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Our Elders

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Dan Bird

I have been blessed to be married to my wonderful wife & confident Jean, for over 45 years. We have 4 great adult children and 9 even greater grandchildren.

I was brought up in a Christian family and came to know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour at a summer church camp as a child. The reality and significance of that decision would come to fruition through faithful friends and mentors at West Park Church years later. West Park Church has now been home for over 40 years, and I am honoured to have served our church family on the Elder Board for several years now.

 

My favourite responsibility as an Elder has been to be involved in membership interviews. True life stories of how God intervenes in some of the most incredible circumstances to draw His children to the truth of the gospel is powerful and exciting, especially amongst our new Canadian families. I have a love for all kinds of history and lately have enjoyed studying early Church History, humbled by that selflessness and commitment of the first believers.

 

Jean and I love to travel and enjoy all types of good restaurants and food. Asked what food I enjoy the most: Seems to be "whatever is not good for me." 

Dan Bird
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Pat Cowling

As a child, I was invited to West Park's Day Camp by some neighbours. Then, in high school I was invited to youth group at West Park by some friends in school. I came to faith at 16 and was baptized because of these friendships

I have been married to Jessica for 17 years. We have two children Ellis (9) and Wesley (7) and a golden doodle named Hazel. One-on-one discipling with godly men that have come into my life for different seasons has most helped me grow spiritually.

 

My greatest joy on the elder board is Interviewing new potential members and hearing their stories of faith and life.

 

My favourite food? Extra spicy butter chicken with lots of naan bread. 

Pat Cowling
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Ryan Enns

I grew up in a loving Christian home. My parents were leaders in our small rural church in southern Manitoba. We attended church regularly as a family and I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 7.

 

My wife Kimberly and I have been married for 29 years. We have 4 grown children. Our daughter Ashley is a teacher in Hawaii with YWAM. Our daughter Alyssa is a nurse and is married to Ben. They have several businesses in the Collingwood area. Our youngest son Brad is in the military and looks forward to beginning his career as a firefighter. 

 

I continue to grow in my faith by listening to podcasts and reading. Kimberly and I enjoy our devotion and prayer time daily together. One of the things I appreciate about serving on the Board is being with like-minded, passionate men of God. This inspires and pushes me in my Spiritual walk with Christ. I am excited to see where God will continue to lead us. 

 

My favourite food? Definitely a steak with a loaded baked potato and veggies!

Ryan Enns
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Brian Furtney

I asked Jesus to come into my life at Sunday School when I was five years old. Our teacher simply explained that we are all sinners and that if we ask Jesus to forgive us, he will and will take away our sins.

 

My wife Rhonda and I have been attending WestPark since 1977. We have been involved in music ministries since then.  I have served as a Deacon, Elder, committee member and tech team member.  It is a pleasure to serve the Lord and the people of WestPark in these ways.

We have two adult children and three grandchildren, all of whom bring us great joy.

 

I am so thankful for the solid biblical teaching that we have at WestPark and the opportunity to grow spiritually as a result.  I believe that God has great things in store in the years ahead and look forward to continuing serving Him as long as I am able.

Brian Furtney
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Shawn Luo

The first day of April 2004, one month after I landed in Canada from China, I decided to accept Christ Jesus as my Saviour at an evangelical event in Toronto.

Grace and I have three lovely children, Dollar, Ryanna and Will. All of our children are very actively volunteering at KidsChurch in WestPark. Grace has been working as a real estate agent for almost 15 years now. God uses Grace to bring many people to His church. I have grown spiritual by reading all kinds of different biblical books.  And I enjoy being on the board as I talk with other elders, listen to their stories and learn from their insights and experiences. 

My favourite food? I love Szechuan (Sichuan) food, which is well known for its spicy flavour. Sichuan is the province where I was born and raised.

Shawn Luo
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Bob O'Hara

Originally from Hamilton, I was blessed to be brought up in a Christian home. I gave my life over to the Lord at the age of 13 while attending Youth Camp. After completing high school, I attended the University of Manitoba and Canadian Nazarene College in Winnipeg where I met my wife, Sue. We have 2 sons, Ryan, and Brock, 2 beautiful daughters-in-law, Ayesha, and Jill, and 3 wonderful granddaughters, Olivia, Adeline, and Estelle. Sue and I have attended WestPark for over 20 years.

 

I have continued my spiritual journey through a variety of ways, including personal study of His Word and studying it with other believers. It gives me great joy to share my faith with those God sends my way - encouraging or planting the seed. Initially, when I was asked to consider serving as an elder, I was hesitant, but the Holy Spirit nudged me, asking me “why not”? I would count it an honour to be an elder at WestPark, serving with others to further the work of the Lord.

Bob O'Hara
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Chimere Okoronkwo

While growing up in Nigeria I was surrounded by Christians, but it was in 2001 at a church program that the importance of Hebrew 11:6 was fully revealed to me and this led me to take the step of faith in accepting Christ as my personal saviour.

 

Since then, I have continued to seek avenues to grow my faith including talking with others about my faith, volunteering in different capacities within the church, and studying the Bible and other Christian literature with others. I am looking forward to participating on the board of WestPark.

 

My wife (Irene) and I have been married for over 22 years. We have four lovely children – Tarela, Somto, Dabere, and Doubra. We enjoy coming to WestPark. In my free time (which are few and far between), I enjoy playing soccer or watching Arsenal FC play. My favourite food is fried plantain (dodo in our local parlance) and beans (cooked in palm oil).

Chimere Okoronkwo
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Rick Reid

I came to know the Lord as my Saviour and was baptized when I was 13 years old. The benefactor of parents and grandparents who lovingly taught me about Christ through Church attendance, family devotions and life examples. My spiritual walk has continued to be supported through the input and teaching of solid Pastors and my wife Tena who has supported me throughout our 47 years of marriage.

 

Tena and I have attended WestPark for the last 10 years and have 4 children who have blessed us with 10 grandchildren. One of my greatest joys is to have served on the Elder Board of several churches as work in aviation has moved us through a number of city changes.

 

My time on the Elder Board and Finance Committee at WestPark has been especially meaningful as I can see how the Lord has continued to bless WestPark over the last 2 years and building excitement with what the Lord has in store as he continues to lead the board. A scripture that I have found helpful over the years is Joshua 1: 9 “Be strong and very courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”.

 

My favourite food?  I love Chinese food.

Rick Reid
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Rick Scrimgeour

I became a Christian in July of 1989 as a result of God’s perfect timing and meeting my future wife. My spiritual growth continues as God’s perfect timing enables me to work through difficult situations, personally, professionally, and at the church.

My wife Christene and I have been married for 32 years, and have three adult children, Emily, Ian, and Jared.

 

We also have one grandson, Noah, and another grandchild on the way. I enjoy serving on the elders board, sharing differing gifts, talents, and opinions, all for the glory and honour of God.

 

My favourite food? Lobster.

Rick Scrimgeour
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Sheldon Wood

I came to faith as a 5-year-old one evening after the church service.  I went into my room and knelt by the bed inviting Christ into my life.

 

My wife, Heather and I have been married 36 years. We have two adult children and no grandchildren (but we are hopeful!). Hardship and involvement with Christian ministry are two key elements that have helped me grow spiritually. At times, these have not necessarily been different things. 

 

This is my first year serving on the WestPark board, and I am enjoying the discussions, planning, observing and interactive with likeminded individuals.

 

My favourite food? Peanut butter. But Lasagna if we're talking about a meal!

Sheldon Wood
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Juan Zelaya

In November 1996 I arrived in Canada, solely with the desire to make money so that after five years I would return to my country; those were my plans. But on January 18, 1998; Jesus came to my heart and saved me, and since then, He keeps changing my life, He changed my plans, I was deported from Canada, due to negligence I was lost without faith and without hope. But God allowed me to return to Canada and God allowed me to obtain permanent residency in 2001.

I married my wife Hilda on August 25, 2001, and in 2003 we began the pastoral ministry of the congregation where I had been born again. We pastored this congregation for 19 years, until September 12, 2021, when we joined with the WestPark Spanish Ministry lead by Pastor Mario. We are very happy to join the Hispanic ministry and continue to serve our God.

To this day I am happily married, I continue to serve the Lord in pastoral ministry, I am the father of three beautiful daughters, and by the grace of God we are moving forward.

Juan Zelaya
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