BCY Regional Newsletter November 2019

I love the gospel.

I can recall the exact moment that it took root in my life and set me free. I doubt if I will ever forget the sense of freedom and peace that washed over me at that moment. Neither can I forget the privilege of leading people in prayer as they responded to the Good News. The memory of their tears of joy and peace still move me deeply; I know that I am not alone in these two experiences. 

There are many of us who know that the Gospel has power to change lives.

Theologian James G. Dunn reminds us that the Gospel is about Jesus, invites a response, and addresses our deepest human needs. I like that. In one sense the Gospel is as simple as pointing to Jesus and is what we try to do through our camping ministries, children, youth and adult activities, mission trips, baptisms, church planting, and our new Kurios initiative. It is why we are committed to living missionally in a culture that no longer even remembers that Jesus came.

Recently, I witnessed 60 new believers take the step of baptism and heard multiple testimonies that echoed this understanding. They talked about Jesus, shared how they responded to him, and explained how it changed their lives, and I came away convinced once more, that I love the Gospel. If you haven’t done so recently, I encourage you to once again remember how the Gospel has changed your life and has the power to change the lives of those who have not yet heard the Good News.

How can you do that? You can reflect on the Engaging Gospel study guide on our CBWC website. You can rejoice in some of the Good News stories in this newsletter or your local church. You can commit to praying for people who don’t yet know Jesus, and you can make sure you attend baptism services. How ever you get there, I pray that you will join me in loving the Gospel.

Larry Schram

Good News Stories from our Church Plants

One of our plants is strategically located next to an international college.  Makarios Evangelical Church (MEC) is in their second year of being on mission with God to build relational community with students who are often from another land, language and culture—far from the people they love.

Pastor Jessica shared that often the students are just needing someone to hear their hearts, not to preach at them about what they should be doing. In weekly MEC gatherings, the church and students make a simple meal together, eat together, learn to meditate on scripture together, play games and have discussions around many topics including faith, God and religion. The atmosphere is inviting, easy and unstructured, as anything too structured would alarm some of the students. 

One night, one of the leaders put a giant stuffed lion on a chair and invited students to come and sit with the lion and share their hearts. Students responded and opened up about their anxieties, worries, and stresses they are feeling and experiencing in their new worlds. Trust is being built and Pastor Jessica often has the opening to follow up with some of the students by meeting them on campus for lunch or coffee. Some students are unbelievers but they keep coming back because of the familiarity and comfort of these family-style gatherings. For many of these students, this is a place for them to be ‘real’ and ‘exposed’ and still be loved and accepted as they explore the Good News.

Another of our plants are experiencing how Good News to those who have found new liberty in Christ is resulting in baptisms that seem unprecedented today. Emmanuel Iranian Church has just baptized their 209th (to my best count) new believer in the story of God, His people and Jesus our King and Saviour, in a kingdom where all are invited to participate. These new believers understand baptism as a deeper, long-term commitment to continue in discipleship, covenant and community, responding to others who have not yet heard this Good News. 

One of our pre-launch plants, a GCF Winnipeg satellite, is filled with energetic millennials who see faith, community and life as something to be done together and to be shared with those who have not yet encountered the Good News of Jesus. These young leaders are leading the way to communicate the gospel beyond themselves in engaging ways that invite people to discover and rediscover what faith and community are all about. For these young people, Good News is that people are still seeking truly good news that affects their lives and meets them right where they are.

The good news is that the Good News is still good news, and we get to be a part of these new faith stories as CBWC churches gathered and scattered!

Summer at Keats Camps

Throughout the summer we faced several different operational challenges, but no matter what was thrown our way, staff quickly adapted, persevered and loved on all our campers and guests. We had the opportunity to welcome over 200 new campers every week throughout the summer months and God did amazing things all summer long.

At the end of the summer we had a debrief session for our staff and volunteers and gave them an opportunity to share the ups and downs of the summer, and to leave it all with our Lord before entering their next season (school, new job, etc). In the debrief, one of our staff shared that they knew a lot of our campers come from non faith-based homes, but never really knew of someone who gave their life to Christ. Late in one week however, she found out that one of their campers had prayed quietly, inviting Jesus into their life. For this staff member, this was an amazing experience of the power of the Good News.

We may have our campers for only a short period of their summer, but in some cases, we also can pour into their lives over many years. Being able to share the gospel year by year, and remind them that they are loved by God, is one of the best roles we can play in campers’ lives.

Camp Director, Stan Carmody

Serve Testimonials

“We’re there to serve other people but we also get to serve each other. It’s a meaningful experience.” – Isaac

“One of the things that makes SERVE different and so unique was the environment that felt like home—being on mission in God’s Kingdom with my youth group, but also being able to meet so many others from other groups across the bonds formed, will last forever and the memories will last a lifetime. SERVE made me a lot more grateful and made me realize we can do mission here in Canada. It’s a really, really good opportunity. What you do there is life-impacting.” – Britton

“Before I came to SERVE, I was very closed off. SERVE was my first official “youth group event.” I didn’t want to go. But it was a turning point where the people that I’ve known for years bonded in a new way. I think God used SERVE to set me on the path towards Him. Now, I’ve been to SERVE 3 times. I keep coming back because of the feeling that I’m making an impact, even if in the moment we don’t realize we are. It’s a really intriguing thought that a bunch of individuals can get together and influence someone’s life or make a difference in a community.” – Caleb

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email the BCY office: bcyarea@cbwc.ca

BCY Regional Newsletter June 2019

Update from Keats Camps

If you live in the Lower Mainland, you might be fooled by the great weather into thinking that summer is already here, bringing with it visions of heading to the beach, eating ice cream, and another school year behind you.

At Keats Camps, this great weather reminds us that summer is just around the corner, with 8 exciting weeks of camp ahead of us. Under the leadership of our Executive Director, Stan Carmody, and after months of preparation and planning, we are putting the final pieces into place to give campers the best week of their lives! With a wide variety of seatrades (including our high ropes, climbing wall, archery, sailing, and wakeboarding), daily cabin bible studies and camp-wide worship (led by our weekly Speaker), summer treats from Mariners Inn (our tuck shop), and some crazy antics like our giant foam party, campers can expect to have an amazing time at Keats this summer!

The maintenance crew (headed by Gil Fuller, our Facilities Manager), along with a number of volunteers,  are putting a new coat of paint on some cabins, getting the boats ready for summer tubing, and getting the grounds ready for the wild activities we have planned.

Campers will be coming from as near as Gibsons (a 10 minute boat ride across the water from us) and as far as Mexico, Korea, Japan, and Australia, to name a few places. Each week sees a different age group; our Buccies (grades 3-5) and Seafarers (grades 6-7) have three weeks to choose from, our Mariners (grades 6-8) have two weeks, our Explorers (grades 8-12) have two weeks, and our Mini Buccies (grades 2-5) have a three night camp.

Our staff team is coming together under the leadership of Danielle Hume, the Program Director. With a staff of over 100 each week, this is no small feat. But, having spent a number of summers at Keats (as a camper, volunteer and summer staff), Danielle is excited to lead. Our staff positions range from Skippers (cabin counsellors) to Captains (who oversee our program and games) to Waterfront (our lifeguarding team) to media and more.  We rely on a number of summer staff volunteers to make this all happen- and we still have a need for more volunteers, so feel free to talk with Danielle about how you can pitch in this summer to bring an amazing experience to kids lives!

With most camps having a capacity of over 200 kids (our Mini Buccies has a capacity of 81), 40-50  LEAD participants, and a staff of over 100,  that’s a lot of mouths to feed! But, our great kitchen crew (headed by Sharon Rosel, our Kitchen Manager) is up to the task. With a kid-focused and healthy menu, and working along our program team to create cool theme meals, we not only use the beautiful dining room deck, but have outdoor meals in our centre field, and even breakfast in bed one morning!

Our LEAD program has two pieces; if you are in grades 10-11, you can join our 2-week Deckhand program. Structured around getting to know Jesus, servant leadership, and adventure. It is a mixture of learning sessions, work in the dish pit and cleaning bathrooms, as well as a couple group adventures each week to play and enjoy. Although the girls spots are filled, we still have room for more Deckhand boys.

The second piece is the Crew program, for those going into grades 11-12. The Crew program is structured around four weeks: learning practical leadership skills, getting to know different leaders from the Bible, different martyrs and stories of influential Christians, and walking into what life can look like when we live as part of the Church.  We still have lots of room in August for those who want to join in.

Did you know we have camperships available for those for whom the cost of camp is just not in the budget this summer? We partner with Union Gospel Mission locally, plus have some aid that we can provide ourselves. Like many of you, we want every kid to have a chance to experience camp, and finances can be a barrier to that. Please talk with our Office Manager, Shelby Gregg, about what is available, so that we can help you bring your kids to camp this summer! If you are in a position to have a little extra this summer, we also gratefully receive donations towards our campership fund.

Keats Camps still has spots for campers this summer; check out our website (keatscamps.com) to see what is still available and register. We also have waitlists, as spots become available all the time. If you have questions about registration, camp, or just in general, give Shelby a call or drop her a line at info@keatscamps.com

We are thankful for each of you who supports us through prayer, through your local church, financially, and with your time. Thank you!

Update from Zao Ministries

Tulips are blooming, birds are singing, days are long, and the air is warmer. Spring must be here! This season at Zao we are getting excited about our upcoming trips and are starting to plan meals, book campsites, prep gear, etc. This summer we have exciting new programs up for offer. 

Do you ever get the feeling that you are on the edge of something big, but you are just waiting to figure out what the missing piece is? Right now we at Zao have that feeling. We have planned, and prepared, and prayed for a summer where we can offer our own camps and help people experience all the beauty that creation has to offer through whatever outdoor activity suits them. This is the summer, and now we are waiting, and continually praying that this is where we are meant to be, and that the programs would be enticing to those looking to sign up. We don’t know how many of our programs will run, or even if anyone will sign up for them, but we have that feeling that we are on the edge of something big, and we know there are a couple pieces we are waiting to fill to see the full picture. The biggest piece that we know is missing is campers! It is hard to run any programs without participants, and although we know that there is interest, and there are wonderful campers out there, we have not connected with them at the right time. Yet. We would love it if you are interested, or if you get a little twinge in your heart about what Zao offers, to share it with those around you, or get in touch to learn more about what we can do for you or your group to get you out into God’s magnificent creation, whether it is on Vancouver Island, or elsewhere. 


The Zao Team



Surfs Up?!

So what are we planning for this summer? Well for the first time ever (!) we are offering a family camp (June 25-28), the mission of the camp is to hangout with other families, and offer a low stress, easygoing environment for families to relax and hangout while only worrying about having fun. No experience necessary, and there will be activities for little ones beach side while parents and older kids are out in the waves. We are also offering a youth surf camp in July (14-18) for youth that are interested in learning to surf or are already surfers and want to dedicate a week of their summer to having fun an meeting new friends that are interested in the same thing. There are plenty other camps on offer for this summer, you can find out more about what we have scheduled on our website, zaoministries.org.


Another big new trip we have on offer for this summer is a 55+ Kayak retreat August 27-30! Alexis has been making the rounds to churches on the island, and connecting with people on the island, and the one comment she gets every time is that there are no camps for the older population. We have listened, and it is in the schedule! If you are one of the people that has been looking for this type of trip please pass it on and get a group of friends to sign up. We really want this trip to happen, and we think it would be a great annual trip to keep in our rotation if we get enough interest.

Support Our Ministry

Ways that you can support us in the next few months:

Praying for our campers, our staff, and all the families that we will be involved in Zao. 

Talk about Zao, pass our information on to those around you, and pray that we might have a healthy number of registrations this summer, and that we can trust God in knowing what his plan is for us. 

Keep a look out via our social media pages as we develop a page on our website for things that we are in need of to be able to better serve as a ministry. Some things on the list right now would be a small commuter car to use to drive to churches to deliver presentations, and as a second vehicle to leave at trailhead when applicable. secondly we are hoping to invest in new sleeping pads to make sleep more comfortable for our participants, especially the 55+ group.

If you feel like Zao is a ministry you can get behind and you want to be more involved with, please consider joining our board.  Contact board chair, Bill Cotrill for more information. email:bill.fbcport@shaw.ca

We are in need of more regular donors to support our ministry. For more information on how you can support Zao financially please visit the “giving” page on our website. 

If you would like to give support specifically for our guides to help pay their wages contact Alexis for more details. email: alexis@zaoministries.org

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email the BCY office: bcyarea@cbwc.ca

BCY Regional Newsletter March 2019

I was mesmerized. 

Waves of people were walking by to see the main attraction: Michelangelo’s ‘David’. That masterpiece was incredibly impressive but for some reason, instead of joining the crowds, I sat off to the side and stared at a rectangular slab of marble positioned along the wall.

Seemingly half-completed, a face, an arm as well as a leg appeared to be straining out of the marble, while the rest of the body remained trapped in the stone.

Feeling the prompting of the Spirit I closed my eyes and prayed. When I looked up again I saw the title given to the half-finished marble blocks that lined the hallway and knew why I was drawn there like a moth to a flame: Prisoners.

This was a Holy Spirit-directed object lesson.

These sculptures embodied the stories of so many people I knew. They began the journey to freedom with Jesus but got stuck along the way. They struggled to break free from the heaviness of a difficult past. They fought for freedom from the habits, addictions and patterns of thought that left them feeling as though they were trapped in a block of stone.

Then the Spirit whispered, You have a choice. What do you choose to see? The beauty of freedom already found or the ongoing struggle of a prisoner?

I looked up at the sculptures once again and I saw beauty, astonishing grace, life-giving hope. These half-completed images communicated a profound hope; prison would not have the final word. Our freedom in Christ would complete its work.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

– Larry Schram

Passing of the torch at Summerland Baptist

It was a privilege last Sunday, during my SBC induction service, to be surrounded by many folks who I’ve come to love deeply as our new community. But this photo also speaks of a significant moment between myself and my brother Larry Schram. Larry was the BC/Yukon representative to officiate the service. But, he is also the former lead pastor for Summerland Baptist, who I am taking over from, which made it on even a deeper level, a clear passing of the torch. It was a tearful moment for both of us, and for a split second felt like it was just he and I with no one else in the auditorium. I know how much Larry loves each single person of the 500+ individuals who make up this congregation, as well as the southern Okanagan community at large. I understand the sacrifice he and his wife Erna Schram have made in obedience to God’s call to embark on their own new ministry journey.

When he asked the questions of commitment from me to serve SBC faithfully as a shepherd, servant and steward of God’s Word, I could see that it was also a personal plea from his own heart. The words I spoke, “I will, with God’s help,” took on new meaning responding to the very man who knows the team I will be serving, with a deep intimacy.

What a reminder of the heart of Christ when He asks us to be His witnesses in this world (Acts 1:8) to make disciples (Matthew 28). He is asking us as a personal plea, as the one who knows each person so intimately, being made in His image. What an awesome responsibility to be tasked with— to represent Christ to the world around, because we also represent the heart of the One who gave His life for us.

-Jason Johnson, as shared on Facebook

A Note from Beulah Gardens

“A cup of cold water in Jesus’ name” (Matt 10:42) could be contextualized for the 21st century, Canadian city environment to read, “An affordable place to call home in Jesus’ name.” It’s gotten to be that bad in many Canadian cities.

Did you know that Beulah Garden Homes in Vancouver has been doing just that for 70 years? Since our beginning, we have been trying to provide safe, clean, affordable housing for seniors living in the Vancouver region. Today, we have over 350 residents living on our campus in Vancouver.

At the last City of Vancouver municipal tax assessment, we were informed that our property and land values now exceed $110 million in 2019. We consider that a stewardship to be managed.

Did you also know, that by virtue of our charter, Beulah Garden Homes is a partner ministry of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada? If you are a CBWC member church, you are part of a very wealthy family!

Presently we own and operate 5 residences. Of the 338 units, 249 would be for “independent living” seniors. All are either one-bedroom or bachelor suites. The cost? Some are only 30% of the resident’s monthly income. The units aren’t large—somewhere between 300 and 550 square feet per unit. But they are safe, warm, comfortable and friendly. Each building has a sense of community around it. Potlucks, tea times, chapel, personal conversations, fundraising projects, community gardens and more are designed to help people live well with each other. It’s like a neighbourhood.

Eighty-nine of our units are categorized as assisted living, meaning the residents need a greater level of care. Included in their residence are meals, recreation programs, transportation, chapel, medical assistance and housekeeping. For all of this, they usually look at a 70% cost to their monthly income.

As CEO, I have taken on the challenge to keep us focused on our mission. We want to be more than just good, affordable landlords. We want to be agents of Jesus’ love and presence in people’s lives. People know we are a “religious housing society” and still come to live with us. Nobody protests when they experience love and compassion. In fact, there is a waiting list for all our buildings.

Part of our challenge in the next season is to replace an aging building (close to 60 years old) with a new building, which will increase the current capacity of 48 units to 110 (or more). We hope to go upwards and outwards on the new construction. This will require skillful planning. Keep us in your prayers.

A key development for our program in 2019 is to increase our “spiritual” care staff. Presently we have 1 chaplain for 350 residents. The industry standard is 1 to 100, so we have some room for growth. In the short run, we are taking on interns to assist in the provision of spiritual care but we’ll need to find long term solutions too.

Thank you!

Jamey S. McDonald

Chief Executive Officer

Beulah Garden Homes 3350 East 5th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5M 1P4

Baptist Union Ministerial Luncheon

22 Bums (Baptist Union Ministers) met at Elk Lake Baptist Church in Victoria, BC on Feb 20th. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of gourmet soup, sandwiches, salad and dessert. Peter Anderson, our new CBWC Director for Next Gen Ministries was our guest speaker and he was very well received. 

-Nora Walker

Settlement Report

Settled in Mountain Standard

Bill Christieson – Global Outreach at Westview Baptist Church, Calgary, AB 

Ron Ford – Interim Pastor at Battle Lake Community Baptist Church, Westerose, AB

Moving on in Mountain Standard

Gordon King – Community Outreach Worker at Westview Baptist Church, Calgary, AB

Kayley Sanders – Director of Children Education at First Baptist Church Peace River, Peace River, AB

Nicholas Wright – Associate Pastor to Youth and Young Adults at McLaurin Baptist Church, Grande Prairie, AB

Settled in BC-Yukon

Carlee Turner – Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church, Kelowna, BC

Anthony Brown – Lead Pastor at First Baptist Church, Vancouver, BC

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our editor Zoë: zducklow@cbwc.ca or the Heartland office: heartland@cbwc.ca

BCY Regional Newsletter December 2018

Are You Ready?

I was bouncing around in a pick-up truck on a logging road and since Christmas was just a few weeks away, I asked my companion the obvious question: “So, are you ready for Christmas?”

His response was clear and unforgettable. “I will answer that question this time but please don’t ever ask me again. No, I am not ready for Christmas.”

I was a little surprised by the edge in his response but not by his answer. I have never felt ready for Christmas. 

Maybe it is because Christmas has become so complex and challenging. Maybe it’s because there are just so many activities, sensitivities, events and expenses that, no matter how organized I get, I never feel ready. Never.

I usually find myself on Christmas Eve wondering why I don’t feel ready. The gifts are purchased and wrapped, the church events are organized, and the food is in the fridge. Everything is ready, but I am not. And that sense of not being ready is very disconcerting. 

A couple of years ago I became a grandfather again with the arrival of twin girls just before Christmas. As I was holding them, marvelling at their beauty and the simple joy they bring with their presence I realized something. I wasn’t ready to meet them, and I never would have been. Just like I wasn’t ready to be a husband or a father or a pastor. I prepared for all those things, but I never felt ready for any of them. They were simply gifts of grace I needed to experience. I think Christmas is exactly like that. We can prepare all we want but it’s not something we will ever be completely ready for. It is instead a gift of grace that is best when we simply experience it. When we fail to understand this, I think we turn Christmas into a chore that we are never ready for.  

If I see you in the next few weeks, I probably won’t ask if you are ready for Christmas, but I may ask if you are experiencing the grace of Christmas. I pray that you will experience it in abundance.   

-Larry Schram

A “Gift” of a Youth Retreat

Click through the gallery of photos

A contingent of youth from three BC-Y churches — Olivet Baptist, Southwest Community, and Southside Community — got together for a weekend of spiritual and relational growth at Shuswap Lake in November. With the theme of “Gift” this retreat helped students understand how they are a gift from God to each other and to the world, and how Jesus — the greatest gift — modeled for us how we can live a life of service and love by using the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us. As well as practicing these gifts through times of intercession, prayer, worship and listening, there was also plenty of fun with jam sessions, a giant Dutch Blitz game and outdoor laser tag.

Ricky Stephen from Olivet and Cailey Morgan from Southside are looking to put together another youth retreat in February. Email ricky@olivet.bc.ca before December 15 if your youth group would be interested in participating.

Banff BCY

BCY pastors and leaders had a great time of rest, refreshment and connection in beautiful wintery Alberta at the CBWC Banff Pastors and Spouses retreat in November.

Click through the gallery of photos below

Settlement Report

Changes in the Mountain Standard Region

  • Jeff Logan and Juli Wells Logan are stepping down from their positions at Southgate Baptist Church, Calgary
  • Sebastian Dykstra begins as Associate Pastor of Christian Education at Altadore Baptist Church, Calgary, in January

Changes in the Heartland Region

  • Mel Konkel is stepping down from his senior pastor position at Moosomin Baptist Church
  • Alisa Powers has stepped down from her associate position at Moosomin Baptist Church
  • Kevin Dyck has stepped down from his youth pastor position at Moosomin Baptist Church
  • Scott Elger begins as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, Moose Jaw in January
  • Peter Elias begins as Pastor at Strathclair Baptist Church in December

Settled in the BC & Yukon Region

  • Stephen Philips begins as Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church, Nanaimo
  • Brian Munroe as Pastor at FBC Kitimat
  • Brian Carnahan as Pastor to Bethel Baptist, Sechelt
  • Monica McKinlay as Pastor to Kitsilano Christian Fellowship, Vancouver
  • Jason Johnson as Senior Pastor to Summerland Baptist

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our editor Zoë: zducklow@cbwc.ca or the Heartland office: heartland@cbwc.ca

BC-Yukon Regional Newsletter September

Life in Interesting Times

We had just finished an intense and challenging series of group conversations and I was emotionally drained.

A friend leaned in close and whispered, “We certainly live in interesting times, don’t we?”

Later that day, after the evening meal, I opened my Chinese fortune cookie and read these timely words: You will always live in interesting times! I burst out laughing at the timing of this coincidence and then had to explain my reaction.

I am quite sure that fortune cookies are not one of the primary ways that the Holy Spirit leads us, but I couldn’t shake the sense that God was speaking to me through the timing of that small piece of paper. These are days of massive cultural shifts coupled with rapid innovation resulting in unprecedented opportunities and challenges. Accordingly, many leaders are wondering and struggling with the pace and complexities of life, faith and leadership right now. We find ourselves in interesting days, indeed.

I have been praying and thinking about these interesting times ever since that night and while I don’t have a lot of definitive conclusions I do know three things with absolute clarity. While some cultures view living in interesting times as a curse, I don’t think that as followers of Jesus we need to see it that way. I believe that our Lord is with us and will bring us through whatever is to come, and that includes these interesting times. I am also convinced that out of all the branches of the Christian church that I could be in, I am blessed to go through these days with you, my family of churches.

We don’t get to choose the times we live in, but we do get to choose how we live in them. We may always live in interesting times, but I choose to not be afraid, to trust Jesus, and to face these days together with my family of faith.

I invite you to join me in the journey.


Photos from the BC-Yukon AGM & Retreat

Left: Larry Schram; Above: Dawn Johannesson and Nora Walker
Above: Emmanuel Baptist worship team; Right: David Johnston; Below Alison Fraser and Madeleine Duncan

An update from YVR Chapel

Greetings Friends of the Chapel,

I hope that your summer has been enjoyable and refreshing! Janet and I just returned from two wonderful weeks visiting our daughters and grandchildren in Detroit and North Carolina, so yes, life is good— indeed, because God is so good! I also enjoyed seeing old friends at my 50th high school reunion (still hard to believe that happened!) and meeting up with 18 close relatives at a Kirkley family reunion. Lots of blessings!

Chapel Summer: A great summer highlight for the Chapel Team was our annual BBQ at the lovely home of Darrell & Donna Boyd and his gracious mother, Iris. This year 58 people came out for sunny fellowship, delicious food (including Iris’s butter tarts!) and encouraging music from our friend Jeff Weins. See the pics here for a ‘taste’ of what we did!
Chaplain Emeritus Layne Daggett reminded us at the BBQ of our remarkable foundations, as we were celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Chapel ministry at the Vancouver Airport.

We are also currently saying our goodbyes and words of appreciation to past Board Chair Terry Clements, as he went home to be with the Lord on August 7. His joyful memorial is being hosted by Sunshine Ridge Baptist Church on Sat. August 25, at 1:00 p.m.

Fall Plans: If you happened to miss the Summer BBQ, we’re planning a fall team-building event in early November to increase our team spirit and to motivate us in our ministry at YVR. We want to get excited about our annual holiday drop-in in December, in which we strive to attract many YVR employees to the Chapel for home-made goodies and an opportunity to experience what the Chapel offers them. More details to come soon.

People Stories: Strange passenger stories often occur at the Chapel, and here’s two of them from the summer:

A kind grandmother and her 17-year-old track star granddaughter were stranded at YVR on their way from Dallas-Ft. Worth to an international track meet in Brisbane, Australia (Q1 – why did they come through Canada?). The young athlete had her Australian visa but somehow the grandmother did not (Q2 – how did that happen? Answers FYI: there are always reasons, usually mixed with possible errors and oversights along the way.)

They tried for three days to get the visa from the Australian Consulate in Vancouver to no avail, and slept on chairs at YVR each night! Finally, they were directed to the Chapel where they got a good sleep and a sympathetic ear, but no one was able to change the outcome. I did help them get their Air Canada ticket changed to return quickly to Dallas (free of charge), but we could only pray they might get some of the money returned for their overseas flights.

A tough story, but we were impressed with the faith and resilience of the grandmother and the patience of the dear granddaughter, who never complained a moment about her lost opportunity to compete. God bless them and hopefully she’ll run overseas in the future!

The next day a befuddled Vietnamese woman and her 12-year-old son surrendered four large boxes of goods they were hoping to take from Vietnam to Alaska. Officials had not allowed them through Customs, and I wondered why. I was called to the information counter to help a consortium of airport employees decide what to do with the boxes, seemingly no longer wanted by the family. It was a cultural experience, as the embarrassed mother and her equally embarrassed son stood back, watching sheepishly while different YVR personnel  opened and sorted the contents of the boxes. Then I understood why Customs had refused them!

The boxes contained cigarettes, new shoes, loads of sellable nail salon supplies, fragrant artificial flowers and incredibly smelly plastic-wrapped dried fish and crab meat! You can imagine the odors wafting from this scene and why passengers began to avoid the Information Counter altogether. What a sight! I felt for the maintenance employees (from various national backgrounds) who had to deal with the contents, cutting open all the wrappings and separating the meat from the plastic packaging—all part of our ‘western’ culture to properly recycle, eh?

It was quite the diverse scene, even for such an international setting as YVR! In the end I hated to see all of those new items being thrown away, so I was able to salvage a big bouquet of artificial but real-looking tulips, which you can see if you come to visit the Chapel!

Conclusion: Yes, as a Chapel Team, we have many opportunities to serve the traveling public (85,000 per DAY this summer!), and the many thousands who call YVR their place of work. It’s indeed a privilege to show God’s joy and grace to everyone whom we get opportunity to serve, and we’ll only know in Heaven what part we may have played in someone’s journey to discover the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord! Thanks for your part in supporting us through your interest, prayers and gifts. To learn more about this ministry and to support us directly, please visit our website at yvrchaplaincy.org

And remember, you too have opportunity every day to show God’s love and grace to those around you! 

God bless you!

Dennis, for the YVR Chapel Team

Church Anniversaries!

A number of BCY churches have celebrated a 25th anniversary this years. Give God the glory for so many years of ministry at these churches:

Southside Church celebrates 25 years (pictured below)

Qualicum Baptist celebrates 26 years

Westside Baptist celebrates 28 years (pictured below)

Kits Community Church celebrates 30 years

Settlement Report

To see open positions, visit our Careers page: https://cbwc.ca/careers/

New Hires
  • Stephen Carleton, Pastor – Sonrise Community Baptist Church, Calgary, AB
  • Brandon Parsons, Youth Pastor – FBC Red Deer, AB
  • Nathan Harris, Youth Pastor – Brownfield Baptist Church, AB

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our editor Zoë: zducklow@cbwc.ca or the BCY office: bcarea@cbwc.ca

BCY Regional Newsletter June 2018

We are family 

By grace alone we have been drawn together by the Holy Spirit, saved by Jesus Christ, loved by God the Father and placed into a family of faith. The New Testament uses many metaphors to convey this thought and one of the most repeated and my personal favourite, is the image of family. Because of Jesus Christ, our primary identity is no longer found in cultural terms like ethnicity, socio economic status, or gender*. Instead, as Paul reminds us, our interconnectedness in Jesus has changed everything. By grace alone, we are one in Christ; a family of faith.

Erna and I have experienced this in wonderful ways over these last months. We have been blessed to travel around our province and visit many of our church families. In small gatherings and large, we have seen our family of faith gather to pray, worship, serve, discern and respond to the leading of Jesus. As a result, I am more convinced than ever that we are indeed a family. Not only because of our salvation uniting us in Christ but also because we share a common set of values and presuppositions, which I call our Baptist identity markers. Our local church families, governance structures, worship styles, ministry foci and preaching preferences vary greatly but we are still all interconnected through a common set of assumptions that make us Canadian Baptist. We are indeed a family.

Let’s remember that and strengthen the family relationship. When we gather this July as the Convention of Baptist Churches of B.C. in Victoria, let’s gather as a family and deliberately and personally connect with one another. When we hear that one of our churches has called, ordained or commissioned a new leader or started a new ministry let’s intentionally rejoice with them and join them in the celebration. When we discuss some hard things, experience hard seasons and disagree with one another—Baptists do this well—let’s do so in love as a family. Let’s recognize that our family is larger than our local region and that together we are called to faithfully follow Jesus into the future he has for us in Canada.

We are family and I am glad to be a part of the BCY region of the Canadian Baptists.

Larry Schram

* See Galatians 3:28

Ward and Jane Cowie being recognized by the Berea Baptist Church as Ward officially retired.
Co-pastors, Les Clarke and Clark Taylor being commissioned to lead at First Baptist Penticton
Pastor Axel Schroeber’s commissioning at West Vancouver Baptist Church

Potential Impact 2018

“Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.” This prayer echoed throughout the weekend of April 26-29 as young adults from across the CBWC gathered at Keats Camps to explore the call of Jesus in their life.

Potential Impact, a three-night retreat, was hosted by the BCY region for young people from the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Yukon, as well as from CBWC’s regions further east.

A well-rounded team facilitated the retreat, diving into the theme of hearing God’s voice as found in the book of 1 Samuel. Speakers included Colin Godwin of Carey, CBWC Director of Church Planting, Shannon Youell and Church Planting Associate, Cailey Morgan, author and teacher Linda Smith, youth pastor Eric West, and CBWC Youth Director, Tammy Klassen.

Beyond studying stories of God’s voice in the past, and beyond even considering the exact life choices these young adults would make, the retreat pushed participants to make listening for God’s voice an everyday rhythm by choosing postures of open-handedness and attentiveness.

CBWC Administrator Sue Hunter, who also serves as a chaplain, took participants through a series of multi-sensory spiritual formation exercises throughout the weekend, such as a silent hike, lectio divina and praying through colour. Local pastor Phil Wambua led worship.

Tianna, a receptionist from Victoria, said that Potential Impact helped her grow in her ability to be vulnerable with others, and with God. “It helped me deepen my connection with God in a way I never really knew I needed,” she said.

Stay tuned for next year’s dates!

Ministry Feature:

North Shore School of Mission

Last September, with help from a CBWC Opportunity Grant, a new school of mission and ministry opened at Hillside Baptist Church in North Vancouver. In partnership with Columbia Bible College, the North Shore School of Mission offers a one-year ministry apprenticeship program, where students earn a full year of credit courses (at a fraction of the cost), and have concurrent ministry learning opportunities at their local church. The credits can be applied to any C.B.C. degree; many credits are also transferable to Trinity Western University.

The ministry placement involves real responsibility for a specific ministry within the church, determined in discussion with the student. Students can serve at Hillside or another nearby church.

The program ends with a one-month short-term missions trip with one of our partner missions: Reachout to Africa (working with orphans in South Africa), Bulembu (holistic community ministry in Swaziland), Himalayan Life (work with street children in Nepal), or Keats Camp.

The School’s hope is to identify and nurture leadership gifts, and to empower, encourage and equip younger leaders to be great servants to their churches, whether or not they take up vocational ministry.

In the first year, there were three full time students who served as ministry apprentices at Hillside Church. They’re going on a short-term missions trip to South Africa this Fall, where they will conduct research work.

The school isn’t just for full-time students; it’s designed to benefit the community as well. Monday evening classes were open for anyone to audit. At times there were up to 90 participants from nine different churches. The school also has a theological library with over 6,000 selected volumes, which has been made available for local church leaders. Recently a local pastor spent a week at the library studying church renewal.

Several CBWC pastors have taught classes, plus four pastors from other churches, as well as John Hall, Director of Missions Fest and Mission Central. Even more great teachers are scheduled for next year.

The three full timers who served as ministry apprentices at Hillside ran evening programs for pre-teens, Sunday programs for middle schoolers, served as youth leaders and in participated in worship ministry. They’ve been a huge blessing to the church as they served and grew in their ministry and teaching capabilities.

The North Shore School of Mission is accepting applications for September 2018. If you know someone who would be a great candidate for a year of post-secondary, ministry-focused schooling, and your church has space for a ministry apprentice, then we invite you to explore this opportunity with us.

Find more details on our website: schoolofmission.org or send us an email: admin@schoolofmission.org.

Greetings from Norm Sowden at

Mill Bay Baptist Fellowship

Dear CBWC Family,

The key word echoing in my soul just now is gratitude:

  • To the Lord for causing Mill Bay Baptist Fellowship to germinate and come to life in March 2011 under the leadership of Pastor Chris & Lois Naylor with a dedicated core group.
  • To Pastor Chris and the MBBF Church Family for the opportunity to share some of the early services and eventually a call to be their pastor.
  • To Pastor Tom Lavigne for guiding this visionary church family into affiliation with CBWC.
  • To Pastor Tammy Klassen and Rick who, when suddenly without a church home, were willing to trust our vision for a Pastor of Family Ministries and jumped into the deep end without any guarantees or assurances, but faith that the Lord has a BIG plan for this church family.
  • To our BCY Region and the CBWC for support and acceptance in so many ways.
  • To the Baptist Foundation for having faith in our vision and especially in developing 4.97 acres alongside the Trans-Canada Highway… our cross and church home will soon be the first human structure that greets people as they cross the famous Malahat Pass and enter the even more famous Cowichan Valley.
  • To the small group of loving sacrificial Christians who have raised over $400,000 to purchase the land and begin building, and to finance the mortgage the first five years.
  • To those coming out in fair and foul weather to supervise and work and clean so that we can keep the cost of building as low as possible.
  • To our dear Nora Walker and the amazing prayer team she inspires to back up all that we do.
  • To Shannon Youell, Dawn Johannesson and Larry Schram who are always there in a time of need.

Our desire as a church family is to love the Lord, one another, our community and our world. We seek to worship, fellowship and play inter-generationally as much as we can. Our garden has been a real spark plug for that until this year when construction de-railed gardening for a year. It has given an opportunity for seniors to share their gardening knowledge and skills with our children and teens. We also use those times for wiener and marshmallow roasts! We have several music teams who take turns leading worship, so every Sunday in a month can be different from each of the others.

Mill Bay is a very rapidly expanding area north of Victoria as housing prices in Victoria keep driving people north over the Malahat. The Lord has planted us in a very strategic location, right on the edge of several new building developments. As well, we are the only church south of Mill Bay, where most of the residential population is. Outreach is a great opportunity for us. On our eastern edge we are fortunate to be in close proximity to the Malahat Nation. SERVE have twice blessed us by providing teams to work with the Malahat people assisting in some of the needs they have.

Personally, I am blessed to be invited by Pastor Joey Cho to attend and share in weekly services Sunday afternoons with Malahat Grace Church.

QUESTION… Are there any people out there who would like to come and camp on our property for a few days or weeks and help us with siding, suspended ceilings, flooring or finishing carpentry? We would love to have your fellowship and building expertise… If you shoot me an email or text, I will put you in touch with Gord Gonske, our Project Manager.

TONS of thanks to all. Love, hugs, prayers and thanks for all the support you have blessed our MBBF Church Family with.

In Christ,

Norm Sowden

BCY Events

Our regional Assembly and Pastors, Chaplain & Spouse Retreat (conveniently scheduled back to back) are coming up in early July.

Settlement Report

To see open positions, visit our Careers page: https://cbwc.ca/careers/

New Hires
  • Larry Boss, Provisional Pastor, Southwest Community Baptist Church, Kamloops, BC
  • Gordon Patterson, Interim Associate, First Baptist Church, Nanaimo, BC
  • Aaron Cranton, Street Ministry, Strathcona Baptist Church, AB
  • Rob Priestly, Associate Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Saskatoon, SK
Moving On
  • Eric West, Associate (Youth, Children, Young Adults), Gateway Baptist Church, Victoria, BC
  • Eric Scramstad, Family, Children, and Youth Minister, FBC Kelowna, BC
  • Stephen Carleton, Youth and Young Adults Minister, Westview Baptist Church, Calgary, AB
  • Kevin Haugan, Youth Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Sherwood Park, AB
  • Greg Anderson, Lead Pastor, Riverdale Baptist Church, Whitehorse, YK
  • Marcel Leffelaar, CBWC Chaplain, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary, AB
  • Paul Matheson, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Saskatoon, SK
  • Dave Bonney, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Neepawa, MB

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our editor Zoë: zducklow@cbwc.ca or the BCY office: bcarea@cbwc.ca

Brian Stelck

crocusflowersAugust 20, 2016 — It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of our dear friend and Past President Rev. Dr. Brian Stelck.

Carey Theological College, Institute and Centre was led by Brian’s vision and care from 1994 – 2013.

There will be two memorial services. The first will be held in Edmonton, Alberta at First Baptist Church on Friday August 26th at 12 noon. The Vancouver memorial service will be held at Olivet Baptist Church 613 Queens Ave, New Westminster, BC on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 at 10 a.m..

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Olivet Baptist Church information:



Please remember Brian’s wife Caryn, his family and his friends in prayer during this time of loss.

Valerie Milne

bigstock-Lily-flower-14463593August 10, 2016 — We mourn the death of Valerie Milne, who went home to her Lord on the morning of Tuesday, August 9 after a long journey with cancer.

Valerie was known to many in the CBWC as a generous, warm and friendly woman who served God faithfully and well throughout her life.  She was always gracious, courageous and kind.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 14 at 6:30 pm at Trinity Baptist Church in Vancouver at 40th Ave and Granville St.  All who wish are welcome to attend.

Valerie leaves  her beloved husband Bruce, former pastor at First Baptist Vancouver, her family in Canada and Scotland as well as a wide circle of many friends.

We are deeply saddened by Valerie’s passing but rejoice that she now sees her Saviour face to face.  Please pray for her family and friends during this time of loss.

Rob Des Cotes

crocusflowersApril 8 — The CBWC was deeply saddened by the passing of Rob Des Cotes on Wednesday, April 6 after a long journey with cancer.

Rob was a spiritual director, retreat leader and pastor of Imago Dei, an ecumenical network of Christian faith communities based in Vancouver, BC with sister groups across Canada, the US, UK and Asia.  He had also been the pastor of Fairview Baptist in Vancouver until moving to the A Rocha Brooksdale environmental farm in South Surrey, BC.  He was the author of three books of meditations for spiritual direction, Fan the Flame, Higher Than I and Ultreia! (Go Higher).   He had taught Contemplative Traditions at Trinity Western University as well as courses on spirituality and the arts at Carey Theological College and Columbia Bible College.  He was an active member of Baptist Peacemakers International and directed Imago Dei’s Vancouver Arts Network, a community of writers, musicians, actors, dancers and visual artists who are in creative dialogue with spiritual issues in the arts, especially as they relate to postmodern culture.  He was well known as a flautist and liturgist.

Rob will be much missed for his gentle commitment to encouraging others to deepen their practice of prayer and life of faith that recognizes and welcome God’s transforming work. 

Rob leaves his wife Ruth, three adult children and several grandchildren, as well as many other family and friends who deeply mourn his passing. 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 16 at Fairview Baptist Church in Vancouver (corner of Pine and 16th Ave) at 11 am.

Please remember Rob’s family and friends in your prayers during this difficult time.  He will be much missed but we also rejoice that Rob is now with his beloved Jesus, forever.

Petition on Euthanasia and Paliative Care

January 11, 2016 — As a member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the CBWC has received the following letter from EFC President Bruce Clemenger concerning the proposed federal legislation on the legalization of euthanasia.  The CBWC is posting this letter on our website to share our concern about an issue that affects all Canadians and to make available a link to a petition concerning euthanasia which has a goal of 10,000 signatures by February 6, 2016. 

Dear Denominational Leader,

We look forward this year to working effectively with you and other denominational leaders.

We are in the midst of a significant national conversation about the duty of care we owe one another at the end of life, the legalization of euthanasia and the protection of religious freedom and conscience.

Last fall you signed a Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide as the leader of your denomination. Thus far close to 2,000 other church leaders and lay people have signed the Declaration, a document drafted by the EFC and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. .

We want to encourage more to sign, from all walks of life. Our goal is to have 10,000 sign by February 6th, the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that opened the door to physician-assisted suicide. 

As the issue moves to Parliament Hill, we want to use the Declaration publically and in meetings with Parliamentarians as a statement of support for the protection of life, the promotion of palliative care and the defense of conscience.

Please consider helping us by encouraging your pastors and church members to consider signing the Declaration by going to www.euthanasiadeclaration.ca. Below is a paragraph you may find helpful in encouraging other to participate. 

Looking forward to your response,

Bruce J. Clemenger

President, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

Join the call to protect vulnerable Canadians and improve palliative care by signing the Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, at www.euthanasiadeclaration.ca. Reaching a target of 10,000 signatories by February 6 will demonstrate to federal and provincial legislators that there is cross-Canada support for limits to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. This declaration was developed by The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.