Executive Bios



Rev Deacon Sandy BoyceRev. Sandy Boyce (Australia)

Rev Deacon Sandy Boyce

Sandy is a Deacon in the Uniting Church in Australia. She worked as a teacher for almost 20 years, prior to starting work in the church in 1993 as a youth worker and later as an ordained Minister. Sandy has had many roles including serving for many years as the national People in Mission Coordinator, placing volunteers with partner churches in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. This involved recruitment, training and support of volunteers, and debriefing on their return. She coordinated three About F.A.C.E. (Faith and Culture Exchange) programs for young adults with Aboriginal communities in Australia. Sandy was the Deacon in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church in the city of Adelaide, South Australia (2009-2021). She currently works as the Executive Officer, Victorian Council of Churches.

Sandy worked as English editor on DIAKONIA News for several years, along with Ulrike Kellner who was the German editor. Sandy had the opportunity to attend the DIAKONIA Executive as part of that role. She was elected President, DIAKONIA World Federation, at the DIAKONIA World Assembly in Berlin in 2013, and again at the Chicago Assembly in 2017. Sandy remains very committed to Diakonia of the Uniting Church in Australia (DUCA), with responsibility for a number of roles.

Sandy has completed degrees in education, theology and a post-grad qualification in theology. 

Sandy and Geoff have three adult children, and five grandchildren.

Social Services and Responsibility in Christian Religious Communities – the example
of diakonia in World Federation (article 76 in International Handbook on Ecumenical Diakonia, published by Regnum Handbooks 2021)
“Pathfinder and Pioneer: A Tribute to Betty Matthews, the Uniting Church’s first ordained deacon”, in Uniting Church Studies, Vol 24, No 2, 2022. 

DIAKONIA Region Asia-Pacific (DAP)

Regional President

Deaconess Meresiana Kuricava

Deaconess Meresiana Kuricava (Fiji)

Deaconess Meresiana N. Kuricava is an ordained Deaconess of the Methodist Church in Fiji. Currently she is the Principal of the Methodist Lay Training College in Davuilevu Nausori. She was once the Administrator of the Methodist Deaconess Order and Head of the Deaconess Training Centre at 29 Moala St, Samabula, Suva. She has served in the Dilkusha  Home in 1994 with orphanage children before further serving in 2 other Circuits/ Parish.

She is a graduate of the Pacific Theological College in Suva with a Bachelor of Divinity. She obtained her M. A. Mission Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK in 2003.  She later served as Tutor at the Deaconess Training Centre from 2003 – 2010, and serving as Administrator since 2011 till today. In her work as Administrator she sees the implementation of better quality theological training for deaconesses and for the daily running of the Deaconess House.

Her spouse is a school teacher, with 2 young boys in Primary school. She was the Coordinator of Sunday School in the Indian Division. She has organized rallies and, camps for children and workshops for Sunday School teachers within the Indian Division. The family attend the Baker Memorial Church in Davulevu, Nausori.

She joined DAP in a meeting in Adelaide in October, 2016. From then on it has been an exciting journey with having to know and learn about Diakonia associations in the Pacific. The first World Assembly she was part of was in 2017 in Chicago.

Being part of the World Executive Committee is a challenge and a joy as a horizon is extended to learn and know more about the histories of diakonia and to help paddle a new course in this changing world.

DIAKONIA Asia Pacific Vice President

DAP Second representative to the DWF executive committee

Rev Deacon Christa Megaw

Rev Deacon Christa Megaw (Australia)

Christa Megaw is a Deacon currently in congregational ministry at Henley Fulham Uniting Church, South Australia – one congregation on two sites near the coast. One of Christa’s roles is to encourage and equip members of the congregation to make connections with the local and wider community in a range of ways.  The congregation has recently won a grant to employ a part time deacon candidate, Chelsea Size  as community pastor, which is very encouraging. 

Before this placement, Christa worked for the Uniting Church in the area of International Mission, encouraging individuals and congregations to make links with people in our partner churches through sharing stories of faith, prayer and mutual visits. 

Previously Christa has volunteered for some years, supporting refugees and asylum seekers.  She was ordained in 2011 after working as a primary school teacher.

Christa is married to Phil, who retired for a short time but has gone back to work in a part time capacity, helping to maintain a Uniting Church conference centre.

Christa has completed degrees in education and theology. 

Christa also serves on the DIAKONIA World DIAKAID Committee. 

DIAKONIA of the Americas and the Caribbean (DOTAC)

Regional President

Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd

Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd
United Church of Canada

After teaching at the Centre for Christian Studies for seventeen years, Ted retired in 2015. Prior to joining the staff of CCS, Ted served in various congregational and regional ministries. In 2003, after a special program of study, Ted became the first person in the United Church to switch order of ministry designation from ordained to diaconal. His doctoral work focused on Tranformational Learning and Theological Education.  http://ducc.ca/tag/ted-dodd/

In 2012, Ted was named co-recipient of the Davidson Trust Award for excellence in theological education. His 2003 Master’s thesis is entitled Diaconal Ministry in the United Church of Canada: Function, Style and Perspective. To view some of his writing on diakonia see:

Also in 2003, he completed a certificate in Conflict Mediation. In 1998, Ted co‑edited Roll Away the Stone: Lenten Reflections at the Close of the Ecumenical Decade in Solidarity with Women. He also chaired the national task group preparing service book, Celebrate God’s Presence.

DIAKONIA of the Americas and the Caribbean (DOTAC)

DOTAC Second representative to the DWF executive committee

Rev Ann Blane

Rev. Ann Blane
Presbyterian Church in Canada – Order of Diaconal Ministries

Ann Blane spent her formative years in India where her parents were missionaries with The Presbyterian Church in Canada. She is a member of the Order of Diaconal Ministries and an Ordained Minister within The Presbyterian Church in Canada. For the past 38 years Ann has served the church in a variety of ministries: Director of Christian Education, in Youth Ministries, Children and Family Ministries, Inner City Mission with Metis and inner-city children and youth, Camp Director and Leadership in Training Director, Regional Staff for a Synod and has served with several pastoral charges.  Presently she and her husband Robert live in the cottage community of Bobcaygeon, Ontario where she is the minister at Knox Presbyterian Church.

DIAKONIA Region Africa-Europe (DRAE) 

Regional President

Deaconess Ibironke O. Oremade-oworu (Nigeria)

Deaconess Ibironke Oworu

Deaconess Ibironke Oworu is a trained Psychiatric and General Nurse who has practiced for many years. She was called to the Ministry of service 13 years ago in Methodist Church Nigeria. She is the Healing Ministry and works as the Health Secretary in Methodist Church Nigeria with oversight function of about 18 hospitals. Deaconess Oworu is in the forefront of advocating for change in the Order of Deaconesses, Methodist Church Nigeria. She is married with three boys.

DIAKONIA Region Africa-Europe (DRAE) 

Sr. Tina Earl (Germany)

Key liaison person with Kaiserswerther Association (Germany), Austria, France, and Poland

Sister Tina Earl

Deaconess Tina Earl is a member of Sarepta Sisterhood, a community founded 1869 in the tradition of Kaiserswerth. She has 2 grown up children, a daughter and a son. Sister Tina Earl works as Deputy Nurse Manager in the Hospice „Haus Zuversicht“ in Bethel, Bielefeld/Germany. Having served on several international ecumenical committees in Bethel, UEM (United Evangelical Mission) she felt connected to the global christian network. In the former European Baptist Convention (now International Baptist Convention = IBC) she served for many years in Church planting and as Music and Sunday School Director. Today her home Church is a Lutheran Church in Bielefeld where she is involved in the band and several choirs.
On a personal note:
Being part of the worldwide network of Diakonia, what a wonderful opportunity and privilege to have fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ! It is a great honour to serve as board member of Diakonia DRAE and World. Meeting people from different ecumenical backgrounds and hospitality is a great joy to me personally. I am thankful for several KAIRE meetings and Diakonia world conferences I was able to attend. Especially in times like these keeping relationships and communication alive on an international level are of the utmost importance.

Diakonisse Tina Earl ist Mitglied der Sarepta Schwesternschaft, gegründet 1869 nach Kaiserswerther Tradition. Sie hat 2 erwachsene Kinder, eine Tochter und einen Sohn. Schwester Tina Earl arbeitet als Stellvertretende Pflegedienstleitung im Hospiz „Haus Zuversicht“ in Bethel, Bielefeld.
Durch Gremienarbeit in Bethel, VEM und der ehemals European Baptist Convention (heute International Baptist Convention = IBC), nahm sie eine weltweite Verbundenheit von Christen wahr. In der IBC war sie viele Jahre involviert in Gemeindegründungen, Musik- und Sonntagsschulleitung. Heute ist sie Gemeindeglied einer Bielefelder Ev.-lutherischen Gemeinde und engagiert sich in der Band und in verschiedenen Chören.
Ein persönliches Wort:
Teil des weltweiten Netzwerks von Diakonia zu sehen, eine wunderbare Möglichkeit und ein Privileg Gemeinschaft mit Brüdern und Schwestern in Christus zu haben!
Es ist eine große Ehre für mich als Vorstandsmitglied für DRAE und Weltbund entsandt zu sein! Menschen aus verschiedenen ökumenischen Bezügen kennenzulernen und Gastfreundschaft zu leben und erleben ist eine große Freude für mich persönlich. Die Erinnerung an verschiedene KAIRE-Treffen und Diakonia Weltkonferenzen macht mich dankbar.
Gerade in der heutigen Zeit ist es unfassbar wichtig internationale Beziehungen und Kommunikation lebendig zu halten.

DIAKONIA Region Africa-Europe (DRAE) 

Deaconess Mable Kifwabantu Sichali (United Church of Zambia)

Deaconess Mable Sichali

Mable is a Deaconess with the United Church of Zambia. She’s also Head of Department for the Community Development and Social Justice department for the church since 2014, based in Lusaka. She works with some of the poorest and most marginalised people in Zambian society, with a focus on social justice, gender-based violence, child abuse, and a response to climate change. 

Mable has a Master of Social Work in Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation from DMI. St. Eugene University, a degree in Social Work from Cavendish University-Zambia, a diploma in Development Studies (Training for Transformation) from Grail Centre in collaboration with Kilmage college of Development Studies, a certificate in Diaconia Studies from UCZ Theological College, a certificate in Psychosocial Counselling by KARA Counselling, with a number of certificates in short capacity building courses. In addition, Mable is a trainer of trainer in Training for transformation, Child Safeguarding Principles and Policy formulation, Organisational capacity building, Gender Justice and Missional Congregations Approach.

Mable is also a member of the DIAKONIA World Justice Committee.

Deaconess Mable Kifwabantu Sichali’s Profile (2)

DIAKONIA Region Africa-Europe (DRAE)

Deaconess Gunhild Heidke 
Evangelischer Diakonieverein Berlin-Zehlendorf e.V.

Deaconess Gunhild Heidke

Sister Gunhild Heidke grew up in an Evangelical Free Church parish and since the beginning of her training as a nurse Diakonieschwester at the Evangelischer Diakonieverein Berlin-Zehlendorf e.V.. After studying educational science, psychology and philosophy at the Freie Universität zu Berlin, she lectured until October 2023 as a qualified teacher and coach at the education centre of the Ev. Diakonieverein in Berlin and many places throughout Germany. Her focus was on pedagogical and social science topics as well as topics as well as leadership and management issues.

In the Ev. Diakonieverein and in particular its Diaconal community, she has been involved for many years with commitment and pleasure in their development and representation. Since 2001, the World Assembly in Brisbane, she has been in contact with DIAKONIA., delegate of the Zehlendorfer Verband e.V. in the following years and has been a member of the DIAKONIA-DRAE ExCo since 2017. She has been secretary there since 2019.

She can sink into books and loves to see the world through a photo lens. In addition to people, animals have always accompanied her life.

DIAKONIA Region Africa-Europe (DRAE)

Deacon Gordon Pennykid 
Church of Scotland Diaconate

Deacon Gordon Pennykid

Gordon Pennykid is a Deacon of the Church of Scotland currently serving as prison Chaplain in HMP EDINBURGH. Gordon previously served as a parish Deacon in Livingston. He was ordained in 2015 after working previously in Civil Engineering.  He has a passion for intergenerational worship and looking for ways to encounter God out with our buildings.

Gordon is married to Jennifer and they have two adult children. He loves Football and when not in prison (…working!) he can be found mostly frequenting the ‘Tynecastle’ home of his beloved Heart of Midlothian FC.



Rev Marianne Uri Øverland

Marianne Uri Øverland (from January 2024)

Marianne is an ordained pastor in the Church of Norway (Lutheran). She has completed degrees in Theology, Literature and Education.
She served as the President of DIAKONIA Region Africa-Europe for two terms, and was a member of the DIAKONIA World Executive in that capacity.
Marianne concluded her role as President in September 2023. 
Marianne was previously Forstanderinne (Trustee) at Diakonissehuset Lovisenberg in Oslo, Norway.
We are delighted that Marianne now begins a new role as DWF Secretary in 2024.


Gordon Pennykid (see Gordon’s details above)

Representative for Financial and Law (RFL)/ Neuendettelsau

Deacon Sebastian Haupt (Germany)

Sebastian Haupt was confirmed as a Deacon in Neuendettelsau in 2022 by the Diaconia and Evangelical Church of Bavaria and has been a member of the Diakoneo Gemeinschaft Neuendettelsau since then. He had already worked for many years in his parish with children and young people. After studying education, he accompanied young adults during their voluntary social year. After this, he then worked in the field of adult education. Since 2022, Sebastian has been working as a Deacon at Diakoneo, which is one of the largest health and social enterprises in Germany. As part of this role, he is also the Representative for Financial and Law (RFL) for DIAKONIA World Federation e.V. For him it is important to create a network of Christians, to exchange ideas with each other, to support each other with his own gifts, to live in community and to try to introduce young people to the Christian faith in a modern way.


Editor DIAKONIA E-News



Rev Deacon Sandy Boyce (Australia)
Tech support: Rev Geoff Hurst (Australia)

Secretary (retired JANUARY 2024)

Sr. Traude Leitenberger (Germany) served as the secretary of DIAKONIA World Federation from May 1, 2014 to January 2024. She is a diaconal sister of the Stuttgart motherhouse (Evangelische Diakonissenanstalt Stuttgart) and also a deacon with the Evangelical Church of Baden-Württemberg. She worked as a nurse and was qualified in tropical medicine, parish nursing, and nursing management. She worked at the university hospital of Tübingen and with mobile services throughout Germany. She also worked in Halifax, England; in Maubeuge, France; in a camp for fugitives in the Republic of Djibouti; and for some years in Chamba, Ghana. From 2001 until November 2012, when she retired, Traude led the Stuttgart community of diaconal sisters and brothers. This community has about 350 members. In the tradition of Kaiserswerth motherhouses, both members and employees of the institution receive diaconal education in addition to their professional education. Their sisterhood maintains partnerships with the Emmanuel Sisters in Bafut, Cameroon and with an Orthodox community of women in Cluj, Romania. The basic Christian order of diakonia in community has guided and motivated her professional life. Her life has been enriched and shaped by working with people of different faiths and cultures as they have lived together and learned from each other. She is honoured to have been asked to serve as DIAKONIA’s secretary, and she thanks those responsible for the faith they have put her. She looks forward with great joy to working for DIAKONIA.