A Tribute to Paul Kember

Paul John Kember

BORN - FEBRUARY 24, 1943
BORN AGAIN - JULY 27, 1959

"Our Beloved Brother Paul" 2 Peter 3:15

Murray McCandless

The words of 1 Cor. 9:1 "are not ye my work in the Lord" were in our daily home reading when we heard of our dear brother, and faithful servant of the Lord, Paul Kember's unexpected homecall.

Paul was not only my first cousin, but my first co-worker in the gospel. Memory has been taking me back to the rented schools and halls in southwest Ontario where we happily labored together for several years. Paul and I were both commended to the Lord's work in 1977. In our earlier days of gospel work, Mr. David Kember, himself a veteran soul winner, guided and patiently taught us much in gospel work. The value of a soul was a lasting impression he left on both of us as young men, and that to reach these souls, involved "work." To this day, we have profited much from his teaching and example. I would say that brother Paul graduated from that school with honors!

Any of our brethren that labored with Paul knew him to be a tireless worker. Paul was not only tireless, but fearless when it came to men or brethren! There wasn't a political bone in his body, but in the words of Job 40:18 "his bones were strong pieces of brass." If he had something he wanted to say to you, you were the first to hear it. Paul never fed the rumor mill! He worked with an open policy, you never had to wonder what he was thinking, he would tell you. He knew the value of proper communication, and was not given to mood swings, that would leave you wondering as to feelings on any matter. Our brother taught us that our attitudes are as important as our motives.

Brother John Gray taught the important lesson, that the work of the Lord involved teamwork on all fronts. Whether working in gospel work, assembly work, or conferences, we should labor together for the glory of God, the honor of His Name, and the benefit of His people. There is a vast difference between playing on a team, and a team player! Paul did not look upon the work as a game ... because he wasn't playing ... he was working. He was a man that took the work more seriously than he took himself. I never remember Paul using the expression "my meetings." If he had contacts in any area, he would take them to the meetings, regardless of who was preaching. Brother Frank Pearcey used to say that "it didn’t matter who was ringing the till or making the sale, as long as the firm was showing a profit!" At conferences, Paul not only shared the time, but the burden of the conference in every aspect. Before he was called home, reports of his excellent ministry had reached us here in the east. His ministry will be missed by all.

The Lord graciously gave to Paul a true help meet in his dear wife Phyllis. Together, their hearts, and home were always open to the saints of God, and souls they were trying to reach. Since losing his father John Kember at an early age, Paul quietly and obviously assumed the role of father to his own brothers and sisters. He had a kindly, consistent disposition that we all do well to emulate.

We all feel very keenly, a definite and distinct loss. In recent years Paul was taking younger men with him, and instilling in them the first principles of gospel work, that he too had learned.

We know that in our short time remaining in Christian testimony, God will replenish the diminishing number of laborers, but Paul Kember will never be replaced! God called him first as a sinner in his sins, then as a son in His service, and as a saint, has now called him home. Though we find it so hard to understand, I have confidence that Paul had finished his course, and the work God gave him to do (2 Tim 4:7). It is not where you start that counts ... but where you finish!

So much more could be said, but the brother to whom we pay tribute would want me to keep it brief!