Remembering four who served
Evangel – Spring 2012
Four alumni who were very close to the ministry of Alberta Bible College over many years have recently passed.
Aileen Case came to serve ABC as Secretary-Administrative Assistant shortly after her graduation in 1959, a role which she held for 27 years. Affectionately known as Casey, she was also librarian, bookkeeper, receptionist, registrar, bookstore manager, faculty secretary, and keeper of the chore list. Aileen was one of these very methodical, even paced people, who got amazing amounts of work done just by moving things along one step at a time. In many ways she was perfectly matched to the job. In her decades in that position, working with different administrations, she was a significant relational anchor for the fellowship of congregations supporting ABC. Many of you will recall a neatly hand written note with most correspondence. Laughter was one of the ways she coped with the thousands of details for which she was responsible, and handled so well, long before computers and data bases. However it was that she dealt with her work, it was evidenced in the work she turned out: she obviously loved the Lord, and she loved His work through ABC, and it required her best! This excellence was also demonstrated through her beautiful voice that ministered to so many, as she loved to sing and to share the inspiration of beautiful music.
Graduating from Alberta Bible College in 1944, Tom Rash, along with his new bride Leota (nee Patton) sailed to India as missionaries a year later. They worked there until 1966 in church planting and in the establishment of India Bible College seeking to empower indigenous workers in a colonial country where that was not always popular. From 1967-1972 Tom served as an instructor at Alberta Bible College, teaching in the areas of missions, prayer/spiritual formation, evangelism and counseling. An avid reader and an excellent, high energy instructor, Tom regularly invited students to the journey of growth and learning that he relished. Like other’s returning to the West after years oversees, he was disconcerted with a kind of spiritual complacency which he sought to unsettle. His challenge to help us to know ‘firsthand’…God and ourselves, sometimes got him into trouble, but resonated with students of the day. Following ABC Tom counseled people, including years at the Pastoral Institute in Calgary, and also with the AIDS community in Calgary.
Ralph Whitrow and Harry Matheson graduated from Alberta Bible College in the forties. They were friends and then became brothers-in-law. In the days before church planting teams, they were a team, one planting a church in Big River and the other in Morin Creek. Even though they were separated by a couple of hours in these northern Saskatchewan communities there were many trips back and forth and weekly letters because they depended on each other for advice and support. Together, they started a summer camp in Big River and held joint youth conferences along with the regular services. These church plants did not become large churches, and neither exists today, but their influence is ongoing sixty years later. Harry lived and served in the Morin Creek area until he retired to Meadow Lake while Ralph moved to Alberta where he served in the Great Bend, Wrentham and Taber churches before retiring from formal ministry to live in Yellow Grass. Alberta Bible College was important in the lives of both Ralph and Harry. They both had great respect for their ABC teachers and valued all they had learned. As alumni, they both were sacrificial financial supporters, as well as Board members.