By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
Dr. Murray Bowen once said that longevity has more potential lasting impact than frequency. For the past forty years, the North Shore Pastors have been gathering together in order to better serve our community. Some people mistakenly think that North Shore churches and pastors are competitors. One of the things that troubled me as a new Christian was the infighting between all the different denominations. Why couldn’t the Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Mennonites, Presbyterians, etc learn to get along and stop competing? One of the wonderful gifts of living on the North Shore is that denominational bickering is at an all-time low. Clergy and pastors speak well of each other’s congregations. There is a generosity among North Shore pastors that allows us to bless each other instead of cursing each other. This hasn’t happened by accident. It is the fruit of forty years of prayer by the North Shore clergy, first at Hillside Church, then at Valley Church, and more recently at Sutherland Church. Because we meet together, share together and pray together, we have become each other’s best friends and advocates. God has used the North Shore Pastors Prayer Fellowship to deepen our love for each other and our conviction that there is really only one Church on the North Shore. While there are many diverse congregations, we believe that our unity in Christ is greater than our individual differences.
Some of the original founders of the North Shore Pastors Prayer Fellowship included Arnie Toews of North Shore Alliance Church, Jim Lucas of Canyon Heights Church, John Hardy of Hillside Baptist, and Bob Allison of St. Andrews & St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church. All these have since either retired or moved to other communities. Those currently attending the fellowship picked up the torch from the pioneers who believed that we could better serve the North Shore in unity rather than apart.
By praying together for an hour, God has been teaching the North Shore pastors how much we need each other. We busy North Shore Clergy have been learning that we are too busy not to pray. By focusing on Jesus Christ, we have been rediscovering that we are on the same team. Denominations are second. Jesus is first.
Pastor Owen Scott of Valley Church commented that being part of the North Shore Pastors Prayer Fellowship has been one of the most helpful things for him, knowing that he is not alone. Rev. Ken Bell of St. Timothy’s Anglican Church says that praying together gives us an opportunity to share with one another and participate with each other on the North Shore. Pastor Scott Anderson of Cap Church said that our gracious embrace of one another is evidence of our experience of God’s gracious embrace.
Every denomination has its own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of putting down another group for their flaws, we are learning to hold them up in prayer that they may become all that they are meant to be. Presbyterians don’t need to become Anglicans, and Anglicans don’t need to become Baptists. Our real calling is to love each other with the life-changing love of Jesus Christ. Many churches have formed because someone was hurt. We have been learning over the past thirty-five years that it is time to forgive, time to heal, time to pray. Why fight when we can pray? The North Shore Church are family, God’s forever family. My prayer for those reading this article is that we may rediscover the deep truth that the family that prays together stays together.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada
-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca