By Rev. Ed Hird
A Man Who Cares
When I came to the North Shore in 1987, one of the first pastors that I met was Owen Scott, Senior Pastor of Valley Church. Owen has been instrumental in helping bring biblical unity to the North Shore Church, particularly through the 19-year-old North Shore Clergy Prayer Group. Pastors can easily become so busy that they get lost in their own little world.
The North Shore Clergy Prayer Group, which meets every Tuesday noontime at Valley Church, has fostered a climate of mutual respect and Christ-centered love across the denominational barriers. Joining together with other ‘pioneers’ like Pastor John Hardy of Hillside Baptist Church, Rev. Bob Allison of St. Andrew’s & St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, and Pastor Arnie Toews of North Shore Alliance Church, Owen and the fellow North Shore clergy were determined to say no to competitiveness and rivalry among churches.
After almost two decades of regular weekly prayer, the North Shore has become a place where churches and clergy regularly speak well of each other, and even send parishioners to other churches. I remember clearly when Owen Scott phoned me up one day and said that he was sending three of his key people to our St. Simon’s Church with his full blessing. We either bless people or curse them when they leave us. It always hurts to say goodbye, but we have been blessed to be a blessing.
We have discovered through the North Shore Pastors’ Prayer Group that we are all on the same team when we are serving Jesus Christ as Lord. It doesn’t matter so much any more whether we are Baptist or Pentecostal, Anglican or Lutheran, Mennonite or Presbyterian. The same Lord Jesus is served and exalted in all our churches. Owen Scott, like many North Shore clergy, has a passion to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace among the North Shore churches. Yes, we may still have differences in how we may conduct baptisms or lead communion services. But the important thing we’ve discovered is to major on the majors, especially Jesus as Lord!. As St. Augustine of Hippo put it, ‘In Essentials, Unity; in Non-Essentials, Diversity; and in all things Charity."
Owen Scott is the kind of person who immediately makes you feel welcome. In a world of busy, distracted professionals, Owen is a man who really cares. That is a key reason why Valley Church http://www.valleychurch.ca in North Vancouver, has grown from 40 in 1986 to around 500 people today (average Sunday Attendance).
Ordained in 1970, Owen and his wife Val previously ministered in Regina & Eston Saskatchewan, Calgary Alberta, and Fruitvale BC. Owen and Val model unity and mutual submission in a way that inspires other marriages.
Mel Sanderson, Valley Church Director of Children’s Ministry, sees Owen as very gifted in the area of shepherding and discipling people. He is very aware of his surroundings. Owen notices when people are struggling and when they have abilities to share. Pastor John Hardy of Hillside Baptist Church sees Owen as having a gift of maintaining community, with an ability to cross over all kind of barriers. Owen’s radiant smile and sense of humour is a large part of that gift.
The Rev. Dr Don Faris, a North Shore United Church minister, believes that one of Owen’s great strengths is that he is so down-to-earth. Owen continually thinks in very practical ways about how the Christian faith applies to every-day life. Both a wonderful joy and a humility are exhibited in Owen’s personality. Part of the security of a strong leader like Owen Scott, says Dr. Faris, is that he can raise up leaders in his congregational team that embody entirely different gifts than the leader’s personal gifts.
This summer, from August 25th to 28th, Owen will be the key-note speaker at the BC Christian Ashram Retreat. Held at Camp Alexandra in Crescent Beach, the Christian Ashram Retreat http://www.vaxxine.com/eves/britishcolumbia.htm is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family for both spiritual renewal and holiday fun. Dr. E. Stanley Jones, who started the Christian Ashram movement http://www.christianashram.org/ seventy years ago, has written 28 books, selling millions of copies. A great fan of E. Stanley Jones’ books, Owen Scott’s teaching theme for the Christian Ashram retreat will be ‘Christ Your Life’, with particular emphasis on the grace of God and the finished work of the Cross. To join Owen at the upcoming Retreat, just e-mail the registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 604-530-7224. See you there for the time of your life.
The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector, St. Simon’s Anglican Church
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