Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Farewell Service: Pastor G. Hamstra

Written by L. Noordegraaf
In a special service that took place in the Maranatha Christian Reformed Church in Woodbridge on June 30, 1999, Rev. G. Hamstra preached his farewell service as pastor of the congregation of Toronto where he served for 6-1/2 years. This service was not for the usual reason for having accepted a call to another congregation, but pastor Hamstra felt the time had come to retire from the active ministry in a congregation. Being in good health, he has been able to labour well past retirement age.

Having applied to the consistory of Toronto for emeritation, the consistory in turn applied to Synod Õ99 to grant pastor Hamstra honourable retirement effective June 30, 1999. Synod acquiesced to this request and granted Rev. Hamstra retirement.

Before a full church, pastor Hamstra preached his farewell sermon, having chosen as text 2 Corinthians 9:15, ÒThanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.Ó Pastor Hamstra mentioned in his sermon that all things come from above. Man is utterly and totally dependent upon God for all things. We have nothing in ourselves; it is all of grace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Pastor Hamstra mentioned the guidance of the Lord throughout his life and ministry. Everything fell into place throughout the years, although time and again he was confronted with manÕs inability. Through GodÕs guidance he continued with thankfulness to Him ÒWho doeth all things according to His good pleasure,Ó in spite of our shortcomings.

This sermon typified the Christ-centred preaching of pastor Hamstra. For 36-1/2 years he was enabled to proclaim the Word of GodÑthe Gospel message of salvation alone through Jesus Christ.

On behalf of the consistory and congregation of Toronto, elder L. Noordegraaf addressed pastor Hamstra. Pastor G. Procee of Hamilton spoke as counsellor of Toronto and pastor P. VanderMeyden spoke on behalf of the denomination.

Pastor Hamstra was ordained on January 2, 1963 in the Bloor Street East Presbyterian Church in Toronto. On August 11, 1972 he joined the Free Reformed Church when he was installed as pastor of the Dundas congregation. He accepted a call to the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk in Alphen aan de Rijn, the Netherlands (sister church of the FRC), in 1977 and was installed there on October 25, 1977. When he accepted a call from the congregation of Elburg, he was installed there as minister on August 4, 1981. When he received a call from the Clifton, New Jersey congregation (FRC), he returned to the North American continent and was installed in Clifton on January 25, 1985. In 1992 the congregation of Toronto called him to be their pastor and teacher and the installation service took place on October 23, 1992.

Even though pastor Hamstra is now retired from active service, in dependence on the Lord he hopes to continue to serve the denomination, doing that which is dear to his heart, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ as much as possible. He also hopes to continue to work with the Trinitarian Bible Society.

We wish him and his wife many more years in good health and are grateful to God the Father for all the goodness shown. May the words of Joshua 1:9 go with the Hamstra family and with our denomination: ÒHave not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.Ó

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