LPF Testimonials

Vic Stonehouse

Vic Stonehouse was a recipient of Lorne Park Scholarships for his education at Spring Arbor College and Asbury Theological Seminary. His ministry career has been as a pastor and, in retirement, he is serving as a Transition Pastor.

Interesting Fact

Vic’s wife Joan and their oldest son Paul have also been recipients of Lorne Park scholarships.  Joan received Lorne Park scholarships for a Master of Divinity degree from Tyndale in counselling.  Paul received scholarships for his education at Roberts Wesleyan College and Asbury Theological Seminary.  Paul is presently a professor at Green Mountain College in Vermont,  where he teaches Outdoor Education and Leadership Development.

Quote from Vic

“The scholarship funding I received to attend Spring Arbor and Asbury Seminary is something for which I am very grateful. With the scholarship funding, and Joan working while I was at Seminary, I was able to graduate debt free.

“The importance of this was made very real to me when I met a recent seminary graduate who has almost $100,000 of student debt!  I can’t imagine starting pastoral ministry with the seeming impossibility of repaying such a debt.  Work decisions would be very difficult if one had always to think about a mountain of student debt.”

Confirming a Decision to Follow Christ

When Vic was in his middle teens, his life was heading in the wrong direction. During a summer Family Camp at Pine Orchard, near Newmarket, Ontario, Vic’s parents and the camp evangelist covenanted together to fast and pray for a spiritual turnaround in his life. In the closing service of camp Vic sensed God’s spirit working in him and, during the altar call, went forward and re-committed his life to Christ.

Lorne Park College

Soon after his renewed decision to follow Christ, Vic decided to go to Lorne Park College and there completed Grade 12 and 2 years of Junior College.

At Lorne Park he had his first opportunity to be involved in ministry in a quartet that travelled on weekends to various churches. Following his final year at LPC, Vic agreed to be a self-supporting missionary for one year in Hong Kong, where he taught English and Bible in a school, and ministered at several local churches on weekends. This was one of the very decisive things God used to confirm in Vic’s heart a call to Christian ministry.

At Spring Arbor

Upon his return from Hong Kong Vic went to Spring Arbor for 2 years to complete his undergraduate degree. There he had another opportunity to be involved in a travelling quartet, which included a summer ministry trip (organized by VISA) to New York City.

The quartet was so greatly impacted by the needs in New York City, that the following year they put together an expanded ministry team, which they called “The ALTECS” (Abundant Life Through Christ”), and returned to NYC during their spring break. They stayed in a mission in Spanish Harlem and had many significant experiences, including:

  • Ministering in a women’s prison, which was initially very disturbing for the whole team because of the rowdy, hardened group of female prisoners. However, the Holy Spirit moved and radically changed the atmosphere of the room. The women became attentive, gave the Team a standing ovation and called out requesting more gospel songs.
  • Working with Teen Challenge (David Wilkerson’s ministry) where they lead a service at one of the TC Centres and participated in a Street Meeting in one of the most dangerous areas of NYC, with the highest murder rate.
  • At the end of the week, as the team was leaving, a gang member tapped on the window of their van. When Vic got out this tough young man told him that no one had ever cared for him the way the team had, and then turned quickly away as he began to cry. As Vic got back into the van his tears came as well and then he realised that most of the team were quietly weeping. The team left in awe at the way in which the Holy Spirit had worked in them and through them in NYC.

At Asbury Seminary

During Vic’s time at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore Kentucky, he had the opportunity to:

  • Be mentored and ministered to by Godly professors
  • Be involved in the Asbury Revival of 1970
  • Take a task force of young people to Louisiana and Kentucky ministering at camps and to youth groups.
  • Assist with a “Youth Advance” at Winona Lake, Indiana.
  • Be a part of ministering at Spiritual Renewal Weekends

His Experience of Revival

“I was blessed to be at Asbury when revival broke out, starting in February of 1970.

“A small group of students had been involved in a vigorous devotional discipline, getting up early each morning for prayer and Bible Study. The Christian witness of these students was having an effect upon others at Asbury College and contributed to an air of expectancy on campus.

“Revival began spontaneously during a chapel service, first at Asbury College and then at the Seminary. I had skipped chapel that day to finish an assignment, then I’d gone to wait for the start of my class at the seminary. When the bell rang no one came; so I went to the chapel and saw that it was filled with people.

“I sensed clearly the presence of the Holy Spirit. No individual was leading the service - everything was Sovereignly led. Testimonies being given were characterized by humble confessions. Like no other time in my life I sensed the most powerful working of God, and the reality of the Lord’s presence.

“During the revival, teams formed and went to various places to tell what God was doing. Paul Dyer and I went to several churches in the Canada East Conference, and every time we told the story, the Holy Spirit moved and altars were filled with people seeking God’s renewal. I also had the privilege of visiting the campus of Spring Arbor College. Yet again, as we told the story, the Holy Spirit moved.

“Later, during a Revival Service at a small Church in Wilmore, one of my professors was the evangelist and spoke on holiness of heart. I knelt at the altar, deeply wanting to experience, “holiness of heart and life”. The professor counselled me using scriptures that talked of going to Jesus “outside the camp” and experiencing a cleansing he alone could give. I prayed for this cleansing. The next morning as I was walking to school, I experienced a profound awareness of God’s presence and knew He was doing something deep within me.”

Read More about Vic

Cathleen Getchel

Cathleen was a recipient of Lorne Park Foundation scholarships for her Master of Theological Studies degree at Tyndale Seminary. She upgraded this to the equivalent of a Master of Divinity degree at Northeastern Seminary (associated with Roberts Wesleyan College) and has been accepted into their Doctoral program, beginning in April 2019.

Since 2013 Cathleen has been serving as the Lead Pastor of Kingscourt Free Methodist Church in Kingston, Ontario.

 

Quote from CATHLEEN

“I am so abundantly thankful to have been provided the opportunity to get my Masters and now my doctorate. Since dedicating my life to serving Christ I have had dreams come to fruition that I never thought possible, not so much because I am deserving or earned it, but because God in His grace has opened doors, and often used the open hands and hearts of His children to swing them wide.

“Thank you Lorne Park Foundation!

In her early life, because her father was in the Air Force, Cathleen’s family moved fairly frequently to various cities and towns. When she was 17, her parents separated, and she moved out on her own.

Although she almost never attended church, Cathleen was drawn towards God from early childhood. For as long as she can remember she felt the presence of God, and had a love for God though she did not know who he was.

She often found herself in conversation with others about God. She benefited especially from a Grade 8 class on the Judaeo-Christian religion, but her search included exploring various religions and New Age concepts , including Buddhism, Mormonism, Scientology, and Judaism.

A turning point in Cathleen’s life happened after she moved from the Toronto area to Seeley’s Bay, Ontario, and decided to start attending a church. Since her only earlier experience with church was going to a United Church a few times with her godmother, she asked her landlord about the nearest United Church. Her landlord invited her to the Free Methodist Church she attended, and Cathleen agreed.

Pine Grove Free Methodist Church

At Pine Grove church Cathleen was committed to taking in as much as possible. She attended weekly Bible studies, and began daily to read her Bible and pray. Through this she came to know about the God for whom she had been searching and had always loved, though imperfectly in her ignorance. When asked if she wanted to give her heart to Jesus, she replied that Jesus had always had her heart, she just had not known his name. Cathleen committed her life to Christ and determined to live only for him.

After her commitment Cathleen felt a prompting of the Holy Spirit to start a youth group. Her pastor agreed and a thriving youth ministry began at Pine Grove. The pastor and leadership team later encouraged Cathleen to consider studies toward ordination. She therefore obtained a lay minister’s license, with no idea where this might lead, and excitedly began the process of 'tracking' toward ordination.

Cathleen shared that, “there is an inexpressible joy that permeates your soul, when you realize that you are doing exactly what you are meant to be doing, . . . In my life I had been involved in taking care of people. Even before I knew who God was, I talked about him with all kinds of people. Looking back I can see that, for my whole life, God had been preparing me to become a pastor."

Cathleen was a part of Pine Grove FM Church for 4 years.

Wesley Acres

While she was a lay minister at Pine Grove, and also worked in a full time job, Cathleen’s pastor recommended that she apply to be a camp director at Wesley Acres Camp, Bloomfield, Ontario for the March break camp. Though she had no previous camp experience, her application was accepted and she planned and led a very successful camp.

Wesley Acres asked her to consider the position of its Summer Program Director for a period of six weeks. Amazingly, her workplace accommodated, allowing her to take her 4 vacation weeks plus 2 unpaid weeks back to back. At the close of those 6 weeks Cathleen was offered a full time, year-round position as Program and Camp Director.

“My experience at Wesley Acres provided incredible opportunities, including: preaching regularly at Wesley Acres; preaching at various churches, both Free Methodist and non-Free Methodist; coordinating missions trips; and event planning and administration. This really helped me to connect with others more broadly in Free Methodist church."

Cathleen served at Wesley Acres for 6 years, while also serving a one year term as youth pastor at Kingston West FMC

Polson Park

When Cathleen’s time at Wesley Acres concluded, she accepted a position at Polson Park Free Methodist Church as Associate Pastor.

There she gained more specific leadership experience as well as dealing with various other new challenges.

“It was during this time that I got a real urge to move forward in pastoral education. I had thought of going to seminary, but I kept putting it off, having neither time nor money. I learned that Lorne Park Foundation could help and, through that means, God made a way for me. Getting a masters degree at seminary became a possibility for me.”

Cathleen served for 6 years at Polson Park.

Kingscourt – 5 years

On leaving Polson Park, Cathleen became the Lead Pastor of Kingscourt Free Methodist Church.

“Kingscourt has been my most rewarding experience so far, what I envisioned a church would be like. In so many ways it feels like a church from the book of Acts. It can be difficult and messy at times, but it is beautiful and the most rewarding - so very worth it. I have especially enjoyed seeing how the whole neighbourhood has come together to support the ministries of the church. I have been humbled by the generosity of those both inside and outside the church. I am delighted in the family that is being formed at Kingscourt - one that continues to maintain unity amidst wonderful diversity. “

Cathleen has been serving at Kingscourt for over 5 years.

Higher Education - Cathleen’s Journey

Cathleen had always wanted to pursue higher education, but there never seemed to be a means. In God's providence she now had opportunity to pursue the education aligned with her greatest passion - gaining knowledge and skills in the very thing that God had created her to do.

Tyndale Seminary

While maintaining her pastoral responsibilities, she completed a Masters degree through the online program offered by Tyndale Seminary . She took a full course-load, including working through the summers to complete it. She found that the classes were much more than just checking off boxes to qualify for ordination, they completely energized her.

“To be involved in thoughtful discussions, considering things very deeply, has been invigorating. These classes have supported me, encouraged me in my ministry, and caused my faith to become deeper and richer.”

Northeastern Seminary

Upon graduating with her Master degree, and subsequently being ordained, Cathleen is still very interested in continuing her education by completing a doctorate, and is now enrolled for studies at Northeastern Seminary. With support from the Lorne Park Foundation, she is moving forward to achieve what she had thought could only be a dream.

“I am interested in exploring a number of things, including Church revitalization; helping traditional churches transition into sustainable ministries that meet the needs of the communities; the consequences of church size on discipleship".

Cathleen is planning to pursue as her dissertation topic: Models that help us avoid “crippling grace”, discerning what action of grace will first “do no harm” and best promote Christ-likeness and freedom.

Thanks, Lorne Park

Cathleen felt prompted by the Holy Spirit recently to send an email of thanks to those involved in the Lorne Park Foundation.

“It has not been lost on me the great privilege I have been afforded (literally) to attend Seminary. As you probably know, I completed my Graduate Diploma and subsequently my Masters through Tyndale this year. I have been accepted into Northeastern's Doctorate of Ministries program for the Spring Cohort with a 50% scholarship towards tuition awarded based upon my GPA. Though I first must complete five more Master level courses (they are graciously extending the 50% scholarship to these courses as well) in order to meet the prerequisite credit hours. I am currently in the midst of completing 4 of them and the final one I will take in the Spring in tandem with my doctoral program. Please pray for me, it is an insanely productive fall.

‘Time and again, I am arrested by gratitude when I think that I have been able to pursue higher education. I had always hoped one day to earn a degree, but it seemed an unrealistic goal. Moving out at 17, and having to work just to make ends meet and finish high school, anything beyond an 18-month diploma program supplemented by grants, was beyond my grasp. Even after entering the ministry, I kept putting school off, thinking it not possible to afford it. If it was not for the generous donations of those who contribute to the Lorne Park Scholarship fund, and those who manage said funds, none of what I have been able and hopefully will accomplish by God's grace would be possible.

“I am so abundantly thankful that I have been provided this opportunity. Since dedicating my life to serving Christ I have had dreams come to fruition that I never thought possible, not so much because I am deserving or earned it, but because God in His grace has opened doors, and often used the open hands and hearts of His children to swing them wide.

“I simply wanted to take a moment, as I sit overwhelmed by grace to say thank you Lorne Park!

Read More about Cathleen

(Special note: Jennifer’s full name is not used here and her picture is blurred to protect her identity and the safety of people they reached in the mission field.)

Jennifer

Jennifer is a commissioned minister in missionary service. She received scholarship funds from Lorne Park Foundation for her studies at Cairn University (formerly Philadelphia Bible College), where she is working on her Masters degree in Educational Leadership and Administration.

Her husband is also a recipient of a Lorne Park Foundation scholarship.

Jennifer and her husband were missionaries for more than ten years in West Africa. They are currently in Canada serving as the National Missions Team Leaders for The Free Methodist Church in Canada.

Quote from Jennifer

“Lorne Park Foundation made it possible for both of us to get the education that we needed. Thanks Lorne Park!”

Before Full Time Missions

Jennifer and her husband met while she was at Trent University and he was attending Bible college.

Shortly after they were married, husband became discipleship training pastor for small groups at their church. He also worked part time and did other volunteer service at the church. They ended up leading the youth ministries at the church together and, as part of that ministry, took a teens group to Quebec on a missions trip.

From that experience they were surprised to learn that Quebec is one of the places on earth that is most unreached with the gospel. Although they had always had a heart for missions, their work in Quebec greatly increased that desire.

Jennifer’s husband accepted a position as full time pastor and served for 5 years, during which time she taught school in the public system.

Preparing for the Mission Field

An opportunity opened for Jennifer’s husband to go to a missions field to teach in a new Bible College in a largely Muslim country that had no Free Methodist presence. There Jennifer would be able to teach at the high school for missionaries’ children right next to the Bible College. For this to happen many things had to fall into place.

  • Free Methodist missionaries on short-term assignment are usually sent to places where they can be mentored by other missionaries already there. Since there was no Free Methodist presence in this country, another plan for mentoring had to be found.
  • They had to find churches that were willing to support them.
  • They needed paperwork from the government of the host country permitting them to come.
  • They needed to become fluent in French, the official language of the country.
  • The Free Methodist Church in Canada wanted Jennifer to achieve credentialled status as a commissioned minister for missionary service, since she would become a representative of the Free Methodist church in the country to which they went.

Everything Fell into Place:

  • The para-church organization operating the missionaries’ children's school agreed to mentor Jennifer and her husband. In fact, because of her teacher qualifications and experience, they were excited for her to come.
  • They found several churches willing to provide support.
  • The government of the country approved them, and provided the needed paperwork.
  • Jennifer and her husband took French language classes before they left and continued to learn on the job because they were teaching in French.
  • Jennifer completed the courses required by the Free Methodist church, by attending Cairn University before they went to Africa, and remotely after they were on location.

On the Mission Field

One of the major challenges was the weather, which was oppressively hot. Daytime temperatures always reached or exceeded 30 degrees (85 Fahrenheit) and, during the hot season, could reach 50 degrees (120 Fahrenheit)!

Here are some of Jennifer’s thoughts on their missionary service.

“We believed that we could have a greater impact by being part of the community, so we tried hard to connect with our neighbours. They appreciated this and we were able to do things others could not.

“I believe my teaching role made a significant difference in the lives of my students, discipling missionary kids to become the next generation of church leaders. Many have gone on to make a significant impact in missions and international ministry. It was a pleasure to serve them and their families.

“We ran a kid’s club and, instead of just letting kids come, we ensured we had the permission of their parents. We wanted the parents to know we would be teaching Bible stories. When we later visited the neighbourhood chief, he told us that this was the right way.

“In one situation, there was a severely mentally delayed child in the community who was often mistreated, but we loved him and treated him like one of the kids. Much later, we learned that his father was the Imam at a local mosque, known for its somewhat radical teaching. He came to us on several occasions to express his gratitude that that we were loving his son.

“Through our efforts, we saw many adults come to know Jesus. We know that we were harvesting seeds planted by other before us, but were also planting seeds for harvest by others coming after us.

“Through our activities, and working jointly with many other Christian ministries, we were able to make a difference in a country that desperately needs Jesus.”

What’s Next?

Jennifer and her husband have now been approved to assist with Free Methodist ministries in Quebec and in a couple of other other countries.

Thanks, Lorne Park

“Lorne Park Foundation enabled my husband and me to answer a call to missions. We are very grateful for the financial support we received and for all of the people who have donated, helping to make our call to share the gospel a reality.”

Read More About Jennifer

Barry Taylor

Barry Taylor grew up in a strong Christian home in Ottawa, Ontario.  At four years old, he gave his life to Christ.  When he was eleven, he had a strong sense that God wanted something more from him.  Through discussion with his parents he was able to discern that it might be in pastoral ministry.

Barry went to college at Aldersgate College, then Tyndale Seminary for a portion of a Master of Theological Studies degree.  He transitioned his Masters and is currently studying part time for a Master of Arts in Leadership and Management.

Presently, Barry is a pastor at First Free Methodist Church in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. 

Barry is grateful for the support from the Lorne Park Foundation.

Quote from Barry

“Lorne Park has been a great help to me.  If I didn’t have external assistance, I would never have been able to go to Aldersgate.  That’s where God really helped me in my decision for full time ministry.  The scholarship from Lorne Park was a further affirmation of support from the Free Methodist church.”

Love Of Music and Drama

Barry believed he was called to be a pastor when he was 11 years old but, in high school, found he had a love for music and drama and wrestled with the call to pastoral ministry. How could he become a full time minister and still be involved in music and drama? It was a real challenge because the pastors he met didn’t seem like the person he felt he was. Barry decided to go to Aldersgate College for one year and then head to Ryerson for a degree in fine arts.

At Aldersgate, Barry continued to wrestle with who he was, including questions about his faith. One of his big questions was, “Is this faith mine or my parents?” God helped him to understand that it was indeed his faith, and his relationship with God grew deeper.

During his first year at Aldersgate, Barry sensed much more clearly God’s calling. He decided not to go to Ryerson, but stayed for three more years and graduated from Aldersgate. After graduation he moved back home to Ottawa for a year, worked full time and attended Arlington Woods Free Methodist Church.

Northview Community Church

When he got married Barry and Tracey, whom he had met while at Aldersgate, located in Regina so she could complete her degree at the University of Regina. They attended Northview Community Church, with Barry still struggling with a call to full time ministry and a love for contemporary music and drama.

At Northview, the church invited Barry to help with Sunday morning services. They were trying new ways to attract people who weren’t going to church, and wanted him to help incorporate a drama ministry into every Sunday service. Barry also joined the music team, which played contemporary music, and he began to envision how ministry could look for him. He felt God speaking to him, telling him that He had called all of who Barry was, including his passion for contemporary music and drama.

Barry was at Northview for 8 years. He started as a volunteer, moved to paid staff and then became an appointed minister.

Trulls Road Free Methodist Church

Barry first came to the Trulls Road church, in Courtice Ontario, as an associate pastor. When the Lead Pastor left, he was asked to serve as interim lead pastor. The Lord further worked on Barry during this time and, although he had never intended to be a lead pastor and preach every Sunday, he was offered and accepted to be Lead Pastor at Trulls Road.

While there, the church blessed Barry with support to take the Arrow Leadership program, a program to further develop people already leading. This program helped him to better understand who he was and how to be better equipped as a leader.

At Trulls Road Barry had his first significant exposure to global ministry. It came at a crucial time, when he was thinking about further education, and it really caught his interest. While visiting the FM church in India he noted how many of the pastors had a Masters degree. If he were to teach others, continuing his own education would be of real benefit.

Tyndale Seminary

When his time at Trulls Road ended, Barry began attending Tyndale Seminary in a Master of Theological Studies program. He took the modular program that involved learning in cohorts with people who were typically working full time and in all different walks of life, including some government workers and a pharmacist. He really valued these experiences for learning from people with various experiences, and hearing what God had done in and through them. There were amazing instructors and he especially loved the missional classes.

First Free Methodist Church

Before the end of his first year of studies, Barry was approached about an opening with First Free Methodist Church in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and accepted the role of Lead Pastor.

At First Free Methodist he has been passionate about developing leaders locally, and also within the partnership his church has with the FM Church in Sri Lanka.

In Moose Jaw, Barry was a part of furthering the relationship of local churches there with nearby Briercrest College and Seminary, helping the school connect with the local churches so that students can be better enfolded in faith communities, where they can use their gifts while attending school.

Barry is continuing his own education, shifting from a Master of Theological Studies to a Master of Arts in Leadership and Management, which is enabling more effective mentoring and disciple making. It also provides him with tools for helping local churches with board governance and individual leadership development, and also helps him as a member of the Ministerial Education Guidance and Placement Committee at the FM church’s national headquarters.

Lorne Park has enabled Barry to continue these studies for his Masters degree. “The Lorne Park Foundation made it possible for me, as a husband and father of three kids, to make that happen.”

Read More about Barry