Pastor Ray and Sandy Sider Farewell

In March 2017, Ray and Sandy started as Interim Pastor at Hepburn Gospel Church.

“Hi, I’m Ray Sider and this is my wife Sandy. Just think of a Ray of sunshine on a Sandy beach,” said Ray when he met someone for the first time. After 2 years it was time to say farewell as God answered the prayers for a full-time Pastor for the congregation.

Ray was a man with a vision and came to Council meetings prepared with ideas, plans and goals. By investing time in the lives of individuals he was instrumental in people choosing to follow God by:

  • • Challenging Robin Kohl to stay and begin a ministry for youth and Young Adults. This resulted in a Car Show on the church yard and a core Young Adults group that is committed to following God and reaching out to the lost and hurting.
    • Young Adults becoming involved in Kid’s Club and Junior Youth ministries
    • A Fall Kick-off-Outreach pig-roast supper and Concert featuring Yvonne St. Jermaine
    • Arranging for a weekend leadership workshop facilitated by Darrell Kehler, Leadership Development and Lyn Dyck, EMMC Executive Director
    • Baptised 2 believers and received 4 new members by transfer.
    • Confirmation and commissioning of 3 Deacon Couples, Pete and Dora Teichroeb, Howard and Erna Fehr and Nick and Vanessa Kohl.
    • 4 baby dedications

Sandy, with her cheerful personality, was always supportive and encouraging. Serving Council and spouses a wonderful meal, joining Prayer Sisters, doing visitations, gifts of food, sending cards or notes of encouragement and thanks are a few examples.

On February 24, using the prayer of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4:9 and 10 as his final text, Pastor Ray challenged us to:

  • have a growing desire to have our life matter to God,
  • ask God to empower us to speak into the lives of hurting and lost people,
  • ask God to enlarge our area of influence by making us more sensitive to the needs of those we come in contact with.

A time of fellowship in the lower auditorium followed with a “Beach Theme” potluck. The beach theme chosen as a reminder of Ray’s introduction 2 years earlier showing his words have made an impact! So in spite of the cold winter day outside, a warm fellowship was enjoyed with a cool beach picnic lunch including watermelon and roll kuchen. An open mic gave opportunity for words of thanks and encouragement to Pastor Ray and Sandy. Testimonies were shared, evidence of God’s blessing on their ministry for raising up others who are committed to carry on the work at Hepburn Gospel Church. Pastor Ray responded by encouraging us to accept, encourage and pray for our new Pastor couple. A prayer of blessing offered by Ken Hamm completed the afternoon.

Thank you Ray and Sandy, we know God will bless as you continue to seek His guidance for your lives.
Linda Ens

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