Message from Paul D. Mack, President of CLF Canada
Dear members and friends of CLF,
It is sometimes extremely difficult to say goodbye, particularly to someone we love and will truly miss. This is the case even though we might know that the Lord is moving someone (for example, a beloved pastor) in a new direction.
Perhaps the best measure of a person's impact on our lives is the degree to which we recognise that we will miss him or her.
Thus, it is with great sadness that the Board recently received Ruth Ross's letter of resignation as General Counsel.
We look back over a period that stretches back to the turn of this millennium. When Ruth joined CLF as Executive Director, in October, 2000, the organisation could not be, in any way, considered to be thriving - the number of members was small (and, of course, the number of those with any degree of commitment to CLF was much smaller), the finances were either flat or negative, and the impact on the lives of CLF's members, the Christian community, and this great country in which we live was minimal. Much has changed since the Lord led CLF to invite Ruth to become its Executive Director, in October, 2000.
I often think of (indeed, I am motivated by) the words of Mordechai to his niece, Esther, when he asked her to request the king's intervention in the threatened extermination of the Jewish people: 'Who knows but that the Lord has you in this place for such a time as this?'.
Mordechai acknowledged that Esther had two choices - she could take up, or reject, the challenge. Each of us will, probably at several stages of our lives, be asked the same question. We, too, will have the same choices. Ruth had the same two choices; we are grateful that she responded in such a positive manner.
We sometimes do not know - until we reflect back - just how much the Lord was, at those critical points in our lives, posing the same question to us. As we reflect back on the way that Ruth responded to the invitation to lead CLF, we can certainly see how the Lord had her 'in this place for such a time as this'.
Ruth started in what was euphemistically called a 'part-time' position. As it turned out, that meant that the 'part' was simply the period that she slept (which, I understand from Pat, was not very much) - all of her conscious time seems to have been committed to pursuing different ways in which the Lord was leading her to develop the ministry of CLF. As a friend of mine has described her, she was the 'pocket rocket'!
Over the years during which Ruth Ross was CLF's Executive Director, we saw significant growth in every measurable way - numerically (membership more than tripled), financially (the budget increased more than four-fold), and in influence in the Christian community and in Canada itself (particularly as the number and complexity of interventions grew).
Involvement by the members grew, as the Lord raised up others to stand beside Ruth and to develop and expand the ministry of CLF. I always hesitate to acknowledge some involved in ministry, for fear of accidentally omitting others; although for the same reason I am reluctant to identify the development of different ministries within CLF, the following must be acknowledged as showing significant growth during the last twelve years:
- An Intervention Committee now gives direction on how and when to intervene;
- The Student Ministry grew strong, particularly under the guidance of Cal Beresh and Tim Stonhouse;
- The Lord raised up a wonderful group of student leaders in most of the law schools, with the result that today we have chapters on most campuses;
- The number of conferences grew, so that we now have both annual student conferences and general conferences, as well as the Christian Legal Institute;
- We are now blessed with a chaplain;
- I was honoured to be part of a Board that has been a wonderful blessing to me and, I believe, to the other Board members (indeed, several of our current Board were not even law students when Ruth commenced her ministry with us; they became, over that period, enfolded into CLF's ministries).
I will not omit the strong supportive role of Ruth's husband, Pat, who spent many volunteer hours working alongside her. Nor should her children be forgotten - a wonderfully committed family, who 'gave as unto the Lord'.
So, it is with deep regret that the CLF Board accepted Ruth's resignation. Ruth's letter outlines several factors that tend to point to the Lord's timing. We, as a Board, recognised that Ruth appeared to accurately identify that the Lord was leading her into new areas of ministry - while, at the same time, 'slowing down' (!).
The Lord has blessed CLF as an organization, and many of us as individuals, through - more than twelve years ago - putting Ruth into place 'for such a time as this'.
We know that the Lord has not yet finished blessing others through various avenues of ministry into which He will continue to lead Ruth. On behalf of the Board of CLF, we ask the Lord to bless Ruth and Pat as much as they have been used to bless us.
As we look back at the past, we also look forward to the future with our new Executive Director, Russ Browne. Again, we believe that the Lord has put Russ in this position 'for such a time as this'. We know that the Lord has given Russ a vision of what He wants for the future of CLF, and we are excited about how that will play out in the years ahead. We affirm 'thus far has the Lord brought us' - but we know, also, that the story of God's providence for CLF will be much greater known years from now.
Paul D. Mack
President and Chairman of the Board of Christian Legal Fellowship