Sylvia Hamilton, who was a CCS graduate (1979), a Companion of the Centre (2007), and one of Ted Dodd’s mentors in the ’70s, passed away last week.
There is a lovely bio of Sylvia on the Diakonia of the United Church of Canada website.
And here is a copy of the citation that was read at the Annual Service of Celebration in 2007 when she was named as a CCS Companion:
Diaconal Minister, compassionate pastor and Christian educator
Sylvia grew up in United Church of Canada, and was an active volunteer, providing
leadership in Church School. She was the first woman to be Sunday School
Superintendent at St. George’s United Church in Toronto.
Sylvia was trained formally in education and taught Home Economics in Brampton High School, and soon moved to Toronto Teacher’s College to teach home economics and to be Dean of Women. Because she was married, she never attained the status of“master”, being instead an “instructor”.
Her paid work went on hold while she raised her three children, but she continued to volunteer and study in the church. In the mid-70s she began her work in lay ministry (staff associate) and also began her studies at CCS. She was commissioned as a Diaconal Minister in the United Church in 1979. Her paid ministry career continued for 26 years (until the age of 75) including a long pastorate at Eglinton United Church, Toronto. Sylvia’s exceptional skills at working with and empowering people brought her great success in pastoral and educational ministry. Sylvia was often called upon by CCS to resource student learning on teaming in ministry because of the remarkable ability she had demonstrated to work effectively with a large number of people.
Through out her ministry Sylvia was a supervisor and mentor to CCS students,
companioning them in their learning with patience, good humour and gentle
Retired now, Sylvia continues her long pattern of volunteering for numerous churches and groups. She was the first female chaplain of the Toronto St. Andrew’s Society, and President of the Society and volunteer chaplain at St. Matthew’s – Bracondale Seniors Home. She has been involved at all levels of the United Church including chair of pastoral relations in Toronto South Presbytery, chair of the National Nominating Committee and a member of the General Council Executive, member of the National task group on sexual abuse and author of many educational materials.
Sylvia’s nominators write:
“She is known to us all as a person of deep faith, courage and integrity, and because of those gifts she has been able to offer leadership at every level of the church’s life.”
“Sylvia is a gifted people person with a strong sense of call to diaconal ministry … She possesses a special ability for creating and working with small groups and building up congregational life.”