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Honoring BC Conference Retirees

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Honoring BC Conference Retirees
One of the greatest achievements in life is to conclude one's professional career with a sense of joy, a feeling of a task accomplished yet still love the work one has done for many years. There is no doubt that this is the case for our BC Conference pastors who are retiring this year. Many of us had the privilege to associate with them personally and to know them as who they really are: friendly, approachable, committed to the Cause, possessing a servant leadership style, and as full believers in the message they shared with others for decades. These are our retirees! We are happy to see them complete their years of active ministry among us, although a pastor never retires! Now they move to enjoy the next phase of their lives with the same expectation they had while serving God and His people faithfully: The desire to see Jesus coming & to be with Him forever.

We appreciate all their hard work - the pastoral visitations to the sick & discouraged, leading the people to align and serve God, or just by being present in the happy moments in the lives of their church members; the many committees they led & participated in; the time they invested listening to and counseling people; the hours of preparation and meditation in God's Word, personal devotions to present the blessed message afresh and with power from the pulpit! Above all, just by being there to serve the flock with love and compassion. We will miss seeing them frequently as we have done until now. We salute and recognize them as faithful servants and remind them that their reward is secured by the great Master!

Karel Samek – May 31, 2016

Karel Samek was born in Czechoslovakia and lived 21 years under its communist regime. His parents became Adventists but he stopped attending church when he was 14 years old. Karel came to Canada in 1968 where he became a Christian again. In 1973 he joined the Adventist church in St Catharines, Ontario and was baptized in 1974. That same year he studied theology at Kingsway College in Oshawa where he worked his summers as a student Literature Evangelist.

Karel felt the calling into that ministry and spent next 17 years as a Literature Evangelist, Publishing Assistant, and Publishing Director in Ontario and Alberta. After the downfall of communism he sought to help re-establish literature evangelism in his native country which started to come true in 1992.

As a result, Karel worked over 12 years as a missionary, advisor, and publishing leader in the post-communist countries of Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria under the auspices of the Inter European Division. In 2005 he served as the Pastor in Yellowknife, Northwest Territory and since 2007 as in the district of Merritt, Ashcroft and for the last 3 years also in Lillooet. Karel will retire on May 31, 2016 after almost 40 years of service.

May God continue to bless David & Erika, Terry & Lee-Ann, Ken & Frances, and Karel. Their legacy will remain among us, a source of inspiration to younger ministers and an example of faith to the British Columbia Constituency at large.


David Laughton – Retired on Dec 31, 2014

David Laughton was raised in Burnaby, BC by a loving but non church-attending family. He was taken to Sabbath School by his Adventist grandma when he was 13 years old as his mother thought her boys needed some religion. He still has very happy memories of the three years he attended the Vancouver Central Adventist Church and the warmth shown to all the young people by Walter Kisselbach, Walter Graham, and Grant Klokeid.

David stopped attending church when he was 16 and began working part time for a chain of fitness clubs. Later (1968), while working for the same company, he was transferred to Calgary where his Uncle and Aunt, Tom and Ivy Smith were Adventists and wonderful to be around. They invited David's wife Valerie (deceased) and him for Sabbath lunch pretty well every week. In Calgary they began attending church. David was transferred to Winnipeg in 1970 and decided to attend one of George Knowles' meetings, "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" which was on fulfilled prophecy.... and he was convinced that night God was real and it was time for a full commitment.

David was baptized in October 1971 and after a year of strong involvement in the church he decided to study for the ministry and attended Walla Walla from Sept. 1973-Aug. 1977.

David received his first call to Max/Butte/Turtle Lake, North Dakota where he pastored until March 1981 when he accepted a call to Man/Sask Conference where he served Moose Jaw/

Tugaske, Weburne/Estevan, Yorkton/Canora until May 2000. Then, he accepted a call from BC/Yukon to pastor in Penticton/Keremeos. Sadly, David's wife Valerie passed away in July 1995.

He served in Penticton/Keremeos for five years and has spent the last seven plus years in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. David says that "while not without its challenges, I have loved my years in Pastoral ministry."

Erika and David were married on July 1st, 2007 and they now operate a supportive living home in Duncan, BC, another form of ministry which they both enjoy tremendously.


Terry Sparks – Retired on June 1, 2015

Terry and Lee-Ann Sparks began in the ministry on June 1, 1979 in the British Columbia Conference, working in Creston for the first couple of months before camp meeting and later in the Abbotsford/Aldergrove districts.

In 1980, Terry attended Andrews University Seminary completing the Master of Divinity degree. In 1982 they assisted in the North Shore/Squamish/Sunshine Coast district, and in 1983 were assigned to Creston/Cranbrook.

In 1989, they pastored the Orchard City/Winfield/Wildwood churches in the Okanagan.

In 1994, they served in the Immanuel Church in North York, Ontario. In 1997 they returned west to Saskatoon and pastored the Mount Royal/Riverway/Rosthern churches.

In 2008, they moved to the Abbotsford church until his retirement on June 1, 2015, 36 years to the day in pastoral ministry!

Terry and Lee-Ann are blessed with two children, Sasha and Jonathan. Sasha and her husband Wayne have a daughter, Olivia and newborn son Declan. Both Sasha and Jonathan reside in Saskatoon, as well as Terry's parents. Terry and Lee-Ann have returned to Saskatoon to be close to family and assist as caregivers for Terry's parents.


Ken Schander – September 1, 2015

Ken Schander retired officially on September 1, 2015 after 43 years of service as a Seventh-day Adventist minister. Born into an Adventist pastor's family in Minneapolis, MN, he began his ministry as an intern in Pittsburg, PA in 1972.

He pastored churches in Butler, Leechburg, & New Brighton, PA (1973-78), Saskatoon, SK (1978-83), Halifax, Nova Scotia (1983-88), and Niles, MI (1988-1997). He also pastored the Willowdale SDA Church in Toronto, ON, an especially meaningful privilege since his own father-pastor had also served the same church 20 years earlier.

Twelve years later he moved to beautiful Vancouver Island where he has ministered to the Duncan and Victoria churches. Ken is grateful for a great God who has walked by his side -- through the years that have vanished too quickly -- on a path he would never have anticipated during his growing-up years.

Ken and his wife, Frances, are parents of one daughter, Heather, a school psychologist in the Toronto area. In mid-October, the Schanders will move to Niagara-on-the Lake, ON, where Ken anticipates the cycling, and opportunities to stop at fine bakeries, will continue. He also wishes to continue serving the Lord as He sees fit.