TERESA BURNETT-COLE - Minister
'Ministry Musings' blog: www.revtbc.com
The Reverend Teresa Ann Burnett-Cole was called to the pulpit of Glebe-St. James in 2014 and currently serves as the coordinating minister in the ministry team. Born in London, Ontario, Teresa grew up living in the Southwestern Ontario village of Mount Brydges. Teresa first studied music at the Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. She also holds a Bachelors of Arts (Canadian History and Religious Studies) degree from King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario, and a Master of Divinity degree from Emmanuel College, Toronto where she was the Sanford Fleming Gold Medalist. She is currently completing her Th.D. in liturgical studies at the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto. Teresa has served congregations in Maritime, Saskatchewan, Toronto, and now Montreal and Ottawa Conferences. Besides all these technical details, Teresa is an accomplished visual artist and musician. She has a passion for both creative liturgy and social justice. She says of worship, “If people are going to spend an hour of their precious time with us, we’d better make sure our worship services are inspiring, rejuvenating, and challenging because no one is getting that hour back!” Her strong sense of humour and self-deprecating jokes make worship at true celebration of life. (Yes folks, laughing IS allowed in church. With her strong commitment to social justice for all, Teresa works hard to support the passions and energy of GSJ’s congregation members as well as continuing with her activist work in support of First Nations and Queer people. After 12 years of ministry, Teresa still can’t believe that she gets to do this for a living. She can’t believe she gets paid for the honour of walking with people in the very best and worst times of their lives.
Married to Ruth Burnett-Cole, a Registered Massage Therapist, they round out their family with their Jack Russell Terrier, Okwaho, better known as “Oggie the Doggie.” When not playing her drums or guitars, Teresa enjoys reading, music, painting, walking, and kayaking. A perfect day means getting outside and heading for either the bush or water with her four-legged companion at her side. Beside their own little family, Teresa and Ruth are head-over-heels in love with their two nieces, Marlee and Payton, and five nephews, Riley, Bryce, Jordan, Ben, and Greyson – all of whom currently reside in Southwestern Ontario, and their beloved children-of-the-heart Maya, Anjali, Sonali, and Anil: all of whom have been known to make appearances in her sermons. As Teresa says, “We can only preach from what we know and how God has revealed love in our lives.”
JENNIFER BERNTSON - Music Director
Jennifer Berntson is deeply aware of the culture of the United Church. It is a part of her faith and she is excited to return to her roots, having grown up
in a United Church in Saskatchewan where her mother is also a Minister of Music. Jennifer has a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Pedagogy
from Mount Allison University and a Master's degree in Music and Culture from Carleton University. She has considerable experience
as a choir director and soloist, notably “Prima Choir”, the newest chapter of Ottawa Children’s Choir for children ages 5-7. In 2016
she initiated a new women's choir called the Aella Choir which has received considerable media attention for its novel collaborative approach. At First Baptist Church she created a children's choir and, because of her piano and voice teaching, this children’s choir has attracted
new members to the choir and new families to the church. Jennifer is studying the organ and has a keen interest in percussion. We are excited by her enthusiasm and wide musical interests.
ROBERT PALMAI - Music Director (retired - Emeritus)
Robert and his family immigrated to Canada from Hungary in 1956, settling in the Kitchener area. Robert’s father became a choir director at St. Clement’s in Preston (now Cambridge), where Robert began playing the Casavant organ when he was sixteen.
After graduating from University of Toronto with Bachelor of Music and Education degrees, Robert taught high school music for 30 years, worked in several united churches, and is the founding Director of the Amadeus Choir of Greater Torotno. In 1983, Robert moved to Ottawa to take a teaching position in the music department of Canterbury High School, where he taught vocal and choral music, harmony and piano until he retired in 2001. He was the organist at Emmanuel United Church for 16 years, and was also the Music Director of the Savoy Society from 1993 to 2000. He directed the middle school and senior choirs at Elmwood from 2001 to 2006. In 2005 he founded the Canterbury (Alumnae) Treble Choir.
Robert lives in Alta Vista, happily married to Susan, enjoying a blended family of 6 children and 6 grandchildren.
TAYLOR BOURASSA - Minister of Christian Development
Taylor Bourassa is originally from Brockville, Ontario, and she moved to Ottawa to study Psychology at Carleton University. She moved to Halifax in 2015, where she lived for nearly two years, working as a Counsellor Assistant and a freelance writer. She moved back to Ottawa at the end of March of this year to be closer to home and her family. She has a background in the arts, particularly visual, theatre, and prose, which she pursues with passion.
JENNIFER REID - Church Administrator
Jennifer was born in Ottawa and was raised within the United Church. Most of her working years have been spent in the not-for-profit industry including several stints of working with numerous west end churches. Jennifer likes children and is involved with her local Scouting group and with Ottawa West Community Support senior’s programs. She is happy to greet you at the Glebe-St. James office but she does have lots of allergies so please if you are coming to visit – no scents makes more sense.