Monday, June 24, 2013

Losing our friend through a terrible accident – Maureen Lancaster is gone

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Losing our friend through a terrible accident – Maureen Lancaster is gone

I am numb today.  I laid down for an afternoon sleep yesterday and when I got up my wife told me the terrible news.  Our friend was dead and her husband was in the ICU with some serious injuries. Oh God!  How terrible!

Our friend is Maureen Lancaster and her husband is Rev. Doug Lancaster. They pastor the Avonhurst Pentecostal Church in Regina, Saskatchewan.

On Saturday Evening they were returning from an engagement where Doug spoke to a group of Seniors at a Camp.  They were on Doug’s motorcycle on the highway east of Regina about two hours… somewhere near Moosomin, Sask. I think. There was an area of the province that is heavily populated with White Tail deer… and knowing that Doug slowed down.  However a deer jumped on to the highway and they hit the animal – or the animal hit them.

Maureen died at that place and Doug suffered some very extensive injuries placing him in the ICU of a Regina, Hospital.

Even as I write this my mind is struggling to wonder why it all happened?  “If they would have left a half hour earlier, 15 minutes earlier… two minutes even – Would they have been okay?… or even a bit later?”

I am human and I wonder. I struggle with some dark thoughts at terrible times.

And… yet… Pastor Doug and I both have conducted hundreds of funerals and have tried to reassure all the families that God only knows why.  Now we both have to live it.

When I was a pastor in Saskatchewan one of my tasks was to serve as a Presbyter for a section of the Province.  In one of the periods of time Doug and Maureen were a pastoral team that I encouraged. They were part of my group.  We became friends.

It was also during that time that Doug stepped aside from pastoral duties. He had been pastoring the Southside Pentecostal Church in Regina.  We were serving at Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

Doug and Maureen stepped out of church work for about three years. But we still stayed in touch while they lived in Saskatoon.

During that three years the Southside church called Alida and I to become their new pastors, replacing Doug and Maureen.

Southside had a huge debt that had come when the Satanists had broken into the beautiful new church and burned the building to the ground.  Instead of building on the property where the church was burned, they chose to buy an old school… that sucked the money out of the congregation in every way.

When we arrived to take on the leadership task, the church was in deep debt, they had lost the pastor that they loved and the small group was struggling.

At the end of three years Doug and Maureen were ready to come back to church work again.

It was then that I contacted them and invited them to come back to Southside on a Father’s Day morning to enter ministry again.

That morning Maureen sang a beautiful song and Doug ministered from his heart. At the end I had folk in the church come forward to shake Doug and Maureen’s hands and “Welcome them home”... back into the ministry.

At the same time Doug was speaking a deal was signed for the sale of the Property of the old church site.  Two major burdens had been lifted at that point in time. Forgiveness and faithfulness were part of the church’s reward.

The history that followed was good. Doug and Maureen became the Pastors of the other Pentecostal church in Regina.  Alida and I moved to Peterborough – at almost the same time – in 1998.

Every time I was back in Regina over these past 15 years I have had coffee and a long talk with Doug… including April 2013 when we got together again at Avonhurst. He shared a lot with me that day about their joy of the work they were doing, about being Grandparents and loving it, their love for each other, and other ministerial stuff.  Our friendship over the 21 years had been good and remained the same – close.

I am writing this out of a need to tell someone about a great couple that have done much together – suffered and survived… and now have been torn apart because of a terrible accident.

I write because I am sad and not knowing what to do…

Oh God!  Help us all.  There is a tomorrow – but today hurts and it is heavy.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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dballan said...

Thank you for the details. I have been praying for Doug today. I ride over 300 days a year doing ministry.

Rev. Don Allan
Glad Tidings

R. Jones said...

My husband and I were in their church for four years, and still continue to see them around Regina.. We loved them when we went to Avonhurst and didn't stop when we left. They are wonderful people.. I was with Maureen in choir and thought of her as a friend. She was a lot of fun. I will miss her even though I haven't seen that much of her the last couple of years.. we are finding it very hard to deal with , and our hearts are breaking for Pastor Doug and his kids. Thanks for sharing..

Anonymous said...

I'm a close friend of their daughter, Carla. I don't know Doug and Maureen very well, but coming from a Pastoral family myself, Carla and I have always had lots in common. My dad passed away just two months ago, and this news has shook me more than I knew it could. I relate to the questions you have posed and the deep sadness surrounding this situation. I like your quote at the end - there is a tomorrow, but today hurts and it is heavy. I would never wish this kind of tragedy on another human being - the pain of losing a parent before their time is difficult to bear...but knowing that she is in the Lord's presence with so many saints (including my dad and brother) is such a comfort! Thank you for sharing this.