Don Fitchett – a large figure of faith that will be dearly missed

July 29, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

After 70 years in the church, Pastor Don Fitchett passed away on July 18. His influence and mentorship have mattered to a great many people who will miss him as pillar here in Orangeville and further afield.

Pastor Fitchett was a big part of the move for Orangeville Baptist Church from the small church on Zina, where congregations had been attending for over 100 years. There was reluctance to give the location up but, by 1988, Pastor Fitchett persuaded the members to move, to build a larger location. Fourteen acres of land were purchased at Highway 10 and the Hockley Road, where worship services were held in the cafeteria at Orangeville Secondary School (ODSS). The church was built and opened in 1992.

Jay Wagstaff, site director of Compass Community Church: Shelburne, spoke to the Citizen about his own time with Pastor Don Fitchett: “He passed a week ago this past Sunday. In his retirement, he spent time with Good Friends Fellowship [at the old Cinema on Broadway]. 

“He began here when the church was Orangeville Baptist Church and oversaw the move to Hockley Road and Highway 10. They met at ODSS while the building was being built. He was instrumental to the growth of the church in those days.”

Of his own experience and the importance of Pastor Fitchett’s mentorship, Jay Wagstaff could only offer praise: “He encouraged me and mentored me and brought out some things about myself that even I didn’t even know. I couldn’t be doing what I am now without Don’s encouragement. There was a group of us at his funeral, standing to one side and we all said it – that he had been the big influence – that without him, we wouldn’t be able to do what we were doing [within the church]”

He went on to say, “Don was best known for his tremendous preaching; you would hang on to every word. He was a gifted communicator, incredibly authentic, he was just held in such high regard.”

It was Pastor Fitchett’s profound knowledge of the Bible that moved so many people. His deep belief that, “The Bible is the word of God. He understood the Bible,” Mr. Wagstaff said, “and was definitely an incredible teacher of what it said and how to understand it.”

Jay Wagstaff did not have the opportunity to spend as much time with Pastor Fitchett as he once had, “Not in the later years, when he was pastoring at the church but once he left to go to Good Friends, we kept in touch.”

As for the personal impact Pastor Fitchett had on Mr. Wagstaff: “He was a busy guy but I was young and awkward and raw but he was fully in grace and took the time with me. He could see beyond how I appeared. He was a large figure of faith for many beyond Orangeville.”

In an interview on Bible Discovery Television, Pastor Fitchett tells viewers: “In this world of confusion, with everything that’s going on, there is one hope because Jesus Christ is the truth… as we give ourselves to Christ and dedicate our children, he tells us ‘I am the way and the truth.’ He is our one constant and our salvation.”

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.