Our Story

Thrive Ministries provides safe places for church leaders and their families to be open and honest about the challenges they face in life and ministry.  Some of the realities of ministry leadership today includes pastors, pastors’ spouses and families who are grieving. Ministry leaders experience a variety of  losses:  thriving church ministries that have been damaged by disunity, ministry visions that have not been realized, personal lives that have been negatively impacted, emotional, spiritual and physical health that has been compromised, trust that has been broken within their Christian leadership circles…. and the list goes on. Some limp along, isolated from others, relying on God for his healing and comfort in their lives. All too many others walk away from the call of God, too wounded or disillusioned to continue in ministry. Far too few receive the support and resources they need to totally recover from their experiences and re-enter the race with less baggage and stronger from working through and being transformed by God in the midst of their challenges.

Through different settings our volunteers provide church leaders with pastoral care, resources and support when they need it most. We focus on spiritual, relational, physical and emotional health through specialized groups and services and individual conversations. Thrive’s volunteers have ministry leadership experience and understand what ministry can be like. So  please contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential conversation.

Ministry Team

Cathy Gates – Thrive Ministries Director

In 2000, after a 20-year career in public health, Cathy felt called into full time ministry as executive director of an evangelical church. Her experience in leadership during a very tumultuous time in that church’s history gave her a real sense of the challenges faced by church and ministry leaders.  She witnessed and experienced the toll leadership can take emotionally, relationally, spiritually and physically. She now encourages Christian leaders to thrive in all areas of ministry and life through mentoring and education.  Some of her specific areas of interest are burnout prevention and healing from life and ministry experiences through formational prayer. Cathy holds a BScN from the University of Ottawa and an Executive MA in Strategic Leadership from Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Texas where she focused her research on support systems that reduce pastoral attrition.   She has completed the Formational Prayer Certificate Program through Ashland Seminary, Ohio.  During 2009 Cathy worked with PastorCare Clergy Support Network as the National Leadership Development Director. She currently serves on the board of Aftermath Foundation – an organization dedicated to providing education about psychopathy and supporting individuals who are victims or relatives of those affected by psychopathy. Cathy is married to Brian Cook.  They have three adult children, Rob, Ken and Trisha and a beautiful granddaughter Charlie.

Dave Dion

Dave brings over 25 years as an ordained minister serving as a pastor and assisting within different mission organizations.  He has been married for over 40 years to his wife Evelyn. They have 3 children and 2 grand children.  In his spare time he enjoys reading and travelling.

Josiah Piett

Josiah has the privilege of being a child of God, husband to Kara-Lee, house church pastor, and someone who is suffering from life-long severe health issues.  These experiences have shaped him into having a passion for seeing people discover who they are in Christ and their role to play in the Father’s Kingdom. Josiah has first hand knowledge of the effects of ministry on families from the unique perspective as a ‘pastor’s kid’. Kara and Josiah love going for hikes with their dog, enjoying great coffee and sharing a meal with friends.

Bonnie D’Elia – Ministry to Pastors’ Wives

Bonnie has long had a passion for encouraging and supporting Christian leaders and their families. With 45 years’ experience in leadership roles both in ministry and the marketplace, she knows first hand the challenges that accompany leadership.

Bonnie’s personal calling is to use her gifts and experiences to help others thrive in life and ministry. Her gifts of hospitality, humour, and communication enable her to create safe spaces for open, honest dialogue. She asks thought-provoking questions, is an empathic listener, and believes prayerful application of biblical truth will bring wisdom, guidance, clarity, and perspective.

She and her husband, Perry live in Vineland, have been married over 47 years, and have three married sons and eight grandchildren.

Sarah Meza – Ministry to Missionaries (Honduras)

Through experiencing failure in ministry and a loss of identity as a missionary, the Lord gracefully revealed to Sarah Meza who she is in Christ: a daughter of the King and His friend. Thrive Ministries walked alongside the Meza family as they underwent a healing journey through the multiple resources Thrive has to offer.

Out of the hardships and reconstruction of this new identity, Sarah hopes to create spaces where missionaries, ministry people, and Honduran women can experience intimacy with God, experience healing in Jesus’ presence, and live a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. She has a degree in Peace & Conflict Studies, a diploma in Social Service Work, and has completed Formational Prayer I & II through Healing Care Canada. She is currently enrolled with Wilfred Laurier University to complete the Trauma Certificate program.

Sarah and Jairo have been married since 2014 and have been blessed with two wonderful daughters, Abigail & Micah. As a family, they enjoy Sabbath, good coffee, listening to podcasts, hiking, reading, and creating.

Brenda Sharpe – Unfinished Business Groups

Bio coming.

Board of Directors

Cathy Gates – President

As founder of Thrive, Cathy is committed to providing a safe and confidential refuge for pastors, Christian ministry leaders and their families where they can be honest and open about the issues and realities they struggle with in life and ministry.  She brings experience as former executive director of a large evangelical church, a retired public health nurse and more than a decade of ministry to pastors and their families. 

Dave Dion – Treasurer

Dave brings over 25 years as an ordained minister serving as a pastor and assisting within different mission organizations.  He has been married for over 40 years to his wife Evelyn. They have 3 children and 2 grand children.  In his spare time he enjoys reading and travelling.

Sarah Shennan

Sarah Shennan works professionally in online marketing and creative writing, and lives with her husband and two daughters in the beautiful Niagara Region. After spending several years on the mission field in Indonesia, she returned to Canada with a heart to support pastors and ministry leaders and is happy to serve on the Board of Thrive Ministries.

Jude Carriere – Secretary

Jude joined the Thrive team following her personal experience of participating in several Thrive programs, including the Ministry Wives group. She found support in her marriage and ministry and lifelong friendships bloomed.

Jude’s gifts are all about getting things done. She keeps the business end of Thrive going as the Secretary on the Board and volunteer administrative assistant while she runs her own Virtual Assistant business from her home.

Jude is the wife of a “second career” pastor who has recently retired after 10 years leading a small church in St Catharines. Together they have two grown sons and the number of pets steadily increases!