June 15, 2017
Fort McMurray Special Meetings
Special meetings were held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, the weekend of May 21. The guest speakers were Robert Downey, Director of North America Work, who attended with his wife, Cheryl, and Chris Hewlett, District Superintendent of Canada Work, who attended with his wife, Pat. Other visitors came from Edmonton, Calgary, and Grand Prairie, Alberta; and Kitchener, Ontario.
A highlight of the special meetings was the thanksgiving expressed for God’s protection and provision during a fire that devastated Fort McMurray a year ago, destroying many homes and parts of the city. The special meetings coincided with the one year anniversary. Although the memory of the fire is firmly etched in the minds of the Fort McMurray residents, they are thankful for how the city has rebounded, and the green grass this year is especially appreciated after the destruction caused by the fire. There are still many blackened trees, but construction is booming as homes are being rebuilt as quickly as possible. Marjorie Reid, the pastor in Fort McMurray, and her husband, Edwin, lost their home in the fire, but they expect their new home to be completed by the end of August.
The Friday evening service began with instrumentalists playing the piano, guitar, and accordion presenting “Revive Us Again,” followed by the choir singing “It’s a Song Holy Angels Cannot Sing.” The congregational singing began with “We’re in Father's House,” and later in the service, a mixed quartet sang “I’ve Come Too Far to Turn Back Now.” A mixed trio from Calgary sang the last special, “Ancient Words.” Brother Chris titled his sermon “The Great Challenge,” and contrasted Adam and Eve, who failed to heed God’s commandment to not eat the forbidden fruit, with Paul and Silas, who met the challenge of being beaten and cast into prison by praying and singing praises to God. Brother Chris encouraged the congregation to overcome the challenges that threaten to hinder them in the Gospel, and to stay true to God and His Word.
On Saturday evening, a group of Fort McMurray church members and visitors met in the rented home of Brother Edwin and Sister Marjorie to enjoy singing, instrumental selections, and refreshments. It was a wonderful time of fellowship for all who attended.
Since the Fort McMurray congregation is renting a facility from another church group, they are not able to hold Sunday morning services. Their Sunday school was held on Sunday afternoon, and it included the students singing a special welcome song to all the first-time visitors. After the congregational singing led by Marcy Cassell from Fort McMurray, a young boy from Edmonton, Ire Oladunni, played “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” on the piano. Sister Marcy and her daughter, Sarah, sang “God Has a Plan for My Life.” Brother Chris and Sister Pat’s great-granddaughter, Scarlet Rose Hewlett, was born on May 17, and her parents requested that she be dedicated during the Sunday school time. The dedication included the congregation singing “Jewels,” as well as a Scripture reading and dedicatory prayer by Brother Chris. Following Sunday school, a delicious potluck dinner was served in the church basement.
The Sunday evening service began with the piano playing “Near the Cross,” followed by a violin trio playing a classical number. A group from Edmonton and Calgary, including children, sang “The Holy City,” with Stella Myofalso singing the verses. A ladies’ trio from Fort McMurray sang “When I Stood Up from the Altar of Prayer, My Sins Stayed Down.” For the last special, a mixed quartet sang “Lord, I Need to Meet You There.” Brother Bob took his text from Mark 16:15--a passage known as the Great Commission--and he encouraged the congregation to boldly proclaim the Gospel wherever they are. Brother Bob requested that the congregation sing “At an Altar of Prayer” for the last song, not knowing that there was a Sunday school mom there who had told the Lord that if that song was sung, she would pray and get saved. She kept her promise and was wonderfully saved, resulting in much rejoicing throughout the sanctuary.
The main industry in Fort McMurray is the production of petroleum that is shipped to refineries in Canada and the United States. On Monday, Craig and Marcy Cassell took the Downeys to visit the oil sands and see how the oil is produced. Brother Craig works in administration, and he was a very informative guide during the tour. On Tuesday evening, a group of Fort McMurray church members came by the Reid home for another time of fellowship before the Downeys departed for home on Wednesday, feeling very blessed by their first trip to Fort McMurray.
If you missed this last year, click here watch the testimony of Pastor Marjorie Reid where she tells how God protected thousands during the Fort McMurray wildfire last year.