A Final Blog Post

The sixteen years I have spent at Westheights are considerable. Those years represent thirty percent of my life to this point and fifty percent of my working career. As considerable as those numbers are, it fails to capture the significance of the time. Although it has been sixteen years, it feels like much more for our family. During those sixteen years we have experienced many of our family’s defining moments, times of both goodness and difficulty. During that time, we have raised our daughters, Brittany and Brooklyn, from toddlers to young adults. During that time, we suffered death and loss as both of Kim’s parents tragically passed away at far too young of an age. During that time we lost dear friends who passed away and we consoled each other through the grieving process. During that time, we struggled through adversity in which it seemed all might be lost. During that time we matured in our careers and upgraded our education. During that time we grew up and we grew older, and maybe a little wiser too. So many important things have happened in the past sixteen years that a quantitative metric cannot possibly capture events that are better thought of as qualitative, both in importance and impact. But all that we have experienced, both good and bad, we have experienced it in the company of the most terrific people. We never felt alone and we always knew we were loved. I can’t imagine going through life in any other way.

During the past sixteen years I have worked with the most amazing staff and I will miss them dearly. I have worked all of those years with a most wonderful and talented associate, Mimi Lee. My first day at the church was 9-11 so Mimi and I had a memorable beginning to our working relationship. I have also been blessed by the sacrificial work of Melanie Wigg and Charlene Neuman and then Tom and Gillian Fenske and finally Terry Kreutzkamp. I have been so blessed in that each of these staff have chosen to use their remarkable talents to work together with me to further the vision of this church. It is assuring to know that I leave the church in good hands as the staff will continue to lead you well in the months and years ahead. I take some comfort in knowing that I will still cross paths with many of the staff in my new role working as the Director of Ministry Development and Operations for the BIC denomination. However, I realize that the community that we have created and shared together will not continue. It is a season that will now come to an end. Alas, for everything under heaven, there is a season.

I have also served with so many committed and capable church volunteers. It has given me great joy to see so many people utilize and steward their God-given talents. Our service together has included thousands of meetings and hundreds of programs over the past decade and a half. Who can forget the Westheights Family Carnival that attracted 4000 people to attend a four hour event. It was only possible because 175 volunteers made it happen. Who can forget the Greater Things campaign in which we completed a $1-million addition to the facilities that required the sacrifices of many people for the growth of our church. It is impossible to know the potency of the impact that we have made for the kingdom of God in the Westheights neighbourhood. But I know we have made a difference through your service – so many people have told me so over the years. I recognize, with sadness, that I may not see many of you in the years ahead as our lives now go on separate paths. I feel a real sense of loss in writing that. I write it so that I can fully appreciate and properly grieve the losses in this season of change.

Now that my final Sunday service is completed, this blog post closes off my time as the Senior Pastor at Westheights BIC Community Church. I write these final words to say goodbye to those I missed on my final Sunday. Thanks a million for the thoughtfulness of the program in today’s farewell service and thanks to those who planned the service. It was deeply meaningful. I write this blog post to say goodbye but I write it for another reason as well. I recognize that this digital artifact will get saved for posterity in ways that many other parting words may not. Maybe fifty years from now someone will be reading the Facebook timeline of Westheights Church and stumble across this blog post and faintly remember this season, when I was the pastor. Perhaps this will stir up fond memories, maybe one of my sermonic one-liners or a hope for a time again when the pastor sees the merit of using acrostics in sermons, haha.

As I close 5864 days as your Senior Pastor, on this final day, I want to thank you for the honour of serving you. I also thank you for the love, patience and kindness that you have expressed to me and my family for the past sixteen years. Our lives have been blessed and enriched. It is my hope that the result of my time as the Senior Pastor of this church will be that I have left you with a deeper desire to follow Jesus. For all that you have done for me, I pray that I have done that for you. Even as we now go our separate ways, I do believe that we would meet again. I look forward to a day, beyond this world, when we can have another Westheights “Old Fashioned Church Picnic” knowing, this time, and for all future time, that our paths have converged one more time.

Until then, farewell and fare well.

Todd Lester

Senior Pastor

Sep 11, 2001 – Oct 1, 2017