Rev. Robert W. Jones is the man behind Ornament: The Faith, Hope, and Joy of Kristen Fersovitch. Learn more about how this remarkable book came into existence today on the blog.
Rev. Robert W. Jones, better known as Pastor Bob, has served churches in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta for over three decades. He currently gives leadership to North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta, where he has served for twenty-five years.
Bob is a communicator, excelling in preaching and now making his mark as an author. Bob has hosted call-in radio programs in Edmonton and Champlain, New York. He has also been published in national magazines and co-produced Canada’s number one live Christmas event, The Singing Christmas Tree, for eleven years. He has shepherded hundreds of families through the highs and heartaches of life.
The idea of writing Ornament was inspired by friends of Kristen Fersovitch upon her passing, and is a work of love. The book became a way for Bob to deal with his loss of this remarkable woman, as her long-time pastor. Reliving memories of Kristen with her husband Mike, her parents, and her sister was a cathartic journey of comfort.
With the publication of Ornament, Bob is moving on to new projects, two of which will be a 100th anniversary celebration for North Pointe and a pastoral leadership book on becoming real, currently titled The Velveteen Pastor. Bob has been married to Jocelyn for thirty-six years, and is a father of two and grandpa of two (with one on the way). He is a marathoner and is devoted to running his race of life as a champion.
WAP: When did you first meet Kristen Fersovitch? What was your friendship with her like?
RWJ: I met Kristen when she was eight years old. She was one of the children in the Christian Education ministry I led at Central Tabernacle, in Edmonton. She was friends with my sons. They sang together in the children’s choir at church and attended youth events. Sometimes they came to our house after youth events. They did all the typical things kids do who go to the same church together.
In a very real way, Kristen lived every experience a Christian could have. She was loved by her family, believed in Jesus, read her Bible, volunteered in church, used her talents and was humbled by how powerful her talents were, struggled with her faith and living a Christian life, went on a missions trip, married, and had three sons. Then she developed cancer, and was overcoming it until the cancer came back. She believed for healing and was confident of a miracle. She questioned her faith and felt far from God at times. She also had a genuine revival of the assurance of God’s love for her just as she was. She passed away singing praise songs, having just turned thirty.
WAP: Why did you write Ornament?
RWJ: I wrote Ornament to answer a question many people asked after they heard Kristen Fersovitch’s story, or heard her sing: “How could I have a faith like Kristen’s?” I titled the book Ornament because her faith was on display for all to see, just like a beautiful Christmas tree ornament. Kristen had a strong will—stubborn, even. She knew what she wanted and spoke what was on her mind. She was real and people loved and respected her for who she was. The book’s subtitle talks about what people saw in Kristen—faith, joy, and hope. Kristen had faith that she would be healed, but she also had a hope that if God chose otherwise, she had a healing waiting for in heaven. Through it all, she had a deep-down joy that helped her be strong.
WAP: Could you tell us a little bit about what your book is about?
RWJ: Ornament will encourage anyone that they, too, can know genuine joy in whatever they face. The book will encourage people with doubts about God’s goodness and love that those doubts can be lead them to a stronger faith when they allow God to show Himself to them. I use the term “Godwinks” to describe coincidental experiences that are really God’s reminders to us that He has His eye on us; these were lifelines for Kristen. The book shares just a few of the many, many Godwinks she experienced that reminded her that she was okay because she was in God’s oversight and care.
WAP: What is one of your favourite memories about Kristen?
RWJ: One of favourite stories about Kristen took place just a few days before she passed away. It was a cooler than usual October day in Edmonton, which is saying something. My hands hadn’t warmed up when I visited her at the Misericordia Hospital. She was feeling weak. As I knelt beside her bed to pray with her, I took her hand and apologized for how cold my hands felt. She smiled and whispered, “That’s okay, Pastor Bob. Warm heart.” Those were the last words I heard her speak, a small kindness that continues to warm my heart.
WAP: What do you hope readers will get out of this book?
RWJ: Ornament is intended for people who don’t want a warm and fuzzy Christian faith. Kristen was real, and her faith was real. Real faith has its doubts, questions, weaknesses, and confusions. It’s honest. Real faith is a person: Jesus. He clarifies confusion, reveals Himself in Godwinks as an answer to questions and doubts, and is strong when you lean into Him in your weakness.
WAP: Do you think Kristen realized how her actions and attitude impacted others? What was it like to be around her?
RWJ: Kristen knew she impacted others. From the EMS driver to the CTV news anchor, to the woman who named her daughter after Kristen, she knew God had touched people through her. It pleased her and humbled her.
WAP: Do you have any tips for other writers?
RWJ: Here are the two best pieces of advice I’ve received on being a writer.
(1) If you write, you are a writer. Think like a writer. Practice writing both for writing’s sake and also to be read. Get your writing out to the public sooner rather than later. Start a blog. Post your writing when the blogsite is ready, not when you are. The sooner you go public, the sooner you can address the biggest obstacle to improving: getting over yourself and becoming vulnerable. You have a story that the world needs to hear.
(2) Writing and editing must be separate functions. Don’t edit your writing on the fly. Write, then edit. I have to remind myself of that axiom all the time.
Sunday, October 18. North Pointe Community Church, 10:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 19. Northern Jubilee Auditorium, 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 3. Interview with Mike Fersovitch on 100 Huntley Street
Saturday, December 17. Northern Jubilee Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 18. Northern Jubilee Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
Monday, December 19. Northern Jubilee Auditorium, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 20. Northern Jubilee Auditorium, 2:00 p.m.
More about Ornament:
North Point Church blog
Buy Kristen’s CD, Songs from Home
Ornament is available for purchase wherever fine Christian books are sold, including:
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
Connect with Bob:
North Pointe Blog