Meet our staff & volunteers

Introducing our wonderful staff and volunteers who work with the children, youth and families here at CMUC:

*All staff and volunteers are fully screened with Police Record Checks and are trained in the United Church’s Child Protection Policy, Duty to Care 

Tama Ward, Minister of Children, Youth and Families 

Tama has an MDiv from McMaster Divinity College in Ontario and for the past 25 years has worked with both Protestant and Catholic communities to nurture creative and relevant connection for children, youth and congregations with biblical narrative.  She joined the staff at CMUC in January 2018 and is excited to be a part of the open-hearted, open-minded vision of this dynamic faith community.

Contact:  604-803-1195 (text or phone), (Email), @TamaWard (Twitter), Tama Ward (Facebook)

Mary Toth, Director of Early Childhood Faith Formation

Mary has been a part of the Children, Youth & Families team since February 2017, working with our youngest members. A certified Godly Play facilitator, she loves to wonder with the children about how the stories of our tradition speak to each child.

When not with the children at CMUC, Mary is teaching Roots of Empathy in a local school, coaching people to create lives that align with their values, or enjoying time with her own family. She’s passionate about peaceful parenting, mindfulness meditation, and the science of happiness.

Clarissa George, Nursery Supervisor

Clarissa is originally from South Africa, where she was a Preschool Teacher for 2- and 3-year-olds. Herself a mom of two small children, she enjoys working with the youngest churchgoers and their caregivers each Sunday in our Nursery and at coffee hour.

Sarah Lyon, Youth Group Program Assistant

Facilitating Celebrate Recovery, a  Christ-centred 12-step program lead to  a desire to take a more formal approach to my learning for marrying up my interests in pastoral care and psychotherapy. I am a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counsellor having gained my qualification from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom in the summer term of 2016. During this time I was a volunteer counsellor for the charity Bluesmile at a school in Cambridge and also a faith school in Stamford, Lincolnshire.  I have long held the desire to work as a pastoral youth worker bringing together a weave of spiritual knowledge with skills as a counselling psychotherapist. I am deeply drawn to working with youth. The opportunity to equip teens with the spiritual and interpersonal skills to navigate life with compassion and care for self and others is in my view the greatest calling.

Michelle Cobban, Tot Drop-In Coordinator &  Godly Play Volunteer

Stephen Tanner  – Godly Play

I believe that helping  children build self confidence is a most important calling. It is a delight to me when children thrive through knowing they are being actively listened to and heard.  I believe that encouraging and welcoming their stories, their problem solving attempts and their questions and curiosity is fundamental to the role of an adult mentor. As a parent of two  independent and thriving adults, I welcome the opportunity to continue being a positive role model. I enjoy connecting with children through music, movement and random acts of mirth- making…I also enjoy encouraging quiet moments of reflection and communion. I believe that engaging in ritual and spiritual practices of many kinds is not at all lost on even the youngest of our children.

Sheila Cook – Godly Play 

Sheila raised two children who are now young adults. She attended the United Church with her best friend’s family as a child, then again on her own as a teenager and young adult in short stints. Music has been a big connection to church, as she loves to sing and hear harmonies in choirs and small groups. Her main career was working with Elders and people with disabilities as an RN, which was a great way to support her artistic and musical pursuits, and feed her interest all kinds of nerdy information. She didn’t pay close attention at Sunday School, so now she is making time for that. She has been attending CMUC regularly since the fall of 2014.

Robyn Williams, Burrard St. Story Guild volunteer artistic director

Joanna Brewster, Youth Group Volunteer

Joanna is passionate about working with youth to foster connection, confidence and mindfulness. She teaches a positive body image program, called Free to Be, to youth in Grades 5-8. This program teaches media literacy and body appreciation and gets youth thinking about their bodies in ways unrelated to appearance. She also teaches Girlvana classes, a program for girls 13-18, that uses Yoga as a tool to connect girls to their bodies and open conversation about a variety of topics. Joanna is also trained in Restorative Yoga, a practice that helps us slow down and restore our systems through specific yoga poses. She is passionate about sharing the benefits of restorative yoga in our fast paced lives and exploring ways in which we can disconnect from devices and connect to ourselves and others in a deeper more meaningful way.