Stanley to take over pastor position at Auburn's Huron Chapel
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
This month, Michael Stanley will officially take on his first-ever full-time pastorship at Auburn’s Huron Chapel.
The local church has been without a full-time pastor since Mark Royall moved to a church in Niagara Falls and Ernest Dow, formerly of Living Water Christian Fellowship, took on an associate pastor role with the church. (Living Water merged with Huron Chapel several years ago.)
Stanley was born in the Atwood area to a mother who grew up in the Listowel area. As part of a missionary family, however, Stanley says he grew up internationally on the missionary fields before returning to Canada when he was 12 and his family settled in Wasaga Beach.
This will be his first full-time pastor position after helping out and filling in at his local church, but feeling the call several years ago while working in manufacturing.
He then attended Tyndale University in Toronto and after some time of taking on a more heightened role in his Wasaga Beach church, Stanley felt the call from God and, at the end of 2021, he felt it was the time to pursue being a full-time pastor.
He consulted with his pastor in Wasaga Beach, asking for guidance and advice. He told Stanley to peruse the listings of churches looking for pastors to get a feel for what was needed across the province and to see if any of them called out to him.
Stanley said he looked into a few, but felt a real connection to Huron Chapel, both from a community perspective, as well as being aligned with his idea of what a church should be.
It would be a big leap, he said, so of course he continued to consult with his pastor and discuss options with his wife, Amanda. Unbeknownst to him, Amanda had also been looking at the listings and she too felt the pull to Huron Chapel, which Michael took as a sign that he should seriously consider the church.
Furthermore, it would represent a complete life change for the family, with Michael having to quit his job and the whole family would have to move hours away from its established home.
After visiting the church and meeting many of the congregation members, Michael said he felt very comfortable with the church, which is a bit more laid back as far as churches are concerned. He said he liked that, adding that it feels more about community than formalities.
Michael starts with the church officially on Monday, Sept. 12, but before committing to the position, he and his family visited several times to get a feel for the church, its congregation and the greater Huron County community.
He says he doesn’t have any plans to drastically change things at the church and that his first year at Huron Chapel will really consist of getting to know the congregation and all of the people who make up the church’s community.
He said that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of loneliness and isolation, which are challenges he hopes to work to overcome. He also said there has been a lot of division as well, in addition to some of the standard other challenges being faced by many churches in Ontario.
As the world rebounds from the pandemic, Michael said, it will be important to build back community infrastructure and spend time together again, something that had been lost for a time.
Michael and Amanda have bought a house in Nile and will be making their way to the area next month with their three sons: seven-year-old Micah, five-year-old Luke and two-year-old Isaac.