A Selection of Profiles from 2021 Order of Niagara Awardees
Each year, parishes are invited to nominate a person for the Order of Niagara, someone who has faithfully given of themselves to their parish, diocese, and the wider Church. It is an important way of honouring the vital ministry of lay people in the diocese. Services to celebrate this year’s recipients are being held virtually via Zoom on September 19 and November 7. We are pleased to highlight several of this year’s recipients and give thanks to God for the ministry of all recipients!
Mary Burnett has been involved in parish life at St. Paul’s (Glanford), Mount Hope, for only 3 years—but in those years has contributed exceptionally to the life of the church upon arriving with her partner, parish priest David Ponting. Mary has developed the parish’s Church School, including recruiting a teaching team and arranging the curriculum, led the Messy Church program (pre-pandemic), and implemented the livestreaming of worship services during the pandemic. Since 2017, Mary has also served faithfully on the board of directors of St. Matthew’s House, where she offers many hours of service to support the governance and operations of the agency as vice-chair.
Dr. Brian Kerley has and continues to make significant contributions to the worship life of Church of the Transfiguration, St. Catharines by singing, playing numerous instruments, and writing songs and reflections for worship and over his 25 years of ministry has shared these gifts with the wider diocese too. Most recently, he has been instrumental in preparing the church for including and, during the pandemic, transitioning to online services by researching and installing new lighting, as well as audio and video equipment necessary to make livestreaming services a smooth experience. Brian also has served as a family doctor for many years and was also key in bringing quality hospice care to the Niagara area. He has remained a source of calm, reasoned informational updates for the parish during the pandemic. Brian also led fundraising efforts when Church of the Transfiguration recently sponsored a refugee family.
Pam (Feng) Pan
Pam Pan very quickly became a fixture in Oakville when she and her family moved into the area a few years ago, and is a well-known and passionate volunteer in the local Chinese communities. She has led many events at St. Cuthbert’s, St. Aidan’s, St. Simon’s, and at St. Luke’s, Palermo, where she is a deputy churchwarden. Beyond successfully stewarding Chinese Anglican ministries and various seniors’ groups, you can also find Pam serving wherever needed at community dinners and for the Food for Life program at St. Luke’s.
Peter Rughi has been a busy parishioner of St. Jude’s, Oakville, for many years, but has been an active contributor to life in the diocese, too. While undertaking numerous liturgical and administrative ministries at St. Jude’s, including overseeing servers and chalice bearers, he has also served on the selection committee for the new Dean of Niagara and on the Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination. He continues to support St. Jude’s mission by volunteering for the weekly Kerr Street Mission summer barbecues and monthly dinners, serving as Deputy Warden, and recruiting and training volunteers to assist with recording services and enabling future services to be livestreamed.
Grace Church, Arthur, has been Pat Salter’s church home for many years—but her history of service reaches well beyond the walls of the building. Pat is just as enthusiastic serving on the altar guild, parish council, or as a warden as she is serving on the Grand River Conservation Authority, as a member of the local Mapleton council, as a member of the Women’s Institute, or volunteering for the Drayton Festival Theatre. She is an active philanthrope as well, whether as president of the Women of Grace group organizing silent auctions and providing lunches for community youth groups and summer camps, or while canvassing for local charities and serving on the board of Groves Hospital, Fergus, and serving as county representative for the Guelph hospital board.
Alison Steele has been an integral component of the success of the Diocesan Children, Youth, and Family Ministry network of leaders—especially during the last year and a half, when the pandemic has made in-person ministry extremely difficult! Alison has led the way with the smooth utilization of the Anglican Family Hub Facebook page, shared ministry initiatives, and volunteered generously to facilitate virtual programs. She also managed to find time to attend countless trainings, conferences, and committee and planning meetings in support of the mission of the diocese, in addition to coordinating creative and engaging children, youth, and family programing at her parish of St. David’s, Welland.