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Laity celebrated for volunteer ministry

The Order of the Diocese of Toronto, an award created in 2013, honours members of the laity in the diocese who have given outstanding service over a significant period of time in their volunteer ministry. We give thanks to God for the work and witness of these faithful people who, in the exercise of their baptismal ministry, have demonstrated that “their light shines, their works glorify.” In 2018, the recipients came from the following deaneries: Eglinton, Huronia/Tecumseth, Mississauga, and Oshawa. They were presented with their medallion at St. James Cathedral, Toronto, on Jan. 1.

A group photo of the newly appointed members of the Order of the Diocese of Toronto. Photos by Michael Hudson.

Ann Abraham, ODT
St. James Cathedral, Toronto
Mrs. Abraham was nominated by the Archbishop for her long-standing dedication to the cathedral and the diocese. She has served on the board of Street to Trail, at the weekly Tuesday drop-in, was a lay pastoral visitor to the Toronto Jail, and directed the York Group for many years. A skilled and tactful director, she inspired new women to take on more leadership and follow in her capable footsteps.

Roy Allam, ODT
All Saints, Whitby
Mr. Allam was nominated by All Saints, Whitby for his unstinting service in a multitude of roles, particularly for his work in managing the rebuilding of the parish after the devastating fire in 2009. The hundreds of hours of work he devoted to the project, all while holding down a full-time job, saw All Saints rise like a phoenix from the ashes and resulted in the beautifully restored and improved sanctuary it has today.

Rosemary Athron, ODT
St. George, Fairvalley
Ms. Athron was nominated for her 50 years of dedication to her parish. She has served on the ACW, the altar guild, the parish executive, the congregation advisory board, the Huronia Cluster Ministry, the worship committee, the luncheon group, the service bulletin, computer screen and Christmas parades committees, and as deputy churchwarden, treasurer, Synod member, outreach mission chair and pastoral visitor. She is a devoted mother and loving grandmother.

Patrick Bennett, ODT
St. Thomas, Brooklin
Mr. Bennett was nominated for his role in the establishment and leadership as president and director of the St. Thomas Child Care Centre since it began in 2008. He was instrumental in the design and implementation of a thoughtful and uniquely symbiotic relationship, and continues to chair monthly board meetings, carefully stewarding operations and the partnership with the parish. Marrying his profession as a lawyer to his faith and commitment to Christ’s church, he diligently supports the centre, which accommodates more than 150 children.

Myrlene Boken, ODT
St. Peter, Churchill
Ms. Boken was nominated by St. Peter, Churchill for her dedicated and skilled service to the parish. She has sung in the choir and served as churchwarden and Sunday School coordinator, as well as on parish selection committees, the altar guild and outreach programs that serve the community. Using her professional talent in growth analysis and demographic studies, she has travelled across the country to spend time learning and researching in order to serve the wider Church.

Bill Bradbury, ODT
St. Paul on-the-Hill, Pickering
Mr. Bradbury was nominated by St. Paul on-the-Hill, Pickering for his work in bringing the parish into the electronic age. As a result of his efforts, church services and sermons are available online every week, and he has produced several award-winning videos on the life and programs of the parish. A quiet, unassuming man, he strives to put his God-given gifts to use in his service, recognizing God’s guiding hand in his life experiences.

Chris Bunting, ODT is presented with his medallion.

Chris Bunting, ODT
Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto
Mr. Bunting was nominated by the Archbishop for his skill and expertise in communications. He has advised the Archbishop and the diocese’s Communications department on a number of important issues over the years. He serves on the board of trustees of the Awareness Foundation, which provides education support primarily to Christian children and youth in Syria and Iraq and promotes better understanding of Middle East issues in the West. Currently, he is a churchwarden at Grace Church on-the-Hill and a member of the select vestry at St. Peter on-the-Rock, Stony Lake.

Brendan Caldwell, ODT
Messiah, Toronto
Mr. Caldwell was nominated for his generous and sacrificial service to his church community and beyond. He leads a rich and engaging Sunday School program – known for taking kids’ spiritual questions seriously – and gives generously of his time, talent and treasure to support young people. A recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his philanthropy and volunteer service, he serves the community on school boards, including The Bishop Strachan School and Wycliffe College, and leads the Caldwell Foundation’s efforts to improve the lives of children in India.

Mary Charbonneau, ODT
Trinity-St. Paul, Port Credit
Ms. Charbonneau was nominated for her steady example of humble service to her parish and to people in the neighbourhood who are vulnerable or fighting to survive. Within the parish, she provides loving pastoral care and a listening ear in her anointing ministry to people who have suffered loss and who may be struggling in their life of faith. A founding member of a L’Arche community in Ottawa and a learner of Jean Vanier, she was drawn by the spirit of inclusion at Trinity-St. Paul and strives to direct parish resources to the community’s deepest needs.

Fenella Chiu, ODT receives her medal.

Fenella Chiu, ODT
St. Elizabeth, Mississauga
Ms. Chiu was nominated by St. Elizabeth, Mississauga for her commitment and dedication to the parish ministry. Over the past four years, St. Elizabeth’s has gone through substantial development and challenges, including church extension and a generational transition in leadership. Her leadership has provided stability, direction and encouragement to both the parishioners and the incumbent.

Peter Davidson, ODT
St. Martin, Bay Ridges (Pickering)
Mr. Davidson was nominated for his faithful service to God within his parish and the diocese. As the parish FaithWorks coordinator, he has helped make St. Martin’s one of the diocese’s most generous donors. He has served both the parish and the diocese in so many capacities that the true extent of his dedication is known to God alone.

Gretchen Dewhirst, ODT
Trinity Church, Bradford
Mrs. Dewhirst was nominated by Trinity Church, Bradford for her years of dedicated and loving service to God and the Church. Whenever her church needed her, she answered the call, holding every imaginable position with gracious humility. It is her loving, pastoral heart for all people that her parish appreciates most, continually going above and beyond in looking after each and every one, and for that they are eternally grateful.

Joan Doodchenko, ODT
St. Paul, Uxbridge
Mrs. Doodchenko was nominated by St. Paul, Uxbridge for her 65 years of active ministry. An enthusiastic four-term churchwarden and altar guild director since 1993, she also supports outreach and recently worked towards the founding of the Uxbridge Gay-Straight Alliance. A treasure to St. Paul’s, her positive and active work ethic is exemplary to all.

Shirley Fraser, ODT
St. Thomas a Becket (Erin Mills South)
Mrs. Fraser was nominated for her commitment to both the parish and to outreach ministries within the Anglican community and beyond. Faith has guided her as a member of Anglicans in Mission in Allahabad, India, and to making clients feel welcome at the Deacon’s Cupboard Food Bank. When not on a committee, you can find her on the third Friday of the month celebrating fellowship at Soup at Noon, an event she spearheaded.

Joan Gardy, ODT
St. James, Orillia
Mrs. Gardy was nominated for her dedicated service to St. James, Orillia as chair of the worship committee, ACW executive and minute-taker for a variety of committees. Fellowship is very important to her, and she always makes sure that events are not only planned but are fun. Given her lengthy service, she is one of those people who are foundational to the church because she knows the past well and is able to express hope for a future.

Geraldine Patricia (Tric) Glover, ODT
St. Francis of Assisi, Mississauga
Mrs. Glover was nominated by St. Francis of Assisi for her spiritually thoughtful and caring leadership. She has served over 35 years in many roles, highly values relationships and demonstrates concern for the sake of others, especially through the Christmas hamper program and prayer circles. Bringing prayerful devotion to everything she does, she has exemplary organizational skills that ensure everything she does for the parish is done well.

John Goodwin, ODT
St. Clement, Eglinton
Mr. Goodwin was nominated for serving the Church with intelligence and devotion. Former chancellor of the Diocese of the Arctic and trustee of the General Synod Pension Plan, he has used his notable professional background as a lawyer to steward the national church and the diocese as a member of the Investment Committee. A man of strong faith and principles, he is an important part of the faith and fabric of the parish, community, diocese and wider Church.

Sheila Hawkins, ODT
St. Mark, Midland
Mrs. Hawkins was nominated by St. Mark, Midland for her many years of tireless and dedicated ministry of caring and healing. A former nurse, she has always been in the business of caring for people and has organized regular worship services in local retirement and nursing homes. Without her gifted and personal ministry, St. Mark’s would not be the caring and welcoming place it is today. God has richly blessed the Church with her ministry.

Kirk Hearder, ODT
St. John, East Orangeville
Mr. Hearder was nominated by St. John, East Orangeville for being a lifelong member of every congregation of the former Parish of Mono, his father having been a vocational deacon there. He has fulfilled every parish role with grace, humour and dedication: churchwarden, advisory board member, lay reader, intercessor, pastoral visitor, Taizé leader, chalice bearer, outreach coordinator, building steward and Synod member. But perhaps more courageously, he is the male anchor of the parish’s three-person catering team.

Joan Higginbottom, ODT
St. Peter (Erindale)
Ms. Higginbottom was nominated for her excellence in leadership, her commitment to the prayer and worship life of her parish and her ongoing volunteerism in the life of the Church. She broke gender barriers, becoming the first female churchwarden, lay Eucharistic minister and reader. She offers wisdom and shines with God’s love in all of her baptismal ministry. She is an excellent example of faithfulness to all.

Jacqueline Hyacinth, ODT smiles with Bishop Andrew Asbil after receiving her medallion.

Jacqueline Hyacinith, ODT
St. Hilary (Cooksville)
Mrs. Hyacinith was nominated for her tireless effort and joyful personality, which helps St. Hilary’s find its heart in order to reach out to others. As the coordinator of the St. Hilary’s Food Pantry, she is an unparalleled administrator, marketer and relationship builder, all the while ensuring that the cupboards and pantry are always full through her coordination with stores, companies and the Mississauga Food Bank, and by researching bargains. Her efforts go well beyond helping people in the community to get the food they need; she makes sure that everyone who walks in the door is welcomed, cared for and leaves feeling better.

Carolyn Kearns, ODT
Christ Church, Deer Park
Ms. Kearns was nominated by Christ Church, Deer Park for her valued service in faith as a member of the management team and stewardship committee, and for her contributions as chair of parish selection committees. Her leadership and facilitation skills ensure that the best involvement from all members is received, recognized and contributes to great choices for the parish’s ministry. As a long-time volunteer leader at Trinity College, she lends her skills to the wider Church and community.

Marilyn Kellar, ODT
St. Peter, Oshawa
Ms. Kellar was nominated by the Archbishop for her decades-long active service to St. Peter, Oshawa. She has been part of the sanctuary guild, Sunday School ministry, bazaars and cookie sales, and the parish food bank that serves the whole community, in addition to being the envelope secretary. Open-minded and open-hearted, she is a welcoming and refreshing presence for everyone at St. Peter’s and in the community of south Oshawa.

Beth Kinghan, ODT
St. Paul, Uxbridge
Mrs. Kinghan was nominated by the Archbishop for her decade of faithful ministry as a lay member of the Postulancy Committee, and for the gifts of wisdom, insight and discernment she brings to that work. As a clergy spouse, she knows both the joys and challenges for clergy families and has been a role model and mentor for others, particularly the partners of postulants, ordinands and clergy.

Penelope Laity, ODT
St. Timothy, Agincourt
Ms. Laity was nominated by the Archbishop for her outstanding and faithful work to the people of her parish as a former churchwarden, security officer, small group member and envelope secretary. She has served the greater community through her outreach to homeless guests at the weekly breakfast program. She now encourages and motivates others to cultivate these gifts of the spirit at St. Timothy’s and beyond.

Murray MacAdam, ODT
St. John the Evangelist, Peterborough
Mr. MacAdam was nominated by the Archbishop for his decades of work in social justice and advocacy in both Canada and the Global South. He worked as the PWRDF information resources officer and the Diocese of Toronto’s social justice and advocacy consultant and was the editor of Catalyst, the publication of the Christian social activist organization Citizens for Public Justice. An author and educator on progressive social change and Indigenous issues, he is now an active volunteer in his retirement.

Bill Matthews, ODT
St. Peter (Erindale)
Mr. Matthews was nominated by the Archbishop for his long and dedicated service to both his local parish and the life of the diocese. As a long-time member of St. Andrew, Scarborough, he served as a churchwarden and key layperson. Now at St. Peter’s, he is a dedicated diocesan volunteer and has successfully coached several parish selection committees with grace and hope.

Cathy Matthews, ODT
St. Peter (Erindale)
Mrs. Matthews was nominated by the Archbishop for her continued dedication to ministry in her former and current parishes as a key layperson, and at the wider diocesan level. A skilled diocesan volunteer, she brings wisdom, grace and insight to coaching various parish selection processes.

Fredrick Meridew, ODT is presented with the Order of the Diocese of Toronto.

Frederick Meridew, ODT
Holy Spirit of Peace, Mississauga
Mr. Meridew was nominated by Holy Spirit of Peace for his lifetime of faithful, dedicated service to the Church. As junior church crucifer, Sunday School leader, lay reader, treasurer and financial consultant, he has selflessly offered his considerable gifts and skills to serve God everywhere he has lived. His faith, insight and wisdom, gentle nature and good humour continue to be a blessing to all.

David Moore, LLD, ODT
Christ Church, Deer Park
Mr. Moore was nominated by the Archbishop for his lifetime of service in faith. He founded and led the congressional care team, served on the stewardship committee and, with his wife Joan, gives generously to the parish, the diocese and the wider community. He leads by shining example in everything he does, encouraging others to offer their talents, time and treasure.

Joy Packham, PMP, ODT
St. Margaret, Barrie
Ms. Packham was nominated by the Archbishop for her service to the diocese as a skilled volunteer. She has been a member of the Fiscal Framework and Budget working groups, the York Rectory Commissioners and the Project Enabling and Monitoring Group, a coach for Growing Healthy Stewards and a Bishop’s envoy. Recently, she assisted as a Synod scribe at the November 2018 Synod.

Stephen Powell, ODT
St. George Memorial, Oshawa
Mr. Powell was nominated by the Archbishop for his musicianship, spanning more than 44 years at St. George’s. As organist, pianist and choir director, in addition to his full-time profession as a high school teacher, he has creatively built teams and happily donates his time to other ministry areas. He has made a difference over the years, as he has displayed his numerous gifts on a regular basis with humour and sensitivity, as well as outstanding ability as a musician.

Eric Preston, ODT
Holy Trinity, Thornhill
Mr. Preston was nominated by the Archbishop for his long-standing dedication as a churchwarden and advisor to clergy, and his commitment to improving the physical, financial and fellowship well-being of his parish community. He serves the wider Church as a member of the diocesan Budget Working Group and Project Evaluation and Monitoring Group, guiding parishes to implement initiatives. He is also recognized for his ministry in the marketplace, contributing to the mental health and justice systems throughout the province.

Don Reid, ODT
St. George, Fairvalley
Mr. Reid was nominated by the Archbishop for being a dedicated member of St. George, Fairvalley and the community for over 55 years. He has served on the parish executive, congregation advisory board, Huronia Cluster Ministry, cemetery board, Christmas parade committee, maintenance and as churchwarden, and has supplied any heavy equipment when needed. As a full-time farmer, he has raised a herd of over 200 beef cattle, volunteers with the Coldwater Fall Fair and is a man of amazing understanding of God’s good earth.

The newly appointed members of the ODT stand to hearty applause.

Nora Robinson, ODT
St. Leonard, Toronto
Mrs. Robinson was nominated for her trailblazing leadership as a woman in the Church, serving as St. Leonard’s first female churchwarden. She is a tireless worker who ensured that people who could easily be forgotten continued to be invited back into the life of the parish. Whether welcoming the Primate or the widow and orphan, she reminds her parish constantly that all are welcome at the heavenly banquet.

Peter Schloen, ODT
St. Thomas, Brooklin
Mr. Schloen was nominated by the Archbishop for being a faithful member of his parish for six and a half decades. A long-time churchwarden and treasurer, he found the time to volunteer to be building manager when the parish undertook a major building expansion project in 2006. As the go-to person for any child care centre issues, while managing the leasing of the facility and the in-house parish calendar, he is always giving his time, talent and treasure for the betterment of his parish.

Sheila Thomas, ODT
St. Peter and St. Simon the Apostle, Bloor Street
Ms. Thomas was nominated by the Archbishop for her faithful service as long-time parishioner and volunteer at St. Peter and St. Simon the Apostle. She has served on the altar guild, hospitality team, in the church office and as a link to the community with the Reaching Out Through Music program. Her care for others is an outward and visible sign of her Christian faith, which she lives out day by day.

Diane Toycen, ODT
Trinity, Streetsville
Ms. Toycen was nominated by the Archbishop for her years of dedicated and Christ-centred service at Trinity, Streetsville. She was the executive administrator of Trinity for many years and, among many other things, helped to develop the highly effective newcomers’ ministry that welcomed many people into the life of the parish.

Rosalinda Trotter, ODT
St. Timothy, Agincourt
Ms. Trotter was nominated by the Archbishop for her faithful and compassionate service to St. Timothy’s as a churchwarden, treasurer, altar guild member, social convenor and co-chair of the Our Faith-Our Hope committee. Her financial background and expertise continue to be invaluable, as she created a counter’s manual that is now used in many parishes throughout the diocese. Instrumental in obtaining financing for the parish when a new addition was added, St. Timothy’s is so grateful for her love and dedication to serving with her God-given talents.

Mary Watson, ODT
Christ Church, Roches Point
Mrs. Watson was nominated by the Archbishop for her long and distinguished service role in the parish. She can handle many different things at the same time – outreach events like parish bazaars, liturgical assistant in services, ACW treasurer, churchwarden – and is known as a “total volunteer” to her parish. She is a living homily; in the words of St. Augustine, she teaches us, she delights us, she moves us.

Jack White, MD, ODT
Grace Church, Markham
Dr. White was nominated by the Archbishop for a lifetime of Christian service, beginning in the 1950s. He has served as churchwarden and cemetery trustee, and at age 86 still organizes set-up for most events in Grace Church’s very active parish hall. In retirement, “Doc White” was acclaimed for his community service on CBC Radio. If you see smiling, laughing folks enjoying themselves, “Smilin’ Jack” is surely nearby.

Friends and family capture the group shot at the end of Evensong.

Evadne Wilkinson, ODT
St. Paul, Bloor Street
Ms. Wilkinson was nominated by the Archbishop for her long, gracious and faithful service to her parish and to the wider community of black Anglicans in the diocese. She served for many years on St. Paul’s outreach community, helped raise significant funds for the Diocese of Kaduna in Nigeria, and serves with the All Saints Café at St. Stephen, Downsview. She has also been involved with the diocese’s annual celebration of Black History Month for many years.

Antoinette Williams, ODT
St. George, Pickering Village (Ajax)
Ms. Williams was nominated by the Archbishop for her faithful services at St. George’s, where she has been a member for over 18 years, serving as a Sunday School teacher and deputy churchwarden, as well as being involved in the finance and fellowship committees. In addition to being the wife of a police officer and a mother, she runs her own business and volunteers in her local elementary school and with the Navy League. She is deeply appreciated by her parish family for her quiet wisdom, determination and dedication to St. George’s, especially during times of upheaval and transition.