On Sunday, May 6th at 3 p.m. the Bridgetown Baptist Charge, the faith community, Allen family members, pastoral colleagues, church members, community residents and friends met in the Bridgetown sanctuary to praise God for His faithfulness to and through the life and ministry of, Dr. George Allen, 99.
Past Deacon, Thurston Marshall, opened the Service by reciting Psalm 121. Following the Opening Hymn, Lay Pastor Dave Buzza outlined the purpose of this rare service (this honour only being conferred once since 1900) and led in prayer. Deputy Clerk, Marguerite Hirtle, introduced the Congregational motion and Julie Hannam, Clerk, West Dalhousie Baptist, and Louise Bruce, Organist/Honourary Deacon, Centrelea Baptist, respectively read Psalm 67 and Col. 3:12-17.
Former Acadia University chaplain and retired pastor, Rev. Gordon Delaney, reflected on George’s influence as a minister, mentor and friend. He highlighted George Allen’s aptitude as forthright Preacher, sympathetic and caring Pastor, and a Person who always maintained “right relationships” through good humour and his unique human touch. Deacon Heather deBoer sang Ira Stanphill’s “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” as a tribute to Dr. George’s optimistic faith and disposition.
Deacon Mary Billard, from Clementsvale Baptist, brought regrets from Pastor Herb Anderson, and mentioned the great impact that George, and his wife June, who passed away last September, had there during their 25 plus years in retirement at June’s former homestead. Mrs. Billard also read Phil 3:7-14, just prior to Pastor David Cumby’s message “Carrying the Torch”.
Pastor Cumby recalled Paul as a Christian leader, who persevered despite many obstacles and personal setbacks. He referred to the life of Terry Fox, and also the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Torch Relay. He also read from Executive Minister, Dr. Peter Reid’s letter of congratulations to Dr. Allen, which noted that, in the more than seven decades since his ordination, he has become for many Pastors and people within CABC, “a true hero of the Faith”. Finally, Pastor David pointed to Paul’s (and Dr. Allen’s) intense desire to see others take up the Gospel torch (c.f. vs. 15-17), but that their extra special gift was their willingness to run alongside each believer, mutually cheering and encouraging them onward!
Association Moderator Rev. David Phillips and Deacon Grant Wright led the Congregation in the local Act of Installation, and Church Moderator Maggie Rice presented a framed “Certificate of Recognition” to the new Pastor Emeritus.
Just prior to the final Hymn, Dr. George Allen thanked all who had made arrangements, taken part and attended, and then gave the Benediction. Bridgetown Organist, Debbie Rice directed the Choir in a beautiful Choral Response “Tender Shepherd, Gently Lead Us”. Written and verbal greetings were relayed from former Pastor George Neily, representatives of Dr. Allen’s earlier pastorates, and from other Baptist churches and ministry colleagues. An overflow reception and cake-cutting ceremony followed in the Church vestry.
Photo(l to r): Pastor David Cumby, Rev. Gordon Delaney, Pastor Emeritus Dr. George Allen, Church Moderator Maggie Rice, Association Moderator Rev. David Phillips and Deacon Grant Wright.