Each year the Order of Niagara recognizes the faithful dedication of lay people, honouring substantial contributions to ministry in their communities.
Parishes are invited to nominate a person for the Order of Niagara annually, 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. The Bishop may also appoint members to the Order.
Since its inception, there have been over 1200 people inducted into the Order of Niagara. Recipients may use the initials O.N. after their name. They are encouraged to wear their medallion at diocesan services, on diocesan occasions, and when the bishop visits their parish.
Here are a selection of those who were inducted into the Order of Niagara in 2023. Those featured here represent the wide range of ministry initiatives and missional dedication that is abundant in the Diocese of Niagara!
Jim Butts, Holy Trinity, Welland
Jim is generating a warm and compassionate footprint at Holy Trinity Church Welland. He has poured out his heart and soul in service to the community. Jim has served as a warden, treasurer, and a member of parish council. His leadership in the outreach ministry stands out in extraordinary ways. One year ago Jim began a daily breakfast program and trained over 200 volunteers. Jim is an exemplary example of Christian service. It is a prayer engrafted in our hearts to present Jim Butts to Bishop Susan for the Order of Niagara.
Tracey Croft, St. Mark’s, Orangeville
Tracey has been St. Mark’s children’s ministry co-odinator for over 12 years. She has excelled in attracting children and youth of all ages to an outstanding Christian education program. Her ability to inspire volunteers and garner the support of the parish is exceptional. Tracey has shared her wisdom and experience in many other areas of St. Mark’s ministry including parish communication and stewardship. She has been a wonderful source of inspiration and creative energy especially during the pandemic. We give thanks to God for Tracey’s gifts and pray for her continued ministry amongst us.
Denise Vieira, Grace Anglican Church, Waterdown
Denise exemplifies what it means to be a disciple of Christ. In her role as cemetery representative, she is a balm for grieving souls. She demonstrates servant leadership in her roles as Warden and chair of the Women with Grace. Denise shines the light of Christ through her participation in Diocesan Synod, the Grace Inclusive Cafe, Graceful Abilities Day Program, Food with Grace Waterdown Food Bank, Sunday worship, Morning Prayer, book studies, and Meditation with Grace. Denise brings great joy when she performs at the monthly Open Mic Nights. She is a faithful friend to all.
Blair Richardson, St. Jude’s, Oakville
Blair has chaired St. Jude’s Justice and Servant Ministries, where he promoted the many parish ministries and partnerships of the parish. Blair has been a force in Halton for many years. He was the Chair of the Board for the Food for Life for ten years. He carried the knowledge he gained to many subsequent activities. Blair is a member of the Ally Leadership Council of the Debwewin Project, a collaboration between the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Oakville Community Foundation. Blair led St. Jude’s Church to be the first church to be a signatory of the project.
Kathy Thomas, St. David’s, Welland
Kathy is a devoted, enthusiastic, and energetic member of St. David’s Welland. She has served the people of this parish and the surrounding community for many years. Currently Kathy is the People’s Warden, and one of the co-ordinators of our Gently Used Clothing Store; which she helped to establish in 2019. In addition, she is the vicepresident of the St. David’s ACW, a member of the Pastoral Care and Prayer Shawl Committees. and an Altar Guild member. She also was the chair of our Mission Action Plan Process.
Brenda Lane, St. John’s, Jordan
Mrs. Brenda has been a central figure at St. John’s in Jordan for 30+ years. She as serviced as our treasurer, has always maintained impeccable management of parish funds. But that is only one of the things that she does, she volunteers to help out with just about everything that takes place in the parish, in recent years she has helped with the refugee sponsorship initiative, the ministry to the migrant farmworkers, in various capacities, from driving, to serving meals to making hats. Brenda is also active in community events, like the Ice Wine fairs, and Grape & Wine Festival.