News & Notes Vol 13 No. 8

An Introduction to an Introduction to Easter – Part 2

Dear friends,

We have been looking at what it is like to prepare for Lent. We have explained the advantages of doing that both for our own sakes, our own way of remembering, and in preparing for Easter but, also very much so that we might share in this season with other Canadians who are familiar with the passages of Scripture, the Lenten readings, and the preparation for Easter in their own traditions. I think it most important and always possible to use what God has given us as entry points for discussion and prayer for ourselves and others.

In this vein, Jill Schuler and I recommend these resources: a short article and a video that lay out the Christian calendar and the place of Lent within it.

http://www.thirdrva.org/blog/telling-time-differently-as-christ-followers

https://vimeo.com/79923336

On another track, 1 of the passages and narratives that was most significant to me as a late teen was a simple correspondence between John Wesley, the great evangelist, and William Law, a theologian and Christian thinker of his day. John Wesley became a Christian in later life and was dismayed that many Christians that he knew had not, as he put it, “pressed upon him the Lordship of Christ.” He picked up this angst and concern with former mentor William Law. He asked Law why he had not introduced John Wesley to the person and work of Jesus Christ, and in a rather condemnatory and accusatory way suggested to William Law that maybe he had not pressed the Lordship of Christ because he did not know this relationship, this Christ, himself. I’m not suggesting that we should write or receive any such brutal admonishment ourselves but I am suggesting that there are many around us who either do not know Christ, or are interested in learning more about him, that would benefit from a conversation with us.

I would suggest 3 very simple things. The 1st is that we might say to the Lord, “Lord make yourself known to me so that in being filled up with your presence and in the moving of the Holy Spirit I may be open to others.” I’m also suggesting that we might have a 2nd prayer: “Lord if it be your will might you use me to share you with others.” I would suggest and request a 3rd thing; something that I am in the process of framing and practicing myself. The 3rd suggestion is after these 2 initial prayers that we would be prompted by the Spirit to write down 3 or 4 names of people that we believe we might be led to (or open to being led) to having conversations about Jesus. I would suggest that we begin praying for those people on a daily basis with an expectation that through this Lenten season and in preparation for Easter there might be an opportunity for us… there might be a hunger in them… there might be a passion for us that friends and family and those we know might be open to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, that this Lenten and Easter season might be a time when they come to know him. That we might pray these things in Christ’s powerful name. Amen.

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

Quote of the Week:  William Churchill regarding Sir Stafford Cripps, “There but for the grace of God goes God.”  Since we are on this topic I suspect that he also said to Sir Stafford “there is a self-made man who worships his creator.”  I know that many of you who are Churchill experts will find flaws in my quotes but there you go.

News from the Family: The Carey Board Meeting is coming up on March 11.  Please pray for the school.  In addition, please pray for Rod Olson as he prepares to teach classes at Ambrose this late Spring and develops relationships around the student body.

 

LaVerne Louise Waldock

The Reverend LaVerne Louise Waldock (nee Lofgren) passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in Calgary, AB. She was born September 30, 1932 in San Jose, California and lived a full life in the USA, Canada, India, France, Zaire, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. Her career included teaching, ministering, cataloguing an academic library, and establishing programs to assist women in developing countries. She is dearly loved and will be sorely missed by her husband (Ray Waldock of 65 years), her children (Elizabeth, Deborah, and David), her 8 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. A Memorial Service was held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Calgary on Monday, February 13, 2017.

 

Martha Agnes Easter

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Martha Agnes Easter (nee Worthy) on January 9, 2017. Martha was born in Shaunavon, SK on November 4, 1935 and was the youngest of 4 children. She is survived by her husband (John) and 3 children (Martha Jean, Ian, and Elizabeth). Martha and John ministered in Nigeria and later were posted as CBM missionaries to India where they lived for 19 years. She was involved in the international school as dorm parent, teacher, nurse, bible study leader, and musician. She also used her gifts to help transform the lives of women in local villages. They worked at First Baptist Church in Victoria before retiring and making Laurier Heights Baptist Church (Edmonton) their home.

 

News & Notes Vol 13 No. 7

An introduction to an introduction to Easter

Dear friends,

As many of you are aware from common conversation and recent studies a large number of people in this country claim they are Christian and affiliated with a particular church.  You may also be aware that very few attend or are part of a Christian community on a regular basis.  When the over 22 million Canadians do attend church, in Roman Catholic, Orthodox, United, Lutheran, and a variety of other denominations, they follow a regular set of Bible readings and what is referred to as “liturgical church year”.  This begins 4 Sundays before Christmas in Advent preparing for the birth of Jesus.  While it includes many other highlights the 1 celebration or season of the church year that is critically important is the preparation for Easter known as Lent.

Why is this important?

It is important for evangelicals who don’t celebrate Lent to get around to preparing for Easter. Because many of us are not conscious of either the lectionary or the church year our hymnody, worship, and teaching tend to alight on the Resurrection without fully embracing the whole Easter narrative found in the gospels and especially in the gospel of John.  To phrase it another way, from a conversation Jill Schuler and I had, we find ourselves rushing after Good Friday to put up the Easter decorations without ever truly embracing the fuller experience of Christ, his Passion, or indeed the historic and present Christian church.

The other advantage is that it is essentially the message of Easter that is the most appropriate and wonderful expression of the faith and opportunity to talk to others.  This is especially true for that very large group of people who profess a nominal or disengaged faith but may be open at Easter.  Christmas has become too sentimental for many; never mind too materialistic.  Easter has some of the common narratives of the culture: new birth, renewal, resurrection; all of which are the most powerful gift the Christian faith can offer.  So for many in our family of churches this is an outstanding opportunity to share and talk with others.  Those opportunities present themselves as gifts from the Holy Spirit when we ask the Lord 2 questions:

1. Lord, would you make yourself known to me?

2. If it be your will would you make yourself known to others through me?

Next week we will reflect together on who those people might be so that this Lent and this Easter might truly bring new birth and new faith not only to those we know but maybe to the perfect stranger that is known only to God but not yet to us.

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

Quote of the Week: To paraphrase Chesterton: When people start believing everything there comes a point when they no longer believe in anything.

News from the Family: I know of a pastor with young children who for 10 minutes immediately after the service the whole family gathers in this pastor’s office to celebrate the joys of the day together as a family before the pastor goes out to those who have attended the service.  I’m deeply moved by this pastor.

News & Notes Vol 13 No. 6

Do not go gently into this night because night never overcomes the light of Jesus (John 1:5)

Dear friends,

The picture that you see is from Trinity Baptist Church at 49thAve and Granville in Vancouver.  They have been placing a phrase, an inspirational thought, on their sign for what seems like decades now.  

I have rarely been more proud of the visible presence of one of our churches than I was 2 days ago when I came across this one.  The intersection where Trinity is located is one of the most travelled routes on the way to the airport.  Hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, see this sign every year.  That is true not only of visible signs from our churches but it is also true of many of you who are reading this letter.  You see the signs of Christ in lives prayerfully lived out to God’s glory.  To be blunt there is something more important in this message.  It isn’t just a popular, culturally-relevant platitude.  That second phrase “our Muslim friends” bears truth in the life of Layne Daggett who is on staff at Trinity who is a former Vancouver Airport chaplain.  He welcomes people of all backgrounds in Christ’s name and actually has Muslim friends.  Would that that be true of more of us.

In the mayhem and chaos of world politics… yes, everywhere… in the lack of public truth telling and in the tragedy of misplaced words and facts (I do mean at home and abroad)… in the place where the levelling of Aleppo was a political football and not the tragedy of dying children… and where looming famine in particular parts of the world are found in places too familiar (as we so well know, familiarity breeds contempt).  In that kind of world I get buoyed up and sing for joy when I drive past signs at Trinity Baptist Church knowing that they believe what they say and speak in the strength of Christ.  I shout out names of good and righteous folk, many of whom are my friends and yours… those who don’t need a microphone placed in front of them to speak God’s truth:

The folks at the Emerson Church who are navigating how to stand up for those who are fleeing their country of origin and the United States at the border in their town.

Catherine Morris from Emmanuel in Victoria who sees the necessity to address human rights in far away places but has the profound integrity to see the need to press those issues in Canada.  Note also she has helped to facilitate discussions on the Doctrine of Discovery.

To the church who will remain nameless for the confidentiality of the child involved, who remade a Sunday School context for an autistic child even to the point of bringing in the child’s community caregiver so that it was done well so the one child who Christ loves could be treated with respect and dignity and be part of a community that received them.

This is not to mention the countless acts of hospitality and welcome practiced by individuals and churches in our midst.  Thank you Lord.  I call out the wonderful multi-cultural ethnicity of our family of churches.  I see Christ’s “choir” as it were singing and sharing, celebrating and coming to faith in the Lord Jesus rather like in Gerard Manley Hopkins poem “Christ shines in ten thousand Places”.  And He does shine.  For if we claim the darkness to be our reality we deny the truth and eternal light of our Lord.  In the words of the Keats Camp house band referring to Jesus, “He told the night it was not the day.”  May we believe that.  May we trust that.  May we celebrate that and look for Jesus shining in ten thousand places.

Here is the full line of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem from “Kingfishers Catch Fire”:

for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

 Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his

To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Mother Theresa claimed that she could see the face of Christ in those she served.  Might we not see her clarity as the whimsy of an Albanian/Indian nun or as an exception but indeed between Hopkins and Theresa find evidence of that in our own lives and all around us.

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

Quote of the Week: Under the topic of “alternative facts” and to paraphrase Bill Bryson:

Scientist #1 says, I need to tell God these facts.

Scientist #2 says, Don’t you think he already knows them?

Scientist #1 responds, He knows the facts he just doesn’t know this set of the facts.

News from the Family: Some of our camps have already filled up some sections for their summer program.  Please pray that we don’t just fill up the numbers but we also are praying for the preparation of those who are working towards facilitating the summer camping season and in their selection of counsellors.

 

Vol 13 No. 5 Announcement of our New Executive Minister

Dear friends,

It is with great pleasure that our VP of Personnel and Programme, Kayely Rich, “guest writes” the newsletter today with her announcement of the appointment of our new Executive Minster, Rob Ogilvie, a dear friend and colleague.  More than enough said on my part.  I will let Kayely’s announcement speak for itself.  Next week we will catch up on the Board happenings.

Warmly,

In Christ,

Jeremy

 

NEW EXECUTIVE MINISTER

On behalf of the CBWC Board, it is my great pleasure to announce the hiring of our next Executive Minister, Rev. Rob Ogilvie. Rob currently serves as the BC/Yukon Regional Minister for the CBWC. Rob brings a strong, consistent faith and a passion for seeing the CBWC and its partners working together to see greater things happen for the Kingdom. Rob is described by many as being a collaborative leader who really cares deeply for others. Rob knows the CBWC well, having pastored in BC and SK prior to joining the CBWC staff. You will have the opportunity to welcome Rob to this new position and get to know him a bit better at our upcoming CBWC Gathering  May 25-27 (see cbwc.ca/assembly for details of this event).
 
At The Gathering, we also look forward to thanking Rev. Jeremy Bell for his for his commitment and countless hours of good work on our behalf. I will refrain from saying more at this time as Jeremy continues to thoughtfully wrap up his term as Executive Minister and we wish to support him in maintaining this focus. Jeremy will be completing his term on  June 30, 2017.
 
Rob will begin a period of orientation following The Gathering and will assume the full duties of the Executive Minister role on July 1, 2017. In the meantime, Rob will be working on finishing well in his current role and will be assisting the search committee in hiring our next BC/Yukon Regional Minister. Please be praying with us as we seek our next BC/Y Regional Minister and watch our website (cbwc.ca) for a job posting to be released soon. 

Please join us in prayer as we thank God for both Jeremy and Rob and their faithful service to God in our midst.  
 
Shalom,
Rev. Kayely Rich
CBWC Vice President, Personnel & Programme