Vol 6 No. 52 Heartland Regional Minister Search Process

Dear Folks,

It is important for us to share as a family of churches how we go about making appointments to positions that become open in the CBWC.  I want the process to be open for all to know about it and transparent to scrutiny and input.  It is also important so that people can pray for the process as it unfolds.

The following represents in outline form what is occurring in the Heartland Position Search.  This pattern is generally applicable to any executive staff searches.

  • Ken Thiessen resigned at the end of July and over the next several weeks, terms that were mutually acceptable were agreed to.
  • The Vice President of Personnel and Program, Glenn Rabuka, informed the CBWC Board that a search was underway for a new Heartland Regional Minister. He circulated the general job description for comment and input from the Executive Staff and the CBWC Board and it was approved.
  • Bill Mains was appointed to be the Search Coordinator.  Bill has extensive ministry experience in the CBWC as President of the Board and as Director of Ministry as well as wide experience in human resources as Deputy Superintendent of Schools in Prince George.  Bill circulated a draft ad for comment from Board and staff and then placed the ad in national Christian publications.  Included in the ad was an application closing date for January 7, 2011.
  • Glenn and Jan Paasuke, our President , have struck the basic core of the Search Committee; this includes Glenn, Jan, Jeremy Bell, the three Heartland Board representatives with the ability to add.
  • Interviews will be conducted with those individuals deemed appropriate for the position in late January.
  • The Search Committee’s recommendation will be voted on by the Board with an appointment to be subsequently made.
  • Negotations for a start date will commence in early February, Lord willing.

Please pray for all those involved in the process.

Please pray that we will continue to work out an evolving, responsive, and pastoral role for the new Heartland Regional Minister.

Please give thanks and pray for Dennis Stone and Sharon Onciul who are helping in the Heartland in the interim.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

jbell@cbwc.ca

Vol 6 No. 51 Preparing for the New Year

Dear Folks,

I start on a reflective note.  Over the last few weeks I have followed the advice I gave in this newsletter at the beginning of Advent.  I decided that if the New Year begins with the Advent season, I should then enter into this season as I would any other New Year’s: to reflect, to pray, to plan and to be thoughtful as I would at the beginning of any year.  There are many ways to do this but my wife, Kerry, shared a fragment of the Ignatian Excercises that she had been reflecting on.  They are as follows.  I have read them several times a week over the Advent season.  After about 2 weeks of doing this, Kerry asked how I was reflecting on them. She reminded me, and I remind myself and you as you read the piece that we are to truly imagine ourselves near life’s end to get the real import of this.

 

JESUIT REFLECTION

 

As I lay dying:

How am I connected?

Am I clear-headed or filled with drugs?

Have I left things in order

Or scattered and unfinished?

Then I ask myself:

What would I like to have done between now and that event?

What will I have been glad to have done or left undone?

What actions or attitudes would make me fear on that bed?

What will seem valuable to me lying there?

What will appear in all its time to be slight or foolish?

Imagine that I could write my own obituary or article reporting my own death:

How does that make me feel?

What would I want to blot out of what I had done?

What would I wish with all my heart I could include?

Then I should consider whether there are some things

I ought to put my mind to.

Thomas Green augments these questions by adding:  “At the end of all time how would you explain to the Lord the major decisions of your life?”

This exercise of Ignatious of Loyola is meant for sober, solid, prayerful consideration; especially

l. What would I like to have done between now and that event

2. Then I should consider whether there are some things I ought to put my mind to.

So, a second Happy New Year…filled with good thoughtful reflection, prayer, imaging and thinking though.

I find that it is not so helpful for me to “lean unto my own understanding” but in all my ways to lean on the Lord and acknowledging Him and receive understanding.  May that be all of our experience this New Year.  And in the season of the Magi, may that also be our Epiphany.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

jbell@cbwc.ca

Vol 6 No. 50 In Thanksgiving

Dear Folks,

 

As we close this year I cannot help but recall God’s faithfulness to us all.  There are those that have been called elsewhere or simply moved on, there are ministries that have grown, changed or evolved, there are ways that the Lord is still working that we have no idea what the outcomes will be, but thankful we are.

I want to begin this newsletter of thanksgiving at the end of the year by remarking on the faithfulness of God simply because, as we have often remarked together, that the faithfulness of God is also a reminder that we can expect that He will continue to be so.  Please join me in join me in giving thanks for the following:

  • Gary Nelson, our former CBM General Secretary who moved to Tyndale College and Seminary
  • Sam Chaise who become the new CBM General Secretary, for Sam in the loss of his dad and for Sam and Cindy as they adjust to Toronto.
  • Thank you for Heather Thomson’s leading of our first celebration of Ministry dinner at Trinity Baptist in Vancouver with over 19 churches represented.
  • Thanksgiving that Keats Camps, despite many setbacks and a deep pruning, have begun to see a growth in their ministry and the faithfulness of God in new funds.
  • Thanksgiving for the work of Jeff Dyer at Gull Lake and blessings on Steve Roadhouse as he has so ably taken over.
  • Great appreciation for all those who organized and participated in Banff’s Pastors Conference, our largest in years.  Thanks for Darrell Johnson, Barbara Mutch and Paddy Ducklow for their wonderful sessions.
  • Thanksgiving for the new Partnership and Possibilities brochure which has enlivened and empowered many of our CBWC family in understanding the great breadth of ministry we are involved in.
  • Our blessings and prayers for Claire McLean as she ends her interim leadership of youth in the CBWC and awaits work in International Disaster Relief.
  • For Dennis and Judy Shierman as they move to join CBM in Ontario.
  • Prayer for Ken Thiessen as he ceases to be the Heartland Regional Minister and continues in his own work.
  • A welcome to Peter Anderson as our new interim youth leader.
  • Thanks for Serve 2010 where a number of young people from several of our churches worked in Flin Flon, Manitoba
  • Thanks to Jan Paasuke, the President of our Board, who leads and encourages us in many, many ways.
  • Prayers for Jonathan Wilson (Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology at Carey Theological College) whose wife, Marti passed away in the fall.
  • For John Prociuk as he ceases to be clergy care coordinator and begins contract work with CBM
  • Thanksgiving for Nadia VanderKuip leading Short Term Missions which grew from 140+ to just shy of 200.
  • Great encouragement at the quality of community and service that Rod Olson is leading with our students at Rocky Mountain College in Calgary.
  • Thanksgiving for Tom Lavigne’s leadership in church planting initiatives which have grown so tremendously this year.
  • I would be remiss in not including on your behalf a great appreciation and thanksgiving for all the CBWC Board and staff and all those who are members of committees and networks in this family of churches.

Early in the New Year I will continue in the spirit and reality of thanksgiving, but will stop for now.

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

jbell@cbwc.ca

Vol 6 No. 49 Prayer of Remembrance

Dear Folks,

Part I:

Three times a year I travel on behalf of the CBM partners as CBM’s appointment to the committee on military chaplaincy.  I have explained that elsewhere so I will not expand on that now, except to tell you one brief story.

I went to Borden, Ontario this week to a committee meeting and to encourage two Baptist chaplains who graduated today, December 8:  Steve Neil and Troy Irwin.  The meeting was held in Trinity Protestant Chapel.  During a break I wandered into the church and came upon a memorial wall of photographs of those soldiers who have been killed in the war in Afghanistan.  There are over 155 of them and as I saw them en masse I realized that they would fill over two thirds of the space in the church.  There is so much I could say, recalling what I felt as I imagined them fully alive with family and friends, but this I remember, this I ask of you…

Remember this Christmas:

– the fallen

-the friends, family and loved ones; for this very Christmas is reopening a wound

-give thanks for our freedom

-pray for those living in the culture of war

Part II:

The Christmas Imperatives for each of us and our churches.

May we be individuals and churches of worship; that worship of the living God and of the Christ child at His birth be what infuses and informs our season.  Remember Christmas Eve is the most important and significant opportunity of welcome and worship in the entire year.

May we be people of welcome of one another in reconciliation and thankfulness of the stranger and of the community in general whether we know them or not.

May we be people of service in whatever circumstances are needed and in whatever ways we are called.

May we be people and churches that graciously share the gift of Jesus with all who seek him; attentive to the Spirit and open to the searching and questions of seekers.

Worship, welcome, service and sharing; each marks of a Christian, Christ’s church and this season.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

jbell@cbwc.ca

Vol 6 No. 48 Look At What the Light Did Now

Dear Folks,

Some things just don’t go away.  The inglorious (one is solely tempted to refer to a movie of recent years) and the coarse constantly try to supplant the sacred hushed and holy waiting for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In a vain attempt to find sanity on the television last night I stumbled upon Irish Thunder singing Christmas favourites.  I lasted, in fairness to Irish Thunder, only 5-6 minutes before I fled the saccharine. It reminded me of that wide eyed, unblinking look when the ophthalmologist puts drops in your eyes.  Startled, you desperately look around but find nothing in focus. Irish Thunder looked like much of the culture; like someone had put drops in those winsome eyes, and then produced a complete and utter vacuity.  Don’t shutter yourself from the secular interpretation of Christmas; challenge it, push back, deny it it’s power, redeem and reclaim this time of waiting for the arrival of the Christ who seeks to redeem and reclaim this self same world too.

As I wrote last week on Advent, I knew (or at least hoped) that the ideas and work of others might present themselves, so I might share them with you. The three opportunities below will build you up, re-invigorate these days ahead for you and, in the case of YouTube’s Handel’s Messiah meets the Mall…blow you away and accomplish two other things.  First you will rush to hear those wonderful words throughout the year.  Secondly, and more importantly, it will make each of us do something  the Holy Spirit bids us do… that is to look with anticipation, open eyes and open hearts at being surprised by God in ordinary places…in a mall or at a stable.

Lets return to  today’s newsletter title.  It is the title of a film by Feist; as part of a rebellious act let me take her title and suggest it is a declaration and theme for this Advent.  Indeed, let the world hear that in the birth of the Christ Child.  With one voice, we greet His birth by declaring:  Look At What the Light Did Now!

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

jbell@cbwc.ca

Handel’s Messiah meets the Mall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE

From Steve Simala-Grant, at Laurier Heights Baptist Church

Advent – Week 1

Nov. 28, 201, Phil 2:1-11

 

Intro:

As you can tell from those many announcements, the Christmas season is upon us.  It didn’t start in August, even if that is when you first noticed the Christmas decorations in Costco.  And it really does start today, even though our city is more focused on the big Grey Cup football game than the start of the season of Advent.  Thanks to our master decorators for setting the beautiful atmosphere here in our sanctuary.

I don’t know what words you might associate with this season.  Perhaps “busy”, “hectic”, or “chaotic”.  Perhaps “stressful”.  Perhaps “lonely”.  Hopefully some positive ones: “family”, “feasting”, “friends”.  Those are very much a part of this season in our culture, but they don’t really speak of the season in the rhythm of worship.

 

Rhythm of Anticipation and Longing:

The season of Advent in the rhythm of our annual worship journey is a season of anticipation – the time of preparation for something incredible.  It is also a season of longing – that deep yearning within us, put there by the God of the Universe, for life to be fundamentally different than it is today, without sin and death and pain.  Anticipation and longing are similar, but with very different feelings: anticipation is positive and excited, dreaming and eager.  Longing is more melancholy, with some sadness at the present state and desperate for things to change for the better.  Our broader culture does ok with the anticipation – the whole build up, the planning, the organizing, all leading up to “the big day”.  Unfortunately, the conclusion of that cultural anticipation sometimes becomes the exact opposite of the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus – the culmination is about feasting and abundance and “what we got for Christmas”; whereas the story of Jesus is really about leaving the heavenly “feast”, turning back on abundance, and on giving until there is nothing left.

But where in all that is the sense of longing?  Assuming of course we strip away the materialism and marketing messages that are more about coveting than a longing of the heart.  Are there places where there is a desperation for change, a pleading on our knees for Jesus’ “kingdom to come, His will be done”, an honest admission of where our lives have followed our own brokenness into ways of living that are not outpourings of the Kingdom of God, but instead mirror the kingdom of this world?

 

Confession:

As we begin around the communion table, may this be a place of that longing.  We begin with the rhythm of confession, repentance, and receiving of forgiveness, and it is so incredibly appropriate that we begin our season of Advent with that same rhythm, that we start Advent with an honest, brutal, heart-rendering acknowledgement of how much sin has destroyed.  We have to start there, so we see again how much we need Jesus to come.

I want to make that a little more specific.  We’ve been studying Philippians 2 together, it begins:  “1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

I give you some space in quiet reflection now, and invite you to allow those questions and the Holy Spirit to search your heart:  “are your hearts tender and compassionate?”; or is there hardness, selfishness, and pride that looks at the sufferings of others without desire to help?  Are we “agreeing wholeheartedly with each other” or are there places where we have been divisive or argumentative?  Are we truly “loving one another”.  What about selfishness – the command is “don’t be selfish.”  Desire to impress – the command is “don’t try to impress others”.  Pride – the command is “be humble”.  As we head into communion, let us shine the light of truth which comes through Jesus, who is “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (Jn 1:5), upon our hearts.  And allow Him to speak.

 

silence

 

Please join me in the words on the screen, which serve as our corporate prayer of repentance (from http://www.wellsprings.org.uk/liturgies/advent_penitential.htm):

 

Reader:   We live in a world oppressed by sin; a world of hunger – pain – injustice

ALL:   WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE ARE PART OF THIS WORLD

AND HAVE NOT ALWAYS PLAYED OUR PART

IN CONFRONTING THE DARKNESS

AND BRINGING THE LIGHT OF CHRIST TO TROUBLED PLACES.

.

Reader: We are part of the Body of Christ; a Body which is broken by the sin of its
members

ALL: WE RECOGNISE THAT WE BELONG TO THE BROKEN BODY OF CHRIST

THAT OUR LIVES ARE TOUCHED BY THE SIN OF OTHERS

AND THAT OUR SIN TOUCHES THEIRS:

THE BODY OF CHRIST CALLED TO BRING LIGHT TO THE WORLD

ITSELF FACING SHADOW AND SUSPICION.

.

Reader: We are unique individuals, created in the image and likeness of God

ALL: WE CONFESS THAT WE DO NOT LIVE UP TO GOD’S DREAM FOR US:

THAT WHERE GOD SAYS, “LET THERE BE LIGHT!”

WE FEAR TO COME OUT OF THE SHADOWS;

WHERE GOD SAYS: ” YOU ARE SALT FOR THE EARTH”

WE REST CONTENT WITH BLANDNESS;

WHERE GOD SAYS,

“BEFORE I FORMED YOU IN THE WOMB I KNEW YOU!”

WE LIVE ESTRANGED FROM HIM –

AFRAID OF THE POWER OF HIS LOVE FOR US.

Having now confessed our sin, we must make a distinct change.  From a sad introspective recognition of sin in our lives, we must turn our focus 180 degrees, off of ourselves and unto Jesus.  Sin is not and cannot be our focus, our regret for sin must transform into an Advent longing for Jesus to come, in all His fullness, and set everything right.  That begins with us, and is the immediate response of God to our confession.  Those sins are gone.  They are in the past, removed, the penalty paid, the wrongs atoned for.  By Jesus, because of His love for us.  So our emotion of confession must now turn to an overwhelmed gratitude, a deep experience of the grace of God which would do all of this for us:

Phil 2:5-11 (NRSV mostly…):

Last week I had you read aloud, slowly, the hymn to Christ which follows 2:1-4.  Please join me again in that same reading, and again we will pause in it so it can soak it in:

5Let the same mind be in you that (you have) in Christ Jesus,

6 who, though he was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God

as something to (cling to),

7 but emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

8   he humbled himself

and became obedient to the point of death—

even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God also highly exalted him

and gave him the name

that is above every name,

10 so that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bend,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

 

Humiliation: vs. 5-8 (NRSV mostly…)

Last week when I introduced this hymn I broke it down into two simple stanzas for us – the first (vs. 5-8) about Jesus’ humiliation and the second (9-11) about his exaltation.  The first section encapsulates, in ten simple lines, the Christmas and Easter stories.  Let’s take a short, but closer look.

At the heart of Christianity, and critical to our unique witness as Jesus’ followers in a culture that largely admits to some belief in “a god”, is Jesus.  Who was Jesus?  What do we really believe?  This hymn is a great place to start.

It begins before creation, in vs. 6, stating that Jesus is God.  The language is technical and difficult to translate here, the NIV says “being in very nature God”, and the version we use in church most often (NLT) says “though he was God”, so we won’t get caught up too much in the phrase “in the form of God” this morning.  Instead we’ll just hang on the idea that Jesus, known to us in human form, is actually God.

But now comes the Advent and Christmas mystery/miracle:  though Jesus is God, He voluntarily chose to take that “equality with God” and not cling tightly to it, not hold on to it.  Again there are some debates about how to translate the last part of verse 6, I think the best way is with the NLT’s translation “cling to”, because I think it gives the best sense of the Lord Jesus’ decision making process before verse 7’s idea of emptying.  And the picture it paints for me is a beautiful one, enacting the love of Jesus for us, and living out the entire command Paul has just given about putting others first.  I picture Jesus, in heaven, surrounded by angels in worship, in complete union with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, looking down at you and me and our world and loving us enough to not keep holding on to all that it meant to be God in heaven, to not cling to that, but to lay it aside so that we could join those worshipers, responding of our own free will to a God who would love us that much.

And so, vs. 7, “he emptied himself”.  Picture a water jug, full; and a parched, desperate people who will die without a drink.  Jesus pours Himself out into those cracked mouths, those swollen tongues, those hopeless people on the very edge of death, and he restores them!  He brings them to life!!

He does this by becoming a slave.  The lowest in the structure of society.  The King, now the slave.  All, once again, because of love.

We see that love first in Jesus “being born in human likeness”.  This is the Christmas story, towards which we journey beginning today.  This is the baby in the manger, the normal, average, dependent, human child, which is also the very God of the universe.

And then the hymn rockets forward to the cross: “he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—  even death on a cross.”  Our participation together around the Lord’s table is our re-enactment of this truth.

 

Communion:

Having become human, having lived a life of humility and service and obedience to God the Father, our Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread: and when he had given thanks he broke it.

 

(bread is served):  “This is my body, given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”

 

In the same way after supper he took the cup, saying “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people, sealed with my blood.

 

(cup is served):  This cup is the new covenant between God and His people, sealed with Jesus’ blood.  Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

 

Exaltation:

So then what?  Paul reports that Jesus said, “For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.”  (1 Cor 11:26).  Our re-enactment of the death of Jesus for us ends with thanksgiving and praise, which is appropriate in our regular celebration.  But in terms of the salvation story which God continues to unfold, it is an announcement made “until he comes again”.  Our adult education time this morning is going to explore this further, but it is pretty clear in our passage in Philippians 2 also:

“9 Therefore God also highly exalted him

and gave him the name

that is above every name,

10 so that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bend,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”

 

Can you taste it?  I began with the advent season and the ideas of anticipation and longing – don’t those words stir that within you?  The day will come, Jesus will return, every knee and every tongue will recognize Jesus and know, without any doubt, that Jesus Christ is Lord.  All will see of His love, and all will recognize that Jesus,

 

though he was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God

as something to (cling to),

 

7 but emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

 

being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

 

8   he humbled himself

and became obedient to the point of death—

even death on a cross.

 

 

9 Therefore God also highly exalted him

and gave him the name

that is above every name,

 

10 so that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bend,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

 

11 and every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

 

And from First Baptist Church, Edmonton, Ryan Sato and the Liturgy Writing:

LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS

ADVENT 2010

 

Prepared by the Liturgy Writing Group

First Baptist Church

10031 – 109 Street NW, 

Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 1M1

Tel. 780.422.2214

CONFESSION & LITANY           SCRIPTURE PASSAGES:

Sunday, 05 December 2010     Psalm 72 v1–7 and v18–19

Second Sunday of Advent     Isaiah 11 v1–10

Theme: PEACE       Romans 15 v4–13

Matthew 3 v1–12

CONFESSION & ASSURANCE OF PARDON

 

God of our waiting, Advent is a season of anticipation. But often we find that we do not know what we are waiting for, especially as we think of peace. Forgive us for thinking that your peace is simply politeness or political correctness. Forgive us for thinking that peace is just the absence of armed conflict. Help us, instead, to work toward the right relationship between people that flows from right relationship with you. Help us pursue the interior justice of righteousness, which leads to true peace. May our pursuit of peace be pleasing to you, O God. Hear now our silent confession.

 

LITANY

(Based on Isaiah 11)

 

ALL: O God, we turn to you, the one who has 

promised to establish a new kingdom, 

where all earth’s creatures know peace.

One: As the wolf will dwell with the lamb,

Many: So may the peoples of the earth live together

in peace.

One: As the cow and the bear will share grazing places,

Many: So may the hungry and the full share the

bounty of the earth.

One: As the nursing child will play safely by the

cobra’s hole,

Many: So may the weak and vulnerable be protected

by the strong and secure.

One: May we each, in our hearts and actions,

devote ourselves wholly to the peace of God.

Many: May the whole world embrace the peace of God.

ALL: May the knowledge of God’s peace cover the earth,

as the waters cover the sea.

 

CONFESSION & LITANY     SCRIPTURE PASSAGES:

Sunday, 12 December 2010     Psalm 146 v5–10 [or] Luke 1 v46b–55

Third Sunday of Advent     Isaiah 35 v1–10

Theme: JOY       James 5 v7–10

Matthew 11 v2–11

 

CONFESSION & ASSURANCE OF PARDON

 

Generous and loving God, is this the season of abundance or of shortage? We confess being easily distracted by advertising that tells us to consume more. We confess being anxious about the giving and receiving of trinkets. Remind us that glitter cannot feed our souls. Remind us of the meaning of Christ in Christmas, we pray. Help us give our hearts and hands in holy service. Hear now our silent confession.

 

LITANY

 

One: We wait in darkness.

Many: Lord, we pray for light. Guide our steps for the journey you 

would have us take.

One: We wait in drought.

Many: Lord, we pray for water. Moisten our dry throats; water our arid hearts.

One: We wait in hunger.

Many: Lord, we pray for sustenance. Feed our bodies; nourish our 

meagre souls.

One: We wait in fear.

Many: Lord, we pray for courage. Calm us in our waiting, then stir us to act

boldly when your will is clear.

 

One: We wait for Christ.

Many: In Christ, the poor will have good news brought to them. 

Joy will come, even to the wilderness. 

 

ALL: We are the poor! We wait, in need, for the Messiah, assured of his coming and the joy that it brings. Bless our Advent waiting, we pray, in the name of Jesus Christ.

CONFESSION & LITANY         SCRIPTURE PASSAGES:

Sunday, 19 December 2010     Psalm 80 v1–7 and v17–19

Fourth Sunday of Advent     Isaiah 7 v10–16

Romans 1 v1–7

Matthew 1 v18–25

 

CONFESSION & ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Lord, we look forward today to the candle of Love. Its small flame reminds us of a much greater light—the light of your love for us. We confess the dimness of our love for others. We confess the shallowness and poverty of our compassion. Restore us, O God; let your face shine on us, that we might be saved. Hear now our silent confession.

 

LITANY

 

One: Rejoice! God is strong!

Many: How can we relax when we doubt that God is able?

One: Shout for joy! The Lord is with us!

Many: How can we sing when we are unsure of God’s presence?

One: Rejoice! God hears us!

Many:  How can we be calm when we fear to ask the Lord for what we need?

One: Celebrate! The Lord is persistent!

Many:  Tune our hearts to the conversation we can have with you, Jesus—
friend and creator, infant and Saviour.

One: Rejoice! God loves us!

Many:  Teach us love’s call to freedom—freedom to be saints—
in Jesus’ name.

ALL: To all who are loved by God and called to be saints: 

  Attune your hearts to the one who came down, for Love.

CONFESSION & LITANY SCRIPTURE PASSAGES:

Sunday, 26 December 2010     Psalm 148

First Sunday after Christmas     Isaiah 63 v7–9

Hebrews 2 v10–18

Matthew 2 v13–23

 

CONFESSION

 

God, we ask for discernment in our lives. But even though we ask, we confess that we do not pay attention to your guidance. We are not attuned to your Spirit. Help us to hear your voice and be obedient, as Joseph was when he fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus. Empower us to heed the stirring of your Spirit in our lives. Hear now our silent confession.

 

Litany OF PRAISE TO THE CHRIST CHILD

A Litany for Many Voices

 

One: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord—God of truth and light—

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest!

 

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest!

 

Many : Christ Child, we sing to you.

 

*with the woman who gave you birth;

*with the man who took you on his shoulders.

 

Many: We sing to you.

 

*with the shepherds who found you in a feed trough;

*with the magi who knew of you from the silent stars;

*and with the aged prophets who saw in you he redemption

of the world.

 

Many: We sing to you.

 

*with the angels and archangels who envelop us;

*with all the saints before us and beside us;

*with brothers and sisters around the world,

east and west, north and south.

 

Many: We sing to you the hymn of unending praise,

and worship the Christ Child.

 

All: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord—God of truth and light—

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest!

 

Adapted from: 

The Iona Community Worship Book, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, 1991.

 

 

Vol 6 No. 47 Happy New Year

Dear Folks,

Christians for many centuries have set themselves apart as followers of a resurrected Jesus; a people of prayer, worship, community and ministers to a hungry world.

Christians have set themselves apart in radical ways as we testify by word and living the power of the Holy Spirit in our midst and through us in our world.

In the history of our faith we have had the most emphatic, explosive and dramatic influence in our worlds’ understanding of time.  We believe, as a resurrection people, that a true understanding of time is eternal.  We are born into a life that does not end at death but, as Christians, is a continuum into eternal life in Christ.

All this is to say that as Christians we so reject the world’s understanding of time that we have our own New Years’ day.  It is not January 1.  It begins every year as the first Sunday in the season of preparation of Christ’s birth; November 29 this year.

We have often talked about why it is important to follow the calendar that liturgical churches follow.  It is not that we want to be like them; that would be folly given the struggles those churches are experiencing.  However, over 21 million Canadians use the language of the church year.  In order to reach out to those who language from birth is the language of Advent and Lent, we must learn and use that language.  We are not trying to be Anglicans or Lutherans but in the message of Jesus at His birth and incarnation, the Lord demands we “inconvenience” ourselves to learn the faith language of Canadian culture.  Starting our year at Advent is missiological; it embraces believers who are looking for a renewed love and says to the culture, Jesus starts the year; the retail sector doesn’t dominate our world, the birth of Jesus does.

We have provided this week the following dates and scriptures so that each Sunday you might experience a personal preparation during this Advent and that if possible you might share them with the church communities you are part of.  As well, here are some links that might help you and yours along that journey.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

 

jbell@cbwc.ca

 

November 28: Isaiah 2:1-5;

December 5: Isaiah 11:1-10

December 12:  Isaiah 35:1-10

December 19:  Isaiah 7:10-16

 

William Carey Institute:  Advent devotional: http://www.carey-edu.ca/institute/seminars_and_events/hope_is_coming_an_online_advent_devotional_series

The Revised Common Lectionary:  (http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/).

Vol 6 No. 46 Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference

Dear Folks,

I wanted to briefly report on this year’s Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference.  It is hard to do so in the immediate aftermath.  One the one hand, there are wonderful memories and I can tell you some of the things that occurred.  On the other hand, there are many things of a personal, formative and relational nature which will require some time before they are fully understood.  The theme, the speakers and those in attendance gathered to fully engage our topic of “Ministering in Difficult Times”.  I’ll talk about that in a moment, but first I want to thank those who made this possible.

First, and foremost, I wish to thank Liz Swab in her second year of coordinating this major event.  Liz was thoughtful, unruffled, delegated well and was flawlessly organized.  I want to thank Colleen Schneider, who provided great assistance and was a sounding board for Liz and for the rest of us, and who, along with David Holten and Liz, formed a good liaison with the hotel.  As well, this event would not have been completed without the continued and thoughtful support of David Holten, as he not only manages the finances, but manages our anxiety around them.  As I mentioned at Banff, I would like to thank the CBWC Foundation for their financial support for scholarships for pastors and spouses to attend Banff.

In addition, I would like to thank Dawn Johannesson, from the BCY Regional Office, who remains a wonderful constant in these gatherings, not simply because of her longevity, but because of her relationships with the entire CBWC family;  Sharon Onciul, from the Alberta Regional Office, who continues to be extremely helpful, not only at Banff, but in working with Dennis Stone and John Prociuk, helping the Heartland as well as the Alberta region in the transition to the new Heartland Regional Minister;  Shelby Gregg, coming back from a 3 month leave, began her transition the week before Banff and yet participated in Executive Staff meetings; and Claudia Wakeman was instrumental in the organization of communion each day as well as helping with registration and other tasks. As well, let me take a moment here to thank Rob Ogilvie for his outstanding contribution to leading, prodding and creating community amongst us.

Some of you, but not many I trust, will wonder why I’ve spent such a considerable time in the previous paragraphs thanking staff.  I do it because we don’t do it often enough and because Banff is a unique context.  Those who are leading the retreat, which include myself, are not able to serve the attendees effectively unless all the background work is successfully completed.  Staff come to Banff, to work and while the setting is pleasant, often find themselves exhausted by the time it is done.  There have been comments at times, that we have too many staff at Banff.  We can’t do it without the above folk and we are thankful for them.

Each of our speakers, Darrell Johnson, Barbara Mutch, and Paddy Ducklow, had their own personal narrative around ministering in difficult times. Darrell’s leading us through three sessions in Romans was deeply appreciated by many.  Darrell had a wonderful exercise for us as he quoted Karl Barth, saying the phrase, “If God be with us” five times emphasizing a single word each time we repeated it:

  • If God be with us
  • If God be with us
  • If God be with us
  • If God be with us
  • If God be with us

Barbara Mutch’s exposition and exhortation out of Jeremiah, as someone said to me, “had people buzzing”.  That phrase is inadequate, yet conveys an incredible range of emotion, as Jeremiah was framed around Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday.  One of her more memorable lines for me was, “Jeremiah dwelt outside Jerusalem and inside the Torah”, phrasing for me the notion of being outside the culture (yet committed to the culture), but inside the Scripture.

Paddy Ducklow’s talk introduced thoughtfulness and levity amongst us.  He not only shared from his personal experience, but also unwrapped for us an extensive survey that he had done on clergy attitudes, experiences and perspectives.  It was a massive project, extremely helpful and very wise.  All who heard it wanted for more and I apologize to Paddy that his time was so limited.

Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference in 2009 had approximately 130 participants, 2010 had close to 230 participants.  While there are a variety of reasons for that, we will continue to pray, plan and hope that this singularly important event in the life of our work together continues to flourish.  Once again, thank you to Liz and Rob who led us, and thank you to each of our speakers who gave sacrificially of their own time and energy to be part of a challenging and exciting experience.

Thanks to God for this wonderful experience.

 

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

jbell@cbwc.ca

Vol 6 No. 45 Praying For Our Chaplains

Dear Folks,

 

The backbone of care on a profoundly, meaningful level which includes the comfort of the ministry of presence is conducted by chaplains in dozens of hospitals and prisons.  Many of these chaplains are from CBWC.  The beginning of this list from Alberta and British Columbia is our attempt to recognize our chaplains, pray for them and encourage them that they are a part of a larger family and not alone.  And I thank Kelly McCallum, a provincial prison chaplain in BC of reminding me of the importance of doing this regularly.  We will pick up with our military chaplains and Heartland chaplains in the weeks ahead.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

jbell@cbwc.ca

 

CBWC Chaplains

Alberta
Brent Watts – U of A Hospital, Edmonton
David Morrison – Calgary Health Region
Donna Orr – Lacombe Hospital
Kris Knutson – Mustard Seed, Edmonton
Marcel Leffelaar – Calgary Children’s Hospital
Mario Gaulin – CFB Cold Lake
Randy Loewen – Hope Mission
Rick Williams – Red Deer Hospital
Lawrence Peck – Edmonton City Police
Stefan Ulrich – Claresholm General Hospital

BC/Yukon
Andres Rebane –Lions Gate Hospital and Evergreen House
Becky Vink – Kelowna General Hospital
Ben Vivian – Prison Chaplain, Mandated from Mustard Seed Victoria
Paul Beckingham – Military
Craig Thomas – Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, Maple Ridge
Ken Wettlaufer – Baptist Housing Ministry
Bruce Curtiss – Union Gospel Mission, Vancouver
David Musser – Fraser Health (Queen Park, Fellburn and Ruddhouse)
Gloria Quarless – Youth Corrections in Victoria
Janet MacPhee – Union Gospel Mission, Vancouver
Kelly McCallum – North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre, Maple Ridge
Layne Daggett – Vancouver Airport
Peter Day – Norgarden Estates, Victoria
George Sears – Vancouver Airport
Melanie Gonder-Benoit –Providence Health
Steve Bradley – Jail and Street Outreach out of Mustard Seed, Victoria
Kevin Park – Hospital and Military Chaplain Mandated out of West Point Grey, Vancouver
David Van Essen – Westside Care Centre, Kelowna
Ken Siemens – West Kootenay Chaplain

Vol 6 No. 44 New Interim Youth Director

Dear Folks,

 

This is Claire McLean’s last report as Interim Youth Director.  It includes an intro to Peter Anderson, from West Point Grey Baptist Church who is our new Interim Youth Director for a 6 month term.

Bless you Claire in the time ahead.  Thanks be to God for you, for Peter and for West Point Grey Baptist Church who has freed Peter up to take this position.

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

jbell@cbwc.ca

 

 

29th October, 2010

Hello friends,

This annual Fall mailing containing information and Registration Forms for next summer’s SERVE project also contains news of change.  After two years in the Interim Youth Director position with the denomination I am moving on and for the next few months Peter Anderson will be your CBWC contact for matters pertaining to Youth Ministry.

Peter is originally from the United States.  He has a heart for Jesus, which translates into a passion for discipling youth and a desire for others to know the joy of Christ in their lives.  Peter holds an MDiv from Regent College and will function part time as the Youth Co-ordinator for the denomination.  His role with the CBWC will be in addition to his responsibilities as the Youth Pastor at West Point Grey Baptist Church in Vancouver, BC.  He can be contacted via email (youth@cbwc.ca) or on his cell phone (604.340.2801).  He will also receive messages left for him at the Vancouver Office (604.225.5916).  Some of you may already know Peter from SERVE.  For the past couple of years the youth at West Point Grey have led Day Camps in Herbert and Flin Flon, so Peter is well equipped to answer questions you have about this project.

Speaking of SERVE…we are already excited for next year’s project.  Kitimat, BC will see an influx of our youth during the week of 10-16 July.  Plans are already being made by the folks at Kitimat First Baptist to host groups that come.  Two possible work projects currently being explored that are worthy of mention include: partnering with the local First Nations Community in Kitimat Village; and helping to restore facilities and equipment at a Christian Summer Camp near Terrace (just north of Kitimat).  If you have questions about work projects for SERVE, or the area of Kitimat, the best person to answer your questions is Tim Coleman.

Tim is the Youth and Families Pastor in Kitimat (pastortim@telus.net).  Tim will be working closely with the Youth Leadership Team (under the direction of Peter) to oversee the whole event.  Our speaker is yet to be confirmed, but we are happy to announce that Fraser Campbell and band have already committed to lead worship during our evening sessions.  Peter is available to answer general questions about SERVE and to receive Bursary Applications.  As was the case last year, a limited number of bursaries are available.  Please note the deadline for applying for a bursary is significantly earlier than the registration deadline.  Registrations will be received through the Calgary Office, so questions concerning payment or submission of forms should be addressed to Liz Swab (lswab@cbwc.ca).  Of course all this information is laid out in this package and is available on the Youth Website (www.cbwcyouth.ca).

All that’s left for me to do is to wish you well in your ministries.  It has been a pleasure to work with the gifted and committed people who are the youth leaders in our churches.  I will miss you!

 

Claire McLean

Interim Youth Director, CBWC

 

 

Vol 6 No. 43 Items for Prayer

Dear Folks,

 

There are a constant stream of challenges and celebrations that occur in our family of churches. All are in need of prayer.

Please pray for:

 

  • Keats Camps as it discerns its new path through uncertain financial challenges.  We give thanks for people’s generosity, and all the work of Greg Duskin, David Connop, Rob Ogilvie, and Laurie Bristow.
  • Please pray for Tim Colborne as he leaves the senior minister’s calling at Kitsilano Christian Community in Vancouver, for Liz Drance, their moderator and for wisdom in their search for a new pastor.
  • Pray for Ken and Bev Thiessen as they have transitioned out of Regional Ministry and as Ken explores new challenges as he follows God’s call in coaching and consulting.
  • We give thanks for and pray for our Banff Pastors’ conference speakers:  Darrell Johnson, Barbara Mutch and Paddy Ducklow.  Please pray for Liz Swab as she leads and coordinates.
  • Please pray for Claire McLean, who has been a gift as our Youth Resources CBWC Leader, as she comes to the end of her term.  Please pray for Peter Anderson who will be in a six month contract position to cover Claire’s former role.
  • Please pray for Bowness Baptist Church in Calgary and Brian Lum, their pastor, as they work on their present and future mission as a church under severe financial challenges.
  • Thanksgiving for the new MDiv students at Carey, which have increased from around 30 to over 70 since September, 2009.
  • Great thanksgiving for John Prociuk; his life, work, care and ministry amongst us as he prepares to work for CBM in the new year.
  • Pray for Tom Lavigne as he leads our church planting initiative; and for all the congregations (over 30) he is in process with in these next months.
  • Please pray for Nadia VanderKuip as she meets with over 12 pastors at the Banff Pastors’ Conference to discuss Short Term Ministry plans for the next year.
  • Pray for Shelby Gregg, Vancouver Office Administrator, as she returns from a 3 month sabbatical that she is refreshed and encouraged.

 

 

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

jbell@cbwc.ca