This week we had the sad experience of finding out that someone we know and admire is no longer on this earth. Pastor Sam Vander Schaaf, formerly of Brockville and lately of Cobourg, died suddenly last week at age 75, after a heart problem.
Sam was guest preacher at Westside (our former church) many times when we were between ministers or our minister was away. Because I was often leading worship or making calls to guest ministers in my role as elder, I got to know Sam and his wife Shirley; they were very wise, kind people and we really admired them. Sam also did a stint as interim pastor at First Christian Reformed Church here in Kingston, so we got to see them a little oftener. I remember having them to our house a couple of times for coffee after a Sunday service; and back in 2004 when Rich and I celebrated our 40th birthdays, we hosted a little party, to which we invited the Vander Schaafs. I remember how thrilled I was to look out the window that evening and see them coming up the driveway. We felt so honoured that they came to share this event with us.
It was a shock to read in last Saturday's Toronto Star that Sam had died. I feel so bad about it. When we send a Christmas card in December we will just be sending it to Shirley -- that's hard to believe. I know Sam is with the Lord now but it is still so sad to think that someone you love and look up to is not here any more.
I (unapologetically) "stole" the above picture from Sam's Facebook page. He was just the kind of senior who would have a Facebook page: very tech-savvy. It's nice to have this picture; I know I will look at it often.