BCY Regional Newsletter April 2024

Upcoming Events

BCY Pastor/Chaplain & Spouse Retreat | June 13-14, 2024—View Brochure

BCY Regional Assembly | June 14-15, 2024—View Brochure

Comings & Goings

A warm welcome to the following pastors:

Shirley Shek, Assistant Pastor at Westside Baptist Church

Shirley became a Christian when she was in high school in Hong Kong. She and her husband, Kan, moved from Hong Kong to Vancouver with their two sons and a daughter in late 2021, and have been part of Westside Baptist Church since then.

Shirley graduated from The University of Hong Kong and worked as a professional surveyor in land administration and property development for ten years. She then left her career to nurture her family. During her time as a full-time mother, Shirley deeply experienced the complexities and brokenness in marriage and parent-child relationships within many modern families, recognizing the need for spiritual healing. She also understood the importance of giving support to parents when they are facing struggles and challenges. In response to the parents’ and families’ needs, Shirley enrolled in the Master of Christian Studies program at the China Graduate School of Theology in Hong Kong to equip herself. She majored in marriage and family counselling and graduated in 2020. She began caring for those in need in the role of counselor, with special passion for guiding parents’ personal growth and family relationship.

Shirley truly believes that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring true and complete healing to people’s hearts. Therefore, she continued her study in the Master of Theological Studies program at the Canadian Chinese School of Theology (Vancouver), aiming to integrate psychology and counseling knowledge with the Christian faith. With her unique background, training, and amicable character, she endeavours to serve church communities and neighbours, leading them to Jesus for spiritual healing and renewal. She newly joins the pastoral team of Westside Baptist Church as an assistant pastor in March 2024.

Patrick Kwok, Assistant Pastor at Westside Baptist Church

I am Patrick, a vessel through which the grace of Jesus Christ has worked profoundly. My father was a Vietnam War veteran who had PTSD, and I lost my mother at the tender age of 16. These experiences have taught me to rely on God’s unwavering support when my parents were absent. My wife, Tien, and I have three children and a dog. 

My family stands as a testament to God’s faithfulness in the difficult times of my life. My calling to serve the new generation has led me to serve as a guidance counsellor in an international school, and a life coach in China, where I’ve had the privilege of guiding others toward God’s light in their paths. My family dedicated a decade to missionary work overseas, a journey not of my design but directed by God’s hand. I studied psychology and counselling, youth ministry training, and marketplace theology, which empowered me to respond to how God has used me to further His kingdom. My involvement in my current ministry position, especially among youth and teens in English and Cantonese congregations, is an ongoing testimony to God’s equipping and calling in my life. God has used me to foster environments where young souls can explore their faith, confront challenges, and embark on their unique spiritual journeys. Witnessing the impact of a Christ-centred approach on the youth has affirmed my belief in the vital role of church ministry in navigating life’s transition in formative years. I aspire to mentor, inspire, and empower the new generation to forge a personal relationship with Christ. In every aspect of my journey, from the depths of personal loss to the heights of serving others, I have seen the hand of God guiding and using me for His purposes. As I continue to walk this path, my heart remains steadfast in illuminating the way for the new generation, helping them discover their faith and purpose in embracing Christ’s unconditional love.

Monica McKinlay, Lead Pastor of Grandview Calvary Baptist Church

Rev. Monica McKinlay has just moved across town, most recently serving as Lead Pastor at Kitsilano Christian Community for five years. She is now back at Grandview Church on the Eastside of Vancouver, in the community that formed and ordained her in 2005. Monica graduated with a MDiv from Regent College and is also trained as a Spiritual Director. She loves to facilitate encounters with God for others 

through prayer, preaching, discipleship, and other spiritual practices. She is married to Malcolm, and they like to take long, summer cycle trips, plunge into the cold ocean, and drink chai tea together. Monica journeys as a contemplative and regularly takes silent retreats to sustain her ministry. She is grateful to be pastoring for over 12 years now.  

Lisi Schrottner, Interim Pastor at Kitsilano Christian Community

Lisi Schrottner is a first generation Canadian, growing up in the BC Interior with her Austrian parents and sisters. She grew up in the church and has always been interested in culture, history, languages, theology, and learning people’s stories. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies at Columbia Bible College, which included a

one-year internship in Indonesia with the Mennonite Central Committee. A few years later, having moved to Vancouver, she began her graduate studies at the University of British Columbia. Her research was on Second Temple Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls. During her time at UBC, Lisi began working at a nearby Baptist church. She served mostly in the worship and small group ministries, as well as in pastoral care—and she was preaching regularly. After graduating with her Master of Arts in Religious Studies, and after some time off, Lisi began working at Kitsilano Christian Community as the worship coordinator. Seventeen months later, she began her role as interim lead pastor and will stay until June 2024. 

Lisi is passionate about bridging the world of biblical scholarship with the life of faith, and encouraging the church in thoughtful and generous faith. She finds great joy in writing liturgies and curating meaningful worship spaces for those who are drawn to the person of Jesus. She is always learning to walk in solidarity with others, extending God’s radical welcome and seeking justice for marginalized communities and the earth around us. When she’s not thinking about these things, Lisi can be found reading (usually about these things), cycling, enjoying nature, or visiting her family and her wonderful fiancé, Andy. 

Brad Funnell, Lead Pastor at Berea Baptist Church

Brad was born and raised in Surrey, BC. He was invited to church by a friend when he was six years old, and he and his family came to faith shortly after that. After high school, Brad studied acting for film and television at Vancouver Film School. He spent most of his 

twenties pursuing a career in acting. He served his church by acting, writing, and directing plays, being a youth leader, and being a missions team member. At 29, Brad felt the call to ministry. He soon began studying at Pacific Life Bible College, earning a BA in Pastoral Leadership and Christian Apologetics. He is currently pursuing an MDiv at Carey Theological College. Previously, Brad served at Calvary Church in the Fraser Heights neighbourhood in Surrey, spending three years as a pastoral intern and seven years as the student ministries pastor. He and his family are excited to join the close-knit community at Berea Baptist Church.

Brad and his wife, Melissa, have three kids (5, 2, and 3 months). In his spare time, Brad likes chasing his kids while pretending to be a monster, enjoying parks and beaches with his family, exploring trails all over the Lower Mainland, visiting coffee shops, cooking, reading, and learning new skills (table making, bread baking, painting).

Greg Sumner, Director of Congregational Pastoral Care, New Life Community Baptist Church

Hi, we’re Greg and Colleen! We joined the team in January 2024 and will step into the role of leading the Care Ministry. Our focus will be supporting our New Life Church family through any physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges. This includes visiting congregants in their homes 

or in the hospital and connecting through phone calls. With the help of a team of volunteers, we also organize the monthly Abundant Joy Club meetings, as well as the making and distributing of freezer meals to support those in need.

Christopher Chu, Pastor of Children and Families at Trinity Baptist Church Vancouver

I grew up in Vancouver, BC to first-generation immigrants from Hong Kong. I had the privilege of growing up with seven foster siblings and an older brother. I currently live in Burnaby with my wife, Sunnie. After coming to know the Lord at 16, I went to TWU, Regent, and Carey for

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

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

Mark Kingston, Lead Pastor Calvary Baptist Church Gibsons, BC

My name is Mark Kingston. I’m from Oxford, UK. I have been married to Angela since 2005, and we have two sons, Isaac and Jasper. Raised in a Christian home, my parents were both from the Baptist tradition. Much of my early life was spent in Malawi, Africa, amidst a vibrant faith community with people from around the globe.

In the early 1980s in Malawi, my parents planted a church in our home, which eventually grew into a large Baptist Church that continues to worship today. I spent my teens and twenties in the UK and was baptised at 13 in an Anglican Church influenced by the Charismatic renewal movement of the late 1980s.

A pivotal moment in my faith journey was the three years I spent studying at Regent College. This period allowed me to grapple with my faith, and broaden my understanding and appreciation of God’s work in His world.

In November 2021, we embarked on a significant faith adventure, moving our family from the UK to Canada to work at Barnabas Landing on Keats Island. My work hosting and ministering to groups at Barnabas has reinforced my conviction that I am called to pastoral ministry. I began as solo pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in February 2024.

John Yu, Associate Pastor West Vancouver Baptist Church

Pastor JunDe Yu (John) was born in China. He studied at Shanghai Medical School and became a surgeon.  

He is married to his lovely wife, XiaHua Bao (Karen), and they have two adult children and four beautiful grandchildren. John and Karen moved 

to Toronto, Ontario in the 1990s where he worked as an acupuncturist at West Toronto Acupuncture Clinic.  

In 1994, both he and Karen gave their lives to Christ and were baptized in the Mississauga Carmel Alliance Church.

He went on to study at the China Evangelical Seminary in 2005, obtaining a Master of Pastoral Degree in 2009. He served as an elder in the Toronto Chinese Bible Church whilst studying. Pastor Yu then joined the Mississauga Chinese Baptist Church as Inter Pastor where he worked from 2009 to 2011.

In 2011, they felt called to missionary work in Japan. From 2011–2020, Pastor Yu worked in ministry, pastoring a Chinese congregation in a Japanese church (Tokyo Yodobashi Wesleyan Holiness).  

In 2018, Pastor Yu became an instructor of the Life of Christ theology extended education through S.E.A.N (Study by Extension for All Nations). He is still actively involved in this ministry education.

In 2018, he was ordained as Reverend JunDe Yu in Tokyo, Japan.

Pastor JunDe Yu joined West Vancouver Baptist Church (WVBC) in November 2022 as Interim Mandarin Pastor, and in January 2024, he became an Associate Pastor at WVBC.

Pastor Yu is passionate about sharing the gospel and the study of God’s word.

He leads Bible studies, preaches the word weekly, and spearheads numerous outreach programs—including home groups and a senior’s ministry. Pastor Yu enjoys jogging, table tennis, swimming, travel…

Aldo Zeng, Associate Bethel Baptist Church

Aldo grew up in mainland China, became a Christian in San Francisco in 1996 and immigrated to Canada in 1999. Right after landing in Vancouver, being led by the Lord, he immediately came to Chinese Tabernacle Baptist Church and served there until now. Aldo majored in Spiritual Formation at Carey Theology School. He graduated in 2022 

and served as a half-time assistant pastor at Bethel Baptist Church on the Sunshine Coast, from the beginning of January 2024.

Aldo graduated from medical school in China. However, after coming to North America, he became an IT guy. He met his lovely wife and got married in 2006. God blessed them with three children, two daughters, and a son. He has served as Sunday sermon translator, adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader since 1999. He is also a “choir spiritual director”—giving the choir a short speech after each practice every Sunday. The choir will have some spiritual guidance and encouragement. Literally, he was “preaching to the choir” for over 24 years.

Aldo always prays for the revival of God’s people. Seeing the lack of daily/regular spiritual practices (prayer, Bible reading, etc.) from brothers and sisters, especially among the Chinese Christians, he has the burden to pursue an education in the field of spiritual formation in order to be “a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season” (Matt 24:45).

Moving On–a heartfelt thank you for your ministry! Wishing you God’s richest blessings for the next chapter in your life.

  • Jack Borchert, Lead Administrative Director, retired from Summerland Baptist Church on December 31, 2023.
  • Christopher Chu, Associate Pastor, is no longer at Grace Community as of January 31, 2024.
  • Awlwyn Balnave concluded his time as interim pastor at Berea Baptist on February 29, 2024.
  • Michael Cheng, Associate Pastor at Grace Community Baptist Church, concluded his ministry there on February 29, 2024.
  • Greg Pearson, Lead Pastor, will conclude his ministry at FBC Victoria on March 31, 2024.
  • Stephen Bell, Executive Director and Lead Pastor, resigned from the Mustard Seed Church effective April 31, 2024.

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

BCY Regional Newsletter January 2024

The Pursuit of Balance

By Larry Schram

Everyone seems to be pursuing ‘balance’ these days, and many pastors in particular have joined the search. Apparently, those of us who are called to ministry are particularly unbalanced individuals! After reading extensively and visiting many websites claiming to have the right tools and advice, I can’t help but think of a children’s story. Do you remember the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes? The emperor was convinced by a fraud that he was wearing a beautiful set of clothes, but in reality, he was naked.

It took a small child to finally blurt out the truth—the emperor wasn’t wearing anything at all! Maybe we need a small child to blurt out the truth about our hunger for a balanced life.

Stop and think about this with me for just a minute. What is balance anyway? Is it not the Olympic gymnast perfectly balanced on a balance beam? Is it not the waiter balancing a tray of fragile glasses, filled to the brim, while skillfully maneuvering through a crowded room? Is it not the massive rock delicately balanced on a much smaller rock, defying gravity? Now, what do all those images have in common? Are they not all easily lost? All it takes is one slip, one moment of distraction, or one small earth tremor and balance is lost, and the result may be disastrous.

I know that is not really what we mean when we use the word balance. We talk about balance to describe our pursuit of a full life. Things like work, family, recreation, exercise, faith, spiritual formation, and rest need to be “balanced” so we can get it all done, and not feel guilty about what we haven’t done. There is just one small problem with this pursuit; it is just as fragile. All it takes is one sick child, one NSF notice, one traffic jam, or one conversation that begins with, “We need to talk” and our “balance” is lost.

Why do we hunger and search for this idea of balance? I think the reasons vary, but for many of us it is because we want control. We mistakenly believe that a balanced life means that we are in control of our days. As people of faith, maybe we need to remember that the only control we are called to pursue is self-control.

Interestingly, the Bible makes virtually no mention of the concept of balance, but it does talk a lot about seasons and rhythm. There are seasons in our lives where nothing is balanced—but we are, nevertheless, wildly joyful. There is also an invitation to a rhythm of life with our Lord that is contrary to the belief that we can do, have, and be it all if we only find the right, and preferably free, app.

This year, instead of trying to balance our days and weeks, let’s ask ourselves two questions:

1. What season am I in?

2. What is the rhythm of this day and week as I follow Jesus?

In doing so, we will not be able to ‘do it all,’ but we might just find some freedom.

Larry Schram

BCY Baptist Women News

Great Canadian Bible Study

Every January (or whenever it suits), Baptist women across Canada participate in a one-time Bible study. At that time, they also give a donation to a project that assists vulnerable women and children.

Great Canadian Bible Study 2024 “The Women at the Foot of the Cross” by Rev. Sandra Sutherland www.canadianbaptistwomen.com

Great Canadian Bible Study: First Baptist Church, Port Alberni on Wed Jan 24,2024 from 10:30-11:30am, for both men and women.

Great Canadian Bible Study: Trinity Baptist Church, Vancouver on Sat Jan 20, 2024 at 1:00-2:30pm. All women are welcome.

Island Women’s Day Away: hosted by First Baptist, Port Alberni on June 1, 2024. Guest Speaker: Darlene Oppel, Courtenay, BC. All women are welcome.

BCY Baptist Women’s Luncheon: on Fri, July 14, 2024 at 12:00pm, just prior to the BC and Yukon Regional Assembly from June 14-15 2024 at White Rock Baptist Church. The speaker will be Moreen Sharp. She is currently serving as the president of Canadian Baptist Women and as VP on the CBM Board. Previously, she was president of Women in Focus, then president of Baptist Women of North America. She most recently served as Executive Director of Baptist World Alliance Women.

New Pastors

A warm welcome to the following Pastors in the BCY Region:

Wayne Snider, Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church in Nanaimo.

We welcomed Wayne as he stepped into the role of Interim pastor at First Baptist Church Nanaimo and now are pleased to announce that he has accepted the role of Lead Pastor.

Alan Yu, Senior Pastor of Westside Baptist Church

Alan immigrated to Canada with his family from Hong Kong in 1987. He grew up in a non-Christian family and came to Christ in 1990 through the Chinese Christian Fellowship at the University of British Columbia, when he studied there. He was invited to join an evangelistic Bible study led by Pastor Gladys Tsang on campus, and accepted Jesus during the Bible study. 

Pastor Gladys invited him to join the newly-planted Westside Baptist Church. He was baptized in 1990 at Westside in its first baptism and has been a member of Westside since.

Alan felt the call to full-time ministry soon after his conversion. After he graduated from university, he started studying part-time at Regent College. Two years later, he quit his professional job and started serving at Ambassadors for Christ in Canada, serving youth on campuses and in the community. While there, he had the opportunity to develop many creative ministry ideas—such as podcasts, worship discipleship, and a caring ministry through cooking. In 2009, as Pastor Anders encountered health issues, Alan started working part-time at Westside to share the ministry load. In 2011, he was called to become a full-time pastor at Westside, serving alongside Pastors Gladys and Anders. He was ordained in 2014. As Pastor Gladys and Anders retired, Alan was appointed the Senior Pastor of Westside starting January 2024.

Alan has been married to his wife, Constance, for 25 years. Constance was a computer programmer and a high-tech project manager and is currently working at UBC as a career consultant. Alan and Constance have three sons—Alpha, Archer and Aslan. Alan speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and English, and has forgotten his French learned in high school. In his spare time, Alan enjoys trying new recipes and watching Korean drama series. Alan is also known as an “Adult Fan of LEGO.”

Winsor Boggs, Youth Pastor at Hillside Baptist Church

About halfway through a BA in Philosophy at Wheaton College, Winsor realized his calling to ministry. His time studying existentialist philosophers—such as Søren Kierkegaard—emboldened him to make a genuine difference in the world, and his heart for teaching, mentoring, and proclaiming the good news led him to church ministry.

Although he was raised around the church, Winsor’s life drastically shifted when he fully accepted Jesus at age 18, and his life of ministry is meant to pass along that blessing as much as possible.

Winsor has a passion for the arts—first arriving in Canada from the United States with his wife, Abby Boggs, as she completed a Masters of Performing Arts at the University of Victoria. The Boggs’ moved to Vancouver in 2020 so that Winsor could study at Regent College. Winsor is nearing completion of his M.Div. Abby is currently the Arts Administrator at Regent College and a core member of the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Winsor and Abby have become Permanent Residents of Canada.

Naturally adaptable, Winsor has seen many sides of church ministry, having served as a Worship Pastor before his current role as Youth Pastor. The driving-forces of his ministry are opportunities to preach the good news of God, and one-on-one conversations. In his free time, Winsor likes to try different foods, learn new things, drink good coffee, play games, and go on long walks with his dog, Hazel.

Ken Radant, Pastor of West Vancouver Baptist Church

Hi all! I’m Ken Radant, and I’m the newly-appointed lead pastor at West Vancouver Baptist Church. This is an exciting, and also somewhat daunting change in ministry trajectory for me. (Your prayers are most welcome.) For the past 30+ years, I’ve served as a professor and administrative leader in seminaries here in Western Canada;

at Prairie Graduate School, Ambrose Seminary, ACTS/Trinity Western University, and most recently Carey Theological College. It’s been a privilege and joy to work in formal theological education. But God’s plans are full of surprises, and this past year He moved some levers, flicked switches, closed and opened doors—and now I find myself focusing on direct pastoral leadership. So, I’m launching into something that is both familiar and new, and am thrilled to be working even more closely with the leadership team in the church that has been my home for the past 5 years.

I’m blissfully married to Diane, with 2 adult kids living in North Vancouver and Victoria. Once upon a time, we were cat-owners, but now we’re empty-nesters in the fullest sense. I grew up in Calgary, where I developed a life-long love for the outdoors. When I’m not in the office, I enjoy music and wilderness/water sports including skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, mountain biking, and especially kayaking. I guess that means the Vancouver North Shore is the right place for me!

BCY Pastor/Chaplain & Spouse Retreat

June 13-14, 2024 | White Rock Baptist Church

View the Brochure and Register

Photos from the BCY Region

A few moments caught on camera…

Chaplain Chuck Harper, North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy

Nate Collins Ordinaton Service at Hillside Baptist Church

Larry Schram preaching at Berea Baptist Church

Rebecca Thornber’s Ordination service at First Baptst Church Vancouver

Jessica Lee’s Ordination service at Makarios Evangelical Church, Shannon Youell saying a few words.

Chaplain Dennis Kirkley’s Ministry at the Vancouver Airport Chapel hosting an Open House.

Kyung Baek and Larry Schram at Living Hope Fellowship.

Worship at Living Hope Fellowship

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

BCY Regional Newsletter September 2023

Reconciliation & Healing Across the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading…

Update from FBC Vancouver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keats Camp Update

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

What are the campers saying?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jordan Chong, Executive Director

Comings and Goings in the BCY Region:

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

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

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

Ben Ewert (First Baptist Church Vancouver)

Scott Hemenway (New Life Community Baptist Church)

Neil Jongbloed (Living Hope Fellowship)

Alvin Jordon (Trinity Baptist Church)

Bob Jones (West Point Grey Baptist Church)

Tom Mei (West Point Grey Baptist Church)

Upcoming Events

BC & Yukon Baptist Women | 2023 Autumn Celebration

View event details and download registration form here!

 

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

BCY Regional Newsletter June 2023

We warmly welcome the new pastors in the BCY Region:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jenny Penner – Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church Vernon:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christopher Chu – Associate Pastor at Grace Community Church:

Hi CBWC Family,

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

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

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

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

Feel Free to Connect!

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

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

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

Simon Burin – Pastor at New Life Community Baptist Church:

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

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

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

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

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

Farewell:

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

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

Praise Report from Vancouver Chin Baptist Church:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BCY Regional Newsletter March 2023

Ministry News

Introducing New Pastors:

Mr. Silas Kittikundamrongpon, Youth & Young Adults Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church
My name is Silas Kittikundamrongpon. I was born in Chiang Rai, a small town in Northern Thailand. I was born into a Christian family. My father was a pastor, and my mother was a school teacher. I also have one younger sister.

Looking back, growing up in a devout Buddhist country taught me much, laying the foundation for the future in terms of cultivating relationships and sharing the gospel with people of different faiths. My family and I moved to Australia in 2004, and I was baptized there in my teenage years. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 2018. I moved to Vancouver to pursue education in Theology at Regent College, graduating with a master’s degree in Theology at the end of 2022.

I joined Trinity Baptist Church in early 2023 as a pastor of youth and young adults. I love the scene in Revelation 7 depicting the multitude of every nation, tribe, people, and language coming together before the throne of God. I see Trinity as a small glimpse of that; people of different backgrounds coming together in unity. I enjoy the presence of the younger generations, cultivating relationships and growing deeper together in the knowledge of the Lord. I am fascinated by contemporary youth culture, including its many opportunities and challenges. I am excited to see and participate in what the Lord is doing in such a time in history. I enjoy reading and collecting books. I am in the process of building my own library in my study.

Dr. Luz Figueroa, Family Pastor at West Point Grey Baptist Church
Dr. Luz Figueroa is the founder and director of Entre Niños—a ministry with global reach. Luz has a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation from Carey Theological College. She also has the Master in Divinity equivalent and a Doctorate in Theology and Leadership from Bethel Seminary. She has served as a children’s and family ministry pastor, speaker, writer, 

and academic professor. She is passionate about education and the Christian spiritual formation of the family. She resides in Vancouver, BC, with her husband José. They have two married children and are the proud grandparents of two of the sweetest granddaughters and one adorable grandson.

We welcome back these pastors who are serving in an Interim role:
Rev. Awlywn Balnave at Berea Baptist Church
Rev. Bob Bahr at West Vancouver Baptist Church

Fond Farewells:
Pastor Mike Oshiro for 15 years of ministry at The Forge Church
Rev. Chris Kibble Interim minister at West Vancouver Baptist Church

We were saddened to hear the news that Heritage Mountain Community Church voted on the closure of their church and ministry after 21 years of faithfulness serving the community of Port Moody. They had just recently affiliated with the CBWC after years of looking for a denominational home. We rejoice in the many hearts and lives touched by God through their ministry being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Upcoming Event!

Transitions

By Grace Wulff

This week it will be three weeks since I “retired.”
I really don’t like that word; it sounds like I’m tired… And although that is true, I’m seeing this season of my life as changing gears, transitioning.

Retiring from ministry or any life’s calling is foreign to me. I’ve long believed (and have been told) that we follow our calling for life. There is always service to be done, a purpose to life. But I have stepped back from the intensity of my position as a hospital chaplain and am taking a rest.

Or at least that is my intent! I think of other major transitions in my life—the day I became a widow at age 37, and my life as I knew it was finished. It took time to grieve, to mourn, and establish a new normal. Remarriage was another big transition. When my hubby and I found ourselves without work in our early fifties, we faced another major shift, a challenge to learn new skills; he started a painting business, and I found myself led to a ministry role.

These transitions didn’t come without feelings of loss, grief, learning, adjustments, and at times, even depression. So, I’m not surprised to find myself on this new journey with all of its emotions.

Major transitions can be very unsettling. I’m finding this to be true, all over again. Life feels sideways, even upside down. The familiar has changed. Who am I in this place? I remember, as a new widow, thinking, “Am I still married… or not?” It can feel discombobulated. Yes, that is how I feel. I like that word!

I’ve watched many reach this step of “retirement,” some with absolute joy and anticipation, where others take time to find their way. There is a loss of identity, and even purpose. But there is also relief.

I want to be intentional about this journey. I will read and learn more. I want to move and be active. I want to nourish my connections with family and friends. If there have been painful conclusions, there must be time for process, for counselling, for forgiveness.

I want to grow in my spiritual life, to go deeper. I want to find time for creativity. But yes, there is also time for naps. It doesn’t all have to be done today.

Who knows what the next steps will be. I’ve been encouraged to take a sabbatical, a step back, a time for deep rest and freedom from responsibilities.

And then, I will trust God to guide the way. I think of Moses leading the people of Israel at age 80. There are many authors who started their writing careers in their seventies. I know many who continue to serve and teach, to counsel, to provide spiritual direction, and to be active in ministry, no matter their age. There is a world of possibilities.

So, instead of saying I’m retiring—I’m relearning, and I’m resisting the notion that I’m done. There are new beginnings as I transition into a new phase of life.

This past year my word was joy. I tried to start each day with the words, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I want to continue that. My word for 2023 is “Hope.” I am thankful we can live each day with hope, whatever tomorrow will bring.

“See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?” ~ Isaiah 43:19

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

BCY Regional Newsletter December 2022

With

By Larry Schram

It is hard to imagine a more welcoming word than with. Think of the people you love the most, and then imagine being with them. Consider family coming home for Christmas, loved ones returning from long trips, holding hands with your soul mate, or cuddling a newborn. Think of the surprising joy of seeing someone you love—but believed was half a world away—suddenly walk into the room, and knowing they came to be with you! 

That is the power and the gift of with. It drives our lives, directs our choices, and stirs our souls as we try and express its beauty in poetry, art, and music. Lack of with, on the other hand, generates fear, disease, and aloneness. Simply put, lack of with throughout the global pandemic, made many people unwell and revealed that with may very well be one of the most powerful needs of our lives. 

It is also one of the most life changing gifts of Advent. 

Theologians love to use words and phrases rooted in ancient wisdom and languages to describe complex truths, especially during this season. Words like incarnation, epiphany, kenosis, nativity and hypostatic appear regularly and these words represent important truths for those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus. But there is one word that describes the heart of Advent, and you don’t need a crash course in theology and ancient languages to understand it. It is the word with. 

Let me explain. 

When Matthew describes for us the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus, he quotes the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and ties in a crucial verse of scripture, declaring that in the birth of Jesus, God is with us. This is far more than poetic marketing or the overactive imagination of someone who is clearly fixated on the Old Testament. Matthew wants us to understand that in the person of Jesus, God came into the world for one express purpose—to be with us. Let that truth settle into your heart and soul, because when we really grasp it, everything changes. 

Think of some of the soul-stirring truths of the New Testament and how often they highlight the message of with. Think of John 3: 16 and the description of God’s love for this world, or the last section of Romans 8 and the incredible declaration that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Or think of our adoption as children of God and the life changing gift of abiding in Jesus. All these truths, and the gifts they represent, are just the unfolding of this incredible core truth: Jesus is really with those of us who know Him, and nothing can stop Him from being with us forever. 

The little word with takes the deep and complex truths of Advent and scripture and moves them from technical doctrine to heartwarming grace and love. Make no mistake—that is why Jesus came. He moved heaven and hell to be with us…to be with you. May that gift—and the truth it represents—warm, restore, and heal your soul in fresh ways this Advent season. 

Immanuel – God With Us

By Marleen Bahr

Sometimes I tremble
At the challenge of the journey ahead.
Will it be smooth or rough, short or long?
Will there be strength and wisdom
To conquer each unforeseen turn,
Courage enough to claim His presence
And respond in positive song?

When I’m tempted to complain
Or crumble under the pressure at hand
I’m reminded of Mary.
She must have trembled in dismay
As the message of the angel invaded every corridor
Of her quivering heart and questioning mind.
Gripped by conflicting human emotion she grapples with the truth:
“God in human form – developing within me!”
Her response is astounding: “I am the Lord’s servant…
My soul praises the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Mary’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem must have been a roller-coaster experience;
Extreme weariness, body wrenching pain and heavenly rejoicing.
From Bethlehem to Calvary, from the empty tomb to the Ascension
She must have been torn between hanging on to her son
And letting go of the Divine Immanuel.

Mary was there with the early disciples
To wait, to pray and to experience the coming of God’s Spirit.
Mary was there to carry on the work of love her child had begun.
I, too, want to be available to carry within this human form
The gift of God’s love to a hurting world.
As God was with Mary He will be with me!
“Immanuel, God with us!”

Marleen Bahr is a member of West Vancouver Baptist Church, with ministry to Women. She is an accomplished poet with several self-published books.

Retirements

We honor the following ministers for their tireless perseverance in serving our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for your faithfulness, the many prayers, the numerous seeds, and for the hope and encouragement you shared with those touched by your ministry. You have truly made a difference and we thank God for you. Wishing you God’s richest blessing as you move into retirement.

  • Les Clarke, Pastor of First Baptist Church Penticton (Nov. 30)
  • Allan Walker, Pastor of Qualicum Community Baptist Church (Nov. 30)
  • Laurie MacKay, Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church Vernon (Dec. 31)
  • Del Riemer, Pastor of Summerland Baptist Church (Dec. 31)
  • Grace Wulff, Chaplain of Vernon Jubilee Hospital (Dec. 31)

Introducing our New and Interim Pastors

Derek Baker, Interim Pastor at Riverdale Baptist Church

My name is Derek Baker, and I am the interim pastor at Riverdale Baptist Church in Whitehorse, Yukon. I along with my wife, Jenny and my two teenagers, Em and Dawson are from New York State.  We came to the Yukon 15 years ago with SEND International as church planting missionaries.  Some of my favourite things to do are cooking, hunting, and fishing.  Riverdale Baptist Church became our church home over 3 years ago, and I was incredibly honoured that they called me as their interim pastor.

Wayne Snider, Interim Pastor of First Baptist Church Nanaimo

Wayne served as pastor of the Cranbrook Fellowship Baptist Church in Cranbrook BC, then as pastor of Armstrong Bible Chapel, in Armstrong BC. In late 2020 Wayne stepped back from ministry and moved to Nanaimo, so along with his wife Rita, they could come alongside their daughter Sarah and her family as Sarah battled cancer. Wayne responded to a call from FBC Nanaimo to step into a part-time role as Interim Co-Pastor, starting on Nov. 1, 2021 and again on Sept.1, 2022. Wayne and Rita have a son living in Victoria, a daughter in Calgary, and a son-in-law in Duncan, who is also a great dad to their 3 grandkids. In his free time Wayne loves spending time with family, drinking coffee with friends, riding motorcycles, and walking his dog, Angel.

Laura Nelson, Interim Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church Gibsons  

Laura is no stranger to the CBWC, having been involved in a variety of capacities. Prior to her retirement in June 2021, she was the Lead pastor at Olivet Baptist for 12 1/2 years. Since then, she has been involved in ministry as an Interim Pastor. She has been with Calvary Baptist since May 2022. A notable fact about Laura is that she has written a book called, Avoiding the Potholes: Preventing Clergy Sexual Misconduct.  It is her prayer that she can be of encouragement and help to those who are struggling in this area.

Crystal Campbell, Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church Prince George

I became the Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church-Prince George in July 2022, with a focus on the Sunday worship time and volunteers, along with preaching in the regular rotation. I am not sure which part of my ministry is my favorite: getting to know people, planning worship, being part of music teams, or preaching…. It is all pretty great! That said, I am also still so new, that everything is an adventure at some level. I am currently looking forward to advent, so Christmas is on my mind! 

On a personal note, my husband Ray and I have been married for 23 years. Ray works at the local correctional facility, and Sundays off are not that common, but when he is there, he is often onstage helping with music as a vocalist.   We share a love of music, labradoodles, and games of all kinds (online, ttrpg, board… if it is a game, we will play it! except Monopoly. I will not play monopoly). Oh, and we both love a good dad joke and terrible puns.

Stephanie Fehr, Pastor at Olivet Baptist Church

Stephanie became Lead Pastor at Olivet Baptist Church in New Westminster, B.C. on November 1st, 2022.  She moved to B.C. in October with her husband, Scott. and two children, Margot (6) and Jameson (4) from Edmonton, AB.  For the last 9 years, Stephanie has served as Pastor of Worship Arts and Discipleship at Greenfield Community Church in Edmonton, which has been her home city since she was a child.  Growing up as a pastor’s kid herself, Stephanie always felt a burden for the church and sensed God’s calling into ministry when she was 15 years old.  That calling led her to serve in a variety of church ministries and pursue theological education, including a Master of Divinity from Taylor Seminary (now called Kairos).  She is passionate about the church gathered and scattered and hopes everything we do as the body points people to the love of Jesus Christ.

Deb Judas, Associate Pastor at The Neighbourhood church

Deb Judas is currently serving as an associate pastor at The Neighbourhood Church in Surrey and Burnaby, BC.  As well, she is the Director of Formation for Forge Canada – also a relatively new role for her.  Deb has served in pastoral ministry for more than 20 years in various roles including discipleship, worship, and interim pastoring.  Her passion is for the next generation and she has served in camp ministry as well, creating and implementing leadership training programs for summer staff.  Soul care and holistic spiritual formation are also an area of passion for Deb and she has her own side business called Creating Space that offers retreats, workshops and coaching.  Before coming to serve at the Neighbourhood Church, Deb was very privileged to be involved as a co-pastor in merging two churches from two different denominations, working with both Elders Boards and staff to establish a healthy and thriving new church. It was an absolute delight to see how God orchestrated things and brought unity between the two congregations.
Deb is a graduate from the Centre for Spiritual Formation and holds a Master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from Carey Theological College.  Her vocational ministry has spanned through various churches and denominations, but she feels excited to have come full circle back to CWBC which is the denomination she grew up in.  Deb is married to Walt and together they have three grown children, two of whom are married, and their latest greatest joy is their two grandchildren. They are keeping the airlines in business traveling to see all their kids. Deb loves tennis, cycling, fitness, travel, reading with a good cup of coffee as well as finding the best plate of nachos around the city.

Jon Emanuel, Pastor of Mill Bay Baptist Fellowship

Jon was born and raised in Louisiana and moved to the Cowichan Valley in 2017. Jon has been involved in full time ministry for over 10 years and is excited for the season ahead as Lead Pastor at MBBF. He is committed to reaching out to the “farthest person out” with the gospel and love of Jesus Christ. Jon also loves to lead worship on occasion. Outside of work, Jon can be found with his lovely family. He and his beautiful wife, Amanda have three children and enjoy frequenting local hikes, beaches, and markets. Jon also enjoys woodworking and DIY projects.

Aden Mari, Youth Pastor at Summerland Baptist Church

Aden grew up in Lloydminster Alberta for the majority of his childhood. It was there that he committed his life to Jesus at Pleasant View Bible Camp in 2012. He then got plugged into First Baptist Church in Lloydminster and began to feel like God was calling him to be a pastor. After graduating High School, Aden then went to Briercrest College where he received his BA in Christian Ministry. Aden then moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and worked at a church called Lakeview Church for five years. After his time at Lakeview came to an end, Aden’s brother who works at Maple Springs Bible Camp informed him that Summerland Baptist was looking for a Youth Pastor. The more he learned about SBC and interacted with their people, the more he felt God pulling him to head there next. The feeling was mutual, and in August of 2022 Aden moved to Summerland to begin serving as their Youth Pastor.

Lorne Willms, Interim minister at Qualicum Community Baptist Church

Lorne is starting his ministry at Qualicum on December 1. Over the years he has given himself to serve the church and desires to see healthy, vibrant churches that engage in their community. Lorne has his MDiv in Pastoral Ministry and more recently has been continuing his education by taking courses in transitional ministry. He’s been active in transitional ministry in Alberta and BC these last 3 years and now looks forward to serving at Qualicum with his lovely wife, Heather.  Lorne is a sports enthusiast and admits he is a Canucks fan – but don’t hold that against him =). He’s recently became a pickleball player in addition to all the other sports he enjoys. An exciting news item within the Willms family is that they have just welcomed their first precious grandchild into their family circle.

John Lunn, Interim Pastor at Fairview Baptist Church

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

BCY Regional Newsletter August 2022

Trinity Baptist Church’s Inaugural AIA Basketball Summer Camp

Alvin Jordan, Pastor of Children and Family Ministries
Trinity Baptist Church, Vancouver, BC

What a privilege it was to host a children’s summer Basketball Camp from July 4-8, 2022! We teamed up with “Athletes in Action,” a ministry of “Power to Change” which runs Christian sports camps all across Canada. Two coaches were provided by AIA, who worked alongside the 12 volunteers from Trinity Baptist Church, to not only teach basketball skills but to help campers grow physically, socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Congregational members also helped as part of the snack team, with billeting and feeding the AIA coaches, and as prayer warriors who interceded for our whole camp.

This camp was designed to be an outreach camp, so I was very intentional about personally inviting community kids who 1) do not know Jesus, and 2) were kids from the community whom I could follow up with. There were many school yard conversations with other parents and flyers handed out at the public elementary school my kids attend. We had 26 kids registered out of the maximum 30 kids we could have registered, with many of coming from the local school! Out of the 26 kids registered, 17 indicated they do not belong to a church, so 2/3 of campers were unchurched. There was also an excellent ratio between kids and coaches —2 to 1 in fact!—meaning the campers all had personal, individual coaching and attention.

Our camp was a full day camp from 9am to 3pm. For the volunteer team, we started each day with a devotional and prayer; we prayed for the kids that they would know Jesus. After doing morning basketball skills, we had a teaching time, splitting into small groups. We went through a booklet called “More Than a Game” which introduced the children to God.

On the last day of camp, I shared the gospel message with the whole group and invited everyone to pray with me a prayer to know Jesus. The response was very positive. Many of the campers indicated to us on a form that they would either like to “know more information about Jesus” or they “chose to know Jesus for the first time.” I look forward to following up with kids and parents.

It was great working with “Athletes in Action,” getting to know and billet the 2 AIA coaches and seeing the enthusiastic support of the congregation in various aspects of camp. It was a great camp filled with lots of basketball skills and games, new friends and new learning about God for most of the campers.

This basketball camp was intentionally scheduled in early July as an outreach and lead up to our VBS-style “Kids Bible Adventure Week” in August. Within days of the AIA basketball camp finishing, almost 25% of the unchurched campers have already registered for our VBS kids camp. I anticipate more basketball campers joining “Kids Bible Adventure Week” in mid-August! To God be the glory! Awesome to see what God is doing in these young lives!

North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy 

Being Truthtellers and Peacemakers in the Heart of the City July 2022

One morning, as we sat across from each other reading our Recovery Bible and discussed one of the steps to moving forward with faith addiction free, one person shared about being stabbed in the head and trying to move forward with their life. Another shared how since accepting the Lord, the voices in their head are getting less and less. This person is not a regular volunteer in our ministry, and I had the privilege of performing their baptism. Unfortunately, it is a rare occurrence when you can tangibly see people moving forward in their faith.

Recently, I was in one of our parks looking for someone who I have been helping. I was speaking with a bylaw person regarding this, when an older gentleman stood behind listening. He then began to complain about the garbage in the park and the homeless. He referred to our homeless population in a way that meant they should be disposed of, much like the garbage they create. I can only say that the Lord and His grace enabled me to respond, rather than react, to this man who also is in need of a saviour. I often get asked how we can continue to feed, serve and love our marginalized population? I can only say that it is by His grace and recognizing these are our Lord’s children. I, too, was once one of these homeless folks. As I hear and find out about the high death rate among our homeless population, I also say we need prayer. Our front-line workers need prayer, many who are not Christ followers. I also say, “It ain’t working folks!” The system is failing us all. Harm reduction and safe supply may stop someone from over-dosing or dying, but they are still in the midst of addiction. We need more recovery, detox and supportive living homes.

This is a big topic, with lots of varying viewpoints. As the church, as Christ followers, we have the answer. Simply put, we have Jesus. And we can share His love with others in very simple and practical ways. On and off the streets, people are dying from drugs that are designed to kill. Our ministry gets to walk alongside our homeless men and women. By building relationships, we are getting to share the love of Jesus in real and practical ways. We even get to use words sometimes. Find a way in your own family, church and community to reach out and love someone in Jesus’ name. You may save a life.

Thank you. God Bless,

Reverend Chuck Harper, C.Min.

BCY Women Autumn Celebration 2022

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

BCY Regional Newsletter May 2022

Upcoming Events

Island Women’s Day Away

Saturday, June 4th, 2022
10am – 3pm at Mill Bay Baptist Fellowship

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Comings & Goings Within the BCY Area

Axel Schoeber will be ministering as part time interim pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church Victoria

Bob Jones is serving as part-time interim pastor at West Point Grey Baptist Church

Melanie Ihmnels is the new Hospitality Pastor/Manager at The Mustard Seed Street Church, Victori

Cecil Kleu is now full time Next Steps Pastor at The Mustard Seed Street Church, Victoria

Drew Snider is the Interim Congregational Pastor at The Mustard Seed Street Church, Victoria

Mark Wong is the new Associate Pastor at Westside Baptist Church

A HUGE thank you and appreciation to the following for their dedicated service and ministry!

-Joy Banks, Associate Pastor has resigned from Grandview Calvary Baptist
-Joan Dosso, Worship and Arts Pastor has resigned from Emmanuel Baptist Church Victoria
-Stephen Hasbrouck, Senior Pastor, Fairview Baptist Church has moved on to Baptist Housing as Chaplain
-Andrew MacDonald, Associate Pastor, New Life Community Baptist Church has moved on to a ministry call in California
-Stefano Piva, Lead Pastor of West Point Grey Baptist Church has resigned
-Sean Lewis, Lead Pastor of The Mustard Seed Street Church has resigned
-Philip Wambua, Youth Pastor of New Life Community Baptist has resigned
-Ken Nettleton, Lead Pastor of New Life Community Baptist Church has moved to Alberta and is now a chaplain in Calgary
-Wayne Snider, Interim Pastor at FBC Nanaimo has resigned
-Garth Borthistle’s transitional contract has been completed at FBC Nanaimo

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

BCY Regional Newsletter February 2022

Clarity, Please

Larry Schram, BCY Regional Minister

I love clarity and I know I am not alone in my appreciation. Indeed, multiple times a day, I am engaged in conversations and ministry appointments that are all about clarity—the pastor wrestling with their ministry placement, the church struggling with best practices amid Covid protocols, and inquiries exploring ordination are all about finding clarity. A church questioning the process around our Identity Statement, the local church elder who wants help discerning how to respond to a church conflict, and the seminary student questioning biblical interpretation—all are seeking clarity. Almost every day as a regional minister, I wrestle with questions from someone pursuing clarity. Is autonomy really a biblical value? How do we know if something is a disputable matter or not? Why do different Baptist associations hold different positions on some issues, and yet all claim that they are being biblically faithful? We seem to be living in a time when clarity is fervently sought.

I believe that clarity is also important to Jesus. When I read the gospels, I see how time and time again, Jesus brought clarity to those who listened to Him. He challenged the teachers of the law who confused people with their complex and self-serving interpretations. Instead, Jesus often brought absolute clarity about God’s intentions. He also made it crystal clear that anyone who chose to follow Him would not fit into the surrounding culture very well. He was very clear about why He came and what His purpose was in coming. Further, He was shockingly clear that the whole purpose of anyone who chose to be His disciple was to be a servant in the Kingdom. I love that clarity, even if I don’t always like its implications in my life.

I love it so much that it has become part of my daily prayers: “Jesus, grant us clarity about what you desire and what really matters.” I believe that Jesus is the only one who can bring clarity about what really matters in these confusing and challenging days. Candidly, I don’t always get an instantaneous answer to my prayer, but one thing always becomes clearer: I need to keep my eyes fixed on Him. When I do, I always find some clarity.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12: 1-3

Please join me in praying daily that Jesus will grant clarity to these three areas of need:

Our Ordination Prep Candidates

  • Greg Pearson – FBC, Victoria
  • Diana Zhao – Joy Fellowship, Vancouver
  • Jasper Song – University Campus Baptist Church, Vancouver
  • Kent Dixon – Braemar Baptist, Edmonton
  • Tim Challen – Virden Baptist, Manitoba

May Jesus grant them great clarity on their pathway to Ordination.

Our Interim/Transitional Pastors:

  • Garth Borthistle at FBC Nanaimo
  • Scott Hemenway at New Life Duncan
  • Laura Nelson at Berea Baptist Church, Surrey
  • Chris Kibble at West Vancouver Baptist
  • Lorne Wilms at Mill Bay Baptist
  • Awlwyn Balnave at Olivet Baptist, New Westminster
  • Terrance Froese at Grandview Calvary Baptist, Vancouver

May Jesus grant them increasing clarity in their ministry settings.

Our CBWC Family of Churches as we prayerfully seek clarity on what it means to be a family of churches. May we all fix our eyes on Jesus.

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 2021

Good News

By  BCY Regional Minister, Larry Schram

Most news sources these days are filled with stories of death, disasters, missing persons, morally failed leaders, pandemic restrictions, and dire climate change predictions. Church prayer chains, likewise, request prayer for people battling health challenges, relationship breakdowns, Covid exposures, overwhelming grief and loss, and heated polarizations. In addition, my email inbox and messaging services overflow with updates and requests that cover all the topics above, only now it is very personal: I know the people involved.

It is no wonder that I come to the end of most days just wanting to hear some good news for a change. I am very sure that I am not alone in this desire.

As followers of Jesus, the phrase ‘good news’ carries two primary meanings for us. We know the Gospel is good news in all its expressions, and every time someone repents and believes this good news about Jesus, the angels in heaven rejoice. So do most of us, for this is miraculous grace. In addition, good news is information that comes to us as pleasant, positive, and a blessing that we can rejoice in. This is what I pray will occur for each of our churches and pastors these days. That we will regularly hear some good news of salvation, steps of faith, and answered prayer with the pleasant and blessed reminder that, despite all the bad news that fills our days, our Lord is still at work.

What follows are some reminders that our Lord is indeed still at work and that there is still good news to hear. Let’s rejoice in it and be quick to pass on all the pleasant and positive good news we can.

Larry Schram, BCY Regional Minister.

Baptisms – The Good News of People Immersing Their Lives in Jesus

Food Bank Drive – The Good News of People Helping the Hungry

Clark Taylor, First Baptist Church, Penticton, BC

A couple weeks ago, across BC, was the Thanksgiving Food Drive for the Salvation Army. Some of the youth and adults from Penticton First Baptist Church, along with Pastor Les and Clark, took part. We delivered about 200 bags on Wednesday after school. We returned early Saturday morning and picked up bags that had been left on the doorstep of homes. After filling the vehicles, we dropped them off at the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. The Food Bank collected over 11 000 pounds of food! It was a wonderful day of walking and gathering food, and our youth are excited to do more routes next year.

Affiliation – The Good News of People Joining the Family

By Paul Truman

This fall, Heritage Mountain Community Church is celebrating 21 years as a church in Port Moody. Ask any of them and they’ll share what the ministry direction ‘Form the Heart’ means to them. Pastors Paul Truman and Deanna Hackett lead by respecting the uniqueness of each heart and encouraging a lifestyle that cultivates relationship with God. As heart formation continued through the obscurity of the pandemic, the church was delighted to share in seven baptisms at Sasamat Lake in early September. Usually meeting in a performing arts theatre that reopened in October, they were delighted to be together again. This beach gathering was far more than seven people identifying with Jesus; it was a whole community sharing faith that God is continuing to form their hearts. Over the past years, the church has been discerning a denominational home where they can live the calling that God has given them. In June, the members voted unanimously to pursue affiliation with the CBWC.

Ordination – The Good News of People Saying Yes to the Call of Jesus

The first woman ordained by Trinity Baptist to the Gospel Ministry, Rev. Dr. Doris Kung-Poon.

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