Al Piper

I was born into a Christian home. My parents, Bill and Audrey Piper, loved the Lord and raised my two brothers, my sister and me in the Christian faith.

That Christian faith became real in my life when I was about five or six. I remember after family devotions one evening at supper being convicted that I was a sinner who was in real trouble with God. But I also knew that because of His great love, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to rescue us by paying the penalty for our sin and rising again from the dead. That evening I knelt by a day bed in our den and asked for God’s forgiveness, inviting Jesus Christ to come into my life. Later, I was baptized in Grace Gospel Church in Paris, Ontario, at the age of 11.

Our family moved around a bit. Dad was Baptist minister who served churches in Toronto (Downsview), Huntsville (Locks, now Riverside), and Springfield, Ontario. It was great to see God at work in those churches and in our family.

When I got into high school, I started drifting from the Lord and hanging out with the party crowd. I never gave serious thought to seeking God’s will for my life so when I graduated; I was accepted into the landscape architecture program at the University of Guelph. But God had different plans. After only seven weeks in the program I contracted mono and had to call it quits. Back at home, my mom was dying of cancer. She had had cancer for as long as I remember, and now the Lord was calling her home. In spite of the pain she was in, her life radiated the love and joy of the Lord. This is what God used to show me that I was missing out on the lasting joy that comes from knowing Him. As a result, I gave my life fully to the Lord and began to seek His will.

It took a number of months to regain my health. During those months, I became more involved in Springfield Baptist Church where Dad was pastoring at the time. It was there that the Lord confirmed a call to the ministry. I experienced such joy and fulfillment in teaching God’s word in Sunday School, working with the young people and leading in worship that I knew I couldn’t do anything else.

I was accepted into Central Baptist Seminary in 1973 (now Heritage Baptist College & Seminary in Cambridge), graduating in 1978 with a Bachelor of Theology degree. It was there that I met my wife Sandy, a young nurse from Thunder Bay who was taking a year off work to study the Bible more intensely. We married in 1977 at Sandy’s home church, O’Connor Baptist just outside the city of Thunder Bay. I thank God for the tremendous support and encouragement that Sandy is as we serve the Lord together. God has blessed us with three children Ben (& Melissa), Amy (& Michael Hosegood) and Julie. He has also given us our two grandchildren, Audrey and Mya, with another one on the way.

During my years at Bible college, I had a very fulfilling internship under Steve Bell at Fellowship Baptist Church in Coburg, Ontario. A year after graduation, God led Sandy & me to Fellowship Baptist Church in Bobcaygeon, Ontario. The people there were so patient and together we grew and ministered to one another.

Then a call came in the spring of 1985 to consider coming to Westfort. They had been without a pastor for over a year. My sense was that I had done what God had called me to do in Bobcaygeon, and, as God led, we moved to Thunder Bay and began our ministry in August of that same year.

Westfort Baptist Church is a great group of believers to serve the Lord with. My passion in ministry is to do all I can to equip and encourage people for ministry and to see our church take the shape of the gifts that God has blessed our people with. As we are faithful to His Word and the leading of His Spirit, He will be faithful in building up the body. You’re welcome to join us as we spread the joy of knowing the true and living God through faith in Jesus Christ.