Canadian Baptist of Western Canada

Ministry of the Month: Women in Focus

Women in Focus (WiF) hosted an annual gathering for Vancouver Island women at First Baptist Port Alberni this summer. It’s one of the BC region’s semi-annual mini retreats. (In the fall they host a mainland retreat.) 

Shannon Youell, CBWC’s church planting coordinator, came to speak on rhythms of delight and rhythms of rest. 

“It’s a study that comes from Psalm 37, which gives us a template for when we’re in a state of restlessness not restfulness,” Shannon says. “Psalm 37 tells us, here are the things to look for, and here are the things to commit to doing to restore restfulness.” 

Walter Bruggeman writes about the cycles of production and consumption, where there is no space for rest. His book, Sabbath as Resistance, is a source Shannon uses often when speaking on this topic of rest and delight. 

“What draws us into this rhythm of produce and consume instead of into God’s rhythm of rest? Using Psalm 37 as a guide, we can make room for God and neighbour in life again.”

Organizers of the Island Day Away created a visual expression of this rest and contemplation with a garden scene. An adirondack chair surrounded with lush plants invited the attendees to envision spaces of rest. About 80 women came—with 30+ of them bussing up from Victoria (no small commitment!) from Emmanuel, Gateway, The Forge, and Mustard Seed.



Women in Focus

Faye Reynolds, CBWC’s director of ministries, oversees Women in Focus—which, by the way, stands for Women in Friendship, Outreach, Character, Unity and Service—says WiF’s mission is to empower women to use their God-given gifts with confidence and compassion. They do this by supporting member churches to empower women, often through events and training. 

WiF has a menu of workshops which churches can bring in for a minimum of 15 women (though some are extended to men too!). 

“The workshops are focused on discovering your gifts, discovering you passion, and learning to really listen to discern God’s call,” Faye says. “So you’re not teaching Sunday school out of obligation because they need someone, when teaching Sunday school really isn’t your gift or call.” 

Some have asked why, in an egalitarian organization, do we need a women’s ministry? The purpose, Faye says, is to make sure there is ‘a voice and a place for women.’ WiF is not a politicized organization. The goal is to give women affirmation of their calling, whatever the climate of the church. 

“We know that not all of our churches support women in leadership,” Faye says. “But they do allow us to offer workshops. So we support women in that way, rather than campaigning or something political like that.” WiF runs the workshops at cost to make them as accessible as possible to all CBWC churches.

Find out more about WiF on their blog:

This article was published Volume 13, Issue 6 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here