Gormley Missionary Church Welcomes Pastoral Family from Portugal
Thu Aug 30, 2012
Gormley Missionary Church in Richmond Hill, Ontario had been without a permanent pastor since August 2010. When a promising candidate unexpectedly withdrew, the Search Committee called their Regional Minister, Joel Zantingh. On the very day that Joel was coming to offer encouragement and prayer the phone rang at the home of elder, and search committee member, Jessie Clifford. God’s plan to meet the need was in motion, but as yet only He knew it. Seemingly unrelated pieces were moving into position and falling into place:
• A couple of weeks before moving from Portugal to Canada, World Partners missionary Ken Benson had a conversation with acquaintance Paulo Pascoal, a multi-denominational leader. Ken knew that he was looking to do a PhD in the States and challenged him with the idea of coming to Canada. Ken gave him the name of a Portuguese church in Toronto looking for a pastor.
• Ken and Carolyn Benson returned to Canada in September 2011, relocated in Stouffville and began a World Partners assignment training new missionaries with CrossTraining Global.
• Paulo and Ruth Pascoal arrived in Canada in December 2011 to check out McMaster University in Hamilton. It looked certain that he would be hired for the pastoral position with the Portuguese church in Toronto that would enable him to pastor and study. A few days before their return to Portugal a phone call brought the news that the church had chosen someone else.
• Wondering what God was up to, Paulo and Ruth spent the last three days of their ten-day trip with Ken and Carolyn.
• Ken grew up in Gormley Missionary Church and knew of the ongoing pastoral search. “I suggested to Paulo that perhaps the Canadian church God had in mind for them was not a Portuguese Church,” says Ken. I made a phone call.
This brings us back to the Sunday of Joel's visit to the Gormley Church. Arriving after Ken's phone call, he talked with the search committee, prayed with them and encouraged them to set up an interview, which they did for later that same day.
From there things moved quickly. The search team, that had been praying for so long that God would send the right candidate, conducted their interview and came away impressed and hopeful. They arranged for Joel to return to do a pre-screen interview that would address doctrinal compatibility with EMCC. With a ‘green light’ at the denominational level the search committee recommended Paulo to the Church Board as their Pastor.
Fast-forward seven months to the arrival of the Pascoal family at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Canada Day Weekend, July 2, 2012. In the months leading up to the arrival of Paulo and Ruth and their three children Rebeca (20), Salome (17) and Priscila (15) a great flurry of activity took place as the congregation pulled out all the stops to ready the parsonage, and a welcome to remember.
A small group went to pick them up at the airport and brought the Pascoals straight to their new home. As the vehicles slowed to a stop, a crowd of people from the church came into view. There they were, excitedly waiting, smiling broadly and waving Canadian and Portuguese flags. The special touches inside the parsonage, such as bedrooms painted in the girls’ favorite colors, and a new barbeque outside the house, with meat stashed in the freezer were almost too much to take in. “Everyone was so friendly and the congregation did an amazing job of preparing the parsonage”, said Pastor Paulo who said his family was overwhelmed by the show of love.
There has been plenty of blessing to go around. Ken Benson quoted a remark made by one of the search committee that was meaningful to him: “Isn’t this great. We (Gormley) can sow into a family’s life so that they can someday return to Portugal and continue our (Gormley’s) involvement in Portugal now that the Bensons have left.”
Pastor Pascoal is impressed by the Canada they have encountered as they settle in. “Even in official offices the people have been friendly and supportive.” Although accepted to McMaster for September 2012, Pastor Paulo has decided to postpone his PhD studies for one year in order to allow for the adjustment. The family is doing all they can to get to know people and are involving themselves in service. Speaking of his wife, Pastor Paulo says, “Ruth speaks very little English but she understands more than she can say, and she can use the language of love, understandable by all.”
When asked for his impressions of the EMCC so far, he had this to say, “Pastor Joel has been very friendly and supportive. I went to dinner at his home and he introduced me to EMCC. I was very impressed with the idea of ‘Christ at the Centre’. I value this and don’t feel any problem to be part of a family like EMCC. I agree with the Kingdom mentality and I am here not just to receive but to give and to co-operate.”
Regional Minister Joel Zantingh has been quick to applaud Gormley’s decision. Representing EMCC Joel says, “It’s great to see a congregation so passionate about cross-cultural and global Kingdom work call such a gifted Portuguese Pastor to lead them. His leadership giftings were nationally recognized across various Denominations in Portugal. We celebrate having him join our team of Pastors in EMCC, as we inspire our congregations to keep disciple-making at the forefront of following Jesus on mission.”
Pastor Paulo, who will be known as “Paul” here in Canada, enjoyed a short visit to Stayner Camp this summer. “I met a few EMCC pastors and I am inspired by the quality of the people and I was grateful for their encouragement. I am looking forward to meeting more of them at the Pastors’ Retreat in October.”
Note: EMCC’s Regional Ministers enable and serve EMCC pastors, leaders and congregations. To read more about them and see a list of the EMCC churches they serve click here.
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