Regional Gathering – Shine

March 29-30, 2019

It is truly amazing what women’s excitement can do for the church! The energy that has come out of our National Women’s Gathering has overflowed to the regions.

I am excited and very pleased to welcome you all to the first regional gathering that will take place in Vancouver!  The vision behind the regional gathering is to give opportunity to the many women who were not able to come to the national gathering for various reasons.

It is my hope and prayer that the many church women in the western provinces especially will be able to come and be energized, strengthened, and inspired at our event.  From there, I hope they will go back to their local congregations and groups and serve with enthusiasm and purpose!

This is an opportunity for you to be part of an event that will be just as gratifying and uplifting as the national!  The theme is SHINE based on Matthew 5:14–16.  It can be a reminder that we must all shine in our lives for Christ but also that Christ came to bring us Light!

I know you will enjoy this event.  There is much prepared in the program.  But if the program doesn’t grab you enough, come for the fellowship—imagine being in a room with about 200 Christian women. (An important note: MEN ARE WELCOME!)

Sarah Kim, Regional Gathering 2019 Planning Team Convenor

To download the Information and Registration book in full,Click here (PDF).

Local Arrangements Communication: February 12, 2019

Accommodations: Are you looking to book a room for the Regional Presbyterian Women’s Gathering? The following link can help. You can get our group rate using the link or by calling 888-627-8062. Remember to say “Regional Presbyterian Women’s Gathering 2019.”

Gathering Highlights

  • Come together with about 200 Presbyterian women to pray, learn, play, and celebrate together.
  • Be challenged by the words of Dr. Mary Jo Leddy, a Canadian woman who has dedicated her life to the pursuit of justice and who has been walking with refugees as the founder of Romero House in Toronto for over 25 years.
  • Come together every day for worship and consider how we can shine with others so that God’s glory can be shared.
  • Under the direction of Lydia Collin, we will lift our voices to God each day, and create beautiful praise as we learn new songs, and sing some old favourites.
  • Choose from five different forums where you can explore our theme scripture, enjoy music, consider the life of women in an abusive relationship, take time to nurture your own spirit, or find God’s path for you.
  • Enjoy a theatrical performance by children dancers and singers from Hummingbird Ministries. The performance will reveal the history of Indigenous people in Canada, the culture and meaning of pow wow dancing, some Indigenous legend and spirituality, a cosmic view of life, and similarities between Indigenous spirituality to Jesus’ teachings.
  • Shop at the Marketplace. You will find unique items brought in from the Gogos (Grandmother to Grandmother Campaign). Grandmothers’ groups are making and selling imaginative and beautiful items including tote bags, jewellery, cookbooks, note cards, aprons, and t-shirts. Your purchase will help provide grandmothers and the children in their care (in Africa) with the necessities of life, including counselling, nutrition, shelter, school supplies, and income generation activities.

Leadership Preview

Dr. Mary Jo Leddy
Keynote Speaker

Dr. Mary Jo Leddy is a Canadian writer, speaker, theologian, and social activist. She is the founder of Romero House Community for Refugees and currently serves as its Director. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Regis College, University of Toronto.

Mary Jo is an active member of the Ontario Sanctuary Coalition and PEN Canada. She is active in various human rights and peace groups.

A frequent radio and TV commentator, Mary Jo has lectured on various topics nationally and internationally. She is the author of several books, including, The Other Face of God: When the Stranger Calls Us Home, and Radical Gratitude.

Mary Jo is the recipient of numerous academic awards and scholarships including: The Governor General’s Bronze Medal, the Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship, the Canadian University Presidents’ Award “Outstanding Young Woman of 1978”, The Ontario Citizenship Award (1993), the Order of Canada (1996), Gunther Plaut Humanitarian Award (2011), and several honourary doctorates.

Rev. Dr. Nancy Cocks
Gathering Host

Rev. Dr. Nancy Cocks recently retired from St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Medicine Hat (her home church) after 39 years in ministry with the PCC. She also served pastorates in Ontario and BC.

Nancy completed a Doctorate in Theology at Knox College in 1989. She held tenure as Associate Professor in Pastoral Theology at both Vancouver School of Theology and Atlantic School of Theology. She also served at Iona Abbey in Scotland as part of the program team.

Nancy is well known for her storytelling with children, having published 16 children’s books. She also published two collections of worship resources with reflections on faith development, Growing up with God (Novalis 2003) and Invisible We See You (Novalis 2006).

She has led workshops and retreats from coast to coast in Canada and has spoken in Scotland, the United States, and Taiwan.

Lydia Collin
Praise Leader

Lydia Collin lives on Vancouver Island where she serves as the Worship Leader at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Duncan, BC.

After studying piano performance at the Conservatory of Canada, Lydia earned a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Regent College and is currently pursuing a Post-Masters in Spiritual Care from Trinity Western University.

When she’s not making music or studying spirituality, Lydia enjoys training for half marathons and distance road bike races to raise money for charities, such as World Vision and Bike for Bibles. In her free time, she enjoys nothing more than a strong cup of coffee while gardening or exploring the many lakes and oceanfronts of Vancouver Island with friends on their stand up paddle boards.

Rev. Laura Kavanagh

Rev. Laura Kavanagh is the minister at Knox Presbyterian Church in Victoria BC where she has served since 2003. Laura is wife to Steve and mother of two adult sons. She also has a wonderful dog that encourages her to walk regularly!

Laura was a teacher for nearly 20 years in Edmonton and served the church as a lay leader in various ways before her call to ordained ministry.

Laura has traveled extensively on behalf of Presbyterian World Service & Development and currently serves on the Steering Committee of KAIROS in addition to her pastoral ministry.

Laura is passionate about the connection between worship, faith, and action. She remains grateful for the many blessings that fill her life.

Rev. Jenn Geddes

In 2009, Rev. Jenn Geddes was called to a congregation on Vancouver Island from Ontario. Since then she has lived in Victoria and Comox. It is on this island that Jenn gets to shine and follow her hobbies of camping, bird watching, and live music attending.

Along with her husband, they enjoy learning about the rich history of British Columbia and have started a small art collection.

In Ontario, Jenn studied archaeology and religion in culture at Wilfrid Laurier University before attending Knox College. She is passionate about ministry that pushes against the norm, yet still loves those traditional liturgies and hymns.

Through faith and service, Jenn hopes that glory is given to God.

To download the Leadership Preview, Click here (PDF).


1.For the Beauty of the Trinity, Lydia Collin

At this workshop, you will be invited to explore a vision for music that brings us into the dance of the Trinity as Lydia intermingles teaching, music, and interaction for an enlivening time together.

Lydia Collin is the Regional Gathering’s Praise Leader. She lives on Vancouver Island where she serves as the Worship Leader at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Duncan, BC.

2. Gifts for the Journey, Rev. Sumarme Goble

As we age, we shift from asking “What do you want to be when you grow up?” to “How do you want to ‘be’ as you grow older?” With the wisdom of the Psalms to guide us, and the insights of participants, we will explore the gifts God has given to us to face our fears and failings, and meet the challenges of living wholehearted lives in Christ as we age.

Rev. Sumarme Goble is Chaplain and Director of Community Life at St. Andrew’s Hall – A College of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. She holds a B.A. degree in Christian Education from Seattle Pacific University and a M.Div. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. She worked two years at Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand for Food for the Hungry International and served 14 years in two congregations in Seattle, Washington. Sumarme and her husband, Scott, live in Vancouver with their two school-age girls.

3. Lampstands and Bushel Baskets: Exploring the Light of the World, Rev. Dr. Nancy Cocks

How does our experience of different sources of light help us understand our own gifts and possibilities for mission? What “bushel baskets” do we use to obstruct the light of the world in our lives and congregations? How can we become more effective “lampstands” for the Light of Christ in our relationships and communities?

Rev. Dr. Nancy Cocks recently completed 40 years in ministry with the PCC, serving as both pastor and professor in five different presbyteries. Nancy also worked at Iona Abbey in Scotland as part of the program team, leading creative worship and workshops on many different themes. She has published sixteen books for children and two collections of worship resources with reflections on faith development, Growing up with God (Novalis 2003) and Invisible We See You (Novalis 2006). She lives in Medicine Hat, AB.

4. sereKNITy dot calm…Spirituality in Knitting, Lisbeth Duncan

Knitting provides an antidote to the current chaos of modern day life. Its very nature helps us slow down and pay attention: its spirit invites contemplation. God waits for us in the inner sanctuary of the soul: God waits for us there. Knitting—praying with our hands—enables us to practice the presence of God; a practical way of being in the moment, setting aside the busyness of the day. The captivating rhythm of knitting gives us a chance to step back and view our lives from a little bit of a distance.Spinning a yarn is a creative by-product!

Lisbeth Duncan is a long-time elder at Varsity Acres Presbyterian Church in Calgary and has held leadership positions within the national church. Lisbeth grew up in Scotland where knitting is a way of life, and where she trained as a registered nurse and midwife. She has been married for 52 years to George and they have three children (one set of twins) and seven grandchildren (one set of triplets) and love to holiday in Hawaii in their retirement.

5. When Love Hurts: Understanding Women’s Experiences of Abuse in Intimate Relationships, Rev. Karen McAndless-Davis

One in three Canadian women will experience abuse from a partner. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical or sexual. It may also include elements of social isolation or financial control. Abuse has a devastating impact on women and it is important for all of us to know how to respond with compassion and understanding. This dynamic workshop will equip and enliven you to be a helpful support person for women experiencing abuse. 

Rev. Karen McAndless-Davis has been providing support, advocacy, and counselling for women with experiences of abuse for over 20 years. She is the co-author of the book When Love Hurts: A Woman’s Guide to Understanding Abuse in Relationships which helps women recognize signs of abuse and provides practical tools for decision-making. Karen is an experienced trainer and facilitator, and travels widely to deliver workshops. She has a busy private counselling practice in New Westminster, BC. Karen has a Master of Divinity degree from Knox College and is a pastor in The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

To download the Workshops, Click here (PDF).

Event at a Glance

Friday March 29

10:30 a.m. Registration
1:00 p.m. Welcome
1:15 p.m. Opening Worship and Communion
3:00 p.m. Keynote Address with Dr. Mary Jo Leddy
4:00 p.m. Hummingbird Ministries Performance
5:45 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. Welcome Banquet

Saturday March 30

Breakfast on your own
9:00 a.m. Worship
10:30 a.m. Keynote Address with Dr. Mary Jo Leddy
12:00 p.m. Lunch Buffet
2:00 p.m. Forums
3:30 p.m. Forums
5:30 p.m. Dinner Buffet

Registration Overview

Registration fee:

  • Registration fee is $275.00 (registration deadline is February 15, 2019)
  • Early registration rate is $225.00 (you must register before November 15, 2018 to get the early registration rate)

General Information:

Your registration fee covers two dinners and one lunch. The remaining funds go towards the overall cost of the event.

Please submit one registration form per registered participant.

Please note: Accommodations, snacks, and breakfast are the responsibility of the participant. A special hotel rate has been set for all Gathering participants, see page 11 for more details. 

Cancellation policy:

Send any registration cancellation requests in writing to Regional Women’s Gathering, 50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, ON, M3C 1J7 by March 1, 2019. A processing fee of $25 will be charged. If you have reserved a room in the hotel, your hotel cancellation is your responsibility.

Grant and financial information:

A travel subsidy is available to all lay and clergy women who do not have a continuing education allowance. Application forms are available through the Gathering website, or the Women’s Missionary Society office, 50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, ON, M3C 1J7; Telephone: 800-619-7301.

Funds are limited so apply early. Applications will not be considered after November 30, 2018.


The timing or your forum will be determined by availability. Forums will be determined on a first come, first served basis. Please fill out multiple choices.

No Scents:

Exposure to fragrances or scented products can trigger serious health reactions for individuals who suffer with asthma, allergies, and migraine or chemical sensitivities. Therefore, we encourage all gathering participants to avoid the use of scented products while at the regional gathering.

Transportation Services:

Local transportation from Abbotsford International Airport and King George Station (via Sky Train) is being arranged for peak arrival and departure times at a special rate of $10 per person for a round trip.

For those arriving at Abbotsford International Airport, shuttles will run at specific times on March 29 in the morning. You may need to wait for some time between shuttles, so please be patient. Our shuttle provider is West Wagon. If you prefer to arrange your own taxi, it will cost you approximately $70.

Shuttles departing for Abbotsford International Airport will be available in the evening of March 30 and the morning of March 31. The first shuttle will leave following the conclusion of the Gathering. Please confirm the time of your departure shuttle when you register at the conference.

More information regarding shuttles from King George Station will be sent to all participants requesting it.

For all shuttle services, advance reservations and payment are required. Please contact for more information.

You will be responsible for your own arrangements and costs if you are travelling outside the above mentioned time. Please note that shuttles are on a first come, first serve basis and only run to Abbotsford Airport and King George Skytrain station. If you have not pre-registered for transportation (see the Registration Form on page 9), you may be required to take a taxi at your own expense.

To download the Registration Overview, Click here (PDF).

Registration Form

Download the registration form, Click here (PDF).

Hotel Reservations

A warm welcome awaits you at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. As one of Surrey’s premier hotels, the best of British Columbia is at our doorstep. We have rooms set aside at the Sheraton. It is located at: 15269 — 104th Avenue Surrey, BC V3R 1N5; Phone: 604-582-9288/888-627-8062.

For reservations, call the hotel directly, specifying which room type you wish to stay in. Be sure to indicate that you are with the Regional Gathering in order to receive the special conference room rates. The cut off date for reserving rooms is 30 days before the event; after that date the rate will be based on space availability.


Guest-Room Type

Single Rate

Double Rate

Triple Rate

Quad Rate

Traditional Room

(Double Queen or King Bed & Queen Pull Out)





Deluxe Room





Club Room











The above rates are in Canadian funds. Rates do not include applicable taxes. Maximum room occupancy is four persons including persons under the age of 18 years of age. It is your responsibility to find your own roommate(s). If you plan to share a room, only one person needs to make the reservation.

Hotel Services:

  • 100% smoke-free hotel
  • Special touches such as Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed, complimentary high-speed wireless internet and express check out available in all guestrooms
  • Year-round heated outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool
  • Full service on-site spa
  • Secured underground self-park or valet parking

For more detailed information please refer to the website at:

Check-in Time: 3:00 p.m. | Check-out Time:12:00 p.m.

Early check-in and late check-out may be available, but must be arranged directly with the hotel upon reservation.

Rooms are limited. Book early!

To download the Hotel Information, Click here (PDF)..

We are grateful to the Women’s Missionary Society and The Presbyterian Church in Canada for their generous donations and support, without which our event would not be possible.