Vol 2 No. 52 Verses for a New Year

First of all I would like to thank Alice Paradis who every week checks, edits, and sends this letter to all who receive it (by the way, Broadway First in Winnipeg  is the oldest church because First pre-dates the 100 year anniversary of the Broadway First Union… there are some close contenders but check with our friends in Winnipeg). I am grateful to Alice every week and especially as this is going out on a holiday.

Every year I suggest a scripture passage that I feel the Holy Spirit is challenging me with and is a verse that I feel we can share together.

I often comment on the passage or give a rationale why I have chosen it. This year I am going to do two things differently; I’m going to leave the commentary up to a dialogue between you and the Lord, there will be four passages instead of one and I will give a sentence theme to prompt your thinking.

Nehemiah 8:10 “…the joy of the Lord is my strength”. Comment: A clear mark of the presence of God in my life is his joy.

Micah 6:8 “…And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”. Comment: One of several, but clearly a primary calling of God.

John 3:16 and 17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”. Comment: Our Lord tells us of the “both/and” of the gospel; personal relationship… a world that He seeks to reconcile to himself.

Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Comment: to repent and retreat of our paranoia and remember if God is for us…who can be against us with any affect at all?

What does the text say?

What does it say to me?

What does God call me to be in this scripture?

What does God call me to do in this passage?



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Vol 2 No. 51 A Christmas Story

As promised, a brief story.

The first week of December found me walking in downtown Calgary in the general direction of one of my favourite haunts; McNally’s Books.

To describe the warmth, creativity and delight of McNally’s can only be accomplished if you visit it yourself. It has won several “Bookstore of the Year in Canada” awards within the last decade. McNally’s is great. The streets around the store are a mix of $100.00 meals and $2.00 pizza slices; the entitled well off, the soggy poor and everyone in between.

As I walked down the street in the late gathering darkness of a fall afternoon, I was the local police arresting three young men. One of those detained caught my eye. He looked so very much like my own son. He was tall (our son in 6’4”), well dressed, and calm as I walked past him.

About half an hour later I was returning back to the same spot where the arrests had taken place. The young man whom I had noticed before was now in the police arrest wagon (I have some Irish blood which tells me “paddywagon” is racist). The young man was crying and hitting his head against the wall of his “mobile” cell in despair. He was beside himself, and I, as a father felt an inadequate grief, sorrow, sadness and protectiveness for him…for him…but also for my own son. I immediately phoned my son to see how he was. He wasn’t in. while he turned out to be fine when we connected later that day it brought to a place of reminder of the bond between me and my child. It also reminded me of the powerlessness of a father who wants to protect or intercede for a child who someone else has apprehended (suspend for a moment the probability that the arrest was legitimate).

As I walked down the street in what was now darkness, the feelings of a father for a son brought me to the story of Christmas. We have understated the sacrifice of Jesus made in simply coming to live with us in the first place. In His coming, I imagine the parting between the Father and Son at that first Christmas. After that December Calgary walk I can only begin to imagine the Father and the Son in that long time between birth and death and resurrection. I glimpsed the love of a father for a son, the worry, the sadness, the choosing to let things take their own course.

How awful that would have been for God the Father. I got a taste of that earlier this month.

I have told that story to several folk one of whom quietly told me that the story reminded him of his own youth and that maybe the night of despair might be what would change the young man. I hope my friend is right. I hope and pray and am restlessly drawn to that dark street, that despairing young man; a father anxious for a son who was not even his.

So, this year in a season of personal, national and international turmoil and reflection, I think and thank and pray for the gifts of a Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A Father who could “let go”, a Son willing to “leave” and a Holy Spirit who prompts us to remember and give thanks for both.

May we be aware of the pain around us.

May we have the same acuteness of caring as the Father.

May the Christ truly change the way we live out that concern.

May the Holy Spirit restore in us Christ’s compassion and animate us to live into what we lay claim to believe.

Emmanuel, God with us, each of us, and please Lord with all who call you Lord and who long to hear tidings of great joy “…for today, and each day is born to us a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.

A Holy, joy drenched Christmas season and year.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Vol 2 No. 50 A Story from the Heartland

Last week we had lots of prayer kind of news. The next two weeks I am going to tell some stories.   Personal ones.  Mine, and I hope by the Holy Spirit that they will have influence and encouragement for your own walk of faith in Christ.

The first is a story I told in the Heartland, “Listening to God, Listening to Each Other”.  Next week, on December 20, I shall tell a Christmas story from Calgary.

The Heartland Area’s Listening Sessions were a lovely experience for both the voices we heard around the room as we talked to each other and for the encouragement from the Holy Spirit as we prayed about what God would have us do this year.

Here is the story I told when I began to reflect in preparing for the remarks I made in Regina and Saskatoon on how much the wide open geography of Saskatchewan and its farming conditions influences what goes on there.


“Zero Till”

A Story from the Land

While I have always held a fascination for farming, I have not always been clear about the terminology.   My enamourment with farming went so far as to have a membership in the Sheep Breeders Cooperative of B.C. for a period of 10 years in the 1980’s.  I have been reduced to putting my home-made cinnamons buns in the Cobble Hill Fair as my main contribution to the rural life of Canada.

I thought I had a reasonable handle on rural lingo until I was faced with the term “zero till”.  For someone from Vancouver, the term “zero till” can only mean only one thing – an empty cash register.  (My apologies to Terry Summach of the Flexicoil Fraternity for my ignorance).  Zero till is a form of planting seed with out first tilling or plowing the ground.  It builds up organic matter, inhibits erosion and retains moisture among other things. (I actually knew this stuff, I didn’t research it).

It turns out that zero till (apart from the economic conditions of farmers, a comment from someone from Carlyle, Sask) has nothing to do with cash registers, but everything to do with farm implements and seeding.  Zero till means literally that the land is not plowed or tilled in order to prepare it for seeding. Zero till means that the seed is “shot” pneumatically into the soil. One of the technical terms to describe zero till is “pneumatic seeding”.  The root of the word pneumatic is” pneuma which means the Spirit.  I want my life and the life of the denomination to be a life of “seeding in the Spirit”.  The “Listening to God and Listening to Each Other Sessions” were about that whole process of seeding in the Spirit; the seed that is planted first dies, then is rooted to new life, “grows to maturity and is ready for harvest”. The life cycle of our lives in Christ imitates exactly that process.

So as we spend time in the next year listening to God and to one another, may we indeed celebrate what God is doing by His Holy Spirit, placing a seed within us that will take root and grow, waiting for the time that in the harvest, we can declare God’s goodness, presence and leading amongst us.


Thanks be to God

May you be strengthened in the midst of this Advent Season.

And may you know and experience the Spirit “seeding” you.



In Christ

Jeremy Bell

Vol 2 No. 49 36 Days

People often ask me what I do.  My first response to that question is usually couched around the steep learning curve, the travel, the crowded schedule.  Enough already.  I am busy and all those things.  So what.  Lay, clergy and staff in any local congregation are all those things and more.    There are few tasks more challenging than local ministry.  What I want to tell you  this December 4th Monday morning is simply this; I am a person who is not so much about the busy stuff in my job…I am a person who is simply in awe of what God is about.  This “awe” is an epiphany this last 3 dozen days.  I have felt through much of November a sense of God’s activity, presence and power in our work together.  I had not, however, paused long enough to reflect on what God was doing.  Last Friday I began to chronicle what has been happening in our midst.  I arrived at a preliminary list of 19 events in our life together in the Union that were events occurring for the first time, major culture change or initiatives and markers that were something we should all share in.


Here is the list.

Here is our journey.

Here are the fingerprints of the Spirit and the footprints of Jesus.

An awesome God indeed!


Last week in October:  Weekly Church Resource Sheet – inaugural issue of “Fresh Sheet”

October 27, Toronto:  Sam Chaise and Rose-Marie Goodwin initiate with other Canadian Baptist, the opportunity to share Legacy for Ministry™ across Canada.

October 28:  First “Listening to God, Listening to each other Sessions” in Calgary churches.  Seven churches express interest; three enter into covenants with the Union.

October 29:  Second “Listening Session” in Edmonton.  Seven churches sign covenants.  John Prociuk leads the process in the context of a worship service.

November 1:  Saw the appointment of Lynn and Larry Pearce as our new co-coordinators for refugees with a new mandate to seek out and help those who are displaced.

November 3:  The new Summer School Brochure (its first) is released to the public from the William Carey Institute under Cam Yates.

November 6-9:  Banff Pastor’s Conference begins with over eight major changes in how we conduct this event.

November 16-18:  The Children and Family Missional Network host their first conference for children and family workers.

November 17:  Ken Thiessen and I spend 2 ½ hours setting up terms of reference for the new Evangelism Committee  (I  have an outline for the social justice network for January).

November 18: Regina and South Saskatchewan churches hold their listening sessions.

Note:  Of 21 Churches in Saskatchewan 19 participate in the process, 17 sign covenants so far.  From 51 churches, 26 have signed covenants for this next year.  I am ashamed to admit I thought a 10% response would be great the first year, so far it is over 50%.

November 19:  Listening Sessions with the Saskatoon and other Saskatchewan churches.  Faye Reynolds and Ryan Sato lead most of the sessions in worship and communion.

November 19:  Broadway First in Winnipeg celebrates 100 years of worship, community and service.  I bring greetings from the Union.  (This church is the oldest in our family in the West.

November:  Trinity Opportunity Grants deliver grants and the committee is chaired by John Wilton.  Create a whole “ripple effect” of change and new beginnings in Western Canada.

November 28:  A first in Canada, joint members of Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (or associates) and Canadian Council of Churches met in Toronto; hosted by Christine MacMillan (head of Salvation Army) and facilitated by Don Posterski from World Vision (B.C.O.Q., Atlantic Baptists and ourselves were in attendance; preceded earlier in the month by a statement on marriage).

November 29:  Bob Webber is working with us to establish a communications process for the denomination.  He facilitated a day long pre-plan with Brian Stelck, Jack Borchert and me…We’ll report to Planning and Priorities and Board later.

November 30:  New position for Missional church Director posted.  I am very excited about this new opportunity initiated by CHAP’s.  Please see link at http://buwc.ca/.

November 29-30:  Clergy Care planning group meets for the first time to examine and implement John Prociuk’s work in this area.

November: To facilitate continuing theological conversation among pastors and others in the BUWC, we have created “Pioneer McDonald’s Worldwide Theology Seminar” hosted by Jonathan R. Wilson. This blog is accessible from the Carey homepage (www.careycentre.com). Jonathan (and perhaps others) will post theological essays on pastoral ministry and the church’s mission with comments and follow-up discussion encouraged.

December 2:  John and Juliet Benner are appointed Author and Artist (respectively) in Residence at Carey for a three year term.

December 2:  Plans finalized by David Holton and Steve Fisher to implement on-line contributions to the Website in the next few days.


19 markers of some of our life together.

19 initiatives and new beginnings (for Broadway First a new century) in 36 days.


An Awesome God

A wonderful journey

Thanks be to God


In Christ,

Jeremy Bell




Vol 2 No. 48 Listening Sessions Part II

As you know from last week’s News and Notes we began our Listening Sessions in Alberta on the last weekend of October.  Last week’s information will re-cap for you the four questions we have asked people, small groups and churches to pray about over the last two months.

These sessions we planned to resource things we felt God was leading us in as churches.  You’ll remember from our previous article that the process was led and John Prociuk, our director of ministries with the support of Faye Reynolds (Women in Focus), who led communion and music along with Ryan Sato (our Youth Director).

The whole “listening to God” and “listening to one another” was placed in the context of a time of worship.  Seven churches in Edmonton shared written material with the group.  Three others were present, attentive and supportive.

Those who came together or shared at Delwood Neighbourhood Church in Edmonton included Highlands, Zion, Strathcona, First Baptist, Fort Saskatchewan,  Delwood, Shiloh, Trinity Sherwood Park, Leduc.



  1. Strathcona – Rev. Shelly Schneider – goal > prayer that leaders will be raised up to fulfill vision they feel called to
  2. Shiloh – Mr. Olson – goal > resources to meet community needs; i.e. displaced and abused people
  3. Neighbourhood – Rev. Howard Lawrence – goal > integrated BUWC weekly worship curriculum for worship through small groups
  4. Trinity – Rev. Mike Engbers – goal > prayer and resourcing for vision and enhancement
  5. First Baptist – Pastor Dan Taylor – goal > provision of faith statement and prayer support
  6. Ft. Sask. – Rev. Al McPhedran – goal > prayer support for sharing Good News lovingly and practically in and out of church
  7. Leduc – Rev. Sam Breakey on behalf of Tim Kerber – goal > outreach partnership with a ministry to isolated northern communities


So there you have the beginning of our listening sessions.  They are not resource sessions… they are reflective, worshipful, passionately active… attentiveness to God in our lives and midst.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

P.S.  I attended both Highland and Delwood  and have so much to share in another newsletter entirely.


Vol 2 No. 47 Listening Sessions Part I

Altadore Church in Calgary kindly hosted leaders from Calgary churches and Union staff in a morning of re-capturing and sharing together what we feel God is leading is leading is in the year ahead.

The Calgary churches who shared written comments or who attended included; Altadore, First Baptist, Northmount, People’s Church, Bowness and Westview.

The time went like this:


Listening and Commitment:

Calgary/Edmonton Fall 2006

These readings are adapted from a “Shalom Liturgy” courtesy of Mustard Seed Associates;  www.msainfo.org


Opening Prayer

Blessed Lord Jesus you give us the gift of your kingdom

The promise of wholeness and completeness is ours

The peace of shalom you leave with us, Alleluia!




God you set us free to love you with all our hearts and souls and minds

You set us free to love our neighbours as we do ourselves

God you call us to the freedom of your shalom kingdom today

Free us from our self-centeredness and indifference and greed

Free us to share generously of your bounty so others will not hunger or lack provision

God you call us to the freedom of your shalom kingdom today

Free us to live in love and compassion and mutual care

May we accept your gift and enter the wholeness of your kingdom today

God may we enter the wholeness of your shalom kingdom today


Venite (Ps. 95:1-7)

Lord, bringer of freedom, have mercy upon us

Christ, Prince of Peace, have mercy upon us

Lord, giver of wholeness, have mercy upon us


Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. AMEN


Spirtus Sanctus Prayer

As the sun is full of light, the ocean full of water,

Heaven  full of glory, so may my heart be full of thee.

Vain are all divine purposes of love

And the redemption wrought by Jesus

Except thou work within,

Regenerating by thy power,

Giving me eyes to see Jesus

Showing me the realities of the unseen world.

Give me thyself without measure

As an unimpaired fountain,

As inexhaustible riches

I bewail my coldness, poverty, emptiness, imperfect vision, languid service,

Prayerless prayers, praiseless; praise

Suffer me not to grieve or resist thee.


Come as power,

To expel every rebel lust, to reign supreme and keep me thine;

Come as teacher,

Leading me into all truth, filling me with all understanding;

Come as love,

That I may adore the Father, and love him as my all.

Come as joy,

To dwell in me, move in me, animate me.

Come as light,

Illuminating the Scripture, moulding me in its laws

Come as sanctifier,

Body, soul and spirit wholly thine;

Come as helper,

With strength to bless and keep, directing my every chaos.

Come as beautifier,

Bringing order out of confusion, loveliness out of chaos

Magnify to me thy glory by being magnified in me,

And make me redolent in thy fragrance.



A Closing Prayer:

Let us accept the gift of God’s kingdom

May we be instruments of God’s peace today

Where there is despair may we bring hope

May we be instruments of God’s wholeness today

Where there is war may we bring glimpses of peace

May we be instruments of God’s shalom today

Where there is sickness may we do acts of healing

May we be instruments of God’s peace today

Where there is oppression may we bring the promise of freedom

May we be instruments of God’s wholeness today

Where there is hunger may we share from our bounty


May we be instruments of God’s shalom today

Through our words and actions may we be representatives of God’s shalom kingdom

Lord may we love our neighbours as we do ourselves

Go into the world knowing you are touched by the triune God

Let your life shine with the holiness of God

Let your heart be transformed by the peace of Christ

Let your ways be filled with the joy of the spirit


The peace of Christ protect you

The goodness of the saints inspire you

The grace of God go with you and keep you always








Church Representative _______________________:

Given the call of God upon our church community, the leaders of ______________ Church are asking the Baptist Union to help us:

Sam Breakey, Alberta Area Minister

As representatives of the Baptist Union we commit ourselves to support and serve _______________ Church by drawing from our available resources, and establishing new and necessary resources, all in dependence on God.

Church Representative________________________:

The leaders of _______________Church will continue to dialogue, support and work cooperatively with the representatives of the Baptist Union as you partner with us in the ministries God has called us to do.


You’ll remember that the questions were the following:


What does God ask of you?

What resources has God provided?

What remaining resources do you still need?

How can we (in the churches of the Union) support your call of God this year?


Of the 61 churches in the Alberta Area so far 16 have attended the listening sessions and 10 of these have entered into a covenant with the Union to encourage, minister and resource God’s call to us this next year.

I have asked Sam Breakey to mention who spoke on behalf of the churches, to comment on what was shared and to reflect on how he felt about the time together.



  1. First Baptist – Evan Patterson – covenant goal > to initiate networking with other Baptist Churches
  2. Altadore – Marilyn Kaiser – goal > resource sharing, urban camping, church planting prospect
  3. Northmount – Laura Taylor – goal > assistance with becoming Christ centered, governance change, & vision


I was encouraged for three reasons

  1. Congregations were listening to and identifying with the vision and challenge of their neighbours in Christ
  2. The BUWC was challenged to be deliberately provide tailored resources and support according to specific requests
  3. My BUWC colleagues experienced first hand the passion and hunger of our local congregations


I would like to thank John Prociuk for organizing us and creating the worshipful place to listen to God and to each other. Faye Reynolds lead women (Women in Focus), Ryan Sato (with Faye) lead worship. Also in attendance were Jack Borchert and Rose-Marie Goodwin from the BUDF, Brian Stelck from the Carey cluster of ministries, Bill Mains, David Holten, Dan Watt, and Sam Breakey.


Please read some sample church documents to give you an awesome taste of some of the places God is leading us this year.



In Christ

Jeremy Bell


Vol 2 No. 46 A Week in Southern Alberta

Just a brief primer about some travel in the week of November 3-9th.

My wife and I travelled from Calgary to Lethbridge on November 3 where I picked up for a few hours with the Lethbridge/South of Calgary ministerial who were available that day. Bruce Martin hosted the gathering and I thoroughly enjoyed people from four regional churches.

Sunday the 5th brought us to First Baptist Lethbridge’s opening of the new building addition, which was built to accommodate community (church and neighbourhood) gatherings, Christian education and offices. FBC Lethbridge has a long and profound history (and present) of supporting, leading and facilitating many good things in the Baptist Union and internationally through CBM.

Sunday evening found us in Banff with Monday given over to a meeting of Executive Staff and preparing for the Banff Pastors’ Conference, which began that evening.

Thanks go to many folk, but especially to Jo-Anne Cosier, Lisa Shierman, Shelby Gregg, John Huh and Jeff and Juli Logan who planned Banff for all our benefit. I say for all our benefit because the Banff talks will begin to appear on the Union’s web site in early December. Some will be audio and some will be direct feed video. They will include:

Tom Cowan: Jesus and Prayer in John 17
Rod Wilson:  Clergy Formation and Pastoral Identity
Jonathan Wilson: Public Witness in the Late Post-Modern World
Reg Bibby: Christian Faith in Canada on Breaking the Shackle of the Myth of Secularisation.

On a final note we did some things differently this year, they include the following:

• We included babies (especially infants)
• We instituted an academic paper
• A hospitality room for those who were new
• The prayer room (suggested by Joyce Peasegood)
• Included material for guided prayer and “Structured reflection”
• We initiated morning Bible Study
• “Media Site” enabled us to release DVDs of the presentations

Those were just for starters.

Bless you.

Please pray for the “Listening to God, Listening to each other” Sessions in Regina and Saskatoon this weekend.


In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Vol 2 No. 45 Events to Ponder and Pray About II

This is the second of two letters asking for your prayers for our work together.

Please pray for Sam Breakey who just last month returned from his summer sabbatical and is now our Alberta Area Minister once again. Sam still looks rested.

Pray for Tom Lavigne as he settles in as the new senior pastor at FBC Prince George. Please pray for the health Glen Alexander (former BUWC president amongst much more), Paul Mutch (on Carey Staff) and Lance Morgan (recovering in Prince George).

Remember the Church Health and Planting team as they seek to hire a new Missional and Church Health staff person from now through the new year when they will take up their post.

Pray for Kirk Potter who has resigned from Keats Camp as director over the last 17 years. Pray for the Potters and the camp during this transition. Please pray for all our camp staff in this brief Fall respite and for Rod Olson who leads our Urban Camping Initiative.

Remember those churches that have made commitments in the recent listening sessions and those who will do so in Saskatchewan later this month.

Pray for Ken Thiessen (who drove 40,000 km this year) in his travels and Rose-Marie Goodwin who also travels extensively for Legacy for Ministry™. While you are at it you can remember me in my travels.

Please remember on this Remembrance Day

  1. those overseas in the military
  2. those who are suffering in conflicts around the world
  3. families who are separated in these times
  4. for peace
  5. for wisdom for our leaders and for those chaplains listed below:


Rev. Dr. Paul M. Beckingham

Rev. Paul A. Benke

Pastor Stephen J. Bradley

Pastor Michael G. Burdge

Rev. Ellis Chan

Pastor Hugh Clendenning

Rev. Layne M. Daggett

Chaplain Hank G. Dixon

Rev. Curtis Duclos

Rev. Deborah A. Everett

Mrs. Janet Fisher

Rev. Melanie Gonder-Benoit

Chaplain Kris Knutson

Rev. Bob Kosowan

Rev. Richard A. Larsen

Rev. Marcel Leffelaar

Mr. Jack Linklater

Rev. Randall D. E. Loewen

Rev. Kelly M. McCallum

Rev. David L. Musser

Rev. Kevin J. Park

Rev. Kathryn A. Penner

Rev. Gloria R. E. Quarless

Rev. Andres Rebane

Rev. Leon Remus

Rev. Christopher Roulson

Rev. Candace Stirling

Chaplain Stefan Ulrich

Rev. David W. Van Essen

Chaplain Benjamin Vivian

Rev. John F. Wilderspin

Rev. Rick J. Williams

Rev. R. Grant Woodcock

Pastor Harvey Zink


Finally, please pray for the William Carey Institute’s new beginning and for Cam Yates, its director. Go to the Carey website to learn more.



In Christ

Jeremy Bell


Vol 2 No. 44 Events to Ponder and Pray About

These next 2 weeks see a series of events in our lives together to remember and pray for.

This last weekend saw 15 churches from Edmonton and Calgary come together to covenant with God in our first listening sessions as a denomination. As wou will remember, churches were asked to pray through: “What does God ask of you? What resources has God provided? What remaining resources do you still need? How can we (in the churches of the Union) support your call of God this year?” Please pray for the following churches who participated.

 Calgary – First, Altadore, Northmount (covenanting churches) Bowness, Westview, Peoples (observers)

Edmonton – First, the Neighbourhood Church – Highlands and Delwood, Shiloh, Strathcona, Trinity Sherwood Park, Leduc Community, Ft. Saskatchewan Community (covenanting churches), Zion (observer)

Please pray for the Banff Pastor’s Conference this next week. For speakers Rod Wilson, Tom Cowan, Reg Bibby and Jonathan Wilson. Pray for attendees, for encouragement and community. Please pray for the organizers, especially Jo-Anne Cosier, John Prociuk, Lisa Shierman, Shelby Gregg, Dana Cupples, George Loewen.

The weekend of November 16-19 has many important events in the life of our country. The BUDF board of directors meets November 17th and 18th. Please pray for Terry Summach (board chair) and Jack Borchert (President). The Children and Families Ministry Network meet from the 16th to the 18th. Please pray for Jennifer Dietrich, the chair of this exciting and active venture.

On November 17th the Regina Area churches and on November 18 the Saskatoon Area churches meet around their first annual listening sessions. Pray for John Prociuk as he leads that process and Ken Thiessen, the Heartland Area Minister.

Finally, Broadway First in Winnipeg celebrates its centennial anniversary on Sunday, November 19th. Please join me in giving thanks for their faithful and creative service in Winnipeg and beyond.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell


Vol 2 No. 43 Some General Advice

Hello Folks

I attended, on behalf of Canadian Baptist Ministries, the installation of the new Chaplaincy General of the Canadian Armed Forces; Brigadier General Sam Johnstone, a Lutheran.

The senior chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces is usually a two year term alternating between a Roman Catholic and a Protestant. The Armed Forces are about to induct a Jewish Rabbi and already have a Muslim Iman.

While I went to represent CBM, I learned a great deal from the experience particularly form General  Ric Hillier, the Chief of the Defence staff and Brigadier General Sam Johnstone in their remarks during the service.

It needs to be noted that there are very few interfaces between the Christian faith (or any faith for that matter) and the secular authority. The few examples include hospital and prison chaplaincy, some interaction over refugee settlement and of course military chaplaincy.

I’ll list our own BUWC Chaplains when we do a Remembrance Day letter and also recant some of my own experiences but for now I’ll recount the two Generals talks… some “General Advice”…ok a really bad play on words…I am utterly unrepentant.

The first set of advice was from Ric Hillier to Sam Johnstone (the new Chaplain General). These are my paraphrases but they are the overview of General Hillier’s remarks. All these piece of advice have a relationship and application to our lives as Christians. The praxis is obvious but I may point out some of the clearer ideas.

First, you have a responsibility to Armed Forces “in theatre” overseas (our commitment to global concerns).

Second, you have a responsibility to all personnel in the Armed Forces (we have a responsibility and calling to the nation and our local communities.

Third, that while there is an expression that there are “no atheists in foxholes” when you discover “an atheists in a foxhole” please encourage that person to the see the value of faith (these are the words of the Chief of Defense Staff).

Fourth, you have a responsibility to your own staff (remember this is advice to the new Chaplain General from his commanding officer). We need to nurture and encourage, deepen and build up Christians in the community and faith.

Lastly, you need to take care of yourself (this was a powerful moment in the General Hillier’s remarks)… we need to take care of ourselves in this journey of faith and, I might add, allow the Lord and others for care for me).

There was much more to the service, but suffice to leave the last word to Sam Johnstone. While he said many things I was deeply touched when he acknowledged, thanked and very personally affirmed his wife Judy’s journey with him. It is clearly a close, challenging and affirming relationship. My description is not fulsome enough to capture it but the experience was a reminder to thank those who journey with us even as we often only remember the Lord and those who employ us (relax, the Lord and others so clearly deserve our public praise and thanks).



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell