A beloved Winnipeg pastor says, "We've seen it all and it's been a wonderful privilege to see God move."
On Wednesday Martin publicly announced that he will be retiring from his pastoring position at Calvary Temple by August 31, 2022.
"My wife and I began ministry on May 1, 1975, in a little town called Hanover, Ontario," says Martin. "Since then we have served churches without a break. Little did we know that our final assignment would be 25 years, more than half our ministry time."
Martin says his time in Winnipeg has been a delight and that he and his wife Miriam love the city.
"We feel it was a divine calling from the Lord to come here and I'm counting on the Lord to have someone else to follow and continue on sharing the gospel at this church."
Serving Winnipeg for a Quarter of a Century
As of June 22, Martin will have been the lead pastor of Calvary Temple for 25 years. He took over after Pastor H. H. Barber retired, who previously served as lead pastor for 44 years.
"I think of the person who said to me, 'Pastor, I've been having a hard time getting my paycheck home. It was always gone before I got home, wasted on drugs and alcohol. Now I have a family, I don't waste my money, and God has blessed me.' It's a thrill to be part of a church that's about redemption, people coming back to faith."
Calvary Temple began in 1907 in a living room on St. John Avenue in Winnipeg.
"We've gone through so many challenging things with people, individuals, loss, and tragedy. But we've also had things to celebrate and see miracles of God's grace and healing."
Martin recalls commemorating the church's 100th year anniversary back in 2007.
"We were celebrating with the grandson of the founder A. H. Argue's grandson, Don Argue was preaching. Pastor Barber was on my right and the mayor of the time, Sam Katz was on my left and I just really sensed that God was going to help us with this. That's 15 years ago and it was an encounter with the Holy Spirit that gave me encouragement and strength."
The couple has raised their family here, noting that when Martin started as a pastor at Calvary Temple, his son was only five-years-old.
"We have been embraced and loved," says Martin. "The City-wide Prayer Network, I've been part of the leadership of that for 20 years and these are dear friends."
Martin has a word to other pastors, including those who may just be starting out.
"We are not in competition. We do not try to one-up another church. We are partners and we have the same coach. We are on the same team. That is really lived out in Winnipeg as I've never seen anywhere else that I've served. That is beautiful."
Martin and his wife say they'll be sticking around Winnipeg for at least a few years as they start off their retirement.
"We're looking forward to this next chapter for sure."