Deep Cove Crier

 St Timothy

Raising Up Timothys

an article for the July 2005 Deep Cove Crier

One of the greatest privileges in life is to be involved in raising up the emerging generations.  What is the point of learning and growing, if we don’t pass it on?  The greatest thrill for the many school teachers that I know is to find a teachable student who really wants to move ahead.  The famous rabbi Saul/Paul of Tarsus was always looking for teachable students/disciples that he could pour his life into.  His most significant student was Timothy, who lived in Lystra, Turkey. 

As part of a book I am writing entitled “Battle for the Soul of Canada: Raising Up Timothys”, I am currently preaching my way through Paul’s letters to Timothy.  Timothy was born of a Jewish believing mother, Eunice, and a Greek father.  In order for Timothy to be acceptable to Saul/Paul’s Jewish friends, he had Timothy circumcised before taking him on extensive trips through Turkey and Greece.


Timothy was thrilled to have Paul as a mentor, being eager to learn everything that Paul had to teach.  Paul developed such confidence in Timothy that he promoted him to a new level of responsibility and leadership.  Specifically he left him in Ephesus, a Western Turkish seaport, so that Timothy could clean up a local leadership crisis involving false teachers promoting mother-goddess worship. 

Timothy had many obstacles to overcome in his new leadership responsibility.  So Paul wrote to him twice, giving him helpful tips on how to navigate through the ‘relational minefields’.  For one thing, Timothy was not just the ‘new kid on the block’.  He was an intruder from another part of Turkey, who was likely seen by the Ephesian leadership as a busybody who had no right to interfere in their local situation.  Secondly, Timothy was a ‘young buck’ coming up against older, more experienced local leaders.  Paul wrote to Timothy, saying: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for them in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 

Another leadership obstacle that Timothy faced was that Timothy was somewhat insecure and shy.  Like many young people, Timothy often lacked confidence in the God-given abilities that he had been given.  Paul encouraged young Timothy by reminding him that he came from ‘good stock’, and that his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice had imparted to him a deep faith.  Paul’s answer to Timothy’s insecurity was to remind Timothy to ‘fan into flame the gift of God which is in you’.  Don’t give in to people who push you around and try to manipulate you, said Paul. “God has not given you a spirit of timidity but a Spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind.’ 

Timothy also struggled with frequent stomach ailments, perhaps from stress-induced ulcers or even from parasites picked up from impurities in the local water system.  Paul, the older and wiser mentor, had to remind Timothy in one of his letters to stop relying so heavily on the impure Ephesian water.  Our recently ordained youth pastor, the Rev. Ken Bell, has taken hundreds of North Shore youth to work on Medical Missions in the Mexican Baja Peninsula.  Again and again Ken has had to remind the young people: don’t drink unboiled Mexican water.

The Rev Ken Bell, like the Rev. Peter Falk before him, has been one of the Timothys that I have been privileged to raise up.  It has been a blessing to spend the past fourteen years mentoring Ken as our St. Simon’s Youth Pastor.  Ken was only 20 years old when he came from St. David’s Tsawwassen in 1991 to work for us in reaching out to the High Schools in the Seymour/Deep Cove area.  Ken was so effective in impacting youth in the community that in 1994 we decided to move Ken from a half-time position to a full-time Youth Pastor position. 

In one of several articles that I wrote about Ken in the Deep Cove Crier, I commented: “Ken has just graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology... St. Simon’s Church sees itself as a servant of the Seymour/Deep Cove area.  We are deeply concerned about the needs of the hundreds of young people today who seem to have lost a sense of direction and purpose in their lives.  We have seen over the last several years that Ken is uniquely gifted to help young people find a new start to their lives.  Ken has been called in many times over the last few years as parents and teens have been in crisis.” I went on to say: “At St. Simon’s we believe that teens really matter.  They are important members of our communities today. Teens need to be listened to, heard, and respected.  When we as adults take the time to really listen to the thoughts and feelings of a teen, we leave an enormous impact.  Ken likes to meet with young people on a one-to-one basis, as well as in the larger groups, so that solid friendships can really form... As the North Shore News put it in a 1992 article, "Ken Bell acts as a spiritual and social model and guide to youth both in the community and in the congregation."”

After 14 years, the Rev. Ken Bell has now graduated this spring with a Master of Divinity in the Anglican Studies Program at Regent College.  It was a great joy to see Ken ordained this January, along with 12 other candidates, by Bishop Chuck Murphy, in front of our five sponsoring African and Asian Anglican Primates. Ken, our young Timothy, has ironically moved to another church in our ACiC Coalition , St. Timothy’s Anglican Church North Vancouver!  With our Timothy moved on to St. Timothy’s, we have now committed ourselves to raising up more Timothy’s at St. Simon’s North Vancouver.  We have intentionally replaced Ken Bell with four part-time pastors specializing in the areas of Children’s Ministry, Pre-teen Ministry, High School Ministry, and Newcomer Ministry. 

I believe that the task of raising up Timothys is the key to restoring our beloved nation of Canada.  I invite you to join with me in this promising mission.


The Rev. Ed Hird

Rector, St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Coalition in Canada

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