Stories of God at work in and through the people of Stony Plain Alliance Church. This blog is meant to celebrate God’s work and spur each other on towards love and good deeds (Heb 10:24).
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  • Oct19Wed

    Memories of Ralph Jespersen

    October 19, 2016
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    On Monday, October 17th Ralph Jespersen, went home to be with the Savior. He was one of the SPAC originals dating back to 1939. He was wise, grace-filled and Christ focused. Ralph and Bernice have been faithful to Jesus and to SPAC, still praying through our church directory for families. And even though he was 92, Ralph always advocated for a fresh move of God's Spirit in the church and for it to remain relevant to the changing world. This week's #WeAreSPAC blog is a compilation of thoughts and stories that people have sent in about Ralph. 

    Ralph's memorial will be held here at SPAC on Wednesday, October 26th at 1:30 pm with a luncheon to follow in the Family Centre.

    Ralph was very much a blessing in our lives. Ralph and Bernice were always willing to share their wisdom as well as encourage us along the way through our marriage and our blended family. His own testimony and stories of his life were so inspiring. We will cherish them and we will miss Ralph with abundance. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7. Until we meet again, friend. "The best is yet to come". - John and Sam Galm

    I will remember Ralph as engaging, warm, quick to smile, quick to laugh, quick to offer support, help, deference and grace. (A most appropriate recipient of that Governor General’s Caring Canadian award.) Ralph was also leader. And in an age where integrity of character and conduct seem in pitched decline, Ralph stands as something of a paragon of honesty and genuine human decency. As well, he always seemed to strike a perfect balance concerning respect for tradition and curiosity about the future, he was grounded and somehow always current, stalwart and progressive. Beyond all this he was a man of humility, a man who loved his Creator, and who was full of what the New Testament calls “fruit of the Spirit.” Such a great loss to your family, and such a great loss to the community. Ralph has left an incredible example. – Steve Berg

    A tremendous legacy and touched so many. The legacy the Lord Himself had for the man. He was greeted with statement we all wish to be welcomed with. 'Well done, my good and faithful servant'. I pray for peace for you and your family in a time of grieving and celebration. – Josh Sawatzky

    My love and sympathies to the family of Ralph Jespersen... Truly one of my very favorite people! Ralph was a champion for people, his church, community, province and country, but most of all, his family. Surely the Lord has welcomed him home with, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant..." – Pat Hansard

    I remember when Wayne and I started attending Ralph would say goodbye at the exit door after the service to everyone leaving....always asking our plans, how you are, etc... a very caring godly man. – Lori Tellier

    Not often have we the privileged of knowing such commitment to all of God's values as Ralph’s; he lived and shared with all who were privileged to know him. His dedication each and every day to help those on this planet find a better way to live was simply one of his many legacies and one that hundreds if not thousands have benefitted from. His work as an MLA, as a church leader, a community member, a friend, an active farmer on so many levels and most of all with his families and friends. I was truly blessed to hold him and your Mom in my heart as a cherished friend. He and Bernice have cared for me through very difficult times as they have many others. It is a deeply tragic loss when we loss someone who was an iconic example of what walking the walk Jesus teaches, and Ralph did that every minute of every day. – Rianne Edwards-Switzer

    Ralph taught me so much. Back when the church had adult Sunday school classes, and I was a new believer in Christ, I attended a few of his classes. What a wise, kind man of God he was! He will be sorely missed. – Donna Woychuk

    I still remember meeting Ralph for the first time after the service the first time we visited SPAC in 1994 he was at his usual spot in the foyer meeting and greeting people , his warm smile and kind words made me feel welcome. I always enjoyed when he shared or spoke at church and always had lots to offer. I am so glad I had the opportunity to serve with him for a time on the board of elders, he was an inspiration and I could feel his love for people and the church body . Ralph always had a great attitude in all things and so wise , I will miss Him much and look forward to seeing him again one day. - Brent Robinson

    We met Ralph the first Sunday my wife & I attended church at SPAC a few years ago. He was bright and witty and our brief conversation quickly indicated that he was very much (Alive) in Christ. We enjoyed subsequent meetings with him and Bernice. He enjoyed speaking German with us and Bernice was a wonder with humorous quips. In Ralph we saw and delighted in the faithfulness of Christ our Saviour. The Joy of the Lord is for the old, the young and all of us in between. Our lives are richer for having known him. - Daniel & Eva Mooney

    When Ralph prayed for you, you felt truly prayed for! I just felt so blessed to know him. He made everyone feel like HE was blessed that you knew him. – Judy Bennett

    Ralph (& Bernice) was a bright moment of my day every Sunday that I saw him. I always ensured I would give him/them a hug for being so kind and loving. Thank you, Ralph, for being a part of starting and keeping SPAC going. I can only strive to be as Christ filled as you. See you again one day fine Sir! God is blessed to have you back with Him! – Stacie Grout

    When we were new to the church we bumped into Ralph and Bernice at the local A&W one day at lunch. I was pretty sure that they did not know who I was, but since I recognized them, I thought I would introduce myself. When I told them my name they smiled and said, “Oh! You are Lise, your husband’s name is Randy and you have two girls – Emma and Bethany.” Turning things over in my mind I tried to figure out how they could know this when we had never met, so I asked. Bernice, with a twinkle in her eye, replied, “Well, we pray for each family in the church directory”, and then she laughed. Ralph continued reading the paper as though this was all commonplace. I couldn’t believe that though they did not know us, they prayed for us by name. – Lise Plamondon

    Ralph had a great impact on me. He was the first to show me what a real man of Christ looks like, acts like and talks like. We were in a men's group together many years ago and I will always be grateful for his wisdom and his example. – Don Clements

    Ralph is (and I mean still is) one of the wisest, most grace-filled, Christ-focused men that I know. He was one of the SPAC originals dating back to 1939. In an age of unfaithfulness, Ralph and Bernice have been faithful to Jesus and to SPAC, still praying through our church directory for families. And even though he was 92, he always advocated for a fresh move of God's Spirit in the church and for it to remain relevant to the changing world. In my 24 years of pastoral ministry I have not felt as challenged or supported by anyone else. – Graham English

    There was nothing like getting a kind greeting, a laugh, and a hug from Ralph on the way out of Sunday services. If he was busy giving someone extra attention that Sunday, I would often find an excuse to delay so that I could (like a 3 year old waiting for a sticker) get my turn. One day in particular I was the one needing extra attention. He somehow knew that and said the exact words I needed to hear, at the exact moment they needed to be heard. I literally felt God’s peace, and will never forget that moment. – Verlin Fuhr

    Ralph Jespersen was genuine! From his friendly smile and infectious laugh, taking time to chat-with anyone about anything and everything, to his desire for absolutely everyone to know his Jesus. Authentic, praying, loving, giving, patient, kind, generous...the list could go on and on. Heaven rejoices while we mourn...our community will feel his absence deeply! – Leslie McCreath-Hunneman

    I Love Ralph so much. I'm one of many who consider him a mentor. I was in my early 20's on the SPAC board, while Ralph was in his early 70's on that Board. Such wisdom and grace and faithfulness. Not sure if I've met a finer man.  There was a time in our church where we went a fairly long stretch without a Sr. Pastor.  I always felt like we were going to be OK since Ralph was there serving behind the scenes, giving Biblical wisdom and perspective.  He had to deal with tough things in church – issues of sin, disunity and conflict.  He modeled such truth and love and grace.  I left Stony and served in my first Pastorate in Ontario for 4 years, and when I moved back to serve at SPAC, the first person I  set up a lunch with was Ralph just to glean his wisdom and take on the church, and speaking of the church NO ONE loved this church like Ralph. I feel his absence already. - Jonathan Gonyou

    As a new pastor at SPAC, Ralph's encouragement helped me find my place here. He spoke with sincerity in welcoming me, and worked to connect me into our community. I deeply appreciated the grace with which Ralph faced his own limitations as he aged. He never stopped loving God and loving others. As he could no longer lead, he encouraged and supported others to lead. And always he and Bernice were praying. In conversation, Ralph set a beautiful example of balancing the difficult aspects of current life, with the deep faith and joy that we only experience in Christ. I will miss you, Ralph. - Linda Stover


    On Tuesday, October 25, 2016, Sandy Campbell said:

    When Les was interim senior pastor at Stony Plain in 1999, Ralph and Bernice were key people in our journey there. We became friends. Almost every Sunday we had lunch together. Ralph's quiet dignity and strength was always evident, as was his sense of humor. In our conversations his deep love for God and the depth of his walk with Jesus was an inspiration and an encouragement to both Les and I. We will never forget the decision Ralph and Bernice made to frequent the same restaurants so they could know and encourage the staff there, and maybe introduce them to Jesus. Our love and prayers are with Bernice and your whole family and we are with you in spirit.


    On Sunday, October 23, 2016, Chrys Meads said:

    It's hard to put into words what to say about a man like Ralph Jespersen. It was truly an honour for me to know him and I will miss the hug he always gave me whenever our paths crossed. His legacy lives on in the beautiful children that God entrusted into his and Bernice's care and all the grandchildren and great grandchildren they have and that are yet to come. Our loss is truly "Heavens Gain". Love Chrys Meads


    On Thursday, October 20, 2016, Kerry & Sharon Peart said:

    Ralph J was one one the first (stranger to us) at SPAC to welcome us. This was 8 years ago and every Sunday he would find us to say good morning nice to see you.


    On Thursday, October 20, 2016, Cheryl Dawes said:

    Ralph was a man who took time to genuinely make you feel like you mattered to him. His hand shake, hug and inspiring words were always fitting and truly from the heart. He spoke into our lives and was a rock. I will always remember him coming to visit in our home and eating apple pie! Special man, heaven is celebrating and welcoming him home!


    On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, Sandie Graham said:

    I was so thankful to have known Ralph for 33 years. He taught me unconditional love, he re-enforced all the teachings I was hearing in my early years as a new believer. He was Jesus' voice and skin in my life. I was grateful to have served as a deaconess for many years while he was on the board or a deacon, and was fortunate to have visited many people with Ralph. He also knew how to approach, instruct and teach people as well as love them. His infectious smile was just that infectious. He loved my children when I was a widow. To this day Kerry saw him as a "church grampa" . He was so sweet to her for all the years she was at Stony Plain. When I come back to Stony Plain Alliance to visit he is one of the people I seek out and am thrilled to see...earlier this year when I saw him he told me I was getting better looking every year and then asked me if I thought he was too ??? Such a funny man and at the same time he lifted me up! He always said he was my birthday friend as he was only 2 days older than me, we both ignored the years between the 2 days. As a grandparent now to 6 granddaughters I think of Ralph often and admire the wisdom and love he leaves to his grandkids and also great grandkids. What a pleasure it is to know such a stoic, loving and genuine man. Love you Ralph Jespersen, guess if I never visit Stony Plain Alliance I will never know you are gone. Hugs to you my birthday friend ! I will continue to celebrate our birthdays between May 9-11th ... Cheers !


    On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, Carson Mills said:

    This is great. I appreciate your anecdote so much, Lise. I can visualize that conversation pretty easily. My grandparents are remarkable people and Ralph left a profound impact on this entire church body and community.


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