BCY Regional Newsletter September 2020

We call this newsletter Making Connections and it is well named.  After all, a connection is defined as: “a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else,” and this newsletter attempts to promote exactly that. In fact, with this BCY regional focus, we want to tell some stories with words and pictures about how some of us are connecting in these unusual days.

I am impressed with the variety of ways our churches are connecting. Zoom gatherings and meetings, live stream and pre-recorded services, and YouTube channels abound in our churches. We obviously feel the need to connect, with physical distancing and COVID-19 sensitivities in place, and we have found ways to do so. May this issue of Making Connections encourage you to keep making them with our CBWC family as well. 

Larry Schram

BCY Regional Minister

Update from FBC in Port Alberni

“And let us not neglect our meeting together…” Hebrews 10:25

How do you do that while in the midst of a global pandemic? That is something our leadership team have asked and kept a priority throughout it all. Yes, we moved everything online, but there was still something missing. During the early part of the pandemic, I would have conversations with our congregation and the main thing that kept coming up was, “When can me meet together again?”

Now, I knew how important relationships and the opportunity to connect was in our church, but now I was seeing it from a different perspective. People in our church would be crying as they expressed how much they missed their church family. I then realized, that for some in our church, the only time they would experience any type of deep, loving and quality fellowship was when they would walk through the doors on a Sunday morning. So, it became the leadership’s main goal to find a way so that we could gather together.

Then everything changed in late May, when the province changed some of their language regarding mass gatherings—drive-in services were now an option. So, we immediately discussed the option and what it would take to provide a drive-in worship service. We purchased an FM transmitter and once it arrived, we spent roughly 1-2 weeks figuring out how to best set everything up. So, on Sunday, July 19th at First Baptist, we held our first ever drive-in worship service. We had a team of volunteers that greeted people as they drove onto the property and a parking team that directed them to a spot in our back field. To be honest, it couldn’t have gone any better, and was definitely beyond our expectations. The live music, worship leading and sermon all being broadcast over the radio and being listened to in the comfort of everyone’s car. The joy and the smiles from ear to ear as people drove in and left after was all worth it. Our little church found a way in a global pandemic to not neglect our meeting together. We have seen roughly 30 cars show up every week (with new people coming every week) and recently had the opportunity to serve communion to everyone as well.

Who knew that roughly 15 years ago, as God was leading the church in finding a new facility to call home, one that could be used to bless the community (which it has), that it would be used to bless us so that we could provide the opportunity to gather when so many are unable right now!

Update from Pastor Andrea Tisher from Southwest Community church in Kamloops

  1. I did a series in 1 Thessalonians this summer. For the first week, we heard the story of Paul going to Thessalonica in Acts. I then did a 5-minute intro about how to read an epistle and a bit of background on what we know about Thessalonica at that time. Then I read the epistle. All the way through. Like it would have been read in a 1st century church gathering. I worried about it being some kind of cheating, but it was a great way to introduce the concept of an epistle and set the tone for the rest of the series, because we got to hear the whole thing in context. (I’m about to preach the last message in the book and now I’m thinking, “Maybe we should read the whole thing again!?!?” Ok. That would be cheating. Back to sermon prep for me!)  
  2. We did a pulpit swap with FBC Kelowna. Kevin Green and I preached twice on one Sunday and not at all on the other one. This worked great by syncing our summer series up so that we were aligned for at least those two weeks. 
  3. I ran two 6-person groups of Faith, Grief & COVID-19. One was an in-person group and the other was a group on Zoom. Both worked really well, and I really enjoyed getting to know those twelve people in new ways. It was also two really interesting “slices” of the congregation. A group of 6 who otherwise would likely never end up in a “small group” together. I highly recommend it as a resource, and it worked well in both formats! 
  4. In the last week of my vacation, the church is going to meet at two locations for distanced picnics. They’ll take a Sunday off from needing the tech side covered, someone to preach, etc. I’m hoping that’s a good chance for folks to connect in person. 

Photo update from Living Hope Church

Worship time at home.

Social distancing at Youth Group.

Sunday morning at Living Hope Church.

Living Hope food bank collection.

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 senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

BCY Regional Newsletter May 2020

Discovering Peace

By Sarah Emanual

I grew up in a loving, Christian home. My mom chose to follow Christ when I was pretty small, and my dad not too much later. I made the choice to follow Christ one night when I was about 4 or 5, mostly out of fear of not going to heaven. From the time that I was small, fear was a constant companion. It gave me nightmares, and it made me say no to a lot of things- out of fear of not fitting in, not being good enough or being made fun of.

In high school, I spent a year eating my lunch alone and hiding at a new school because I was afraid of sitting by myself in the lunchroom. I strived to follow Christ though, and my youth group became a huge part of my life. I was there every chance I got and became good friends with my youth leaders. My high involvement, and desire to follow Christ, soon gave me the title of ‘the perfect youth’. I took a couple years off of school after high school, working and volunteering in our church and denomination. But by the time I went to university I was ready to shake off some of that ‘perfect youth’ title. I had been living by this title and doing what everyone expected of me, afraid of letting my family and friends down. When I started university, I desired to figure out who I was apart from who everyone expected me to be. I still attended church, but I also made many poor choices as I struggled to figure this out. One day, as I was struggling between living for Christ, and living for the rest of the world, I felt God asking me to choose. Enough was enough, and it was time to stop this balancing act. I needed to make the choice between following Christ or following the world. In that moment I knew that the choice I needed to make was to follow God. He really was my everything, and I knew I could not live my life without Him.

That still did not erase all my fears, though. I still had many, and shortly after the birth of our second child I began to struggle with postpartum anxiety. My body experienced anxiety attacks, and my mind struggled with new fears. I kept trying to shake my fears, and give them to God, but they kept coming back to haunt me. Then a change started. I was on a girls’ trip with a couple of my best friends. We had taken a day to go on a mountain biking tour in the mountains of Oregon. One of the stops on the tour was a natural water ‘slide’ down a waterfall. That old familiar fear rose up. I didn’t want to take the risk and jump off the side to go into that waterfall. But in that moment, I began to question that fear. Was my decision to skip out on that experience based on the true desire not to go? Or was my decision to skip out based solely on being afraid to go? I was about to let fear dictate once again, and if I did, I would regret not going. So, I went. I slid down that waterfall and took the first step into letting go of my fears. That first step in giving them over to God.

Fears still haunted me, but I began the process of looking at them differently. The verses in Philippians 4 began to take on new meaning. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again- rejoice! …Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4, 6-7 NLT) With God, fear no longer had the same grip on my life as it had. It was still there, but it wasn’t the same.

In February 2016, I was faced with my biggest fear. For over six months I had experienced changes and pain. The doctors could not figure out what was the cause. As I was still nursing our youngest child at the time, one of my doctors brushed it all off at ‘nursing problems’ and strongly advised me to stop nursing my 6-month-old immediately, suggesting that as soon as I stopped all my problems would stop. I was not so convinced. Things kept getting worse and worse. Finally, I was sent for another routine ultrasound to try to figure out what was going on. On February 12th I first heard the words inflammatory carcinoma. I send out an urgent prayer request and I was filled with a peace that could only come from God. On February 15th, I learned that I had not only one, but two types of aggressive breast cancer. Over the course of the next 10 days, I would also learn that it had spread to multiple parts of my body, making my case Stage IV breast cancer. Things were looking very grim indeed. I was facing my worst fears- that of dying from cancer and leaving behind those I loved. In this time though, God was there in many different ways, one of those being through my oncologist who told us that “there is always hope.” I had my port placed and started heavy duty IV chemotherapy on February 26, 2016.

A couple of weeks into chemo I was sitting at home, alone on the morning of Palm Sunday, when my fears sent me spiralling. I hadn’t experienced an anxiety attack for a couple years, but I was headed into the worst one I had ever had. I asked my family and a couple of close friends to pray for me in that moment. I was so fearful that this would be the end. That cancer and chemo were it. I was chained to fear, a slave to it. I doubted God. I doubted that He was in control and had the final say. In those moments though, I knew I had to give all to Him, and let Him take care of it all. I was not strong enough to deal with this on my own. The fear that held me captive my whole life started to be stripped away. The chains were broken. God had control of the past, present and future. He was my hope.

Over the next few months I finished chemo and went on to surgery and radiation treatments. I started on a targeted therapy. I heard the words ‘no cure’ many, many times. And though I continued to struggle with fear getting its way back in, I felt God’s peace guarding my heart and mind. A year after I started chemo, I ran and finished the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Me, a self-proclaimed non-runner. This journey with cancer being a marathon, not a sprint. A year after I finished my last round of IV chemo, I was told that there was no evidence of active disease! Then, less than a month later, they found new disease. Surgery and radiation all over again, and areas of cancer we thought were gone, came back. My faith was being tested again and again. During this time, we also prepared for a big move. We had been living in Arkansas for four years, and were preparing to move back to BC. A big move, radiation treatments, changes in medical systems-—God carrying us through it all.

Shortly after our move, the doctors started to question whether or not the targeted and hormone therapies I was still on were working the best for me. So, we began changing and adjusting my medications. In amongst all of this, I continued to learn what it meant to rest in God and to thrive despite my circumstances. We homeschooled and lived daily life. Celebrating life two, then three years past diagnosis. Each day and year being a gift. Figuring out what it meant to live with cancer. Then, in September 2019, things really began to change. My body was not handling one of my medication changes well, and the spots in my liver that we had been monitoring carefully, began to grow more quickly than what my oral medication could take care of. My oncologist said the next step would be to go back on IV chemo. I had my first dose, and then things quickly went downhill. My body reacted to the chemotherapy badly. My liver numbers increased rapidly, and within a few days I was told my body was no longer strong enough to continue on with chemotherapy, or any kind of treatment. I was sent home with the news that I probably only had a couple weeks left. While we were deeply saddened over this, I was not fearful. I was at peace knowing that I would soon be with my Saviour and King. I was set up with home care, and friends and family quickly arranged travel to come say their goodbyes. I grew weaker and weaker. I could feel myself slipping away. Each time I fell asleep I wondered if that would be the time I would meet my Jesus face to face. And then things changed again. I started getting stronger, and reaching medical milestones we didn’t think were possible any more. And within just a few short days, my bloodwork levels began to look good enough to try chemotherapy again. There is no earthly explanation for this, though we’ve certainly tried to find it. We are still surprised and confused by all of it. The only One that is not surprised or confused is God. He knows, and He’s in control.

It’s been months now, and the fall all seems like some sort of dream. I’ve been able to go off of IV chemotherapy and have started on chemo pills. I feel stronger and have been able to do many things I did not think would be even possible a few short months ago. I can go for long walks instead of barely making it from my room to the front porch. I can climb the steps three floors to the chemotherapy unit at the hospital. I was able to go on a much-needed vacation with my husband to Mexico at the beginning of March, and I’m able to ride my bike up the hill in front of our house. We also got to celebrate another year of life on February 12th, making that four years since my diagnosis, despite all the odds being against such a milestone.

In October I was told I was going to die very soon, but strangely enough I was not fearful. I knew that I could trust God in ALL things. That He is in control. I was at peace. Does this mean all my fears are gone? No. Living with cancer, and this current world situation with COVID-19, has brought to surface many fears I thought were long gone. It’s not easy living in a world of ‘what ifs’. I’ve been struggling with doubt and fear a lot over the past few weeks. When I stop looking to God, and start looking at everything else, I start to lose sight of His promises, and start to let fear haunt me again. My battles with anxiety resurface. Then I remember the verse that comes after Philippians 4:4-8, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:9 NLT) Fixing my mind on Christ, and on God’s Word. I don’t know what the future has. But, He does! He is in control, and He has already won! “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

Community Photos

Larry and Sara Westnedge at Sara’s Induction service in Nelson, BC.

David Dawson and his family’s farewell from Emmanuel Baptist, Victoria.

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 senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

BCY Regional Newsletter February 2020

A “Treasure” We Were Privileged to Know: Roy Simeon, August 4, 1956 – Nov 30, 2019

Written by Pastor Bob Swan from First Baptist Vancouver


Sixty-three years ago, Roy was born into the Haida First Nation on British Columbia’s North Coast. His childhood and adolescent years were troubled and difficult. He struggled to teach himself the skills that are needed to hold down a job. But whenever he had a chance to work, that is what he did. He experienced a large variety of work places.

Near the age of twenty, Roy got a job at a car-crushing metal recycling plant. One of his jobs was to remove the documents from the glove compartments of cars before the crusher hit. But on one fateful day, a new young operator dropped the crusher before the light turned “green” and before Roy had removed the documents. This man’s error cost Roy his right arm.

He was still in the hospital recovering when he heard that the young man who made the “error” was out drinking heavily trying to erase the memory of the accident. Roy then asked that the young man be brought to his bedside.

His request was granted and Roy “seized the moment.” He consoled the young man and told him that is was indeed an accident and that he was forgiven. Roy told him that he needed to forgive himself and give himself a chance to live well. He blessed the young man in the midst of his own suffering.

Some years after the accident Roy made his way to Vancouver and met his wife to be, April.  She recalled seeing Roy’s right-arm prothesis and his right-hand hook for the first time. She said, “I loved him and it was irrelevant to me whether he had one arm or two.”

They married and shared life together with all its struggles and challenges. The “brokenness” they shared was crippling and they ended up on the street; homeless and addicted. April recalled the tough times of living under a bridge near Powell Street and Heatly Avenue in Vancouver.  Those were very difficult years but by God’s grace they made it into a recovery program in a home called, “OUR HOUSE.” It was at this home that Roy heard about our First Baptist Shelter and he soon showed up to volunteer.

That was more than 10 years ago and it turned out to be an enormous help for Roy and April and a gigantic blessing for First Baptist Vancouver, myself and many others. Roy gave thanks to God for his “new life” and poured out God’s grace to many in our shelter, to us as staff, and to the homeless in the alleys near our church. Whenever Roy was present and an argument or fight was about to erupt, Roy’s God-given voice conveyed authority, wisdom and grace. Roy was the best peacemaker we ever had. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

Roy also proved the words of Isaiah 58 to be true:

“Is this not the fast which I choose, [says the Lord],…Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you;…Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’… 10 And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday…; and you will be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”

Not only did Roy volunteer at a number of churches but he was determined to learn a new skill, and he did. He became a Computer Tech after graduating from CDI College in Computer Technology.

Roy also attended First Baptist on Sunday mornings and helped with security for 8 years. His smile, while greeting people on their way into our fellowship hall after the service was over, is emblazoned on the minds of hundreds of people who came in for coffee.

Whenever Roy was engaged in a conversation with someone, he gave them his full attention and greeted them with his incredible smile. He would slightly squint his eyes and look right through you and you knew he was reading you. He was very perceptive.

Roy had an incredible sense of humour and God used that to help us in many tough times; even on the day of his passing.

I thank God that twenty-one years ago, First Baptist Vancouver gave permission for us to start the Shelter Program, because without it, I may never have gotten to know Roy Simeon. He was one of God’s great gifts to us.

We thank God for Roy and we miss him deeply. He is now with Jesus, his Saviour; his suffering from accidents and cancer has ended and he is at peace. 

His friend and pastor,

Bob Swann

Matthew 5:16  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

Mark your Calendar!

July 2-5, 2020:  BCY Assembly/BC Convention and Pastors and Spouses Retreat in Nelson, BC

July 2-3: Guest Speaker- April Yamasaki. April is an ordained minister with 25 years of pastoral ministry experience. She is currently the Resident Author at Valley Crossway Church and the Editor of the monthly magazine; Purpose: everyday inspiration. She also writes numerous articles online and in print on Christian living and spiritual growth and is the author of many books.

July 3-5: Assembly

 On-line Assembly:  May 21, 2020

 Banff Pastors Retreat:  Nov 2-5, 2020

 Keats Camps registration is now open! Go to https://keatscamps.com for more info!

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 senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

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.