Skip To Content

Laity honoured at New Year’s Day service

A group photo of the new recipients after Choral Evensong on Jan. 1. Photos by Michael Hudson.

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 2019, the recipients came from the following deaneries: North Peel, Nottawasaga, St. James & Toronto East, and Victoria Haliburton. They were presented with their medallion at St. James Cathedral, Toronto, on Jan. 1.

Heather Bennett, ODT
Redeemer, Bloor St.
Ms. Bennett has been nominated by the Bishop for her deep contribution to diocesan ministry throughout her adult life, as well as for her faithful and tireless support for the Redeemer community over the last 18 years. She is the type of volunteer who has contributed her professional skills to the wide variety of boards and committees the Anglican Church has to offer. She lives her faith in action, with both integrity and intentionality, and is a role model for those who wish to be better at doing so.

Jan Booker, ODT.

Jan Booker, ODT
St. Barnabas, Chester
Mr. Booker has been nominated for his dedication and service to his parish since 1967. As the treasurer for 25 years and counting, he is also the “go-to person” for any issues with the church building and works tirelessly behind the scenes doing jobs that most are unaware of and would only notice if not done. St. Barnabas is blessed to have him as a member of the parish, and he is very deserving of being recognized for his many contributions over the years.

Donald Brohm, ODT
St. Paul, Lindsay
Mr. Brohm has been nominated by St. Paul, Lindsay for his diverse and extensive service to God and the Church. Learning from an early lay reader training course the need to spread the gospel of Christ, he has been motivated to train and encourage others, as well as steward resources, as property manager. His leadership has been enhanced by his quiet, unassuming personality, and his ready spirit has helped the church to be present in the community.

Bruce Chambers, ODT
St. Nicholas, Birch Cliff
Mr. Chambers has been nominated by the Bishop for his exemplary service to the Anglican Communion through the Compass Rose Society. As treasurer for the Canadian chapter, he has also served as board member and sometimes international board member for nearly two decades. Thorough, diligent, precise – all the qualities you hope for in a treasurer – he has also been marvellously faithful, and Bishop Asbil wishes him well as he retires from this role.

Ann Cope, ODT
Redeemer, Bloor St.
Ms. Cope has been nominated for her long and faithful service that touches almost every aspect of life at Redeemer. She is a creative force, is sought out for her insights and wisdom, and is possibly the parish’s most effective evangelist. She continually shines a spotlight on what makes Redeemer remarkable, keeping existing members engaged and inviting newcomers into full, involved membership.

Douglas Court, ODT
St. Margaret, Barrie
Mr. Court has been nominated by St. Margaret, Barrie for his decades-long service and support of the church communities he has been involved with. Having received his lay reader licence in 1975, he has contributed to several church communities with preaching, anointing, leading Morning Prayer, funerals and hospital visits – exhibiting exceptional leadership and earning him the respect and gratitude of many. His wealth of knowledge and willingness to help are traits admired, and so appreciated, by all who know him.

David Graham Fisher, ODT
St. Saviour, Toronto
Mr. Fisher has been nominated for his unceasing commitment to St. Saviour’s. From churchwarden to treasurer to part-time organist, lector, Synod member and intercessor leader, he has let his name stand for any role needed to keep our church vibrant and functioning. An engineer by trade and therefore “untitled” property manager, he is currently leading a weekly walking prayer group to pray for the parish community, street by street.

Evelyn Foster, ODT
Christ Church, Holland Landing
Mrs. Foster has been nominated by the Bishop for her 68 years of membership and service to her parish of Christ Church, Holland Landing. Throughout her tenure, she has been an active member of the ACW, church choir and various fundraising initiatives. Having celebrated her 97th birthday this past summer, she is a regular baker for events and rarely misses a Sunday, to make sure she speaks to everyone.

Jerome Friday, ODT.

Jerome Friday, ODT
St. Joseph of Nazareth, Bramalea
Mr. Friday has been nominated for his faithful service in several ministries with a willing and generous heart. As an integral part of The Bridge Prison Ministry and the Ontario Correctional Institute, he has helped guide countless individuals. Recognizing the blessings he has received and, in response, giving willingly to others, he is a model of Christian charity as he embodies Christ’s hands and feet to those in need.

Mae Harasymiw, ODT
Trinity Church, Barrie
Mrs. Harasymiw has been nominated by Trinity Church, Barrie for actively supporting and contributing to the mission of the Anglican Church throughout Barrie, Nottawasaga Deanery and beyond. Selflessly dedicated, the lives of many have been bettered and blessed as a result of her leadership in initiatives to provide clothing, food and basic care to those in need. Her determination has helped see Trinity through difficult days, and her optimism and action have provided hope for the future.

Edward Harris, ODT
St. Jude, Bramalea North
Mr. Harris has been nominated by St. Jude, Bramalea North for his 42 years of service at his 42-year-old parish. Long-time churchwarden, he has also raised money, led worship, brought the gift of sing-along music into the local prison and retirement homes, cooked breakfasts for the parish, run the bazaar, served on the advisory board, and fixed every broken thing in the parish. He directs ushers and counters, drives people to church – and takes out the garbage every single week.

Stephen Hughes, ODT
Christ Church, Brampton
Mr. Hughes has been nominated by Christ Church, Brampton for his lengthy, consistent and sacrificial leadership through hospitality, administration, stewardship and care for others. As shepherd to the building restoration project, he successfully helped complete all projects over the past two decades on time and on budget. His ministry has been rooted in the parish, where he has raised his children, supported the weak, journeyed with those who mourn, and offered leadership in renewal and restoration.

Dianne Izzard, ODT
St. Mary and St. Martha
Ms. Izzard has been nominated by the Bishop in recognition and celebration of her extraordinary contributions to the success of the parish amalgamation. As rector’s warden, she oversaw a complex program of repairs and safety upgrades at nine properties, while advising clergy and wardens, and inspired the whole parish to get involved in missional and outreach ministries. Every day, she points us to the example of Mary and Martha in faithfully following and joyfully serving our Lord.

Lloyd Jensen, ODT
St. George, Allandale
Mr. Jensen has been nominated for his tireless efforts as sidesperson, churchwarden, lay member of Synod, financial planner, and supporter for both parish and diocesan fundraising programs. Instrumental in saving the quilters’ quilts and supplies during the parish hall fire in 2006, he displays extraordinary work ethic and an ability to take limited resources and make things work. As the go-to person of the parish, he is deserving of this recognition for faithful service to his Church and community.

Elsa Jones, ODT.

Elsa Jones, ODT
Christ Church, Deer Park
Ms. Jones has been nominated by the Bishop for her cheerful and appreciative leadership and service to our Church. Chair of the Canadian Friends to West Indian Christians, active in church activity and weekly life, she is an admirable servant driven by her strong faith and belief in equality for all. She leads by example with integrity and devotion, delivers with inspiration, and leaves a smile on the face of anyone blessed by a conversation with her.

Chuck Jowett, ODT
Evangelists, New Tecumseth
Mr. Jowett has been nominated by the Bishop for his significant volunteer service with the Diocese. He takes on difficult jobs with diligence, leads workshops at the annual volunteer conference, and is currently a key member of the Reconfiguration rewrite team.

Mary Kishibe, ODT
St. Matthew, First Avenue
Mrs. Kishibe has been nominated for her selfless service to her parish and neighbourhood. With the historical knowledge of an archivist, and the attention to detail needed as chancel guild director, she is the first to welcome visitors any time, any day to have a chat and invite them on a tour with generosity and joy. Her care for every corner of the church – and all those who enter the doors– is remarkable.

Sharron Lamour, ODT
St. Peter (Erindale)
Ms. Lamour has been nominated by the Bishop for her faithful volunteer service to the Diocese. She is an anchor on the Parish Selection Committee and Fresh Start rewrite team, and often attends Synod to host the volunteer desk. As lieutenant to the Volunteer Resource Coordinator, she helps to mentor and train new coaches and is always willing to help by stepping in for last-minute cancellations.

Ruth May, ODT

Ruth May, ODT
Christ Church, Bolton
Ms. May has been nominated for her long-time role in modelling Christ’s love for us and our neighbours. As church administrator, she calmly organizes and works toward the success of every activity, committee and service detail – all while supporting each individual with a kind word or pot of soup. Her hard work, compassion and fostering the engagement of all parish members have helped sustain the spiritual, financial and emotional well-being of the parish.

Paddy Ann McHaffie, ODT
Holy Family, Heart Lake (Brampton)
Ms. McHaffie has been nominated for her wide-ranging contributions to the parish as well as the Diocese. An active churchwarden, lay member of diocesan and General Synods and advisory board chair, she also organizes fun social events for the parish and contributes the sales of her artwork to the parish. As a social worker by trade, her skills were valuable as chairperson of the diocesan Community Ministries Board, and all are blessed by her energy and gifts.

Ranil Mendis, ODT
St. Thomas à Becket (Erin Mills South)
Mr. Mendis has been nominated by the Bishop for his initiative as a community builder to found one of the diocese’s most fun and engaging annual events. The Anglican Church Cricket Festival draws church teams from across the GTA, providing parishes with an opportunity to get to know each other and build relationships with the wider community. He also devotes his free time to promoting cricket in local high schools, giving students the chance to compete, travel and have fun.

Order of the Diocese of Toronto medallions.

Yvonne Murray, ODT
St. John the Divine, Scarborough
Ms. Murray has been nominated by the Bishop for her long-standing volunteer service in financial advising roles. A retired chartered accountant, she has served as the treasurer of her parish for more than 20 years, is a member of the finance advisory committee and the budget working group, and has lent her skill to help many other parishes develop financial plans and resolve debt issues. She is inspiring to many as she commits her time and talent for the improvement of the Church.

Thomas Nicholson, ODT
St. Paul, Minden
Mr. Nicholson has been nominated by St. Paul, Minden for his unwavering devotion in maintaining the church in everything from electronics to repairs. When the church went digital, he made it happen. When yearly flooding occurs, he rises in the night and wades through freezing water to manage pumps, lights and heat lines that save the church from flooding. Repairing everything that moves, and some things that don’t, his work truly reflects the love of Christ.

Dorcas Sheppard, ODT
St. Cuthbert, Leaside
Ms. Sheppard has been nominated by the Bishop for her honest, open-hearted discipleship, seeking the welfare of others and considering her own secondary. For six decades, she has served her parish in most of the roles possible for a lay person, currently serving as chancel guild president. She shares in the mission and ministry of the Church through innumerable acts of loving kindness in the parish and beyond.

Gordon Stock, ODT
St. John the Baptist, Norway
Mr. Stock has been nominated for his years of dedicated service, helping to lead St. John’s and develop its vision. Using his corporate insight and clear communication, he has helped to guide the parish into a sustainable future. He has given nine years of decision making, team building and leadership while watching his young daughter grow up and helping to build and care for the community.

David Thornton, ODT
Christ Church, Deer Park
Mr. Thornton has been nominated by the Bishop for his many contributions to his parish and the Diocese. At Christ Church, Deer Park he has served as churchwarden, Synod member and chair of various committees, and he is currently a sidesperson and subdeacon. A board member of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation, former secretary of synod, and chair and treasurer of LOFT, his gifts have been well received and invaluable to the whole Diocese.

Juanita Williams, ODT.

Juanita Williams, ODT
St. Hugh and St. Edmund
Ms. Williams has been nominated for her competent, diligent and enthusiastic initiative in all matters pertaining to her parish and the Diocese. For over 25 years, she has been a team player, easily able to establish rapport with all with whom she comes into contact. She has an avowed interest in her church and its community, and a desire to have such interest shared by all.

Marjorie Wrightson, ODT
Redeemer, Bloor St.
Ms. Wrightson has been nominated by Redeemer, Bloor St. for her long-standing commitment to the life and work of the Church. She has served as a lay leader in numerous roles, is a gifted preacher and presider at Evensong services, and acts as a valued mentor to clergy, staff and senior lay leadership. A highly respected leader, she is an integral member of the Redeemer faith community.