Jesse Smith, M.A., Ph.D. (Candidate) – Interim Associate
Jesse Smith is a native of New Brunswick and came to Ottawa in 2013. He first studied Classics, before completing an MA in Religious Studies and is currently finishing a Doctorate in Theology. He began ministry at a young age, serving at Christian summer camps, on drama teams, in worship bands, and was once a professional puppeteer. His career in the hospitality industry has included hotels, restaurants, and tour companies. The spirit of hospitality guides all he does, and he loves to make everyone feel welcome in the First Baptist community. He has been happily married to Erin for 11 years, and has been father to Fundy for 5 years (with another son on the way)!
The Reverend Tony Boonstra, B.A., B.Th., M. Div. – Interim Associate
Tony was born in the Netherlands. He immigrated to Canada with his parents at the age of eight. The family lived in Alberta and later in British Columbia. He graduated with a B.A. in Education from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan where he met and married Bonnie Elaine Brown.
Tony and his family began worshiping at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Carleton Place not too long after they had moved into this area from Aylmer, Ontario, where Tony had taught elementary school for a number of years. It was at this time he decided to return to university to get his theological degree from Presbyterian College and McGill University.
During his years at Presbyterian College and McGill University in Montreal, Tony served a three point charge in Scotstown, Milan and Lac Megantic in the Eastern townships of Quebec. Upon completion of his studies, Tony was ordained and subsequently was appointed by The Board of World Mission of the Presbyterian Church to do church extension work on Vancouver Island in the communities of Parksville and Qualicum where during his eight years of ministry a new church was built.
The family then moved to Edmonton where Tony accepted a call to St. Andrew’s, a church in the inner city, a church he served for eight years. From here the family moved to Richmond, Ontario where Tony was the minister for 11 years. For the past number of years, Tony has done interim and transitional ministry in Stittsville, Sarnia, North Bay, Carleton Place, Kingston, Ottawa, Ashton-Munster, and presently at First Baptist Church in Ottawa. Ministry, for Tony, has been (and still is) an enjoyable, meaningful, and rewarding experience.
Shawn Potter, B. Mus., M. Mus. – Director of Music
Shawn Potter holds a master’s degree in organ performance from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, where he studied organ with Hans-Ola Ericsson and John Grew, and harpsichord and continuo with Hank Knox. Originally from Nova Scotia, Shawn graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in music from Mount Allison University, where he held a Canadian Merit National Scholarship. He has held numerous grants and fellowships including a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, allowing him to pursue a wide variety of interests, ranging from 17th century North German repertoire to the organ works of Olivier Messiaen.
Winner of the 2013 Royal Canadian College of Organists’ National Organ Competition, Shawn has performed extensively within Canada, with performances at the Montreal Bach Festival, the Sackville Early Music Festival, and the RCCO National Convention. Upcoming engagements include performances for Pro Organo (Ottawa) and ORGANIX 14 (Toronto), as well as a series of eight concerts comprising the complete organ works of Dieterich Buxtehude (Ottawa). Shawn has held organ scholar positions in Montreal at both Christ Church Cathedral and the church of St. John the Evangelist, and is currently the Director of Music at First Baptist Church, Ottawa.
Patti Linn, B.A. (Hon), B. Ed. – Church Secretary
Patti Linn has been Church Secretary at First Baptist Church since February 2000, supplementing this work through the years with such roles as singing in the Choir, chairing the Fellowship Commission and acting as Greeting and Coffee Hour Coordinator. She worked as Tutor and Administrative Coordinator for Discovery University (an outreach program started by FBC offering non-credit university-level education at no cost to the homeless and those living on low-income) until the program was taken over by The Ottawa Mission in 2010.
Patti is heavily involved in the life of her Blackburn Hamlet home community, serving as a member of her children’s School Council, as a long-time Girl Guide leader, and as a children’s piano teacher. Her philosophy in brief is that we all have the capacity to add something positive to the lives of those around us. We just need to identify our gifts…and use them!
Thino and Phuong Nguyen – Caretakers
Thino and Phuong Nguyen arrived in Canada in February 1984, sponsored by the federal government after escaping from their home country of Vietnam. In 1985, Thino became the custodian of our Church building. Since that time, and assisted by Phuong more recently, she has maintained this historic building and continues to participate in the life of FBC.