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.
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.
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