Rev. Will Sparks, Lead Minister
will.sparks at highlandsunited.org
Tel. (604) 980-6071 ext. 25
The newest member of the Highlands United Church staff team, our new Lead Minister Will Sparks BA (psyc), MDiv, brings with him 24 years of pastoral ministry. He began serving three small churches in the west Kootenays before spending 10 years in team ministry in Salmon Arm Pastoral Charge. Most recently he was at Northwood United Church in North Surrey.
As Lead Minister, Will takes responsibility for worship and preaching, pastoral care, and the oversight of a very gifted and skilled team of staff and volunteers. Will has a passion for music and the way it forms the spiritual rhythm and flow of worship and is excited about working with such a talented musical team at Highlands.
Will lives with his wife, Treena and together they watch in wonder and amazement at the growth and development of their blended family of five children. When he gets the chance he loves to spend time in his canoe or kayak, tend his garden, work in his shop, make big meals for family and friends, but more than anything, find a group of people and make some music.
Sandi Parker, Ministry Development
sandi.parker at highlandsunited.org
Tel. (604) 980-6071 ext. 23
Sandi Parker, B.A., M.Ed. (Counselling), is a Designated Lay Minister who joined the ministry team at Highlands in 2008. She spent her first six years at Highlands evolving the Children, Youth and Family Ministry into a year-round program of exploring faith, mentoring leadership and supporting families. After one year serving as Coordinating Minister during a transitional period for Highlands, Sandi now puts her energy and passion into initiating and supporting new ministries, projects and programs that engage mind, body and spirit while building community. With a background that spans church, community non-profit and post-secondary organizations, she offers a breadth of experience, and a passion for diversity and ecumenism that informs her work and ministry.
When not thinking up new ideas, engaging in animated conversations or making lists, she enjoys puttering with plants, running and baking cinnamon buns at her home near the Capilano River in North Vancouver which she shares with her husband Nick, and sometimes one (or more) of her 4 grown children.
Colleen Blair, Hospitality and Seniors Ministry
colleen.blair at highlandsunited.org
Tel. (604)980-6071 ext. 27
Colleen Blair, B.A., joined the Highlands ministry team in 2012. Her assignment was to integrate hospitality into all aspects of Highlands ministry and to build a new generation of Seniors Ministry. After 17 years of working with children, youth and families at a neighbouring congregation, she was more than up for the challenge of a new life-stage ministry.
Colleen, who grew up Catholic, has a quiet presence. She listens twice as much as she speaks and she hears with her heart. You can meet her every Sunday in her role as “Narthex Minister” where she will greet you with warmth and a cup of coffee before church.
Colleen has lived in West Vancouver for 28 years, where she and her husband, David, raised their two sons, Devin and Liam. Colleen is passionate about fair trade and sustainable food systems, loves to work in her vegetable garden, to experiment with new vegetarian recipes and to have people over to share a meal.
Andria Irwin, Children, Youth and Young Adults Coordinator
cyaya at highlandsunited.org
Tel. (604) 980-6071 ext. 24
Andria Irwin, B.A., joined the ministry team at Highlands this August (2015) as one-half of the children, youth, young adult and social media leadership team. Andria is passionate about the growth of youth programming in the United church and enjoys using new media, contemporary music and faith-based adventure to engage the youth of today.
The daughter of an Anglican minister and a United church designated lay minister, Andria grew up in the church and has always recognized church-community as an integral part of her personal and spiritually journey. She enthusiastically shared this experience and message wherever she can.
Andria and her husband, Steve, live in Kitsilano and have the best firework watching view in all of Vancouver. When not at the church, she is most likely freelance writing/blogging, running the seawall, travelling the world or eating pizza — a lot of pizza.
Allie Keir, Children, Youth and Young Adults Coordinator
cyaya at highlandsunited.org
Tel. (604) 980-6071 ext. 24
Allie Keir, B.F.A., joined the ministry team at Highlands this August (2015) as the other half of the children, youth, young adult and social media leadership team. Allie has been an active member at Highlands for over 30 years, starting from the age of 11 as a founding member of Genesis Too, and now a lifetime member of The Spirit Singers. She and her husband David are actively raising all 4 of their children as part of the Highlands community. Allie’s vision is to apply her passion for working with children and youth to develop compelling programming that is fun, inclusive and relevant to the young people of Highlands.
She is excited by the opportunity to deepen her existing relationships within the congregation, to make lasting connections with newer families, and feels privileged to walk in partnership with all children, youth and young adults on their faith journeys.
Carol Smith, Administrator
churchoffice at highlandsunited.org
Tel. (604) 980-6071 ext. 21
Carol Smith accepted the role of Administrator in 2009. Her pleasant manner makes her a warm, welcoming first contact for everyone who phones or comes to Highlands. Her tremendous competence is fully exercised maintaining the church’s financial records, computerizing the office systems, doing the day-to-day management of the building, and organizing the complex facility bookings. Her creativity is fully in evidence through her in-house graphic design and communications capabilities and the numerous subtle touches she makes throughout the building.
For any question you have, she knows the direction in which to point you. As well, Highlands has benefitted greatly through her generous volunteering in the areas of textile arts, community engagement and various other creative projects.
Carol came to Highlands from employment at St. John’s Anglican Church and prior to that Carol worked for Honeywell as their Marketing and Training Coordinator. We are grateful to have her as part of the team and for her many talents.
Geordie Roberts, Music Coordinator and Genesis Too Choir Director
geordie.roberts at highlandsunited.org
Gill Irwin, Choir Director: Spirit Singers
gill.irwin at highlandsunited.org
Jeannie Denault, Choir Director: God’s Free Spirits, and Accompanist
jeannie.denault at highlandsunited.org
Ken Irwin, Lay Worship Leader
ken.irwin at highlandsunited.org
Tatina Lee, Administrative Assistant
tatina.lee at highlandsunited.org
Bob Shank, Minister Emeritus