Long-time pastor retires from Brooker Baptist

Reverend Stephen Jones and his wife, Kim, look forward to retirement after decades of service.

by Adam Gault

This past Sunday afternoon, friends, family, and members of the Brooker Baptist Church congregation gathered to honour the career and service of Reverend Stephen Jones with a special retirement open house celebration.

The St. Thomas native, who will retire at the end of June, began his career 45 years ago at Brooker Baptist Church, where he was ordained in 1976. The following year, he left Brooker Baptist to serve at churches in Toronto, Peterborough, Ottawa, and Kingston, making his way back to Brooker Baptist Church in 1997, where he has held the position of Pastor to this day.

Jones explained one of the greatest rewards of serving in the Cottam area, over the last 21 years, was getting to see young people in the congregation and community grow and mature from infants and young children, into successful young adults. He got to be there for many of the community’s life milestones.

“Because I was here in the ‘70s, I was here for the church’s 100th birthday, I was here for the 125th birthday, and for the 140th birthday a couple of years ago, as well,” Jones said. “[I] loved the experiences. [There have been] a lot of happy memories here.”

After four and a half decades of ministerial service, Jones said he believes it was just the right time to step down and get ready to start a new chapter in his life.

“I’m going to be 68 in August and 45 years is a pretty good run. It’s going to be nice not to have to live with an alarm clock,” Jones said. “We’re relocating to London where our two daughters and granddaughter live. We’ve also got a trailer, we’re looking forward to doing some traveling a little bit.”

Jones said he will miss the role, people, and sense of community he found at “the very friendly little church” at the core of Cottam’s community.

“It’s been a privilege to serve. It’s a calling rather than just a job,” Jones explained. “I was called here, and now He’s called me away. It’s just time, while I’ve still got a few good years ahead of me.”

No permanent replacement for Jones has been announced at this time, with guest pastors rotating in the role until a new reverend is chosen.