Celebrating, Caring, Community

Pastor Bill Terris Retires

Plans to see family as Pastor Bill Terris about to retire

Pastor Bill with his wife Olwen will continue to call Blenheim home and will treasure their local church community. Terris recently announced his retirement the first of February 2021.

For those of you who have had the privilege of knowing Pastor Bill Terris you know three of his favourite things are family, a fresh Timmy’s or two and plenty of conversation.

He, along with his wife Olwen, will be stepping back from official church business at Blenheim Baptist Church as Bill will be officially retired as of January 31st.

Don’t panic! The local couple who call Blenheim home will remain in a community they have been a big part of for the past thirty years.

It has been thirty years in February of 1991, when their four young children, Pastor Bill and his wife, Olwen, drove into Blenheim as Blenheim Baptist Church officials had invited him to speak as a Pastoral candidate.

His ability to speak fluently and with enthusiasm and with a story or two to tell he would later be hired and his duties officially began when he assumed the Pastorate in September of 1991.

Pastor Bill came from a large family being the oldest of six children, grew up on a farm in the hills of Shenstone, New Brunswick, seven miles from the nearest town. He moved to Ontario in 1976 to become the Pastor of his first church.

His mom made sure that he and his siblings attended church and Sunday School. (Pastor Bill laughs about the Sunday he faked sleep, and got out of going!) As a child, he decided to follow Jesus. In his last year of High School, after a March Break venture with church youth to Newfoundland, God began prompting his heart about becoming a full-time Pastor.

Friends and adults cautioned him about “wasting his life”. Pastor Bill remembers, “In Newfoundland I experienced the joy of telling others that Jesus forgave my sins, and gave me the assurance of eternal life.” He re-dedicated his life to following Jesus; after High School, he went off to New Brunswick Bible Institute for further training.

He moved to Ontario in 1976. He served as Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Temagami for seven years, with three to thirteen people in attendance. He then served for seven years on the Pastoral Staff of Philpott Memorial Church in down-town Hamilton. While there he was ordained under The Associated Gospel Churches Of Canada (AGC).

Having resigned from Philpott he was approached by a deacon from Blenheim Baptist who had relatives at Philpott.

Smiling, Pastor Bill recalls, “That deacon made his first good move — he took me to Tim Horton’s, and he paid!” After due prayer and consideration, Pastor Bill felt God was leading him to come to serve this congregation.

When asked regarding how he felt about coming to Blenheim as a town, he reflects, “God led me to come here; that is the main issue. I was so glad to get out of the city! Having been raised on a farm, and the fact that we live in the country, Blenheim was a welcomed change.”

He added, “Here we entered into the community I still haven’t forgiven Barb Ferren for recruiting me to help with baseball (!), but that proved to be a significant beginning to many long-lasting relationships. I love the trips to the Post Office, the chats on the side-walk, or razzing friends at Tim Horton’s. I appreciate being called “Bill”, and some overlook that I’m a ‘man of the cloth’ by razzing me right back!” Through the years Pastor Bill found himself in chaplaincy roles. He is a Legion Padre, was a part-time chaplain at Southwest Regional Centre, served as Chairman of the Board for “a time to mourn”, and is a volunteer chaplain with Transport For Christ. He has been an active member of the Blenheim & District Ministerial Association including the office of President. Presently, he continues on the Board of Legion Villa. 

When asked about special memories he notes, “There are so many, and they involve people. I have treasured the privilege of being asked to come along side families walking through palliative care, and the loss of a loved one. I am passionate about seeking to bring comfort and encouragement. The Bible is historical documentation that Jesus overcame the ‘death- bully’ for us. I will repeat this Good News tirelessly and intentionally; knowing this Saviour personally is the only foundation to encouragement that is eternal.”

“0lwen and I treasure our church family. They have grown me, and we have grown together. Many churches close annually; we are thankful that we have not. Church, for us, is not an institution; it is a gathering of those who follow Jesus. We are small, but we are family, and we are a team. We are called to love God, and love our neighbour; we are busy serving our community”.

“I believe the SMALL things are the BIG things. In short, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. While the trend is to run from church, finding a loving church family that listens to what God says is the need of today’s family. I once read, “God is not so irresponsible as to commit new babes to cold incubators.” I am focused on making the church a warm place to belong to.”

Our community often sees Pastor Bill working with firewood, and driving truck. He laughs when asked, “Do you have any regrets about your chosen profession?” He responds, “My first calling is to be a Christ-follower. Every vocation has days of “regrets”; just ask Moses! Integrity is important; I want to represent Jesus well as a Pastor, husband, father, neighbour, wood-cutter, or a truck-driver. I am enjoying who God created me to be. Physical work is a part of me; my farm roots shaped that.”

Pastor and Mrs. Terris will continue to serve Christ and the community in retirement. Bill would like to continue trucking with R. Brush Farms.

Although settling into retirement could take some time their hopes are to visit with their four children. Ian and Erica, with their family of three, live in Tilley, Alberta; Ian teaches school, and Erica is a nurse. Erin and Corey, with their three, live in Langley, B.C.. Erin works as a Leadership Transition Consultant, and Norwex; Corey works in high tech. Devin and Stephenie, with their two, live in London. Devin, ,an arborist does Safety & Compliance for Davey Tree Expert Company, and Stephenie works for Nextra Consulting. Heather works on a Pastoral Staff in Caronport, Sask., and is currently completing her Doctorate in Worship Studies.

Pastor Bill Terris is retiring after thirty years as Pastor at Blenheim Baptist Church. His retirement will be Sunday, January 31st.