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Laity receive Order of the Diocese of Toronto

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 2021, the recipients came from the following deaneries: Durham/Northumberland, Etobicoke/Humber, Holland, and Scarborough.

Bishop Andrew Asbil delivers the sermon at Evensong on Jan. 1. Photos by Michael Hudson.

Leonora Benjamin, ODT
Christ Church, Scarborough
Ms. Benjamin has been nominated by Christ Church, Scarborough for 47 years of faithful leadership as churchwarden, chorister, selection committee member, fundraiser, parish board member, Women’s Committee member, reader, intercessor and lay member of Synod. She is a successful organizer of fundraisers and helped to spearhead the first Black History service in Scarborough 20 years ago. Born into an Anglican family in Barbados, she settled in Scarborough with her family, bringing with her an abiding faith and love of God that is an encouragement to others.

Margaret Blackie, ODT
Trinity Church, Aurora
Mrs. Blackie has been nominated by Trinity Church, Aurora for her faithfulness to God and community. A life-long member of Trinity, she is at the church daily, quietly serving as co-coordinator of the altar guild and flower guild, ensuring everything is beautiful for services. She oversees the operation of the Clothes Closet program and parish gardens, prepares the sanctuary and cleans up after services, always working with a smile.

Bruce Cameron, ODT
St. Timothy, North Toronto
Mr. Cameron has been nominated by the bishop for his civic and parish contributions. At his parish, he has chaired the successful Our Faith-Our Hope campaign and served as churchwarden, and currently chairs the parish board while a member of the outreach committee and finance committee, supporting the parish-sponsored refugee family, and serving as an intercessor. He is a member of the diocesan FaithWorks Allocation Committee, volunteers at Churches-on-the Hill Food Bank and at the Stop Community Food Centre, and is a staunch supporter of Indigenous initiatives.

Norma Campbell, ODT
St. Dunstan of Canterbury
Mrs. Campbell has been nominated by St. Dunstan of Canterbury in recognition of her long-standing volunteer service in the parish and community. For the past four decades, she has served in many parish leadership positions – a dedicated and exemplary parishioner who works to engage others in the important work of outreach, pastoral care and Christian education. A 2020 recipient of the Government of Canada Award for helping the Scarborough Health Network, her contributions to her community and parish are treasured.

Phyllis Dennis receives her ODT medal. The medals were given to the recipients by spouses, friends or family members.

Phyllis Dennis, ODT
St. Jude, Wexford
Ms. Dennis has been nominated by St. Jude, Wexford for her dedicated faith and compassionate care of others. Many ministries and even more people have been impacted by her wise counsel and desire to increase the reach of what the parish can do in the community. A nurse of 35 years at Michael Garron Hospital, she continues to volunteer at St. Jude’s wherever she is needed, a living example of the parish motto “Our Cause is Hope.”

Lynne McDowell Dryla, ODT
Parish of Georgina
Ms. McDowell Dryla has been nominated by the Parish of Georgina for consistently showing leadership and quiet strength in her Anglican parish and its work. From a place of Christian faith that began in childhood, she has served as treasurer, lay reader and intercessor, fundraiser and altar guild member, and has recently taken the lead in learning the technical aspects of broadcasting services virtually. As a credit to our Church, she continues to develop ways in which to fulfill her discipleship.

Gwen Duck, ODT
St. Mark, Port Hope
Ms. Duck has been nominated by St. Mark, Port Hope for her steady Christian hand. When COVID-19 hit, she thoroughly investigated all the protocols and became the go-to person for keeping the parish together, safely. In the parish and centres of learning for young people and adults, through hard times she embodies a hopeful spirit, saying, “we’ll get through this.” Taking leadership in all forms, she brings calm in the face of fear and uncertainty. Her caring and empathetic Christian heart is a blessing.

Andrew Duncanson, ODT
Grace Church on-the-Hill
Mr. Duncanson has been nominated by the bishop for his outstanding leadership in developing and sustaining vibrant and successful stewardship at his parish, which is inspiring to the diocese. Working with the diocesan Stewardship department, he has offered mentoring to parishes in developing their stewardship functions. Embracing diversity and encouraging active volunteerism, his work, and the genuine warmth and enthusiasm he brings, has had a direct and positive impact on the healthy operations, culture and infrastructure of the Church.

Gordon Glandfield, ODT
Christ Church St. James
Mr. Glandfield has been nominated by Christ Church St. James for walking in Christ’s footsteps to enable the parish to become a missional and outreach centre in the community. Beginning with teaching Sunday School, he continued with the men’s group, chair of the housing committee, deanery council and churchwarden, and after successful installation of accessibility functions, was promoted to property manager. As the parish representative for Stonegate Ministry and overseeing the parish food bank ministry, his passion and care for service have excited others to join the church and love their neighbours.

Stanley Bruce Gleeson, ODT
St. Matthew, Islington
Mr. Gleeson has been nominated by St. Matthew, Islington for 45 years’ service in the ministry of the Church. Through his work in children’s discipleship, singing, churchwarden, cooking, cleaning, driving, property and chancel, he is a continual embodiment of the parish motto, “Sharing Jesus’ Love.” Bruce is a gift to his parish, and the people of St. Matthew, Islington believe they are most fortunate to have him as a member of their community.

Robert Hart receives his medal.

Robert Hart, ODT
St. James Cathedral
Mr. Hart has been nominated by the bishop for exemplary diocesan volunteer service as a Parish Selection/Transition facilitator, bishop’s envoy, clergy coach, and leadership mentor. A gifted educator and polyglot, he works bilingually, currently helping San Lorenzo, Dufferin develop Spanish-speaking deacons. He is a former cathedral churchwarden and Stewards founding member, high school teacher, vice principal and principal. His work ethic, inclusive nature, discretion, kindness and integrity earn him the most complex diocesan volunteer assignments.

Janice Hodgson, ODT
St. James the Apostle, Sharon
Mrs. Hodgson has been nominated by St. James the Apostle, Sharon for being a dedicated volunteer who so generously gives of her time, expertise and resources. Always accepting the mantle of leadership when asked, she has served as treasurer, churchwarden, chair of the outreach committee, director of the clothing depot and food closet, ACW member, chair of the mission and strategic planning task force, safe place ministry, and fundraiser. Giving her whole self to tasks, specifically with vulnerable people, she is a gift to St. James, Sharon and the wider community.

Arienne Johnson, ODT
Nativity, Malvern
Ms. Johnson has been nominated by Nativity, Malvern for exemplifying the character of commitment to the Church. From a young age, she has served in Sunday worship and volunteered with the day camp. She became a youth group leader, member of the worship team and outreach ministry, and part of the Steel Angels church steel pan band. During the pandemic she has become the coordinator of the audiovisual team, learning and teaching others to improve live streaming with humility and patience.

Gareth Kellett, ODT
Parish of Minden-Kinmount
Mr. Kellett has been nominated by the bishop for eight decades of devotion and support to the Church. Instrumental in the process for St. Paul, Minden receiving historical designation, he has supported the church properties and all clergy who have served them, including a couple of bishops. Always available at a moment’s notice to help with services or events or “situations,” his exemplary faith and dedication is an encouragement to the parish, clergy and the diocese.

Judith Matthew, ODT
St. Margaret in-the-Pines
Mrs. Matthew has been nominated by St. Margaret in-the-Pines for over 40 years of outstanding membership in her parish. Fulfilling many roles, including envelope secretary, website maintainer and Parish Selection Committee member, she is always positive, forward-thinking and supportive to the team. During the pandemic she has led the technology team that has allowed the parish to reimagine its online presence, continue to worship together and build the community.

Linda McGlade is presented with the ODT.

Linda McGlade, ODT
Ms. McGlade has been nominated by San Lorenzo-Dufferin for 23 years’ service since the Latin American community became part of the Anglican family in the Diocese of Toronto. Integrating the Latin American community in the Canadian multicultural mosaic, she co-founded projects Caravan of Hope Aid, San Lorenzo Latin American Community Centre, and CHHA 1610 AM Radio Voces Latinas. She is a person of faith, integrity and solidarity with the most vulnerable.

Elizabeth Ndzibah, ODT
St. Joseph’s Anglican Church
Ms. Ndzibah has been nominated by St. Joseph’s Anglican Church for her consistent and dedicated service to the ministry of St. Joseph’s. Regularly contributing even when travelling, and present with active participation in services, the church choir and women’s fellowship, she serves with tenacity and substance. Especially during these hard times of pandemic, she is ever-present and a constant encouragement to her parish.

Katya Park, ODT
St. John the Baptist, Norway
Mrs. Park has been nominated by the bishop for exhibiting servant leadership as a bridge-builder between young and old. Assisting with liturgy, accepting the mantle of churchwarden, and supporting children’s ministry and advocating for a youth minister, she has been a champion of building church community. With visionary energy and open eyes to see the will of God in ministry, she has provided leadership to her parish in a time of transition and is a gift to the Church.

Ruth Pengelly, ODT
Christ the King
Mrs. Pengelly has been nominated by Christ the King for her untiring work for the ACW at both the parish and diocesan levels. Her organizational skills and creative approach to fundraising have led to many fun-filled events, fostering fellowship opportunities especially appreciated during pandemic isolation. Funds raised by her efforts have been of benefit to many organizations within the Diocese of Toronto and the wider community.

Timothy Ralph, ODT
All Saints, Whitby
Mr. Ralph has been nominated by the bishop for outstanding service as a diocesan volunteer consultant and seven-time Parish/Transition Committee facilitator. Former Durham District high school principal, now its Board Innovation Officer, he presciently dragged the Volunteer Corps into the digital world of Zoom six months before the first COVID-19 lockdown. Rivalling Jimmy Fallon in talk-show hosting skills and known for Christmas pageant livestock herding skills, he continues to graciously lend all of his skills to building up the Church.

Helen Patricia Reynolds, ODT
All Saints, Kingsway
Mrs. Reynolds has been nominated by All Saints, Kingsway for exceptional volunteer ministry within the parish. As churchwarden, lay visitor, chancel guild member, and member of strategic planning and hospitality committees, she is an example of someone who truly lives her faith. Instrumental in developing and implementing the parish nurse and seniors support programs, she is widely respected for her contributions to the life of her parish.

Bishop Andrew Asbil presents Robert Rhodes with his ODT medal.

Robert Rhodes, ODT
Holy Trinity, Guildwood
Mr. Rhodes has been nominated by Holy Trinity, Guildwood for his contribution to the vitality and spirit of Holy Trinity. In worship, he has served as lay reader during five incumbencies, long-time choir member and participant in chancel drama. As a fundraiser, he spearheaded the stewardship Faith in Action, Our Faith-Our Hope and Joyful Giving campaigns, and has helped organize the annual Scarborough Prayer Breakfast and charitable work of the Anglican Worship Resources Society.

Lethel Shand, ODT
St. Andrew, Scarborough
Mrs. Shand has been nominated by St. Andrew, Scarborough for true witness and faithful servanthood to the Church and various local charities and community organizations over the last 70 years. She has willingly devoted significant amounts of time and energy to raise funds for her church and has been actively involved in pastoral care, bible study and youth ministry. Approachable and friendly, she is able to pray for anyone, anywhere, on the spot and without hesitation – always ready to be called upon and share her faith with the world.

Audrey Shepherd, ODT
Christ Church, Scarborough
Ms. Shepherd has been nominated by the bishop for extensive leadership as Diocesan President of the ACW, associate editor of The Anglican newspaper, member of the organization committee of General Synod, and Anglican representative on the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Recipient of two Queen’s Jubilee Medals for service to our country and province, she has served alongside her husband, the Rev. Roy Shepherd, in over 20 interim ministries, tirelessly giving her gifts and passionate service to the Church, to its people and to God.

Leah Springford, ODT
All Saints, King City
Mrs. Springford has been nominated by All Saints, King City for her unique ministry of prayer – using Zoom to create a spiritual sanctuary and prayer centre for the parish during the pandemic. Having served for almost 40 years as chorister, churchwarden, catering team member and lay anointer, she emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic as a spiritual leader who nourished the parish’s life of prayer and maintained its hope and sense of community. A calm and wise lay leader, her luminous spirituality is a beacon of encouragement for all.

Janet Stapleton, ODT
St. Peter, Cobourg
Ms. Stapleton has been nominated by St. Peter, Cobourg for her steadfast commitment to guiding children towards Jesus through engaging lessons, creative Vacation Bible Schools, and a lively kids’ club. During the pandemic, she has ensured the children keep learning through emails and packages of activities delivered to their doorstep on Sunday mornings. Skillfully and energetically leading volunteer teams to cook and deliver weekly meals to 130 people for the parish’s Thursday Night Light ministry, her love of Jesus and creativity make miraculous things happen.

Verna Stellinga, ODT
Parish of Roche’s Point
Ms. Stellinga has been nominated by the Parish of Roche’s Point for being a consummate lay reader and liturgical assistant and outstanding nursing home volunteer. Calling her volunteer work “her life,” she has always been willing to serve, sharing her beautiful voice and remarkable diction. She has been faithful to the call to inspire her hearers, developing relationships and ensuring paths are made to get people to worship services.

Ann Wainwright, ODT
St. Clement, Eglinton
Ms. Wainwright has been nominated by the bishop for active service and leadership in the Church for 61 years and counting. As the first female churchwarden at her parish in 1979, she continued serving as administrator of the board of management for Holy Trinity, Bishop’s Court Clerk, diocesan Secretary of Synod, and member of St. David’s Towers Corporation. Underlying her many practical achievements is her steadfast care of others, ready to respond when anybody is in need.

Michael Shane Watson receives the ODT.

Michael Shane Watson, ODT
St. John the Evangelist, Port Hope
Mr. Watson has been nominated by St. John the Evangelist, Port Hope for humbly demonstrating servant leadership within the parish, deanery, diocese and community. He helps others in deepening and sharing their faith through worship, Christian education and spiritual development. Actively involved in the St. John’s community spiritual park and garden project and Green Wood Coalition street level organization, he is responsive to God’s calling to mission by serving organizations that address social justice and the needs of the marginalized.

Joycelyn Williams, ODT
St. Margaret in-the-Pines
Mrs. Williams has been nominated by the bishop for exceptional service as a diocesan volunteer consultant and Growing Health Stewards coach, and for her leadership in liturgical dance. Designing a course called “Good Sense Money Management” for her parish to bring it back to financial and administrative health, her ministry and commitment to her faith may be summed up in her personal message: “We are given gifts and talents to share with others, and if asked it’s my pleasure and joy to serve my Saviour and his people; especially the wider Church.”

Applause for all this year’s ODT recipients.

Sandra Wilson, ODT
St. Paul the Apostle, Rexdale
Mrs. Wilson has been nominated by St. Paul the Apostle, Rexdale for generously giving her time and talents to church ministry for over four decades. Auditor, reader, greeter, counter, lay anointer, lay pastoral visitor, book club leader and trainer, she is always available to help with parish events and outreach. Prayerful, faithful and grateful to God, she is a respected and loved member of her parish who visibly lives out the gospel message.

Betty Ann Wood, ODT
St. Saviour, Orono
Mrs. Wood has been nominated by St. Saviour, Orono for her leadership and service spanning six decades. With deep Anglican family roots, her children have grown to serve in their churches and communities, as she led and served children in the parish and community and took on every role the parish had to offer alongside her husband, Tony. With warmth extending to every person in the church and local community, her smile lights our way.


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