Having worked as a pastor for the past 30 years, Lake Cowichan Baptist Church pastor Dale Winters knows a good church when he sees one.
After liking what he saw when he came out to Lake Cowichan beforehand, Winters started work at the Lake Cowichan Baptist Church in November 2009, moving into town a few months later, from Richmond BC.
“I liked the people that I met. After living in a big city for the better part of a decade, I wanted to return to a small town,” he said.
With Winters came a wealth of knowledge. The pastor has three Master’s Degrees; Philosophy, Pastoral Theology, and Spiritual Classics, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies. He’d previously worked as a pastor in Scotland, England, and Richmond BC, before heading out to Lake Cowichan.
In preparation for each Sunday sermon, Winters reaches back into his own knowledge, and pours over his large library of books, for inspiration. Pastors don’t just work on Sundays, after all.
The trick to a good sermon is to put the Bible in its historical context, he said.
“How was God communicating to people then, and how are they responding,” he said, adding that he must then bridge the centuries in a reasonable way.
Between about 50 and 60 people benefit directly from Winters’ sermons; a group he describes as a mix of all age groups, though there aren’t enough younger people.
The church itself has a board of directors, with long-time member Ralph Tromp its chair.
“There’s been quite an influx of new people in the past year,” Tromp said, adding that there have been 10 new people this past year; a significant number, considering the average weekly attendance.
Tromp said that the board was happy to finally find Winters, after a gap between 2006 and 2009 without a pastor, after pastor Al Hern retired and moved to Kamloops to be closer to his family.
“We wanted to make sure we are comfortable with the pastor,” he said, of the time spent without a pastor.
The Baptist Church itself has a long history in the Cowichan Lake area. It started off in Honeymoon Bay in the 1950s, moving to Lake Cowichan in 1981, with a new building.
“I think it’s a unique log cabin,” Winters said. “It fits the energy of the area.”
Weekly sermons begin at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday, and include a healthy mix of both speaking and singing.