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Pastor Grant Vander Hoek and his congregation were intrigued when a large item covered in a painter’s blanket was carried to the front of the sanctuary one Sunday morning at Mission Hills Community Christian Reformed Church in Mission, British Columbia.

Rev. Grant Vander Hoek enjoys delivering the morning message from a new pulpit.

As Vander Hoek prepared to deliver his message from behind his usual music stand, he was interrupted for a timely unveiling of a new pulpit for the sanctuary.

The donor, who prefers not to be named, had found acceptance, love, and care at Mission Hills during a difficult time in his life. He had listened to many good messages but was bothered by the fact that Vander Hoek stood behind a music stand. The pulpit was his gift to the church.

The man said, “I have been coming here for the better part of eight months, and never have I felt so welcome in all my life. But one thing is wrong. When I am listening to Grant talk, it doesn’t feel right that he is speaking from a black music stand, so we are here to change that this morning.”

The pulpit is made from reclaimed wood and features a compartment for storage and a cross. Vander Hoek said, “It suits our church perfectly and is the perfect height for me.”

Mission Hills Community CRC has many hopes and dreams. Organized from a church plant, the church is tucked against the coastal mountains north of Abbotsford. With a membership of only 80, the church had set project priorities. A pulpit was not high on the list.

The donor has since moved on, but the pulpit reminds Vander Hoek and the congregation of paths that crossed and a gift that was given back to the church.

“If only I could have videotaped the reaction of the people in church” says Vander Hoek with a smile. “It was amazing. Clapping, cheering, crying, the whole nine yards.”

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