A blog by Bishop Emeritus Donald N. Bastian.
I’m a Saskatchewan boy, born and raised in Estevan, at that time a farming and coal mining center in the southeastern corner of the province.
My formal educational track was circuitous. Halfway through high school I quit to go to a Bible school 140 miles way. My English immigrant parents didn’t object. But after graduating three years later I became aware that I had to go back and finish high school. I did this at Lorne Park College in Ontario. My wife, Kathleen, loves to tell people that I was in high school when she married me.
But all during those years I was also getting an informal education — at 15 years of age clerking on Saturdays in my brother’s Red and White grocery store, a farm hand for one summer, for another a full-time employee in a men’s store in Regina. Later I raised funds for a college, and traveled as a gospel singer and speaker at youth events. It all came together as preparation for a life of ministry.
Back in Estevan, at 16-years-of-age I had had a clear Christian conversion. Right away I sensed the call of God to give my life to full-time ministry. But it took 10 years for that call to come to clear focus. At first, I was going to be a gospel singer. Then, at Greenville College in Illinois I became fascinated with the thought of getting a Ph.D. in English literature and teaching in a Christian college. But three years of seminary honed everything down to a clear sense that I was to be a pastor.
My wife, Kathleen, whom I had met and married during my Lorne Park days, was in complete agreement. She cheered me on in my educational endeavors even though at quite a personal sacrifice for her. In a sense we went through college and seminary together.
After 22 years as a Pastor, The Free Methodist Church in which I held ordination elected me to the bishopric, one of five bishops in North America, and assigned me to give primary leadership to the church in Canada. I was a college pastor in Illinois at the time and reluctantly I had to leave that assignment for what turned out to be 19 years in the office of oversight.
Now, 15 years after retiring it hardly seems possible that it was 62 years ago that I made the first effort to preach a sermon in my home church in Estevan. However, by the good grace of God I continue to be kept busy preaching, teaching and writing. I tell my friends, “I’m a little bit retired.”
Oh, and if you’re wondering why the blog is called “Just Call Me Pastor” click here!