Rodney G. Toews

November 30, 1930 ~ June 8, 2019

About the Service

Memorial service will be held at Covenant Village - Berg Hall on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 3:30p.m.

Rodney Griffith Toews was born November 30, 1930, the son of Abraham Peter Toews and Anna Schierling Toews, in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada. He was born in a Mennonite community where only low German was spoken and didn’t learn English until 1937 when he entered first grade. His family lived in Steinbach until he was approximately 11 years old, then went to Winnepeg, Manitoba for a year before moving to Langham, Saskatchewan Canada. In Langham he played hockey, and taught piano to neighborhood children. In 1948 his family moved to Dallas, Oregon, where he attended Willamette University majoring in music. He interrupted his education to serve during the Korean War.

In June 1951 he married Elizabeth “Betty” Dickman, with whom he had three sons: Timothy, Douglas, and Brian. After the Korean War he resumed his education at the University of Omaha, became an American Citizen in 1954, and then obtained his Master of Divinity degree at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota. Later in life he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Briercrest Seminary in Saskatchewan for his lifetime contributions to Christian Education.

His first church was Lakewood Baptist in Lakewood, California, where he was called to serve in 1958 as the Youth Minister. In June 1969 he married Dorothy Edwards, who became his partner in Christian Ministry; they were married for fifty years.  He then worked for Gospel Light Publications in the Los Angeles area. In 1984 he was called to Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City as Christian Education Director. As such he was responsible for education from the very youngest toddler to the oldest of the old. During this time he developed a vibrant “Young Marrieds” program.

In 1988 he left PCC in Redwood City in order to work for Scripture Press in Wheaton, Illinois. When they were purchased by David C. Cook he worked for Cook in Colorado Springs, CO. But in 2000 he was again called by Peninsula Covenant Church, this time to serve in the capacity of Executive Pastor. He continued to devote his substantial energy to growing the church through his ministries.  He became renowned in the national denomination for his huge success in growing a “Fifties Plus” ministry to address the needs of the 50+ demographic. For fourteen years, until they retired in 2014, Rod and Dot gave themselves wholeheartedly to Peninsula Covenant Church.  In 2014, in recognition of their outstanding dedication and service, the church re-named their Fellowship Hall, the “Rodney and Dorothy Toews Fellowship Center”.

Rod and Dot also did much missionary work through the years, most notably in Malawi (Africa) as well as Honduras, India and Egypt. Rod and Dot retired in 2014 and moved to Turlock, California to a retirement home, where he pastored the Sunday morning worship time from 2017 until his death.

Rod is survived by his wife of 50 years, Dot Toews, and two of his sons, Timothy and Brian. His son Douglas died in February 2019. Rod also is survived by two stepsons, Douglas and David Edwards, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He will be interred at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella, California. Charitable donations in his name may be made to Covenant Village in Turlock, California.

Memorial service will be held at Covenant Village – Berg Hall on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 3:30p.m.


Remembrances

  1. Rod was a great mentor and friend to me. His counsel was always wise, thoughtful and caring. And his laugh was infectious. Truly a man for whom I have had the utmost respect.

  2. Wish we could have attended one of the services. Unfortunately commitments prevented our travel to the Bay Area or Turlock. Rod was a special and gentle person and a genuine pleasure to work with. He will live in our hearts and be remembered for not just his kindness, but for his actions that matched! In Christ.

  3. The memory that we have is having dinner with Rod and Dot at their place and the genuine interest they showed to us about our lives. It made us feel that he really cared. May God bless you Dot and May you feel his peace.
    Sincerely, Ron and Sharon Brown

  4. The memory that sticks with us is having dinner at Rod and Dots place and the wonderful night of conversation and genuine interest he showed in us and our lives. He was a joyful man and it was infectious. I’ve look forward to to the time when we will meet again. God bless you Dot and May you feel his peace.
    Ron and Sharon Brown

  5. “The JOY of the Lord is my strength” is what Rod Toews testified to ever since I met him from the first days he came to Peninsula Covenant to his last breath. In fact I heard that at Covenant Village he was currently preaching about joy. This man had the enthusiasm and energy of an active child into his 80’s. His faith was strong and in his articulate testimony for Christ was very winsome. He and Dot have been so selfless as they gave themselves to others, visiting everyone in our 50 Plus Ministry to pray with them whenever they were sick or had surgery. It didn’t matter how early it was or how far away, they were there! I’m certain God is saying about Rod, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

  6. Rod stopped by desk at Peninsula Covenant Church every day for 11 years to briefly chat about our exercise routines, weight loss struggles, and our families. He exuded the love of Jesus with his care and interest in my life and my soul. I am deeply grateful to have known him.

  7. We were a part of Rod & Dot’s Plus Ministry at PCC. Our most fond memory of Rod was when he officiated at our 25th Wedding Anniversary Renewal of Vows. Rod will always have a special place in our hearts as this was a full blown church wedding, one we could not afford when we first were married. Rod & Dot were there for us through the process & the celebration. Rod’s exuberant energy, direct approach, encouraging words and love of people was always evident. He was a true shepherd & faithful servant of the Lord. He walked the talk. We will look forward to seeing our dear brother in Christ one day, but in the meantime we will miss his fun, upbeat personality, godly wisdom and guidance. We enjoyed visiting Rod & Dot at Covenant Villages because they made us feel so welcome. It was a distinct honor to know this very special man of God & his lovely wife, Dot. Our hearts & prayers are with Dot at this time & we thank the Lord that we have been honored to share fellowship & friendship with these two very special people. May the Lord’s peace surround you both now and forevermore.

  8. I was a part of Rod and Dot’s plus ministry,
    Going on 6 joyful trips with them! He was the
    most positive, joyful man I ever met!!
    Rod pushed me to always be more, having me
    share about my trip experiences, my life with,
    the Lord, and just being a more friendly, outgoing
    person! Thank you, Lord, for Rod and Dot.
    Never to be forgotten!

  9. Rod was a dear friend and colleague of mine. I first met him in 1969 and our friendship grew quickly as we shared creative ideas in local church ministry. I thank God for bringing our paths together. He truly had a servants heart and passion for serving Jesus Christ. The poem that sums up his life-long ministry . . .

    I do not ask that crowds may throng the temple,
    That standing room be priced;
    I only ask that as I voice the message,
    They may see Christ!

    I do not ask for churchly pomp or pageant,
    Or music such as wealth alone can buy;
    I only ask that as I voice the message, He may be nigh!

    I do not ask That men may sound my praises
    Or headlines spread my name abroad;
    I only pray that as I voice the message,
    Hearts may find God!

    I do not ask for earthly place or laurel,
    Or of this world’s distinctions any part;
    I only ask, when I have voiced the message
    My Savior’s heart.

  10. I had the privilege to call Rod friend and colleague for over 25 years. We worked together on boards and committees. We collaborated on 50+ ministries. Sharing meals was always a delightful time.
    I’ll always remember his exhuberance. He was genuinely enthusiastic and encouraging.
    His model of a biblical” Caleb” was a blessing to me.
    He has left a legacy of example and mentorship.
    I thank God for having known him

  11. I worked with Rod from the beginning of the PLUS Ministry at Peninsula Covenant in 2004 until he and Dot retired in 2014. The most exuberant, JOYFUL man ever! He was a blessing to me, my parents at Covenant Village in Turlock and all he encountered, especially at restaurants…anyone serving Rod remembered the experience!

  12. So many memories of the years at Lakewood First Baptist with Rod. He taught us well, made such an impact in my life. He was wise and funny, had such a way of getting his point across.

  13. My husband and I were profoundly influenced by Rod.
    His intellect and honest dialogues moved us both
    into a strong and permanent faith in God.
    Pastor Rod married us and now 51 years later
    We thank God for this wonderful man of God.
    See you in Heaven with our children and grandchildren..

  14. Dear Toews family,
    Rod was in ministry at Lakewood Baptist when I started high school. Loved him very much with fond memories of fun as well as strong Christian training!
    My sincere condolences to all of you!

  15. Rod was the college teacher when i was at Lakewood 1 St. Baptist.
    He was very influential in my life in teaching me a practical walk in Jesus.
    I always remember his teaching.
    This is a wonderful tribute to him.
    His life will be remembered by all who knew him.

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