Ted Goossen, former Thompson Christian Centre Fellowship pastor and, briefly, an internet ambassador for the city and Canada when a video of him and his wife Mary blowing bubbles at -45 degrees Celsius went viral, died in Saskatoon March 31 at the age of 70.
Previously having served nearly 15 years as pastor at Grace Church in Cranberry Portage as well as part-time and then full-time director of Simonhouse Bible Camp, Goossen returned to Northern Manitoba in 2005, after serving for three years as an associate pastor in Winkler and then spending two years as a long-haul truck driver. He stayed in Thompson for 10 years, before heading southwest to Saskatchewan in August 2015 to live closer to two of his and Mary’s children in that province and another in Calgary.
Goossen was the driving force behind the creation of the Nickel Belt News’s Spiritual Thoughts column, which rotated between various members of the Thompson Christian Council and still appears occasionally. He was also the type of pastor to express his values through actions rather than just words, having spearheaded Thompson Christian Centre Fellowship fundraisers to assist with the costs of building the Thompson Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation’s second Our Home Kikinaw house, which raised more than $21,000, $9,000 of which came in the form of matching donations by the church Goossen served as pastor.
Depsite his penchant for action, Goossen wasn’t one to keep his thoughts to himself. When the Nickel Belt News didn’t want to run a column by Seventh-Day Adventist Richard Sheppard in 2014, Goossen emailed former editor John Barker to criticize that decision and ended up getting it reversed. A few years earlier, speaking to what was then the Burntwood Regional Health Authority (BRHA) board about their Spiritual Care Committee (SCC), which looked after the spiritual needs of BRHA patients through a rotating roster of clergy and lay people by offering weekly Sunday services at the hospital, Goossen said that spiritual care at the hospital was not in good shape when he arrived in Thompson.
“Frankly, the whole aspect of spiritual care at Thompson General Hospital was in a kind of chaos,” he said, with patients telling each other “don’t bother calling [the SCC], they don’t show up.”
Goossen also knew what it was to experience personal loss, having lost a son to suicide, which he said shortly before leaving Thompson had helped him understand other people’s struggles.
“Had we not had that experience with our son, I don’t think I would have been able to minister the way I have been,” Goossen said.
Born on a farm near Manitou, Goossen attended university and seminary in Winnipeg before he and Mary moved to Winkler to run a bible camp, prior to his first northern posting in Cranberry Portage beginning in 1985. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and one son. His funeral will be held today at Forest Grove Community Church in Saskatoon and donations may be made in his memory to Simonhouse Bible Camp.