Vol 12 No. 17 Beginning and Ending Well

Dear friends,

First is a discussion with Tammy Klassen and national youth leaders at their gathering this week in Niagara Falls:  The story of youth and beginning well in Christ.

The Canadian Baptist Youth and Family Forum is taking place April 25-28 in Niagara Falls.  This is an invitational forum comprised of 50 influential Canadian Baptist youth leaders from across Canada, including 9 from Western Canada, where we are looking at what unites us as Canadian Baptists and what the church needs to address moving forward to ensure the ongoing healthy investment in the next generation.  It is a time to learn, connect, wrestle, voice opinions, and pray as we are united in the goal of advancing the kingdom of God among the youth of Canada.  We also enjoyed a night celebrating what is happening among Canadian Baptists across Canada and looking at our identity.  We have been blessed by amazing speakers, Dave Overholt, Dr. Anna Robbins, Dr. Steve Brown, and Dr. Gary Nelson, who have challenged us and paved the way for our cluster group discussions.  The full content of what is being discussed in our groups will be compiled into a report that we hope will go out to all our Canadian Baptist churches.  This has also been an opportunity for most of our CBWC Youth Leadership Team to connect and share ideas.  We will be closing Thursday morning with communion and will leave with new ideas, renewed passion for youth ministry, and new friends.

Second is the story of the passing of Judy Hoefling and some comments from her colleague Sam Breakey, former Regional Minister and current Church Health Strategist.  His comments are followed by Judy’s successor in the CBWC Administrative position, Sharon Onciul.

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Sam Breakey, April 20, 2016

Good morning,

Most of you may recall the name and service of Judy Hoefling, who served as CBWC Administrative Assistant for Alberta from 2002-2009. I had the privilege of being served generously by her during my season as Alberta Regional Minister. Last week I attempted to put together a list of words that might describe our friend:

Godly woman

Graciously stubborn

Keeper of promises

Capable administrator


Confident in God’s promises

Quietly competent

Anchoring mother and wife

Carrier of burdens

Holder of secrets

Judy has been in a lengthy battle with cancer and just this weekend received confirmation that the cancer had spread significantly. The family has been told that she probably has about a month to live. I would ask that you would pray for her at this time – for freedom to breathe without discomfort and for peace of spirit.

Please also remember her husband Ron, there three daughters and one son at this time. Judy’s oldest daughter, Amber, is married to Rob Low.

Sam Breakey, April 26, 2016

We have just received word that Judy Hoefling passed away this morning.

In Sharon Onciul’s words:

“Judy passed away into the arms of Jesus very peacefully & comfortably at 5 am this morning.  Ron opened the windows for her & the robins were singing as she passed.  All the family were with her surrounding her with their love.  Ron wanted me to let all of you know as soon as I could since he knows that we love her too. In his words the family is dealing with the shock and finality of it all but are comfortable knowing she is in heaven now.  The service will be sometime next week. Details will follow at a later date.”

I am thankful to have been called to visit with her early Sunday afternoon, after she received word from the doctor that it would just be a matter of days, rather than weeks. We laughed, and reminisced and prayed together. Her smile was as big as ever and her trust in God was deep. She thankfully was at peace with her circumstances and with each member of her family.

We will pass on the details of a future service when we have them. Jeff Gullacher, the pastor of Trinity Baptist, will officiate. Judy has asked me to speak of her work among us.

If you wish to send a note to the family, you can address it to

Ron Hoefling, 671 Village Drive, Sherwood Park, AN T8A 4N2

One last comment about beginning, living, and ending well comes from Angus Reid, well-known Canadian pollster and person of faith.  In his presentation at the BC Leadership Prayer Breakfast he talked about the value of teaching children to pray and its central importance for prayer later in life:

[The] third thing I’ve learned about prayer in Canada is that the single most important factor which determines whether an adult will pray or not is their experience as a child. When I first looked at the data on this I admit to being awestruck – maybe it’s because one of my favourite hymns is “Faith of our Fathers” – but the cross generational transmission of prayerfulness is massive. If you prayed frequently as a child the chance that you would be a non prayer today is 7%. If you didn’t pray as a child the odds that you would be a frequent prayer today is 6%. On the other hand if you prayed as a child the odds that you will pray as an adult are 93%. No matter how I looked at the data I was left with the inescapable conclusion that the actions taken in childhood – with parents, caregivers and yes, schools; place an indelible mark of faith which lasts a lifetime.


In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Refugee Cap Set

The federal government has set the 2014 cap for refugee  Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) at 4000.  Churches interested in sponsoring refugees should start now to begin the sponsorship process.  There is no limited to the number of sponsorships under the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program or to sponsoring Syrian refugees.

For more information, read the RSTP Bulletin.

In 2013, CBWC churches had a collective cap of 8 refugees who could be sponsored under the SAH program.  A cap for 2014 has not yet been communicated to the CBWC.

The Canadian government has made plans to bring 14,000 Syrian refuges to Canada by the end of the year, but so far only about 10 have arrived in Canada.  Under the BVOR program, refugees are referred to Canadian visa offices abroad directly by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  In 2013, Blended VORs cases can be selected from the following populations:

  • Iraqis and Iranians in the Middle East
  • Eritreans in Eastern Sudan
  • Burmese in Malaysia
  • Bhutanese in Nepal

The refugees sponsored under this program are already travel-ready and will arrive in Canada sooner, normally within 1-4 months.

For more information on refugee sponsorship, contact Rod Olson, the CBWC’s Coordinator for Refugees and Displaced Peoples at rolson@cbwc.ca.

Call for Churches to Sponsor Syrian Refugees

Playing With WaterNow is the time for CBWC churches to sponsor refugees from Syria.

Nine months ago, Canada’s federal government announced plans to welcome 1,300 refugees from Syria by the end of 2014. So far, only about 200 government-sponsored Syrians have been brought into the process and only 10 have actually been relocated to Canada from refugee camps in neighbouring countries.  The government is relying on churches and other private sponsorship organizations to sponsor the remaining 1,100.

Churches that know of Syrian refugees can act now to sponsor them to come to Canada.

Sponsorship of Syrian refugees is in addition to the cap placed on the number of refugees that Sponsorship Agreement Holders like the CBWC can sponsor.  No refugee applicants from other countries will be bumped down the sponsorship list because of Syrian refugees.  Last year, the CBWC was given a cap of 8 refugees to sponsor but the limit for 2014 has not yet been set.

The process to get refugees to Canada takes 9-12 months.  The Canadian government has not yet created an accelerated program for Syrian refugees but did so for refugees from Kosovo in 1999.

The United Nations High Council for Refugees believes that Syrians fleeing the civil war will become the largest refugee population in the world and the biggest humanitarian crisis in history, with more than 4 million refugees by the end of 2014 – more refugees than during the Rwandan genocide.  An estimated 10 million people inside Syria are homeless – almost half of Syria’s population.  More than 2 million children have stopped going to school in the chaos as towns are bombarded and are overrun again and again by government and rebel forces.   Food shortages, lack of medical care and lack of security are widespread as the horrors of the civil war increase.

Canada has not yet announced if it will accept more Syrian refugees beyond its original pledge.  In contrast, Sweden has already settled 14,000 refugees and given them permanent status.

Contact Rod Olson, the CBWC’s Coordinator for Refugees and Uprooted Peoples for more information on sponsorship at rolson@cbwc.ca.

New Paths

CBIPMC LogoCanadian Baptist Ministries is sponsoring a conference on First Nations ministry in Mississauga, Ontario on April 4-5.  All members of the Canadian Baptist family who sense God leading you and your church into a more significant relationship with Aboriginal people and communities are invited to attend.

The New Paths: Canadian Baptist Indigenous Peoples Ministry Conference will be held at Lorne Park Baptist in Mississauga April 4-5. The conference is being planned in response to God’s leading Canadian Baptists to more positively engage with Canada’s indigenous peoples – First Nations, Inuit and Métis.  Come and be inspired and challenged through the plenary speakers, workshops, worship and sharing.

Among the presenters will be Terry LeBlanc, a First Nations leader involved in the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) which trains First Nations leaders in theology and My People International, which provides mentoring, healing and leadership training to aboriginal people.

Cheryl Bear, an award-winning aboriginal singer and speaker from the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation (Bear Clan) in the Carrier Nation located in northern British Columbia will lead worship  She has worked with Indigenous people across Canada, the United States and in over 20 countries of the world raising awareness of the value and uniqueness of our Indigenous people and our culture.

Chief Stan Beardy, of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) who is the Ontario Regional Chief, will also speak.   He will be joined by other native Christian leaders in telling of God’s doings among indigenous people (Canada’s youngest and fastest growing demographic).

Rev. Mark Buchanan, Senior Pastor of New Life Community Church in Duncan, BC for 17 years and now an Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Ambrose University College in Calgary, will speak and will be joined by other non-native leaders to share how they are reaching out to First Nations communities across Canada.

There will be workshops on culture, language, urban and rural realities and opportunities, worldview and the environment, integral mission, contextualization, culturally authentic worship and discipleship.  The conference will be an opportunity to network, hear stories, tell stories, learn, vision and worship together.

New Paths will take place April 4-5 at Lorne Park Baptist Church, 1500 Indian Road, Mississauga, ON.  It will run from 10 am Friday to 4:30 pm Saturday.  The $50 registration fee covers 3 meals and helps with conference costs.  Transportation and accommodation are not covered.

Register Now

Contact Paul Carline, the Director of Inter-Cultural Ministries for Canadian Baptist Ministries for more information at Paul.Carline@baptist-atlantic.ca.

Congratulations to OEC Candidates

OEC 2013 (18)
BC/Yukon Regional Minister Rob Ogilvie, Dr. Axel Schoeber, OEC Candidate David Jenkins & Sue Ferguson, moderator of Kitsilano Christian Community and Executive Minister Jeremy Bell

June 3, 2013 — Congratulations to six  pastors who passed the CBWC’s Ordination Examining Committee at the end of May.  They were welcomed by delegates at The Gathering, the CBWC’s biennial assembly in Calgary, May 30 – June 1, 2013.

The following pastors are now eligible for ordination at their home churches:

Edgar Unrau of Calvary Baptist, Chemainus, BC
Amanda Hecht of Faith Community, Wakaw, SK
Eijiro Campo of First Baptist, Calgary, AB
Ceu Hrin of Vancouver Chin Baptist, Vancouver, BC
Cung Bawi Thawng of Vancouver Chin Baptist, Vancouver, BC
David Jenkins of Kitsilano Christian Community, Vancouver, BC

Examiniers commented on the theological depth and spiritual maturity of each of the candidates and believe them to be very worthy of ordination.  Congratulations!

Twelve pastors who passed  OEC in 2012 were also welcomed. Five pastors had their prior ordination recognized.

We would like to thank Dr. Axel Schoeber for guiding the candidates through the ordination process, as well as the members of the Ordination Examining Committee who did such a thorough yet gentle job of examining these candidates for ordination.


Justice & Mercy

Helping HandsApril 11, 2013 — The CBWC Board has approved the formation of the Justice and Mercy Committee to provide resources and guidance on issues of great concern to CBWC churches and their members.

The committee has been active since 2010 but received approval on April 6, 2013 so that it is now recognized formally as a committee of the CBWC.  It has been active in coordinating workshops on topics such as homelessness, affordable housing and refugees at past Assemblies and the Banff Pastor’s Conference.

The Justice and Mercy Committee works to develop a biblical theological vision of the Kingdom of God that fully includes the pursuit of justice and mercy, to analyze the root causes of injustice and to provide relevant resources and ideas for engaging in meaningful action to alleviate suffering and change society.

To find out more, go to Justice and Mercy Committee

The JMC is planning 5 workshops for The Gathering 2013, the CBWC’s biennial Assembly, held in Calgary May 30-June 1.  At these workshops, theological reflections, information sheets and reading lists will be available as resources on the topics of:

  • Restoring Our Relationship with Aboriginal People
  • Welcoming the Stranger
  • The Church’s Worship Engagement with Poverty
  • Earthkeeping and Care
  • The Face of Homelessness in Western Canada

These materials will be made available on the CBWC’s website once The Gathering is over.

What is Prostitution Really Like?

REED logo
REED logo

February 25, 2013 —  REED (Resist Exploitation Embrace Dignity) of Vancouver will mark International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8 by screening the film The Fallacy by Ève Lamont.  The film explores how prosititution has been portrayed in films like Pretty Woman and contrasts this with a candid look at the  reality of the lives lived by women working in the sex trade.

The screening will take place at Grandview Calvary Baptist Church in Vancouver, located at 1803 1st Avenue East from 7-9:30 pm.

The film will be followed by a discussion.

Plan to attend this free event.  For more information.



BWA Release: BWA leaders laud Pope Benedict XVI

Washington, DC (BWA)–Leaders of the Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) expressed their appreciation for Pope Benedict XVI after the announcement of his intention to resign on February 28.

“I have deeply appreciated the inclusion by the pope of other Christian fellowships, such as the BWA, in serious discussions of matters that have confronted the Christian world,” said BWA President John Upton. “The pope has always been gracious in his welcome to the Vatican and respectful of the insights and opinions of other Christian communities.”

General Secretary Neville Callam acknowledged “the ministry that Pope Benedict XVI has exercised, in particular his contribution to ecumenical relations.” Callam took note of the pope’s theological works and his pastoral ministry that have “provided the Christian community with a rich storehouse of spiritual reflections worthy of detailed study.”

“I applaud the pope’s openness to bilateral dialogues that have both strengthened understandings and furthered Christian witness,” Upton said.  “The pope has demonstrated his love of the church and he will be remembered fondly for his scholarly and gentle leadership.”

Callam recalled the private audience the pope gave to participants in the dialogue involving Baptists and Catholics during their meetings in Rome in 2007. In receiving the delegates, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his hope that the dialogue would result in “increase of understanding and cooperation between Catholics and Baptists.”

Baptists and Catholics have participated in theological dialogue since 1984. The first round extended from 1984-1988 and the second from 2006-2010. Callam affirmed the pope’s support of the second round of the dialogue.

The BWA General Secretary said the pope’s ecumenical openness was on full display during the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church where the Baptist community was represented by Timothy George, dean and professor of divinity, history and doctrine at Beeson Divinity School in the state of Alabama in the United States.

“We convey best wishes on a well deserved retirement,” Callam stated. “His immense contribution to world Christianity will not be forgotten and we pray for him God’s blessings in the coming years.”


Praying Through Lent

cross & thornsLent is a season of prayerful reflection. For 40 days before the joyful celebrations of Easter, we sorrowfully mourn the necessity of Good Friday and the loving sacrifice Jesus Christ made for our brokenness.

To help you reflect on what Lent means for you personally, we are gathering Lent devotionals from CBWC churches and publishing them on this website.  You can find them  in the Learn section of the website HERE.

We thank the CBWC churches that have so generously agreed to share their devotionals with their CBWC community.