical Theology

2015 – Adrian with a Gambian student & professor Layne Turner of the Christian Religious Studies program.


2019 – Adrian contributed “Seventy-Five Long Hours” and “A Nonviolent Revolution” in Dark Days of Authoritarianism: To Be in History. Edited by Melba Padilla Maggay. (London, UK: Langham Global Library).

“We taught in Bacolod, Phillipines for six years [in the 1980’s]… We also supervised a church and brought it to organization… I led Bible study groups with university staff, business men, and political prisoners. These Bible studies led to my involvement in the 1986 revolution that resulted in the expulsion of President Marcos.”

Adrian also authored a book in 2004 – Let Justice Flow Down Like a River: A Study  Guide on Biblical  Justice. Jos: Stream Publishers.


The Beginning

“Our involvement in what is now GSC began with my search for full-time work. After getting my PhD, I worked for a while as an interim pastor, but I needed to find an academic position. Thus, early in 1994, I pursued an ad in Christianity Today for a teaching position in Port Harcourt in Nigeria with an organization called IICS. The ad listed only a phone number and a postal box. But the 800-phone number was not accessible in Canada, so I wrote letters to both Christianity Today and IICS. At the time we had no idea what the acronym stood for, the International Institute for Christian Studies. It is the ancestor of Global Scholars (USA).

When IICS sent us the preliminary application forms we immediately filled them out. There were further forms, and when these were completed we heard that we would be interviewed. That phone call came on my birthday in 1994. But instead of us going to Kansas City, where IICS headquarters are located, the Executive Director, Daryl McCarthy flew to Toronto for an interview. And we learned that he had a special interest in meeting the Canadian applicants, as the potential start of a Canadian branch of IICS. Once this lengthy application process was completed, we were accepted by the board of IICS. Early in 1995 we attended an orientation session, mandatory for all applicants.

Our next step was to raise the necessary funds. IICS is a faith mission. Fortunately, we still had a network of supporting churches and individuals. But to be able to issue tax receipts for donors, it was important to set up a Canadian charity that could receive funds on our behalf. The incorporation of this charity did not happen without a few legal hiccups. Our first assignment was to organize a board that would supervise our work and look after the finances. The first board members came from Ontario and British Columbia. The new name for this charity was Christian Studies International, a name that was kept until its 20th anniversary (2015), following the recent selection of a new name for the American board: Global Scholars. The Canadian board then adopted its new name: Global Scholars Canada. 

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We needed a place to work. We were first considered for placement in Lithuania or Romania. But then we learned that Dan Clendenin, who was serving at Moscow State University, felt burnt out and was looking for someone to replace him. He had heard of our availability and wanted us to come to Moscow. We were still short of the funding needed for initial placement, but a generous donor in the US provided a grant sufficient for us to travel by September of 1995. That was how we arrived in Russia, where we spent seven wonderful years.”

2006 – Conference in Guatemala

2006 – Adrian with Global Scholars founder, Danny McCain, in Jos, Nigeria

“Two of Danny’s top students, Kiamu and Gwamna, defended their doctoral work with him. Adrian was internal examiner for both of them. Kiamu (at back) has established a theological school in Liberia; Gwamna (front right) lectured at the University of Jos for some time, but tragically, died about two years ago. The photo was taken outside the School of Post-Graduate Studies (which simply means graduate studies), where the defence took place.”

2007 – Veenstra Seminary in Donga, Nigeria… “the sweetest welcome came from these children, belonging with families of staff and students on campus.” Adrian & Wendy gave seminars while UniJos was on strike.


“Since our return to Canada, I have served and still serve on several boards, including the Lighthouse, Citizens for Public Justice, and Logos, a student ministry at York University. I have also served on numerous committees. This is a pleasure we were unable to enjoy while we served outside Canada.”

Adrian & Wendy have 3 children, living in all parts of the world!

His hobbies are reading and tai chi.

Adrian earned 4 degrees from Calvin College – Bachelor of Arts (1966), Bachelor of Divinity (1969), Masters of Divinity (1977) and Masters of Theology (1988), and a Ph.D. of Philosophy in Theology at St. Michael’s College in 1992.