Dedication to Rev. Dr. Bill Randall

This website is dedicated to Rev. Dr. William ‘Bill’ Randall.

Rev. Bill Randall (1919 – 2017)

Bill was born in Kemptville, NS, on January 19, 1919, to the late William and Jessie (Ring) Randall. He passed away on March 21, 2017, at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton, NB.

After receiving his BA from Acadia University in 1940, he was ordained to the Atlantic Baptist Convention in 1941 and served pastorates in Clementsvale, NS, Pennfield, NB, Port Arthur, ON, and Black’s Harbour, NB. In 1956, he was ordained into the United Church of Canada and served pastoral charges in Harvey Station, NB (1954-1974), and Edmundston, NB (1974-1984). After retiring in 1984, he continued for over 25 more years as interim minister or as weekend supply with United Church pastorates in such communities as Chipman, Nackawic, Kingsley, Newcastle, New Maryland, Chatham, St. Andrews, Lawrence Station, and Keswick Ridge, as well as with St. Paul’s United Church in Fredericton.

With his wife of nearly 74 years, Emma (Benson), Bill produced and performed the radio program Showers of Blessing, which aired five days a week for 21 years on CFBC in Saint John and CFNB in Fredericton. From 1952 to 1984, he taught public speaking and public relations courses throughout the province and, from 1974 to 1984, taught English as a second language at the New Brunswick Community College in Edmundston, NB.

Rev. Bill Randall (1919-2017)

Over the years, he has been an avid researcher of family genealogy in various communities, especially Harvey Station. From the late 1980s to 2003, he wrote weekly articles that were published in 2012 by the Harvey Regional Heritage and Historical Society in a collection called From the Scrapbook. In 2002, he wrote an autobiography entitled Showers of Blessing: Memoirs of a Teacher, Preacher, and Singer and two years later, published Guidelines to Our Ancestors, outlining the history of his own and Emma’s families.

He accumulated a treasure of information on families in the Harvey area through newspaper clippings, scrapbooks kept by area residents and material he gleaned through interviews throughout his years of ministry in the area. With this information, he took on the task of writing a brief history of each of the original 28 families who came here to settle the region.

A great testament to Bill & Emma was penned by Gail (Robison) MacDonald in 1998 in celebration of their 55th wedding anniversary.

“As our minister he brought life and music to our church, as his predecessor was an older man who I felt, as a child of the congregation, was rather boring. He was a fine man and had a good ministry but the younger minister with a beautiful wife and a young family struck a chord with young people. Mrs. Randall really could bring beautiful music out of the organ and still can! The choir grew as he involved. Some of the younger voices and choir practices were enjoyable. I remember he would get each member the opportunity to plan the music for a Sunday, so everyone had a chance to choose their favorite songs, old or new, and feature any soloist, duet, trio, quartet, full choir or whatever.

Young Peoples played a big role in the lives of the youth of the congregation – every Tuesday night with the Junior group at 6:00 or 630 and the Senior group an hour at 8:00. There would be quite a large group and as I remember we were divided into two teams. He had quite an elaborate point system worked out with the winning team receiving a prize at the end of the term. Points were awarded for the devotional part planned by the teams alternately. Sometimes these could get a bit lengthy with lots of musical selections to gain points. To encourage public speaking, extra points would be given for stories or meditations without reading or lots of notes. The more people involved in the devotional, the better it was on the point scale. I realized as I got older this was a way of teaching the youth, the art of public speaking and I am so thankful for this learning experience. Thank you, Mr. Randall, for this training, which helped me a great deal in my college years and career as a Home Economist. Our Young People’s programs were often included in the point system as well with Bible quizzes. Proper Parliamentary Procedure in conducting our meetings was another feature that we learned, not by structured teaching but by practice. Of course, it wasn’t all learning – there were ballgames, box socials, sleigh rides, scavenger hunts and amazing treasure hunts. Often, these incorporated knowledge of our community and family histories – another learning tool to teach us appreciation of our heritage. We also had exchanged visits or parties with the Young Peoples group at St. Paul’s United Church in McAdam, or with Knox Presbyterian. Knox also enjoying renewed vitality in their church with a young minister and his family, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. Under these two ministers we were seeing the beginning of ecumenical cooperation in our community.
Mr. Randall became involved in the Hospital Day Fair celebrations with the parade and Queen’s pageant, two of his projects, and we all know how they have grown over the years. As well, he helped with the 4-H club, and was always on hand for the Harvey Parish jersey show as announcer.

For several years, the Randalls had a radio program on CFNB – Radio Atlantic called “Showers of Blessings”. I am sure many of you remember it. I sure do! It was while they were recording a program that I was being interviewed in another part of the CFNB complex for a control operator job at the station. They asked if I knew the Randalls and I of course replied, ‘I went to his church and know his family well’. After the recording session they spoke to the Randalls and I left CFNB with my first paying job… I might add the most enjoyable job I ever had! As part of my work, I did recording for programs to be aired later so recording Showers of Blessings was one of my duties. I felt honored and proud to know these “Radio Stars” so well and enjoyed recording their program. I might add, that very rarely did I ever have to re-record a song because they made a mistake. They had their programs well planned and organized to fit into the allotted timeframe and it was a pleasure to listen to Mrs. Randall’s beautiful playing and the wonderful blend of their voices.
I mentioned it briefly his passing on of information to the young people but his knowledge and gathering of information goes far beyond that. He has spent countless hours gathering info and doing interviews with many of the community’s elderly residents who have since passed on. He has compiled a valuable history of the community and its families. For his work with the Robison family, we were happy to declare him an Honorary Robison at our reunion in 1987.”