Salvation Army pastor Major Joan Shayler is leaving Fernie after 10 years. This past week supporters held parties on several different occasions to honour the Major and bid her farewell.
Major Shayler has been a very important part of this community in her capacity as pastor. She has consistently shown compassion, and dedication to helping those in need. She was the driving force behind the food bank, helping to raise monies, screen clients, fill and deliver the hampers. Joan has also been a very active member of the Ministerial Association and Rotary Club.
Last Saturday evening over 75 friends and family members from Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. gathered at the Park Place restaurant to honour this much respected and admired woman. A slide show of photos of places and people she has served for the past 30 years was shown and then long time friend Betty spoke stating, “When Joan accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour, this became the commencement of years of service. Thirty years as a core officer, few achieve this as a single woman, you have been a preacher, friend, organizer, we honour you for your years of service. Thank you for always being available, now take time for yourself.”
The theme of helping others was repeated by many who got up to speak, it was also said that Joan never refused to conduct a funeral service, treating everyone with dignity and respect. “Whether you have known Joan for a few minutes or forever you always feel like you have known her, she displays comradeship, kindness and caring, her gentleness isn’t lost on the veterans,” said Legion president Jennifer Cronin.
Representing the Ministerial Association Brian Glover said, “It starts with you, being faithful and obedient, doing small things with great love. I have never seen you tired from loving others. You don’t waiver on gospel message; you have been a good friend and supporter to many, helping other churches when they were in between ministers. You’re not retired just retreaded, this will help give new traction, new direction. You aren’t retiring from being a faithful Christian, you have never taken the easy way, always facing all challenges.”
The crowd gave Joan a standing ovation as she thanked everyone for attending especially those that came from great distance. “So good to see all of you today, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of you. On March 19,1961 Betty led me to my Saviour and the Garcia family who trained me. I then went to work in Family Service making $25 a week working in the thrift store. My aunt and uncle were always supportive, I thank this community for the support and challenges, this is the longest post I have held. Thanks to Sheila and staff for a great dinner, Rotary and Legion, please welcome Kyla MacKenzie who will be coming here to take my place, rally around her as she serves her ministry.
Major Shayler will be moving to the Okanagan area. Sincere congratulations on your retirement and best luck in the future for a long and happy retirement.