Religion has always been a central part of Delores Lawrence’s life. She attended church regularly with her mother in Jamaica before migrating to Canada at age 16 to pursue educational opportunities.
Since 1972, Lawrence has been a member of St. Matthew the Apostle Oriole Anglican Church. At the turn of the New Year, she was one of 48 Anglicans in the Greater Toronto Area appointed to the newly created Order of the Diocese of Toronto.
Archbishop Colin Johnson presented a coloured enamel medallion to the recipients.
“I grew up embracing faith under my mom who was a church politician,” said Lawrence. “Raised as an Anglican, she died a Baptist. I have however been an Anglican all my life and it’s quite an honour to be recognized by this diocese which is the oldest in the province.”
A warden for 13 years and member of the church’s advisory board since 1985, Lawrence is also the synod representative, chair of the accessibility and the Toronto Bishop’s Company Dinner committees, co-chair of the Diocese’s “Our Faith Our Hope” fundraising campaign that raised $50 million for the church ministry and a member of the church’s advisory board and nomination and advisory committees.
A prominent member of the city’s Black community, Lawrence was recently appointed to the Order of Ontario’s advisory council. She joins chair Warren Winkler – the province’s Chief Justice – and six other members on the board that meets at least once a year to review applications and prepare recommendations on proposed recipients.
Introduced to business at an early age by her mother who owned a supermarket in Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s north coast, Lawrence graduated from the University of Toronto with a nursing degree and the University of New Hampshire with a Master’s in Business Administration.
In 1985, she launched Nursing Health Care Inc. out of her home. The company, whose annual revenues fall within the $5 to $10 million range, employs a staff of about 1,000, of which close to 285 work full-time. The company, which provides health care services to hospitals and nursing, retirement and private homes, has offices in downtown Toronto, Scarborough and Ajax.
The successful businesswoman, who is a four-time winner of the Consumer Choice Award for Business Excellence in Nursing, has made the Profit/Chatelaine Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs List nine years.
Other Order of the Diocese of Toronto recipients were Gloria McLean of Malvern’s Church of the Nativity and Anita Gittens of St. Paul the Apostle, Rexdale.