Meet the Sydenham St. United Church Staff
Amy Di Nino
BMT, ARCT, MTA, NMT
Regular worship services begin at 10:30 AM Sunday morning. Worship is filled with song, prayer and fellowship. Less traditional services include Blessing of the Pets, Youth Sunday, UCW Sunday, Holy Humour Sunday, amoung others. There is always a space for you during our service. For information on becoming a member, baptism, marriages or funerals, please contact the office at 519-753-1248 or stop by and see us, office hours are Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Rev. William MacKinnon, Minister of Pastoral Care
Amy is an accredited Neurological Music Therapist, professional musician, conductor, educator, and composer residing in Cambridge, ON. She received the Premier's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2012 for her work at the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind, and now owns her own business; ADD Music Wellness.
Amy conducts the newly renamed Grand River Voices (formally Millennium Choral Organization) in Kitchener, ON, and performs regularly with local symphonies including the Guelph Symphony Orchestra. She is the drummer of the Dundas, ON based blues and R & B group; Cootes Paradise.
Amy is currently completing her Masters of Music Therapy at Berklee.
For more information check out these links below.
I was born and raised in a lumbering village in central New Brunswick on the world famous salmon -fishing Miramichi River .The United Church was in my DNA, with parents and grandparents involved in many facets of church life. My piano teacher, who was also the church organist, told me in Grade 9 that she had to take a leave to care for her mother and that I would have to start playing the organ for Sunday services. This continued throughout high school, as she was unable to return.
My family had a lumber business and also owned the local Stedman’s store. From the age of ten through university years I helped at the store and gradually learned all aspects of the business. I attended the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton for undergraduate and Master’s level degrees majoring in Canadian history. This led to a job at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick as an archivist (1976-1984) where I was immersed in New Brunswick history for which I still have passion.
A sabbatical year as a Visiting Student in theology at Mansfield College, Oxford University was a significant step in testing the call to ministry that had been simmering for some time. Thus from 1985 to 1988 I pursued a Master of Divinity degree at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto. Two summer internships in Winnipeg (Augustine United and Metropolitan Community Church) and Saint John (Centracare Psychiatric Hospital) confirmed the direction of my ministry path.
Growing up with the isolation of being gay in the 1960s in small -town Maritimes, in what was otherwise a privileged and happy youth, gave me a connection to other outsiders, those marginalized in different ways - by poverty, class, race, income, gender identity, mental health, social isolation. Although unknown to me in those years, these confusing and challenging times formed the foundation of much of my future ministry.
Ordained in 1988, the tumultuous year that the United Church recognized that sexual orientation was not a barrier to ordered ministry, I moved to Hamilton to work with two small congregations-Fairfield and St David’s- in the east end of the city. After a few years with those fine people I moved to Wesley Urban Ministries in the downtown core as Chaplain and Director of Services. From this point on my ministry became focused on homelessness and mental health and led to a partnership between Public Health Services/Mental Heath Street Outreach and the United Church of Canada through Centenary United and later First-Pilgrim United. Along the way I returned to school part-time to receive a certificate in Dispute Resolution through University of Toronto.
Which brings me to Brantford and Sydenham-Heritage as minister of Pastoral Care since 2015. I have always been interested in people’s stories, who they are and where they came from – in a genealogical sense but more importantly in a personal life journey sense. Our seniors in particular have much to offer and a good potion of my work here is in that milieu. I have been blessed countless times over in my ministry by being invited into people’s lives both in times of sorrow and joy but also in “ordinary times”; in being with the best of people dealing with the worst of circumstances. This congregation, having emerged from a very grey time, is now brimming with hopes and possibilities and continues to be a delight for me to be here.
Linda was born and raised in Brantford. Following in the footsteps of her parents and other family members, she has had a long involvement with this congregation. After her marriage to her late husband, Bill Brown, Linda moved to Paris and returned to Brantford in 2017. Linda has an adult daughter. She enjoys gardening and making coffee for all who drop by the church. She joined the staff in 1999.
Aileen was born in England and immigrated to Canada when she was
5 years old.
She lived in northern Ontario until she finished high school and then relocated to Toronto to work. Aileen spent 13 years in International Banking and then another
13 years providing home daycare.
In 1986, she moved to Brantford and joined Sydenham Street United Church, and in 1996 she started working in the office where she still resides as Office Coordinator of Sydenham-Heritage.
She was also a Brownie & Guide leader for 15 years.
Aileen has 2 daughters, 1 special daughter, 1 step daughter and
She married Dave and fostered for 21 years some 50 children - mostly teens.
Aileen's hobbies are sewing, knitting, stained glass, cake decorating and scrapbooking.