Impact: with… Pastor Edwin Rideout
Edwin Rideout is the Lead Pastor with the Family Christian Centre. Rideout came to Fort McMurray 10 years ago with his wife, Rhoda. During his time in the community, he and his team have developed a thriving congregation along with new programs and services to strengthen our community. He was recently on an edition of IMPACT to discuss his experiences.
Edwin’s life was always largely integrated with the church. Even despite doing his own thing separately for his teenage years, Edwin still came back around.
It wasn’t until he was 33-years-old that he decided to take the path into ministry.
“In my early years, I had a sense of a calling to ministry.” said Edwin. “It was a kind of inner voice that kept steering me in that direction. I believe my calling is to come alongside, urging people and helping them find meaning in life.”
When he first came to the Family Christian Centre, Edwin’s passion for people led him to look into how the church was going to help positively impact the community. While other churches have been very active in helping homeless and other demographics, Edwin wanted to set the Family Christian Centre apart.
“My question to the leadership team was, “What do you feel is God’s mantle on us in Fort McMurray?”” said Edwin. “So we discussed that. Then I wanted to take that larger, I wanted to go outside. That’s what we think; we’re internal, obviously we’re blinded by the light here - so let’s go out.”
That was when the idea of starting a counselling centre for the community came to light, and just over four years ago, Edwin and his team launched the Legacy Counselling Centre. But it wasn’t a simple feat.
“It’s expensive,” explained Edwin. “It’s hiring professional people and staffing it and office space so it took a while. One of our great partnerships is United Way. United Way from day one got on board with us. They have been with us and strong supporters as well as other agencies in the city. It’s been a wonderful journey – amazing.”
The Legacy Counselling Centre has since accumulated four full-time counsellors along with admin staff and has helped over 1,000 people with 60% of them being children and youth under the age of 20. The Family Christian Centre now has a number of services and programs designed to help out the community from the Benevolent Ministry, which helps families in difficult times, to the Mercy Ministry, which was launched last year as a service to help raise funds for single parent families in need.
The sense of support isn’t just with partnerships in the community either, as Edwin gave insight into the amazing relationship between the different churches in Fort McMurray.
“I don’t know if there is something about the North or if it’s because we’re mostly all from away,” he explained, “I’ve never worked in a city or a community where clergy and pastors have such a sense of camaraderie. Our counselling center board of directors is made up with people of other constituencies, other pastors and leaders in the community from various scopes of life. So there’s that sense that we’re all in a team here and we’re rooting for each other.”
When he first arrived to Fort McMurray 10 years ago, the Family Christian Centre was already thriving with a congregation of roughly 500 active members. Now, the Family Christian Centre has changed dramatically, having grown to just over 1,600 committed members and serving a constituency of around 2,500 people.
IMPACT is a collaboration of The United Way of Fort McMurray, FuseSocial, Shaw TV Fort McMurray and 91.1 The Bridge. It is heard on Tuesdays at 10:30 am. It is rebroadcast on Shaw Cable 10.