Meet the Staff

Joyce Picture smlRev. Joyce Yanishewski

Joyce arrived in Thunder Bay September of 2013 with her husband Ken. Originally from Northern Alberta, where together they raised their three children. Ken and Joyce moved to Toronto in 2010 so that Joyce could attend Knox College at the University of Toronto. After graduating with her M.Div., Joyce was called to St. Andrew’s.

Prior to her call to ministry Joyce spent nineteen years teaching piano and music in her private home studio in Spirit River, AB. Also in Alberta, Joyce was a victim’s assistance volunteer and commissionaire with the RCMP, a community volunteer in the schools and coordinator of the local trade fair.  Joyce enjoys singing and was part of the regionally acclaimed vocal quartet, Prairie Winds.

Joyce is pleased to call Thunder Bay home. She loves meeting the people in the community and working with the congregation of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church as they seek together to do the work of the church in this place, reaching out to the community and one another as well as working to restore the magnificent heritage building.

Jamie Gerow, Choir Director

Jamie was born and raised in Thunder Bay, first attending Wesley United and then joining St. Andrew’s in 1980 with his wife Mairi.

Coming from a musical family, music has been the fabric of Jamie’s life and he has woven it into every profession he has pursued; teacher, school principal, paleontologist/archaeologist, entertainer, artist/educator in the classroom, and university instructor.  A member of several local bands, Jamie has also sung with various church choirs, The Community Choir, The Interlink Choir, The Fort William Male Choir, The Sonnet Chamber Choir and the Lakehead University Choir. He has been recognized three time for Distinguished Contribution to the City of Thunder Bay and by the Ontario Crime Fighting Commission.

Jamie holds a Master of Education degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree, Grade 10 RCM Voice and an RCM Artist/Educator Level III accreditation. His daughters Eilidh and Seonaid have inherited the musical gene and have often shared their talents in St. Andrew’s. Jamie looks forward to helping continue the rich musical legacy of St. Andrew’s.

Connor Curran, Organist

Connor was born and raised in Thunder Bay. He grew up attending St. Paul’s United with his brother Liam, sister Marisa, mother Lynne and father Des. Connor was inspired to study organ as his grandfather Gordon Cameron was a church organist for more than 60 years. Connor was a French Immersion graduate of Hammarskjold High School. He graduated from Lakehead University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology.

Music has been an important part of Connor’s life, having taken piano lessons since the age of six. Connor has completed Grade 10 piano and Grade 7 pipe organ examinations and has accompanied soloists in music festivals. He was awarded the highest mark in Ontario for Grade 7 pipe organ examinations in 2009. Along with a variety of musical awards, Connor received the Medal of Excellence and D.F. Cook Scholarship in 2005, awarded to the highest mark in Ontario for Grade 6 piano examinations. He was awarded the Conron/Geiger National Piano Travel and Study Scholarship in 2010 for the highest mark in Canada in Grade 10 piano. Connor was also recognized as a Thunder Bay Citizen of Exceptional Achievement after receiving the Medal of Excellence and D.F. Cook Scholarships in 2006. Connor enjoys playing a variety of instruments, including: acoustic and electric guitar, bass, trumpet, keyboard and synthesizers.

Connor enjoys working with Joyce, the wonderful staff and the congregation at St. Andrew’s. He looks forward to many more years of joyful music with Jamie and the dedicated choir members.

Diane Berube, Bookkeeper

Diane Berube became an elder, at St. Andrews’s, in 2011 and has always called this the family church; although, most of her childhood she was in Dorion. The Sundays in town often included a trip to the family church, there weren’t as many as she would have liked but the ones here were memorable.

Diane has her Master’s in Business and an undergrad in accounting, she has taught part time for over 15 years at Confederation College and has her own bookkeeping firm.

Shaundra Benincasa, Office Administrator

Shaundra Benincasa is originally from Atikokan, ON and moved to Thunder Bay to attend Confederation College in 2008 and never left. She met her husband Jesse in 2010 and they settled in Thunder Bay to start a family.

While studying at Con College she discovered her love for theatre and joined the Confederation College Performing Arts Club and soon after that joined Applauze Productions. Shaundra enjoys performing and helping out behind the scenes, but most of all she just loves being apart of the Thunder Bay theatre community and supporting it in anyway she can.

Shaundra joined the St. Andrew’s team as the Office Administrator in October 2018 and is settling in quite well.

“Becoming part of the St. Andrew’s family has been such a joy
and getting to meet all these wonderful people has been amazing” – Shaundra

John MasonJohn Mason, Clerk of Session

John Mason grew up in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, and has been an elder since 1987. John chairs the Mission and Outreach Committee, as well as coordinates ushers. Parents Edith and Ken Mason have been strong positive influences throughout his life.

John is a Registered Professional Geoscientist in the Province of Ontario and holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in geology from Lakehead University.

In mid 2011, John joined the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission as Project Manager, Mining Services, with a mandate to grow the exploration and mining sector in Thunder Bay and region as well to more fully to capitalize on the service and supply businesses that feed into the mineral sector.

On June 1st, 2013 John Mason was awarded an Honourary Doctorate in Science from Lakehead University. In April of 2014 John received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association.