The Order of the Diocese of Toronto, created to honour laypeople who make outstanding contributions to the diocese, was awarded for the first time on New Years’ Day at St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto.
A list of 48 recipients-nominated by their parishes or Archbishop Colin Johnson-was published on the Diocese of Toronto website just before Christmas. Those named to the Order were honoured before a full house at the cathedral during the New Year’s choral evensong, receiving a medallion and a pin from the archbishop.
Among the first recipients of the Order were Chris Ambidge (involved in leadership of Integrity Canada), members of General Synod Libby Salter and Peter Tavell, Elizabeth Loweth (active in leadership of the International Anglican Women’s Network), Dorothy Peers, and General Synod’s coordinator of Together in Mission Suzanne Lawson.
Peers, wife of former primate Archbishop Michael Peers, was honoured for her contributions to the diocese since moving here with her husband, including assisting parishes with development of better governance structures and growth strategies.
“She’s been very active as a volunteer and it’s nice to see her recognised recognized for that incredible contribution,” said Lawson.
Lawson herself was taken by surprise when she heard she was going to receive the award. While participating in the service, she felt a little overwhelmed by the breadth of talent and hard work being publicly appreciated.
“When you heard the citations for other people, you realised realized what wonderful contributions and gifts they had brought to the church that they love,” Lawson said. “Bishop Colin spoke about us not being super heroes, but ordinary people. You have that awful feeling of ‘Oh my goodness, if I get a medal I’m going to have to act differently. Don’t they know I’m not perfect?’ But really, he was disarming…honouring, but disarming.”
Along with having their contributions to the diocese shared with the congregation at the service, each honoree will receive a written citation, and have a record of their award kept at the diocesan office.
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