BY SCOTT HADDOW
At 57, pastor Eric McGrath wanted a new challenge to test his faith.
McGrath has accepted a position with the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA).
The popular Lively pastor will now be based out of Cambridge, but his new work will see him travel the country and beyond to Russia.
With the SGA, McGrath will be co-ordinator of equipping and training. The SGA is an organization dedicated to helping the people of Russia who want
to embrace and accept Jesus Christ.
McGrath has been the pastor at the Lively Baptist Church for the last five years. It?s closing due to low attendance, but it will still remain a church under Cornerstone.
?I leave with mixed emotions,? said McGrath, who grew up in Lively.
?It?s the end of my ministry here and the church's. It was interesting to come back to Lively to be the pastor in the church I seen get built when I was a kid to actually being the last pastor there.?
With the SGA, McGrath will be busy.
?I will be on a mission that seeks to provide a bridge between Canadian churches and individuals who want to help the people of Russia through
McGrath landed the job through a mutual friend and after several interviews.
In training, McGrath will be responsible for assembling medical, construction and pastoral training teams for Russia, and making sure they have proper travelling arrangements. In equipping, McGrath will be gathering humanitarian aid, such as bibles, clothes and food for the Russian people, as well as seeing the materials shipped off to the foreign country.
?I have to travel cross Canada, speaking in churches, spreading the message and encouraging people to give and help. I must spend three out of four Sundays each month on the road.?
McGrath?s work will also land him in Russia during his tenure to see the affect SGA has first hand.
?This is an exciting new development for me,? said McGrath. ?At my age...it?s difficult to move into a new area of the church. This is good for me
because it?s where my strengths and gifts lie, which is in ministry and organization.?
The pastor will miss Lively and Greater Sudbury, especially the good people who helped him during his wife?s battle with cancer.
McGrath?s wife, Patricia, died this past June after a courageous 20-year fight against the disease.
?My family appreciated the service we got from the cancer centre here in Sudbury,? said McGrath. ?We feel there wasn?t a better place for Pat to be. The care and love she received was tremendous.?
Just by being stationed in Cambridge, McGrath feels he has been rewarded as he will be closer to his children and grandchildren.
?My children and grandchildren live in Brampton, Cambridge and London,? said McGrath. ?It will be a tremendous privilege being near the kids. It has invigorated me.?
McGrath does plan to find his way back home from time to time.