We are all about people.
Not crowds of people, but individuals - people connecting to God and to one another through worship services, programs. and events. We strive to help one another to grow in our faith and support one another through life’s high and low points. We welcome families, young and old, respect their views and encourage their participation.
We are a mixed, intergenerational congregation. We believe we have something for everyone, and we are always open to new ideas. Our goal is to feed the mind, body and soul.
In addition to our worship services, we have many small groups, which meet regularly and numerous special social events throughout the year.
Please see our 2019 Community of Faith Profile, which helps describe our community.
We have great leadership and staff.
Deborah Laforet, Lead Minister
Our Diaconal Minister of Christian Education, Social Justice, and Pastoral Care, joined the staff at St. Paul's on July 1st, 2012. She began as the full-time Christian Education minister and, in January of 2019, moved into the Lead Minister position. In this position, Deborah gets to follow her passions of worship and preaching and community outreach. Deborah, her husband, Jeff, and their two children, Seann and Josh, live in Oakville, although Seann and Josh are now adverturing at university.
Deborah grew up in Michigan where she attended the only church in her neighbourhood which was Roman Catholic. She joined the United Church after struggling with the role of women in the Catholic church and being introduced to a United Church where a woman was preaching, and doing it well! During her maternity leave with her second child, Deborah discerned a call to ministry and has never looked back.
Deborah loves to be in community, whether it be the church softball team, singing with the praise band, or hanging out with the youth of the church. She also enjoys her work with Regional and National Church organizations. Joining others in community as they dream and vision and works toward’s God’s kingdom is where Deborah loves to be. All that being said, Deborah also loves to just sit at home with a good book, biking in Oakville while listening to a good podcast, or out on a trail experiencing God’s creation.
CArolyn Smith, Minister of Pastoral care
Carolyn began her ministry at St. Paul’s in September of 2019. Aside from simple pleasures like jigsaw puzzles and sunshine, Carolyn hopes for ministry and everyday life to reflect each other, holding space for divine surprises, rooted well in authentic living. Holding space means to pause long enough for sacred moments, to help others be in that space, and sometimes it’s quiet and prayerful. Carolyn, though, delights in the noise and colour of life - our planet, and justice for it; savouring food and ensuring that it’s shared; politics/ diversity/ human rights and finding our way forward; and mixing generations with laughter and care.
She grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid) in the UCC, and it’s justice-seeking way kind of runs in the veins. She brings 15 years of United Church Ministry, as well as a blend of Life Coaching, a degree in Political Science, certificates in Conflict & Congregational Leadership; Youth Ministry, and birth doula care. She sits on the Covenant Commission of Horseshoe Falls Regional Council to support strategic mission development of churches throughout our region. She is awed and hopeful at how God is alive every day, even in the world we live in. From these open spaces to our quiet hearts, how wonderful is it that the spirit calls to each of us.
Carolyn is married to Jay, a self-employed structural designer, for nearly 26 years, enjoying an empty nest now that Kate married Chris last summer, and Colin is living in Guelph. You’ll find Carolyn & Jay, usually together, hiking, cooking, at the gym, visiting friends, listening to music, enjoying the adventures of life. Peace!
tracy mitchell, children’s programming coordinator
A lifetime member of St. Paul's, Tracy began her role as Children's Programming Developer in September of 2019. She grew up in Oakville and now resides in Burlington with her husband Scott and daughter Lena. She loves learning and has earned multiple certificates and diplomas in the creative arts. She has been a Girl Guides of Canada Association volunteer at various age levels and has always enjoyed working and learning alongside the young people of St. Paul’s.
As a recent participant in Godly Play Certified Storyteller training, Tracy has learned that we can enable today's children and youth to develop a personal relationship with God. This can be achieved by providing a nurturing environment where each child is encouraged to ask wondering questions and find their own answers through thoughtful play and activities. Tracy looks forward to spending time with the children of St. Paul’s as they explore God's wonderful world together.
ROSS STRETTON, MUSIC DIRECTOR
Ross came to St. Paul's in 2010 following a 12-year engagement with Lundy's Lane United Church in Niagara Falls. Prior to his Niagara Falls posting he was Director of Music at Queen Street Baptist Church in downtown St. Catharines for 18 years. Ross offers music leadership on Sunday morning and leads our Sr. Choir.
Our Office Administrator, is in the office Monday to Thursday from 9am-2pm and on Friday from 9am-noon. She has extensive knowledge of our organization, does a number of administrative duties from weekly accounting to maintaining records, answering of phones, directing inquiries, greeting of visitors and generally keeping things running smoothly.