Dick Knox has made his life’s work spreading the word of God, lending his hand to fellow brothers and sisters in Prince Rupert for more than two decades.
Dick and his wife Robin have called Prince Rupert their home for more than 20 years, moving from Alberta to B.C.’s North Coast. The couple raised their daughter and son on the North Coast and have helped out whenever they could over the years, particularly within the community’s churches.
The couple fell in love when they were teenagers, first meeting on their way to school one morning.
“I got on the school bus one day and there was this cute blonde I had never seen before. So, I sat down beside her,” he said.
The couple dated throughout high school, getting married after five years of dating. Years later, the high school sweethearts would go on to have a daughter and son together, raising them in Prince Rupert. Their children are now adults, with the Knoxes being the proud grandparents of two grandchildren.
Dick was originally from Ontario, where his love for God bloomed. Dick joked he was a “mongrel Christian” growing up, explaining his family were members of an Anglican Church, but Dick was registered into a Sunday School program with the United Church.
Dick would switch churches later in his life, becoming involved with one of Ontario’s Christian Missionary Alliance Churches.
“As a young man when I came into a personal relationship with Christ I became active in my church,” he said, noting the church’s pastor had encouraged him to take on the roll despite not being educated in pastoral studies.
Dick became involved as a lay pastor, but after time felt he needed formal training. The Knoxes packed their bags and moved to Regina, where Dick completed his Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies.
“The only church [I was offered a position at] was in Hazelton. I declined because I thought it was too isolated,” he said.
“I know God has a sense of humour because in the end we accepted a call to a church in Grand Cache, Alberta, which is even more isolated than Hazelton,” Dick chuckled, noting he pastored there for five years before the couple decided to relocate to Red Deer to find new work.
The couple wound up on the North Coast after Robin was hired for a position at the hospital. Dick believes it was part of God’s plan for the Knoxes to live in Prince Rupert, pointing to how the family wound up finding a place to rent despite there being virtually nothing available.
Robin had arrived in Prince Rupert before the rest of the family in 1993, when the town was experiencing better economic times, and was on the hunt for a family home for rent that allowed pets. It proved to be a challenge but Robin learned one real estate agent had a few remaining rentals.
“She phoned him up and [the agent] says, ‘Are you a Christian?’,” Dick recalled.
When Robin told the agent her husband was a pastor in a Christian Missionary Alliance Church, he immediately offered her the perfect family home.
There wasn’t an Alliance church in Prince Rupert, so Dick and Robin decided they would attend the Cornerstone Mennonite Brethren Church. Dick said members of the church welcomed them with open arms.
Dick would go on to become part of the church’s leadership team and, eventually, pastor. He held onto the role for five years before stepping down a number of years ago, but continued to provide teaching and preaching over the years, and remains on the leadership team.
His contributions to Prince Rupert’s churches extends beyond Cornerstone, with Dick also serving as a guest preacher at the Presbyterian Church for a six month period and giving sermons at the Pentecostal church, both Baptist churches and the Salvation Army over the years.
Dick was also involved in the creation of the Seafarers’ Mission, acting as chairman of the group for a couple years, and is part of the Prince Rupert Gideons International chapter.
But it’s not just adults that Dick has worked to instill a love for God in. Dick has donated his time to Prince Rupert’s Scouts Canada program for nearly a decade, which incorporates spirituality into the club’s adventures and learning.
Both Dick and Robin were involved in the Scouts Canada program in Ontario, so when a former co-worker of Dick’s suggested he become a leader, he didn’t hesitate to go with it.
Dick is Cubmaster of the Cub Scouts group in Prince Rupert, which consists of children between the ages of eight and 10. He leads the group in activities such as, hiking, camping and crafts, with a goal of training them to be self-reliant, supportive, responsible and committed people.
“If you get kids who are receptive and want to learn, it’s really exciting to see them taking in the information and applying it,” said Dick.
But that’s not the only reason Dick enjoys leading the club.
“I must admit I’m still a bit of a kid at heart. I still love to play games with them,” he laughed.
This year was the first in many that there has been multiple Scout groups, something Dick hopes the community will continue to experience. For many years there was only a Cub Scout program in Prince Rupert due to a lack of volunteers, however new leaders stepped up allowing for the creation of a Beaver and Scouts club in 2014.