Order of Niagara Recipients “Are the Church” says Bishop Susan Bell: 48 lay people admitted into Order of Niagara during November

By on November 25, 2022

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 annualy, 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 during a special worship service on October 30th, 2022 at Christ’s Church Cathedral. Those featured here represent the wide range of ministry initiatives and missional dedication that is abundant in the Diocese of Niagara!

Emma and Graham Cubitt

Bishop’s Appointees

Graham and Emma Cubitt are husband and wife and are both Bishop’s appointees to the Order of Niagara this year. They are each, individually, worthy recipients of this honour, and remarkable examples of faithful discipleship. Together, they are an extraordinary force for advancement of God’s reign in the city of Hamilton, our province, and our world.

Emma is the principal architect with Invizij Architects which specializes in ecologically responsible design. She is well-known for designing the unique buildings developed by Indwell, an affordable housing charity based in Hamilton, now building homes across Ontario.  In recent years, her focus has been on passive house design, or ultra-low energy buildings to help our community lead the way towards a low carbon future. Emma has been a strong advocate of responsible housing intensification in Hamilton and has been an advocate for laneway housing as a sensible response to a growing need.

Graham is the director of projects and development with Indwell, which now houses more than one thousand tenants. The charity has opened 214 new units since September 2021 and has more than 760 units under construction or pre-development. Graham and Emma know how to make things happen!

As missional disciples, Graham and Emma have brought their entrepreneurial skills to many projects in Hamilton and beyond. They were instrumental in creating the Mustard Seed Food Cooperative, and Hill Street Community Garden. Most recently, Emma and Graham have purchased and transformed an abandoned mill in Paisley, Ontario, and converted it into a beautiful community space, available for retreats. As stewards of this resource, they provide accommodations “rooted in historical and ecological preservation, with a community focus.”

Graham and Emma live in a little section of Hunter Street in Hamilton, where several like-minded Christians live as neighbours and make community with other neighbours. Potluck dinners and other events are shared in a vibrant neighbourhood and open circle of friends. Much good for the city comes out of these relationships.

As active parishioners of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Hamilton, they lead by example. Graham is leader in the parish’s Stewardship Team. Emma serves on the Climate Justice Committee and is a key member of the Eco-Locke collaboration between neighbourhood churches on and around Locke Street in Hamilton. Graham and Emma have both been recognized by Environment Hamilton as Environmentalists of the Year.

In all that they do, Emma and Graham are inspired by a biblical vision of God’s promised reign. Their passion for affordable housing, ecological justice, food security, and the common good in their neighbourhood comes from their deep Christian faith. To know them is to be inspired by that same vision.

Patricia Wilson

St. Luke’s, Smithville

Pat has been a member of St. Luke’s for almost 50 years, and during that time has been and still is a very active member. She regularly reads scripture at the Sunday service, participates actively in the ladies guild, faithfully assists with church fundraising events, and has organized and managed our member call program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also manages St. Luke’s relationship with and fundraising for Community Care in Smithville (food, new warm clothes, Christmas gift cards, turkeys, cash donations, etc.) and has been responsible for other outreach programs in the past.

In the past year, Pat has also taken on Climate Justice responsibility for St. Luke’s, and is organizing the monthly review of St. Luke’s efforts to reduce the church’s carbon footprint. This is a new area for her, and she has jumped into it with passion, becoming a strong advocate, participating in the meetings and conferences, and making presentations to the church, parish council, and ladies guild on a regular basis. She does all of this, despite several back surgeries and chronic discomfort. She is an amazing woman!

Erick Nettle

St. Christopher’s, Burlington

Erick has been involved in the life of our congregation for about 10 years, serving as a warden through painful changes in clergy leadership and through the trying months of COVID-19 lockdowns. Erick was tireless through the COVID-19 pandemic, performing daily inspections of the church building when other wardens were prevented from assisting because of compromised immune systems or needing to care for vulnerable family members. He was deeply involved in setting up the equipment that was needed to record and later live-stream worship services. Erick was a cheerful and creative member of the team that planned online gatherings for children aged 4-14 when children’s programs were unable to meet in person.

Erick is a member of the altar guild, caring for arrangements at the 11:30 worship service. Erick is a trusted leader, generous with his time, and skilled in bringing his expertise as a business person to support the work of St. Christopher’s, Burlington. Erick has also made noteworthy contributions in the diocese and in the broader community. Erick is an energetic supporter of the committee working to re-unify the Masri family in Canada. He was involved in networking with the Halton Islamic Association, and other community partners to shore up support for the 10 family members, who fled to Turkey from Aleppo in 2014, to join their brother’s family in Burlington in the spring of 2022. Erick was an active member of the re-unification planning team, and he was instrumental in coordinating a fundraiser for the re-unification project with the North Burlington Rotary Club.

Although he is reluctant to talk about the ways he volunteers in the community, the community at St. Christopher’s, Burlington are proud of Erick’s leadership and support for community organizations. One example, is the recognition he received when he volunteered technical expertise to film the Tunos Decanos de Iberoamerica, an organization celebrating Portugese-speaking culture around the world. (Erick was working in his third or fourth language when he connected with Tunos on a recent project!) Other organizations recognize Erick’s many gifts and benefit from his technical skills, generously shared. St. Christopher’s is proud of the work Erick does in the name of the congregation.

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