Vol 3 No. 52 Reading for the New Year

Dear all,

As we approach the New Year I thought it would be encouraging to mention some of the ways we can be reading scripture and some of the Christian classics and devotional literature in the coming New Year. This list is a primer, not exhaustive and something we will update from time to time.

PART 1

You will find on the website (buwc.ca):

  • A daily audio devotional (our stories / audio devotionals) – an original series of daily audio meditations from those in our Canadian Baptists of Western Canada family that you can listen to on your computer or that you can download onto your favourite MP3 player.
  • A daily scripture.
  • A daily prayer request.
  • Three different forms of scripture reading guides (resources / online lectionaries)
    • The Revised Common Lectionary
    • Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Lectionary or Daily Reading Schedule
    • The Bible Society Readings

 

PART II

I have found the following books to be helpful.

  1. Two Thousand Years of Prayer – Michael Counsell
  2. *A Year with C.S. Lewis – Harpers Row
  3. *The Celtic Daily Book of Prayer – Harpers Row
  4. *Guide to Prayer – the Upper Room
  5. The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
  6. The Lion Christian Poetry Collection – Compiled by Mary Batchelor
  7. Fredrick Buechner – Yearly Readings

There is a beginning.

And here is another beginning:

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

*These are daily devotionals.

Vol 3 No. 51 A Season for His Birth

Dear folks,

The Lord consistently remind you of His presence and transforming relationship in this season of preparation and for His birth. A season for His birth and our rebirth.

I have selected three poems that are very meaningful to me at this time from a collection of poetry my mother gave me two years ago – The Lion Christian Poetry Collection.

Enjoy, be blessed, Holy is the Lord.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. . .

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-4, 14.

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

 

Salus Mundi

I saw a stable, low and very bare,

A little child in a manger.

The oxen knew him, had him in their care,

To men he was a stranger.

The safety of the world was lying there,

And the world’s danger.

 

Mary Coleridge

1861 – 1907

 

It is as if Infancy were the Whole of Incarnation

One time of the year

the new-born child

is everywhere,

planted in madonnas’ arms

hay mows, stables,

in palaces or forams,

or quaintly, under snowed gables,

Goths angular or baroque plump,

naked or elaborately swathed,

encircled by Della Robbia wreaths,

garnished with whimsical

partridges and pears

drummers and drums,

lit by oversize stars,

partnered with lambs,

peace doves, sugar plums

bells, plastic camels in sets of three

as if these were what we need

for eternity.

 

But Jesus the Man is not to be seen.

We are too wary, these days,

of beards and sandalled feet.

 

Yet, if we celebrate, let it be

that he

has invaded out lives with purpose,

striding over out picturesque traditions,

our shallow sentiment,

overturning our cash registers,

wielding his peace like a sword,

rescuing us into reality,

demanding much more

than the mild and the softness

and the mother warmth

of the baby in the storefront crèche,

(only the Mann would ask

all, of each of us)

reaching out

always, urgently with strong

effective love

(only the Man would give

his life and live

again for love of us).

 

Oh come, let us adore him –

Christ – the Lord.

 

Luci Shaw

20th century

 

Kid Stuff

The wise guys

tell me

that Christmas

is Kid Stuff…

Maybe they’ve got

something there –

Two thousand years ago

three wise guys

chased a star

across a continent

to bring

frankincense and myrrh

to a Kid

born in a manger

with an idea in his head…

And as the bombs

crash

all over the world today

the real wise guys know

that we’ve all got to go

chasing stars

again

in the hope

that we can get back

some of that

Kid Staff

born two thousand years ago.

 

Frank Horne

20th century

Vol 3 No. 50 Edmonton, Fort SK, and Jasper Listening Sessions

On November 24rd, Trinity Baptist Church in Sherwood Park hosted the second day of the second year of our Listening and Covenanting Sessions together.

You will recall last year’s questions:

  • What has God called you to?
  • What resources has He given you?
  • What resources do you lack?
  • How might we partner together over the next year to see God’s call lived out in your ministry and community?

And this year’s follow-up questions:

  • In what ways does your church engage and make a difference in your community?
  • In what ways does your church partner to minister with other churches?
  • In what way can your church energize or enhance the work of our denomination (our family of churches in Canadian Baptists of Western Canada ) in the next year?

The following churches were present and I ask that you pray for their requests.

Edmonton and area – 10 participating churches, 9 spoken or written commitments

Trinity Baptist, Sherwood Park – will offer to host forums in which regional churches can attend to discuss matters of mutual concern, to build on one another’s strengths and prayer, encouragement and support

Community Baptist, Fort Saskatchewan – will give 10% of offerings to Canadian Baptists of Western Canada and encourage churches of Edmonton to work together to reach into our local communities in the name of Jesus

Laurier Heights Baptist – will commit to enhance the work of Canadian Baptists of Western Canada

Strathcona Baptist – will stay involved with CBWC, reaching out into old Strathcona in new ways and being available to work with CBWC

Neighbourhood Church, Delwood and Highlands – will humbly share our failed experiments to be biblically faithful and culturally relevant, will second Pastor Howard Lawrence up to 20 hours a week as Missional Church Consultant, and free up Kevin Green to encourage the work of Church Health and Planting and other northeast Edmonton churches

Zion Baptist – will reach out in faith and hire a full-time pastor

Braemar Baptist – will pray for the leadership of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, continuing in our financial support of our denomination, supporting the various activities of the denomination, and being used wherever the denomination feels they could use the giftedness of Braemar

McLaurin Memorial Baptist – will pray for and support the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada to the best of our ability and by build new relationships within the community

Shiloh Baptist – will share God’s story as it unfolds in our community and congregation and pray for our churches and leaders

Other participating church – Jasper Park Baptist

 

Many thanks to Trinity Baptist Church for their hospitality, especially Wayne Larson, Kendra Shields and Mike Engbers, who hosted us. Thanks to John Prociuk, Sam Breakey, Faye Reynolds and Ryan Sato for their facilitation of this time.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Vol 3 No. 49 Calgary Listening Sessions

On November 23rd, Northmount Baptist Church hosted the beginning of the second year of our Listening and Covenanting Sessions together.

You will recall last year’s questions:

  • What has God called you to?
  • What resources has He given you?
  • What resources do you lack?
  • How might we partner together over the next year to see God’s call lived out in your ministry and community?

And this year’s follow-up questions:

  • In what ways does your church engage and make a difference in your community?
  • In what ways does your church partner to minister with other churches?
  • In what way can your church energize or enhance the work of our denomination (our family of churches in Canadian Baptists of Western Canada ) in the next year?

The following churches were present and I ask that you pray for their requests.

Calgary – 7 participating churches, 5 spoken or written commitments

Bonavista Baptist – will seek to continually discern God’s vision for the future and desiring to live in obedience to Him

Northmount Baptist – will seek to continue to support our students in preparation for ministry and to seek God’s purposes for work with the Karen refugees in our midst

First Baptist – will share our learning and knowledge about preparing services of worship so that worship becomes the key ingredient in attracting people to church

GoodTree Christian Fellowship – will maintain and further our relationship with our CBM contacts in Rwanda and will grow and model an intercultural expression of worship

Altadore Baptist – will commit to enhance the work of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada

Other participating churches – Bowness Baptist, Awaken

Many thanks to Northmount for their hospitality. Thank to John Prociuk, Sam Breakey, Faye Reynolds and Ryan Sato for their facilitation of this time.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Vol 3 No. 48 Advent Primer

The beginning of the Christmas season enables Christians and their church communities to give meaning and purpose to the birth of Christ. The “Christmas season” is called Advent. It is traditionally the beginning of the cycle of stories and biblical themes that start many churches on to their new year. Properly preparing for Christmas can prevent us being assimilated into a materialistic and competitively hedonistic culture. Reflecting and anticipating Christ’s birth can foster a longing for new beginnings in my own walk.

I would like to thank Steve Simila Grant from Laurier heights in Edmonton for this year’s Advent materials.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Vol 3 No. 47 Items for Prayer

This Friday the Calgary churches who have agreed to be involved in the Listening Sessions will be gathering together at Northmount Church.  Please pray for those that host us, including Doug Johnston (pastor, Northmount Baptist Church).

On Saturday the Edmonton churches will be gathering at Trinity Sherwood Park. Please pray for the churches who will share what God has been calling them to in the year ahead and what God has done in the year since we have met. Thanks to Wayne Larson, who along with the church, will host us in this time.

The meetings represent the beginning of the second year of our listening sessions together. My deepest thanks to John Prociuk who guides us in these matters and so carefully assigns personnel to each of the requests that are made. Please pray for those who follow up on those requests. I also give thanks for Faye Reynolds and Ryan Sato who lead us in worship through these times.

Onto several other matters for prayer. Please remember Sam Chaise as he enters his third month of his new position as the director of the William Carey institute. Please remember Cam Yates, the founding director, as well.

Please remember those who are preparing for the Ordination Examining Council under the chair of Wayne Larson and Brian Stelck, who guides the process. OEC will take place at Carey Centre on 29 May, 2008.

Please also remember those attending the New Pastor’s Orientation, to be held at Carey Centre on 26 – 27 February 2008. This time, as the name suggests, gives new staff members in churches an opportunity to become familiar with other new staff, vision and purposes of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada.

That’s a start for today. Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Vol 3 No. 46 Banff Bites

No, the spelling of the second word in our title is not in error. While I could have said Banff Bits or even Bits and Pieces, every aspect of the Banff Pastor’s and Spouses Conference had a challenge and a purpose to it; everything that we were exposed to had a holy restlessness to it. Here’s a sampler.

Eddie Gibbs is deadly serious that the Christian church is de-centralizing what it does and needs to live out community in neighbourhoods to be effective.

Dr. Ken Need is deadly serious that much of our morosity is a sin. That God in Christ is overjoyed when we are joyful and that a “joy in the Lord” is not only a strength but is psychologically healthy.

Joyce Chan warmly challenged us in our complacency around multi-culturalism and her presentation is core curriculum for churches who are seeking God’s wisdom in their neighbourhoods.

I would encourage you to listen to Tama Ward Balisky’s bible teaching in Colossians. Her story of family prayers being interrupted by Immigration enforcement officials is a stunning and understated story.

All the above presentations are available on a DVD (2 disc) set from your church or from the Resource Centre in Calgary (call Lisa Shierman at 1 800 820 2479). The DVD’s are the excellent work of Michael Gurney with film credits to Shelby Gregg and Claudia Wakeman. Thank you all so much.

The workshop leaders, titles and contact information is listed at the end.

Many thanks to Sam Chaise for leading us in worship; it was especially thoughtful.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

 

 

 

 

Vol 3 No. 45 Banff Pastor’s Conference

He who is the image of the invisible God, Firstborn before all creation, Because in Him all things were created—things in heaven and things on earth, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers.  They have all been created through him and for Him.  Indeed, he is before all things, and they all cohere in Him. He is also the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, Firstborn from the dead, that He might be preeminent in all things, because in him it was decreed that all the fullness of should take up residence and that through Him, God should reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross – whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Colossians 1:15-20

The preceding passage was the text that Tama Ward Balisky from Grandview Calvary Baptist in Vancouver taught from in our morning Bible Studies.

Eddie Gibbs, born in England and recently retired incumbent of the Donald McGavran class of Missions at Fuller Seminary taught us for three sessions on the re-birth of the church into divergent, smaller, distributed, neighbourhood-based, worshiping and serving countries.  That last sentence was a mouthful but when you hear him, (I’ll tell you about that later) you’ll understand.

Dr. Ken Nedd, the “stress doctor”, physician and lecturer (from First Baptist Church Vancouver) challenged us to engage our bodies and physical health as God’s gift to us.  A gift we must nurture and care for.  The gift of personal physical care that we must be pro-active about.

It is Wednesday morning, about 8 workshops are about to begin.  Dr. Joyce Chan will lead us in a presentation on multi-culturalism and I’ll write you about that later.

But wait…

Tomorrow at breakfast, each church here (and everyone else next week) will receive a DVD of all the above plenary speakers and workshops.  You can decide how to use this resource for many hours of biblical, culturally-engaging and provoking material.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

Vol 3 No. 44 Northern BC Churches Listening Sessions

We have come to the end of our first cycle of listening sessions with clusters of churches throughout Western Canada. You may well remember that I did not expect a large group of respondents as we started this process. I told anyone who would listen that out of 178 churches throughout the West I believed we would have 10% or a little under 20 respondents. As of last Saturday in Kelowna over 111 churches out of 178 churches or over 60% have spent time with God, time with each other and out of these times have entered into covenant statements for joint ministry over the past year.

I am deeply thankful to God for these opportunities and will honour several individuals in next week’s letter.

We gathered together at Carey Centre in Vancouver to hear what God is saying and doing in our Northern BC Churches.

These churches included Whitehorse, Mackenzie, Prince George, and Kitimat.

These churches were represented by (ask John) and these were the straightforward covenants they have asked us to pray and act into together.

LIST CHURCHES AND STATEMENTS HERE

These were the folk present on your behalf:

 

David Holten (Director of Administration & Finance)

Rose-Marie Goodwin (Vice President Planned Giving)

Stu Dinsmore (Interim President/Vice President Operations)

Ken Nettleton (Missional Church Director)

Larry and Lynn Pearce (Coordinators of Refugee and Uprooted Peoples Issues)

Bill Mains (Church Resourcing & Special Projects Coordinator)

John Prociuk (Director of Ministries)

Ryan Sato (Youth Director)

Jeremy Bell (Executive Minister)

Sam Chaise (Director, William Carey Institute)

Paul Pearce (Area Minister – BC and Yukon)

Dawn Johannesson (Administrative Assistant – BC and Yukon)

 

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

 

Vol 3 No. 43 Easter Reminders

The Vancouver Island Churches sponsored a festival of Missions and Outreach over this last weekend, hosted by Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria. Luella Hillmer and many others who helped her organized an offering and profile of the work of CBM, CB West and the extraordinary initiatives that are part of the Vancouver Island churches at this time. Luella and her organizing committee should be incredibly encouraged that they reintroduced several essential narratives into the life of our churches in Vancouver Island and across Western Canada. Let me profile just a bit the kinds of things that some island churches are doing. The list is not extensive, will not include everyone, but will give you a flavor and the contact information of half a dozen examples.

 

Emmanuel Baptist Church (hosts a dinner for university students, which has sometimes numbered over 400. They are also gifted in the area of the Arts and intergenerational worship.

2121 Cedar Hill X Rd
Victoria, BC
V8P 2R6

Tel:  250.592.2418
Fax:  250.592.4646
Email:  office@ebcvictoria.ca
Web:  http://www.ebcvictoria.ca/

Elk Lake Baptist Church had a wonderful DVD on the Arts, well worth asking to see and to learn from. We are hoping to be able to offer it soon through our resource library.

5349 Pat Bay Hwy
Victoria, BC
V8Y 1S9

Tel:  250.658.8111
Fax:  250.658.8431
Email:  elklakebaptist@shaw.ca
Web:  http://www.elklakebaptist.ca/

 

New Life Community Baptist in Duncan has some incredible things to teach us around First Nations work (they are the people who are an inspiration to many people including myself, in this area).  They also have some very gifted and unusual ideas serving single parent families in preparation for the new school year.

1839 Tzouhalem RD, RR #5
Duncan, BC
V9L 4T6

Tel:  250.748.6521
Fax:  250.748.6528
Email:  office@newlifechurch.bc.ca
Web:  http://www.newlifechurch.bc.ca

 

The Mustard Seed Street Church in Victoria over the last year has opened up a farm north of Duncan and would love to tell you their story.

625 Queens Ave
Victoria, BC
V8T 1L9

Tel:  250.953.1575
Fax:  250.385.0430
Email:  mail@mustardseed.ca
Web:  http://www.mustardseed.ca/

 

Crosswinds Community Church  in Sidney is an example of a welcoming portal into the Christian Faith that invites people to discover Christ and then to find a permanent church home. (see their videoclip of June 6  2007 at buwc.ca) This is some of the most creative stuff any of us have experienced.

11186 Hedgerow Drive
Sidney, B.C.
V8L 5S3

Tel:  250.655.1594
Fax:  630.982.3253
Email:  nka@canada.com
Web:

 

Gateway Baptist Church is another kind of model and point of renewal for the Christian church as it is the amalgamation of Royal Oak and New Hope. They model some very encouraging possibilities for how diverse congregations can come together and minister.

898 Royal Oak Ave
Victoria, BC
V8X 3T2

Tel:  250.658.5121
Fax:  250.658.3844
Email:  gatewaybaptistchurch@shaw.ca
Web:  http://www.gatewaybaptistchurch.ca/

 

One of the key catalysts for the whole weekend was the participation of our dear friends from CBM (including Gary Nelson, Gordon King, and Terry Smith) and our much loved Dennis Shierman, who is the CBM representative in Western Canada.

I’d like to thank Lisa Shierman, Claudia Wakeman and Shelby Gregg for their work and participation and I would like to encourage Luella and her friends to continue this in the weeks ahead as we grow and build form these most unusual models.

 

Warmly,

In Christ

Jeremy Bell