Laity receive Order of the Diocese of Toronto

Group photo of new members of the Order of the Diocese of Toronto, along with bishops and clergy.
Members of the Order of the Diocese of Toronto gather with Archbishop Colin Johnson, bishops and clergy on Jan. 1 at St. James Cathedral.
 on February 1, 2017
Michael Hudson

Award honours outstanding service over many years

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 2016, those named to the order came from the following deaneries: Peterborough, Parkdale/West Toronto, York Mills and York Central. They were presented with their medallion at St. James Cathedral, Toronto, on Jan. 1.

Susan Abell, ODT
St. Mark, Port Hope
Ms. Abell was nominated by Archbishop Johnson for her significant volunteer roles in the diocese since 2009. In 2015, she became chair of the Diocesan Strategic Planning Committee and, since November, has been the diocese’s interim Chief Administrative Officer, drawing from her distinguished professional career. She is a churchwarden at St. Mark, Port Hope and still finds time to be active in her local community.

Earle Armstrong, ODT
Incarnation, Toronto
Mr. Armstrong has demonstrated deep love, devotion and dedication to his parish for more than 40 years. He works tirelessly to maintain the building and grounds in good order, while using his banking career background to assist in parish administration. His faithfulness to his parish family is very appreciated.

William Bickle, ODT
St. John the Evangelist, Port Hope
Mr. Bickle has given outstanding service to the diocese as a parish selection committee and Natural Church Development coach and a member of the Momentum committee, training newly ordained clergy. He is committed to making the diocese spiritually healthy, as he brings extensive corporate management and training experience to each person and parish with which he volunteers.

Thomas Butson, ODT
Christ Church, Stouffville
Mr. Butson has given five decades of faithful and dedicated ministry work and leadership in his parish, the wider Stouffville community and with the diocese. He continues to be an active volunteer and ministry leader in these areas and has served in countless ministry roles. He is a blessing to all who work with him and a shining beacon of what it means to be a faithful and tireless witness for Christ.

Winston Coombes, ODT
St. Hilda, Fairbank
For nearly 40 years, Mr. Coombes has been a faithful and effective lay leader in his parish. During that time, he has served as people’s warden and as a member of the board of directors for St. Hilda’s Towers. The clergy and congregation of his parish highly value his ministry.

Enid Corbett, ODT
Holy Trinity, Thornhill
Ms. Corbett is the perfect example of what it means to link the local parish to the life of the wider church. Though involved in her parish in many capacities over the years, she has still found time to serve the wider church through the diocesan Anglican Church Women, at Wycliffe College and as a parish administrator at St. Stephen, Maple. She is truly a stalwart of her parish and the diocese.

Doug Cowling, ODT
Grace Church, Markham
Mr. Cowling was nominated by Archbishop Johnson for his musical leadership in inclusive and high-quality worship, serving as a volunteer music director at Synods, area day workshops and the Archbishop’s volunteer weekend. As a Momentum facilitator since 2002, he has worked with clergy in liturgical formation. A published author and a four-time Juno Award winner, Mr. Cowling currently serves as music director at Grace Church, Markham.

Mae Cox, ODT
St. James, Orillia
Mrs. Cox has given three decades of volunteer service to the diocese. Recently a parish selection committee coach, she also volunteers at Couchiching Jubilee House and as lay chaplain at Orillia Soldier’s Memorial Hospital. In 2010, she served on the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee of General Synod. She is also a churchwarden in her parish and an associate of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine.

Wayne Cox, ODT
St. James, Orillia
Mr. Cox has served for three decades as a Natural Church Development coach, diocesan administrator, church visioning facilitator, and churchwarden in his parish. He now mainly volunteers as a parish selection committee coach and in mentoring new volunteers.

Margaret Deaves, ODT
St. John, East Orangeville
Mrs. Deaves has given lifelong Christian witness and exemplary service to the church. From being the first female churchwarden in the Etobicoke Deanery to being an active advisory board member at St. John’s at age 91, she has been an engaged and influential model parishioner in every parish where she has lived, as well as at the diocesan level.

Eleanor Julia Emmel, ODT
St. Matthias, Bellwoods
Ms. Emmel has been nominated by her parish for her faithful service in many roles: the first female server, treasurer, chalice bearer, head server and sacristy team leader. She is well remembered by at least 12 clergy and some laity for her training of students and interns in Anglo-Catholic liturgy. She drives in from Dundas, Ont. for the inclusiveness, diversity and liturgy she finds at St. Matthias.

Jane Farrell, ODT
St. Thomas a Becket (Erin Mills South)
Mrs. Farrell has given superb service to her parish and the diocese as a churchwarden and a veteran Natural Church Development coach. As a former Peel District School Board teacher, she has expertly mentored other volunteers and taught NCD with our diocesan staff in other dioceses. She is also a trained Fresh Start for Congregations facilitator and has worked as a Bishop’s envoy assisting in fact-finding and conflict situations.

Michael Farrell, ODT
St. Thomas a Becket (Erin Mills South)
Mr. Farrell has given both his parish and the diocese superb service as a churchwarden, Synod animator, parish selection committee coach and Bishop’s envoy. He has applied his business expertise in financial planning and public speaking as he walks alongside struggling parishes as a diocesan administrator and on various boards of management, all with his legendary sense of humour.

Thomas Andrew Gledhill, ODT
Ascension, Don Mills
Mr. Gledhill was nominated to honour his charity and dedication in serving the Lord Jesus Christ and his brothers and sisters in Christ. He has attended Ascension, Don Mills for the past 60 years and has served in every role imaginable. He is a modest leader with few words and many works.

Linda Grasley, ODT
St. John, York Mills
Mrs. Grasley has given untiring volunteer service to her parish. She has taken an active leadership role in all aspects of parish life, including as churchwarden, Synod delegate and office administrator. She has also been a leader in lay healing ministry, prayer ministry and pastoral visiting. Perhaps her greatest contribution has been chairing churchyard operations for 10 years and co-chairing the 200th anniversary committee in 2016.

William Greig, ODT
St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto
Mr. Greig has provided long and faithful service as a server, sub-deacon, churchwarden and treasurer. He continues to be a faithful presence in the parish week by week, administering the sacrament and showing younger altar servers the ropes. His quiet, faithful, wise and generous presence continues to build up the Body of Christ in this parish that he treasures, and which cherishes him.

Leslie Hajdu, ODT
St. George, Pickering Village (Ajax)
Ms. Hajdu was nominated by Archbishop Johnson for her outstanding contribution to the diocese in various roles. She is a newly appointed director and secretary of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation. Previously she served on the diocesan Accounts Receivable Committee, the Treasury and Nominations boards, on Diocesan Council for two terms, as a Synod Member and as a volunteer at General Synod 2016.

Gwendolyn Halliday, ODT
St. Mary, Richmond Hill
Mrs. Halliday was nominated for her more than 50 years of service to the church. Her particular interest has been as chair of outreach programs, including supporting foster children, sponsoring refugee families, promoting fair trade products and helping more than 30 families in the community during the Christmas season. She has also served as a churchwarden, building manager, property chair and as a member of two selection committees.

Debra Harpley, ODT
Parish of Georgina
Mrs. Harpley has contributed tireless work within the parish and strong Christian witness in the greater community, where she serves on a vast number of outreach committees and programs. Reflecting the love of Jesus, she is often the go-to person for information, sympathy and love. Without her efforts, which consistently exceed the call of duty, the mission of her parish would not have succeeded as it has.

Jim Kaufman, ODT
St. Paul, L’Amoreaux
Mr. Kaufman has been nominated for his outstanding service as a member and chair of the board of St. Paul L’Amoreaux Centre for the past 25 years. During his time, St. Paul’s Centre flourished as a seniors’ residence, expanded its facilities, built a large community senior services program, earned “Exemplary Status” from the national accreditation program and has become a community leader in new and innovative services for seniors.

Dorothy Kealey, ODT
Diocesan Archives
Mrs. Kealey was nominated by the Diocesan Archivist for her faithful service over a long number of years. As a weekly volunteer, she has been reliable, knowledgeable and generous with her expertise and willingness to work. She sets a high standard and is tenacious when it comes to tracking down answers.

Kathryn Kern, ODT
St. John the Baptist, Norway
Ms. Kern has shown outstanding leadership and commitment to the Christian education of children. As a result of her dedication to young children and their families, her parish has seen growth in its numbers and spiritual growth in its children. She has been instrumental to the ongoing success of the ever-important children’s ministry.

George Lewis, ODT
Christ Church, Deer Park
Mr. Lewis has been nominated for his exceptional service to the diocese. He currently serves as a director on the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation board of directors, a post he has held since 2009. He is a past chair and life member of the Bishop’s Company, a prolific donor to numerous diocesan and secular initiatives, co-chair of his parish’s Our Faith-Our Hope committee, and a passionate supporter of the church in the public space.

Mary Man Ling Leung Lo, ODT
All Saints, Markham
Mrs. Lo has been nominated for her active membership in the Anglican Church in Hong Kong and Canada. As a churchwarden for the past five years, she has worked for the unity of the church. By putting her trust in God’s hands, she approaches all matters with enthusiasm, a sense of urgency and “can-do” attitude.

Stephen Masson, ODT
St. Paul on-the-Hill, Pickering
Mr. Masson was nominated by Archbishop Johnson for his generous volunteer service to the diocese since his youth. Vice-principal of Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute, his work has afforded him many opportunities to use his gifts, especially in multicultural settings that have benefitted the church. Several area bishops have called on him to be their envoy, as well as serving as a member of Diocesan Council and as a Natural Church Development coach in 13 different parishes.

Taflyn Maynard, ODT
Christ Church, Woodbridge
Mrs. Maynard has demonstrated outstanding and faithful commitment and service to her parish for more than 50 years. She has been a strong leader in the church, acting as churchwarden, secretary of the ACW, and coordinator of the chancel guild and the sidesperson group. She is always willing to help in the parish and in her community, an outward sign of her dedication and faithfulness.

Helen Minten, ODT
St. Matthew and St. Aidan, Buckhorn
Mrs. Minten has been a consistent and faithful member of her parish since 1978. Having held every possible office within the parish over those years, she is a sterling model of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ – caring authentically for those in need. Soft-spoken and kind-spirited, she emanates deep humility as she seeks to grow in faith.

William Nicholls, ODT
St. Luke, Peterborough
Mr. Nicholls has been nominated for his leadership during a period when his parish felt it might not survive. He encouraged needed changes and led his fellow parishioners to be hopeful and have faith in God’s plan, renewed interest in their ministry and strengthened faith. His all-encompassing service has led St. Luke’s to be alive and well.

Leroy Niles, ODT
St. Stephen in-the-Fields, Toronto
Mr. Niles has given many years of commitment to his parish as churchwarden, lay educator and lay pastoral presence. When the parish entered a time of difficulty, his leadership was a primary sustaining force for more than a decade. More recently, he has enthusiastically supported a program of renewal, and unfailingly worked for the building up of God’s kingdom in his parish and his community.

Errol Parris, ODT
St. Hilda, Fairbank
Mr. Parris has been nominated by St. Hilda, Fairbank for his faithful and dedicated service as rector’s warden for 29 years. His assistance to the clergy is deeply appreciated, ministering through liturgy, music and finance. His long service as a member of the board of directors of St. Hilda’s Towers exemplifies his commitment to its continuation.

Otto Peter, ODT
Christ Memorial Church, Oshawa
Mr. Peter was nominated by Archbishop Johnson for his committed service to the Our Faith-Our Hope campaign. He has served on the OFOH allocations committee since 2013 and was previously very involved in promoting the campaign in Trent-Durham, instrumental to its success there. He has served on many parish committees, including as churchwarden, treasurer, Christian education coordinator and OFOH parish campaign chair.

Shirley Radley, ODT
St. Mary and St. Martha, Toronto
Ms. Radley has been nominated for her exceptional contributions to her parish’s formation and growth.  Joyfully spreading the light of Christ through faithful service, she serves as co-chair of the parish life committee, deputy warden, bazaar coordinator, archivist and more. Passionate about helping the underprivileged, Ms. Radley is also a key organizer of a weekly community supper, celebrating God’s goodness in everyone and His hand in every opportunity.

Robert Ragsdale, ODT
St. Olave, Swansea
Mr. Ragsdale has offered his spiritual and financial leadership in establishing his parish’s Second Century Fund, which has given more than $300,000 to Christian mission projects in Canada and around the world since 1989. A nationally recognized photographer and member of St. Olave’s for over 60 years, Mr. Ragsdale has also contributed his vast artistic talent to the life of the church.

Rob Saffrey, ODT
St. James Cathedral
Mr. Saffrey joined the Diocesan Centre staff in 1992 and soon became the diocesan Treasurer and Director of Finance, until he became Director of Operations and Finance at the cathedral. He was a server at his home parish of All Souls, Lansing (now Church of the Incarnation, Toronto) and a board member of Camp Couchiching and a multitude of other committees and foundations. He is a voice of wise reason and integrity who quietly keeps the infrastructure of the church functioning so our front-line ministries can thrive.

Diana Schatz, ODT
St. Anne, Toronto
Mrs. Schatz has contributed remarkable leadership in parish life and business affairs for many years. Her parish continues to benefit from her sage advice on personnel management, property operations, and relations with suppliers and corporate neighbours. Through her contribution to the viability of St. Anne’s, this parish is able to maintain a vital Anglican presence offering programs for the neighbourhood and beyond, while preserving a place of historical and artistic significance.

Roy Schatz, ODT
St. Anne, Toronto
Mr. Schatz has been nominated for his longstanding weekly participation in St. Anne’s Sunday choral service, his supervision of fine music concerts and his leadership in outreach activities for the wider community.  Through his contributions, his parish is able to maintain a vital Anglican presence, offering programs for the neighbourhood and beyond, while preserving a place of historical and artistic significance.

Paul Seddon, ODT
St. James Cathedral
Mr. Seddon has been an integral part of the cathedral since he began as a server in 1978. He became head server in 1987, a role he continues today. He was appointed verger in 2012 and Bishop’s Chaplain in 2013. His parish is grateful for all his years of faithful and dedicated service.

Eleanor Stevenson, ODT
All Saints, Whitby
Mrs. Stevenson was nominated for her active leadership in promoting stewardship education in the diocese. She has a track record of many successes. She is a founding stewardship education coach in the Growing Healthy Stewards program and previously served as an Outreach Conference volunteer and Trent-Durham area day coordinator. She is also a Queen’s Jubilee Medal recipient for her commitment to volunteerism in her community.

Mary Suddon, ODT
St. Thomas, Huron Street
Ms. Suddon has demonstrated faithful service to her parish spanning five decades. She has been especially committed to the Humewood House and Belmont House outreach ministries. She has lived and furthered the parish’s Anglo-Catholic heritage by consistently working to wed liturgy and ritual to social thought and action.

Constance Swinton, ODT
St. John the Evangelist, Peterborough
Ms. Swinton has demonstrated a lifelong concern with serving the needs of others in her community and around the globe. Her international experience as a nurse and consultant speaks to her deep wisdom and compassion, which is recognized by her peers. The vision of the Kingdom of God of justice and peace has long been the foundation of her ministry in her workplace and church.

Muriel Thompson, ODT
St. George on Yonge, Toronto
Mrs. Thompson’s active ministry has been an integral part of her life, motivated by her faith and the desire to bring that faith to others. She is an advocate for those who are disenfranchised by society and has worked in many ministry settings, including All Saints, Sherbourne Street. She is a welcoming presence at St. George on Yonge, always positive in her outlook and embracing what lies ahead with faith and trust.

Ronald Tolhurst, ODT
Holy Trinity, Thornhill
Mr. Tolhurst has been nominated for his quiet, important membership at Holy Trinity, Thornhill. He has spent countless hours cheerfully participating in all aspects of parish life. St. Paul says that “nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God,” while Mr. Tolhurst’s incumbent says that “neither ice storm, nor surgery, nor any apparent issue in his life seems to be able to separate Ron from Holy Trinity.”

Carolyn Towns, ODT
Parish of Belmont
Mrs. Towns exemplifies what it means to express her love for God through generous and compassionate service to neighbours and strangers alike. Always encouraging others to express their ideas and take leadership in acting on them, she is the epitome of a servant leader, having served herself as an ACW president, parish treasurer, chancel guild president and choir member. Her light shines brightly as a life well spent putting others first as she ministers faithfully each day.

Phyllis Tyrie, ODT
Grace Church, Markham
Mrs. Tyrie has been nominated for her tireless and cheerful commitment to her church and to the inhabitants of Markham. She has spent her life feeding people, from countless parish dinners to founding the Markham Food Bank. A consummate organizer who is always smiling, she is a shining example of the love of Jesus in action.


Mary Walsh, ODT
St. John the Baptist, Oak Ridges
Mrs. Walsh was nominated by St. John’s for her modelling of Jesus’ servant heart. As a chuchwarden, Synod delegate, outreach and altar guild member, prayer team captain, cemetery board member and screening coordinator, her commitment is tireless. She represents her parish’s mission to make Jesus known and create Jesus-centered disciples everywhere.

Marge Watters Knebel, ODT
Diocesan Postulancy Committee
Ms. Watters Knebel was nominated by Archbishop Johnson for her role on the Postulancy Committee since 2008. Her extensive career as entrepreneur, career counsellor and coach has significantly contributed to the postulants of Toronto as they identify and discern their vocation. A lifelong Lutheran, she has recently been chair of the board of governors of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, and in her spare time is a published author.

David Watton, ODT
All Saints, Peterborough
Mr. Watton has offered exceptional leadership during challenging times in his parish and the wider community of faith in Peterborough. He exemplifies the very best of lay leadership and sees this ministry as a partnership between clergy and lay people – a true servant of the church. His parish feels blessed by his presence.

Val Whalley, ODT
St. Paul, Brighton
Ms. Whalley was nominated by Archbishop Johnson for her 15 years of volunteer service as a Natural Church Development, mission statement and advisory board coach, Trent-Durham Bishop’s envoy, and Fresh Start for Congregations facilitator. She has served as a Synod member from 2013 to the present and as a Synod animator in 2009. In addition to having much expertise in management and human resources, she is a gifted woodworker and has delighted diocesan staff with her creativity.


Keep on reading

Skip to content