The family of a well-known pastor who passed away suddenly last week is speaking out, providing more details on his death and thanking people for their support over the past week since his passing.
Springs Church announced to its congregants on Sunday, November 20, 2022, that their pastor had died the day before surrounded by family in Calgary. Late Thursday evening the family released a statement providing details on his unexpected passing.
The Fontaines say that while on vacation earlier this month, "Leon was unexpectedly diagnosed with aggressive late-stage cancer. While pursuing treatment, his health suddenly turned for the worse."
The sudden news of his death left many people stunned on Sunday as word spread quickly on social media after his children made the announcement to congregants via video. His family says they were stunned, as well, saying, "His death has left his family shocked and at a loss for words."
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Winnipeg, MB (November 24, 2022) – SPRINGS CHURCH – Fontaine Family, today released the following statement regarding the sudden passing of Pastor Leon Fontaine that occurred on Saturday, November 19, 2022.
Surrounded by his family, on Saturday, November 19th, 2022, Leon Fontaine went to be with Jesus, his Lord and Saviour. While taking a well-deserved holiday, Leon was unexpectedly diagnosed with aggressive late-stage cancer. While pursuing treatment, his health suddenly turned for the worse. His death has left his family shocked and at a loss for words.
There is a deep void in the hearts and minds of all those who knew him. If you ever had the chance to speak with him, you know he had an incredible ability to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room. He was one man yet could foster what felt like thousands of relationships while simultaneously running multiple organizations. He set the standard of what a true leader is.
Leon and Sally became senior pastors at Springs Church in 1994. Over the past 28 years, Springs has become one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in Canada, with locations in Winnipeg and Calgary. They created the culture of LAF within the church, teaching us to love, accept and forgive all people – just like Jesus.
As the President of Springs Christian Academy, he was passionate about equipping the next generation to pursue Christ with excellence in everything they do. This private school offers a strong, biblically integrated academic program and has developed thousands of students into young leaders.
Motivated by their deep love for community, Leon and Sally began a church in Winnipeg’s inner city in 1996. Hundreds of families and children receive meals, care, and encouragement weekly. In recent years, Springs Church started Acts of Kindness as an outreach that has met the essential needs of over 600 families and furnished the homes of new immigrants and others in need.
His love for community extended beyond his ministry. As a former frontline worker, Leon had the heart to serve others. He offered Springs’ facilities to organizations such as Winnipeg Police Services and Manitoba Nurses Association to host their own speakers and experts where they could provide a safe space for healing and reconciliation for frontline workers.
Leon constantly sought new opportunities to give people the care they needed. When indoor services were no longer possible due to public health orders, Springs Church launched drive-in services. People assembled in their vehicles and received encouraging messages on a large outdoor screen.
Since 2010, Leon has served as the CEO of Miracle Channel, Canada’s original Christian television station. His leadership turned the station from near bankruptcy to a thriving, multi-faceted media organization.
Leon had a deep love for Canada and the Godly values upon which it was founded. His news commentary, Return to Reason, recently spoke to current issues and offered viewers a common-sense perspective. Leon always stood up for what he believed.
His love for helping people extended beyond the borders of Canada, as evidenced by his support of orphaned children in Africa and India through the Watoto and Love India ministries. His relationships with other ministries inspired pastors and denominations worldwide. Yet, he honoured and valued any person he encountered, never shying away from helping a stranger in need.
As a world-renowned speaker and author, Leon spoke at both Christian and mainstream conferences worldwide. His devotionals are translated into 12 languages, and his books have made a global impact. Leon’s desire to communicate the Bible in a practical way led him to coin the term “Spirit Contemporary.” This approach to Christianity inspires people to be spiritually alive using the Bible as their guide in a relevant and contemporary way.
Leon’s love for Sally and his family was undeniable. His wife, five children, their spouses, and nine grandkids—Eden & Jayden Shimoda, Danielle & David Craig, Tamara & Jeremy Prest, Michala & Austin Stannard, and Zachary & Jessica Fontaine—will continue to passionately serve and lead the ministries he established. Springs Church, Springs Christian Academy and the Miracle Channel families will miss Leon’s visionary leadership and generous heart but will stand on his shoulders and continue the work to help the hurting across this country.
The Fontaine family is grateful for all the love and support extended to them as they navigate this difficult time. Details of his celebration of life to come.