Christian Church ​(Disciples of Christ) in Canada

église chrétienne (Disciples du christ) au canada

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Former Regional Minister, F Thomas Rutherford Passes Away

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of F Thomas Rutherford, former Regional Minister of the Canadian Region, long time member of St Thomas Christian Church, retired pastor, beloved husband of Dianne, and father to Twyladawn, Shannon, and Shawn. Tom passed suddenly Monday, April 17, with Dianne at his side, after a long illness. 

Family, friends, and colleagues are invited to attend a celebration of Tom's life on Saturday, April 22 at 1:00p at St Thomas Christian Church (DoC). In addition, a visitation will be held on Friday evening, 7:00-9:00p also at St Thomas Christian Church.

Please share this news with your congregations and all who had the joy of knowing Tom. Keep Dianne and their children in your prayers through this difficult time. You may also wish to be in touch with the family, address and telephone number below.

Dianne Rutherford phone: 519-637-7820
Address: 210-420 Wellington Street, St Thomas, Ontario, N5R 5P2

St Thomas Christian Church (DoC)
451 Wellington St, St. Thomas, ON N5R 6G2

Franklin Thomas Rutherford was born in Halifax, May 24, 1943. He grew up in the Southville church and was baptized at age 13 and teaching Junior Class by age 15. He was Vice-President NSCYF 1960- 1961 and a delegate to the 1961 North American Ecumenical Youth Assembly, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He attended the Alberta Bible College from 1962 to 1966. During this time he served a student pastorate South Hill Christian Church, with pioneer pastor Dr. R. J. Westaway. He graduated with a Bachelor of Theology and was ordained inSouthville Church of Christ, May 1966.

Following ordination he served in the following churches:Hanna Church of Christ (Disciples), 1966 - 1969; South Hill Christian Church, Calgary in a bi-vocational ministry, (while working at the Hudson's Bay Company) 1969 - 1975; Park AvenueChristian Church/Mapleton Church of Christ (Disciples) in a joint ministry, 1975 - 1980.

From 1980-19 84 he attended Christian Theological Seminary, graduating with Master of Divinity degree. While there he served as Minister of Summitville First Christian Church(Disciples of Christ).

He returned to Canada and ministered at Northwood Christian Church and Ridgetown Christian Church from March 1985 to May 1999; and at St. Thomas Christian Church from May 1999until August 2001, when he was called to serve as Regional Minister.

During his 35 years of pastoring in the local church, Tom was also active in the ecumenicalsphere. While at Alberta Bible College he participated as a Disciple in discussions with nineUnited Churches in Ogdon about the union discussions which were being considered at thetime. He also worked with the Billy Graham Association for a Calgary crusade with LeightonFord. He was a leader in organizing ministerial associations in Hanna and in Summitville, andserved as president of the Ridgetown Ministerial Association 1997 - 1999, and the St. ThomasMinisterial Association, 2000 - 2001. While serving at Park Avenue ChristianChurch/Mapleton Church of Christ, he organized a summer exchange with Grace United Church for three summers -1978 - 1980, and again in St Thomas he initiated summer exchangewith Erie St. United Church and joint choir participation in cantata programs. He alsoorganized a weekend spiritual retreat with St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church.

Beyond the local level, Tom served as President of the Ontario Board from 200 to 2001.At the National Level, he served on the All Canada Committee from 1976 to 1980, and then from 1986 to 1984, before being called to serve as Regional Minister from 2001 to 2006.

At the International level, Tom was a member of the General Board, Christian Church(Disciples of Christ) and a Member, Administrative Committee of the General Board from1996 to 2001.

Although retired in August, 2006, he continues to serve on the College of Churches of Christ,presently being the chairperson.

His contributions to the work of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at all levels over the past 42 years make F. Thomas Rutherford was awarded our Region’s highest honour, the G.H. Stewart award, in 2008.