A farewell drive-by parade was held Tuesday in Oro-Medonte to honour and thank Cornerstone Baptist Church pastor Evan Webster, who has spent the past seven years in Orillia, and his wife, Miranda, who has been here for five years.
The Websters are moving to Ohio, where Miranda has accepted a job as a professor at Cedarville University.
Evan said he and Miranda are thankful for the community members who braved the rain to throw them a farewell parade.
“It’s sobering, humbling and something I did not expect at all,” he said.
“I’m so grateful for the support, encouragement and the love that the church and the community have shown us.”
Evan is a native of Alabama and Miranda is from Texas. Evan said he and his wife fell in love quickly with the Canadian culture and will miss it while living south of the border.
“There is a northern Canadian hospitality that is unseen anywhere else. It was neat to experience,” he said.
Evan also said he is going to miss what he calls his Canadian family and the Orillia community.
“I’m going to cherish the friendships I’ve grown to love. This church has shown me what it means to have a true family that is deeper than blood,” he said.
“This is a great community to have lived in. I love this community and I’ve felt and experienced their love, too. I’m really appreciative of all they have done for us.”
Lynn Thomas, a member of the worship ministry at Cornerstone who is also the development co-ordinator for the Building Hope campaign, said the church and the Orillia community will miss the Websters’ presence and their hard work to help the less fortunate. The Websters were heavily involved in organizing many Building Hope fundraising events.
“They have been very involved with our community and have really helped the vulnerable population. Both of them have a real heart for people in need,” Thomas said.
She said Miranda, through ministries and teaching, “has been a good mentor for young women in our community."
"Both of them have a real encouraging, kind way about them and we are definitely going to miss that,” she said.
“Their heart for the community and their heart for people in need is going to be a big void for us.”
The Websters will always be a part of the extended family at Cornerstone as well as the broader community, Thomas added.