UNUTSU has released the name of a pastor killed in a car crash in Ontario, the church says.
The name of the deceased Rev. Jody Stephens was released in a statement from the United Methodist Church of the Greater Toronto Area (UMCGTA), which has the largest UMCGTTA membership in Canada.
It says the Rev. Stephens is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Stephens, an ordained minister at St. Thomas More United Methodist Cathedral, was fatally injured in the accident that took place on Saturday, according to the statement.
The church says the crash took place during a family picnic.
Stephen is survived in the family by his two children and wife, as well as by his four grandchildren and three stepchildren.
The statement also says the UMCgTA is grateful to the Ontario Provincial Police and the OPP for their ongoing investigation into the crash.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the Revs.
Stephes, Stephens family and all those affected by this tragedy,” the statement reads.
“The UMC will be supporting the family during this difficult time.”
UMCs website says the church holds the following values: We are united by the values of love, compassion, justice and compassion.
We are open to all faiths, none of whom are more important than others.
We do not tolerate hate, discrimination, bullying or any other form of prejudice.
We welcome everyone to our faith community.
UMC leaders say they have been contacted by a number of other UMC churches, including the Diocese of Niagara, who have also been contacted.
The UMC GTA is seeking more information from other churches, UMC officials said in a news release.
The Canadian Association of Evangelicals, which represents about 2,000 Protestant, Catholic and other Protestant denominations, says it is also investigating the crash and has called for a full investigation by the Ontario provincial police.
It said in an email to CBC News it has reached out to UMC leadership and is seeking further information.
“I can tell you that the U.S. government, the Ontario government, is very concerned about the safety of our clergy, their families, their congregations and the community,” said the Rev., John L. Miller.
“There has to be a complete and thorough investigation.
That is what we are looking at.
That will be an ongoing process.”
Miller, who is the president of the UMP, said the UUTSU is also seeking more details from the Ontario province.
“This is a tragedy, and the UUP is praying for the Rev Jody’s family and for all the families of the people involved in this tragic event,” he said.
“Our focus is on the recovery of the victims, the safety and wellbeing of those affected and the immediate and long-term well-being of all those involved.”
Stephens, who was ordained in 1984, was married and was ordained as a pastor in 2001.
His wife, who has since died, was a teacher.
The congregation is not connected to the UU, Miller said.