The staff of Port Nelson United Church bring a variety of skills and talents that are a blessing to our church and our community.
Rev. Dr. Michael Brooks
Rev. Michael Brooks joined Port Nelson as Lead Minister in 2009. He guides the staff team and oversees the various ministries of the church. Michael leads worship, baptisms and weddings. He also provides staff support to the Worship Ministry, Stewardship Ministry, Trustees and Church Board. Michael loves the variety of work that is ministry, especially marking life stages with people. He also keeps busy on the curling rink in the winter and sailing his boat in the summer.
Rev. Karen Eade
Volunteer Associate Minister – Children’s Ministry
Rev. Karen Eade joined Port Nelson in 2021. Karen is excited to be a part the Port Nelson ministry team and introduce Godly Play into our children’s programming.
Rev. Candace Harvey
Volunteer Associate Minister
Rev. Candy Harvey began attending Port Nelson in 2011 after she retired from ministry at Lucknow United Church. She loves filling in at worship or covering emergency pastoral care when needed, and fulfilling her role as Chair of the Spiritual Growth Ministry. In her spare time she loves, reading, playing with grandchildren, curling, playing bridge, and leading labyrinth walks.
Christine Chesebrough brings skills and experience in office management, and has recently completed an MBA degree from the University of Fredericton. Christine has worked in church settings for many years.
Dr. Mark W. Ruhnke
Director of Music
Mark W. Ruhnke joined Port Nelson in September 2022. Mark was born and raised in Scarborough and now resides in Burlington. Just prior to the beginning of Covid19, Mark successfully defended his dissertation at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. This was a culminating event, celebrating a career shared between various churches in the United Church of Canada and in the music education field. Mark volunteers as the Treasurer of the Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society (S.O.C.H.S.) and co-chairs the 2023 RCCO/OHS ~ Festival of Pipes Organ Festival.
Developer of Youth Ministry
Jay Poitras joined Port Nelson as Developer of Youth Ministry in 2012. Jay leads Pinnacle Young Leaders, for youth from grades 6 to 12. Pinnacle focuses on discussing current events from a faith perspective, leadership development and shared friendship. Jay has worked with children and teens since he was a teenager himself. When not having fun with the youth of Port Nelson, Jay has as much fun with staff, children and their families as principal of a local elementary school.
Raine Montgomery joined Port Nelson in September of 2022 as the Nursery Coordinator. Raine has been the Assistant Camp Director for GLEE this summer and has done an excellent job. She will bring experience and wonderful enthusiasm to her work with our toddler age group. Raine is currently a student at Nelson High School.
Riley Denver joined Port Nelson as the Communications Coordinator in 2018. He crafts content for the weekly e-newsletter, manages the church’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, produces graphic design marketing products, and liaises with media. Outside of Port Nelson, Riley keeps busy with his young family, as well as running his own communications business.
Roy was born and raised in Burlington and is passionate about communications, technology, writing and community development, as well as church ministry work. He has had a lifelong interest in computers and audio-video production. He holds a degree in Communication Studies and English from McMaster University and has several years of experience working with the Anglican Church and other non-profit organizations. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, tinkering with electronics and cycling local trails.
Douglas Fraser joined Port Nelson in August of 2022. Douglas comes with extensive experience in the local school boards where he supervised and worked doing cleaning, maintenance and setting up many rental requirements. Douglas, originally from Trinidad, loves to spend his vacations on the island enjoying family, food and fun.
Paul joined Port Nelson in early 2020. Paul maintains congregational financial records, including weekly contributions and deposits, as well as recording disbursement. Paul provides monthly financial statements to the treasurer, keeping all records updated in a timely manner and assists in year-end work for the annual financial audit. Paul lives in Toronto with his wife, Stella, and two adult children. He has over 30 years of accounting work experience within various churches and church related charitable organizations.