Our People

Keith Simmonds

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Keith and his family (Laurel and Liam) moved to Duncan from Trail BC in August of 2013. Finding a warm welcome in the Cowichan Valley, they are enjoying all the area has to offer.

A diaconal minister, Keith was elected to serve as the President of BC Conference of the United Church of Canada, a role he took up in June of 2015 and will relinquish in May of 2017. His road to ministry has taken him through a variety of careers. Starting out in mining and smelting, he has worked in a pulp mill, served as an assistant to Provincial Cabinet Ministers, volunteered as a community and political organizer and worked as an advocate for people struggling with bureaucracies. In his spare time he enjoys singing, acting, running, reading and writing opinion pieces.

When asked why he became a minister, his first response is “penance”, his second “joy”, and his most reflective “at the insistence of that which is greater”. He describes his journey as an unpredictable essay into the heart of love. “It is all good,” he says, “totally unexpected, and very, very, good.”

Cathy Coulter

Parish Nurse
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Cathy Coulter became Duncan United Church’s Parish Nurse in 2008. She received her nursing degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1988 and pursued a wide variety of work and travel experiences, including working England, teaching English in Spain and Canada and working for the L’Arche community. Since 2005, Cathy has worked in palliative/hospice care and currently works part-time for Duncan Home Care. She strives to incorporate spiritual care into all nursing relationships.

Cathy and her husband Jim moved to Duncan from Alberta in 2005 to experience the delights of the Island. Cathy enjoys the fruits (and veggies) of Vancouver Island’s long growing season, making music with the Taizé group, practicing contemplative prayer, and exploring eco-spirituality.

Linda Evans

Office Administrative
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Linda Evans, Office Administrator & Social Justice and Outreach Coordinator, began attending Duncan United Church as a child. Linda has been in the office since 2002 and became the Social Justice and Outreach Coordinator in 2012. She believes if we all try to make a positive difference, in anyway that we can, the world will be a better, more “just” place for everyone and all of creation. She is part of the Circle of Friends at Duncan United. In her spare time Linda enjoys hiking, geo caching, exploring the island beaches, spending time with her 3 children and four grandchildren, reading, and playing the piano. 

“All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”

– St. Julian of Norwich

Kathie Fielding

Pastoral Care Coordinator
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Kathie Fielding became Duncan United Church’s Pastoral Care Coordinator in August, 2012. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, she has lived in the Cowichan Valley since 1983. She was an at-home Mom to two boys. In 1996, she became Church Secretary for Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Pastoral Charge, later Sylvan Pastoral Charge, before retiring (the first time) to Lake Cowichan, in 2008. She is a Candidate for Designated Lay Ministry, a Licensed Worship Leader, and loves meeting people and hearing their stories. She loves this incredible creation we are part of and believes that looking after each other and all of Creation is the work we are called to because of God’s love for us. When not actively involved with Church ‘stuff’, she is an avid camper, likes to walk, particularly in search of mushrooms, read many books, and is an artist, in watercolour and hand-pulled prints.

Connie Masson

Musical Director
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Our Musical Director, Connie Masson, is a skilled musician, piano and voice instructor known throughout the Cowichan Valley.

She is a life-long United Church member, and grew up with 5 musical sisters in the Lower Mainland. After obtaining a Bachelor of Music from UBC in Voice Performance, she lived briefly in Tofino, and then arrived in the Cowichan Valley, where she is partway through raising 5 children. For the past 30 years she has been teaching Voice and Piano, conducting choirs, and performing as a soloist. She likes to include music from many traditions in her Music Ministry at Duncan United.

With her husband John, she is also involved in fostering children, and in her spare time she … wait, she has no spare time!

Erin Arrowsmith

Children and Youth Coordinator
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Erin Arrowsmith, Children and Youth Coordinator, attended St. George’s United Church in Courtenay, BC as a child, and has attended Duncan United Church with her husband and two children since 2002. Erin earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia and her Master of Arts degree from the University of Ottawa. Erin applied her research, writing and communications skills to positions in both public and private sector organizations prior to becoming Duncan United’s Children and Youth Coordinator in August 2012. As a Sunday School volunteer, Erin spearheaded the implementation of a Godly Play program at Duncan United starting in 2007 and trained to become an accredited Godly Play practitioner and trainer in 2014 and 2015.  Erin also volunteers with the Roots and Shoots Club at her children’s school, which teaches children about how to make positive change happen for people, animals and the environment.  Erin believes that helping children and youth build a solid faith background for their lifelong journey is an important part of working with the next generation so that they can learn how to make a difference in their community and in the world around them.

Sarah Prestwich

Youth Leader
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Sarah Prestwich, our new youth leader, is responsible for Duncan United’s Friday night youth group. She will also be starting a new youth program in Lake Cowichan and will be putting together some regional youth events to connect United Church youth from Sylvan United Church in Mill Bay to Cedar United Church south of Nanaimo, and anywhere in between! Sarah comes to us from running youth and Sunday school programs at First Metropolitan Church in Victoria, and has also worked at Camp Pringle, Naramata Centre and Lumsden Beach United Church Camp in Saskatchewan. Sarah enjoys working with children and youth in many aspects as well as travelling, cooking, photography, her 2 black Labrador retrievers, history, and anything Jane Austen! She is looking forward to meeting everyone here at Duncan United Church!”


Joy Hachey


Unified Board Members

Unified Board

The Unified Board is responsible for the overall spiritual, financial and outreach functions of our church. The Board is comprised of a representative of each church committee, meeting regularly to receive information about the work of the committees and provide guidance and decisions as required. Meetings, on the last Wednesday of the month (January-June, September-November), are open to all.

  • Chair of Unified Board – Jim Walker
  • Vice-Chair – Virginia MacCarthy
  • Secretary – Carol Wernsdorf
  • Presbytery Representative – Kathie Fielding
  • AOTS Men’s Club – Shaun Pattenden
  • UCW – United Church Women – Audrey Waddy
  • Children and Youth – Erin Arrowsmith
  • Pastoral Care – Kathie Fielding
  • Camp Pringle – Leighton Mellemstrand
  • Faith Formation & “Celebrate” Worship – Audrey Towle
  • Finance and Building – Diane Woodward
  • Treasurer – Leighton Mellemstrand / Carie Saville
  • Social Justice & Outreach – Linda Evans & Marilyn Day
  • Ministry and Personnel – Kerry Davis
  • Trustees – Parker MacCarthy – Chair
  • Members-at-Large – Irene Simkins & David Arrowsmith