Rev. Joanne Lee served at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Innisfail, Alberta from 2013 to 2019. Her first summer there she started VBS with only 3-4 children, 2 of them being her own kids and grew it to over 20 children and youth in attendance last summer.
With the support of the congregation along with Rev. Lee's vision and passion to minister the young families and children in her community, St. Andrew's decided that the first Sunday of each month would be a "Family Sunday", which is an interactive and intergenerational worship service that includes a fundraiser breakfast. Rev. Lee has also participated in the higher courts where she was a Moderator for the Synod of Alberta and the Northwest from 2015 to 2017.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Rev. Lee received a Bachelor of Arts in French language & translation and a minor in East Asian studies from the University of Toronto. Later in her career, she earned a Master of Divinity degree from Knox College. Her dream was to pursue a career in diplomacy but that was short lived. Today, she is a diplomat for God!
After a few years working in the clerical field, Rev. Lee decided to embark on an adventure teaching English as a Second Language at a private language school in Seoul, South Korea. She feels it was during her stay in Seoul, that God was slowly drawing her into ministry. Rev. Lee used her gift in teaching and as a native English speaker, she volunteered her time at a Korean church, introducing an English- speaking bible class for teens and young people. Rev. Lee has a gift for reaching out to people, as her presence and her personality exudes a welcoming energy.
Growing up in an immigrant home, Rev. Lee can sympathize with newcomers to Canada as they struggle to fit in, or find employment. Remembering those days after school, she headed directly to her parents' convenience store to help for a few hours so that her parents could have some down time. As the eldest child in the family, she was very responsible helping both at the store and at home. In some cases, she can resonate with the TV show "Kim's Convenience".
Rev. Lee is always open to new challenges. She and her family conquered "Crypt Lake Hike" in Waterton, Alberta. A hike according to The National Geography 2014 "top 20 most thrilling hikes in the world!” She motivated herself to reach Crypt Lake, the ultimate destination which is a 17 Km hike with an elevation gain of 700 m. This was a goal she set her mind on and accomplishing it meant that she feels she can overcome anything with God. It put her to the test, both physically and mentally. She also wanted to show her two kids not to give up when faced with adversity. Rev. Lee looks forward to moving to Barrie with her family, where they can explore the wonders that Ontario has to offer.
David Ahn and Rev. Lee have been married for 19 years. David works in the accounting field. Their daughter Robyn is 18 years old and is a first year student at York University, majoring in kinesiology. Their son Jayden, who is 14 years old, is an avid basketball player and swimmer who plans to attend Innisdale High School.
God has called Joanne and her family on another adventure. She looks forward to meeting the people of St. Andrew’s in September, either in person or virtually. She invites us all to stay safe, and to pray for her and for her family.