Slideshow image

The Vancouver School of Theology gratefully acknowledges the appointments of several new board members and officers of the Board for 2023.

New appointments to the Vancouver School of Theology Board of Governors are: Mr. Kerry Baisley, the Rev. Gwen Brown, the Rev. Dr. Steven Chambers, Mr. Robert Dickson, Dr. Victor Ling, Ms. Jane Osler, and the Rev. Ryan Slifka.

Returning to the Board of Governors and beginning their roles as Officers to the board are: Bishop David Lehmann (Chair), the Rev. Dr. Jean Morris (Vice-Chair), and Ms. Catherine A.J. Evans (Chancellor). Also returning to the Board of Governors are the Rev. Doug Goodwin, the Rev. Jessica Schaap, Mrs. Judy Hager, Archbishop Melissa Skelton, the Rev. Michelle Slater, and the Rev. Dr. Richard Topping (President and Vice-Chancellor of VST).

About the New Members of the Board of Governors

Mr. Kerry Baisley, ODNW has been serving as the Missioner for Indigenous Justice for the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster since 2020. Kerry worked for over 35 years in public service in positions ranging from Emergency Child Welfare in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, to work as A Regional Social Worker in what was called Indian Affairs in the Yukon, and Medical Social Work in Residential Care. He was the Manager for Health Care Decisions when Substitute Decision Making was developed with the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC. His last full time job was Director of Client Relations and Risk Management in Richmond Hospital with Vancouver Coastal Health. He is a past Board Member of the 127 Society for Housing and a member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia.

The Rev. Gwen Brown is a graduate of the Toronto School of Theology who served as a Presbyterian minister for over 30 years in pastoral charges and Youth & Camping ministries. She retired in 2020 to the Okanagan community of Vernon where she enjoys the arts community. Throughout her career Gwen has served on numerous National church committees, organized Synod and Presbyterian educational retreats and been involved with projects in her local communities. For the last four years Gwen has served on the St. Andrew’s Hall Board and now serves as the Board Convenor. She is looking forward to being one of the PCC’s representatives on the VST Board.

The Rev. Dr. Steven Chambers, a graduate of Emmaual College, Toronto, Steven has been a minister of The United Church of Canada for forty years, serving congregations in Ontario, Vancouver and Kingston, Jamaica. He was General Secretary of the United Church’s Division of Ministry Personnel and Education and then Executive Minister of Faith Formation and Education overseeing the church’s national work in multi-age faith formation and the preparation of people for lay and ordered leadership. Steven has served as Interim Director of Theological Field Education and United Church Denominational Formation at VST and Project Director of the Lilly Endowment funded Leaders for a New Day project. Now retired in Halifax, he continues his interest in VST and he will join the Board of Governors in January 2024.

Mr. Robert Turriff Dickson, AAM was born in Winnipeg and raised in Montreal and Ottawa. He moved back to Winnipeg, attended the University of Manitoba and joined the BMO management training program. Following a period with BMO he joined Dominion Tanners, then Canada’s largest leather tannery corporation. That was the start of his successful management career with that manufacturing corporation that spanned over three decades. His career took him from Winnipeg to Vancouver, Edmonton and back to Winnipeg. However the majority of that time was in Vancouver where he and his wife, Mary Pat, raised their family in West Vancouver. He has been a lifelong active member of the Anglican Church of Canada, involved at the parish, diocesan and national level of the church. He was the Diocesan Treasurer (volunteer) for thirteen years, Chair or Vice Chair of the national church Finance Committee for fifteen years and recently the diocesan director of finance and property. He helped develop and present to the member dioceses a new formula for determining the fair contributions of dioceses to the national church to support its mission that is still in use today. Rob was a member of the national group that negotiated the Residential School Settlement with the Gov’t of Canada for the Anglican Church. That was the largest financial commitment that the Anglican Church of Canada ever faced. He recently completed a six year term as board member and treasurer of the Anglican Foundation of Canada and a five year term as a member of the Pension Corporation committee. Rob is the recipient of the Order of the Anglican Award of Merit.

Dr. Victor Ling, OC, OBC, FRSC, PhD, is a cancer scientist spending the early part of his career at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto and moving to Vancouver in 1995. He is currently a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and a Distinguished Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency. He recently stepped down as the founding President and Scientific Director of the Canada-wide Terry Fox Research Institute. His research has been recognized by the Order of British Columbia, the Order of Canada, and honorary degrees from four Canadian Universities. Victor was born in China, came to Canada as a child, grew up in a Christian family but became a committed Christian as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto. He is married to Lela (nee Veinot) a Nova Scotian, who is a microbiologist turned elementary school teacher. They have two adult children, Grace and David. Victor enjoys camping, spending time with his family and speaking to different groups about cancer research, science, and faith. Victor is currently an Elder at the Chinese Presbyterian Church, Vancouver, and a Board member of St Andrew’s Hall.

Ms. Jane Osler, CMC, ODNW, is as a certified management consultant providing advisory services in a variety of areas, including strategy development, customer experience management and product development in the tourism sector. Jane is a cradle Anglican and have been involved as a volunteer with the Anglican Church since her youth, and with the Diocese of New Westminster shortly after moving to the lower-mainland in the mid-90’s. Jane’s gifts have been put to use at her parish, Christ Church Cathedral, the diocese, as well as at the national level in areas aligned with the type of work she does (strategic planning, group facilitation and communications), as well as in hospitality and fundraising.

The Rev. Ryan Slifka shepherds St. George’s as Minister of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care. He was called as minister to the congregation July 1st, 2014, having previously served as Campus Minister for the United Church of Canada at UBC, and as Associate Minister at University Hill Congregation. As minister, Ryan is primarily charged with carrying the church’s story and tradition forward, and empowering others 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 the church focused on its vision. Rev. Ryan Slifka served on the United Church of Canada’s Theology, Inter-Church, Interfaith Committee from 2016-2022. Direct contributions include policies on Church Membership, Ordination, Medical Assistance in Dying, and statements on inter-church relations. 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. Ryan is happily married to Cheyenne Hutt, raising their three children: Walter, Abraham, and Martha.

Officers of the VST Board of Governors

Bishop David Lehmann was born in Toronto, ON and raised in Fort Smith, NT. He completed his BA in History at Camrose Lutheran College in 1990. While working on his MDiv at Wycliffe, he enlisted in the Naval Reserves. Upon completion of seminary, he was ordained and served in Fort Simpson, NT. Throughout his parish ministry in the Northwest Territories and Alberta, he would actively engage in community initiatives, heritage projects, and Fresh Expressions of ministry. He is the Bishop of Caledonia based in Prince Rupert, BC.

The Rev. Dr. Jean Morris is a graduate of VST (Th.M) and a minister of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Jean has served as minister in rural, suburban and inner city congregations. She has also ministered as a chaplain and has experience in senior management roles in a large faith-based health care organization in Alberta. Jean has been a participant in many committees and agencies of the church regionally and nationally, including being elected Moderator of the 131st General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and a member of the Interfaith Committee on Canadian Military Chaplaincy. Most recently, Jean has served the Presbytery of Calgary-Macleod as General Presbyter.

Catherine Evans was elected Park Board Commissioner in Vancouver from 2014-2018; was chair of the Vancouver Public Library from 2011 to 2014, and has held a variety of policy and management roles in the governments of both British Columbia and Ontario. Ms. Evans has contributed her skills and knowledge to the private sector as well – as a lawyer, a consultant, and as co-owner of Ethos Strategy Group – a communications and public relations firm based in Vancouver. Catherine received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Dalhousie University, an M.Div. from Emmanuel College at the Toronto School of Theology, and an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School. She completed additional graduate studies in dispute resolution at the Harvard Program on Negotiation, and coursework in conflict resolution at the Justice Institute of BC. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Ms. Evans has a long history of voluntary board service including the BC Society of Landscape Architects, BC Society for Public Education, Vancouver Public Library and Library Foundation, Canadian Women Voter Congress, Westcoast LEAF, and Homes First Society, among others. She attends Pacific Spirit United Church where she is an active member of the congregation.

Appointments to the VST Board of Governors

The VST Act of Incorporation states that the Board of Governors shall consist of the chancellor, the principal and no fewer than twelve appointed governors. The United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada each appoint four members and there are two representatives appointed by the Board of St. Andrew’s Hall, on behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. (The Board of VST in turn appoints two representatives to the Board of SAH.) An additional two members-at-large are appointed by the Board. Governors are appointed for a term not exceeding 3 years and are eligible for reappointment but may not serve for more than 9 consecutive years as members of the Board of Governors. Biographies of all Board members can be found at,