Sunday, July 26, 2020

Friends, we have some news to share with the church family today. Please watch the video or read below as Pastor Steve shares it with us in his own words.

Cathy and I have had the joy of being a part of you, our Emmanuel family, since 1991 when you began supporting us as missionaries to Chad, Africa right out of seminary.

In 2001, God unexpectedly moved us to Barrie to join the pastoral team full-time. We’re deeply grateful for you and the impact you’ve had on us and on our 3 sons for almost 30 years.Since our days in seminary, Cathy and I have made it our practice to regularly seek God’s guidance—to confirm that we are where He wants us, and to reaffirm our willingness to go wherever He indicates.

Last week, as the culmination of a prayerful process, Keswick Christian Church extended a call for me to become their pastor. I’ve accepted that call to begin serving there September 27th.

That means we’ll be completing our ministry at Emmanuel on August 29th to begin our transition to Keswick.

This wasn’t an easy decision. We’ve accepted the call for all the best reasons. We believe it’s God’s will for us as we lean into a new stage of life. Looking back, we are full of gratitude for the years God allowed us to be a part of you—for the deep friendships and opportunities God gave us here. We will miss Emmanuel—and we have full confidence that God will continue to do wonderful things through you and through the skilled leaders and elders He has in place. We’re grateful to have been able to work alongside of them.

Thank you for the 30 wonderful years of impact you’ve had on our lives—for your encouragement, your generosity, and your love. You will always have a special place in our hearts.

~ Pastor Steve and Cathy Paul

And now from Pastor Randy Roebuck

Friends, when Steve first shared with me that he and Cathy were feeling a pull from God to serve in another church, I felt a deep sense of sadness. A sense of loss not only for us as the Emmanuel family but for Mary-Jane and I personally. Steve and Cathy have shared their lives with all of us freely and sacrificially. Steve’s shepherds’ heart has been felt by so many of us over the years. They have left their mark on our lives and on the lives of our families. We are so grateful to them for serving us so well and thankful to God who called them to ministry at Emmanuel.

Steve has taught us clearly and lovingly about what it means to be a disciple of Christ. About what it means to live a life on mission. Like a good shepherd teacher, he hasn’t shied away from those times when we needed correction. And we listened because it was spoken to us with humility straight from the Word of God.

The selfish part of us would want to hold on to them. They are part of us, and we will miss them dearly, but God has other plans for them. To try and hold on to them would be to pull them away from Gods’ best for them and we can’t do that.

Instead, we are delighted to see Steve and Cathy model what they have taught us and showed us all along. They are obeying the calling of God to enter a new chapter of ministry. We look forward to what God is going to do through them in their new church.

Let’s pray for them and encourage them especially over the next few weeks. It will be hard for us as a church but even harder for them as they make preparations to transition to what God has in store for them. And as we affirm God’s leading in their lives, we can trust that He has a good plan for us in Barrie too.
We will find ways to say thank-you and goodbye in the coming weeks. I know that many of you will have questions and would appreciate the opportunity to talk and pray with our pastors and staff. We are very much here for you! Please simply contact the church office and leave messages or email us. While some will be away on holidays through the summer, there will be staff available to talk and pray about the many changes that have happened at Emmanuel in this challenging season. I certainly welcome you to contact me personally or any member of your Elders’ board. As a church family we will continue to lean into our sovereign and loving Saviour, who has always provided for our needs.
We celebrate His leading today and always. 
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