Bancroft is a great town to grow up in. Of course, no one has a choice where they spend their early years–but I have no complaints. The house I grew up in backed up to a forest that I always assumed continued unabated to the Arctic Circle. It was certainly extensive enough to get lost in. Many of my best memories revolve around the lakes, creeks, and cliffs behind that house.
I was brought into this world by two great parents, Wendy and David. Six years later my sister Kathy followed. Kathy and I were raised in a good Christian home. As far as I can remember, we never missed a church service! Sometimes when I’m half-way between sleeping and waking, I can still remember the designs on the bottom of the pews in Bancroft Pentecostal Tabernacle’s old sanctuary.
Another constant in my early life was piano lessons. My parents put up the cash and the patience to listen to me hammer on the old upright piano in the entrance-way of our house. I’m still playing–and now teaching. Music is such a huge part of my life, I owe a lot to those years of piano practicing.
I remember taking a government-issued career evaluation in Grade 7 or 8. When the lengthy computer printout (complete with perforated side-tabs) was returned, I decided that I would be a marine biologist. Lofty goal, eh? Five years later I enrolled at Eastern Pentecostal Bible College (now MCS) to become a minister. People (including the PAOC’s credentialing committee) have asked me how I knew I was “called” to ministry. I still have no answer other than I just knew. I still know.
After finishing a Bachelor of Theology, I promptly got married. As much as I’m embarrassed to admit it, I met my wife Donna at Bible College. We came back from a honeymoon in Florida to minister at Faith Alive Christian Centre in Mississauga. I was responsible for the all the music there.
After a few great years, I realized that I missed school. In Fall of 1999, I enrolled at Tyndale Seminary’s Master of Divinity course and graduated three years later with a major in education.
At the same time I enrolled in Seminary, I began another important chapter in my life: annual winter camping trips with my friends. Before long we added a spring trip to the winter trip. Next came a fall trip. Now we go wilderness camping about as often as we can get away. We’ve paddled and hiked Killarney, Quetico, Algonquin, Temagami, Allegheny National Forest, Bruce Trail, White River, French River, Key River, and Puckasaw River, to name a few.
In fall of 2002, I moved to Petrolia to serve New Life Assembly as a music minister/associate pastor. Five years after moving here, Donna and I celebrated the birth of our first son, Ryan. He’s already grown a lot since I placed this birth announcement on my old blog.
In July of 2008, I resigned from New Life Assembly to pursue ministry elsewhere. God was faithful (faithfulness seems to be his trademark). In November of 2008, I began ministering as the Senior Pastor of Wellington Street Pentecostal Church in Bracebridge, Ontario.
A few years ago I started a blog to give daily devotions to the people in my church. It was called Meditations on Ezekiel and was hosted on Typepad. After two years of commenting on Ezekiel, I decided to expand the scope of the blog and move it to my own domain. Thus stephenbarkley.com. I’ve imported all those posts from the Ezekiel years if you’re interested. Thanks for reading.