By Chad Ingram
While the social restrictions of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic are making it a bit difficult at the moment, Pastor Bill Standish, new to the Minden Bible Church, is looking forward to getting to know the community.
Standish took over at the helm of the church this month, the church’s previous pastor, David Johnson, retiring just over a year ago.
Standish and his wife Rose have moved to the area from Killaloe, Ont., where they did volunteer work with the churches they were involved in.
Following undergrad studies completed years ago, Standish recently obtained a master’s degree in theological studies from Toronto’s Tyndale University, where he was enrolled from 2014 through 2018.
“I cannot overstate the importance of my wife Rose in regard to her heart and skills for ministry to the ladies of Minden Bible Church,” Standish told the Times. “Rose walks beside me as we learn the needs of the congregation and how to reach out to them.”
The church has had some interim pastors since Johnson’s retirement and when they were looking for a new pastor through Associated Gospel Churches, the organization said it happened to know of a recently graduated new minister, putting the church in touch with Standish.
“Part of it was we have family in the area, near Woodville,” Standish said, explaining the desire to move closer to them. “So we thought about Minden as a good area.”
For the time being, the couple is renting a place in Norland.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused issues for all churches, there will be with in-person gatherings once again banned for the time being. Back in the summer, churches in Ontario had been able to operate at 30 per cent capacity for in-person services.
“We did open up, the local people came, the regulars,” said Dan Thivierge, who chairs the church’s ministry and management team. Thivierge said that during the pandemic, the church has been emailing out a Sunday program to its members, with the program now accompanied by audio files recorded by Standish.
“We do have good internet here at the church now,” Thivierge said, adding the Minden Bible Church is looking at creating a website as well as perhaps creating a social media presence. Thivierge said the church had planned to have a retirement celebration for Johnson last spring, which has been put on hold amid the pandemic, and that members are excited about Standish’s arrival.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Minden Bible Church can contact Standish at (343)-369-1304.