Thoughtful Engaged & Generous Leadership Award
The VST President’s Thoughtful, Engaged & Generous Award (T.E.G. Award) is a distinguished award for leading practitioners in the Christian faith to be nominated and recognized by VST for their contributions.
The VST President’s T.E.G. Award is not restricted to alumni or affiliates of VST, but rather is an expression of VST’s stature in the wider community, with a strong and growing reputation for leadership development, innovation and change.
This award is intended to have a continuous presence in the community, through the annual support of its founding donors and others who also recognize the importance of the VST President’s T.E.G. Award. This award will be at least $3,000 as a result of other contributions already received. Annual contributions and those earmarked to endow this award will be gratefully accepted.
Along with the financial acknowledgement, the recipient(s) will be invited to assume an active presence with VST in leadership initiatives. The VST President’s T.E.G. Award will be presented as part of the annual convocation ceremony in May.
Nominations for the recipient of the VST President’s T.E.G. Award are welcome. They should be received by January 15, each year. The award is open to all full-time ministry leaders within the first ten-years of full-time employment. Candidates will be known for their exemplary leadership and contributions in Christian ministry for the 21st Century, reflecting the virtues of thoughtful, engaged and generous in keeping with the mission of VST. Nominations should be directed to the VST President’s Office – firstname.lastname@example.org. Successful recipients may receive this award once.
Nominations should include an overview of the candidate’s ministry contributions and community impact, as well as a biography. In addition, all nominations should be accompanied by a minimum of three (3) letters of endorsement. Successful candidates will be selected by a committee including the Chair of the VST Board of Directors, VST Chancellor, VST Vice-President and the VST President. Ministry experts external to VST may also be called upon for input.
Rev. Germain Lovelace
Rev. Lovelace served as Student Minister at Brentwood Presbyterian Church in Burnaby, BC before accepting a call to First Presbyterian Church (Kenora, Ontario) where he was Minister for five years. While in Kenora, he also served on the Board of the Kenora Fellowship Centre where he learnt so much about what reconciliation actually looks like. Germaine served as Moderator of the Presbytery of Winnipeg from June 2016 to June 2018. He currently serves as Minister at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Mississauga. He also serves on the Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Germaine is a member of the Healing and Reconciliation Advisory Council of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. He has a deep love for serving people, helping people through their struggles, and sharing the message of Christ’s redeeming grace with everyone. Prior to his service in Canada, Rev. Lovelace received his Master of Divinity, Diploma in Ministerial Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Theology from the United Theological College of the West Indies. He completed a Diploma in Denominational Studies from the Vancouver School of Theology.
Germaine always acknowledged everyone who crossed his path, with kind acceptance and validation as his sister or brother in Christ. Germaine didn’t even have to mention Jesus, and the community would notice that his kindness came from a deeper source, which was indwelling and consistent. As His faithful ambassador, Germaine demonstrates irrefutable trust in God, love for Jesus Christ and a yielding to the Holy Spirit, propelling him to exude thoughtfulness, desire healthy engagement and relationships and radiate generosity to all he meets, no matter who or where you are.
– Lisa Baker, on behalf of First Presbyterian Church, Kenora, Ontario
Germaine is kind, compassionate, earnest, and boundless in positivity and energy. I can think of no one more deserving of this award and I heartily support his being nominated for it.
– Rev. Barbara Pilozow, First Presbyterian Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Germaine was a wonderful student during his studies at VST. He brought a strong Christian witness from his own background combined with an openness and curiosity that helped him engage in theological study. He was eager to learn and often spoke eloquently of how a class or topic had influenced his thinking about his faith. His presence in a class inspired a feeling of shared learning. Germaine, both as a student and now as a minister, embodies the qualities of thoughtfulness, engagement and generosity that VST is proud to recognize in its graduates who are serving the church with distinction.
– Rev. Dr. Pat Dutcher-Walls, Professor of Hebrew Scripture, Vancouver School of Theology
Rev. Curtis Bablitz
Rev. Bablitz is a St. Andrews Hall/VST graduate, class of 2011, receiving a Master of Divinity (M.Div. Honours) specializing in Homiletics. In 2016, Curtis received a ThM from Knox College. He has excelled in both congregational ministry and camp leadership. Curtis is the minister of Brant Hill Presbyterian Church in Burlington, Ontario where he has served since 2011. He has also served with St. Columba Presbyterian Church in Vancouver and as Interim Director with Camp Douglas in Roberts Creek, BC. Curtis has also held the position of Moderator with the Presbytery of Hamilton, and as Convenor on the Camp Kintail Board, where he represented the Synod of Southwestern Ontario. Curtis was ordained by the Presbytery of Hamilton in 2011.
Endorsements of Curtis’ nomination state:
“Curtis displays a positive innovative approach to his work in ministry and has been, and continues to be, an important part of this community of faith. He is doing good work and has much to offer. I know that there is much more that could be said in his support but this is a person that brings a sense of enthusiasm to all that he does and I sincerely feel that he deserves to be encouraged and deserves such an award.”
“Curtis is creative and enthusiastic in his approach to ministry and it’s contagious! His ability to winsomely present the gospel and live it out with integrity made a lasting impact on all who led with him in camping ministry at Camp Douglas. I’m sure that continues to be the case in his work with Camp Kintail in Ontario. A passion for young people learning of Christ’s deep love for them is a hallmark of Curtis’ serve to God still today in his work with Canada Youth, Camp Kintail and his ministry at Brant Hills Presbyterian Church in Burlington, Ontario.”
“I am pleased to hear that Curtis Bablitz has been nominated for this valuable award. I had the privilege of teaching Curtis both during his MDiv studies at VST and also a course in homiletics in his ThM course through Knox College and TST. I can say definitely that he is one of the best students I have had in my 35 years of teaching homiletics. It is worth noting that this is not simply a matter of natural eloquence or of having kissed the homiletical Blarney Stone. Curtis demonstrates a keen understanding of the theory beneath the art of preaching.”
The Venerable (Archdeacon) Clara Plamondon
Clara is a VST graduate, class of 2013, who has excelled in both congregational, regional and national leadership. Along with her role as archdeacon of Cowichan/Malaspina, Clara serves as Incumbent of the parish of St. Paul Anglican Church in Nanaimo. She is also on the Executive Committee of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon and until recently served on the Council of General Synod of the Anglican Church in Canada. She is a member of Diocesan Council and sits on various committees including the Diocesan Ministry Discernment Committee and Vision Grant Fund Committee.
Endorsements of Clara’s nomination state:
“Along with another VST alum, Rev. Selinde Krayenhoff and another colleague in the Nanaimo area, Clara has taken the lead in organizing area churches to provide ecumenical programming. An example of that was the excellent attendance at the VST Academy weekend just finished where people from Anglican, Presbyterian, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches from a wide area around Nanaimo gathered to learn together.”
“Clara is the kind of leader you would wish to serve alongside in any capacity. She is ready to share in the work of the church making thoughtful and articulate contributions to often complex matters. She is generous with her time, despite her commitments to her parish and diocese and is generous of heart in her relationships with others. Clara’s wisdom and perspective are highly valued by all members. Robert Hovda’s, “Strong, Loving and Wise” describes the presider at worship, the kind of leaders the church needs today, and an appropriate description of Clara Plamondon. She would be a worthy recipient of VST’s leadership award and be a fine ambassador for the School’s reputation.”
“Clara excels at cultivating strong networks within her faith community and at creating partnerships with other faith communities. Clara is a leader who brings a balanced dimension as both pastor and prophet to her work. She is greatly respected by those she works with as an archdeacon in the diocese, as prolocutor of Provincial Synod and in her previous role as a member of the Council of General Synod. Clara integrates well her knowledge of scripture, theology and ministry. Those she leads benefit from both her direction and the questions she asks. Clara is discrete in how and when she speaks, but when she does speak, you are inspired to listen. Clara receives this as she is thoughtful, engaging and generous in her leadership and spirit.”
Clara’s leadership was recognized and supported by the Diocese of Islands and Inlets (Diocese of BC) when Bishop Logan McMenamie appointed her as archdeacon of the Cowichan/ Malaspina region in August 2018.
Clara was ordained in the Diocese of British Columbia in 2013, serving first as deacon-in-charge and shortly after, as incumbent. Since her ordination, she has served as the representative of our diocese at Provincial Synod and is a member of the Council of General Synod. She also currently serves as a regional archdeacon and is a mentoring chaplain on the diocesan ministry discernment team.
Rev. Ryan Slifka & Rev. Ingrid Brown
Rev. Ryan Slifka shepherds St. George’s as Minister of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care. He previously served as Campus Minister for the United Church of Canada at UBC, and as Associate Minister at University Hill Congregation. In addition to St. George’s, Ryan serves on the Board of the Community Justice Centre, an organization dedicated to implementing and advocating the principles of restorative justice, and is a contributing member to the Theology, Inter-Church, Inter-Faith Committee of the United Church of Canada.
As minister (or pastor), Ryan is primarily charged with carrying the Christian story and tradition forward, and empowering others in the community to live out the Way of Jesus day-to-day. He does this through leading worship, teaching and spiritual formation, building community relationships, offering one-on-one guidance and compassion, and keeping congregants focused on the grand vision for the church in all things done.
Though originally from Calgary, Alberta, Ryan grew up in Black Diamond, a small town just south of the city. He received his bachelor’s from the University of Calgary and is a graduate of Vancouver School of Theology (MDiv, 2013). He was ordained by British Columbia Conference of the United Church in May of 2014.
Rev. Ingrid Brown is the Minister of Christian Formation at St. George’s, having previously served as Associate Minister at Eagle Ridge United Church in Coquitlam with a focus on Children, Youth, and Families and Small Group leadership and development.
Ingrid is tasked with the education and spiritual formation of the younger members of the congregation at St. George’s, focusing on children, youth and young families. seeking to find ways to connect the way we encounter God, walk with Christ, and are energized by the Holy Spirit in our lives with the ways Christians have done through the centuries.
Rev. Ingrid is also the founding Pastor of Weird Church, a neighbourhood based, non-traditional expression of church which engages with folks who are not connected or only minimally connected with the Christian faith, building spiritual bridges through relationship, intentional conversations, and alternative worship forms, in safe spaces in Cumberland.
Ingrid has lived in small towns, big cities, and in between! Ingrid became a Christian on Bowen Island, and was baptised into the faith at 16 at Bowen Island United Church. While attending a Performing Arts Conservatory in NYC, she was able to explore many churches, spending three years in a non-denominational Christian church plant that grew from 40 to 5,000 in weekly attendance during that time! Ingrid identifies her faith as the strength, the centre point of her life, and in 2007 heeded God’s persistent call to serve the church by seeking Ordination, entering seminary in 2010.
Ingrid graduated with her Master of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology (VST) and was ordained in June 2018. Ingrid and Ryan met attending classes at VST and were pleased to reconnect when Ingrid moved with her husband Todd, their two children, and her mom Lauma, to the Comox Valley in 2015.