November 2002
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Goshen/Eden churches welcome new minister
By Amanda Ryder, Glendale High School, Tillsonburg, Ontario
(also published in The Tillsonburg News)

The Goshen and Eden Baptist churches are proud to welcome a new minister to their church family.

Pastor Andras Rameshwar came to Tillsonburg to live after residing in Mississauga for many years with his wife and four daughters. He said he is honoured to accept the challenge of pasturing two churches simultaneously and hopes he can bring a new foundation of hope and faith to the surrounding community.

Rameshwar has received an overwhelming welcome. From the moment he stepped inside the church he said, "I felt as if I knew the people for years; I could sense a deep spiritual commitment from the people. I have been involved with the church from a very early age, in fact I was born into the church," he said.

But it wasn't until he started to become involved with the administration and organization of the church that he realized he had a passion for it. He would speak after conducting a service and offer words or advice or reassurance. People responded positively and encouraged him to pursue a career as a minister.

Once Rameshwar committed himself to the church he attended MacMaster University in Hamilton where he received his Masters of Divinity. To obtain his credentials he underwent a screening of his ethics and morals, family background, personal relationships and the way he interacts with people. Rameshwar graduated and was prepared to hold the position of a minister.

After nine months without one, Goshen and Eden churches invited Rameshwar to attend a sermon and preach for accord. They were delighted to have him and after a majority vote they accepted them into their community.

"Being the minister of two churches, is a tough job," Rameshwar said with a smile, "but prayer is very important in my life."

Rameshwar has been busy meeting with the boards and committees in an effort to consolidate and reach an understanding of how he will begin his daunting task. He said he "didn't want to reinvent the wheel," but does want to get more activities up and running to include more of the community. "I want the churches to be used throughout the week, not just on Sundays," he said. He plans to do this by organizing programs for all, especially youth, while also offering counselling programs.

"I have a vision for the church to come alive," Rameshwar said.

The new minister arrived just in time to celebrate the 154th anniversary of Eden church and the 161st anniversary of Goshen church. Eden hosted its celebration on Oct. 6 with a potluck dinner and a special guest speaker. The Goshen church plans to have their anniversary on Oct. 20 at 2:30 p.m. with Rameshwar as guest speaker and Janice Smith performing musically.

Not only will the Goshen congregation celebrate their many years of operation, they will also unveil the church's completely renovated basement. The public may attend and celebrate and are also invited to a special service Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Goshen church. During the service Pastor Rameshwar will be officially introduced to the community.


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