The Reverend James Tripp, who received his call to serve at the Morrisburg Pentecostal Tabernacle in March of this year, is already starting to feel at home with his new congregation and in his new community.
“It’s wonderful that this is not just a church in the community, but really a church that is very much a part of this community,” Rev. Tripp said. “We could feel that this was a church deeply involved with its community, with a strong tradition of service, and that really attracted me.”
Pastor Tripp, and his wife, Sarah, an elementary teacher, both in their 30’s, have moved to South Dundas and are currently living in Iroquois. They are expecting their first child in October so they are particularly pleased to be safely settled into their new home.
Tripp preached his first sermons as pastor at the Morrisburg Pentecostal Tabernacle in May. He assumed the full time position following the retirement of long-serving pastor, Duncan Perry, who retired late last year. The Reverend Lorna Casselman has been the interim pastor while the Morrisburg Pastoral Search Committee looked for a full time candidate.
“I believe the Pastoral Committee got my resumé from our District Office,” Rev. Tripp explained. “They seemed to feel I might be a good fit with this congregation. We did an initial telephone interview, followed by a face-to-face. Then I was presented to the congregation to ‘preach for the call’. The entire membership of the church makes the final decision, on the recommendation of the Committee.”
Pastor Tripp brings a wealth of experience to his new charge.
An only child, he grew up in Mount Bridges, Ontario, attending high school in Strathroy. “I knew that I would be a pastor at a very young age,” he said. “I truly felt it was my calling, my purpose. I was about seven or eight. My parents were definitely alright with this decision as church was a strong part of our family experience.”
He completed his theological education at Eastern Pentecostal Bible College, now known as Master’s College and Seminary in Peterborough. He served five years at Bethel Church in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, in the Kawartha cottage country. Before that, he was an assistant pastor at a church in New Hamburg, in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. He did 10 years of student ministry at different churches before he went to Bobcaygeon.
Pastor Tripp has also been involved in missions and cross cultural work.
He spoke at a conference in Trinidad and worked in Poland, Cuba and the Czech Republic. “These were short term experiences. We were partnered with local churches, “church planting” or starting up churches in communities without them.”
He hopes that somewhere down the road, the possibility of going overseas again will continue to be an option. “Perhaps one day I will be able to take teams from Morrisburg,” he said.
He praises the outstanding staff he has at the Tabernacle. He also has a new assistant pastor, Sharon Bretz, who just started work a week ago.
“I think that this church is very welcoming to families. We encourage people to come to us ‘just as they are.’ I think, too, that it is our mission to serve this community, and I am definitely looking forward to all the challenges ahead,” said pastor James Tripp.
“Our church doors are open, and we would love to meet people. Please feel free to drop in.”