About St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

Mission Statement

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Orillia is a community whose faith is rooted in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. We are stewards of a vision of faith and worship. We have a goodly heritage which inspires and challenges us. Through God's grace, we are nurtured and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to reach out, witness, and serve in an ever-changing world.

Meet The Staff

The Rev. Dr. Jim Sitler – (B.A., M.Div., M.Th., & D. Min.) was ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacraments in May, 1972. Jim has had pastorates in Toronto, Montreal, Scarborough and Muskoka. Jim served on the Senate of Knox College, and was fundamental in structuring the Presbytery of Pickering and serving as its first Clerk. He has also served as Clerk of the Presbytery of Barrie since the early 1990’s. Jim has taken extensive training in personality development, behavioral patterns, and conflict resolution. These skills that have been helpful in parish ministry and beyond. Outside of his church work Jim served ten years as a Padre in Canadian Forces Air Reserve, stationed in Quebec, and as Chaplain to the Scarborough Fire Fighters Association for six years and another twenty-five years with the Gravenhurst Fire Department. He also acts as Chaplain to the Ontario Fire College and the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall. At the center of his life is his family: his wife Gwen and married children Matthew (Cheryl) and Justin (Laura), with much love and delight in his grandchildren: Jacob, Thomas and Justin (Jr.). There is such joy and fulfillment found in serving God!!

Peter Rombeek (B.Mus.; B.Ed. & M.Div.) has been in school most of his life. Part of this time has been teaching in intermediate and high schools. While teaching can be wonderful, Peter felt the call to focus more on congregations. This has included working within a congregation and helping on presbytery and national events. These opportunities lead Peter to become ordained within the Presbyterian Church in Canada. He is currently serving as the Assistant Minister: Youth and Families. Peter is passionate about how our faith interacts with the way we live - individually and as a congregation. God loves us... so now what? Peter's other interests include playing music, doing things outside and spending time with his wife and son.

Rev. Don Corbett has been with St. Andrew's for many years and in that time has walked with travelers along their life's journey. Don and his wife Joy adopted three children and have one of their own. Joy is a very experienced children's worker and plays the organ in two Baptist Churches. She is also the leader of our PA Days program. Don is a retired Baptist Church Minister who is presently employed at St. Andrew's as our Pastoral Care Minister, a position which he takes very seriously. He happily ministers to our congregation and beyond. He will gladly tell you: "Regardless of the conveniences, or the inconveniences of life, we all travel in the same direction. The Lord Jesus rescues us, so we have an endless hope rather than a hopeless end."

Marshall has been at St. Andrew's since 1994 as the Director of Music. He is a member of The Royal Canadian College of Organists. He attended Tyndale College in the Church Music Program with organ studies at St. James' Cathedral in Toronto. His first three years at St. Andrew's were spent overseeing the complete restoration and enlargement of the four manual 1921 Casavant pipe organ. The music ministry at St. Andrew's has a varied program with two goals in mind - to support the ministry of the Word and to enhance our worship experience. The Sanctuary Choir forms the cornerstone of this program, with weekly rehearsals and leadership in the 10:00 a.m. service ten months of the year. They also participate in several special services and events during the choir season. The Handbell Choir was founded in 1967 and consists of three octaves of bells. In addition to these groups, we also have Higher Ground, a contemporary ensemble. Anyone interested in being a part of the music ministry, please contact Marshall at the church. Some music reading ability is appreciated.

A graduate of P.S.C.I. in1985, Ashley began at a young age here at St. Andrew’s in January 1989. His love for the building and this congregation has manifested itself in many years of conscientious service since then. In February of 2007, he decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and began driving for Schneider National, as a long distance trucker. Following a move to Muskoka Transport and travelling all over the eastern United States, his former position here at St. Andrew’s became available, at which time he chose to return in July of 2009. He still maintains his driving skills with a part-time position at Kelsey Trail trucking. An accomplished pianist, he has earned his grade 10 Piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music. At present, he is studying the banjo in his spare time. His interests include history, music, the outdoors, gardening, poetry and travel. His favourite destinations are Germany and the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten. He resides in Barrie with his wife Wendy.

Christa Cameron brings with her 20 plus years of current experience in administrative and operational leadership within the Protestant Christian faith sector to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Christa moved to Orillia from Huron County in 1999 with her husband John Hunter and son Cameron Hunter. Christa is a passionate contributor to community choral music as a member of Chamber Music Orillia’s Chamber Choir and co-founding member of Reconaissance. She is a Music major (Vocal Performance) from the University of Western Ontario and upon completion of her studies was a freelance musician, artist manager and figure skating coach in Toronto until moving to Huron County with her young family. The Cameron/Hunters are tennis enthusiasts (Cameron played varsity tennis at the University of Waterloo) and have a ‘bucket list’ dream to attend each of the four tennis Grand Slams! (One down, three to go!)

Cynthia has lived and worked in Orillia (and surrounding areas) since immigrating from England over 25 years ago. She is a qualified General Nurse with a post graduate degree in the special intensive care of the newborn. Cynthia is also a Social Worker and was awarded a BSW by the Canadian Association of Social Workers in 1991. One of her proudest achievements was in the design and implementation of one of the first parenting programs in Simcoe County. ‘Parenting Today’ was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Orillia. This highly successful community program ran for over 7 years and was attended by hundreds of parents and their young children. Cynthia has also worked with a number of organizations and programs supporting children and their families since 1990. She has a special interest in the welfare of children and believes that, "enriching the life of a child can lead to a life changing experience for the child and their community”. During her training as a nurse and social worker Cynthia worked extensively with seniors, and recently volunteered at a residential home for the elderly in Barrie. She is thrilled and proud to be a part of the St. Andrew's Seniors’ Center. "This is an important resource in our community that greatly benefits the people who attend. In 1994 Cynthia completed her training as a fitness instructor at the Orillia YMCA. She worked as a volunteer for many years teaching hundreds of classes and working with children. She is still a member and enjoys working out on a regular basis. "Becoming a member of St. Andrew's church has been a life changing experience for me, I feel truly blessed to be a part of this special community." .

After having lived in many parts of Ontario, David finally moved to Orillia in 2009. Having been in choirs for most of his life, it wasn’t long before he found the choir at St. Andrew’s and the St. Andrew’s family. He brings his many years of display and marketing to the position of Communications Director and looks forward to being able to make sure that everyone has all the information they need for all of the many things that are happening here, on a weekly basis. When David isn’t at choir practice (he is currently in the Sanctuary Choir, the Handbell Choir, Higher Ground, and just finished his term as past-president of Orillia’s Jubilee Chorale), he can most likely be found in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, or whipping up a batch of muffins for the Seniors’ Centre.

“And now these remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13” Marnie moved to Orillia in 1996, is married and has 2 young adult children, Alexander and Bethany – Mae. While having been an active member of St. Andrew’s since 2006, Marnie has been involved primarily with Christian Education as the committee’s convenor, Sunday School teacher and assisted with Vacation Bible Camp. Marnie is always willing to lend a hand in the kitchen (dish washing is a speciality) for the many events that happen at St. Andrew’s throughout the year. Marnie’s interest in Social Work led to her receiving her College Diploma in Social Service Work in 2012. This led to her sharing her passion of helping others while working in different capacities at Couchiching Jubilee House. “This church is not just a building that my family attends to worship and build on our Christian Faith. This is our true family, we enjoy seeing everyone and sharing in stories in everyone’s journey in this life. I’m extremely excited about my current role and the opportunity to teach the children of St. Andrews.”

The Rev. Dr. Jim Sitler

Interim Moderator

Email:

presbar@sympatico.ca

Rev. Don Corbett

Pastoral Care Minister

Phone:
705-325-1632

Marshall Martin

Organist

Phone:
705-325-5183 Ext. 4

Email:
marshall@standrewsorillia.com

Ashley Brammer

Property Manager

Phone:
705-325-5183 Ext. 6

Email:
ashman131992@hotmail.com

Christa J. Cameron

Office Administrator

Phone:
705-325-5183 Ext. 1

Email:
admin@standrewsorillia.com

Marnie Gillett

Children's Ministry

Phone:
705-330-9618

Email:
marniegillett743@gmail.com

Rev. Gordon Timbers

Orillia Seniors’ Weekly Programme Director

Phone:
705.326.2296

Email:
gtimbers@sympatico.ca

Gordon Timbers has come to the position of program director for the Orillia Seniors Centre after retiring from pastoral ministry, most recently at Unionville Presbyterian Church. He also brings the experience of several years in specialized ministry with senior citizens. Other meaningful ministry experiences have included writing and editing church education materials and a number of mission partnership placements, including teaching in Anguilla, education trips to Malawi and Nicaragua, training ESL teachers in Inner Mongolia and serving as a World Council of Churches human rights monitor in Palestine/Israel.  Gordon is living in Orillia, supply preaching in the area and enjoying being grandparent of four lovely and lively granddaughters.

Cynthia Lafayette

Seniors' Centre & Youth Director

Phone:
705-325-5183 Ext. 3

Email:

cfitbrit@gmail.com

Dave Lee

Communications Director

Phone:
705-826-8063

Email:

leedm@rogers.com

Gordon Timbers has come to the position of program director for the Orillia Seniors Centre after retiring from pastoral ministry, most recently at Unionville Presbyterian Church. He also brings the experience of several years in specialized ministry with senior citizens. Other meaningful ministry experiences have included writing and editing church education materials and a number of mission partnership placements, including teaching in Anguilla, education trips to Malawi and Nicaragua, training ESL teachers in Inner Mongolia and serving as a World Council of Churches human rights monitor in Palestine/Israel.  Gordon is living in Orillia, supply preaching in the area and enjoying being grandparent of four lovely and lively granddaughters.

Our History

Orillia Presbyterian Church (St. Andrew’s) was established in 1851. The original building was erected the following year and was enlarged twice. In 1889, it was taken down to make way for the present church building, with a sanctuary to seat 1,000 (currently seats 850). The north wing, comprising the Sunday School Auditorium and Fellowship Hall area was added in 1914.

“Architecturally, the building is quite unique, boasting three towers, one of round turreted version. Stone string courses and labels over doors and windows form a contrast to the red brick walls, which are also decorated with buttresses, and pointed gothic window and door openings. The building employs a basic transept type plan and rests on a limestone foundation. Decorative brickwork includes corbelling along the eaves and recessed stepping used at the doorways. Outstanding interior features of the church include ornately carved woodwork, stained and leaded glass, a decorative iron railing around the balcony, and a beautiful raised choir loft.”

Read More







What We Believe

The Basics

We are Christians, people trying to follow Jesus Christ, who believe in one triune God as revealed to us through the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit. None of us are perfect, but we keep trying to live out God's love more and more. For a more comprehensive statement, check out Living Faith: a Statement of Christian Belief.

What's a Presbyterian?

The name refers to how we organize ourselves. A group of people, called Elders, are elected to oversee the work of the congregaton along with the minister. Representative Elders participate in larger church groups (Presbyteries, Synods, and the National level).

Other Important Statements

"MODERATOR OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY REFLECTS ON ANTI-BLACK RACISM"

Word from The Rev. Amanda Currie I Moderator of the General Assembly - June 3, 2020

The Moderator Reflects on Anti-Black Racism

For many within The Presbyterian Church in Canada, the celebration of Pentecost was extremely difficult this year. Certainly, our church services were affected by the fact that we could not gather together physically to remember our collective identity as God’s People, empowered by the Spirit, and sent out in love to the world. But twelve weeks into the pandemic, most of our communities have actually gotten used to our different ways of gathering, and supporting each other, and worshipping together.

The bigger issue was the awareness of, and deep pain and grief associated with the terrible acts of anti-black racism over the last week in North America. It was hard to talk about the fire of Pentecost, and not think about the fires raging in U.S. cities where protests turned into more violence and looting. And how could we preach about the linguistic and cultural diversity of the church Jesus established, and not acknowledge that we have failed so completely in building societies that truly honour all people and celebrate our diversity as God’s beloved children?

I know that many ministers in our denomination struggled to find words to speak to what happened to George Floyd last week in Minneapolis—a black man murdered by a white police officer on a public street, while others stood by and watched. The image of that knee on the back of his neck and the sound of his voice crying “I can’t breathe” will stay with us for a long time.

As a white woman, with more privilege than I yet understand, I struggled to know what to say or what to pray. In as much as I failed to speak out sooner, I am sorry. In as much as I said (or may yet say) some wrong things, I am deeply regretful. In as much as I still don’t really understand the severity and deep impact of anti-black racism, I want to repent, and to learn, and to stand in solidarity with my black siblings.

I have been learning a few things this week from my colleagues, friends, and others who are people of colour. First is that what happened to George Floyd is not new. His was the unjust killing that sparked these massive protests, but not because it was unique. Indeed, the protests are happening because it was not an isolated incident, but almost the norm of how black people are subjected to discrimination, mistreatment, and violence without any provocation but the colour of their skin. Of course, the protests are about George Floyd’s death, but they’re not just about that. They are about the pervasive and systemic racism that endangers the lives of black people every day.

I’ve also been reminded that this is not just an American problem. Canada is not immune to anti-black racism, and the events in the U.S. have prompted many people in Canada to speak and write about their own, everyday experiences of discrimination and fear in our communities. Black parents have shared about how much they worry about the safety of their children, and how they train them to interact with police in order to keep them alive.

It pains me to say it, but I’ve also been challenged to see that our churches also are plagued with racism. Certainly, over the years the PCC has made statements against segregation, apartheid, racism and racial harassment. We have thought about the fact that we are a pluralistic church, and emphasized that diversity enriches our congregations and governing bodies. The Social Action Handbook includes a section on People of Diverse Races and Ethnic Origins and summarizes what the church has said and done with regard to racism. Still, our official statements have not put an end to actual racist comments, actions and discrimination that are part of the experience of many black ministers and church members. I wonder how we might take steps to shed light on ourselves, on our systems, on our practices, and then take action to correct them.

Last weekend when I considered the story of the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection, I was struck by the description of the crowd of people from every nation under heaven hearing about God’s deeds of power in so many different languages. God’s vision was for a church that was gloriously diverse in language, culture, colour, gender and age. And yet, we are still so far from honouring all people and thanking God for the diverse and beautiful ways that the Spirit fills us and works in our lives. As a church, we should know this, and take up our responsibility to speak and to act for justice for those who are being oppressed, abused, and killed. We must do something, because black lives matter.

I am not saying that “all lives matter,” because that’s another thing that I have learned. Of course, all lives matter, but all lives are not being threatened. Some have explained it by saying, “If your friend gets a cut on their arm are you gonna wait to give all your friends a Band-Aid because all arms matter? No, you would help your friend who was bleeding because they are in pain and in need. Or if a person’s house was on fire and someone was trapped inside, are you gonna make the fire department go to every other house on the block first because all houses matter? Obviously not.”

Many of our black friends, neighbours and fellow church members are hurting deeply right now. Or they’re angry, or afraid, or just emotionally exhausted. Our church’s Policy for Dealing with Allegations of Racial Harassment reminds us that it is our responsibility to speak and to act for justice:

Racism exists in our communities, including the church. Yet we know that the kingdom of God includes all nationalities and all races. In its calling to be a signpost to the kingdom of God, it is imperative that the church oppose racism and intentionally work toward acceptance and inclusion of all people.

Justice Ministries has posted some helpful resources on the website, and a study guide on racism and hate will be available very soon. Other opportunities for learning and transformation are open to us as well, including the programs of the Forum on Intercultural Leadership and Learning of the Canadian Council of Churches .

May the Holy Spirit of God come upon the church to burn away all that is wrong and spur us to speak and to act for justice. May the Holy Spirit of God blow through our communities bringing life and hope to all who are oppressed and living in fear so that our black siblings may breathe deeply and have peace.

The Rev. Amanda Currie | Moderator of the General Assembly – June 3, 2020


There are various statements that Presbyterians have accepted as statements of what we believe at the time: