Friday, October 09, 2009

Paying Tribute

January 13, 1930 – October 5, 2009

Dad, was born January 13, 1930 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. On Monday October 5, 2009 he passed away peacefully with me at his side. Dad was predeceased by parents Fred and Mary, infant daughter Pearl Hope, brother Fritz, sister Ann, and nephew Kevin. Dad is survived and remembered by his wife of 58 years Elizabeth. After a lifetime of dedication to his wife and family, and service to his Lord and Savior, dad leaves an indelible legacy to us and our families; Ron and Jill (Elise and Fred, and Todd and Rayael with their children Brendan, Andrew and Chloe), Bruce (Jessica and Joel) and myself and Sharon (Joshua, Jordan, James and Jesse). Dad is also survived by his brother Ed, sisters Olga, Eleanor, Jennifer and Lydia as well as many nephews and nieces.

Dad was a North End Winnipeg boy who graduated from St. John’s High School, with great stories. He quickly went to work to help support and care for his family as times were tough. As a young man he excelled at swimming, diving and gymnastics. He was a lifeguard and swimming instructor at numerous camps in Manitoba and City pools. Dad came to faith as a teen and never waivered from the call of God on his life. In his early twenties he got the courage and asked a particular woman out for a coffee at the end of a church service and the rest is history. He married Elizabeth Sedun and together they devoted themselves to their family and building a home based upon a foundation of faith, love and support. Newly married, they moved to Swan River to attend Bible College. Later Dad would begin his ministry at Living Word Temple in the North End of Winnipeg where he served for 27 years as pastor. In order to provide sufficiently for his family, he held a full time position with the City of Winnipeg, ending his career as a Supervisor for the Waterworks Department after 35 years of employment. Dad’s initial retirement was but a brief intermission. He resumed his calling upon invitation, by Rev. H.H. Barber to serve as Visitation Minister for Calvary Temple. At the same time Dad acted as the Supervisor of Phone Counseling Services for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He thrived in ministry! Throughout his lifetime, many people were influence by his ministry. His gentle spirit, genuine compassion, and earnest concern is still remembered today.

When we were about to start Soul Sanctuary, Sharon and I approached both my in laws and Dad and Mom. After explaining the vision that GOD had given us to start this new church we asked for their blessing on us. This was not your traditional type of church and one that was going to be out of their paradigm of what church ministry was all about. One statement that rings through our head after that meeting was that it was dad who said “We will know by the fruit.” Well, Dad would often share with me his concerns with the way we “did church,” but he was always supportive. One Sunday dad saw an older man sitting in a wheelchair crying after the service. As dad told me the story he said “I approached him and introduced myself and said, “I cannot help but noticed you are in distress, is there anything I can do for you?” The person responded by saying his name and then added “it’s the music.” To which dad said to himself, “the music makes me cry, as well.” But then the older man responded to dad, “I absolutely love it.” Dad walked away from that encounter with trying to figure out how can an older man like this type of music, especially in church! Eventually, the gentleman would commit his life to Christ. I would say from that point on dad worked really hard with trying to understand the way we did ministry to people in a form that he was not used to. There were times that Dad, and mom, have been more than stretched but Dad would occasionally comment on the “fruit” that he has seen. People committing to Christ, “young people” (I guess when you are 79, most everyone is a young person) in attendance and numerical growth.

A week prior to Dad’s passing I received an email from someone at Soul that I was able to share with him. It reads:

It really resonated with me when… Gerry said on Sunday that Soul would not have been possible without the blessing and prayers of his parents. I firmly believe, without any exaggeration and all the honesty that I can muster, that Soul saved my life. So, in that way, I guess your dad and everyone involved with the making of Soul are greatly responsible for getting me back on track in my walk and with my ministry. The Bible says you can tell a great deal about someone by the fruit of their labor and by that reasoning, your dad was an incredible man. I know it wouldn't mean much coming from me, someone he barely knows...but tell him, "thank you".
A loving husband, a proud father and doting grandfather and great grandfather, dad delighted in the joy of family. This past December, I moderated a special interactive service at our church on “A Father’s Legacy” featuring Dad and the three of us boys. Dad has always referred to that day as “That service was the crowning moment of my life.”

If you still would like to help leave a legacy I would encourage you on your way out to make a donation of any amount, in his memory to the orphanage work that we sponsor in Indonesia, called Wisma Kaseh. It was important to dad that these kids were cared for and this was his request. You can make a donation off our website using paypal!


Tim T said...

Thanks Pastor Gerry. You know, Christ's love shines through you

RosalieG said...

That is an awesome tribute.

Anonymous said...

My condolences.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gerry,

This is the comment of a long time admirer of your father's ministry and life. Please accept my condolences. Your loss is great. Our loss is great. Your dad was a noble man of integrity and genuine passion for the flock of God. A caregiver in matters relating to soul care.
Nearly 25 years ago my wife Rhonda and I spent the second night of our honeymoon in your parent's home.
They graciously invited us to lodge for a night on our way to Chicago. The next day your dad put us up at one of the swankiest hotels in your city. He gave us a tour of his workplace and blessed us before we parted ways. Once he rescued me at the border (1982), driving all the way down, (and brought apples as a gift to the immigration officers no less) and took me home to overnight on my way to Swan River. That very evening happenned to be my birthday (which I had forgotten due to the border incident) and your dear mother had a cake made at the neihgbour's house and brought it over after the evening meal. That was the kind of man your father was. Genuinely concerned for the welfare of others.
Gerry, may the Lord bless you as you carry on that tradition of Christ-love to your family, church, and community.
Till we all meet again at Jesus feet....

Jairo Leandro

Anonymous said...

Nice memories Jairo. look me up on FB

Tim Turenne