St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church is an affirming church, welcoming diversity with acceptance and hospitality shown to all. Operating through a governance board model, with talented staff and rich involvement from volunteers on ministry and operational teams, we make it our mission to embody love, change lives and transform the world. With a rich heritage starting in 1927, the church building is an iconic landmark in downtown Vancouver.
Dan came to St. Andrew’s Wesley in the summer of 2013 and has been energized, stretched and fortified by this shared ministry all the way.
Dan has been in pastoral ministry since 1993. He holds a Master of Divinity and an MA in Comparative Religion with a focus on Zen Buddhism and Christianity from the Pacific School of Religion in California. He taught “The Life and Times of Jesus” at Orange Coast College, and also “The Living Religions of the World” at Chapman University.
Dan’s ministry is shaped by his belief that the heart of Christianity is discovered at the intersection of spirituality and social justice, because the outer journey and the inner cannot be separated. Care of the soul and care of the world go together like the inhalation and exhalation of our breath.
Gary came to be Lead Minister at St. Andrew’s-Wesley in 2005, with experience that ranged from ministry on the west side of Vancouver to the Downtown Eastside, to the B.C. Conference / Provincial Office. In 2012 Gary was elected to be the Moderator of the United Church (the national spiritual leader) for a three year term; he returned to St.AW in December of 2015. In July 2016 he moved to half-time work, sharing responsibilities for worship, adult formation and some pastoral care.
He is an openly gay person, married to former City Councillor Tim Stevenson. They have three daughters and four grandchildren.
Gary is committed to helping create an inclusive faith community, where all are welcomed; where people are encouraged to grow in their faith, through worship, study and spiritual practices; and where they discern their call by the Spirit to engage in the work of loving neighbour and world.
Jen Cunnings joined the ministerial team at St. Andrew’s-Wesley in 2008. She leads, coordinates, supports or is otherwise involved in all programming involving children, families or elders at the church. This includes the weekly Parent and Tot Program that reaches out to the surrounding communities; seasonal parenting events; Camp Spirit, an annual summer day camp experience; Breaking Bread, a monthly gathering for older adults; and all intergenerational events.
With a passion for creating spaces of community where all ages may learn from and with one another, Jen is a believer that faith is formed through personal trusted relationships. She is committed to encouraging, supporting and celebrating with children and adults as they make a home for their faith and live it in community and the world.
Diane joined the team at St. Andrew’s-Wesley in June 2017 as the Executive Director, Operations. She has oversight for the financial, building, communications and operational issues and is the project lead for the seismic upgrade and heritage restoration project of 2018-2020.
Diane was the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay for 12 years before moving to Vancouver. Diane believes that everyone in the church plays a very important role in the mission and her door is always open to hear about your experience. In her spare time she can be found volunteering for a number of wildlife organizations or walking through the woods, which she often describes as “her church.”
Rhian Walker joined St. Andrew’s-Wesley in 2018 as the Minister of Young Adults and Outreach. She brings a love for nurturing the spiritual development of those around her. She is passionate about new expressions of church and believes in the power of spiritual practice and community to transform the suffering in our communities and our world. She has a Masters of Public and Pastoral Leadership from the Vancouver School of Theology, an MA in Philosophy, Religion and Literature from Sussex University and a BA in Philosophy and Creative Writing from UVic.
She previously served at the lead minister at the Heartwood Community Café, an LGBTQ social enterprise run by Trinity United, Minister of Outreach and Formation at Lynn Valley United in North Vancouver, and as the Conference Minister for LeaderShift, a professional development program that focuses on the inner and outer skills for leading in the United Church. She is an amateur singer and poet, an average gardener, and is truly, shockingly bad at camping despite growing up on the West Coast.
Lorraine Ashdown joined St Andrew’s in 2018 with a focus on elders and pastoral care, and with a passion for connecting people through music, conversation and laughter.
Lorraine often refers to herself as a “Prairie Girl” even though she left her home town of Winnipeg fifteen years ago. Lorraine graduated from Vancouver School of Theology with a Masters of Arts in Public and Pastoral Leadership and a diploma in Indigenous and Interreligious Studies. She was previously a journalist and photographer, and currently resides on beautiful Bowen Island. Lorraine brings to St. Andrew’s Wesley an authentic love of the United Church and a desire to create community and a sense of belonging within the faith community of St. Andrew’s Wesley and beyond.
Curt came to St. Andrew’s-Wesley in 2004. He directs the Gospel Choir, leads The Word is OUT!! LGBT spirituality discussion group, and co-leads the Young(er) Adults group. His passion for music and inclusive church communities has also led him to serve the greater community of the United Church of Canada through music leadership at the Naramata Centre’s summer programmes, EVOLVE, the Imagine LGBT weekend, and as music resource at various local United churches.
As a follower of Jesus, Curt finds great satisfaction in helping others discover and live to their full potential in the body of Christ. His call is to journey together with others who are seeking to live in faithful discipleship to Jesus Christ with honesty, integrity and authenticity.
Darryl Nixon became the Minister of Music at St. Andrew’s-Wesley in 1983. He leads our active music programme as organist, pianist, choir and orchestral conductor, and accompanist in service for our church community. He also leads our Candlelight and Music service every Sunday.
Darryl has extensive international education and training in music, and before ministry at the United Church he pursued a career as a soloist, continuo player and chamber musician on harpsichord and organ, giving concerts, workshops and tours in several countries.
Michelle Lovely is a Registered Nurse (RN) who is passionate about providing healthcare, education and support to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
Her various nursing roles have given her a unique set of skills, broad experience and understanding of health care environments. She has been fortunate to work in critical care settings (ICU and Burns), along with research related positions, health education and education administration. Her varied work experience has provided her with the skills and strategies to work collaboratively with diverse communities, stakeholders and groups of individuals of a variety of ages and backgrounds. She understands the importance of maintaining appropriate channels of communication while working with individuals at all levels within an organization, following guidelines, policies and procedures.
As your Parish Nurse and an active member of the church family, Michelle feels called to be a part of a dynamic ministry team, and affirmed by a strong faith community to promote health, healing and wholeness while caring for the body, mind and spirit. Michelle will work with the STAW staff and community to provide care and support to this family. Her overarching goal is to help you feel you have the resources and support to improve, maintain or manage your healthcare concerns. Michelle is passionate about healthcare and caring for others, and she feels privileged to be your parish nurse.
In her spare time Michelle enjoys cooking, running, hiking, reading and exploring what this great world has to offer. She looks forward to getting to know you, and working to strengthen the emotional, spiritual and physical health of the St. Andrews Wesley church family.