Pastoring at a Natural Wonder of the World: A journey in trust and dedication
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Eighty-one years and 29 pastors later the Grand Canyon Community Church (GCCC) welcomed Rev. Robert “Bob” Beaver and his wife, Cheryl to serve at the South Rim parish. Two days after their arrival in July 2017 they faced the challenge of their lives.
Traveling from Clermont, Florida, the day they arrived, and with boxes yet to be unloaded, Cheryl was taken to the Grand Canyon Clinic with blood clots and circulation issues in her left leg.
“A gifted emergency room nurse took one look at Cheryl’s leg and told us to come back to the clinic the next morning to see the doctor. When the doctor saw her leg he advised us to go the emergency room in Flagstaff,” Beaver said.
On July 4, 2017, Cheryl had her left leg amputated below the knee.
“She’s a trooper,” Beaver said, in his faint Southern accent. “When she was in the hospital, the doctors and nurses were surprised at her attitude. They said most people get depressed, close the blinds in their room and curl up into a ball. But you haven’t done any of those things, why not?”
Beaver said Cheryl was able to give solid testimony to the love and care our great God provided for her during her surgery and its aftermath.
“I’m so proud of her,” he said.
Today Cheryl is working full time at Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters as a Lead Customer Service Representative. She also ministers to women at the Grand Canyon through Bible studies, counseling and other women’s events.
“I received my prosthetic in November 2017 and I went from wheelchair to walker and then a cane and now mostly without my cane,” Cheryl said. “I call this our great adventure with God…when you walk with God you never know where He is going to take you.”
“I love her more today than when we got married,” claims Beaver. “We fit so well, but that’s the way God does things. I can’t imagine life without her.”
The Beavers have been married 39 years and have three children and two grandchildren.
Ministry at Grand Canyon
Serving as Resident Minister at the GCCC, Beaver also works full time for Xanterra Security.
“I have a great job that dovetails nicely with being a pastor here. As Xanterra Security Officer, I have to do daily patrols of Xanterra properties so I get a high exposure to Canyon residents. It’s fun to walk into the lodges and gift shops and be greeted with, ‘Hi Pastor Bob.” He added that sometimes employees will ask him to pray for particular needs.”
“He’s doing a wonderful job as pastor here,” said Doug Buniger, Board Member and shuttle bus driver for Paul Revere. “He has a great personality and I think he has the passion for the position. He seems to knock it out of the park with his sermons and he really cares for the community here. He works a long week and then spends more hours to do service every Sunday, I don’t know how he does it.”
Beaver has pastored five churches in the U.S. since graduating from seminary and holds a doctorate degree in Doctorate of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology in Mirada, California and Masters of Theology from University of South Carolina.
Beaver also serves as chaplain with the Tusayan Fire Department.
“While I was pastoring a church in central Florida, I was also the volunteer chaplain for the local fire department. In that role I helped families as they struggled with a death in the family, a suicide or devastation that drugs and alcohol can bring upon a family. To me, the chaplaincy with our first responders is a sacred trust. I love these men and women who show up at the scene and help those who maybe experiencing the worst moments of their lives.”
When asked what he loves about the Grand Canyon Beavers admits it is the beauty of the Canyon.
“But the one thing I love most about the Canyon are the people who work here. Yes, we have a curious assortment of people who come to work here from all over the world, but every one of them are special,” he said.
Beaver said the goals has planned for the GCCC include providing a safe place for Canyon residents to grow in their understanding of God, meeting spiritual and physical needs, to say to guests and residents that there is a God who loves them more then they will ever know and to provide an atmosphere of sincere, heart-felt worship and to provide a place where residents and guests sense they will be deeply loved through ministries of caring, sharing and prayer.
GCCC meets at Shrine of the Ages each Sunday at 11a.m. More information is available at www.grandcanyoncommunitychurch.org.