Carla Garrett - Special to the News
Tucked away on a remote hillside on the outskirts of Tillsonburg is a quaint little church that is about to be rediscovered.
For the first time in its history, Goshen Baptist Church has hired a full-time pastor who hopes to raise the profile of this charming rural church.
“I want to breathe new life into Goshen Church and let people know it exists,” says Pastor Carl Walters, who started there on Mother’s Day.
He sees its potential and appreciates the sentimental value in the 175-year-old church and the faithfulness of its close to 50 members who attend each Sunday.
Walters, who grew up in the east end of Toronto, was previously Pastor of Youth and Family Ministry at Tillsonburg First Baptist Church before taking a leap of faith to lead this small church in the country.
“I dearly miss the people there but I felt so called to be here in Goshen,” he said.
Walters has been in ministry for 13 years and currently lives in Simcoe with his wife and two children who are in college.
Shortly after starting, Walters was already making an impact by meeting with the church youth, visiting members’ homes, working on a website and setting up a Facebook Page that attracted over two dozens “likes” and posts from past members commenting about fond memories there.
“He is willing to try new things with the wide age range of our congregation,” said Summer Mudge, who has grown up going to Goshen Church. “I think this shows a positive direction for more growth now and for the future.”
Walters said he wants to see the church grow in all the ways that are healthy, which means deepening their faith, consistently being together and growing out into the community and Kingdom to help others come to faith.
He wants to involve community partners and make more connections with other ministries such as Youth For Christ and Camp Oneida, which he and his wife are both heavily involved with.
To kick things off, Goshen Baptist Church is hosting a “Meet the Preacher” hot dog lunch on June 12 following the 10:30 a.m. service. The church is located at 385 2nd Concession Rd., Tillsonburg and Walters can be reached at 519-410-1339.
“The whole community is invited,” said Walters, adding he wants to have monthly events to bring people together.
Walters also wants to preserve the traditional worship style of the church that maintains a conservative and valuable feel there.
“The worship style is not as important as whether the faith is genuine,” he said. “What matters is the communication of why Jesus is important in your life.”
Something members there have missed since not having a pastor.
“We have fallen out of our so-called routines not having a pastor over the last few months and we need to have a sense of security,” said Brenda Pittock. “I need that in my life right now and it’s nice to have a pastor that can help us learn to know the Lord and not just be a fan.”