A Pastor has to really love his Calling to accept only half his salary and then some months not receive any salary.
Richard has always said that teaching The Bible is the best thing he can think of doing. There is nothing else he would rather do than be a Pastor. This is all good because four years ago he agreed to receive only half his salary as a temporary measure. As the years have gone by it has been harder and harder for this tiny congregation to meet even that. We are now in the third month of 2008 and February there was no salary forth coming and this month looks like it could follow suite.
Four years ago Richard agreed with the Chairman of the congregation to allow his name to be put forward for a new Call. It is obvious that this is where God want’s Richard, as he has not received a new Call yet.
God has supplied all that we need. I was offered a position in the business office of the local hospital; originally it was a six month contract. Just after Richard’s salary was halved the Hospital offered me a full-time position. I recognise that God supplied the job in order for Richard to remain here. I do complain often that I would rather not be working but I continue to faithfully do my duties at the hospital.
Tragedy struck this area. In the past year and a half the two big employers of the area have ceased to exist. The paper mill in the next town closed down in November 2006; and in February 2007 the Plywood Fabricating Mill in town burnt to the ground and will not be rebuilt. The hospital is now the largest employer in this small area of Northern Ontario and we have fewer than 100 employees. Many families have out of work parents or a spouse that is traveling to another province for work, which means they are away more than they are home. Young families have moved away due to the lack of work.
Our Congregation was small to begin with and over the last few years has shrunk even more. We have had people retire and move to the bigger centre an hour away. We have families who are out of work; and families with a parent working away. And of course we have had members die and those that don’t like the Pastor both of these items every congregation has to deal with. For a congregation to suffer so much God continues to keep his Pastor here. Are we frustrated? Yes of course, but we look on the positives and remain faithful to God’s Call here.
So no matter what God has in store for Richard and me we remain here until the day God Calls Richard to a new Parish.