Marie and I and Shannah are both humbled and honoured to be serving alongside the Immanuel Seventh-day Adventist Church family.
My families journey began in the Adventist faith when a colporteur came knocking on my great grandmother’s door in the summer of 1911 in Paris, Ontario, selling the book, “The Great Controversy”. That event was also responsible for bringing my grandmother, great aunts, great uncles, cousins, and parents into the church.
Marie came into the church in through an evangelistic series led by Pastor Vern Snow in the spring of 1982 in Grande Prairie, Alberta. I began my education in a little two room school in Paris, Ontario called Grand Valley Seventh-day Adventist School. After completing Grade 10, I went on to Kingsway College. I finished Grade 13 in a public school, going on to Mohawk College in Hamilton to complete a two-year diploma in Law and Security Administration, he went on to work in various capacities, including police work, military and retail, before yielding to the Lord’s call upon my life to take up the gospel ministry. At the age of 27, I left for Canadian Union College and the ministry. I graduated with a four-year Bachelor of Arts Degree in Pastoral Ministry and a Two Year Diploma in Native Ministry. After graduating in 1995, I was married to the woman who would become my life-long friend. It’s through God’s grace and Marie’s strong support and quiet presence that ministry is accomplished.
Later, in the fall of 1995, we were hired by the British Columbia Conference and assigned to pastor in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, with its 900-mile district. Three years after that, I was on the move again, leaving for Andrews University to begin my Masters of Divinity. Once my time in the United States was over, I was asked to continue to minister to the frozen chosen in Whitehorse and the Yukon Territory for two more years. Our next assignment would span six years. We were asked to move to Vancouver Island to pastor a four church district. During the course of His ministry it was always hard to leave the people we had grown attached to, but the mountains, the ocean, the temperate climate, the friendships made by my daughter, made that assignment particularly difficult to pull away from.
The most memorable event during our Vancouver Island ministry was the birth of my beautiful daughter, Shannah, in Nanaimo, British Columbia. In total, we completed 15 years of pastoral ministry in Western Canada. In 2008, we responded to a call from the Ontario Conference. Upon arriving in Ontario, our first assignment was Richmond Hill, where we served the wonderful people there for three years.
Last February we left again, as we received a call to our current position at Immanuel. In our time here, we have observed that we are blessed with a loving congregation. We have an excellent pastoral family to work with. Pastor Garth, Melanie, and Brook are very gifted and compliment any additions we can add to the leadership. Shannah has adopted Brook as a sister and can be spotted carrying Brook around at functions. We were filled with emotion as Shannah was inducted into Pathfinder, led by the dedicated efforts of brother Prendergast and his team. Our church secretary, Marjorie is amazingly organized and passionate about the church. The pastoral team is committed and our head elder, Vermont and his assistant, Ernest are extremely dedicated to both our congregation and assisting the pastors. Sister Lyle and Sister Jane and Sister Marjorie have made it their mission to keep us healthy and fed. In fact, we appreciate all the elders, departmental leaders and family members at Immanuel for making us feel welcome and loved.
I need to mention one last thing. Last year, after an eight-year journey, by God’s grace, I was able to complete my Doctorate of Ministry in Family Life. I pray that it serves to complement the efforts of the Family Life Leaders, Len and Amanda Cameron, as they highlight the importance of families within the church. Marie and I both have a passion for families and seeing individuals led back to Christ. God has blessed Marie and me with17 years of marriage and the joy of a nine-year-old daughter, Shannah. In the days and years to come, we look forward to getting to know our new family.
David Baker, D.Min.
Immanuel Seventh-day Adventist Church