How could this happen days before the big anniversary service? Dale Renout shares an amazing true story from 2006 involving the late Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion.
Shingles are expensive to dispose of. Some fly-by-night roofing companies will dump the shingles and disappear, and even if they’re caught it is a civil not a criminal matter. Church parking lots are often deserted at night, and it’s easy to make a quick exit in and out.
At Streetsville Baptist Church in Mississauga, Ont., we were getting ready for our anniversary service in 2006. The speaker was booked, old members had been invited back and pictures were set up around the auditorium. What could go wrong? In my mind we were ready for revival.
Wednesday morning I pulled into the church parking lot and found ten tons of shingles dumped there. I called the police and learned it’s a civil matter. Their hands were tied. I called the dump and the tipping fees alone were going to be close to $2,000.
I do recall praying for some kind of an idea, and a thought came to me. I called a press conference. I called there papers. The Mississauga News, the Streetsville paper and I believe The Toronto Star. I called the local radio and television station.
At two o’clock the local paper and radio and television station pulled in, and I stood on top of the shingles and preached a sermon on forgiveness.
Money started pouring in. Then a company offered to take the shingles away for free if we put them in bins, but then even something better happened. Mayor Hazel McCallion saw the news and called the church and said the city would take care of it.
I don’t recall if we had a special project that year for our anniversary offering, but I do know we had the biggest anniversary offering ever. My sermon text that afternoon was found in Genesis, “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”
I will always remember this as a neat little story that shows God at work.
Editor's note: Dale Renout wrote up this memory and then sent it to Faith Today on Jan. 18. On Jan. 29 Hazel McCallion died at the age of 101, with a funeral set for Feb. 14, making it just a little extra relevant to this moment (see news reports from GlobalNews.ca and CBC.ca).