Dick Hunt's Blog

April 5, 2010

Evangelism!

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 8:43 pm

Evangelism!
by Dick Hunt, April 5th, 2010
In 1956, during my summer break from Emmanuel Theological College in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,  I had an interesting local phone call at the end of June. It was from the new Rector of St. James Church south of the University. It was considered to be the University Church for Anglicans on the Campus.  The call was to ask me if I would be able to conduct the eleven AM service on the tenth of July as he would be on holiday.  I was dancing in my joy! When we first went  to a service in that  Parish, I was not  very impressed with the sermon.  I said to Ruth that I  would dearly love to preach there sometime. And here I was, with the service at  hand! I thanked the new Rector and prepared to conduct Morning Prayer and to preach. My name and phone number had been given him by College staff.
That was one of a series of years specified by General Synod of the Anglican Church named “The Year of Intensified Evangelism”.  I haven’t kept track but I think it has happened every tenth year since.  When I stood up to preach, I mentioned that ‘this year is called  the year of intensified Evangelism in the Anglican Church of Canada’.   Then I said, ‘how can we intensify that which has not yet begun?’  I paused to let  that sink in.  And then I preached for fifteen minutes Biblically.  During the last Hymn I made my way to the entrance door to shake hands with the people.  The Church was normally filled with people  and that day was no different.  They certainly were not there because of me.  No-one had been told who was coming as they told me.  But  they wrung my hand and asked me to please come back again.  “That  is the kind of sermon we have been waiting for”.
The previous Rector had been asked by the National Church to go the Diocese of Cariboo that spring and do a survey of the needs of the Diocese both as to Clergy needs and financial needs which he had done. As a result he had come alive in Christ and it really showed.
The first Sunday he was back, he said,  “I have had an amazing experience this past week.  I have personally led another man to Christ. He is new creature in Christ.” He was so excited. His name was the Rev’d. Roy Manwaring.  He resigned to go to the Cariboo where he did great work for several years.  His sermons until he left were very different. And then he was replaced by a man with a string of Degrees after his name. He never contacted me again, not even to thank me for taking the service in July.  But I was happy I was enabled to be there. That fall I was asked by Principal Dean, on behalf of the Diocesan Bishop and due to a request of the Parish of St. Matthews in the suburb of Sutherland to be in charge of that Parish during the fall and winter until the middle of May in 1957.  It was an additional responsibility for me, with all my studies,  with our family now four Children, and the new one having lost his leg at the hip socket 16 days after his birth.
The Bishop said that there was a trust fund in the Synod Office for the Parish which was to be used toward putting a new kitchen in the adjacent Rectory, a new heating system in the “Cellar”,  new floor coverings throughout and make it ready for a new Minister and his family in June. The rest of the renovation costs had to be raised by the Parish. And we needed to raise the Budget from the present one of $1,200.00 per year to a minimum of $3,000.00. All with 90 families.  The Parish met the Challenge.  The new Minister and his family moved in on schedule. And they were very happy to meet the deadline. All this is history.My next task was to pass all my exams and by the Grace of God, that happened too.   We prepared to move to Stettler Alberta to the Parish of St. George,  packed up,  sold the house and made it to my Ordination with a couple of days to spare. All of which was possible because God is very generous and totally trustworthy.  When He asks us to do something, He gives us the strength, the guidance and the resources to do it when we are obedient and trust Him to do what  He says. Praise Him!

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