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Athabasca leader honoured with Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal

Monica Rosborough said she’s still in shock as to why she was awarded
Reverend Monica Rosborough poses March 9 with the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal she recently received.

ATHABASCA – Athabasca United Church minister Monica Rosborough is a woman who wears many hats.

She’s a mother, a reverend, an RCMP chaplain, and according to the Government of Alberta “an incredible woman who has done much to make life in her community worthwhile.”

That last one comes from her nomination for the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, which she received in the mail March 9. She said that it came as a complete shock, and that she had no clue who had nominated her, calling the experience ‘bizarre.”

Rosborough strives to make her church feel like a warm and welcoming environment, regardless of who you are as a person. During the interview, she was wearing a pride flag in place of the normal white collar worn by Christian ministers, saying a quick prayer of thanks that she had chosen to do so on a day where her photo would get taken. There’s pride apparel scattered among historical records, and a mission statement is getting sketched out on an easel (it’s still a work in progress evidently)

While she may not have been expecting the medal, it does appear to still be well deserved. In an interview she touched on so many different projects as since her ordination in 2014, she’s worked on a local committee that focuses on relationship abuse, to multiple efforts around the town’s homeless population, to food security for high school students.

But when asked why she thought she had received the medal, she had no answer. Her nomination sheet said that “she had a big impact during the fires and floods in Fort McMurray, especially helping the local Indigenous people” which she says was really more of a community effort.

“We had an informal drop-in centre, for people coming through from Fort McMurray. I was there and I was trying to help with whatever I could help with. If we had food we could share, we would share food, if we had clothes we could share, we would gather clothes. I would just hang around and help out, if people needed to talk, I was there to talk.”

And that’s the common theme — it isn’t ever about her, or the work she had done. Everything is about the community volunteers, the partner organizations, or the church congregation. Right now, one area of focus is on how to help Ukraine, so there’s efforts being made to gather medical supplies and other necessities, as well as knitted prayer shawls, in case “anyone needs a hug” while another is an active partnership with the Athabasca Senior Centre to help seniors write down and record their memories, so that they can be shared with future generations.

The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal is a commemorative medal, designed to celebrate the Queen’s 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne in 1952. The program continued as intended despite the Queen’s passing on Sept. 8, 2022 and 7,000 Albertans have received one as part of the program and were chosen to recognize “significant contributions to the province”, according to the website for the program.

Cole Brennan,