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Phil Shepherdson is taking a few weeks to get settled into his new role as comptroller and diocesan synod treasurer.

He began March 11, just a few days after his wife, the Rev. Maria Shepherdson, took up her new post as rector of the Parishes of Woodstock and Richmond. Both arrived in Canada from the UK in late February. They live in the Richmond rectory.

Born in New Zealand, Phil always had a talent for numbers, as did his grandfather, a chartered accountant. Phil earned a Bachelor of Management degree at Waikato University in Hamilton, NZ.

He began his career at Ernst Whinney, which eventually became Ernst & Young, a global professional services firm. 

“I started working in the audit department,” said Phil. 

He became a qualified chartered accountant in 1991 through the New Zealand Institute of Accountants. 

“Then I got itchy feet,” he said. “I thought I’d like to travel.”

His grandparents were from the UK, which meant he had right of residency, so at the age of 26, off he went. He thought he’d see some sights, then return home and settle into his career. But that didn’t happen.

In those early years, Phil had jobs that required him to travel, including to the U.S., Bahrain and Libya. Eventually he met and married Maria, moved where her calling as a teacher and then a priest took her, and shifted from accounting firms into the commercial sector, working for Atkins and SNC Lavalin.

After several years, he began work as a consultant, which allowed him to experience many different assignments, managing finances in a truck company and a network of care homes, among others.

“A lot of accounting skills are transferrable,” he said.

Apart from work, Phil has used his skills as a parish treasurer, and was treasurer of a UK Rotary club as well. For the past few years, he was the independent examiner (auditor) for a church-based charity called Hope Christian Trust.

During his first month with the diocese, he’s taken on not only a new job, but also a new country.

“It’s been a real eye-opener,” he said. “Everyone is very helpful. Getting to know them is a joy. And it’s a lovely area around Richmond and Woodstock.”

He’s been busy setting up an office in the rectory after the first few weeks were spent working at the dining room table. He plans to be at the synod office two days a week.

“I’m finding a rhythm,” he said.

Phil is an avid hiker and has done high-altitude hiking in India and Nepal. 

The Diocesan Synod welcomes Phil to his new role.

1. The old tradition of wassailing was resurrected in Avebury, where Phil and his wife, the Rev. Maria Shepherdson, lived. Wassailing included the blessing of apple trees in the village and the performance of a Plough Play. Phil was dressed as a Turkish knight for the play. Maria dressed up for the day, adding a colourful hat to go alongside her normal vestments.

2. Phil Shepherdson, the diocesan synod’s treasurer.  McKnight photo

3. The local Alpaca Association Committee in Avebury organized the North Somerset Agriculture Show, a huge farming show and exhibition, and friends pressed Maria and Phil into service. This photo shows Phil showing an alpaca in the judging ring.  
4. For her sabbatical research, the Rev. Maria Shepherdson studied the relationship between Christian and pagan religions. Part of the research saw her and Phil attend a steampunk festival. 
Submitted photos



Cindy Derksen about 2 months ago

A thousand welcomes to Canada & New Brunswick. Many blessings to you both.

Lisa Cummings about 2 months ago

We are beyond anxious to see what their roles will play within our Diocese and our communities. The community of Richmond, is certainly glad to see new neighbors in the Rectory. Maria & Phil, are so loving. And, very welcoming. Good luck to you both, in the months ahead.

Robert Taylor about 2 months ago

To Phil, welcome to the fold, so to speak! As Treasurer of the Parish of Rothesay, I look forward to working with you. And welcome to Rev. Maria also -- my late wife's cousin is Lynne Slipp of St. Luke's.

Mike Briggs about 1 month ago

Welcome to both of you, looking forward to meeting with Phil at the next Council meeting.

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