Our Staff Team

Rev. Dr. John Pentland - Lead Minister

John Pentland has been Lead Minister at Hillhurst United Church since September 2005. Originally from Ontario, John studied at Queen's University, the University of Toronto, Princeton University, and the University of Chicago, earning his D.Min. in 2002. John is married to Anna and together they parent four children: Jesse, Josh, Allie, and Charlotte. John is passionate about making connections between religion and living a meaningful life. With one foot in the church and one in the community, he believes what we do at Hillhurst United Church should impact and support all areas of our life. 

John explores crossover theology with topics like wine and spirituality, "REEL" theology, and issues of lived hospitality. He is excited to be working in a community that seeks relevance, connection and the living of a passionate life. In 2015, John published the book "Fishing Tips - How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith."

Rev. Don McLeod - Minister

Don is a gifted leader, facilitator, and preacher. He used his gift for congregational development to support Hillhurst United Church in 2008-09 when our new core values were identified – the same core values we live out today. In his life and work, Don is fascinated by the intersection of the visible and invisible worlds and has a deep, enduring curiosity about how individuals and organizations transform. For over 30 years he has provided leadership in non-profit, public and faith-based organizations. He currently serves as a consultant and facilitator and is Co-Director of the Wisdom Centre. Don and his wife Catherine have six children and three grandchildren. Don will support the Hillhurst United Church congregation through Sunday worship services and pastoral care. 

Anne Yates-Laberge - Director of Operations

Anne leads the Hillhurst staff team and oversees the day-to-day operations with excitement and energy.  A unique background in software engineering, psychology, church work, and youth organizations gives her a diverse skill set to improve processes and introduce new technology to refine the weekly rhythm of preparing for Sundays. Anne and her family have attended Hillhurst for 8 years and have been involved in the musical, choir, garage sale, and many other projects. 

Helena Lamb - Office & Engagement Lead

Helena joined Hillhurst in November 2017. Helena is the first person people meet at the church office or by phone and prides herself on helping people feel welcome at Hillhurst. She brings much administrative experience to her new role, including fifteen years in Administration and Project Coordination in the Environmental industry. Helena loves to travel, photography, read, dance and go to music concerts. She also likes to learn ancient, endangered and vulnerable languages such as Latin, Ancient Greek, and Gaelic.  She has a passion for Right Relations, and is one of the Living Into Right Relations Facilitators for HUC and is the Communications Coordinator for the Hillhurst Right Relations Circle.

Peter Kelsch - Finance Administrator

Peter first started coming to Hillhurst in about 2013, testing the waters. He soon became a dedicated volunteer in the hospitality ministry. During his formative years with Hillhurst, he had the opportunity to serve on the Finance Committee for a period of time. When the opportunity to become the Financial Administrator came around in 2019, he came out of retirement to apply for the position. 

Keith Murray - Affirming Coordinator

Keith comes to Hillhurst as an artist and activist whose work brings together spirituality, social justice and community engagement. Growing up identifying as a queer person who acknowledges and integrates both their masculine and feminine identities,  Keith brings personal experiences and compassion to their work within the LGBTQ2I+ community. Keith’s work as an artist and cultural worker helped develop the artistic practices of youth at risk and aboriginal youth, bringing them and their work to international festivals. Keith has recently returned to their hometown of Calgary from BC where they worked in communities affected by trauma, mental illness and addiction, including the queer and trans communities primarily in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Keith is dedicated to continuous learning and is a facilitator and councillor focusing on recovery from trauma by healing our connection to Spirit. Keith looks forward to working at Hillhurst to compassionately dismantle the systems of oppression, and create safe spaces to heal so we might all one day stand together in God’s love.

 Contact Keith at keith.murray@hillhurstunited.com

Tony Snow - Right Relations Lead

Tony Snow is a member of Treaty #7 from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Morley. He is a direct descendent of Treaty signers from his Nation, and his father, the late Rev. Dr. Chief John Snow Sr., was the first ordained Indigenous minister in the United Church in Alberta. Tony Snow is an Indigenous theologian, scholar, and writer, with expertise in Indigenous governance, management, and consultation. He was raised with both Christian and Indigenous traditional teachings and is currently studying ministry in both. Tony is the Indigenous Lead for the Chinook Winds Region of the United Church.

Justin Macosky - Choral Director

Justin is responsible for the choir and music program at Hillhurst and is an active leader in the music community in Calgary and the surrounding area. Justin was formerly the Music Director at Forest Lawn United Church, where he began his church life and appreciation of choral music at a very young age. The children's choir that he started there recorded a song with him on his album, Past, Present & Future (2007). He spent eleven years in the Mount Royal Family of Choirs, touring across Canada and to Mexico. Justin has sung with the Calgary Philharmonic Chorus Chamber Choir and directed the Women's Chorus for the performance of Holst's "Planets" in 2009. Justin was also the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ismaili Muslim Youth Choir of Calgary from 2009-2011.


Bruce Petherick - Accompanist

Bruce Petherick is a musician, and a creator of Acoustic Spaces living in Calgary, Canada. He has performed music around the world playing various styles from Classical, Jazz, to Musical Theatre. Having always distrusted the idea of the technical virtuoso, his music has matured into a more subtle yet still complex style. His music is based on slower pulses but not restricted to simple harmonic or textual gestures. In 2016 he attended the Banff Centre for the Arts for a workshop entitled "The Art of Stillness". During this workshop, he made connections with multi-disciplinary artists from around the world and has recently started collaborations with some of these artists exploring stillness, and the Japanese concept of Ma. The first recordings of his Acoustic Spaces were released in 2015, first with "5 Words of Love" and with his extremely successful recording "Raindrops”. A new recording "Winter Stillness" is scheduled to be released in mid-2017.

Jim Arthurs - Daybreak Lead

Jim, his partner Sarah and two children Ben and Hannah have attended Hillhurst United Church since 2008. He recently retired from Alberta Health Services, where he worked for almost 30 years with Addictions and Mental Health Services as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Manager. Having immersed himself in spiritual contemplative practices for over 3 years and meditation since his teenage years, Jim is delighted to assume a leadership role with DayBreak. Come and explore the depth, joy, and fulfillment of the contemplative journey. 

Ilinca Poon - Children's Ministry

Ilinca came to Hillhurst United while looking for a church to get married in. She and John were married at Hillhurst in August 2008 and Ilinca started volunteering and later working in KidSpace after the birth of her second son. Ilinca loves working with children, having worked in childcare and school environments for over 13 years. She loves spending time with family, playing board games, raising bugs and being outside in nature. 

Jennifer Lohin - Youth Coordinator

Jennifer (Jen) Lohin has worked with children and youth for her entire life, from refereeing ringette to being a summer camp counselor, to now working as a youth coordinator at Hillhurst! She is studying Psychology at Mount Royal University and hopes to continue to help as many people as possible. She plans to pursue a career in law, specifically in Forensic Psychology. Jen is always happy to strike up a conversation with anyone about anything. She loves to learn from others and teach them as well! She is very involved in the LGBTQ2IA+ community and supports local music and artists. Jen also adores animals and has two lovely cats at home.

Herman Shiu-Hong Ng - KidSpace

Herman has been attending HUC since 2016. He likes badminton, biking, doodling and having a meal with friends. He loves working with children and youth and is grateful to work with KidSpace, while he is a Cantonese Language & Culture instructor with over 10 years of experience. Herman would like to become an educator or child psychologist in the future, and he is planning to pursue further studies at Mount Royal University in Fall 2018.

Bethenie Tillett-Wair - KidSpace

Bethenie came to Hillhurst United Church after getting married and moving to Canada in 2008. She started attending and volunteering in the nursery, where her sister-in-law was working at the time as a staff member. After volunteering for a year she became a staff member in KidSpace herself.  


Being a Sunday school teacher in Belize, CA. at Sandhill Zion Methodist Protestant Church made it natural for her to continue the same path. Bethenie loves being with the kiddos and lights up when she sees the smile on their faces in a place where they can learn something new and apply to everyday life. She loves making a difference one moment at a time.

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Hillhurst United Church

1227 Kensington Close NW | Calgary, AB | T2N 3J6

phone: 403-283-1539   email: office@hillhurstunited.com

The office is open Monday to Thursday from 10:00am to 3:30pm


Sunday  Services: Online at 10 am (MST). 

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