Happy Birthday Canada! This week we are celebrating Canada’s 153rd year since confederation. Canada has forged its place on the world stage through Christian values like justice, love and compassion. I’m proud of CLA’s commitment to pray for Canada. The partnerships we have that support Indigenous works, French Canada outreach, and church planting all work to proclaim Jesus to our nation. We back important justice initiatives through our Life campaigns, support of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and work through the PAOC (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada Church Network). Due to the pandemic, we will not have a “normal” Canada Day celebration on Sunday. Yet, this further illustrates our submission and willingness to work with those in authority in our nation for the common good. Please take time to pray for Canada. Consider joining our fasting and prayer team. About 300 people take one day a month to pray for many issues but always included in this is our nation. Contact Monica Unger at email@example.com to join this important prayer initiative.
On Thursday our staff gathered (live) for a celebration of service and retirement. It was a fantastic time. We were celebrating Steve Nicholson. Steve and Ruthie Nicholson have been a part of CLA for over 40 years, and he has been the Missions Director for 13 years. He has worked with heart and dedication to bring awareness of CLA’s local, national and international works. I have seen first-hand his passion and excellent leadership of short-term mission teams. For six years Steve’s office has been right beside mine as we have worked hand in hand on projects. He was instrumental in my orientation. His humour, down to earth assessments, love of people, and tenacity to keep going is a legacy. In my speech on Thursday I said these three things and with them I honour him today.
Friendship – Steve is a close friend, not only to me but to many. His demeanor and style lend themselves towards trust and friendship. It’s his “MO”. I will miss him barging into my office with an idea, a drawing of a concept or to say hi. Fortunately, he is retiring but NOT going anywhere. He remains a friend of this house and an ambassador for CLA’s witness and mission. I’m so grateful the friendship continues.
Servanthood – Steve’s motivation is Jesus Christ. One of Christ’s greatest attributes and exhortations was servanthood. Steve imitates Jesus in this way. He is always willing to do anything. The lawn, the yard, the building, visiting or travelling to some distant and difficult land… he willingly took up his assignments, no questions asked. His enthusiasm was contagious. Steve was in his early 20’s when he arrived at CLA he started ushering in the balcony; he has been involved in every area since. His wife Ruthie has served with him, being an incredible illustration of humble service. I know this will continue.
Face of CLA – In so many ways, Steve and Ruthie are the face of CLA. They gather to love people and worship God. They continue to seek God, to grow deeper in their faith and to share it with their family. Their practical love and hospitality touches so many people. Retirement will simply bring new and greater opportunities to love their family, neighbours, and our church.
Steve, today I salute you. Well done! I hope you enjoy the gifts that CLA has put together for you!
Pastor Derrick Hamre