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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 2022, the recipients came from the following deaneries: Eglinton, Huronia & Tecumseth, Mississauga, and Oshawa. Watch the service on YouTube.

Thanenjayen Varun Balendra, ODT
St. Bede
Mr. Balendra has been nominated by the bishop for outstanding volunteer work as a Canon 24 administrator and mentor to other diocesan volunteers. A gifted Certified Management Accountant, risk management and systems auditor, he brings good humour, deep knowledge, faith and compassion to parishes struggling with organizational transition. A devoted family man, he is passionate about God’s word and service in his own parish of St. Bede.

Heather Conolly, ODT
St. Cuthbert, Leaside
Ms. Conolly has been nominated by St. Cuthbert, Leaside for her outstanding contributions to the life of the parish. Her commitment to her fellow parishioners and the broader community is always on display through welcoming newcomers, ensuring St. Cuthbert’s is kept in excellent condition, and participating in all aspects of lay leadership. Inclusive and enthusiastic, her ministry reflects the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Olwen Davies, ODT
St. Hilary (Cooksville)
Mrs. Davies has been nominated by St. Hilary (Cooksville) for over 30 years of functioning in key roles, especially supporting worship services and the chancel guild. She contributes to pastoral care outreach, with an uncanny ability to notice when someone needs a call or supportive word, and reaches out to ensure people receive what they need. During the pandemic, she has been at church every Sunday to help with the recorded and live services, prioritizing the community’s accessibility to worship.

Robert (Bob) de Savoye, ODT
St. George, Pickering Village (Ajax)
Mr. de Savoye has been nominated by St. George, Pickering Village (Ajax) in recognition of his 27 years of service realized in a spirit of kindness and hope. Generously sharing his financial acumen with his parish and the diocesan Finance Committee, he loves projects that connect church and community: meals to migrant workers, community gardens, upgraded audio-visual systems for virtual ministry, and an outdoor nativity. With his beloved wife Lazina by his side, he embodies welcome and hospitality.

Kamalini Dugan, ODT. Photos by Michael Hudson.

Kamalini Dugan, ODT
Mrs. Dugan has been nominated by Transfiguration for her tireless dedication to seeing and supporting every person, cleric and visitor that walks through the doors, as well as the gardens outside the doors. She is around every corner, ready to roll up her sleeves to beautify the church, and the one who mobilizes volunteers into action. Head of the refugee committee, member of advisory board, stewardship chair, lay member to Synod, former churchwarden and weekly volunteer for Meals on Wheels, she is inspiring to us all.

Beverly (Bev) Giamou, ODT
Trinity – St. Paul, Port Credit
Mrs. Giamou has been nominated by Trinity – St. Paul, Port Credit for demonstrating her care for the parish and community through involvement in various leadership roles and initiatives. She welcomes and engages people and uses her gifts of administration and financial expertise to share the business of the Church in ways that are accessible, and to help the parish determine how to sustain and grow its ministry in responsible and meaningful ways.

Sharon Jones, ODT
St. Martin, Bay Ridges (Pickering)
Ms. Jones has been nominated by the bishop for years of work in Trent-Durham parishes and with the diocese as a parish transition consultant, Canon 25 board member, Mission Action Plan coach, volunteer management specialist, and LGBTQ2S+ advocate and activist. She is a highly regarded Education for Ministry graduate, trainer and mentor. Her daily wake-up call to husband Doug and sons Caleb, Gerard and Colin, and all of us, is: “Rise and shine and give God the glory!”

Anne Lane, ODT
Ascension, Port Perry
Ms. Lane has been nominated by Ascension, Port Perry for over 35 years of ministry in her parish, family and community. She is a deeply spiritual and thoughtful person whose call has been to serve those in need. Whether leading musically in worship, offering prayer and anointing, or drawing the attention of the community to the road of reconciliation with our Indigenous siblings, her heart is a true expression of her love for Christ.

Anne Larkin, ODT
Christ Church, Deer Park
Ms. Larkin has been nominated by Christ Church, Deer Park in recognition of her lifetime of compassionate service to the Churches on-the-Hill Food Bank, Yorkminster Park Meals on Wheels, and Christ Church, Deer Park’s community breakfast program. Through the pandemic, she continued her volunteer work recognizing the need of so many vulnerable people, all while working full-time as a registered practical nurse in a nursing home. She truly demonstrates to her parish and community what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Sandra Lewis, ODT.

Sandra Lewis, ODT
St. Mary and St. Martha
Ms. Lewis has been nominated by the bishop for her many years of faithful service and commitment to the building up of gospel ministry. After serving as churchwarden at the former parish of St. David for 16 years, Sandra has served as a churchwarden and member of the board of management for St. Mary and St. Martha since its inception in 2015. She is now sharing her insight as a board member of the newly amalgamated Church of the Holy Wisdom. Sandra’s spirit of prayerfulness and devotion to God and God’s people is an inspiration to her community.

Sheryl MacPhail, ODT
Trinity Church, Bradford
Mrs. MacPhail has been nominated by Trinity Church, Bradford for a lifetime of service to the Church. She has taken up every role imaginable in parish lay leadership. Of special note is the founding and continuous leadership of the Secondhand Shop that opened in 2012. The shop is a community service that assists people in need and exemplifies her commitment to serving the Church and wider community.

June Marion, ODT
Penetanguishene and Waubaushene
Ms. Marion has been nominated by Penetanguishene and Waubaushene to humbly and honestly express the gratitude of the parish and community. A faithful Sunday School teacher who still sends birthday cards to her 70-year-old-plus pupils, she is dialed into the life and needs of those in her parish and community. Always a phone call away and quick to appear walking down the street to the parish, she has dedicated her life to being the only bible some people may read.

Lenna McLaughlin, ODT
St. Peter (Erindale)
Mrs. McLaughlin has been nominated by St. Peter (Erindale) for her five decades of faithful, dedicated service to the parish as churchwarden, sidesperson, participant in organizing the Caribbean dinner and dance, and organizer of many parish events, including seniors’ teas. Her faithfulness, encouragement, loving care and wise counsel have been a blessing to many. Embodying what it means to be a church family, not just a Sunday congregation, many parishioners and community members consider her to be their “spiritual mom/granny.”

Trent Morris, ODT
Mr. Morris has been nominated by Church of the Messiah for outstanding service exceeding 25 years across multiple ministries, including churchwarden, treasurer, food bank volunteer, chorister, youth leader, lay member to Synod and legal counsel. His life is a witness to sacrificial generosity and love-in-action, with particular focus on the needs of the downtrodden. As a lawyer, his Christian virtues extend to his professional practice.

Peter Newelll, ODT.

Peter Newell, ODT
All Saints, Sherbourne St.
Mr. Newell has been nominated by the bishop for his engagement and service that has increased since recently retiring from practicing law. Former Honorary Lay Secretary of Synod and active member of numerous parishes, he earned his MDiv while working full time as a Bay Street lawyer. As a former taxi driver, farmer, police officer and ESL teacher, he loves to learn from people and work amongst people of richly diverse backgrounds. He is currently serving at All Saints, Sherbourne while discerning his next vocation to the diaconate.

Evelyn Pogue, ODT
St. Paul, Uxbridge
Mrs. Pogue has been nominated by St. Paul, Uxbridge for a lifetime of service, including altar guild, Sunday School, greeter, reader, administrator, chorister, treasurer, ACW, and church lunch and dinner events organizer. For many years, she has been the parish office administrator and is a delight to work with. She handles everything with dedication, and her no-nonsense work ethic keeps St. Paul’s on the straight and narrow.

Raphael (Scottie) Richards, ODT
St. Francis of Assisi, Meadowvale West
Mr. Richards has been nominated by St. Francis of Assisi, Meadowvale West for his steadfast support and service to the parish. A member from the beginning when services were held in school gymnasiums, he has served as a chorister, sidesperson, reader, men’s group member, worship committee member and 12-year churchwarden. A person of deep faith with calm presence, and a strong connection with the parish community, he is trusted and loved by all.

Sheila Robson, ODT
All Saints, Whitby
Ms. Robson has been nominated by All Saints, Whitby for modelling leadership grounded in faith and exemplifying the importance of servanthood and initiative. She is a member of numerous ministries, including choir, chancel guild and community garden, as well as respected terms as churchwarden and treasurer. With a tenacious, positive attitude, her understated and progressive approach to Anglicanism is demonstrated by her diocesan work as a parish selection committee coach and recently, Honorary Lay Secretary of Synod.

Irma Sengbusch, ODT.

Irma Sengbusch, ODT
Holy Spirit of Peace
Mrs. Sengbusch has been nominated by Holy Spirit of Peace for her longstanding, devoted service in the parish as a reader and sidesperson, but chiefly for her outstanding leadership of the chancel guild for more than 25 years. She often speaks of what a tremendous honour it is to do this work, and her reverence and love for God’s house is clearly evident in the deep care she demonstrates in fulfilling her duties.

Donovan (Don) Solomon, ODT
St. James Cathedral
Mr. Solomon has been nominated by the bishop for his servant leadership throughout not only a pandemic but some of the most challenging times in the cathedral’s history. He oversaw two major projects at the cemetery: the restoration of Hillside H and the replacement of two retorts in the crematorium – nothing short of extraordinary – all while working full-time. With an abiding faith, he is humble and kind, and we are so grateful for his dedication to our cathedral.

Gail Sparks, ODT
St. John, Whitby
Ms. Sparks has been nominated by St. John, Whitby for her love of Jesus and unparalleled commitment to God’s Church and God’s people. She has served in every capacity available to her and meets challenge with grace and devotion. In resulting trials of the pandemic, she was instrumental in working with the bishop and organizing supply clergy, and prepared and printed materials for Sunday worship to ensure the congregation would continue to meet and grow in Christ. Humble and generous, she is a blessing to our Church.


New recipients of the Order of the Diocese of Toronto pose for a group photo on the chancel steps after the service.