Board

Garrett Thiessen CFP, CLU, CHS - Chair

Garrett is a Certified Financial Planner who owns a financial planning boutique firm in Vancouver, Granville West Group. Garrett's knowledge of the financial industry has provided him with the opportunity to partner closely with financial advisors and specialists in the past, which has increased his depth of experience in all aspects of Financial & Estate Planning. Garrett's holistic approach to Financial Planning helps to create clarity beyond simple Wealth Management.

Garrett says:

Mental Health does not discriminate as it can and does affect us all. I began work with Sanctuary to help provide a voice to those who too often are not heard. The team at Sanctuary provides a resource that I felt was missing within our communities. Whether community is defined as your local neighborhood, a place of worship or any place where you wish to feel at ‘home’ Sanctuary seeks to be there to provide tools and resources to help those in need. Every one of us deserve to feel that sense of relationship and belonging, regardless of background, faith or beliefs. I am proud to work alongside Sanctuary with this goal in mind.

Tom Oliver

Tom Oliver graduated from UBC in Commerce in 1966 and spent most of his working years in real estate development with his father. Together they built Splashdown Park in Tsawwassen in 1983, and Tom managed it until 2016, when the lease expired and he retired. Over the last 35 years, he has also served on the board of Cabo Drilling, Pacific Theatre, Vancouver West Young Life, the Anglican Diocese and in 2 local churches. His primary role has been as either the Treasurer or Finance Committee Chairperson.

Tom says:

23 years ago, I had to initiate the process for the hospitalization of my daughter because of a severe manic episode. "Bipolar" started to become a new experience in my life as it so severely impacted my then 24 year old little girl. Mental health concerns became a recognizable part of our whole family. I saw with new eyes my Dad’s experience of severe depression and its deeper impact on him because of his fear of acknowledging it as a Christian. I feel blessed to have found Sanctuary and to be able to be part of a vibrant community that wants to bring understanding and discussion of mental health issues to churches and parishes.

Jean-Paul Beran

Jean-Paul was born and raised in Vancouver and still resides in the city. He spent over twenty years in the financial world before selling his practice in 2016. Since that time, Jean-Paul has played key roles consulting with non-profits in the lower mainland. He and his wife have been married since 1996 and have two daughters.

Jean-Paul says:

Mental health is something that affects each of us. Too often people tend to have a fear of talking and sharing about the struggles that they face. Sanctuary has provided a safe place for people to share openly. As a father of teenage daughters, I am grateful that Sanctuary has created a place that connects individuals to well-equipped people to help those with their journey.

Ceri Rees - Vice Chair

Ceri Rees is a communications professional with more than 15 years experience in strategic leadership roles. Ceri has held roles in both education and business spheres, fulfilling curriculum design, teaching, business development, client management, brand and communication roles. Ceri is deeply curious about what it means to be human, and has explored this question from a range of angles, including a degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University, and more latterly a graduate degree in Theology.

Ceri says:

Sanctuary's focus on the integration of mental health and faith communities is absolutely critical. Over the last few years, I've walked with a number of friends and family members as they've wrestled through their own mental health challenges. I frequently found myself grasping for what to do or say, and realized I was ill-equipped to think well about their experience, or know how best to support them practically. During this season I came across some of Sanctuary's resources, and was deeply grateful for a robust intellectual framework, together with practical tools to help.

Bing Ho

Bing Ho earned his LLB from the University of Toronto and then studied law in Peking University from 1980-82. Born in Edmonton, Bing also lived, studied, and worked in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Chicago. He primarily acted for multinational corporations investing in China, became a partner of a major international law firm in 2000, and returned to Vancouver after retiring in 2015.

Bing says:

Too many family members and friends have struggled with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental health challenges, and their difficulties have been exacerbated by stigma, discrimination, shame, lack of helpful information, and uni-dimensional approaches to healing. Sanctuary develops and shares resources and stories about lived experiences that compassionately and holistically illuminate these issues from psychological (science), theological (faith), and social (community) perspectives. Sanctuary’s work, dedicated to the awareness and promotion of mental health and wellbeing—in and through the Church from all of these perspectives—is critically important in a world where mental wellbeing issues are sharply rising. It is a blessing and privilege to be a part of their mission.
Eric Zhou

Eric Zhou - Secretary

Eric is a Geotechnical Engineering consultant in the Canadian resource and heavy civil infrastructure sectors. Eric has experience in procurement, design and execution of large scale mining and infrastructure projects across Canada. Eric is actively involved in leadership roles within professional organizations as well as in the local faith community.

Eric says:

Over the last decade, mental health has deeply affected my family and close friends. In the midst of difficult experiences, Sanctuary’s holistic approach to mental health set me on a path that helped me to better understand the experiences of those around me and how I could better respond to their needs. A healthy and effective paradigm on mental health can be transformational for communities to more effectively address mental health needs. I am privileged to work alongside Sanctuary to bring this to faith communities across the country.

Dr. Anne-Marie Ellithorpe

Anne-Marie is a practical theologian. She recently completed a PhD through the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. This included working towards developing a practical theology of friendship, and her research has led her to challenge contemporary perceptions of friendship as a private concern, disconnected from community. It has encouraged her to advocate for the fostering of authentic, holistic, private-public friendships that overflow into civic friendship and reform. Anne-Marie is originally from New Zealand, where she worked as a teacher and educational consultant. She is currently living in Vancouver, Canada, where her roles include parenting, befriending, mentoring, and research.

Anne-Marie says:

How can we extend friendship to those in our community, and in our family, who are struggling with anxiety, depression, and various other mental health issues? Learning about these conditions, and overcoming false preconceptions about mental illness, is an important place to start. Sanctuary seeks to provide tools and resources to help us with this learning process, so that we are better equipped to extend friendship, compassion, and care to our family, our neighbors, our community, and perhaps even ourselves. It is a privilege to support this ministry.