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Celebration of Ministries

Join us for the Celebration of Ministries service which will be held online as part of the regional meeting on Sunday, October 18, 2020 beginning at 3 p.m. You can watch the live stream of the service on our YouTube channel.

Celebration of Ministries service bulletin – [ PDF | 7 pages ] – PDF  

If you require a full script of the service for accessibility reasons, please email rhowes@united-church.ca.

Meet Our Candidates

Joel Aguirre

I am from the Philippines and have served as a pastor, professor, chaplain and a psychologist in the Philippines, USA, and other countries. I have an MA in Counselling Psychology from the University of the Cordilleras, MDiv in Pastoral Care and Counselling from the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, and PhD in Psychology at the Manuel L. Quezon University. 

I also serves as a Spiritual Care Practitioner at St. Michael’s Hospital and a Registered Psychotherapist in the province of Ontario.

During university, my understanding of God’s great love to a broken world led me to realize my call to serve in full-time ministry. In 2013, I moved to Canada to join my wife Dorina. Then in 2015, I responded to the call and invitation to pioneer a church in Toronto with the United Church of Canada that caters to the spiritual needs of newcomers and caregivers. This eventually grew into the Filipino Christian Fellowship. It is my wish that the United Church of Canada will continue to offer their support so that we may continue to carry out our service of love that is inclusive, healing, and empowering to all people that we encounter. 

To send Joel your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to his page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.

Steven Loweth

Peace to you in the name of the risen one.

My name is Steven Loweth and I am a candidate for DLM. I live on the shores of a Lake Simcoe with my husband of sixteen years who is also a UCCan minister. I graduated from the program at St Andrews College in 2019. I am currently serving Fairbank United a Church which was also my SME site. They are a wonderful and supporting community of faith.

I was first made aware of my call to ministry as an older teenager serving as a youth group leader in my congregation. In my early twenties at the encouragement of my Anglican Priest I entered the diaconal ministry program at the Centre for Christian Studies. While I did not complete the course due to family business obligations my call to ministry continued.

At the age of 50, I couldn’t ignore the call anymore and began a discernment process. It began as a journey toward graduating with my MDiv, that is until I was introduced to the DLM program at which time I knew it was a much better fit to my style of learning.

My hope for my future is to continue serving the United Church of Canada in as radical way as possible by continuing to be an advocate for all those who live on the margins, just as our brother and teacher Jesus did so long ago. It is also my hope that one day soon the church will recognize DLM’s as no longer being lay persons but as part of the one order of ministry. I give thanks to God for this church and its continuing movement toward reconciliation and inclusiveness for all.

To send Steven your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to his page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.

Lisa Naumann

My home congregation is Collier United Church and I have joyfully accepted a call at Mayfield UCC which began on May 24th 2020.

I have had the privilege to study at a number of colleges and universities, and have acquired the following accreditation at each; Business Diploma (Cambrian College), Psychology Degree (Laurentian University), Masters of Divinity (Tyndale Seminary), & Testamur requirements fulfilled within Emmanuel College and Seminary.

I am drawn to ministry because I experienced over a great many years a deep and profound sense of call by God to enter into ministry. I am excited and passionate about the interfaces of the wholistic approach to spirituality, health and wellness. Individual and church vitality is developed by incorporating Spirit, Mind & Body with respect that all are relevant to optimal living. Within my United Church Ministry I hope to support participants by fostering their faith through spiritual deepening practices. I believe that participation in the Sacraments is meaningful and cultivates unity within the Body of Christ, in addition to hearing/study of The Word and prayerful meditation to reflect upon one’s faith and life.

To send Lisa your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to her page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.

Dr. Alydia Smith

My life has always reflected my call to ministry and my passion for nurturing the personal and spiritual development of all-people, especially those who are often on the margins. I started my career working with youth and children for the city of Toronto, in this role I developed my passion for inclusive ministry as well as the skills needed to create welcoming spaces. As an educator, I worked as a Learning Strategist at the University of Western Ontario, Ryerson, and the University of Toronto, (where I also worked as a disability counselor), in these roles, I acted as an academic coach and advocate to marginalized and struggling students of all ages, helping them to build confidence in themselves, while teaching them how to maximize their learning. As a pastor and worship leader, I have served two large United Church Congregations where I developed innovative and meaningful intergenerational, anti-oppression experiences within congregational life and during Sunday morning worship. I currently serve as the Program Coordinator for Worship, Music and Spirituality for the United Church of Canada, supporting the worshipping life of our church; nurturing faithful and transformational worship experiences across the country; fielding worship, music and spirituality questions from every level of the church; dismantling oppressive systems, and administrating resources like “gathering”, “Worship Matters” and a yearly Lenten devotional book.

I have been nurtured in my faith through the former Centennial Rouge United Church, my colleagues and my family. And I have been formally trained through: a bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Western Ontario with a specialist in music history and popular culture, Learning Strategy Specialist training from Cambrian College, a Master’s in Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology, and a doctorate in worship from Drew University.

I hope that my ministry will continue to break down barriers to inclusion and empower all people to be their best selves for God’s glory and the betterment of the world.

To send Alydia your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to her page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.

Brian Stevens

I am member of Windermere United Church in Toronto. Originally from Nova Scotia, I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Music from St. Francis Xavier University, then a Certificate in Youth Ministry and a Masters of Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology. As a Church Musician I led and accompanied choirs in Nova Scotia (Sacred Heart, St. Stephen’s, St. John’s), Prince Edward Island (St. Paul’s, Christ Church, Trinity United) and Ontario (Faith United).  

My intentioned theological journey began at Trinity United in Summerside, PEI. Rev. David Hamilton encouraged me to enroll in course work at AST which led to a Certificate in Youth Ministry. As well, I began to compose Christmas Cantatas and other liturgical works for the choir and Sunday school.  

I commenced full-time theological studies in 2003. Upon completion my degree I accepted a position as Music Facilitator, at Faith United in Courtice, which included Youth Ministry as well as Liturgical Drama work. A Youth and Family Ministry contract in 2014 at Windermere United was a wonderful bridge to my current appointment at Hope United, my internship site and the pulpit into which I will be ordained.  

My sense of call is rooted in our innate seeking of connection to the Divine, coupled with a desire to serve others, as they journey their particular path, seeking all that they are called to be in Christ.

To send Brian your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to his page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.

Licensed Lay Worship Leaders

This year we are proud to also be celebrating the following new Licensed Lay Worship Leaders serving Shinining Waters Regional Council for the next three years: Brian Packham, Lydia Pedersen, Douglas Reid, and Paul Stott.

Brian Packham

I am a member of Humbercrest United Church in Toronto. For several years, I have filled in for our vacationing ministers. The creative process of putting the word of God into something that hits home with the members of a congregation I think is really important. I hope that with my God given skills, I am able to bring more people closer to God. I also enjoy meeting new people and us sharing in their faith journeys.

I love music whether it is singing or playing. I hope to be able to incorporate this special talent in and around my ministry. Music is a very unique way to connect with so many when it comes to the good news of Jesus Christ.

To send Brian your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to his page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.

Lydia Pedersen

My husband and I have attended Royal York Road United Church since moving to Toronto in 1976, and we continue to be active members since my retirement in 2009, after 30 years of my music ministry there.

As music director I have always worked closely with our ministers in planning and conducting services, a collegial relationship I very much enjoyed. Occasionally I was given an opportunity to lead a service myself, and I discovered that I found liturgy as interesting and rewarding as making music. Several years of study and a theology degree later I now want to become formally recognized by the United Church as having the skills required to lead worship, both in my own church and elsewhere.

Of all the things I enjoy doing, none gives me greater satisfaction and delight than teaching. I will always be grateful for this gift, and that I knew this about myself very early on, because it has led me into countless wonderful experiences throughout my life. From camp counselor, piano instructor and teacher of multiply challenged children to music specialist in schools, church choir director, and leader of hymn writing workshops, nothing makes me more glad to be alive than the prospect of sharing knowledge with others, especially of things I love.
Teaching is a form of persuasion, whether orally or in writing, so a related thing I am thankful to celebrate about myself is the ability to work with words. There are many things I am not good at, and I know those too: anything to do with numbers, mechanics or financial matters has me running in the opposite direction at top speed! But the power and beauty of words have captivated me from childhood, and through the years I have been blessed with opportunities to teach through the writing of journal articles, hymn texts, sermons and more. It’s music to my ears to hear someone say with wide eyes “I didn’t know that! How interesting!”

To send Lydia your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to her page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.

Doug Reid

I have been a member of Eglinton St. George’s United Church (ESG) in Toronto for over 40 years. While I have been involved in all aspects of church life, I currently am on the Worship and Music Committee and sing in the choir.

Because of several people at ESG (Don Parsons and Deborah Hart in particular) I was introduced to the LLWL program. I had done some preaching at the church and led several adult learning seminars that were well received and they felt that now I was retired I should look into this program. They also knew that I had felt the call to lead in the church when I was about 14 or so and maybe the time to follow that call was now. It was, and with their support and with the guidance of Aaron Miller (my LLWL mentor/leader) I enjoyed a whole new part of my life which has become meaningful. The best part of the studying was meeting other folks from across Canada and learning about their communities, their churches and them. We do live in a diverse world.

I am married, have six children and ten grandchildren. I live just north of Toronto in a small town by the name of Lefroy. I am a registered Reiki and Therapeutic touch practitioner, as well as involved in shiatsu. I also am involved in pastoral care particularly with families dealing with cancer. I am also studying the history of the church, with a particular focus on 200 AD – 1600 AD.

To send Doug your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to his page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.

Paul Stott

My name is Paul Stott. I am a lifelong member of Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church in midtown Toronto. With more free time in this post-retirement phase of my life I decided that becoming an LLWL was a good way to serve the church and to also provide an outlet for my delight in designing liturgy and preaching. I have sung in church choirs for most of my adult life. After early retirement from a 32-year career as a professor at Ryerson University, I enrolled at Emmanuel College where I obtained a Master of Theological Studies degree, with a concentration in hymnology. I am a member of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

To send Paul your best wishes, please click on the button below.  When you are redirected to his page, please move your mouse to the bottom right-hand corner and click on the pink circle with the white + sign in the middle.