UKRAINIAN BAPTIST HERITAGE CENTRE

Peter's note - I first  met Rev. Jack Shakotko when he started visiting our Toronto Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in late 1972.  I was 12 years old at that time, and this was my home church since November 1962, when our family came over from Germany.   Rev.  Jack Shakotko became our pastor for the next three and a half years, from January 1973 - June 1976. 

He was my favourite pastor at the Toronto Church. Why? He was the only minister who spoke in English each Sunday while he pastored our church.  He would first speak in English for 15 minutes, then he would give the same message in Ukrainian for 15 minutes.  He loved to sing and always led the hymn when he finished preaching in Ukrainian.  Almost every Sunday, Pastor Jack, with tears, gave an altar call.

It wasn't until I read Pastor Jack's short autobiography which he typed in 1976 (found below and which I first read in July 2009), did I realize the spiritual preparation he had before he came to our church.  He truly loved the young people and the children of our church.  I'll never forget one member's meeting, when Pastor Jack with tears in his eyes, left the front of the church and while speaking from his heart, walked up one aisle, across the back of the church where I was sitting, and back down the other aisle, and challenged those that were there that night, to decide the future of his ministry at our church.  We lost a great pastor when he resigned in June 1976, and our church was never the same.

On Saturday November 28, 1987, while Peter was attending Winnipeg Bible College, he and Anne Melnyk took a trip to Saskatoon, where Peter had a chance to visit with Pastor Jack, who was in a wheelchair since March 1987, after he suffered a severe stroke.  How quickly nine years had passed.  Pastor Jack talked about how he was planning to come back to Ontario, as he was invited by Brother Slobodian, to be the Camp Director at OCELA, our Ukrainian Baptist Camp just north of Peterborough, Ontario.  God had other plans.  This was Peter's last meeting with Pastor Jack, and Peter thanked him for his ministry in Toronto, and had a chance to pray with him, one last time.  Pastor Jack remained in his wheelchair for the next nine years until God took him home on January 11, 1997.

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WITH THE LORD

Rev. Jack Shakotko     September 27, 1917 – January 11, 1997

 It is with sadness that we announce the passing away of Jack Shakotko.  The Lord called him away to glory on January 11, 1997.  On Monday, January 13th, friends were invited to pay their last respects in the chapel of Park Lawn Funeral Home, Saskatoon, SK.  A private family committal service took place in Hillcrest Memorial Gardens at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14th, 1997, followed by a Memorial Service at Fairmount Baptist Church, Saskatoon, where Jack was a faithful member.  The service was attended by many people, family members and friends, who came from near and far.  Officiating and bringing the message was Pastor Steve Skoworodko.  The theme of the message was “Our Choice in Life” – Joshua 24:15.  “Choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  That was the choice that Jack Shakotko made in his life.  “God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods.” (vs. 16).

Taking part in the service were his family members.  Duets: “We Have This Moment” and “I Sing of Him” by John and Myrna Andres.  Congregational hymns were “Heavenly Father”, “What A Day That Will Be”, “I Will Meet You In the Morning”.  Tribute was given by N.W. Ness, and “Heirlooms” by grand-daughter Nicole Wiens.  Prelude music was a collection of Jack’s favourite songs.  Memorial gifts were given in memory of Jack Shakotko, for orphans in Ukraine.  After the service the Ladies Mission Circle served a delicious lunch. 

For Vera and her family, we pray that the Lord of all comfort may comfort you.  – Pastor Steve Skoworodko

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“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” Psalm 116:15

            Jack Shakotko was born on September 27, 1917 at Cando, Saskatchewan.  The family farmed in this area until 1938, when they moved into the Swan Valley in Manitoba in search of better land.  They settled near Durban, and Jack helped with the family enterprise until crop failures forced him to seek other work in Toronto, Ontario.  There he found not only work, but more importantly his life partner.  On April 11, 1942, Jack married Vera Nesimiuk and they returned to the Swan Valley to resume farming near Durban.  God blessed their union with six children.

            In 1955, Jack answered God’s call to prepare himself for full-time ministry.  He graduated from Briercrest Bible Institute in 1957, and three years later, while working in Swan River as an agent for the Wheat Pool, accepted a call to pastor a church in Oshawa, Ontario.  Jack and his family lived in the Oshawa area for many years, pastoring several churches as well as working full-time at a variety of occupations.  Upon retirement in 1984, Jack and Vera returned to the West and settled in Saskatoon.  He and his wife enjoyed retirement immensely; they travelled extensively and visited family and friends across the country.

            In March, 1987, Jack suffered a severe stroke and spent the remaining years of his life confined to a wheelchair as a resident of Circle Drive Special Care Home in Saskatoon.  He was admitted to St. Paul’s Hospital with failing health on January 7, 1997 and went home to glory on the morning of January 11 under the loving care of his wife.

            During Jack’s ministry in Ontario, he pastored a large Ukrainian Evangelical church in Toronto, and two churches in Oshawa.  Concurrent with his pastoral duties, Jack worked at several jobs to support his family.  He worked at General Motors of Canada for twenty years, and organized several Bible studies in the factory, leading many of his fellow workers to the Lord.  In retirement, Jack and Vera were planning to return to Ontario to direct a camp retreat centre.

            As a father, he left us a rich legacy.  He was a hard worker and always met new challenges with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.  He instilled in us a great love for music and we all have memories of special songs that we shared together; music was always a large part of his leisure time.  Dad loved people of all ages and his outgoing personality endeared him to everyone he met.  He seemed to have a distinct place in his heart for young people, and there was a playful side to his nature which made for fun times with his grandchildren.  Dad was concerned for the spiritual welfare of everyone he knew and bold in sharing his faith.  He had a deep and abiding trust in the care of his Heavenly Father and always believed that God would meet his every need.

            Left behind to miss him deeply are his beloved wife of 54 years, Vera; his children, Myrna (John) Andres, Sandra (Doug) Camp, Don (Shannon), Tim (Donna), and Sherri (James) Wiens; 12 grandchildren; and 6 great-grandchildren.  He also leaves behind two brothers, John (Lena), and Steve; as well as four sisters, Anne (Joe) Mandziuk, Emma (Jack) Gillespie, Zeena (Pete) Naydiuk and Ruth (Steve) Maksymchuk.  Jack was predeceased by infant daughter Judith, granddaughter Meredith, brother Paul, and sister-in-law Violet.

[CHALLENGER: Published BY THE Western Canadian Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Conference English Fellowship., Vol. 30, No. 1-3, January-March 1997, page 7] 

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This is Rev. Jack Shakotko's short autobiography, which he typed in 1976 and was given to Rev. S. Tymciw.  The original is found below.

 

J. Shakotko:

            Born September 27, 1917, to Rev. Eli and Anastasia Shakotko at Cando, Sask.  Have four sisters and three brothers.  Finished Grade VIII at Rowland Hill School.  Attended Ukrainian Baptist Church of Lizzard Lake, Sask.

            Saved June 20, 1929 under ministry of Rev. Ivan Shakotko; baptized by him and joined the Church on June 30th, 1929.

            My Dad pastored the Church and also on Sunday afternoons visited schools in area for Church Services.

            I was active in Young Peoples work and in the fall of 1937 went to Saskatoon Bible College.  Worked for the Canadian Sunday School mission part of the following summer, in Vacation Bible Schools at Rabbit Lake, Sask.

            In the fall of 1938 our family moved to Manitoba.  I began Young Peoples meetings in homes, joined the Evangelical Church in Benito, Man.  Worked as Y.P. president, had street meetings on Saturday nights.

            In spring of 1941 went to Toronto, met the girl who became my wife, her name was Vera Nesimuik from Alberta.  Rev. P.P. Koleda married us on Tecumseh St. in Toronto on April 11, 1942.

            In 1942, my wife and I returned to Durban, Manitoba, where God blessed us with two sons, and three daughters.

            I was elected Director of Youth for Christ for that area, had rallies each month.

            In 1950 met Evangelist Olaf Erickson, arranged crusades in our churches with him, took our daughter – 7 yrs. old, Myrna, and went for 2 months singing and leading in his meetings.  Many came to Christ during these meetings.

            In 1953 again took very active part in Canadian Sunday School missions camp work, was elected director and built Madge Lake Bible Camp.  First summer had 150 children, carried on in this work till 1959.

            In 1955 went to Briercrest Bible Institute.  Graduated in spring of 1957.  Left farming, worked as grain buyer for Manitoba Pool Elevators.

            Received call from Ritson Rd. Baptist Church in 1959 – accepted call and moved to Oshawa in 1960.

            Pastored Church for 6 yrs.  Young People saved and the Lord blessed.  Sunday School grew.  Resigned in 1966.  Joined Faith Baptist Church in Whitby, Ont.  Appointed S.S. Superintendent, also chairman of the Deacons Board.

            In 1971, Brother B. Slobodian asked us to help in Ukrainian Church in Oshawa.  I agreed just for one Sunday evening per month.  Soon took over as interim Pastor.

            In fall of 1972, began visiting the Ukrainian Baptist Church in Toronto.  Invited to be Pastor.  I agreed to assist as temporary minister.

            In Jan. 1973, asked to become Pastor, began serving the Toronto Church.  In fall of 1974, was asked to be ordained.

            Ordination took place on Sept. 8, 1974 with Rev. Dr. Potopowich, Rev. Dr. K. Kostiw, Rev. J. Iwaskiw, Rev. Kubryn, Rev. S. Tymciv, Rev. R. Panko, taking part in service.

            Carried on as Pastor till end of June 1976.

 

ORIGINAL TYPED LETTER BELOW. (From Rev. S. Tymciw collection, 1976)

 

 

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