BCY Regional Newsletter September 2023

Reconciliation & Healing Across the World

By Laurie MacKay, Church Office Administrator/Retired Pastor, First Baptist Church, Vernon, BC

With Karen Forman, Media & Communications Manager, Editor/Journalist, The Pulse magazine, Presbyterian Church of Australia (NSW)

The phone rang, the caller ID showing, “Tennessee.” I was in the church office on a Saturday afternoon, normally one of my days off. Who would be calling our little church from Tennessee? Was it a scam? Little did I realize where that phone call would lead.

When I answered, a woman’s voice with a bit of a southern accent said, “I know this sounds like a lot to ask of a church on the other side of the continent, but we’re wondering if there is someone there who could visit and pray with some dear friends of ours from Australia who are in the Vernon hospital. They don’t know anyone there.”

I took down the details—the mother Karen and her daughter Gabi, who is in the same room with her—their phone number, and the room number, and assured her that someone would go to see them. Of course, that someone turned out to be me, as Randy was on vacation at the time.

I hadn’t visited anyone in the hospital since my wife passed away from two strokes last July. I was anxious, the memories still raw, compounded by older memories four years before but no less raw, of our daughter’s body, cold and lifeless, after a traffic accident. I was so worried that in my deep grief I may not actually be of any help to these people from across the globe.

Taking a deep breath, I knocked on the door to their room and was invited in. I had no idea how much opening the door to that room was going to change all our lives.

Continue reading…

Update from FBC Vancouver

Due to our Heart for the City Project, our congregation has gathered, worshipped, prayed, and served in 27 locations for the past two years and three months—most of it during the global COVID-19 pandemic!

Despite the challenges associated with having to relocate, adjust, and readjust, God’s grace has been deeply evident in the resilience of our congregation. The stories of pillars of cloud by day, fire by night, manna, and quail have become our story. More than ever, we are learning to trust and keep our eyes on Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who is leading us and changing us.

Our summer has been full for us—the good kind of full.

We celebrated formative milestones like baptism, membership welcome, and graduation. We participated in the mission of God through meals with our street friends, hosting neighbourhood camps, BBQ gathering with internationals, facilitating a Sanctuary Mental Health course for young adults, and serving alongside our Log Church friends in Onion Lake Cree Nation Reserve. We rejoiced over our new partnership with Burnaby Counselling Group to continue our work of providing mental health support in the city, which has been a priority of ours for the past four decades.

Additionally, while the transition saddened us, we were given the gift of commissioning Filipe Balieiro, who has been with us for over six years, to serve at our sister church, West Point Grey Baptist Church, as their Lead Pastor.

As a church, our story started in 1886 at the back of a pub known as the Blair Saloon, located at the intersection of Abbott and Water. Leading up to the construction of our very first church building—a humble 24’ x 35’ frame building on 432 Main Street—by 1887, we had already moved twice due to a citywide fire. There was a time when we worshipped out in the open as we were without a building. Talk about displacement!

In 1911, after several building projects and displacements, God planted us at the heart of the city, at the intersection of Nelson and Burrard. And now, over 112 years later, in the middle of our extended displacement, we are reminded again of God’s intentionality in physically placing us here. More than ever, we sense that where we are situated here not as a byproduct of chance. Rather, it is integral to the raison d’être—the God-given purpose—of our church to reflect the Good News of Jesus Christ in our neighbourhood.

We anticipate more changes in the coming months! However, knowing that our Good Shepherd is leading us, we are resolved to lean further into the exhortation of Colossians 3:12-15.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Keats Camp Update

It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of summer. At Keats Camps, we have welcomed over 1,000 campers thus far to have a memorable camping experience, rooted in the love of God. It has been incredible to see God moving in the lives of young people, many of whom were introduced to Jesus for the very first time. That really is the heart behind everything we do. Creating opportunities for memories and new relationships are absolutely a priority, but most importantly, sharing the good news of the Jesus Christ is what is truly going to change lives.

What are the campers saying?

“Wow, our kids came back raving about Keats today. They had the absolute BEST time and are missing it terribly already.”

“He had THE most AMAZING week (his words).”

“When I picked up my child, the first thing they said to me was, ‘I wish camp was longer!’”

“My son returned home from camp a tired but very happy kid. He had a great time and enjoyed all the fun activities and electronic-free environment! He’s already looking forward to next year :)”

These are just a few of many testimonials from camper parents this summer. Whether it be an exhilarating time on the waterfront, the ropes course, or the skate park, or whether it be relaxing and enjoying an ice cream from our store, or sitting on the front field with friends staring at the ocean, campers and staff have had a plethora of vessels available to them to have the time of their lives.

Seeing months and months of planning and preparation come to fruition over the last several weeks has been such a joy. Our year-round staff have continued to be a huge blessing to the ministry of Keats Camps, they are the true unsung heroes. Our summer staff, consisting of over 100 people, have brought energy, passion, and love to our community, and showered it onto every camper that comes into our care.

While the summer is coming to an end, we’re just getting started in this era of Keats. We look forward to finishing strong, getting some rest, and then buckling in to begin preparing to welcome even more campers next year.

Thank you to this wonderful community for all your prayer and support.

Jordan Chong, Executive Director

Comings and Goings in the BCY Region:

A warm welcome to Filipe Balieiro, the new Lead Pastor at West Point Grey Baptist Church. 

Filipe graduated with a Master of Divinity from Regent College, and he also has an MBA from Fundacao Getulio Vargas (Brazil) with a decade of experience in the business sector. He has served in various ministry roles as an Associate Pastor, Youth Ministry/Adult Education, and Director of International Ministries. Filipe is an avid soccer player and foodie. He is married to Jozilda, and together, they have two children—Antonio and Eva.

Moving on: A heartfelt thank you for your ministry! Wishing you God’s richest blessing for the next chapter in your life.

Ben Ewert (First Baptist Church Vancouver)

Scott Hemenway (New Life Community Baptist Church)

Neil Jongbloed (Living Hope Fellowship)

Alvin Jordon (Trinity Baptist Church)

Bob Jones (West Point Grey Baptist Church)

Tom Mei (West Point Grey Baptist Church)

Upcoming Events

BC & Yukon Baptist Women | 2023 Autumn Celebration

View event details and download registration form here!


This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Making Connections September 2023

Summer Highlights!

Our churches were busy this summer! So many kids and youth were blessed by summer VBS programs and day camps that gave them a chance to connect and learn about Jesus!

We loved seeing the photos so much we had to share some highlights! Click HERE to see a snapshot of some of the fun!

 Partner Spotlight: Hopehill

Summer Case Study from a low-cost housing society for low-income Seniors—Hopehill—Living in Community, Vancouver BC (a ministry of the CBWC)

She was upset—understandably so. Her suite had suffered water damage from the tenant above her. The damage was so severe that she needed to move out of the suite for a couple of weeks while repairs were made. As I listened to her, I realized she was very angry. Angry about what? The damage. The disruption. The tardiness of the repairs. The unwillingness we had in allowing her to stay in the suite. And the bigger question—“Where will I go?”    

I listened to her even more intently, and I gently offered the observation—“It sounds like there is something really deep going on inside of you that’s deeper than the ruined ceiling. What’s going on?” She blurted out, “I don’t want to be homeless. I have nowhere to go. I have no money. I am estranged from my family. This makes me feel so afraid. I feel like I have been ejected from home. This is so frightening to me.”  

When people are afraid or anxious, they will sometimes say things that are harsh and unhelpful. They will sometimes even do things that are destructive, not contributive.  

I have been living in the story of the Good Samaritan for the last while. Besides the big idea of us needing to be like the Samaritan, I’ve tried to understand the situation of the traveller on the side of the road. He lay there, “stripped, beaten, and left half dead,” Losing your home leaves you stripped and beaten. So can losing your job. So can losing a connection to a loved one through a blow up. People we meet in life can be fighting a battle we know nothing about. A kind word is better than a combative one. It’s not about my needs; it’s their needs that are the issue.

In the end, we offered her a temporary place to stay which was less than ideal. Instead, she opted to go to a friend’s home and live, temporarily waiting for the restoration of her “home.” But we repaired the relationship. Maintenance of a building is very important—so too is people work.  

Jamey McDonald 

Hopehill–Living in Community

PS. On July 13th, 2023, we broke ground on construction of our next 64-unit, low-cost for low-income senior residence. It is slated to be ready for occupancy in early 2025. Helpful to you? Contact us at office@hopehill.ca

BCY Regional Newsletter

September 2023

Resources for the 2023 National Day of Truth & Reconciliation

September 30th is the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. We want to encourage all our churches to take a moment to reflect on this day and participate in some form. Below is information found on the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) website: https://www.cbmin.org/nationalday/.

In 2022, we extended a heartfelt invitation to all Canadian Baptists to unite in an online service of remembrance and reflection. This occasion brought us together as a community to acknowledge the painful history and lasting effects of the residential school system. This year, as we commemorate the 2023 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we invite you to join us in a prayerful and reflective commemoration, right on the very lands where you live, work, and play. To ensure this year’s observance is even more impactful, there are three meaningful steps you can take to honor the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation wherever you are located:

  1. Utilize the Prayer Guide: On September 19th, we will make available a guided audio meditation for your use on Sept 30th. This audio recording has been specifically crafted for this solemn occasion. This guide can serve as a powerful tool for your personal contemplation or to be shared with a small group of family and friends. Through it, we encourage you to deeply reflect on the past and present ramifications of the residential school system in Canada, offering prayers for truth, reconciliation, and profound healing. 
  2. Engage in Regional Events: Take an active part in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by participating in local events held in your region. Seek out gatherings that are led by Indigenous people, who hold a sacred and unique perspective on the experiences of their ancestors. Approach these events with an open heart, humility, and a genuine desire to learn. Discovering and attending these events will undoubtedly enrich your understanding and contribute to fostering a bond of unity and respect between all Canadians. Click here to locate a Friendship Centre near you and discover what resources and events they have to offer.  
  3. Explore Additional Learning Resources: Our commitment to truth and reconciliation extends beyond the day’s observance. To deepen your knowledge and awareness of the historical and ongoing impacts of residential schools in Canada, we encourage you to peruse the myriad of available resources. Delve into the stories, testimonies, and educational materials to learn more about the past and present impact of residential schools in Canada. We also encourage you to invite others to explore these resources alongside you, fostering discussions that promote empathy, growth, and understanding. Access these valuable resources for learning and reflection through the following links:  

Have less than 15 minutes?

Whitehorse Baptist Mission School (short article) 

Learn whose territory you are on (self-guided website exploration)

Have 15 – 60 minutes?

Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre Collections (self-guided website exploration) 

Former Residential School Site and the Search for Unmarked Graves (self-guided website exploration) 

Have more than an hour? 

Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts  (66 min. documentary) 

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Events (a series of online events Sept 25 – 30) 

Walking in a Good Way with Indigenous Neighbours Online Course (20 hour online course) 

Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report (sign up to pledge to read the 6 volume report) 

The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (5 part audio series) 

Red Clover (self-guided website exploration and ongoing training resources)

Through these carefully curated steps, we believe that the 2023 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will serve as a catalyst for meaningful change and foster a sense of unity and understanding among all Canadians. By engaging in prayer, participation, and education, we can collectively take significant strides toward reconciliation, healing, and a shared vision of a compassionate and inclusive Canada. Join us on this profound journey of reflection and remembrance, as we honor the past, acknowledge the present, and forge a path of hope and healing for generations to come. Together, we can build a stronger and more harmonious nation, founded on truth, respect, and compassion.

Unity through Music

Submitted by Pastor Sara Westnedge, First Baptist Nelson

I received a text message on Sunday night with this request, “Hi Sara, would it be okay if my son came to practice piano? Ours is gone for a couple of weeks.” This seemed like an easy request to fill—since our church has four pianos that sit alone on stage from Monday to Saturday, only displaying their full glory on Sunday morning. However, Erik, the pianist, also happens to be 15, and I was a bit skeptical as to whether he would actually show up each weekday morning.

Erik arrived promptly on Monday morning. The first thing he did was apologize because he is working on a difficult piece so he might be playing sections over and over, on repeat. Fortunately, I have small children and since they ask the same questions or share the same jokes over and over on repeat, I was able to assure him that I was not concerned.

On Tuesday morning, God made my heart soar through Erik’s beautiful music, and I was not alone. Monday was a delight, but on Tuesday I realized at 9:30 am that I was not alone in the upstairs of our church. The entire preschool that runs in the basement of FBC Nelson had congregated on the pews. Rows of children, all under five years of age, sat in silence as Erik played piano for 15 minutes. Their teacher came and told me that they had heard him from downstairs, and so they had to come for the concert.

Like most small rural churches, ours often feels somewhat neglected. We do not have the congregation that we once had, but the faithful souls that do attend have prayed fervently for life and renewal. This week God blessed us by answering this prayer through Erik and a community of small children—reminding me that God is always calling us to beauty and God’s presence in surprising ways. 

Protecting the Vulnerable

By Bree Young, Children and Families Pastor at Summerland Baptist

The statistics for child abuse in Canada is staggering. Government of Canada statistics show that about 6 in 10 individuals reported experiencing some type of child maltreatment before they were 15 years old. The sad reality is that abuse, in all its forms (physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect), is far too common.

Churches can be vulnerable places because they are considered places of trust, but can often lack the necessary screening for volunteers. I was reminded of this trust during the summer of 2020, when during the first summer of Covid our day camp was full. Even during a pandemic, parents trusted us with their children. The Church reflects God’s love to those in our care. The safety of the children, youth, and vulnerable adults in our care needs to be a top priority.  

Preventing abuse from happening is reason enough to make sure a church develops clear policies and procedures that will protect the volunteers, children, and youth in their care. But I have another reason. We have the privilege of walking with kids and youth, building relationships with them, and being people they can trust—which means we have a front row seat to notice when something is out of the ordinary. In order to recognize warning signs of possible child abuse, we need to know what we are looking for. Training volunteers and staff to know the indicators and how to watch for physical or behavioral changes or patterns helps us advocate for the children and youth in our care. 

At SBC we partner with an organization called Plan to Protect®. They equip SBC to meet the highest standard of vulnerable sector protection. By partnering with Plan to Protect®, we receive support, resources, and expertise of customized policy, procedures, and training. The job of being a safe Church requires lots of administrative work. Organizations like Plan to Protect® ease the stress by providing the expertise needed to write policies and procedures. In many cases, these resources are provided by them. All you have to do is customize them to your needs. 

One of the most important policies to have at a church is a screening process. A volunteer at SBC working with children, youth or vulnerable adults must:

  • Complete a Family Ministry application form 
  • 6-month, “getting to know you and you getting to know us” period
  • Interview and references 
  • Criminal record check
  • Plan to Protect® training (full training every 3 years + refresher every year)
  • Final approval from ministry lead
  • Training in your specific kid’s ministry role by a Volunteer Coach

Becoming a person of trust at SBC means completion of all the steps of the screening process. But it means more than just a process; it means that parents can trust that the staff and volunteers at SBC are safe, trustworthy, trained, and equipped. It also means that as a volunteer you are confident in how to keep yourself safe, look for indicators of abuse, report, record or ignore incidents, and know the expectations of the volunteer role you are in. 

Keeping kids safe requires commitment, time, and sometimes sacrifice, but it’s all worth it in the end. If you have any questions about keeping kids safe at your church, feel free to email me at bree@summerlandbaptist.ca

Upcoming Events!

As our summer activities wind down and we look towards autumn and a refreshed start into ministry and life together, here are several upcoming events to take note of. 

Please join us in praying for the Executive Staff Team who will be gathering September 5th-7th for a retreat and September 20-22 for meetings, and for CBWC’s Board who will meet September 22nd-23rd

We hope that over the past year you have already taken advantage of the great, free seminars being offered through CBWC Church Planting in cooperation with Salvation Army and CBOQ. The new lineup of Evangelism Masterclasses for 2023/24 features practitioners from across Canada, kicking off with a workshop on Prayer Evangelism on September 5th. Visit cbwc.ca/masterclasses for details and to register. 

On September 10th at 10am, KURIOS is kicking things off with an Opening Service at Jasper Park Baptist Church! Please pray for them and for the new students who are beginning their adventure!

Don’t forget September 30th National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. Once again, we are invited to join CBM in prayerful reflection and commemoration. For a Prayer Guide and other resources on how we as churches and individuals can listen, remember, and engage well on this important day, click here.

Now is a great time to plan for your church’s CBWC Sunday participation. Each year we ask that you set aside a Sunday in November to celebrate what it means to be part of the larger CBWC and its shared ministries. Choose a service in November in which to highlight the CBWC, and watch for resources to be released soon.

Looking ahead, remember that there is no Banff Pastors’ Conference in 2023, but you can mark November 7th-10th, 2024, on your calendar for BPC ’24. Assembly 2024 will be held online in May, with the date yet to be determined. Watch for more details.

Lastly, we are excited to announce a new initiative starting this month called Making Connections- Live! A CBWC Fall Road Trip. Tour dates and details to come, stay tuned!

We pray that you and your congregations are blessed with opportunities to continue to grow in love for God, one another, and neighbour in this coming season.

Copyright ©  2022 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections August 2023

SERVE 2023

By the Director of Next Generation Ministries, Peter Anderson

From July 2-8, over 200 people from 17 CBWC churches gathered in Kelowna for the 25th annual SERVE experience. For the first time in many years, youth groups from all 4 provinces and 2 territories of the CBWC were represented. It was truly a special gathering.   

During the days, groups dispersed all across the city demonstrating the love of Jesus through active service and in the evenings regathered for incredible times of worship. The theme of the week was “Something Different,” and youth considered how Jesus calls them to live differently in the world around them. Choosing to spend the first week of summer sleeping on a gym floor and serving complete strangers was certainly a good start for the different kind of life Jesus wants for those who love Him.  

All together SERVE participants poured out over 5,000 hours of volunteer labor into the community, and many of those served were blown away by our youth’s selflessness and generosity (especially because of the 35-degree heat). A few of those who were served commented that the youth they encountered gave them a renewed hope for the future of the church and our world. Praise God for the impact that SERVE 2023 has already had and will continue to have for months and years to come.    

SERVE 2024 will be held in Prince Albert, SK.

Watch the recap video HERE!

 Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College

Carey Theological College Begins Construction Of New Student Residence

Exciting growth is underway at Carey Theological College as we begin the construction of a second Christian student residence building at the University of British Columbia. This new facility continues Carey’s longstanding commitment to nurturing the faith and community of young adults as they venture through their post-secondary studies.

Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President of Carey Theological College (front row, left) with the Carey Board of Administration, breaking ground for the new building project.

The new building will accommodate 104 additional students and offer a range of suites, from studios to three-bedroom apartments.

Each unit has been thoughtfully designed, with kitchens and ensuite laundry facilities, providing students with a comfortable living environment. Moreover, our focus on fostering a vibrant Christian community is reflected in the dedicated spaces within the building—designed specifically for Bible study, worship nights, and small groups. With the support from our Deans of Student Residents and volunteer Resident Assistants, these spaces will enable students to deepen their faith and engage in meaningful spiritual exploration. Additionally, the common areas will serve as gathering spaces, fostering connections and friendships among residents that will last a lifetime.

Proposed image of the new residency building.

As we reflect on the past year, we are humbled to share testimonials from two students who experienced the impact of Carey’s student residence program.

Nate L, 2nd year, Engineering:

“Carey gave me a supportive, Christian environment, something that I felt was necessary when moving to UBC. The biggest factor in my decision to come to Carey last year was the tight-knit community. Carey made sure that I had the resources I needed to succeed. Carey has been a place of growth for me, both spiritually and academically. Without this supportive community behind my endeavours, it would have been difficult for me to keep pressing forward. Thank you for your support in pushing the next generation to persevere, and to become the Christian leaders of tomorrow.”

Sarah S, 4th year, Land and Food Systems:

“Carey has been such an amazing blessing in my life. I thank God every day for bringing me to this amazing community that has truly been a home away from home in my life. I can assure you that God is using your generosity for His glory and to build up an amazing community of believers during their time at UBC, where we are all figuring out life together. That is why I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live at Carey, for God has blessed Carey so abundantly and has brought each and every one of us here for a reason.”

These heartfelt accounts highlight the profound impact that Carey has had on these students’ lives, both spiritually and academically. We firmly believe in the transformative power of Christian community and the lasting impact it can have on the lives of young adults. We are honoured to be part of empowering the next generation of Christian leaders, equipping them with a strong foundation of faith, discipleship, and community.

To contribute, please visit our website at https://carey-edu.ca/donate/. Your generosity and prayers are greatly appreciated as we embark on this exciting journey of growth and discipleship. Thank you for your support in shaping the lives of future Christian leaders.

Heartland Regional Newsletter

August 2023

Getting Active!

On Saturday, July 15th, nearly thirty individuals gathered together for a 12hr volleyball game. From 7am to 7pm 43 sets were played, the Redneck Rangers barely beating the Blue-collar Busters. It was incredible to see all the people come together for the event. Gatorade and oranges were donated by the local grocery store and the beef on the bun meal afterwards was covered by Brownfield Baptist Church. It really was a community effort to pull off. We were very excited to have raised $2,760, and counting!


One of the participants was Jordan Webber, the current President of the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) Board. Below is a reflection by him about the act of Giving:

In Bible study last week, we looked at Mark 3 and 4. One high school student pointed out Mark 4:18-19.

18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly, the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.

The message is crowded out by worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. That seems painfully close to home. In thinking about that passage since, it seems to parallel Jesus’ interaction with the rich, young ruler. This man had been putting effort into following the commandments since he was a boy but still longed to have eternal life. Jesus lovingly responds, “One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.”

Three simple commands in that statement are to: liquidate our stuff, give to the poor, and follow Jesus.

In general terms, we have a wrong relationship with worldly possessions. Wealth, riches, and money are hoarded, stressed over, and lavished upon ourselves—to our detriment. “How hard will it be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23b). One sure way to break this negative spiral is to give our riches away. Through the Holy Spirit, let’s produce fruit!

As we give, our eyes open to the needs of this world. Many individuals and communities lack the means to access sufficient food and nutrition. The consequences of hunger extend far beyond physical discomfort—leading to impaired physical and cognitive development, increased vulnerability to diseases, and reduced economic productivity. Moreover, hunger perpetuates a cycle of poverty, hindering individuals and families from breaking free from its clutches.

Hunger is driven by war, inadequate social policy, weather, agriculture degradation and waste. As followers of Jesus, we are called to respond to the needs of those hungry and suffering. The staggering statistics of global hunger and the rising food insecurity in our own country demand our attention and action.

I am thrilled that Canadian Baptists nationwide are taking positive initiatives to raise awareness and support for feeding the hungry. Our Baptist family has embarked on a mission to raise $100,000 to combat food insecurity in 12 countries, including Canada, called Active in Mission. My family and I are thrilled to be a part.

In our church, Jenna Hanger thought we could play endurance volleyball! We ran up and down the gym floor, diving, serving, volleying, and having lots of fun for 12 hours to raise support for the Active in Mission campaign and awareness for the needs around the world. I was personally inspired to join by Biker Betty and Sam Breakey from Trinity Baptist Church.

I would encourage everyone towards three things:

1. Pursue Jesus, read His word, and apply it to your life. Make Jesus’ passions your passion. Jesus loved, cared for, and sacrificed for people experiencing poverty.

2. Give sacrificially. Give until it hurts. Give until the spirit of mammon loses its influence in your life.

3. Make a special effort to join in what God is doing in our Baptist family. There are a lot of great leaders that are authentically following God in His work, and we are called to join in the mission.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”


Jordan Webber

Heart Smart HR: Sick Leave and Disability Benefits

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~ Galatians 6:2

Minimum employment standards do not require employers to provide any sick leave pay to their employees. According to human rights legislation, employees cannot lose their position, be terminated or treated differently, for being away due to illness or disability. However, employers are not required to pay them during their absence. So, in short, the minimum requirement is zero. 

However, in practice, most employers make some provision for reasonable absences due to sick leave, and for exceptional circumstances and/or extended illness. Since employers set their own policies, these can vary widely, but in general, a typical number of sick days may be in the range of 10-15 days per year.

The CBWC does not have Short-Term Disability insurance benefit (STD) as part of its insurance package under the CB Benefits Plan. Premium for this type of insurance is very costly. In lieu of STD insurance, we recommend churches utilize benefits provided through the federal government’s Employment Insurance Program (EI). Every employee pays EI premiums and therefore is eligible to qualify to receive EI Sick Leave benefits, subject to the requirements of the program. As an addition to EI coverage, Service Canada also offers the Supplemental Employment Benefit Program (SUB Plan), which allows employers who are registered to top-up income to 95% while an employee is on EI sick leave without claw back. We recommend adding the SUB Plan to existing Staff Policies as a means of pastoral care.

EI Sick Leave benefits now terminate at 25 weeks from date of disability. This was recently increased from 17 weeks, which is the current waiting period for Long Term Disability benefit provided in our CB Benefits Plan. If an employee anticipates that they may not be able to return to work by the end of 17-25 weeks, both they and their employer should begin the application process for LTD with Canada Life as early as possible, around the 10- to 12-week mark. Assuming the criteria of LTD is met, the employee will continue to receive LTD benefits until they recover and are able to return to work, or reach age 65.

LTD benefits are payable for the first 24 months following the waiting period if disease or injury prevents the employee from doing their own job. You are not considered disabled if you can perform a combination of duties that regularly took at least 60% of your time to complete. After 24 months, LTD benefits will continue only if their disability prevents them from being gainfully employed in any job. Gainful employment is work they are medically able to perform, for which they have at least the minimum qualifications, and provides them with an income of at least 75% of their indexed monthly earnings before they became disabled.

Human rights legislation imposes on employers a duty to accommodate. This duty is phrased differently in each jurisdiction, but generally speaking, before an employer can refuse to employ or terminate an employee because the employee is unable to perform their duties due to a disability, the employer must try to accommodate the employee to the point of undue hardship. This means that an employer may be required to incur some expenses or make other adjustments to accommodate the employee. If you have questions about your duty to accommodate or need more information on the scope of your duty to accommodate, you should consult a lawyer. These can be complicated issues.

For more information about disability benefits or assistance in registering for Service Canada’s SUB Plan, please contact Louanne Haugan at lhaugan@cbwc.ca.

Kurios Update

Dear friends,

Our last update requested prayer for a meeting with Parks Canada. We did not get the response we were hoping for—we were informed that the Superintendent was not supportive of our plans and would not approve any development on the property.

While this was discouraging to hear, we have continued to move ahead with our intention to relocate Kurios to Jasper this fall. Instead of development, we are currently renovating the existing manse to be more functional for a group of 10-12 to live in and are moving forward with an offer to purchase a house within the community to allow us to grow to our target of 20-25 participants each year! 

Work crew from Hinton.

Kitchen after demo.

Hardwood found after removing carpet!

There is much to do in the ongoing manse renos, and we need help! If you or your group are able to assist, please contact me at steve@cbwc.ca. We need floor repair/refinishing, wall patching and painting, a new sidewalk, and our new kitchen installed.

The Kurios Jasper planning group appreciates and covets all of your prayers, now and going into the future, for the continued renos in the manse, for the development of the program in Jasper, and for the students that are enrolled for the September start.  

For the King,

Rev. Steve Simala Grant
Kurios Director

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20,21

Summer Reading List 2023

Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan

What have you been reading lately? Shannon’s always got a list of books longer than her arm that she has just read, wants to read, or is in the middle of reading. Cailey’s a slower reader, and also has a 4-year-old daughter, so her list is shorter (although her arm is longer—some achievement at least!) Here are some books that we think may be of interest to you:

CONFRONTING OLD TESTAMENT CONTROVERSIES: Pressing Questions About Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence by Tremper Longman III (Baker Books, 2019). Longman tackles these difficult topics fairly and with years of Old Testament scholarship behind him. He confronts these pressing issues with a balanced approach, rather than through our tendencies toward the extremes of either ignoring tough issues or “treating them as though they are the only thing that matters.” Shannon says, “I found this book interesting, insightful, orthodox, and while I may not personally agree with all his conclusions, he presented the material in ways that I am still thinking about!”

MISREADING SCRIPTURE WITH WESTERN EYES: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien (IVP, 2012). Here’s a link to read the intro of his other book (…through Individual Eyes vs Collective Eyes) to give a good idea of what they are tackling. It is fascinating reading, highlighting how our predominantly western, white, not-on-the-margins, high-context-culture read and interpret Scripture differently from so many other Christian folk in the world.

I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW: Building Relational Resilience When you want to Quit by Heather Thompson Day, Seth Day, et al. (Thomas Nelson, 2022). Recommended by Tim Kerber and Larry Schram, this book helps us find ways to “choose community over division, commitment over cancelation, and vulnerability over indifference, and offers a bold response to today’s surface-level relationships.”

HOW THE BODY OF CHRIST TALKS: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church by C. Christopher Smith (Brazos Press, 2019). This is one of the books Cailey refers to in “Shannon’s want-to-reads.” Recommended by some of our pastors as helpful in guiding ourselves and the church to get beyond just “talking past one another,” and actually hearing each other. Watch for Mark Doerksen’s full review of this book on our blog this fall in our Healthy Leadership Cultures series.

TELL HER STORY: How Women Led, Taught, and Ministered in the Early Church by Nijay Gupta (IVP Academic, 2023). This is a great treatment of looking at women who lead in the Old and New Testaments. He addresses the “What about…?” passages regarding what Paul says in 1 Timothy and the submission texts in the NT Household Codes. A great way to read this is to sign up to join our CBWC Theology for the Ordinary book club. They will be tackling this book together in the fall (see below for how to sign up!)

THE BIBLE VS. BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD: How God’s Word Consistently Affirms Gender Equality by Philip B. Payne. Recommended by Tim Kerber and now listened to by Shannon on Audible, this book is well worth reading and does a thorough job of looking at how we read and interpret Scripture and thus come to particular conclusions (see above book recommendation on Misreading through Western Eyes). Both Tim and Shannon suggest getting the book copy. There are so many Scripture citations that this is a book you will want to reference again and again. Here’s the Amazon description: “In The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood, New Testament scholar Philip B. Payne argues that the very Bible passages that are often believed to teach male headship and female subordination actually teach gender equality. He demonstrates that the Bible does not endorse gender hierarchy but instead emphasizes:

  • The Holy Spirit gifting all believers for ministry
  • The oneness of the body of Christ (the church) and the priesthood of all believers
  • Humility, service, and mutual submission required of all believers
  • Freedom and willingness to relinquish freedom in order to spread the gospel”

JESUS AND THE DISINHERITED by Howard Thurman and Dr. Kelly Douglas. Speaking about talking past one another and misinterpreting through Western eyes…wow! Thanks to one of our BCY pastors for recommending this book (in the airport, after Assembly. You know who you are!) Howard Thurman was a Seminary student of Martin Luther King Sr, and this book–published in 1949–influenced Martin Luther King Jr as he took up the call to the civil rights movement. Thurman’s perspective on reading and interpreting the Gospels as an oppressed and marginalized group will get you thinking about how much we miss of the hope of Jesus to the world when we only read/interpret through our own particular cultural and societal lenses. 

Read this alongside Rev. Dr. Esau McCaulley’s award winning work, Reading While Black. The reviews from many known scholars attest that this is for all those who long to find the hope of the gospels in our world today.

THE RUTHLESS ELIMINATION OF HURRY: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World by John Mark Comer (WaterBrook, 2019). Shannon originally took this book out of the library. When you are getting close to retirement, you start finding ways to reduce your discretionary spending, and she tends to spend too much on books (as if that’s even possible!). But this is a book that will need to be marked up and read every year as a refresher, so there is now a hard copy on her bookshelf.

This is a must-read for every person in any type of lay or professional ministry. People need to be forced sometimes to be reminded to go God Speed, and Comer does an excellent job is sharing his own realization that to be a long-hauler in ministry we’ve all got to stop living ministry life and ordinary life as “hurried souls.”

EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY DISCIPLESHIP by Peter Scazzero (Zondervan, 2021). This book is another of Shannon’s “to-reads.” Sam Breakey often quoted Scazzero in the work he did in Church Health Assessments. This book addresses some of our favorite topic areas: Discipleship and Healthy Church Cultures and Christians! And the sub-title just screamed “read me”—Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation! Shannon may have skimmed some of the chapters, as the chapter titles were irresistible: “Follow the Crucified, Not the Americanized, Jesus;” “Discover the Treasures of Grief and Loss” (our lament the last several years is we don’t do lament well in much of the evangelical world); “Make Love the Measure of Maturity;” and “Lead Out of Weakness and Vulnerability.” We hope some of you read it this summer so we can discuss it. You know how to reach us!

Theology for the Ordinary
Our colleagues Mark Doerksen and Cindy Emmons have been coordinating a great initiative called Theology for the Ordinary, which uses spaces like book clubs and a podcast to create ways for CBWC folks to read and learn and have meaningful discussion on theological issues together. Over the next two months, we’ve made space on this blog to share book reviews: one from Cailey’s recent reading, and then several that have come out of the Theology for the Ordinary initiative. We hope you are challenged by the helpful reflections of these reviews and inspired to pick up books yourself this summer.

By the way, Theology for the Ordinary’s next Book Club meeting is on September 13 to discuss Nijay Gupta’s book mentioned above. Contact Cindy at heartland@cbwc.ca for details or visit cbwc.ca/ordinary

And speaking of gatherings of learning, registration is now available for our next series of Evangelism Masterclasses, covering topics such as prayer evangelism, poverty and faith, cross-cultural witness, planting house churches, and more. Head over to our Masterclasses page for details.

Assembly 2023 Wrap-Up

We were pleased to have 107 churches gather together for the in-person 2023 Assembly this past June in Calgary. Click HERE to view the wrap-up information!

Copyright ©  2023 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Heartland Regional Newsletter August 2023

Tragedy in Dauphin, Manitoba

By Mark Doerksen

A recent tragedy in Manitoba was a horrific accident where 16 senior citizens from Dauphin, MB, were killed. With tragic memories from Humboldt, SK, in the not-so-distant past, here again a community will need to come together in grief and support for families, both now and for the future.

As things turned out, our Westman Cluster of pastors was scheduled to meet in Dauphin on Thursday June 22. As a group, we gathered at Pastor Loralyn Lind’s house around the television as the names of the crash victims were released. It wasn’t an easy broadcast to watch.

Later that evening, folks from the community of Dauphin met at the local hall for a memorial service. There were several members of the clergy, from various traditions, who led the community in prayer, singing, and words of consolation. Loralyn, who had been on the planning committee for the service, lit candles as names were read, and closed the service with the benediction.

In the meantime, in downtown Dauphin a large truck had been parked for the better part of the week. That truck housed crisis chaplains and counselors, and had been sent to Dauphin from Calgary. The ministry that sent it was the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. Another CBWC pastor by the name of Tim MacKinnon, out of Weyburn, SK, used his chaplaincy training to minister in Dauphin for the week.

I write of this experience for two reasons; first, to prod us to remember to pray for this community. Those who have lost family members need our prayers. The first responders need our prayers, too. It was quite moving to observe the first responders from Carberry, the site of the accident, greet the first responders from Dauphin.

Second, Loralyn and Tim were encouraged to minister in these ways by their churches. These congregations understood the importance of sending them to care for a community reeling with grief. I am grateful for pastors and congregations such as these.

Have a safe summer!


The Long Game

By Adam MacDonald, Associate Pastor at Westhill Park Baptist Church

Adam & Karen MacDonald

God isn’t in a hurry, and sometimes he plays a long game.

This is a lesson that I’ve been learning in my first few weeks of pastoral ministry, and has been reinforced by the path I took to arrive here. Now that I’m in the role, I find myself impatient to get things rolling, and have discovered how many things really do take time to germinate, root, and grow, regardless of how fast I want them to happen. This is ironic, since it is almost thirty years between when I first started feeling a call to ministry and my first official church staff role.

I grew up in a family where church was a significant part of life. When I graduated high school, the roast / prediction speeches included a reference to Pastor Adam riding a motorcycle up the aisle of his church. (This has not happened so far). I went boldly off to attend Canadian Bible College, where I met my wife Karen, and managed to squeeze my 4-year program into 7 years. Those years included moving back and forth to Kingston, ON, getting married, and exploring future job possibilities. We thought we were moving back to Regina for one year to finish my Bachelor of Theology. That was 24 years ago this summer and we’re still in Regina. I discovered after high school that I actually did like being a student, and since we were living within blocks of the seminary, I completed my MDiv. We’ve always been very involved at our churches, including a period of time where I was on the preaching team and two different times on the board. To my ongoing surprise, and a bit of confusion, none of these seasons involved being part of a pastoral ministry team. I had always thought that it would, but for various reasons it didn’t, and eventually I concluded that it just wasn’t going to happen. So I focused on things that I loved to do, like teaching Sunday School, sometimes for adults, sometimes for children. I’ve enjoyed teaching each of my kids (Jack 18, Julie 16, Elizabeth 11) as they passed through my various classes.

Until this spring, when I noticed a change in my thinking. God isn’t in a hurry and he plays a long game. Through various conversations with our lead pastor and others close to me, I felt that it was time to seriously consider the position of Associate Pastor at Westhill Park Baptist Church. I started in that role on April 1, 2023. It’s been such a good fit that a close friend, who is an atheist, has commented on how well it seems to suit me and how much I’m enjoying it! I truly am enjoying it, and am looking forward to participating in new ways with what God is doing here.

Update from Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church

Written by Mark Doerksen

In the mid-summer of 2022, Ukrainians displaced by the war with Russia began to come to Winnipeg. At first many people came and would be ministered to by the folks that make up Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church (UEBC). UEBC is located in the William White neighborhood in Winnipeg, and this year will be celebrating 120 years of ministry.

The congregation has grown since then, in different ways. First, the church has gained some additional members, including church leaders. Second, the congregation has grown in what it means to serve folks who have been displaced and are now seeking to settle in Canada. It hasn’t always been easy, and it’s difficult to predict how many people need to be helped, and some folks who have started in Winnipeg have already moved to places like Calgary and Abbotsford. Over the past year, the congregation has learned that helping these displaced folks over the long haul requires motivation, energy, resources, and perseverance.

In terms of motivation, Pastor Alex Andrusyshyn relies on a couple of things. He has seen how the government of Canada and the government of Manitoba has been very helpful to Ukrainians, and feels as though the church should also be seen as helpful in supporting these newcomers. Second, and more from a theological perspective, the congregation relies on the story of the Good Samaritan to keep them motivated.

In terms of energy, Pastor Alex notes that the congregation is getting weary. The initial challenge and excitement has ebbed a bit, and now people are feeling the effects of supporting folks for the long term. They have also learned, by way of experience, to take a “step by step” approach to helping. Food hampers and a visit might be the first step in connecting with folks, and eventually an invitation to church, and then meeting needs of clothing and furniture after that.

In terms of resources, the congregation appreciates the support given by the CBWC family, and notes that many newcomers still need items such as food hampers, beds, clothing, and the like. As the congregation networks locally for those in need, some families are hoping to settle in Winnipeg for the long haul. UEBC is committed at the moment to 2 single moms, their children, as well as a husband and wife and their 3 children, in addition to the folks that come intermittently for help.

In terms of perseverance, Pastor Alex and the congregation are certainly feeling weariness, but are committed to helping as long at it takes. Over the past year different strategies of support have been developed, and sometimes there is plenty of need, while at other times, the need is not so acute. The need, it seems, comes in waves as Pastor Alex describes it.

Please continue to remember this congregation in your prayers, and please remember to pray for those displaced by the war. If you would like to connect more directly with a family that UEBC is helping with, please contact Pastor Alex at the church.

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter July 2023

Shaped by People and Places

MSR Regional Minister, Tim Kerber

Many years ago, I came across a small book called, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. It was written by Kathleen Norris, a journalist, who after forging a career in New York city had moved to a small town in south Dakota to wind up the estate of her late grandmother. What was intended to be a short sabbatical ended up becoming permanently home. In her book, she shares how the geography of the plains began to shape her, and even inform her faith.

Over the past number of months, I have had the opportunity to get into my car and begin discovering the places in Alberta/BC where we have CBWC churches. I have found something of a similar experience to what I read about in that book. As I cover hundreds of kilometers, and drive into new communities, I can begin to see how people and churches have been shaped by the places they live. I am given a sense of how each one of these congregations has been shaped by where they are and has developed their own personality. It is fascinating to see how churches are impacting their communities in unique ways with the power of the Gospel.

When I drove into the Peace Country, there was a sense of the vastness of space, a reminder of how big God is, a sense of His immense majesty. There are rolling hills, and vast stretches of forest, deep river canyons, and beautiful lakes. And there you find churches–sometimes in cities, sometimes in rural or small-town locations–addressing the needs of their communities. Some are ministering to the poor in their location, reaching out with offers of practical help and care. Some have begun ministering to newcomers, creating a welcome space to care for those calling this their new home. Others have thriving ministries to kids, inviting them to come and learn about Jesus. “Up there,” I find a sense of adventure among the people, a recognition of needing one another, juxtaposed with some rugged independence.

When I drove into the southern part of the province, there was the wide-open swaths of prairie, allowing you to see for “miles and miles.” As you drive past open ranges full of cattle, and fields being planted with crops, you get a sense of this being the breadbasket where so much of what we enjoy comes from. And all of this is happening with the breathtaking background of the Rocky Mountains. Here you find churches engaging with their communities, making spaces for the broken and lost to find hope. There are books clubs, Bible studies, and intentional efforts to engage their communities. There is a warmth here; people genuinely welcome you. And while there is great value placed in a good day’s work, there is also an easiness and openness to sitting down for a visit with a cup of coffee. We have country churches, and urban churches, small town churches, and big city churches. We have historic congregations and brand-new ones. We have ethnic churches from around the world. It has been a privilege for me in only such a short time to have the chance to join Caribbean, Chinese, Filipino, and Korean congregations in times of worship and celebration. And with each experience, I discover that there are things I have yet to learn about how God is at work in these beautifully different contexts. While there are still many places to see and to visit in person, (If this is you, I’m going to come!) I am recognizing that one of the most important things I can do is to listen and be attentive to where God is taking me each week. Where is God at work? What is He doing here? How is He speaking to these folks in this time?

But what is also amazing, is that for all the immense diversity I see as I travel the province, the Gospel of Jesus, and His hope remain relevant and alive in each and every location. As churches are faithful to their calling, God is using them to uniquely reach those who He has put in their paths.

The Bible verse that comes to my mind as I consider this is Acts 1:8: 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Everywhere I go, I meet witnesses. It has been a joy and a blessing. And I have no doubt, that as I go, God is shaping me, forming me, as I humbly listen and join with others, in offering the hope of Jesus to the world.

CBWC Mountain Standard Region Camps

Gull Lake Camp

Camp is happening! 

At Gull Lake Centre we are currently in the middle of our Leadership Training and Discipleship (LTD) week. We have 79 leadership students in class this week learning about the Kingdom of God and how to run camp. Our LTD students make a three-year commitment and get to learn about identity in Christ, critical thinking, communication, practical leadership, Christian practice, and biblical literacy. These 79 students will be our junior leaders for the summer and are accompanied by our 53 summer staff who will guide, mentor, and care for our 1100+ campers that we will serve in the next two months.

Please pray for our leaders that they would serve well with humble hearts as they grow in their skills and confidence, as they grow in their relationships with others, and most importantly as they grow in intimacy with the Lord.

Please pray for our campers that they would encounter Jesus in a way that changes their life forever, just like I did when I came to camp as a 15-year-old camper.

I cannot describe how much your prayers mean to us.  Thank you for caring and interceding on our behalf.

Grace and Peace,
Steve Roadhouse

Camp Wapiti 

Camp is going really well at the moment. We celebrated Camp Wapiti’s 60th anniversary a little while ago by holding a dinner fundraiser event, which was a great boost for the camp. We also have held a couple of volunteer workbees that have helped prepare the camp for this upcoming season! Set-up and prep mode for the camp is in full swing, which has been very busy, but also very good. It has been a blessing to see the many different ways the Lord has provided for us through funding, staff applications, volunteer support, and camper registration in the past few months. We have over 200 camper registrations already, and have multiple of our camps full, so praise the Lord for that! We also have already hired the majority of our paid staff that we need for the summer, which is almost unheard of to have this early for us!

Please pray for Camp Wapiti to receive volunteers. Currently we are short on a lot of volunteer positions, which will be needed during the summer. Please pray for wisdom for our staff team to lead this summer. Please also pray for the campers that come this summer, that their lives would be changed forever, and that they would encounter God in new and meaningful ways!

Austin Wooden
Director @ Camp Wapiti

Mill Creek Baptist Camp

As summer nears we have been doing many work projects including some demolition with the help of volunteers. We have also had a few unexpected and major financial costs/repairs happening, and so would appreciate prayer for the finance side of camps. However, we are happy to say that all of our staff positions are filled and we are excited to welcome campers very soon!

Please pray for our staff as they minister to campers this summer, and for the campers that they would encounter the love of God in a meaningful way that would stick with them.

Cara Horwood
Mill Creek Baptist Camp

Ministerials: The Connections Point for Pastors and Chaplains

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

In the CBWC, the support of our ministers is a top priority. Often times being in ministry can feel isolating and lonely. Pastors and Chaplains need support, community and connection with other ministers. One of ways CBWC provides this is through Ministerial meetings as part of the Investing in Relationship initiative.

In the Mountain Standard Region, there are 5 Ministerial areas: Peace Country, Edmonton, Central, Calgary and the South. Pastors and Chaplains have the opportunity to meet with the Tim Kerber, the Regional Minister, and other ministers regularly. With ministers spread out over a wide area in the Peace Country, these meetings are held through Zoom and there is an in-person gathering at least once a year.

The Central, Calgary and South Ministerials meet every season at various locations. These meetings are often followed by a lunch shared together. The Edmonton Ministerial meets for coffee and treats once a month, with a break for the summer, at one of the area churches.

During these Ministerial meetings there are times of teaching, sharing experiences of how God is working in lives and churches, and encouragement through prayer times. We encourage all ministers to join in the Ministerial meetings of their area. Contact the Regional office to find out when the next meeting is.

Pictures from around the Region

CCBC Anniversary

Greenhills Calgary

Southgate Baptist

Evangelical Edmonton

Fort Saskatchewan

Charlie Lake

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Making Connections July 2023

Churches & Community Rally After Mustard Seed Street Church Fire

The Mustard Seed Street Church in Victoria, BC, suffered severe damage from an accidental fire at the end of March. The fire was started by a member of their street community, who was trying to keep warm with a torch—which blew out of control. The person wielding the torch is now totally safe, but the fire burnt through the hospitality department and through the fire door. As a result, the entire building suffered smoke damage.

Originally, the estimates were months and months of getting everything back up and going, but with the help of the Victoria Fire Department, local churches, and community, a lot of things have been expedited.

“It’s been wonderful watching the progress and watching the community work together. It’s also been wonderful to watch partnership in the gospel happen, from within different denominations within our community,” Rev. Stephen Bell, Executive Director and Senior Pastor, said.

“We had people from the Pentecostal denomination, the Anglican denomination, United denomination and, of course, our good friends at the CBWC coming by to lend a hand––bringing sandwiches and drinks to help our staff and to volunteer. It’s been incredible to watch.”

Local churches, including The Forge in Langford and Centennial United Church, have also offered their space so the Mustard Seed could hold their regular service times.

There are a couple of ways people can still help the Mustard Seed Street Church as they recover.

“Always donations are number one for us. At this point in time, we don’t have a lot of space to put food donations. But we can always accept what we like to call ‘cans of cash’,” Stephen shared, adding that their buying power with cash right now is substantial because of all the discounts they are able to get.

He also added another way that local people can help is by volunteering in their hospitality kitchen. The coordinator, Claudia, can be reached at volunteer@mustardseed.ca

 Partner Spotlight: Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM)

Active in Mission 2023

A village in Thailand, a tribe in India, vulnerable households in the Democratic Republic of Congo, widows in South Sudan displaced from civil war, farmers in Rwanda struggling with the changing climate to produce enough food—these are just a sampling of the people who are experiencing hunger today. While here at home, the cost of groceries has sky-rocketed, causing over 5 million Canadians to seek assistance from food banks and other food-related programs.

This summer, our Canadian Baptist family–Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, l’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada, Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, and CBM–is partnering together to raise $100,000 that will help those experiencing food insecurity.

Half of those funds will be divided amongst our denominations to support food programs in local contexts through churches here in Canada, like Bromley Road Baptist Church in Ottawa. Partnering with local organizations, they pick up surplus food from a nearby bakery which is then distributed to ministries and food banks to serve the needs of their community.  

The other half will support CBM’s global food programming in 11 countries around the world, including El Salvador, the Philippines, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Ukraine. These programs help people like Eunice, in Kenya, who experienced repeated crop failure. She learned about conservation agriculture through our partner, and now her farm is thriving enough to fulfill her nutritional needs.

Join us in getting Active in Mission today! Your participation will make all the difference in addressing the problem of hunger in our world and in Canada! Visit www.activeinmission.ca to find out more.

Join the Action!

We are so excited to be participating in Active In Mission (AiM) this summer! The CBWC is encouraging all our churches to get Active this summer and help raise money to end hunger globally and locally!

We would love your support as we try to reach our Exec Staff Team goal of raising $2,500! Check our team page HERE!

Check out a few of our Active team members!

Mountain Standard Regional Minister, Tim Kerber: Biking 1000km over July & August

Heartland Regional Minister, Mark Doerksen + his wife Mary: Walking 10km/day for 90 days

Director of Communications & Developement, Louanne Haugan: Paddleboarding as many lakes as possible

Executive Administrative Assistant,  Esther Kitchener: Walking

Executive Minister, Rob Ogilvie: Cycling and Biking

Administrative Assistant, Sherisse White: Walking

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

July 2023

Celebrating Family News

Our wider Canadian Baptist families are celebrating some exciting news! L’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada (FBU), Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ), and the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC) have all elected new Executive Ministers!

The Executive Minister for l’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada is Raphael Anzenberger. Born in Strasbourg, France in 1972, Raphael is married to Karen, and the father of four children: Josiah, Abigail, Lisa, and Matthew. In 1996, after receiving a Master’s Degree in Economics, he and Karen left for Chad, where Raphael was the CFO and CEO of the Bebalem

Hospital for two years. After a brief stay in France, they then moved to South Carolina for five years so that Raphael could pursue seminary classes at Columbia International University.  ,He has since received a Master of Divinity in Leadership, Evangelism and Discipleship, a Doctor of Ministry in Missions, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies. 

You can read Raphael’s full profile HERE.

Executive Minister of the CBOQ, Leanne Friesen, is a pastor, writer, speaker, grief educator, wife, and mother. Born and raised in Newfoundland, God led Leanne to Ontario to attend school, first attaining a degree in Child Studies from the University of Guelph, and then a Master of Divinity Degree from McMaster Divinity College. Upon graduation, Leanne began serving as the Lead Pastor of Mount 

Hamilton Baptist Church, where she served joyfully for eighteen years. As part of her ministry, Leanne has also served as a teacher and speaker in countless churches and conferences around the country. She has also written for a wide variety of publications and currently hosts an Instagram page to support people grieving. Her first book, “Grieving Room,” will be published in 2024.

Leanne cares deeply for the local church and is particularly passionate about helping each church live into the calling God has for them. One of her life “theme” verses which has shaped her ministry is 1 Peter 5: 2-3: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve…” Leanne lives in Hamilton with her husband, two teenaged children, and their dog. She enjoys walking, hiking, reading, and discovering new donut shops. You can read some of her writings at leannefriesen.com.

CBAC is pleased to introduce Renee MacVicar as their new Executive Minister. Following a thorough, prayerful, and Spirit-led process, Renée received the unanimous support of the Search Committee. The same overwhelming affirmation is expected by the CBAC Council for ratification by the Assembly in August 2023.

Renée served as the Director of Youth and Family Ministries for CBAC for a five-year term, from 2014-2019. Her tenure as the Director of Youth and Family was marked by four main areas of concentration: investing in leaders, providing catalytic gathering points, encouraging missional and service opportunities, and providing resources to leaders and churches. Renee also served as adjunct professor at Acadia Divinity College where she taught a course called “Transformational Discipleship.”

Most recently, Renee represented the CBAC on the Board of Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) and served as Pastor of Community Engagement at Hillside Baptist Church where she guided the church through the COVID-19 pandemic. Renee lives with her family—Joe, Emma, and Isabell—in Salisbury, New Brunswick where they are all involved in life and ministry of their church. 

CBWC Head Office Under Renovation!

If you drop by the CBWC Calgary Office this summer, you’d better bring your hard hat!

An office renovation project is in full swing to better utilize the area of open space previously occupied with cubicles, most of which were largely unused. CBWC Operations Manager, Jerry Wang, explains, “The scope of the renovation project is to convert the middle area into an open conference space and build two offices in the copier area to accommodate staff previously working in cubicles. The project also includes changing the existing, rarely-used shower room to a storage room connected to the server room.”

After the renovation, the CBWC Head Office should be able to host meetings of up to 33 people on site, plus as many attendees as allowed by Microsoft Teams or Zoom joining remotely. Existing mounted televisions will be reused, and if the specifications meet the requirements, existing spare NUCs will also be reused in the new conference area.

Natasha, a friend of one of our staff, has been helping sell office furniture no longer needed in the renovated space. So far, we have sold $4,495 worth of old furniture instead of junking it! She and Jerry have been doing an excellent job at recovering costs during the project.

Victor Ku, Directory of Administration & Finance, adds, “The total renovation cost for the office plus the audio-visual equipment is around $37,000, but the long-term benefits outweigh the investment required. In the long term, the repurposed office space can be used to accommodate the CBWC Board and the CBWC-Foundation Board. Moreover, it will also cater to the needs of NMO and OPW/OEC training seminars. The estimated annual savings from this alone is around $7,000 a year.”

Since the CBWC office was purchased in 2016, it has always been the hope and prayer of CBWC staff to one day utilize the space for training leaders and hosting Board meetings—not just to save money for the association—but also to better practice the gift of hospitality. Praise be to God we will hold our first Board meeting in the Calgary Head Office this September!

Welcome to the Evangelism Masterclass!

By Rev. Shannon Youell – Director of Church Planting (and all things discipleship & evangelism!)

“Evangelism” is one of those trigger words: most of us believe it to be something the Church universal is to be engaged in, but we reserve it for those who are specifically-gifted evangelists. While Paul seems to delineate that particular gift, Jesus never does so. He calls His followers to be His apprentices, watching and learning from Him to become more like Him in thought, practice, and engagement. He also calls us to be salt and light in the world, His witnesses, His evangelists, His missionaries in the places where we and our churches live, work, play and pray. 

Evangelism isn’t a program but rather a posture. To help all of us shy and self-identified “ungifted evangelists,” CBWC Church Planting has partnered with CBOQ Church Development & Salvation Army Church Planting to offer all our combined churches opportunities to explore being missional in their contexts and communities. This opportunity is for old churches, new churches, and those exploring disciple-making in all sorts of innovative ways. 

This past year (Fall 2022-Spring 2023), we offered monthly opportunities to hear from practitioners in a variety of contexts and cultures. They shared their wisdom and experience through a short, but mighty, presentation, followed by breakout rooms to engage with one another and a Q&A of the presenter to answer any questions that come to mind. Many of our CBWC folk participated and gave good feedback:

I value hearing different perspectives from participants and leaders from various backgrounds.”

“This was out of the box thinking for me. I appreciate that it has opened up a whole new perspective on engaging people spiritually.”

“It was interesting to hear creative ideas about connecting with people about faith.”

“This time together is very rich!”

We are thrilled to announce our 2023-2024 line-up of topics and presenters! If you are a reader of our CBWC Church Planting Blog,  you will find a new page added just for Evangelism Masterclasses to see our amazing line up and how you can register for these free interactive classes.

Join us in discovering how learning from one another spurs us on to joining God at work in our neighbourhoods and communities!

Copyright ©  2023 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

BCY Regional Newsletter June 2023

We warmly welcome the new pastors in the BCY Region:

Daniel McDougall – Interim Team Leader at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Victoria:

My new role as Emmanuel Baptist’s Associate Pastor/Team Leader (Interim) is a kind of revisiting of my role as Interim Lead Pastor there from May 2012 to August 2013.

Although I was born the fifth of seven children in a quite nondescript family in northern Ontario, as I grew up, I slowly came to realize that I was surrounded by events and people who were quite noteworthy:

• My father was Principal at Sudbury High School and had Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek as a student.

• My mother later co-taught a 6th grade elementary school class in Oakville (ON) alongside a fellow named Steve Smith, who later gained some fame/notoriety as Possum Lodge’s ‘Red Green’ (and Steve’s own wife Morag was my 8th grade teacher in another school).

• My maternal grandmother was a longtime friend of Canada’s Group of Seven’s A.Y. Jackson and they often painted landscapes together (several of which my siblings own to this day).

I was privileged to serve as Teaching Assistant (at Regent College, Vancouver) to both J.I. Packer and Michael Green. I served in a post-graduate editorial capacity on some of Eugene Peterson’s articles and devotional works. From 1999 to 2003, I served as Director of Ministries at Schloss Mittersill, a gorgeous castle in the Austrian Alps.

I’m delightfully married to Sandi, my bride of now-over-40-years. Although I myself came to faith through the influence of my third-year chemistry professor at the University of Guelph, Sandi can’t remember a time in her life when she didn’t fully believe in the rescuing Jesus. Our differing (but complementary) experiences have been hugely helpful in our mutual ministry among the University of Victoria’s International Graduate Students.

I’m grateful that Sandi and I work daily among international graduate students. At now age 66, I’m keenly aware that our ‘rank’ has risen over the years, and we’re often seen as the ‘wise elders’ (whereas if I served as a Youth Pastor, my ‘bloom’ would fade and I’d probably be regarded as somewhat ‘creepy’).

I love to do woodwork, plan and cook meals (in a wide variety of genres), lecture/preach about real-life biblical themes, simply connect with folks, canoe, go off the grid (even without my wristwatch), and simply revel in the company of my beloved wife and two daughters—who have their own stories to tell about God’s grace and their involvement in the arts and the business world.

Jenny Penner – Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church Vernon:

I remember in grade two I got 2 Bibles. I read them both. In grade four, I wrote my first sermon. At age 16, I decided I wanted to be a Youth Pastor. I went to Briercrest from 1989-1994 and graduated with BA in Biblical Studies. Over the years, I have worked in various capacities in and throughout Europe, California and BC with faith-based ministries.

In 1998 I moved to Vernon with my husband Marvin. Together we have 2 girls Ruby, who is 19 years old, and Zola, who is 21 years old. Together with Marvin we have been involved with Skatelife Canada with skateboarders for over 25 years. Over the past 24 years, I was a bike mechanic. I become certified as a snowboard, paddle board, and Nordic ski instructor. I have utilized each of these sports to serve the schools throughout North Okanagan.

I have recently landed at First Baptist Church with an opportunity to lead their youth. I am passionate about the voices of youth being heard, and providing opportunities for each of us to explore the wonder, freedom, and joy that Jesus gives. I am excited, curious, and yielding to God with this new role as a Pastor.

You can find me either biking, roller-skating, skateboarding, paddle boarding, skiing, or at our local coffee shop—Ratio. Life is good, and God is great!

Grace Wulff – Pastoral Care Pastor at First Baptist Church Vernon:

I have transitioned from the Hospital Chaplaincy ministry, where I served for 11 years, to Pastoral Care (part-time) at FBC Vernon. My role and ministry include teaching, pastoral care, art, and prayer at FBC Vernon and throughout our city.

Christopher Chu – Associate Pastor at Grace Community Church:

Hi CBWC Family,

My name is Christopher, and I’m honored to share with you a bit about myself and the ministry God has called me into. I grew up in Vancouver, BC to first generation immigrants from Hong Kong. I had the privilege of growing up with seven foster siblings and an older brother. I currently live in Burnaby with my wife of seven years, Sunnie.

After coming to know the Lord at 16, I went to TWU, Regent, and Carey for my training. I spent a brief time in the maritime industry at BC Ferries, but the call to ministry was too strong. I love anything to do with the sea, sailing, fishing, and boating. You might also see me driving around Vancouver or at campsites in my Caribbean Green Westfalia.

My passion to serve in ministry is especially strong in theological education, preaching, and spiritual direction. I’m particularly influenced by my mentor Jim Houston and the love of the ascetic movement in the early church. I’m keen to know the people I serve personally by never being ‘too busy’ and encouraging them in their walk with God. My previous ministry experiences have been with children, youth, and families, although I love preaching God’s Word and teaching!

I currently serve at Grace Community Baptist Church in Killarney, and I love serving there. The people are so friendly and inviting. There is so much diversity in the church, and I’m excited to see how God will be working in and through the church.

Feel Free to Connect!

Mason Jennings – Interim Youth and Young Adults Pastor at Gateway Baptist Church:

Mason Jennings is Gateway Baptist Church’s Interim Youth Pastor. Mason was born and raised in Victoria, BC with his father, mother, and younger sister. Mason has been part of Gateway for over 13 years and has been serving in Gateway’s youth ministry for 7 years. 

Mason has worked as a summer intern for Gateway for three summers and has completed school practicums and many projects at Gateway. Mason has a passion for youth and preteen ministries and is excited to see the gospel preached and taught to students at Gateway. Mason has seriously considered vocational ministry as a calling, so when the opportunity came to test the waters of youth ministry in an interim role, he was excited to see how God would use that time and opportunity. As of now, Mason plans on completing his degree in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria and then aims to continue to masters-level Biblical or theology studies.

Simon Burin – Pastor at New Life Community Baptist Church:

Simon began his working career as an electrical engineer but after a short time, felt called into ministry. He met his wife, Irene, while attending Capernwray in England, and together they have two daughters—Alycia, who is 10, and Amelie, who is 8. Simon has his master’s degree and has worked as a Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor, 

and was lead Pastor at Bethany City Church in Sunderland, UK, from 2018-2022.

In September of 2022, a friend sent him a job posting for a Lead Pastor position on Vancouver Island, and although the deadline had passed, Simon and Irene both felt a strong call to apply. They spent a week on the Island in mid-November meeting the congregation and teaching, and Simon was affirmed as Lead Pastor by the members of New Life Baptist Church in Duncan on November 30.

After months of sorting through all the logistics of immigration, housing, and shipping four humans, two dogs, and a household halfway across the world, the family landed on the Island on March 9 and Simon officially started as Lead Pastor on March 28.

He and his family are loving island life, where apparently the sky is bluer, and the sun is brighter. They have been busy exploring their new home and getting to know their new church family at New Life.


We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Gary Hockridge, for his ministry as Associate Pastor at Ward Memorial Baptist Church. May God’s richest blessing rest on him as he enters the next chapter in his ministry.

Pastor Ingrid White’s Retirement Celebration – 40 years serving the community and church! View photos.

Praise Report from Vancouver Chin Baptist Church:

The Chin people demonstrate a deep devotion to our faith, establishing worship spaces wherever we settle. With a fervent desire to secure a permanent church building in Vancouver, the Chin people embarked on a faith journey.

In 2002, a few Chin families began migrating to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Initially, we conducted weekly worship services in the 

family home, taking turns to provide a gathering place. Subsequently, we rented a small church at Knight Street and King Edward to accommodate our growing congregation. As membership continued to increase, we later moved to Grace International Baptist Church, which we rented for our worship services.

Recognizing the high cost of real estate in Vancouver, the Chin community remained resolute and steadfast in our belief that God would guide and provide us with a suitable church building someday. We established a building committee, tasked with raising funds for the building project and searching for a suitable property. Simultaneously, church members consistently made financial contributions, faithfully sowing seeds toward realizing our dream. The Women’s Ministry earnestly sought divine intervention during their weekly Saturday prayer gatherings, supplicating to acquire a church building.

In 2011, the congregation made faith-based commitments, pledging financial contributions for the building project until 2020. Additionally, the church diligently saved surplus funds each year, further augmenting our building fund.

Engaging the services of real estate professionals, we explored various properties. Though we encountered challenges such as limited space, inadequate parking, and exorbitant prices, our faith remained unyielding. We always have hope. Ultimately, our unwavering trust in God bore fruit when, on December 8, 2021, we acquired a church building located at 76 Jamieson Court, New Westminster, for $5.2 million.

The Chin community uses the acquired building for various purposes—including women and youth ministry worship services, Sunday school classes, meetings, and prayer gatherings. With plans to enhance and upgrade the facility, our aim is to fully transition all our activities and services to this new found spiritual home. The Chin community at Vancouver Chin Baptist Church sincerely acknowledges the manifold blessings bestowed upon us by the grace and goodness of God.

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Making Connections June 2023

What’s Happening in June

– Pray for Assembly 2023 June 1-3 in Calgary.

Ordination Examining Council May 31-June 1 in Calgary, AB.

– It’s time to apply for Kurios! And if you’re working as full-time staff at Keats, Mill Creek, Gull Lake or The Quest this summer, you can also apply for an extra $1000 bursary towards your Kurios experience. Find out more: https://www.kurios.ca/campstaffbursary/

SERVE is coming up soon: July 2-8 in Kelowna, BC.

– Join us for Active In Mission this summer:  Walk, run, bike, kayak, cartwheel, hop, skip (or anything you wish, really) to help end hunger this July or August. Register today: activeinmission.ca

Churches Burn, Christians Flee for Safety in Manipur, India

Written by Jenna Hanger

Over 200 churches have been burnt to the ground in the state of Manipur, India. More than 70 lives have been lost, and 231 people been reported injured. 45 thousand people have been displaced. The numbers continue to climb as the systematic attack continues against the Tribals (Minor Christian Tribes) at the hands of the Meitei (Hindu-dominated).

On May 3rd, the indigenous communities held a rally to protest the Meitei’s demand for tribal status, which would allow them access to forest lands and even more control in the state. Violence erupted from this event, which continues today.

As details have emerged, it has become clear that these actions have been pre-meditated and state-driven, and that the protest was a thinly-veiled excuse. Several months before the violence erupted, a survey was taken that marked which homes were Tribal residences. These were the first homes targeted by the organized mob, which police were seen leading. In the first 48 hours, forty-five churches were already burned down.

The only journalists with access to the Internet are in the Meitei area, resulting in one-sided reports. No arrests have been made, and very little has been done to intervene as thousands of Christians are being forced to flee.

Lalpi Guite, a former Baptist Worship Pastor in the Vancouver area, and currently attends Trinity Baptist Church, has felt the turmoil deeply. Originally from Manipur, Lalpi has watched his family and friends forced to abandon their homes and all their possessions. The church his father helped build, where he attended growing up, has been reduced to nothing.

He has heard reports of his cousins having to carry his eighty-year-old aunt, who is barely coherent, from a camp where they were staying to a neighbouring state. Another relative of his wife’s—a nurse—took a bullet. A mob of hundreds forced his other cousins back into their neighbourhood when they were trying to flee. They stayed for five days before getting help to leave. They were able to evacuate to Bangalore to stay with family.

Lalpi said it’s been very upsetting being in Canada and hearing everything that is going on back home. For the Christians who have been in the thick of it, it has been challenging to know how to come to terms with the injustice.

“The Lord’s prayer is very much part of our tradition,” Lalpi said. “We say it in worship services and in prayer times at home. My cousin said, ‘How are we going to say the Lord’s Prayer now?’ She’s talking specifically about, ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.’ Do we just keep quiet? Or what do we do?”

“The cost of following Christ—but also interpreting our own beliefs in our daily lives has been a struggle. The struggle is real, and the tension and the anger. The loss, the grief, all of that. And seeing the injustice, feeling the injustice—” Lalpi said, growing emotional.

The CBM has been watching the situation unfold and sharing updates on their Facebook page. On May 11th, they shared a list of prayer requests. Lalpi agreed that the number one thing Canadian Baptists can do is pray.

“The immediate thing is prayer. The pain is real. The cry of the people is real. We need to stand together with our brothers and sisters. Pray for justice. The fight is not against somebody, the fight is against injustice.”

Last week, on Monday, CBM shared the following update:

Update on the situation in Manipur, India:

Tension continues as some Meitei people are forcing Christians among them to recant their faith and join Hinduism, said a senior Church official.

The Meiteis community, which forms 53 percent of the state’s 3.2 million people, are mostly Hindus, but a tiny minority of them are Christians, mostly Protestants.

Most Meitei Christian worship in house churches, but some 240 of their house churches were destroyed.

The riots killed more than 70 people, injured 231 others, and damaged 1,700 houses, besides displacing over 45,000 people, local reports said. [https://www.ucanews.com/…/christians-face…/101401 ]

from our partners:

– A relief committee has been formed.

– The local churches have taken on the responsibility to adopt the families/homeless and care for them, with the relief committee providing assistance where needed.

– There are thousands of people in various camps as well as in various church properties in the hill districts.

– The neighbouring state of Mizoram, with a strong Christian population, has been sending some help.

“The churches in the Northeast have been through a lot, and they know how to get on their knees and pray. I know this time, the intensity and damage run deep—and it will take a very long time to heal. However, I also know that the church will rise again. The NE tribes have been embracing Christianity since 1910, as opposed to the state religion, which has always been a pain point for the country. They tried to snuff us out, but the church grew exponentially instead, to their bewilderment. Complicating things further is that the Meiteis who have accepted Christ through the ministry of the local churches are also caught up in this, often persecuted by their own for “deserting the faith.” Some of their churches were also burnt.

Church leaders face the enormous challenge of rebuilding in the midst of trauma and displacement.

For now, it will be important to encourage our churches to continue to pray for them earnestly.” – Church leader in the region

Lalpi shared a song he had written previously, which feels especially applicable now for the people of Manipur as they face an unstable future.

COUNT ON YOU Lalpi Guite

When I feel forsaken, when I feel forgotten
I can still count on You
When I am abandoned and I am broken
I can still count on You


You don’t break a bruised reed
Or snuff out a smoldering wick
You don’t repay my wrongs
But You clothe me in righteousness
Your mercy’s like the ocean that goes beyond my eyes can see
I worship You, Your Majesty

You’re all that I have when all else is gone
And I will count on You
You’re all that I want above any other
So I will count on You

 Partner Spotlight: CBWC Foundation

The Generosity Project is Up and Running

Launched at Assembly 2023, the Generosity Project’s first initiative: a series of short, worship service-ready videos that are intended to foster healthy discussions on generosity in the CBWC family of churches.

The videos are around 3 minutes long and feature the following topics:

  1. Why should we give? Explores biblical reasons for giving.
  2. How should we give? Discusses attitudes and safeguards around giving.
  3. Where should we give? Navigating the huge array of possible ministries to fund.
  4. How much should we give? Biblical thoughts to guide generous giving.
  5. Giving—A transformation of the heart. Moving giving from head knowledge to deeper transformation.

We get it. It’s not easy to talk about money in the local church. For pastors and key leaders, it can seem self-serving. Abuse of donors by high profile ministries in years past has put a chill on “the money talk” for many of us. We can even try to avoid the conversation all together until budget time or a cash crisis. Simply put, healthy churches have healthy discussions about money on an ongoing basis. To help break barriers, the CBWC Foundation is committed to resourcing churches with charitable giving materials that are biblically sound and culturally appropriate.

So, pull out some popcorn and have a look. There is an explanation video for leader—maybe start there. Hopefully you will find these videos useful, even if they simply help you plan your own ideas for generating healthy money conversations.

The videos are free, just go to the CBWC Foundation Website and download. www.cbwcfoundation.ca.

BCY Regional Newsletter

June 2023

The Battle of the Elizabeths!

Betty, known as “Biker Betty,” is a 74-year-old cyclist from Trinity Baptist Church, Edmonton. Over the past 27 consecutive years she has pedalled across North America four times, and raised thousands of dollars for Christian charities. This June, Betty is participating in Active in Mission (AiM) which is a fundraising challenge to Canadian Baptists to raise money for food security both locally and globally by doing something active this summer.

For one month this summer, Betty will engage in a friendly competition with her friend Elizabeth Shirt, 42, (Hillside Baptist Church, North Vancouver) for a BATTLE OF THE ELIZABETHS. They will compete to see who can cycle the most kms and raise the most money for the entire month of June. 

Betty’s passion for cycling began on her 35th birthday in 1983. She had the opportunity to cycle from Jasper to Calgary with her two children as a chaperone for a group from Edmonton Christian school. They had to carry all their supplies on their bikes.

“The trip was incredibly challenging. The up-to-11% grades were crazy difficult, as our bikes were moving so slowly they were almost falling over,” Betty said. “Somehow, despite the difficulties, this trip made me fall in love with road cycling. It made me realize that, physically, I could do far more than I knew, and it made me cherish God’s creation.”

Betty continued to cycle each summer, always logging between 5,000 km and 10,000 km—which is not an easy feat in a climate where road cycling is possible for no more than six months of the year. Then, in 1997, she took part in her first Christian fundraising tour with the Canadian Bible Society. They raised funds by cycling one week through the mountains of Alberta and British Columbia. 

“That year was the beginning of fifteen consecutive Bike for Bibles trips, including a cross-Canada tour to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bible Society in Canada in 2006. This cross-Canada ride was from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, NFLD.” Betty said. “The total mileage was upwards of 7,400 km, and our daily average on this tour was 162 km (100 miles). We slept in churches, and we had superb support along the road–every 35 km, there was a sag wagon with food and drinks. All I had to do was pedal. The catch is I had to pedal all day, every day, with the exception of a handful of rest days, for nine weeks.”

In early 2013, Betty heard of a cycling tour across the USA to raise money for World Renew and Partners Worldwide, arms of the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Churches of North America. The tour was called “Sea to Sea” and the motto was “Cycling to End Poverty.” 

Betty arrived in L.A. alone, and quickly made friends with a few other Canadians of similar age. The tour went from L.A. to Toronto and Montreal, then headed back to the USA, ending in Staten Island, NY. During the last week, one of her new friends asked if she would do this kind of tour again. 

 “I emphatically told her ‘No,’ that I was no longer interested in the long days on the bike followed by setting up a tent, washing my cycling clothes by hand, showering in cold water, enduring all kinds of weather, and learning to live with a large number of people (some quite unique) in close proximity for nine weeks,” Betty said.

But just three weeks after the conclusion of the tour, in September 2013, her friend registered for a cross-Canada tour for the next summer and asked her to as well. She thought Why not?” So, in 2014, she participated in the tour by Alliance Churches of Canada called ‘Love in Motion.’

At this point in Betty’s life, she had cycled across the continent three times. In 2016, she heard of another “Sea to Sea” tour from Vancouver to Halifax.

“As I mulled it over, even my two children expressed concern (there are a lot of dangers out there on our highways), and told me that maybe I should think about ‘taking it a bit more easy.’” She laughed as she said, “That did not happen, and I registered for my fourth cross-continent cycling tour. I have now cycled 37 summers and have cycled for Christian charities for 24 of those years.

“I have gone through two very difficult times in my life, and I can say without reservation that it was the cycling that quite literally ‘saved my life.’ The love of long-distance cycling tours and meeting so many people who became friends for life, have resulted in my faith being strengthened and my love of God’s creation being deepened.”

When COVID began, Betty approached her church and asked if she could ride for a ministry project. For the next three summers that is what she did, bringing her total years of cycling for Christian charities to 27. 

Betty has learned much on her cycling adventures. One thing being that God doesn’t mean for us to go through life alone, and we need to learn to lean on one another in times of trouble or hardship. Another is that there is no need to be afraid of fundraising. Also, living on the simplest of supplies showed her that she does not need a lot of material things. After each tour, she went home and purged her belongings.

She also learned to have more compassion for people she might not necessarily enjoy, and to be more tolerant of people who differ from her in personality, fitness level, and organizational skills.

Another thing she took away from her time is that she is physically capable of more than she dreamed of. 

“I learned that my body can do so much more than I can ever imagine–it is a 90/10 proposition– 90% in the brain and 10% in the legs.”

When asked to explain why she is so passionate about cycling for a purpose, Betty said, “When my six grandchildren were young, I hosted a one week “Cousins’ Camp” each summer. In 2006, that couldn’t happen as I was going to cycle across Canada. One of my little granddaughters was completely distraught and she cried, ‘Grandma, why are you biking across Canada?’ Her slightly older sister replied, ‘For Bibles.’ That really does sum it all up.”  

If you would like to support THE BATTLE OF THE ELIZABETHs you can visit their fundraising pages here:



Special Father’s Day Recipes!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, father figures and male role models out there! This year to celebrate, we asked some of our CBWC Staff Dads to share their favourite recipes! Check out their recommendations and try something new this Father’s Day!

130 People Baptized in One Day!

God is so good and actively moving in our churches! Emmanuel Iranian Church recently had a significant day where they baptized a total of 130 people using Hillside Baptist Church’s facilities. They laid down tarps and towels between the baptism tank and the washrooms, and got it all done in an afternoon! We chatted with Pastor Arash of Emmanuel to learn more about this amazing event:

How did it come about that you had 130 people wanting to be baptized in one day?

A spiritual revival is happening among Iranians. On one hand, most Iranians are fed up with their inherited religion, as it is more than forty years of Islamic rule in the country—and there is no sign of peace, happiness or hope for the future. On the other hand, Iranians are the kind of people who are in need of God. We have a treasure of literature and culture that is amalgamated with the concept of spirituality. There is a void, and a search for the true God in most Iranian’s hearts. Jesus is one of the most respected personalities in our literature, and when Iranians get to know Him according to the Bible, they receive Him!

How long did it take?

Three hours and twelve weeks! We run a twelve-week baptism course in order to introduce Christianity, and when we feel the readiness in heart and mind, we offer the baptism.

How did the partnership to use Hillside Baptist church happen?

Hillside Church has always been generous to us. They let us worship in their sanctuary for a few months until we found a building to rent. Pastor Jeff (from Hillside) is the one who introduced me to the CBWC family, and we are proud to be a CBWC member for almost four years now. Pastor Nat (from Hillside) offered to help us for the recent baptism event in providing us with their place and baptismal tank.

The What and Why of the Ordination Examination Council Process

When a church calls a Pastor or Ministry Leader to ordination, it is a celebratory time for both the church and the candidate. Ordination affirms the sense of call of a particular person to Gospel Ministry. The candidate submits themselves to the discernment, evaluation, and affirmation of the greater CBWC family. It is, moreover, a recognition that it is the church that calls one to service.  

The OEC (Ordination Examination Council) is an organized council of lay leaders and clergy who are mandated to examine the potential candidates.

Each candidate writes a Ministry Paper requiring particular aspects of theology and ministry philosophy, along with their personal story and sense of calling. After presenting their paper to their peers at Ordination Preparation Workshop, they submit their final papers to the council, who—on a set date—examine each candidate and hear from the churches who have requested their candidate be examined.

The process is long-remembered as a cherished process. Candidates meet and develop, often ministry-long relationships among one another. Candidates are both affirmed and challenged to continue to seek God in mind, heart, body and soul, to develop lifelong learning habits, and patterns of mutual accountability. 

Recently, we chatted with Pastor Diana Ran Zhao from Joy Fellowship, who went through OEC in 2022. She shared with us why it was an important process for her, and how her church supported her along the way:

Tell us a bit about your church.

My church is called Joy Fellowship. It is a church of people of all abilities, which means it is made up of people with disabilities, their caregivers and those who love them. It is my honour to witness God’s marvelous work through our special friends.  

What is your role with Joy Fellowship, and what do you love most about it?

I’m the Associate Pastor of Joy Fellowship. My role is assisting the senior pastor in supporting our people spiritually through our services, Bible studies, visitation, and other church programs.

My favourite part is visitation. I love to get to know my special friends during the other six days. I see how God strengthens them in their daily life, and blesses them through all kinds of amazing people. And of course, how they become blessings in their community.  

Why was ordination important to you? 

Ordination is an opportunity to reflect my calling and my theology, which developed in this special ministry.  

Also, I want people to know of our ministry and special friends. God created them as a part of our community, and I want more people know their value to church. 

How did CBWC help you along the way? 

The process of ordination was quite a positive and encouraging experience. By reflecting on what we believe, I confirmed the value of my ministry and the congregation I’m serving. Through getting to know so many amazing people who share the same heart with us, I know I’m not alone.  

How did your church support you along the way?

Joy Fellowship is quite a unique ministry. I like to summarize my journey with Joy Fellowship as ‘learn to love through being loved.’ 

As a newcomer to Canada, I have felt protected and loved in this community, through their spiritual and practical help, since I arrived here. 

Through knowing each other’s lives and praying together, we experience God’s work. These wonderful experiences strengthen my heart to this ministry. 

Copyright ©  2022 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Heartland Regional Newsletter May 2023

Opportunity to Help Those Affected by Food Security

In 1983, the Canadian Baptist family became a founding member of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). This year, they are celebrating their 40th year. The churches of the CBWC have supported the CFGB in various ways over the years, and many farmers from our churches have been very generous with their resources in supporting the work of CFGB. In 2014, I was able to participate in a Food Study tour with CFGB, with stops in Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. It is difficult to see a community devastated by famine. But it’s also incredible to see how CFGB comes alongside to support such communities, not just in urgent cases, but also through training in sustainable agricultural practices.

Food insecurity today continues to be a significant issue. The cost of groceries is a huge concern. The amount of people having to rely on food banks continues to increase. While farms increase in productivity, there are still serious issues in getting food to places that are affected by famine, war, and so forth.

In the Heartland, some of our churches are involved in food banks. A church may host a food bank on a regular basis in their community, or a church may volunteer at a food bank—sorting and organizing donated items. I think that if we were to do an official audit of how our churches across the CBWC are involved in food security issues, we would be encouraged by our involvement. Many of our churches are involved in such ministries without much fanfare or our hearing of them. If you’re a part of a community involved in such a ministry, keep at it!

This summer, Canadian Baptist Ministries through their Active in Mission program, is inviting all the Canadian Baptist denominations across Canada to band together to raise $100,000 for those affected by food insecurity. The monies raised will be used both overseas and here in Canada. In our CBWC context, the monies raised will be distributed to churches involved in foodbank-related ministries. More information will be coming, but if you’re interested in this venture, you can form a team and raise money by walking together, biking together, jogging together, kayaking together, or by some other activity you come up with.

I am so encouraged by the churches in the Heartland, and in the CBWC, that minister faithfully to those affected by food insecurity. I am also encouraged by this opportunity to join other Canadian Baptist churches across Canada in raising money for those who need assistance from a food bank from time to time. Please stay tuned for further information.

Mark Doerksen

“Feed My Sheep”

A testimony by Cheryl Johnson, First Baptist Church Regina

On Sept. 1, 2022, I started as the Children and Family Pastor at First Baptist Church Regina.  I marvel as I see the hand of God bringing me full circle from the early 90s, when I felt a call to ministry, to being in ministry now. Sometimes it was hard to see how this all would come to fruition. The prompts often felt like they were leading me in the opposite direction.

I grew up in a home where faith was woven into our lives and I eagerly wrapped that cloak of faith around myself. After graduating high school in North Battleford, I attended Canadian Bible College in Regina, SK. I went with the intention of studying for one year but ended up staying long enough to earn a Bachelor of Theology degree (along with my husband, Mark, who I met there). God had also given me a dream of becoming a teacher and so I went on to take my Bachelor of Education at the University of Regina. I taught elementary school for a few years and then, after having my first child, I felt called to stay home and raise our two boys (Adam is now 19 and Dustin is 17). During this time, I became involved with a wonderful community of Christian women. Our children were cared for while we studied God’s word and learned about being a woman of God. Through this group, I was encouraged to enter a two-year course to become a Spiritual Director. This course taught me about a personal God who loved me and was involved in every part of my life.

As my kids both entered school, I began to consider re-entering the work force. While I looked into teaching again, that door did not re-open but God sent me in a new direction where I began to work casually in the English testing area of Saskatchewan Polytechnic. That led to a 9 year career with SaskPolytech, spending the last 6 as a Supervisor for the South Test Centres. During the pandemic, I began to feel the Spirit’s leading to move on to something else. I looked at higher paying jobs in more senior positions. I considered working from home on the farm that we had moved to in 2017. Working remotely would allow me to be closer to the animals I had grown to love, especially my sheep. In the spring of 2022, I began to have issues with my eyes which were exasperated by spending nearly 8 hours a day on Zoom. I realized that working remotely was not an option for me and I once again called on God for direction. While on vacation, the Spirit whispered to me that there was a position at my church for a Children and Family Pastor. I hadn’t paid attention to it previously but I followed the Spirit’s nudge and looked up the position online. It was a full-time position doing what I loved, teaching children and ministering to families and other members of the congregation. After dialogue with mentors and those closest to me, I applied and am now in a job that feels like home. I really love teaching about God and ministering to our congregation and community.

I never would have dreamed that these various jobs and activities would lead me back to the calling I first felt at Bible College, but it did. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep”. I live in awe and thankfulness to the Lord that I now do that, both literally and figuratively, on my farm and in my ministry at First Baptist Church.

Cheryl Johnston

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Making Connections May 2023

Things Happening in May

  • Easter Colouring Contest winners have been announced! Check out the submissions and winners on Facebook.
  • Theology for the Ordinary Book Club: Discussing Bryan Stevenson‘s Just Mercy, Wednesday, May 3rd at 6 pm PST. Email heartland@cbwc.ca to RSVP
  • Evangelism Masterclass: Post-Enlightenment Evangelism with Merv Budd. May 30, 10am PST. Sign up for Free.
  • SERVE Registration closes May 31 cbwc.ca/serve
  • Ordination Examining Council (OEC) Wednesday May 31st at 9:30am and Thursday June 1st at 9:15am. All welcome!
  • Learn how we can Take Steps to End Hunger Locally and Globally this summer through Active In Mission.

 Partner Spotlight: HopeHill

News from Hopehill-Living in Community — a low-income senior housing society in Vancouver, a ministry of the CBWC Family

What are the characteristics of family?

There are several characteristics that are generally identified with a well-functioning family. Some include support; love and caring for other family members; providing security and a sense of belonging; open communication; and making each person within the family feel important, valued, respected and esteemed.  Cf. HealthyChildren.Org. Nov 21, 2015

Points To Ponder:

  1. Hopehill is like a family. Nearly 400 residents call us “home.” Not everybody knows each other’s name, but people live together in a community, aware of each other’s needs, feeling supported by a staff, made to feel important.
  2. The CBWC is a family “of churches.” We don’t all know each other, but we are at our best when we care about other congregations, feel important as part of the big picture, and we esteem and respect each other as we are esteemed and respected. 
  3. Starting in 2023, Hopehill is expanding its roster. We are adding 64 new low-cost, affordable housing units for people looking to live in a family, neighbourhood community. In two years, we will have 50 “studio” and 14 “one-bedroom” brand-new units available. The Board of Hopehill has stated that we need to be “good to all, and especially to the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). If you as a CBWC congregant want to retire to Hopehill, we anticipate opening doors in the summer of 2025. You can contact us at office@hopehill.ca. We are taking names!   

P.S. A “low-income senior” by Vancouver standards is anyone living on less than $58,000/year.   

Heartland Regional Newsletter

May 2023

Kurios Camp Staff Bursary!

Kurios and participating CBWC camps are excited to announce a brand-new partnership.  Both our camps and KURIOS share a common mission to raise up the next generation of Jesus’ disciples and kingdom leaders.  Each year camp leaders become KURIOS participants and each year KURIOS participants follow up their experience by serving at our camps.  This common mission has led to the formation of the KURIOS CBWC CAMP STAFF BURSARY.  

This $1,000 bursary is for young adults who serve an entire summer on staff at a CBWC Camp and will be attending the Kurios Gap Year Experience beginning the following fall.  For more details about which camps are participating and how to apply visit www.kurios.ca/campstaffbursary.

Celebrating Mother’s Day

In honour of Mother’s Day we have two special pieces to share!

This month’s Church Planting Blog featuring Carmen Ohori, who shares about being a church leader and a parent.

We also put together a special Mother’s Day greeting, from our home to yours!  CLICK HERE.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Church Planting Blog: A Lifestyle of Healthy Leadership: Families, Faith and Fear

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).

How do parents who are also church leaders walk faithfully with both their families and their congregations? After raising 6 kids, years of study in child development and attachment, and experiencing parenting as both a CBWC pastors’ spouse and a church staff member herself, Carmen Ohori says it starts with 1 John 4:18: big love driving out fear. Our kids’ fear, our congregations’ fear, and especially our own fear.

In this video, I ask Carmen to share some of her learnings from over the years as we continue our series on A Lifestyle of Healthy Leadership. She invites us to create space and time for our families to be connecting and figuring out our story together. She challenges us to show up with big love in those moments when our kids bring to us something that is hard for us to handle, and to also listen to the little voices that at first blush seem like just kids pushing our buttons but really are indicators of our own wounds.

Carmen also shares some encouragement on how to prioritize your most important relationship: the one with our Heavenly Father, in the midst of a busy or even chaotic life.

And let’s be clear: while Carmen specifically talks about building relationships with kids, her tools are important for all our relationships. Every behaviour we encounter in others and ourselves is a piece of communication—an opportunity to understand one another better.

Bottom line? We are all God’s kids and He’s got us.

To continue reading CLICK HERE.

One Big Family

CBWC Resources Help Youth Mission Trip | By Jenna Hanger

Last month, a group of fifteen teenagers and four leaders from Clive Baptist Church, AB, travelled to Keats Camp for a service mission trip. Prior to this trip, they had not heard of Keats Camp, but exploring into available CBWC resources led them to realize just how big and connected the CBWC family is. 

Clive youth pastor Amanda Scott had tried for weeks on her own to find a place for her youth’s mission trip. Originally, the plan had been to go to Mexico and support one of their missionaries. COVID travel restrictions in the States forced them to re-think their plan. Amanda called every YWAM base in the country and tried to chat with several other options before––in desperation––she reached out to the CBWC.

“It was an eye-opener for some of our people, especially our leadership,” Amanda said. “A lot of us don’t get the entire spectrum that is a denomination. We kind of go ‘Yeah, we are a CBWC church’, but we don’t really get the whole family, big picture that it is.”

When Amanda called, she was connected to the Director of Communications and Development, Louanne Haugan, who brainstormed a few ideas with her, and eventually connected her with the Director of Next Generation Ministries, Peter Anderson.

With Peter’s help, Amanda was able to connect with Keats Camp and with Hillside Baptist Church in Vancouver for a place to stay. They were thrilled to be able to find a place to serve that could be confident aligned with their belief system and would be a safe place for the youth.

“Here is a CBWC camp that we didn’t even know existed. And yet, they are part of us. So, having that opportunity to really see how they were operating, what was important to them, and being able to respect and honour them, that was really cool. It was also awesome to help, knowing that these are people we will connect with in the future; these are people we will see and communicate with again [as part of CBWC],” Amanda said.

Over the course of their time there, the youth group was able to help with a variety of projects—from spring cleaning to preparing the camp for the summer programs. Now, three of the kids who served are planning on returning to Keats camp to serve there again this summer.

Amanda said that the next time it comes to planning a mission trip in Canada, she will reach out to the CBWC sooner. She shared that the wealth of information and being able to talk to people more familiar with different areas was invaluable.

“I definitely would say it’s a resource we need to be more willing to tap into, and I know it’s one that I will be using again. If nothing else, for brainstorming [and connecting].”

Does Your Church Have a Social Media Policy?

Social media can be an excellent way for any ministry to connect with their constituency, promote upcoming events, and share stories as a way to encourage the broader Christian community. And while most churches acknowledge the importance of using social media tools to support their ministry, many may not be aware of the risks, or how to use networking tools safely to protect the reputation and relationships of their church and staff.

According to the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities, there are a few misconceptions out there when it comes to social media:

1. Posting content to my personal social media pages is private—it doesn’t concern my employer.

While it may seem that posting to social media is a private activity, legally speaking—posting content to social media is considered a “publication” (Justice D.M. Brown in Leduc v. Roman, [2009]). Information travels fast via social media, and once it’s out there, it’s very difficult to retract.

2. The content on my personal social media pages cannot affect my employment.

Policies and behavioural standards are no different in the virtual world than they are in the “real world.” When you post photos or make comments on social media, you represent both yourself and your employer and remain bound to behavioural standards agreed to such as confidentiality, anti-bullying, anti-harassment, and copyright policies.

3. There’s no need for a social media policy as long as we respect one another.

Even on a staff where everyone gets along and is respectful, we all have different ideas of what is acceptable to post and what is not. Without some kind of a guideline, it is easy to harmlessly post community. For instance, asking for prayer for a diagnosis that is not public knowledge or sharing one’s political beliefs without stating that the opinion is their own and does not reflect the views of the church can have devasting consequences. Providing a disclaimer to employees is helpful such as: This is my personal blog. The ideas, opinions, conclusions, and all other content expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, (name the church).

The CBWC has a social media policy in place for its own staff and has also included one in the Minister’s Protocol Manual (MPM) for all credentialed ministers. And while a credentialed minister is ultimately held accountable to the MPM under the umbrella of the CBWC, it is expected that he or she is firstly accountable to the church that they are employed by. This is why it is important that churches and ministry organizations have a social media policy in place for all staff, whether credentialed or not. Developing a social media policy will help your church clarify social media engagement on both personal and organizational levels—preparing for, and hopefully preventing, misuse and abuse.

Click here to see the CBWC’s Social Media Policy.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.