Sandra and I would like to let you know about a change for those of you who are a part of the Central Campus of Catch The Fire Toronto.
Many of you will know that about this time last year, Central’s primary pastor, Ruth Preston, began to struggle with symptoms of burnout and was diagnosed with adrenal gland issues. This led us to place Ruth on a medical leave of absence and her husband Marcel graciously stepped into the staff pastoral role.
Ruth's health conditions have continued; she has some days better than others, and we are still praying for a full recovery for her. This spring, Ruth resigned from her role to take any external weights off her shoulders. While Marcel continued to function as the pastor, prioritizing Ruth's health and balancing church responsibilities posed a challenge to their personal life.
About a month ago Sandra and I both felt that we needed to present to Marcel the option of him taking a compassionate dismissal. In the formal sense, we would end Marcel's employment with Catch The Fire so he can have more time to spend with Ruth through her recovery process. After much discussion, Marcel has agreed that this is the best decision, for him to properly care for Ruth. Marcel will finish his role as the pastor of Central Campus on Sunday, July 22nd.
We have been praying about this for some time now and have been asking God who will be the next pastors. We’ve all agreed that Chris & Rebekah Long are fantastic choices. We know that God has a bright future for our Central Campus. The existing leadership team will remain intact, and Chris and Rebekah will begin to lead that team forward.
We want to thank both Ruth and Marcel for their leadership over the past six years. They grew the congregation, discipled people, raised up leaders, and cultivated the presence of God at Central. Please be praying for Marcel & Ruth. Pray for this transition and for full healing for Ruth, and pray for Chris & Rebekah as they step into their new journey.
Thanks for taking the time to read the process this letter.
Steve and Sandra Long
Senior Leaders, Catch The Fire Toronto