Making Connections September 2021

Celebrate 100 Years of Camp Ministry at Gull Lake!

It is with great excitement and thankfulness that Gull Lake Centre celebrates its 100th anniversary on September 18th. Gull Lake Centre has been a pillar in the camp community over the years, providing a safe place campers could come and be challenged spiritually and make lasting relationships. The ripples of this ministry are seen throughout generations of people–– from young to old. Gull Lake holds a special place in so many lives. Below is just a small sample of these testimonies:

For Art Cole, 92, Gull Lake centre holds a very special place in his family’s lives––from his own father, who attend camp in 1924, to his grand and great-grandchildren who are currently still involved. For his part, Art remembers attending family camp with his kids when they were young, helping with several building projects throughout the years––including landscaping with his own farming equipment––and supporting the camp in various ways. To him, it was a place the kids could go to learn about the Lord, to bond as a family and be strengthened spiritually. Most significantly, Gull Lake was where his daughter, Faye Webber, met her husband, Bob. Gull Lake Centre had always been an important part of her life. When she passed in 2018, Art and his wife, Myrtle, decided to fund a new cabin in honour of her memory. Gull Lake Centre will always be a part of the Cole’s history and they are proud to leave this legacy.

I’ve been involved with Gull Lake throughout my whole life. My first camp as a child was Inter Boys sometime in the late 1980’s. I was a camper every summer throughout adolescence, including going through the LTD program and working as a cabin leader. I now am involved as a CBWC pastor and chaplain. I’ve attended Family Camps and was privileged to be guest speaker once. I’ve organized winter pastor’s retreats at Gull Lake. And most recently, this summer, I am sending all 6 of my kids as campers. I have been thrilled to see Gull Lake change and grow over the years through strong vision and hard work. It’s a very different camp today than it was a few decades ago, but it has always been a sacred space for me. Gull Lake was key in my spiritually formative years. It was a safe space for me to explore and discover my faith in God. It’s also where I made incredible life-long friendships and gained opportunity to lead and serve in ministry. I have always experienced rich, warm hospitality at Gull Lake and a strong sense that God is present at that camp. -Craig Traynor, CBWC Pastor and Chaplain

My name is Brittany Chorel and I have been a Gull Laker for 8 years. Here is a little bit about my experience at this place I call my second home.

My first experience at Gull Lake Centre was attending as a Sr. Teens camper in 2014. I continued coming back to Gull Lake as a camper, with my last year being 2017. Since 2018, I have been on summer staff and tried to be involved in as many retreats and winter camps as I possibly could. Over these last 8 years, I have made many fond memories at Gull Lake Centre, but these are a couple of my favourite ones.
One week while I was cabin leading during a Jr. Teens week, I was blessed with a cabin that got along very well. Throughout the week, we had made great memories together and had many deep conversations about God where the girls had asked difficult questions and been quite vulnerable with all of us. On the last night, while we were at campfire worship and as we were singing the last few songs, the girls in our cabin began to put their arms around each other and very soon become a tight circle. Neither myself or my LTD initiated this, but the girls on their own accord began to pray together. It was one of those moments where I could feel God’s presence and see His love reflected in each of them, as they tearfully lifted each of us up in prayer—with the sound of many voices singing praises to God in the background. It was such a beautiful moment to see the faith that these girls had and the love they shared for each other.

Another fond memory was at the end of an Inter[mediate]-aged week. There had been some division between the campers in my cabin throughout this week and it required some intentional effort to work through a couple disagreements. Because of this, my LTD and I wanted to do a unique activity on our last night of camp that would be memorable and bring all the girls together. The plan was to get bean bags full of chalk dust and have a colour fight. We put on clothes that could get dirty and headed out to the field to start our games. It did not take long before all the girls were laughing with each other, and very quickly it was as though none of the disagreements had happened as colour filled the air. Our cabin had so much fun covering each other in coloured dust and enjoying each other’s company. This experience allowed us to end the week on a positive note with a sense of greater unity amongst our campers.

To me, Gull Lake Centre is a home away from home. There is something about driving down McLaurin Lane, with the tall trees on either side, that never fails to bring a smile to my face and give me a warm feeling of comfort. I believe that it feels that way for me because of the culture the people here have created. After my first week as a camper, my mom asked if I wanted to come back next summer and my response was, “I don’t want to, I need to!” Looking back, I see this as a testament to how the people in this place made me feel like I really belonged and exemplified the love of Jesus for me.

The following summer, during a seemingly inconsequential conversation with my cabin leader about our favourite Bible verses, I felt a nudge from God, and I made the decision that I wanted to take my faith on as my own. Once I left that week, I began to take steps to continue to deepen my faith for I knew that was what I wanted after seeing the examples each of my leaders had set for me. Since then, Gull Lake Centre has continued to be a place where I have seen myself grow as a person and strengthened my relationship with God. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and encouraged to ask deeper questions about who God is and what it means to follow Him. I have gained a lot more confidence in myself and began to learn how I personally, best connect with God. As I came on staff, I was able to contribute to creating this same environment for the campers and other staff. I was able to pour into them as I continued to grow myself. This is why I have continued to come back to Gull Lake Centre and why this place has been and continues to make such an impact on me. I firmly believe that God has used Gull Lake Centre to point me back to Him so that He can work through me to further His kingdom.  -Brittany Chorel, Summer Staff.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Click here for more info on the 100th celebration!

Partner Spotlight: Giving Back – An Invitation from Beulah

Beulah Garden Homes has been caring for senior adults in Vancouver for over 70 years. Today, close to 400 residents call Beulah home, and for 70 others, it is their place of work. We are at a place in our organization’s journey where we feel truly and abundantly blessed.

In this context and over these many years, we have learned that good care for seniors—which at Beulah begins with providing affordable housing—blossoms vigorously with a model of health and well-being that springs from a holistic vision of spiritual care. 

Good spiritual care has to do with being alongside people in ways that recognize and respect their spirituality. It strives to facilitate that person’s ongoing search for meaning, purpose, hope and value. We have found that care which takes the mind, body and spirit of an individual seriously, has the capacity to transform and bless the whole community.

This kind of care also provides a strong alternative in purpose and identity—compared to the loss of connection and lack of meaning which has come to signal the ‘fearful on-set of ageing’ in our present times. Good care has the look of a gospel light in our society today.

Have you ever wondered what good ageing looks like?  Or how churches, caregivers, and families can foster a spiritual well-being that transforms not only the person but the community? How does good ageing contribute to the person and legacy?

In our quest for a training resource that values spiritual care the way we do, Beulah Garden Homes has come across an amazing 8-week Spiritual Care Training series through CHATCanada, which is the benchmark for scalable, internationally informed training for health professionals and volunteers alike. It is specifically designed to equip participants with the skills they need to offer thoughtful, relevant spiritual support to those involved in the ageing journey.

This course was created with the expert collaboration and participation of Professor John Swinton, a world-renowned expert in dementia and meaningful ageing and the founder of the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability in Scotland. Professor John Swinton is also a registered nurse for people with learning disabilities and is a registered mental health nurse.

We are happy to announce that Beulah Garden Homes and CHATCanada have teamed up to host and produce this series in an exciting hybrid seminar/webinar format. We invite you to join us in person or online through Zoom at Beulah Gardens every Wednesday morning from 9:30am to 11:30am starting September 29th.

You can also take this course as a localized group by gathering a cohort within your church, family, or institution to meet in one place and join us online. The shared experience of learning together, with online facilitation in the local context, will give you and your group a head start in creating a ministry of care for seniors that fits your circumstances and resources.

Jamey McDonald, CEO of Beulah Garden Homes, challenged staff this year to “figure out how to give back. If God gives us more than we need, it must be so that we can share it.”

We want to give back by sharing the blessing of this course, along with our warm welcome, for you to come and join us.

To register please visit us online at or contact us at

Watch the trailer at

 Heartland Regional Newsletter

Note from Mark Doerksen | Retired but Not Tired! by Wendy Thom

Donna Forster – Gateway Baptist, Victoria, BC

Written by Jenna Hanger

I trust that over the last many months you have been inspired by the “Humans of CBWC” stories shared in this publication. This month, you are being introduced to Donna Forster, a person who has literally put herself in harm’s way many times to care for and protect women who struggle with addictions and life on the street. Donna has been called to a ministry that few could do. She is fearlessly the hands and feet of Jesus to these women and their children. May her story push us just a little further out of our comfort zone as we all seek to answer God’s calling on our lives.     

-CBWC Executive Minister Rob Ogilvie

Donna Forster, 85, has lived the majority of her life in Victoria, BC. While her official career was as an assistant manager at a bank, Donna had another passion she pursued for twenty years—helping sex trade workers off the streets.

From an early age, Donna had a heart to help streetworkers. She watched her mother run a bawdy house, and seeing that and how the women were treated inspired her to help those that she could. From 1998 to 2018, Donna took part in a street ministry that her church ran. She got to know many women who worked the streets. Some came to know the Lord and were able to get out and start a new life; others weren’t as fortunate and their stories still weigh heavily on her heart.

One such story inspired Donna to write a book about the experience. Her book, titled Anne: Where Did the Sunshine Go?, is heavily inspired by a young mom whom Donna connected with about ten years ago—a woman who struggled with addiction, left an abusive relationship, and worked on the streets to feed her children.

“It was one of those cases where she was just such a wonderful, caring, young mom when I first met her, and her whole focus was her children. She came down to the streets because she didn’t have enough money to feed them,” Donna said. “She had no family or friends here, which is often the case with many of the women. They were out there to feed their children, basically.”

Donna has always had an interest in writing. She has written lots of poetry over the years and even wrote a book about her husband. This book was a completely different experience though. It took Donna a year and a half to write. She described the process as very painful, as it opened up a lot of old wounds. Having to revisit the story of “Annie” was difficult, but Donna believes it’s an important story to tell.

“I hope as people pick it up, they pass it on, and that they change their attitude [towards sex trade workers]. I think that would be best thing,” Donna said. “There’s more to everybody, isn’t there? When we look at a person, we look at one dimension. We don’t really—until we get to know them very well—we don’t really know anybody. It’s all just a façade. Everybody has a story, it may not be tragic, but it’s a story.”

Another thing Donna hopes the book will accomplish is to challenge the way drugs are handled. In her view, providing drugs and clean needles to addicts isn’t a healthy solution.

“I see that as telling our young people that they don’t matter. It’s like, ‘Let us help you do this,’ and drugs are so destructive. You watch a young person who is like you and I, and they get into the drugs. The change in them is so drastic. And people write them off,” Donna said. “I’d really like to see rehab for young people. Don’t make it easy for them [to take drugs] because they are worth something. Our way of helping is skewed.”

Donna isn’t near done telling these stories. On top of the other writing projects she is working on (a potential first book in a fantasy series for preteens, and a children’s book), Donna might put together another book which has mini-bios of multiple sex trade workers whom she has met and connected with.

“I’m 85. I don’t anticipate a major career in writing, but it’s fun. I enjoy it,” says Donna. She also continues to have friendships with some of the women whom she has helped on the streets during her ministry, having many over to her house for food and keeping in touch over phone calls.

Anne: Where Did The Sunshine Go? is available online at all major bookstores. Donna’s website has links to various sites to purchase.

If you or someone you know has a story they want to share with us, please contact We would love to hear from you!

#weareallCBWC #humansofCBWC

Banff Pastors & Spouses Conference

It has been a privilege to provide a space of sabbath for CBWC pastors and spouses for the past 44 years in one of the most picturesque locales in the world!  November 2021 will be our 45th year to gather together in Banff for restoration of mind, body, soul and spirit. Transformative worship, inspirational speakers, open afternoons, good food, great conversation, and deep rest. We hope you can join us!

Registration deadline is September 30, 2021. Click HERE to register.

Federal Election Resources

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has put together various resources to help churches with the upcoming election. Their website states:

Voting is one way Christians contribute to society and the public good. When we vote we recognize the profound influence politics has on the lives of all Canadians.

 Public policy impacts our lives, influences the way we interact with one another, and helps shape the care and protection offered to our neighbours.

Go to to view their resources which include:
-Election Engagement Kit 2021
-What churches can and cannot do during elections
-Election slides for social media
-Federal Elections: Faith, Voting and Political Engagement
-Related Civic Engagement resources

Transforming Polarized Conversations

Christian leaders across Canada are struggling with how to navigate increasingly polarized conversations with their congregations, families and friends. During seasons of change, it is common for perspectives to polarize and for people to struggle with talking well with one another. How do we, as Jesus followers, converse with divergent viewpoints and engage in active listening with a Christlike posture? What skills do we, as leaders, need to acquire to tackle tough conversations? Are there parts of our inner lives that need to be re-examined and addressed?

You are invited to a 3-session Zoom-based webinar series with Dr. Betty Pries who will offer a practical and engaging learning experience, offering tools and practices for transforming polarized conversations. Join other pastors and lay-leaders from across Western Canada in this online Zoom space to learn together about this timely and important topic. Dr. Pries will facilitate a Q & A following her presentation by using the Zoom chat function to offer engagement to those who are on the call. If you would like to submit your question in advance of the event, please email your question to .

To register, click here.

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections August 2021

SERVE 2021 Recap

SERVE, a traveling youth missions/camp experience, has been a vital ministry of our CBWC family for over 20 summers, demonstrating the love of Jesus through active service. As planning for the 2021 experience began, the challenge became maintaining the heart and core of SERVE, while adjusting how to go about it—and SERVE+ was born.

SERVE+ took place from July 8 – 11 as youth groups from across Western Canada discovered a mission field in their own backyards. For many of the groups, SERVE+ was their first opportunity to gather in-person in over a year. They ran day camps, offered free community car washes, painted lines on parking lots, pulled weeds, served at the food bank, fed farm animals, removed graffiti, and so much more. Each evening, groups gathered for a livestream worship celebration, hosted by White Rock Baptist Church, featuring powerful testimonies, a live band, special guests, crazy games, biblical teaching, and a challenge to join God on mission in our world. Then on Sunday morning, each youth group took part in leading their local church service, sharing about the impact of SERVE+ in their local communities and their lives.  

The “plus” in SERVE+ was meant to convey the hope that this year’s SERVE influence could be even greater than usual, as multiple communities were impacted for Christ. Praise God, this proved to be true. Story after story from our youth and their leaders confirm that God has been actively at work through this 4-day experience. Please continue to pray for the communities and lives impacted through SERVE+ this year. 

Click HERE to watch the highlights of this year’s SERVE+ event!

Making Connections is excited to announce that SERVE 2022 will be held in Nelson, BC from July 3-9.

Spotlight: Carey Theological College

Carey Theological College: Standing with CBWC Churches

As a ministry of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, Carey Theological College has been committed to preparing men and women as pastors, missionaries and Christian leaders in CBWC churches for decades.  We stand with you as you bring God’s Word to your respective communities.  Central to our calling as an accredited institution offering diploma, Master and Doctoral degrees is our highly-qualified and friendly faculty.

Welcome Professor Jimmy Chan

You met two of our recently hired faculty, Dr. Amy Chase, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (Old Testament) and Dr. Wil Rogan, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (New Testament) back in the December 2020 issue of Making Connections.  We are excited to welcome Professor Jimmy Chan as Assistant Professor of Theology who will be joining his faculty colleagues, Wil and Amy along with Dr. Colin Godwin, Dr. Joyce Chan and Dr. Ken Radant, beginning in August, 2021.

From an early age, Jimmy has known and felt the presence of God, having come to grow in his faith through various encounters and opportunities in Hong Kong as well as in Canada, including pastoring and ministering at several churches. Jimmy has served as a part-time pastoral staff member at Richmond Hill Christian Community Church in Ontario for the last five years. Serving as a Pastor of Fellowship Ministry in Intentional Discipleship Pathway, he has been responsible for a variety of ministries, including teaching, designing course curriculum and cultivating young and career adults.

We welcome you to connect with Jimmy come August!

Special Tuition-Free Offer to CBWC

Jimmy comes to Carey at an important time.  We have recently redesigned our academic offerings to now offer five distinct graduate degrees and four diploma programs.  Our starting diploma program can be completed in as little as two years of part-time studies without travelling onto campus.  We’ve also streamlined our application and financial aid process and reduced our total tuition costs to make your theological education pursuits more accessible.

Thanks to the support of faithful donors who share our vision, Carey is offering a tuition-free start to your seminary journey to all new students who are current members of CBWC churches.  It includes a full tuition waiver on the first three courses taken for credit in English and Chinese within your first 12 months at Carey.  Following that, exclusive CBWC financial aid offerings are available to eligible students to cover up to 100% of your tuition for the rest of your program.

We invite you to connect with one of our admissions advisors at Carey’s Office of the Registrar to find out more or start an application today to reserve your tuition-free start.

 Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

The Desire to Win | Adventure Day Camps | New Pastors

Returning from Exile Isn’t Easy

May 27, 2021 – Jonathan R. Wilson

As restrictions on church gatherings have eased in Canada, our initial euphoria may soon fade as we begin the hard work of rebuilding our congregations and our mission. Returning from exile wasn’t easy for Israel; it won’t be easy for us.

The life of many churches and Christians over the past year and more has felt something like “exile.” We must be careful with this narrative: it’s not clear that the pandemic was a direct judgment of God, nor is it only God’s people who suffered. Moreover, most of us were not displaced geographically, a factor that we must take very seriously. Otherwise, we risk diminishing the suffering of those who have been geographically displaced.

Nevertheless, with that caution in mind, the narrative of “exile” may help us place our disorientation and displacement. Certainly, there is a displacement in moving from gathering for worship in one physical place to gathering online. And many have suffered various losses.

So, the time of the pandemic has also been a kind of exilic time.

Now, we are gradually returning from the exilic-like time. As we do so, we may be prepared and guided by Judah’s return from exile. Among many I could choose, I will observe six dimensions of their return.

First, there will be opposition. One might think that the opportunity to return from exile—to reestablish life in the promised land, to gather once again for in person worship and mission—would be so wonderful that unity would prevail. It does not. The returnees and rebuilders of Jerusalem faced opposition within and without.

When that happens, we need to learn from Ezra and Nehemiah: set guards and keep rebuilding. That is, recognize the threats but keep focused on the main things.

Second, there will be nostalgia and regret. Returning from exile means things have changed and will continue to change. When the foundation of the new Temple was laid, Ezra tells us

11With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:

“He is good;
  His love toward Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away. (Ezra 3: 11-13)

I imagine something like that happening among our people. Many will gather for worship and mission in person, but others will continue as they have—worshipping online in pyjamas and eating breakfast. Many will give thanks that we are together once again; others will give thanks that they don’t have to change the habits they’ve settled into during the pandemic.

Both groups may be right. It was right for a new generation to shout for joy at the laying of the Temple’s foundation. And it was right for the older generation to weep as they recalled the “former glory.”

But there is no going back after exile; yes, Judah needed to remember rightly the causes of their exile and their time in Babylon. But when we return from an exilic time, we must go forward.

Third, rebuilding takes a long time, and it won’t look like it did. The work of building the Second Temple took more than twenty years, and the people often lost motivation. We are in rebuilding from the pandemic for the long haul. We must not be discouraged by lack of progress, and we must patiently overcome any loss of motivation.

Fourth, the leaders of Judah, especially Nehemiah, had to watch for oppression and injustice as the people returned from exile. He was not so focused on “getting things back on track” that he failed to listen to and care for the people. (Nehemiah 5)

Fifth, we have cause to mark the return with special celebration and even a continuing practice of recalling the time when we “returned from our exilic-like time.” As the exiles returned to Jerusalem, they gathered to hear the reading of the Book of the Law. As the people began to weep, Nehemiah spoke these words, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) It seems also that Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, was intensified after the return from exile.

What might be an appropriate celebration and annual practice that would remind us of God’s goodness to us?

Sixth, the mission of God’s people is in danger. For the people returning from the Babylonian exile, survival and precise faithfulness to their understanding of the law meant the gradual erosion of the mission of God’s people and the severe reduction of the identity of God’s people to the “politics” of the world. This manifested itself most clearly in the various violent rebellions that attempted to throw off the yoke of the Roman empire.

However, from this time we also get the promise of a faithful remnant and YHWH’s intervention to bring justice and free YHWH’s people (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). These promises are fulfilled in the coming of Israel’s Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who is also the Saviour of all who believe and the One under whom all things are being brought into unity. The mission of God’s people who return from “exile” is to be faithful followers of this Lord and bear witness to His reconciliation and peace in word and deed.

In this brief reflection, I have noted a few things that we might learn from Judah’s return from exile. There is much more to learn from Ezra, Nehemiah, and the prophets of this time (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi). May God grant us faithfulness in our continuing journey as God’s people.

Jonathan R. Wilson is Senior Consultant for Theological Integration with Canadian Baptist Ministries and Teaching Fellow at Regent College.

Rethink; Reimagine; Remission Cohort & Coaching Opportunities

It is likely no secret to any Christian pastors, lay-leaders and many churches that our world and our culture has and continues to shift rapidly. For us, the question is not, “How do we get back to the place where the church and Christian faith were central to society in general?” but rather, “In the midst of a changed world, how then do we, the church, re-engage our neighbourhoods, towns and cities as local missionaries called to be faithfully present to the people who live around us with the glorious story of God and His mission of shalom, salvation, reconciliation and restoration?”

Coming out of the success of the CBWC January Webinar, Allowing the Spirit to Reorient Us Around the Mission of God, staff at CBWC are excited to endorse three further opportunities for our churches and leadership teams to resource, strengthen and widen the ministry and mission of the local church in this rapidly changing world—both within the church and beyond into the neighbourhoods, towns, and cities in which we live, work, play and pray in.

Currently, there are three pathways to learning and coaching available and being offered to our CBWC churches. Each has been developed, facilitated, and taught by long-time CBWC pastors who love our denomination and family of churches. Joined by other gifted teachers and missional leaders, they bring their decades of experience to teach and coach church leaders, pastors, and lay folk, locally and far afield within cohorts. Their desire is to share with their family of churches from their wealth of knowledge and experience to equip our churches as we join God on His mission as local missionaries deeply rooted into our neighbourhoods.

If you are longing to learn and discover ways to re-engage your church with the community in which you are situated, but are not sure where to begin, there is a Pathway for you!

The Discovery Project is designed for those just putting their toes in the water and exploring what it means to join God on mission in their neighbourhood. Immersing ourselves in the text, we will explore what it means to bear witness to who God is through loving Him with all our hearts, minds, and strength, and by loving our neighbours as we love one another. Many leaders have gone through some missional training and are asking how they might help their people to “discover” some of the exciting opportunities presented to us as followers of Jesus in these difficult days. The Discovery Project is one response to this question. Facilitated by Cam Roxburgh, this Pathway will encourage a response and equip us for mission. 
There are 2 types of delivery systems:

1)    Church Specific: a weekend seminar that covers all the same material as the online option, plus the advantage of church specific input and consulting. The fee for this option is $1500 plus travel expenses. (We are working on possibly offsetting some of the travel costs for qualifying churches.

2)    Online offering of 6 sessions of 2 hours each. Cost is $59 per person or $300 per church. 6 weeks, bi-weekly from mid-September to end of November. This option is not church specific.

The Neighbourhood Project is designed for staff and lay leaders of churches who have been serious about exploring what it is that God is doing in the midst of the crisis the church is facing. Covid is but one of the issues that is causing the rate of change to accelerate and shining a spotlight onto the reality that much is amiss, and God is doing a new thing. This is good news. TNP is for a select number of leaders and churches that get the conversation and are wanting to not go back, but forward into what God is doing. This is a cohort of leaders journeying together with Allan Roxburgh, Cam Roxburgh, and facilitators from The Missional Network and Forge to:

  1. Learn to discern God’s activity in your neighbourhoods.
  2. Equip your people to join Jesus in your communities.
  3. Explore how to lead in disruptive times.
  4. Shape congregation life from Sunday-centric to neighbourhood-rooted.

This Pathway is an online offering which includes monthly sessions, one-on-one coaching with churches, and cluster cohorts. There are reading and experimentation expectations. Cost per church cohort is normally $3000, but with a generous grant we are offering it at $1500. An application process is required. Course begins September 2021 and runs through June 2022. This is filling fast, so register today!

Centre for Leadership Development – “Forming and Reforming Communities of Christ in a Secular Age: This three-year course in Missional Leadership is geared for congregational teams and individuals, offering both onsite or online accessibility and will resource, strengthen and widen the ministry of the local church. With Tim Dickau, Darrell Gruder & Ross Lockhart, plus many practitioner guests. Cost includes lunch for onsite and a private team consultation with Tim. Cost: $250 per person ($200 online). $500 for a group up to 5 ($450 online) per year. This course is geared for teams that have already determined the need to rethink church and are beginning their own internal culture change. Year 1 begins September 2021.

We believe this is the right time for churches to begin pursuing one of these Pathways, especially as we emerge with all we have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Talk to us about which Pathway is best for your church and leaders! Contact us to assess which Pathway is right for you and your church.

Shannon Youell
Director of Church Planting (and new initiatives)

Cam Roxburgh
Facilitator/Leader of The Discovery Project & The Neighbourhood Project

Tim Dickau
Facilitator/Leader CML course Forming & Reforming Communities of Christ in a Secular World

Ken Nettleton
Facilitator & Lead Pastor New Life Church, Duncan BC

Theology for the Ordinary Bookclub

One of my favourite recent television commercials comes from Kruger products, and it’s called Unapologetically Human. It’s about how all human beings have the need for paper products, each day, and in circumstances ranging from heartbreak to celebration.

Stan Grenz wrote that every Christian is a theologian, and that our commitment to the God revealed in Christ calls forth theological reflection. If you’re like me, that can seem like an over-reach and a bit daunting, something perhaps reserved for the ivory tower. Yet I have this nagging feeling that Stan was right; as Christians, we think about God, and sometimes we’re pushed into thinking about God, even when we’re not ready for it. As a parent, when your young child asks, “Will our dog Bernie be in heaven with us?” you are quickly ushered into either distraction mode or theological reflection. When you hear another report on your newsfeed about climate change, do you stop and think about creation care, about the future of God’s creation, and what a Christian outlook of creation care might look like? 

The CBWC has launched a platform called Theology for the Ordinary. We hope to cultivate a love of reading and reflection for pastors and congregants alike, ordinary people—if you will. Part of this initiative is a book club that will meet online, twice a year, to discuss a book that we’ve read together. We want to give enough notice so that you have time to acquire the book and read it, and then join in an hour-long discussion on the designated evening. 

The first book we will read is by Tish Harrison Warren. Tish is an Anglican Priest who has written a book entitled Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life. The book is about spirituality for ordinary people, and she uses the template of an ordinary day for spiritual reflection. She starts with waking up, and ends with sleeping, noting spiritual observations along the way, reflecting historically and theologically. She will make you laugh, and she will make you stop and think. If you’re interested, please read the book, and we will meet online on Wednesday, October 6th at 8pm CST. To receive access to the zoom link in October, you can email Cindy at Click here to sign up for Theology for the Ordinary newsletter.

In Memoriam

We extend our deepest sympathy and prayer to Pastor Jon Emanuel (FBC Nanaimo) and his family in the passing of his beloved wife Sarah on July 8, 2021, after a courageous battle with cancer. Sarah brought so much love into her family and so much joy to all who knew her. Please pray for Jon, children Miles, Evangeline and Oliver, and the Emanuel and Snider families, that they may find comfort, hope and peace in the days ahead.

In May 2020, we were blessed to have Sarah write a story for our Making Connections newsletter sharing how she found peace in the promises of God, as she processed her journey with cancer. 

Gladys (nee Davidson) Ogilvie
October 15, 1934 – July 13, 2021

Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with Rob and Bonnie Ogilvie and the family and friends of the late Mrs. Gladys Ogilvie who passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at the Parkwood Institute, enfolded in the love of her family. She is survived by her brother, David Davidson, and children David Ogilvie (Kim); Susan (Ralph) Weber; Bonnie (Joel) Vivian; Rob (Bonnie) Ogilvie; and Glenn (Ami) Ogilvie as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her sister, Evelyn Connor, her sister-in-law, Jean Ogilvie, and her loving husband, David, whom she had been married to for 59 years.
Gladys and her husband David pastored together for 30 years serving CBOQ churches in Jerseyville, Arkona, Burtch, and St. Lambert and leave a rich legacy of loving God and loving others. Gladys will be remembered for her deep Christian faith, her genuine and generous spirit, the twinkle in her eye, and her infectious zest for life. She will be deeply missed.

 A celebration of her life will be held in the Fall of 2021.

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections June 2021

Need Something To Look Forward To? Check Out Summer Camp!

It is no secret that COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s physical and mental health. Especially our children, whose in-person interactions and physical activities have been so limited over the past year and a half. This is why it’s more important than ever to make plans this summer that support healthy living and meaningful development, and what better place to start than at camp? 

While things might not be back to normal yet, CBWC camps have been hard at work coming up with creative camping ideas and preparing for this summer. Check out what your local camp has planned currently, and get involved!

Katepwa Lake Camp – Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask:

July 2021, Katepwa is planning to offer Summer Day Camps for the first time ever! This will allow them to offer a camping experience, while respecting the governments restrictions and keeping everyone safe. It will include tubing, zipline, rock wall, archery, swimming, crafts, chapel and much more.

The LIT program will be running as well.

In August, they are planning on opening their camp up for families to sign up for Family Getaways, with meals and activities provided. They will also be offering swimming lessons!

For more information check out their website:

Mill Creek Camp – Pincher Creek, AB:

Mill Creek Camp is running a mix of camp programs this summer, some in person and some online. Make sure to check out the different camps on their website:

There are a multitude of ways to be involved with Mill Creek Camp, and they are open to suggestions! A few ideas are to register for one of their summer programs, volunteer (painting, wood chopping, etc.), donate, book a family rental, or apply for a summer position.

Gull Lake Centre – Gull Lake, AB:

The theme for summer this year at Gull Lake Centre is “into the unknown”—a theme they say is “appropriate for our collective journey through COVID, but also our spiritual journey as we commit our lives to Christ.” There is hope that some of the camps will be able to run close to normal, as there is talk of restrictions easing this summer. With that in mind, Gull Lake will begin with three weeks of LTD camp, which will hopefully give time for overnight restrictions to be lifted. There is a back-up plan ready in the event that this isn’t the case. One thing is for sure though, there will be things happening this summer at Gull Lake!

For more info, go to their website:

Keats Camp – Burnaby, BC:

After a quiet summer last year, Keats Camp is excited to get things rolling again this summer! They are opening their camp up for eight weeks, for families to come experience camp life. They will take care of all the details so families can come and enjoy island life! Families can choose from a variety of activities, explore nature or just enjoy the chance to slow down. To learn more, visit their website:

Quest – Christopher Lake, Sask:

Quest has been busy making exciting plans for this summer! They are offering three weeks of day camps, family camps called Family Fresh Air Weekend, and just got word that they can offer overnight camp using tents! Campers will get the fun experience of having their own individual tents, set up in what they are calling TENT-A-CITY. Campers will be able to experience all traditional camping activities. To register, visit their website:

To hear more about the Quest and ways you can pray for them this summer, click here.

Camp Wapiti – Grand Prairie, AB

Camp Wapiti has been adjusting their plans as things change in the province. They are excited to run some form of camp this year, whether it’s hosting families for a camp experience or being able to run some sort of program. Check out their website for updates!

Spotlight: CBWC Foundation

The highly publicized, extra-terrestrial duo, “Perseverance and Ingenuity” launched on July 30, 2020, and after 6+ months of space travel, both the rover and tiny, robotic, solar helicopter landed safely on Mars. On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity boasted the first, powered, controlled flight on a planet other than Earth, and the team behind Ingenuity’s 3-metre, 39-second flight, logged thousands of manpower hours and invested $80 billion to make it happen. The short but triumphant flight is widely referred to as a Wright Brothers moment and is a critical step towards the viability of future human expeditions.

At the Foundation, we continue to envision a preferred future on prevailing and unfamiliar terrains. We imagine a lasting partnership with new donors whose extravagant gifts towards our Education Fund generates perpetual aid for current and next generation leadership. We imagine re-igniting a passion of converting family values into bursaries, similar to past legacy-givers like George Segerstrom, Margaret Kellough, Lynn Symington and Jack & Catherine Farr. We imagine churches accessing financing for building expansions that increase foot traffic, or for resourcing online platforms that open church doors to those who may not ever open one. We are ready for flight!

You’ve likely heard it said, “Necessity is the mother of invention” and as the Foundation re-invents itself, we remain committed to exploring optimal ways of combining financial expertise with financial resources. As Lincoln aptly wrote, “The best way to predict the future, is to create it,” and we believe, with God’s guidance, that teamwork, perseverance and ingenuity will get us there.

 Heartland Regional Newsletter

Season of Seeding | Ministry of Presence | Heartland Baptist Women Announcment

What Are We Planting Exactly?

By Shannon Youell

Models of church planting all have their season in culture and context. This is important, as we sometimes lament the future of the church. There have been innumerable books written, studies published and anecdotal stories surrounding our malaise on the state of the church in today’s Western society. We acknowledge and grieve and often blame ‘the world’ or ‘secularism’ for this state. To counter the dilemma, we invigorate our efforts to plant more churches, or attract non-believers to our existing churches, still stuck on the notion that if we build it (better) they will come. Sometimes our ‘stuckness’ is because of our DNA of ‘what’ church is. It’s so deeply imbedded that we can have difficulty imagining church gathering/life differently. We love certain things the way they are, and there is merit in that! Tradition is built upon the richness of how we gather and live as Christians.   

‘Church Planting’ is rather recent terminology. Some of the reading on the history of church planting that I’ve done over the years suggests our current understanding of it developed right after WW2 and met the need of newly suburbanized, already-Christians missing their Methodist or Baptist churches that were in their neighbourhoods in the cities or the rural communities from which they migrated. In North America, it was also a time of rising multiplication of denominations. Juxtaposed together, denominations heeded the call of their adherents to provide suitable places of worship for Christian gathering, and teaching. Church Planting, then, was a response to what God was already doing in growing and developing neighbourhoods, as more and more people exited from city and rural communities to suburbia on the return of soldiers from the fields of war.

Four Churches on one block in NE Minneapolis  

The target demographic was those who already were Christian and wanting to be in communities of Christian faith. During that season, many families attended churches of their choice for all sorts of different reasons. There was still a common shared moral ethic and those moral ethics emanated from the Bible, whether or not one was a church-goer.
With general society having a shared understanding in those codes of morality, evangelism as a calling of the local church, in general, declined–most were already considered ‘evangelized.’ Local churches focused their activities and teaching on helping Christians live better Christian lives.    

Congregants mostly understood their role in evangelism as inviting their unsaved family and friends to come to church, where the pastors and elders would ‘get them saved.’ Most of us would never consider ourselves missionaries. Missionaries were a specially called and equipped people who are ‘sent’ to live among the people of other lands, and we were happy to support them and happy to not ‘be’ them.   

Fast forward a few models and decades into the twenty-first century. As the once presumed common moral and societal codes seemingly disintegrated around us, the spiritual needs of our neighbourhoods shifted away from the church and towards other disciplines and pursuits. The presumption of North America being Christianized nations was crumbling, even in the midst of mega-churches and continued efforts to plant new churches. While engaging some, the majority of the unchurched remained just that, and the efforts mostly resulted in already-Christianized people to change address or move back ‘home.’   

We are no longer a dominantly Christianized nation. Many who grew up in the church leave or are leaving and finding meaning in their lives in other ways. They aren’t necessarily abandoning God, they are abandoning our way of being the church. There is no doubt that our culture and context have experienced a sharp paradigm shift. I believe that when this occurs, it behooves us, the church, to pause and seek God for where and how He is working His mission in the world, because God is always at His work even when everything we thought we understood shifts.   

The missiological movement has helped us recognize that we are all missionaries, each one of us–that mission overseas to usually under-developed nations is one aspect of God’s missional activity in the world. I believe it is also starting to shift our emphasis from church growth and church planting back to evangelism and discipleship as the task of the church. Healthy growth and the planting of new churches are not sidelined, just realigned within the goal of the God’s mission.  

I think church planting and church growth are the accidental and necessary result of intentional relational evangelism and discipleship. Along the way of joining God on His mission of restoration, redemption and reconciliation to all humanity, we suddenly find ourselves becoming new communities of faith as “…the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47b)

Disaster Relief on St. Vincent

By Jenna Hanger

On April 9th, 2021 the beautiful, lush Caribbean island of St. Vincent was transformed when a volcano erupted, forcing those living in the northern part of the island to leave their homes and head south to safety. About twenty per cent of population (roughly 20,000 people) have been displaced, and likely won’t be able to return home for six months to a year (depending on when the volcano stabilizes). They are now living in shelters or with friends and family—a situation which is made complicated by the social-distancing requirements of the pandemic. The beautiful, green trees and blue water, along with thousands of homes, have been covered in a thick, heavy layer of ashfall from the violent explosions of the volcano. The once-vibrant colours have been diminished to a grey-coloured world, akin to a black and white movie. The damage done to homes in the northern part of the island is estimated to be extensive, from the cement-like weight of the ashfall—many of the roofs will have collapsed. Crop land in that area has been severely affected as well—a considerable blow to the economy, which heavily relies on agriculture.

For members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Saskatoon, the disaster is more personal than just another news story. Their connection to the island goes back several decades to when they first started taking groups on short-term mission trips to St. Vincent. On one of those trips thirty-four years ago, Brendon Gibson, a native on St. Vincent, met his future wife who was part of the mission team. For the past seventeen years, he has been on staff at Emmanuel Baptist and currently serves as the Executive Pastor. Over the course of those years, Brendon has taken five teams back to St. Vincent. Between 2010-2017, the teams worked in partnership with a local leader named Hadyn Marshall to build a church called Elim Community Church, which Hadyn now pastors. Elim is affiliated with the Gospel Halls of St. Vincent.

When the disaster struck, a formal partnership was established between the Gospel Halls and Emmanuel Baptist Church so they could set up proper channels to be able to send assistance to St. Vincent. Elim is in the safe zone, but two of their sister churches, consisting of 130 members, are in northern part of the island and have been directly affected.

The main aid Emmanuel Baptist has been able to provide is funds to support the relief effort of the Gospel Halls, through their disaster relief committee, which Hadyn chairs. Hadyn said the main focus right now is setting up the shelters for people to be able to stay long-term. Schools, church halls and community centres are being used to house people, but they need to be modified with things like showers etc. In addition to other sanitary needs, there is a plan to build privacy barriers (like cubicles) for families, as some of them are currently sleeping in open areas on cots or mattresses. The wood from these cubicles would later be repurposed to reconstruct homes, once it is safe to go back into the evacuated zone.

Emmanuel Baptist, with some help from CBWC’s disaster relief fund has been able to send $35,000 to the Gospel Halls to help. Right now, that amount has been substantial enough for their needs, but as things progress and the extend of the damage comes to light, more funds may be needed to assist the reconstruction efforts.

If you would like to contribute to the relief effort you can contact Brendon at for more information, or you can send donations to Emmanuel Baptist Church, designated to St. Vincent Relief.

Welcoming The Stranger

Testimonies of Sponsoring Refugee Families 

By Faye Reynolds on behalf of JMN

I am so grateful for the many churches across the CBWC that have reached out to global refugees and offered them hope for a new life in Canada. Some churches assist Canadian newcomers to sponsor refugee family members to join them here. This is called a private sponsorship, as you are applying to sponsor a specific refugee. Mill Bay Baptist Church on Vancouver Island has a passion for assisting persecuted Pakistani Christians and has several sponsorship applications, in partnership with other churches to form a community among them. Emmanuel Iranian Church is reaching out to bring many Persian Christians to Canada, and other churches continue to sponsor Syrian refugees through the families they have previously sponsored.

Another pathway is the “Blended Visa Office Referrals” (BVOR) of our Canadian Government to bring refugees in urgent situations, who are already pre-approved for settlement in Canada, and the Government offers some funding support for these sponsorships. In 2019, White Rock Baptist church stepped out in faith to sponsor a Somalian woman with the assistance of an additional funding grant through the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto. Finances, however, were not to be the greatest challenge of this sponsorship. Fay Puddicombe quickly took Fih under her wing and began the daily commitment of helping one who speaks no English and is illiterate in her own language, but is fiercely independent, begin to navigate life in Canada. Finding accommodation with those having Somalian connections was helpful, but the learning curve for banking, language and other life skills was a huge challenge. Fay quickly realized that it would take much more than 12 months to help Fih get on her feet. Then COVID restrictions complicated the ability to access language classes and other support services. Those offering accommodation soon found Fih not the easiest person to live with, and her housing arrangements changed several times, often without Fay finding out until weeks later. But she persevered in caring for Fih, long past the end of the official sponsorship and recently wrote:

“Well, I feel like a mom after her chick leaves the nest. (Worried, hopeful, teary, relieved, and more!) Today I handed Fih the file of paperwork I was keeping for her rent/expense money for March and April, and the bank card for her account. She will need someone else to help her with it, and I hope she has honourable friends…. It’s not easy helping someone when you can’t communicate, but her smile says a lot. When we left and said we would visit again, that we care about her, she smiled and through the translator said that she cares for us too.” 

This is agape love in action, and I give thanks for those who have given sacrificially for the sake of another.

Wendy and Peter Burnham had the opportunity through CBM to travel to Lebanon and became connected with a Christian refugee family during their visit. They came home with a burden to help this family come to Canada and began the process of sponsorship, with the help of their home church, Altadore Baptist. The family arrived in March 2020, one week before the COVID lock down took place. Suddenly, all of the immigration support services were closed, and language assessment tools inaccessible, which hindered the ability to begin language classes not yet established online. Canadian Government offices, which process Permanent Resident Cards, was closed—making everything more difficult for the family to get established in Calgary. Wendy and Peter, along with friends and many others, persevered in assisting the children to get into school, get their Benchmark assessment and into language school, finally obtain their PR card, banking established, health cards, dental and medical care. In the end of their 12-month sponsorship, Wendy writes:

They made out well in their apartment, with their two children in online Catholic School. The dad worked for the last half of the year in a construction/demolition/painting job with some fellow Arabic speakers, and the mom studied hard at her English course and made great strides in speaking English.

This family missed social interaction with family and friends very much through the year, as we all have. They decided they would, at the end of their sponsorship, move to Windsor where they have an aunt, uncle, and friends from the Iraqi village they ran from in 2014. And so, today we said goodbye at the airport. While we were sad to say goodbye, we could sense their anticipation as they moved to this new life with a community they know. Such is Canada, that persecuted people from a bombed-out village in Iraq can move to Canada and return to the warmth of their village. But now the village is in an area of Windsor, with safety for them all and opportunity for their children. 

Sponsorship is not always easy, but graciously rewarding, and is one way that we as citizens of God’s kingdom can continue to welcome the stranger and offer a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus. Perhaps God is calling your church community to do the same.

Kurios – A CBWC Gap Year Experience

Don’t miss out! Sign up for the 2021-2022 Kurios Experience! Click here for more info!

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections May 2021

A Major Crisis Facing the Church

Leah stared at her husband as he sat on the couch—his hands clasped, head down—as she tried to digest what he just told her.

“How long?” she finally asked.

“Since I was fourteen.” He still couldn’t look at her.

His words froze her. Fourteen. The implications of that stole her breath away. The entire time she had known him, through their whole relationship and marriage, her husband had been battling a porn addiction, and she had no idea. The only reason it was coming out now was because several other close people in their life had been confessing that they were struggling with their own addiction. It was staggering. Christian men she had respected and had known her entire life were suddenly saying they had been struggling with this for years. It had rocked her to her very core—her foundation felt shifted. Leah had told her husband just yesterday how relieved she was that he, at least, wasn’t among them.

How wrong she was. How foolish. That’s what really hurt—how naïve she had been about this whole issue.

“I’m so sorry.” Her husband said. Then he began to cry. He told her how a friend had introduced him to it when he was a teenager, how it had quickly consumed him. He tried to get help from his youth pastor, and eventually his father, who had told him he would “grow out of it.” For years he struggled with it alone, doing well for months, only to relapse and hate himself for it. The guilt and the shame were heavy and ever present. He had no idea so many others struggled, no idea how common it was.

For Leah, the realization of how common the issue of pornography was wasn’t a comfort. It was another blow. This was common? Why wasn’t it being talked about then? Why did her husband think he was abnormal, and struggled alone and ashamed for so long? Why did women not have support for one another to handle this? Why wasn’t it mentioned in pre-martial counselling, in the church, at marriage groups, in men’s groups—beyond the standard ‘Don’t do it, it’s bad,’—when the truth is that the issue is beyond telling people not to. People are watching, they are addicted, and they need help to get out of it. Leah felt like she just got initiated into a secret club that everyone knew about, but no one discussed.

Leah and her husband’s story isn’t at all an uncommon one. In fact, it’s the communality that is exactly the problem. Dan Gowe, an addictions counsellor and member of West Point Grey Baptist, has been working with people, particularly men, for twenty years who have porn addictions. He says, with great authority and passion, that the problem of porn addiction is, without question, one of the biggest crises facing the church today, and the least talked about.

It is common knowledge that porn addictions exist, but it is far less common to acknowledge just how many Christians struggle with this issue. Throughout his ministry, Dan has found that young Christian men, in particular, are extremely susceptible to becoming addicted. It only takes seeing it one time for many men to become hooked. The age of exposure is also getting younger and younger. A lot of the men in the program Dan runs started viewing porn as young as eleven years old. With the widespread use of technology, particularly cellphones, it has become impossible to shield young people from being exposed to it. If they aren’t viewing it on their own devices, it is almost guaranteed they will see it on their friends’ phones at some point.

Several years ago, Dan’s ministry, simply called Men’s Group, conducted an informal survey of one of the most prominent, well-known churches in Vancouver. Out of 170 men, 144 of them admitted they struggled with a porn addiction. They also found that 30 percent of women admitted they, too, had an addiction.

There are several reasons the church isn’t addressing this issue as it should. The biggest one being there’s a massive stigma attached to this type of addiction. This is exactly why it is so important that church leaders step up to the plate and acknowledge this issue. People need to know that they have a trusted place to turn to where they can go to get clean.

The message Dan wants most to convey is that porn addiction is widespread amongst Christian men, pastors and leaders. A plague has infected the church. They are not alone. There is real freedom and hope in Jesus in overcoming lust/porn addiction; those who have become addicted can experience and know the joy and peace of God that they have known in the past.

How does this happen? Meeting weekly with other Christian men in Christ-centred accountability meetings is essential. Strong , supportive, relationships develop. As men gain continuous months, then years, of clean time, they are able to help the newcomers. As men daily memorize scripture, in time, their brains begin to change and their souls are strengthened. As they learn to “take every thought captive,” and resist lustful thoughts in Jesus’ name, they experience the truth of His promise that with every temptation He will “make a way of escape.”

For the men that come to these groups, Dan said it will be the most important meeting they go to all week, because it is the start of being set free from a dark addiction that affects every part of their lives.

“The only way a guy can walk in freedom is if they totally reorient their lives to the Lord Jesus. It can’t be church on Sunday and then maybe a 15-minute devotional once a day. It’s got to be much, much deeper than that. A real heart-felt, total turn to Jesus and walking with Him,” Dan said.

“We are at your service to help start support groups in your local area. We have found this relatively simple to do. There is no financial charge for this. It is our joy to freely pass on what has been freely given to us in Jesus’ name. Please feel free to contact me via our web page (linked below.) We can arrange a Zoom meeting with several of the leaders to share their testimonies of what Jesus has done for them and answer any questions.”

We encourage pastors to reach out to Dan and the Men’s Group through their website: , check out the powerful video testimonies and take the first step to helping those struggling in your congregations. These groups need to be everywhere; the fight needs to be fought in every church.

 Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

The One, True Superhero | Weathering the COVID Virus | Dayle and Dawn Medgett Retirement | & More

This month for our Church Planting blog, we are sharing an article written by my friend and colleague Reverend Cid Latty—the Congregational Development Associate for our sister denomination, Canadian Baptist of Ontario & Quebec.  Cid hails recently from Great Britain where he was involved in planting Café Churches. This is another example of innovative ways we can join the Spirit at work around us wherever we live, work, play and pray. ~ Rev. Shannon Youell, Director of Church Planting CBWC

Could the principles of cafe church transform your community?

By Rev. Cid Latty

The now almost-legendary TED talk by Simon Sinek about the essentiality of understanding ‘the why?’ is worth considering before you contemplate any new venture, especially one that will affect the lives of people.[1] The idea is simple, if you are strong about the ‘why’, you are clear about the ‘what’ and it’s easier to do the ‘how.’ Therefore, when thinking about micro-church, or a version of them like café church, we must begin where any good seminary student begins—with good, biblically-based theology (the why) so that we can work out in our practice (the what & the how). Thankfully, I don’t have to use much space here developing a theology of place or the repercussions of atonement as this has been done extensively elsewhere[2]. However, let me summarize how I read a key scripture that I see as giving us a strong enough ‘why’ for the what that I’ll illustrate in the form of café church later on.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in John 1: 35-38 where we read:

The next day, John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

I call this (somewhat humorously) the least preached-on verses in the Bible. Why would the disciples want to see where Jesus lived? Notice first the context is one where years of prophetic silence have just been shattered by the loud call of the uncommon revivalist, John the Baptist. His declaration is simple; Jesus, the carpenter’s son, the one from obscurity, was actually the long-awaited Messiah. He is the bringer in of a new epoch who could put right the defragmentation of the cosmos. This was no small matter. It would be life-transforming for everyone who believed. Now hear the words again of the disciples, who have just been confronted with the culmination of Israel’s history. They say, ‘Where are you staying?’ Yes, let me say that again. On the backdrop of a huge paradigm shift, they enquire, ‘Where are you staying???’ This sounds like a strange question, for sure. You see, I think I might have asked a different question in that moment—maybe something like ‘How will you take away our sins?’ or ‘Explain to me what Daniel meant when he saw the Son of Man?’ or better still, ‘How will God rule the world when the culmination of the end times occurs?’ No, they don’t ask our good theological questions. Their question is all about hospitality, locality and humanity. In my paraphrase they are asking ‘Can we come over for a coffee?’ or ‘Where is your house?’ Or even ‘Do you live like we live with the same mod cons?’ And it’s this line of questioning (not the one I would have) that John gives credit for seeing ‘His glory’ (John 1:14) because the one who was in the ‘closest relationship with the Father has made Him known.’ (John 1:18) It seems that through the ability of Jesus to be relatable, accessible, giving people a view into the normal parts of His life, they were able to connect with God. Now it follows that our good theology will ask ‘If God is like this how should we behave?’ Our theology will be seen in praxis. What we do as a result of what we see in God will be crucial. So, any café church, or micro-church for that matter, will need to incorporate being relatable, hospitable and accessible if it is to reflect the way of Jesus.

This was definitely the basis for what began in 2006 when we started a café church in Welwyn Garden City (a commuter town just outside London, UK). Our question was, “How could we incarnate the gospel in the café culture around us?” We could see how a thriving café culture was rapidly developing in our town. Coffee shops were opening up everywhere, and this was also replicated all over the UK. In fact, a staggering 50% of the UK adult population at the time visited a coffee shop (something that was unheard of before this time). Our own church congregation were a part of this café culture, with many of them using coffee shops as ‘third places’ between home and work. With this in mind, we asked our local Costa Coffee[3] if we could develop a community in their store and were amazed when they said yes.

What we planned then was a themed event with quizzes, a short talk, discussion and live music—all with the added benefit of being served by friendly, coffee shop staff. Our purpose was to help people engage with issues like debt, parenting or the environment from a faith perspective. We called it ‘coffee with a conscience.’ People would not only be invited to enjoy a lively evening of chat, hope and humour, but we would offer them resources and prayer to help them take action after the event was over. All this would form the basis of our hospitable community.

What we ran on that first night proved to be so popular that I began discussions with Costa Coffee management, and a few café churches were piloted in other stores. Due to the success of these, Cafechurch Network was formed. This registered charity was later given the ‘OK’ to put a café church in every suitable Costa Coffee store in the UK. Over the next ten years, we would help to start more than one hundred café churches all over the UK.

Running a café church in a main street coffee shop was a win-win for the church and coffee shop. Stores benefit as café church helped them to feel part of the local community. The church would benefit as people who might not enter a more traditional church setting interacted with people who did. This may be one of the first steps for some towards going to church. For others they may feel that café church in a main street location was the kind of community they wanted to belong to. This then challenged us to re-imagine how we could help people in a café context move forward in their faith journey.

When developing a café church (or a micro-church), one of the challenges can be the word ‘church’ itself. It can be a loaded word for some people as they may have either misconceptions about what it means or real experiences of pain in a church context that could be off-putting. While running a café church, we often found ourselves having to reassure people that what we were doing was inclusive and not accusative in tone and texture. We therefore found that we, ourselves, had to learn how to communicate differently in a café context. For instance, while it may be acceptable in churches to expect people to sit patiently through whole services, offering only polite contributions and encouraging sentiments at the end, in a main street café context this is not the case. People come ready to talk with each other and are familiar with connecting in a relaxed environment. If the subject is not engaging and the talk is monotonous, people will begin to talk among themselves and the whole evening will be lost. I would often say to café church leaders ‘whatever you do, don’t be boring.’ It is better to keep it lively and make a mistake (correcting yourself later) than to be mind-numbingly dull and risk jeopardizing the whole meeting. Part of the thrill of serving in this context is that the content needs to be transformational, not just informational. We need to be an engaging presence, not just a welcoming one.[4]

The questions I ask today in Canada are ‘What do people enjoy doing?’ ‘Where do they enjoy meeting each other?’ ‘Where do conversations happen?’ ‘Where do people yearn for hospitality?’ ‘How can we address the pandemic of loneliness?’ If you can think of an answer to these questions then you are a step away from taking the principles of café church (being accessible, hospitable, a relatable community) and applying them to your situation. Our Canadian adventure could be a similar one to my UK story because the needs are the same, even though the cultural expressions may be somewhat different. Here is a leader’s guide that will help you run an online café church: .

If you can dream about the needs around you for a while, I’m sure that you can also translate your thoughts into doing something good to transform what you see. And as Paul said to the Ephesians, God is ‘able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.’ Our first step is to begin with our own creative imagination so that we can step into the opportunities with our actions. Café church is a micro-church expression that you could do today. The decision is yours. By the way, I can hear my community asking me one question, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear your neighbourhood asking you the same question, too. The question is this, ‘Where are you staying?’ What will your answer be?

Rev. Cid Latty 

Congregational Development Associate, Canadian Baptists of Ontario & Quebec


[1] You can watch the talk here 

[2] I will not offer a list of books and resources as these are readily available and almost without limit; however, a surprisingly good book that summaries the effects of the incarnation is ‘A Community Called Atonement’ by Scot McKnight, Abingdon, 2007.

[3] Costa Coffee had, at the time, 900 chain stores of coffee shops similar in style to Starbucks. Costa Coffee is owned by Coca Cola today.

[4] There are some excellent points on how to do this in the book ‘How to Revive Evangelism’ by Craig Springer.

Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference

Pending Registration opens June 1st! Click here for more info.

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections April 2021

Overflowing Nets

A message from CBWC Executive Minister Rob Ogilvie

Pictures submitted by Rob from his trip to the sea of Galilee

There is a well-known story that we read in the gospel of John about one of the times that Jesus appears to His disciples after the resurrection. They have returned to a familiar place, along the Sea of Galilee, where Peter announces to his friends that he is going fishing. Several of them say they will join him.

They were out all night. Early in the morning, a man appears on the shore and calls out, asking if they’ve caught any fish, to which they reply they hadn’t. The man tells them to throw their net on the other side of the boat. When they did, they could hardly haul all 153 fish into the boat, let alone to the shore. John exclaimed, “It is the Lord!” and Peter immediately jumped into the water and headed for shore. Together, these fisherman and Jesus, shared a breakfast of broiled fish and bread.

This is one of those stories where some would argue there must have been a huge debate about whether the disciples really should listen to the man or not. After all, these are seasoned fisherman on their own lake—surely they tried all their tricks throughout the night to catch fish. Who is this guy on the shore? Obviously, they know more than Him. We don’t know for sure how it played out. But what we do know is that they put down their nets on the right side of the boat, as instructed by Jesus, and their net immediately filled with fish.

The world today, and some might argue our own denomination as well—partly due to Covid and partly due to other significant events—seems to be in a place where every suggestion made becomes a debate. Sides are taken, polarities are drawn. Fair enough, perhaps in some situations, that’s completely justifiable. But my hope, as I pause to remember this Easter season—the sacrifice that Jesus was willing to make on the cross, His defeat of the power of sin and death by rising again to new life—is that I will spend less time defending and debating my take on things, and more time listening for the voice of Jesus. I invite you to join me. You never know, we just might find our nets overflowing!


Carey Theological College: Reflections on 2020/2021 and Aspirations for 2021/2022

At the close of 2020, I am reminded of Joshua 1:9, one of the verses on Carey’s ‘prayer walk’ which has become a theme verse for me in this pandemic year: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you 

wherever you go.” God’s care has been with Carey in many ways during this year. I have been especially encouraged by the faithfulness and professionalism of Carey’s Board, faculty and staff. Despite the challenges of 2020, our trust in the Lord has encouraged me to see the various challenges that we have faced as opportunities to prepare for the future. – Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President

UBC Student Residence

Carey’s Christian student residence program on the UBC campus has provided a home to hundreds of students from various faith backgrounds for over 60 years. 2020/2021 brought particular challenges with COVID-19. Our team, consisting of the Dean of Residence-Jon Fung, volunteer Resident Advisors including Anique Vadnais, Jake Letkemann and Amy Wickstrom, and staff, have done an amazing job creating the kind of community for which Carey is known.

We creatively provided online alternatives and when safe, group meetings, for social and faith growing events. Our student resident numbers decreased this year due to less need for UBC students to be on campus for their studies; however, it is encouraging to see that many students still chose to stay at Carey for the community we offer.

In April, we stepped into accepting applications for 2021/2022. We are encouraged to see many returning and new students who are eager to call Carey their home. With an already strong applicant pool that outnumber the rooms available, we are reminded of our opportunity to expand. We continue to look forward to the construction of the next phase of our campus, where we will more than double our current capacity.

Volunteer Resident Advisors Amy Wickstrom, Jake Letkemann and Anique Vadnais.

Theological College

The recent events have challenged many schools to abruptly shift to online learning. As a completely online seminary for many years, Carey Theological College experienced less of an impact from COVID-19, which allowed us to make several updates to our programming to better serve our faithful students.

We welcome you to connect with our core faculty, Dr. Joyce Chan – Professor of Church History, Dr. Ken Radant – Associate Professor of Theology, and Assistant Professors of Biblical Studies, Dr. Amy Chase (Old Testament) and Dr. Wil Rogan (New Testament) who are dedicated to bringing the love of Christ to the courses they teach.

Carey has refreshed its curriculum and application process so students can progress through our degree offerings quickly and easily.

Our partnership with Prairie Bible College offers a dual Bachelor in Pastoral Ministry and Master of Divinity program that takes five years to complete. This new offering provides a solid foundation for those women and men called to pastoral ministry.

For the Fall 2021 term, we launched a first-ever initiative where new students can receive fully-waived tuition on up to three courses. We are thankful to Carey’s supporters who have laid the foundation for making this bold endeavour possible. We look forward to expanding our reach into the four corners of the world as we continue to reduce the barriers of financial cost and geography.

English-Baptist Identity and Chinese-Capstone classes held by Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin and Dr. Joyce Chan, respectively, over the Zoom platform.

We invite you to contact or to learn more about our theological college and UBC student residence offerings.

BCY Regional Newsletter

April Devotion | Leadership Changes | Upcoming Events

Micro-Church Momentum

By Shannon Youell

“Meeting shoulder-to-shoulder in a building is only a model, not the mission. Marry the mission; date the model.” Andy Stanley  

The church will be working through the changes that COVID-19 has accelerated for years to come, and if we keep God’s mission in view, then these can be good and fruitful changes. The idea that the only way we can be the church is to gather in a particular place or way puts the focus on a model of being the church. Not being ‘married’ to the model opens the mission to places and spaces where our traditional model is struggling to engage in.  

One of the models that is currently giving the mission momentum has been around since the church was birthed. Ephesus had perhaps 200 house churches or, using the more current moniker, micro-churches; people in near proximity to one another through geography, culture or context, who gather to worship, share around the table, celebrate, gospel one another, and are missionaries where they live, work, play and pray.  

There are some who feel threatened by this idea, yet believers have been meeting this way for centuries, both since Christ and before, within the Jewish communities of faith and practice. There is a misconception that it can only be a church if certain criteria are present—an element of truth, for sure—but often the criteria of what constitutes an official ‘church’ are around institutional structures, sustainability and membership rolls. Or, to put it in the more common language used, bricks, bucks and butts. And these criteria are more often than not lived out in a Sunday morning gathering. Coining Andy Stanley’s expression of these types of gatherings as ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’, they are but one model of joining God at work in His mission to redeem, reconcile and restore relationships between God and humans, human to human, and human to all of creation through the message, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

‘Shoulder-to-shoulder’ gatherings in various models of the traditional church meeting continue to find growth through people who would consider visiting a church at least once, according to much of the research. But what of those who would not ever consider visiting a church, or have been disaffected, hurt, marginalized or are just ‘done’ with church? Or those to whom church and a life of faith in God has never been on their radar?  

In the last blog HERE, I wrote about the shift from content to connection and why this is crucial for the church to pay attention to. Our younger generations are not looking for content as much as connections, and they are also less likely to go to a church building to hear a lecturer teach about Jesus. They are more inclined to have seeking conversations in a small gathering of relationships to which they are a part, foremostly because relationship has already been established.  

Micro-churches, of which house churches are one expression, are a model that facilitates that. And they are easily reproducible—they rely on trained lay leaders who recognize the call of Jesus followers to become missionaries in their own geography, culture and context.   

There is a beautiful outflow when different models of church co-exist and work together on God’s mission in the world. Our traditional models, which include any congregations whose primary function builds and resources community around a Sunday-centric service, can well be in position to plant multiple micro-churches into the communities around them at the cost of intentional discipleship and training of their own congregants as local missionaries.   

Micro-churches are primarily led by lay leaders who are accountable to one another and to the elders and pastors of the planting church or denomination. These become networks of house churches planted by a single, traditional congregation or denomination, yet can also have a level of autonomy in how they express being the church. Other models are similar to some multi-site models where there is still lay leadership, but they are more tied to the planting congregation or denomination in how they structure and worship.    

The micro-church planting movement has many expressions, formed around geographical, contextual, or cultural demographics that determine gatherings in houses, coffee shops, pubs, and special-interest groups. Here is where we see people who may never cross the threshold of a Sunday morning church in a larger type gathering, finding safe places to explore and discover our God who yearns for all to come to Him.   

In what ways might your congregation explore becoming multiplying, church-planting congregations, within a discerned context of micro-churches? Contact CBWC Church Planting. Talk to us, and let’s work ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ together in some exciting ways in the 21st century. 

Creation Care – A Call to Act

By Jeremy Keay on behalf of The Justice and Mercy Network

Scripture celebrates the goodness of creation, the fruitfulness of the earth, and the wonder and splendour of the universe. These poetic texts frequently assure us that we are creatures made in God’s image, blessed and tasked as caretakers of creation. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, with the good earth under our feet and the sun and moon and stars overhead. With Psalm 104 we celebrate the whole of creation in all its strangeness and beauty:

How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom You made them all;
    the earth is full of Your creatures.
   There is the sea, vast and spacious,
    teeming with creatures beyond number—
    living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro,
    and Leviathan, which You formed to frolic there.

As 21st century people, we find ourselves consumers and citizens, enmeshed in global economies and systems. We wear clothing made on the other side of the globe, eat fruit and vegetables grown 2000 kilometers away, and drive vehicles made of steel and plastic from every corner of the globe. We enjoy the fruits of the earth in all their forms, and the abundant resources the planet has to offer. As God’s creatures who share this world and its resources, we are called to love and care for our planet, but the complex realities we face make this a difficult task. 

As creatures of vanity and comfort, our ways of living are often out of step with fairness, stewardship, and care for creation. Our collected habits transform the landscapes around us, as another plastic cup joins the growing gyre of garbage in the ocean. As North Americans, it is too easy to forget the ways that our environmental excesses offload pain and suffering on the global poor. In many ways, it would be easier to live in absentminded ignorance, letting the cares of the world take care of themselves—but this is not our calling, and there are no quick and easy answers.

Creation care and environmental stewardship is a biblical theme, often distorted by controversy and disagreement. Moreover, our media cycle confronts us with an overwhelming tide of discouraging information. For generations, the church heavily leveraged Genesis 1:28, and a theology of dominion and exploitation, resulting in desecrated landscapes and devastated peoples. A theology of creation care pursues a better way of seeing ourselves as unique creatures, custodians and keepers of the planet.

The Justice and Mercy Network gathers and sorts a variety of resources to help us navigate these complicated global concerns—you can view these resources here by clicking on the Creation Care tab at the top. We aim to promote a hopeful and thoughtful Christian posture in a complex world. None of these resources are the final word on the matter, but we hope they lead to better questions and further conversation. Check back on this page as we update this it regularly. We welcome your interaction and feedback. 

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections November 2020

Update from Kurios – A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Click image to view slideshow.

The Kurios students did a session on Psalms and, at the end, were challenged to work together to write their own. Below is their Psalm of Thanksgiving. Above are some pictures of their adventures!

Psalm of Thanksgiving

Thank you, O Lord,
We take joy in Your ultimate plan,
Your thoughts are higher than our own
We marvel at your blessings.

Thank You for this gift of life,
That we have been able to live it to the fullest,
We recognize Your gifts to us daily
Our reflections on the day bring us closer to You.

You planted a seed for a Bible experience to grow,
Three years in the making, with the seven of us hand-picked by You
We are so grateful that You intentionally placed us in each others’ lives
All of us are where we are meant to be for this time of spiritual and emotional growth.

You drew us closer together in the mountains
There we walked beside You,
The waters reflected Your beauty
Seeing wildlife throughout our journey made us feel Your presence.

Every day of our experience was overseen by You
We are thankful for all the beautiful stories and emotions behind it all.
And through the good and bad times we see Your love reflected in us all.
As we head to the end of our journey together, we are thankful for many miraculous experiences.

Thank You for showing Your goodness and kindness through people.
Faces sharing shalom from Kananaskis to Vancouver to Keats Island.
Our gratitude sparks the fuel of our heart;
When our engine fell apart, You put it back together
By love and mercy, we journeyed back home with new friends in our hearts.

Gifts that Change Lives

Submitted by CBM

The global pandemic has made life uniquely challenging for us all, but more so for those who already faced being marginalized by poverty. CBM’s Hopeful Gifts for Change gives you the opportunity to give gifts to those in need. Nazario and Dorcas are only two of many who have benefitted from others’ generosity.

Nazario is a recently-widowed father, living in a remote area in Bolivia. He lives in an area where a disease called Chagas is rampant and common. Poverty is widespread here, and many cannot afford to take necessary measures to protect their homes against the disease-spreading bugs. CBM and local partners provide assistance to Nazario and many others through prevention, education and treatment programs. Participants also receive crucial farming provisions, allowing people like Nazario to grow and produce crops which help provide a source of income, while also feeding his family.

In Rwanda, families struggling with poverty often do not have sufficient income to meet basic needs. While men are typically engaged in agricultural work, women and girls often care for the needs of the household and do not always have an opportunity to receive an education. The inability to read and write can be a roadblock for women who want to further provide for the family. CBM’s literacy program gives access to skills needed for more opportunities. Dorcas, one of the participants, shared that when she was illiterate, she felt ashamed and sad. She relied on her husband and children to read and write. Through the program, she gained dignity and now enjoys a newfound freedom.

This Christmas season, you can help others like Nazario and Dorcas and give gifts that bring hope and transformation to those in the margins.


 Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

Note from Andrew Bird | Upside & Downside of Wearing Masks | Welcome Joyce Rebman | Church Online Presence Expands

Updated Resources & Events

The CBWC Executive Staff have been standing alongside your CBWC Pastors during this challenging leadership season with ongoing ministerial clusters via Zoom, personal phone calls to check in, board support, pastoral searches and settlements, conflict management, and leadership resources. While many CBWC events needed to be cancelled or postponed this fall, the resources below were developed to meet the specific, spoken needs of our pastors as they seek to love and lead well. 

For updated resources related to COVID-19, follow us on social media or check out our COVID-19 page.

Disruptive Hope Sermon Series: in the coming weeks, a 6-week Advent Preaching Series will be made available. These downloadable sermon videos by CBWC Executive Staff can be used individually or as a series from November 22 to December 27. Visit our Advent Resources page.

CBWC Sunday: Each year, we ask that churches set aside a Sunday in November to celebrate what it means to be part of the larger CBWC family and its shared ministries. This year, we are inviting you to celebrate a bit differently! On the Sunday that would have followed Banff Pastors Retreat, November 8th, we’d like to bless you with all of the pieces needed for an online service. We will include everything from worship music to children’s moment to the benediction and everything in between. Executive Minister, Rob Ogilvie, will be sharing a special message. See CBWC Sunday for more details.

Pastoring the Pastor Webinar Series Fall 2020

CBWC is offering a free webinar series for pastors, chaplains and ministry leaders. Visit the Pastoring the Pastor page to register for topics such as Digital Mission, Nurturing Emotional and Mental Health, and Facilitating Crucial Conversations. 

Reduced Rates for a Room at Banff

Nov. 2-5, 2020: Because of our longstanding relationship with Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, they have agreed to retain our substantially reduced conference rate for the contracted dates that the conference would have been held. If you are a CBWC pastor or chaplain and would like to take advantage of booking a room at the Banff Springs Hotel over the nights of Monday, November 2 (arrival) to Thursday, November 5 (departure), please call 604.225.5916 for the discount code. (Based on availability).

A Gift of a Free Book for Pastors and Ministry Leaders

We know how important it is to keep learning and growing in leadership skills, especially during a season of disruption. And, we know how fun it is to get a free book! CBWC Pastors, register here to choose your book. 

Justice & Mercy Network – Resources for Churches

The CBWC’s Justice & Mercy Network seeks to inspire and equip churches in their theological vision of the kingdom of God so that we all pursue right relationships with God, with self, with others, and with the world. We seek to provide a thoughtful and wise social analysis of injustice, and to offer various resources that help inform decisions about justice.

As Christians we have a calling placed on us by the Lord. He has commanded us to love others and to care for those in need, to be His representation on this earth. What does this look like practically? What is the church’s role when it comes to problems facing society and daily injustices? How can we act and help those in need?

The Justice & Mercy Network (JMN) is a group of passionate people who are working to help answer some of these questions and equip churches with resources to better understand various issues.

While there are many topics that JMN discusses, the top six areas focused on are:

Engagement: Being attentive to current events regarding injustices and providing resources to churches to help them engage.

Creation Care: Exploring what it means to fulfill God’s calling to be stewards and caretakers of the earth, and what the church’s role should be in the pursuit of environmental justice.

Poverty: Recognizing the church’s calling to come alongside the poor in God’s name, and to care for those living in poverty, whether it’s locally or globally.

Homelessness: Striving to understand the complexity of the homeless issue and showing compassion and love towards those who desperately need it.

Indigenous Issues: Recognizing and acknowledging the hurtful past the church, and Canadian culture has with the Indigenous community, and strive to support and make amends.

Refugees: Assisting churches with sponsoring refugees to Canada and providing follow up support.

The goal of JMN is to provide up-to-date resources to help churches engage in discussions that help to understand various issues and spark action. We are excited to share our updated webpage on the CBWC’s website,

Please check there regularly as a source for the above issues and share it with others who have been wanting to explore the issues of injustice.

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections September 2020

Summer Wrap-Up Report!

This summer has looked very different than what it would have normally, but God has been so faithful. He has been moving and challenging and using all things for good. So many churches and camps were still able to innovate and run programs, or use this time to rest and focus on what God has to teach them. Below is just a snapshot of some of the great things that happened this summer in our CBWC family:

SERVE 2020

During the day on August 16, well over one hundred youth and youth leaders served in local communities across Western Canada. Groups painted, washed cars, walked/ran 10K, landscaped and more, demonstrating the transformational love of Jesus in their hometown. In the evening, everyone joined together online for a Live Stream Celebration proving that unity and fellowship in Christ can happen no matter how far apart we are. Thank you to everyone who participated in SERVE at Home this year. You can go to to view the Live Stream recording.

Mill Creek Camp

We ran online camps throughout July. They went really well, but they did have low registration numbers. Although camp online didn’t feel very “campy,” it was easier to form relationships, teach, worship, and have fun together than we expected. We sent packages to our campers so that we could do activities with them in the mornings, and that made it so easy to engage in an activity together online. Overall, we were very happy with how online camp went, and although we hope to be able to do in person camp next year, if we had to do online camp again, we would definitely consider it.

We also used our site as a campground for families throughout the summer. That went really well—we are booked up solid till mid-September. It does cost camp a lot just to maintain the facilities each year, so having a bit of extra income via rentals was helpful.

We also ran a leadership development program in person for 10 straight days. We had three lovely “trekkers” and had a blast. It was the most “campy” thing we did all summer, and it was great to do some of the typical summer activities like backpacking and work projects with them.

Katepwa Camp:

We had a very successful July. We had 28 staff participate during our staff development weeks, where we focused on spiritual and leadership development. This was a two-week event. We hosted 25 LITs in late July. We graduated 8 students out of 2nd year and discipled 17 very hard-working and enthusiastic 1st years. All in all, we feel we have had a very productive summer investing in our leaders and property. We believe we are well-positioned to have a very successful 2021!

White Rock Baptist Church:

White Rock Baptist Church had two weeks of amazing Bible teaching and tons of fun! 91 kids learned that Jesus’ power helps us do hard things, gives us hope, helps us be bold, lets us live forever and helps us be good friends! They memorized scripture, heard Bible stories, made crafts, danced to great worship music and even watched two baptisms.

At least one child gave their life to Jesus as Lord and Savior! A majority of the kids had never been to church or heard about Jesus before. The kids had so much fun. They didn’t want it to end and are looking forward to next year.

P.S. We also raised over $1000 for the Food Bank!

Gull Lake Centre:

This summer we wanted to do something. We knew it wouldn’t be like our regular camps, but we wanted to create a space for campers nonetheless that was safe, relational, and fun like we do every summer.  The COVID rules allowed for us to run day camps – that that is what we did.  Day camps with a max of 48 campers, all distanced and often wearing masks.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was something.  It was a break from the norm where kids could come to camp for a day and interact with old and new friends, be cared for by the summer staff, have some silly fun with dinosaurs, and aliens, relax at the beach, and spend some time in the Bible. I am so proud of our summer staff team for putting this on and adapting to all of the different rules and regulations.  We ended up serving over 300 individuals this summer, far less than the expected 1200, but I am thankful for the opportunity to bring a little bit of camp into the world this summer.

Spotlight on Beulah Garden Homes

Beulah Board Members  *picture taken pre-covid

Beulah Garden Homes is a caring community that provides affordable housing and assisted living for maturing adults. We strive to build a safe, healthy neighbourhood for all residents to call home.

Have you ever come away from a conversation surprised by how different it was from what you had anticipated? That happened to me on a gentle, summer afternoon when colleagues from Beulah and Kinbrace met with Fayaz and Maryam, along with Ibrahim and Shukreyah—two couples that had both recently arrived at Beulah. These four first found a home at Kinbrace in Vancouver, a home that welcomes refugee claimants, before they later moved to Beulah Garden Homes. It is a beautiful thing to see how the partnership of CBWC, Kinbrace and Beulah Gardens facilitated the welcome which led to this gathering.

When we met, I wanted to learn from these couples what it was like to leave their country, to make such a long journey and to arrive here. I was also curious to hear how it felt for them now that they were settling into a new land, culture and home. I came with some questions. What was it like to arrive in Canada? How would you describe your experience of finding housing at Kinbrace and then at Beulah Gardens? Because I have heard stories of refugees before, I anticipated hearing how their journey was both instigated by and suffused with losses, pain and suffering.

Here’s where the surprises began. The two couples set a table outside under the shade of a tree, brought food and tea, (homemade borak is delicious!) and created a generous welcome, far more than I expected. Where I thought I was the one to offer welcome, they welcomed us and offered what they had with delight and abandon.

When I asked them about their experience upon arriving in Canada, Fayaz + Maryam were keen to tell me how the authorities that they encountered were “white-hearted and full of generosity.” They commented about the easy access they had to all that they needed, something which they did not expect. Ibrahim and Shukreyah were also eager to tell me how they were surprised to be met with kindness and respect from the moment of their arrival to Canada.

Fayaz and Maryam told of how surprised they were that, when they arrived at Kinbrace, the first person to meet them even carried their suitcase into their new home (!) and then brought them to the market to help them get food. Ibrahim and Shukreyah described Kinbrace as a place of family where they found brothers, sisters, hugs and much warmth. All four spoke only briefly about the deep pain of leaving their first home, but described Kinbrace as a place of healing where their feelings of loss began to dissipate. The family connection that they received at Kinbrace is a strong thread of grace which has continued for them, even as they moved into Beulah Gardens.

When they described their experience of moving into Beulah Gardens, both couples focused on the great joy that they have received by having their own place, their own house, their own garden. What’s more, they have found openness, kindness and support at Beulah as they continue to settle more deeply into life in Canada.

Fayaz and Maryam told us that they have had many experiences of encountering people with power and authority, and from this, they understand the nature of goodness. I learned from them that this goodness is an element of our common humanity that strangers can give to each other, no matter the limitations of language, faith, culture, or loss. I also sensed from their story that their experience of needing the kindness of people—stranger or neighbour—has, at times, been much less than good. But they didn’t tell us more about those experiences. Instead, they told us that “the people they met at Kinbrace and Beulah seek what is true.” They spoke of “finding ambassadors of good, ambassadors of hope” to help them when they arrived into their new life.

I listened to them while being served a feast out of their generosity and thought. These are people who, even in their respective journeys of suffering, have chosen still, to search for and trust what makes us all truly human and made in God’s image. Both couples told me how fervently they pray for Canada, Kinbrace and Beulah, every day, with gratitude and hope. Fayaz said, “The kind human being never walks the wrong path.” Both couples encouraged us “to keep in mind love, respect and kindness,” for their experiences had taught them that these things were true. I recognized that I was hearing words of life and felt the blessing of their faith, even as it is different to mine. The afternoon got me thinking about the story of Elijah the prophet and the widow of Zerapheth.

When Elijah showed up at the widow’s house, he was a stranger of a different faith who was in great need of bread, water and a place to call home. What he offered was confidence that the God of Israel would continue to provide for the widow, along with her son and family, and multiply it towards the coming days of need. The widow had limited resources, and was not sure how they would be enough for her and her son, let alone for Elijah, but she offered a home, what food she had and the choice to trust Elijah’s words. With what they each had as well as what they both needed, they stepped together into a relationship of mutual care and kinship. It became a stabilizing and continuing lifeline for each of them. What grace, what goodness.

In Christ, we are always called into mutual relationships that characterize His grace and goodness, to be found in what we offer AND what we receive. Canada, Kinbrace, Beulah Gardens have offered Fayaz, Maryam, Ibrahim and Shukreyah a safe place to call home. In return, they have offered the blessings of their generous hospitality, their hope for our future together and faithful prayers for our well-being.

I want to continue to look for, find, and be surprised by this shared grace and goodness that reaches past boundaries. I pray that Beulah Gardens will continue to be a place for  these relationships of goodness to bless all; that these characteristics of Christ’s love will fuel Beulah’s mission of building home and well-being, to become like the light of God set on a hill for many years to come.

 BCY Regional Newsletter

Note from Larry Schram | Update from FBC Port Alberni  | Update from Southwest Community Church Kamloops

Bob Swann – A Story of Missional Living

In 1976, a young Bob Swann embarked on his first overseas mission trip to Kenya. Now, just over forty-four years later, Pastor Bob Swann marks another milestone; his retirement from being the Minister of Mission at First Baptist Church Vancouver.

Over the years, Pastor Bob and his wife, Anne, have lived in Liberia, Kenya, Toronto and Vancouver. They’ve worked with different churches and schools, with refugees and the homeless; building, teaching and serving in many different capacities.

Their journey began when they were high school sweethearts in Penticton, BC. Bob is the middle child of three, with an older brother and a younger sister. His father was a hard-working man who worked as a contractor, and his mother was a registered nurse.

While his parents were not Christians during his formative years, Bob says that the idea of missional living and learning how to listen to others’ stories was engrained in him because of the way his parents lived.

“My mother taught us to speak truth and to work hard. My father knew how to be a neighbour to the neighbours. He taught us a lot of amazing things, like endurance and how to innovate when you don’t have the right things to make something work,” said Bob. These skills, and his time around construction sites, helped him to be comfortable around all types of people and gifted him in building and mechanics, which helped prepare him for his life in missions.

A life defining moment in his high school years was when Bob came to know the Lord through his high school football coach, as well as a friend of his girlfriend, Anne. Both he and Anne gave their lives to the Lord and were baptized in their grade 12 year at First Baptist Penticton.

That fall, they both attended UBC.  Anne studied nutrition and food science, and Bob ended up studying Biology and Forestry. During their time there, they both got heavily involved with the Navigator organization. This was where Bob learned a lot about the scriptures and built a firm foundation for his faith.

After Bob finished his B.Sc. degree, he applied to Africa Inland Mission. With financial support from First Baptist Penticton, he ended up teaching biology and chemistry at a boys’ school for three months in Kenya, as well as fixing up some houses. Meanwhile, Anne had started her Master’s degree in Nutrition.

When he got back, he finished his thesis in 1977. At this point, both he and Anne felt a strong pull towards missions, but CBM required one official year of Bible school. One of the pastors at First Baptist Church Penticton was the well-known author, W. Phillip Keller. Phillip Keller was raised in Kenya and told Bob that since he couldn’t go back to Africa because of how many times he contracted malaria, he needed Bob to do what he couldn’t. Keller’s connection to Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, AB, prompted Bob to go and do his year of Bible school there. While he was there, Anne was in Brazil doing research for her Master’s thesis.

Just before Anne was to return to Canada, Bob’s mother passed away in a car accident on her way to work, just six weeks before Bob and Anne were to be married. She had just turned fifty. Five years before, Bob had had the profound experience of praying with his mom at the end of a

church service when she walked forward and gave her life to the Lord. That moment was a tremendous comfort as they came to terms with her loss.

“I was so thankful, so thankful that she knew Jesus,” said Bob. “When I got the phone call that she died in a car accident, the first words out of my mouth were, ‘That’s why there’s a heaven.’ That’s all I said. ‘That’s why there’s a heaven.’”

In January 1980, Bob and Anne left for their first assignment with CBM, a two-year posting in Liberia, West Africa. They were to be working with the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention school and were told everyone spoke English so language would not be a problem, and that Liberia was the most peaceful country in Africa.

Their first few days were an adventure. They couldn’t understand the English being spoken because it was pidgin English. No one was at the airport to pick them up so they spent three days wandering around trying to find their contacts, and within two hours of finally tracking down the Baptist leader, (who nearly fainted when he found out they had been wandering around Liberia for three days) they were sitting in the presidential mansion chatting with President William Tolbert, the president of Liberia and the Baptist World Alliance.

The school they would work with was a special project of President Tolbert. It was way out in the bush and he was very thankful to have them there helping. But just three and a half months later, on April 12th, the president was assassinated and Liberia was thrown into chaos.

Just thirty hours after the assassination, the rebels came out to the school. At four in the morning, the sound of horns honking woke Bob and Anne as the rebels drove up. Bob could see them getting out of their cars in front of his house. One of them shot his machine gun over the roof of their house, and Bob thought, Wow, we are in serious business now.

After getting dressed in the dark, Bob and Anne went out to greet them, thinking this would be better than waiting for them to kick the door down. Their leader, Harrison Dahn, was thankfully sober and asked Bob how things were going. Bob answered, “Well they were going okay, but things look a little shaky right now.” This made Harrison laugh a little. He said he had attended the school and had great respect for it. They then all went over to the principal’s house, where the rebels tore the picture of President Tolbert down, after which the soldiers went back to Bob and Anne’s and placed their machine guns on the table and ate fried eggs, coffee and fresh bread that Anne served. The rebels left without harming them.

Just a week after that, Bob had his vehicle stolen at gun point by another group of rebels. He was told he wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone for a month–none of the phones were working—and that they would be fine as long as they did nothing stupid. Without many options left, Bob loaded up the chickens he had been raising, and using the tractor and trailer that First Baptist Calgary had bought for the school, drove to the next town to sell the chickens on the street. He was able to get enough money to pay for fuel for a small plane owned by Mid-Baptist Missions. Their pilot offered to fly him to Monrovia, while Anne stayed with the pilot’s family. They flew at treetop level to avoid early detection. Once there, he lined up at one of a few working government phones. Bob got hold of Michael Lang by phone with CBM and asked him to Telex two air tickets on Pan Am. Three days later, by God’s grace, a driver from the school, named Sam Yarkpah, saw Bob and offered to drive him back to Anne. They weren’t supposed to drive after the 9 pm curfew, but Sam knew a back road through the rainforest and got him back to Anne by 6 am.

After they got their affairs in order, the small plane flew them both out and they were able to make it to the Liberia International Airport and fly to New York. There was a three-week period where no one had heard from them and did not know if they were alive or dead. When Anne finally reached her mother, by phone from New York, it was a very emotional call, to say the least.

They were back in Canada by May 1980. By July, CBM contacted them and asked them to be interviewed, by Ron and Joan Ward, to see if they would be suitable to team up with them for their work in NE Kenya, near the Somali border. Anne’s father was less than impressed.

He said, “You just took my daughter to Africa, almost got her killed, God got you out, and now you are going to go back?” Bob said, “I think he thought we had flipped a lid at that point, but we said ‘Yes, we are willing to go.’”

So, after some training at the World School of Missions in Pasadena, they flew to Kenya in October 1981. By that time, they had a three-and-a-half-month-old son named, David. They ended up staying until 1992, and had their other two kids in Kenya, a girl named Sarah and another boy, named Michael. They developed many relationships with Kenyan Somalis and gained a “street level” language ability over years.

At the beginning of 1991, the Somali Civil War began and CBM asked Anne and Bob to go to the Somali Border where refugees were arriving. Their knowledge of the Somali language and culture positioned them uniquely to serve in this crisis. They were based in Liboi, and five-hundred refugees were arriving daily. Many mothers had walked for ten days or more, arriving with their children on the brink of starvation. They did all they could, but they were still losing six to ten kids a day.

By August 1991, Bob was asked by the UNHCR to build more permanent hospitals and feeding centres in three camps surround Dadaab, which is located 80 kilometers away from the Somali border in Kenya. Anne took responsibility in two of the camps, Ifo and Dhagahaley, through CBM and the UNHCR, to help 16,000 children get emergency rations and escape starvation.

I cannot say that my ‘soul’ has healed from seeing this catastrophe unfold. But I have experienced some peace and healing when I read Isaiah 40:26 and realize God knows all of these children by name and He does not lose any of them,” Bob said.  To this day there are now almost 400,000 people still living in these camps.

In 1992, Bob and his family returned to Canada so the kids could have some experience in Canadian schools. During 1993-1994 they both took a study leave in Vancouver. Bob finished a one-year diploma at Regent College and Anne did a Dietetic Internship at Vancouver General Hospital. In August 1994, CBM asked them to move to Toronto to help the churches with their outreach to the 100,000 Somali refugees who recently arrived there.

During their time in Toronto their eldest son, David, got very sick in February 1998 with viral encephalitis, a severe brain infection. The doctors told them he had a 50/50 chance of surviving. He did survive, but had some permanent brain injury and had to spend six months in the acquired brain injury unit at Bloorview MacMillan. He was seventeen at the time. Bob said, “The next year-and-a-half was so hard on us all, but boy did people pray!”

In the midst of all that, they received an offer from First Baptist Vancouver to fill their Minister of Mission position. They decided it was God’s plan to return to BC and to give their kids time with their extended family, and accepted the job starting January 1,1999. One of Bob’s first key projects upon arrival in Vancouver was to start a Shelter Program to serve the marginalized street population that the church was keen to reach out to. The first homeless people slept in the church in March of 1999 and still runs to this day.

Until modified because of COVID-19 hit, they had fifty to sixty volunteers every Tuesday night cooking a big meal feeding 120-150 people. They also have 27 beds in the church for people to spend the night and a crew of ten volunteers that would come every Wednesday morning at 5 am to cook and serve breakfast and put away the bedding.

Bob also facilitated many 5-week medical/teaching mission trips to Africa, having gone fourteen times over the 21 years while at FBC.

In 2008, Bob had the privilege to go back to Liberia to see who survived at the school. It was the first time there had been peace in Liberia in 25 years. He went to the school and saw the man, who had driven him all night 28 years earlier, Sam Yarkpah, standing by the school. When Bob left, the people said, “Do not forget us.” No agency had been to help them in 31 years. In 2011, Bob and his friend, Dr. John Potts, got a medical team together and they went to Liberia. They have gone eight times in the last 10 years, the last one ending on March 18, 2020 right before COVID-19 shut everything down. They got the second last flight out of Liberia and were able to make it home.

Currently, Anne is still working as a public health Dietitian in Richmond, B.C. David lives with them, having completed his grade 12 equivalency by age 20, and a two-year job skills training course for adults. He has had steady part-time job which he enjoys, and is on disability.

As for Bob, though he has officially retired this year on August 31, he said, “I never truly will be done; you never retire from serving in the Kingdom of God.”

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m just going to become the most obnoxious volunteer they have ever had and act like I know it all when I don’t,” Bob laughed.

He said one of the greatest pieces of advice he can give is to be open to learning from the people you least expect to teach you.

“When you show them you are willing to learn from them, they become willing to learn from you,” Bob said. “The act of putting yourself in other people’s worlds gives them the willingness to listen to the truth of Jesus.” If they ask, why are you here?” You just say, “Jesus sent me.”

Note to all pastoral ministry leaders

Those in pastoral leadership know that restful rhythms don’t just happen—space must be created for rest and renewal. It has been a privilege to provide such a space to our pastors and spouses for the past 44 years in one of the most picturesque locales in the world!

Due to the exceptional and unforeseen global pandemic crisis, and out of care for the well-being and health of our CBWC family, we are unable to hold a viable Pastors and Spouses Conference in November 2020. In a year where so much has been cancelled and people have been “distanced” from one another, Banff would have been a wonderful place to, once again, connect face to face. While we cannot enjoy all that Banff has to offer this year, see for three pieces of good news moving forward including a chance for those in pastoral leadership to stay at Banff Springs! The last day to book rooms at a discount is October 19, 2020.

We look forward to gathering again in 2021 for a chance to rest, connect, and grow in our relationship with God, self and others.

Other resources: We are working on other regionally based options and creative ways to nurture, encourage and support you through Fall 2020. Watch for details via the Events page in the coming weeks and months!

Welcome to the Team!

The CBWC is excited to welcome Joyce Rebman, as the new administrator for the Mountain Standard Region. Joyce and her husband, Gord, have two grown, married children—one living in Vernon, BC and the other in Edmonton, AB. Her family has a generational connection to a church camp at Lac St. Anne, which is where Joyce and Gord have a privileged spot in the summer to view the lake, when time allows. Joyce worked as a preschool administrator for a number of years and also has volunteered in many different church ministries. She enjoys being active within her home church, teaching in children’s Christian education, being involved with women’s ministries, and is willing to lend a hand wherever needed. She loves being outdoors, walking, reading and spending time with friends and family. Welcome, Joyce!

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections August 2020

Kurios is Running this Fall!

By Steve Simala Grant

Kurios is launching this September, and I am really excited about our core group of young adults who are preparing for our CBWC gap year experience centered around Jesus as Lord.

The reality of 2020 has been make your best plan, and plan to be flexible. Kurios was designed to be nimble, but starting a new ministry which includes a large portion of time travelling and interacting with churches and ministries is difficult in the midst of the global pandemic. So, we have Reimagined Kurios for this season.

Our re-imagined experience commits to the fall semester, discipling young adults in a program we know we can deliver now and in almost all health-related scenarios. Our core values guide this re-imagined experience, building a small community together that includes retreat, spiritual formation, teaching, and some Western Canada travel and outdoor adventure. As fall gives way to winter we will continue online until Christmas. We have space for 2-3 more young adults to join, find out more at .

God continues to encourage us with His vision for cultivating leadership among the next generation, and I remain energized by the high call of walking with young adults as they seek to learn to love the Lord and love their neighbour. I have felt great support and commitment from the CBWC family, and am thankful for the ongoing support and prayer as we Reimagine Kurios and launch this new experience together. My great hope is that our kurios will fill this new ministry with His strength, power, and love.

Effective Online Ministry Course

The instructor Dr. Bryce Ashlin-Mayo is a pastor in Calgary whose academic specialization was in digital technology and the church. He has put his academic preparation to good use in his congregation. He will be teaching the online course at Ambrose Seminary for 3 days over a three-week period in August. One may register for all three workshops for $150, or $59 each. This may be helpful to our pastors as they continue a hybrid-style church service for the foreseeable future. The workshops can also be taken for seminary credit!

As an aside, Tyndale Academic Press will be publishing a book by Bryce on this theme toward the end of the summer.

The ‘COVID-Effect’: Pastoring the Pastor | July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects economically, relationally, and in terms of mental wellness for everyone. Many CBWC pastors and ministry leaders have carried an increased load of pastoral care, technological learning curves, shifts in routine, and loss of loved ones in their personal lives and in the lives of their congregations and communities. As they have faithfully attended to the needs of others, they may have been tempted to ignore their own mental well-being and need for pastoral care.

In response, CBWC Executive Staff developed a COVID-Effect Zoom Series entitled “The COVID-Effect: Pastoring the Pastor” for CBWC Pastors and Chaplains, to come alongside them as they continue to live, love, and lead amid the changing landscape of ministry. The Zoom calls were hosted by Executive Staff and led by two faith-based psychologists, Dr. Todd Sellick and Dr. Hillary McBride. More than 81 registrants had the opportunity to take part in this resource which was offered in the Heartland, Mountain Standard, and BCY Regions.

The CBWC Executive Staff continue to virtually engage with and walk alongside our Pastors by:

  • Hosting regional ministerial cluster meetings
  • Offering one-on-one check-ins with local pastors
  • Providing pulpit supply and Board leadership support
  • Gathering COVID-19 provincial guidelines and updating website with resources
  • Offering crisis care through the Canadian Baptist Benefit Plan
  • Developing meaningful and relevant resources for pastoral leadership in the local church

Check out this amazing FREE resource offered by Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries: Faith, Grief and COVID-19: A Conversation 


A big congratulations to Calvin and Keisha Nickel for the arrival of their twins Wyatt Alexander John, 5lbs 7oz, and Elsie Margaret Rose, 5lbs 15oz, on June 22nd! Calvin, Keisha and the big brothers Parker (age 3) and Nathaniel (21 months) are excited for the two new additions to their family, and so are we! Congrats!

Copyright ©  2020 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections July 2020

Cooks, Nurses, Chauffeurs and Errand Boys: Snapshots of the Spanish Influenza among Western Baptists

Like Canadian Baptists in Central and Eastern Canada, churches of the Baptist Union of Western Canada (BUWC) faced severe hardships due to the “Spanish Influenza” sweeping across Canada and the globe.

The monthly newspaper called The Western Baptist provided commentary on the impact of the pandemic on BUWC local churches. And, as the commentary below indicates, the impact varied from congregation to congregation. The responses of the churches were impressive, with a wide variety of ministries offered to the suffering. The following is a brief snapshot of the churches during those dark days.

The church in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, attempted to “carry on through the period of the ban” through “visiting, and personal and circular letters.” The church’s finances took a blow due to no services being held, and the finance committee needed to send out notices to inform members where they could drop off money to keep the ministry afloat. The church was active in helping in the midst of the pandemic, with the “whole adult membership of the church… helping the sick in the capacity of cooks, nurses, chauffeurs and errand boys.” The pastor and his family did get sick, but “escaped lightly.” ​

Ruth Morton Memorial Church in Vancouver was closed for weeks, with many members getting sick and a number dying. Many members acted as “volunteer nurses” tending to the needy in the church, and others worked in the city carrying out “Samaritan work” in hospitals and homes. ​

​The church in Droxford, Saskatchewan, was closed for two months. The work in the church was “severely hindered,” but fortunately there were no deaths.

Rapid City Baptist Church lost a young man to the flu. He had been working on a power plant.

The church in Kelowna had to cancel its fall revival services. The church continued to meet in smaller groups (“cottage meetings”) in homes, and distributed tracts and Gospels.

Some churches in Alberta had been closed for nine weeks and counting. One woman in Vancouver nursed the child of a woman who died with the flu, and did so until she, herself, was stricken with the illness.

​McDonald Church in Edmonton was closed for seven Sundays, as was First Baptist in Dauphin.

The BUWC annual meeting was not postponed due to the pandemic because its meeting was early in the new year (unlike central and eastern Baptists who had to postpone their fall meetings in what had been prime-time pandemic season).  The leaders met in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in January 1919. The pandemic was not over, but the churches had weathered the worst of the storm and there was cautious optimism about the future.

There is much more to be done in terms of researching the churches’ responses to the pandemic, but a lesson for today that can be gleaned from their experience is that one way to deal with such a crisis is to “help the sick in the capacity of cooks, nurses, chauffeurs and errand boys.”

CBWC Foundation Announcement

As you may be aware, the Foundation is undergoing some changes, and although this impacts some of what we do, we remain committed to serving the CBWC community, specifically for financing needs, education grants and donation options. Transitions can appear messy, but we do remain encouraged and excited to introduce the team leading us through this next season. 

Our Staff

Victor Ku is currently acting as part-time Interim President, along with continuing in his role as the Director of Administration and Finance for the CBWC, where he has served since 2011. Victor graduated with a B.Sc.(Engineering) degree from the University of Guelph, majoring in Agricultural Engineering, and obtained a M.A. in Applied Theology from Regent College. Victor has 23 years of corporate experience in various engineering fields and, in 2005, felt the call of God in his life to serve in a new missional capacity. email: 

Christine Reid started with the Foundation in 2012 and continues to serve in her existing role as VP Operations. Chris is a SAIT Business graduate, offers 25 years of experience in corporate and retail lending, completed the Mortgage Associates Program in 2012, passed her Canadian Securities exam and sat on the Partners in Deed Board from 2012-2017. In addition to managing the loans portfolio, Chris will continue to facilitate education grants and share donations. email:

Nataliya D’yachenko is serving part-time as the Senior Accountant of the Foundation, in addition to her continued role at the CBWC. Nataliya joined the CBWC family in 2011, first at the Foundation (one-year contract), and subsequently joining the CBWC team. She graduated with a B.Sc. degree in Math from the University of Dnipro (Ukraine) and is currently working towards her CPA designation. She has 16 years of accounting experience. email:

Our Board
Herb Ziegler – Chairman
Sam Breakey
Nora Walker
Loralyn Lind
Ken Ritchie
Larry Nelson
Henry Dethmers

For more information go to the website:, or reach out to their team by phone or email anytime.

 Heartland Regional Newsletter

The Potential of Professional Development | Once a Pastor, Always a Pastor | Summer Reading Suggestion

Congratulations Mark Doerksen! 

The CBWC wants to offer a huge congratulations to Heartland Regional Minister, Mark Doerksen, for completing his Doctor of Ministry degree! This was a significant undertaking and we are very proud of his accomplishment.

The title of his final project was The Connection Between Baptism and Membership Practices in Canadian Baptists of Western Canada Churches.  

Below are some comments from Mark:

I wish to thank the CBWC pastors who helped me in my studies by completing a survey about baptism and membership practices in their churches.

 To finish a project like this requires support from different people in my life, and I’m grateful for the following, though the list is not exhaustive: my wife Mary and our kids who were very patient and understanding; Rob Ogilvie, the Executive Minister of the CBWC, was very encouraging and helped me navigate my professional development to get the project completed; the various instructors at Carey Theological College and my supervisor Dr. William Brackney, who were encouraging and insightful as they supported me in my studies.

 This final project has helped me grow in appreciation for the Baptist story, for the historical Baptist desire to return to New Testament practices and to work hard at the concept of a regenerate church. I hope to have further conversations with interested folks as a result.

 Finally, I am now much more skilled in the use of Ebsco resources, obscure bibliographical references, and the Oxford comma. I count Kate Turabian, author of A Manual for Writers, as a close, family friend.

You can read more about Mark’s experience in this month’s Heartland Regional newsletter. Below is the 2020-2021 Carey Theological College Course Schedule.

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections June 2020

Equipping Churches for the Mental Health Crisis

By Jenna Hanger

The challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis have been immense. Life has completely changed, and it will be a while before things become ‘business as usual’. We are at the beginning of an economic crisis on top of the health crisis. But there is another crisis happening in our midst—one that actually was happening long before COVID-19 shut everything down—but it is rapidly growing now. That crisis is around mental health.

Thanks to our evolving culture, mental health is being talked about more now than ever. We have learned more about the complexity of the brain in the past twenty years than in our entire human history, and this has resulted in mental health being more effectively understood and accepted in society. However, as a church body we still have a long way to go. While some churches do a great job on this front, many are still ill-equipped to properly handle the issues around mental health. This is where Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries, out of Vancouver, comes into play.

Sanctuary was developed to help churches engage in the mental health conversation, with the goal of making the church a much safer place for someone in the midst of a crisis. One of the ways it does this is through an interdisciplinary approach. It looks at how we can understand mental health—psychologically and theologically speaking—and how we can understand it through our experience as a person.

One of the key resources that Sanctuary provides is a course which facilitates conversations in churches around the topics of faith and mental health. In the end, the congregation comes out with a shared language and framework on how to think and talk about this subjected, and in doing that well, a lot more people will feel cared for, heard and understood.

Daniel Whitehead, Executive Director of Mental Health Ministries, shared one outcome of the course, which is to understand the difference between mental health and mental illness.

“Rather than thinking of this idea that someone has a mental illness or not, we need to think more of the various shades of grey, and depending on the seasons and what’s going on in our lives, all of us are susceptible to having diminished mental health,” says Daniel.

“We tend to talk about flourishing mental health or languishing mental health. We all live in that spectrum, and we move up and down it. We can move up and down it in a day, let alone within seasons. It’s about acknowledging simply that we all have mental health and all of us depending upon our biological make up, our circumstances and what’s going on in our lives and in the world will dictate whether our mental health is flourishing or languishing in any moment.”

One of the reasons the church seems to be so far behind the conversation is that there are lingering stigmas attached to mental health; oversimplification probably being the main one. Daniel says that they often get people coming to them and saying that mental health issues are all linked to spiritual issues, and that ‘prayer is all you need’. The general thought is that happiness and faithfulness are linked.; if you aren’t displaying outward happiness, then you must be lacking in faithfulness. When, in reality, it is a much more complex issue than that. This type of thinking is not new. In fact, Daniel points out that you can see examples of it in the Bible. 

“It’s the same that happened in Jesus’ day. You know, there’s the man born blind and what do the religious leaders and Pharisees say? ‘Oh, was it him or was it his parents, who’s to blame?’ They just want to find someone to blame. And that’s born out of our own insecurities. We think if we can find someone to blame, we can just name it and deal with it, and we don’t have to think about the complexity.”

The truth is, we are complex holistic beings, and a holistic approach is what is needed to effectively help our mental health. This means that a person’s recovery often needs to incorporate all areas of emotional, spiritual, physical, relational, etc. This includes eating and sleeping well, brain health, maybe medication, talking therapies, as well as reading your Bible and praying. All these things are needed to help a person experience wellness.

So, what should the role of the church be in all of this? The answer is actually quite simple. The role of the church, when it comes to mental health, should be a focus on supporting people relationally, a huge need for someone struggling with their mental health.

“When you have a way of framing it, you quickly realize that the church is the perfect place to be a support to people, because what people need is unconditional love. They need friendship, but genuine friendship,” says Daniel.

The key to doing this is to have empathy.

“Very often the key to helping someone find recovery, and walk that path of recovery, is with empathy. Are we people who just say, ‘I see you as you are. I’m glad that you are here, and I want to support you. I’m not an expert, but I want to support you’? And I think if we could all say that to people in the midst of a mental health crisis, then a lot of good will be done. A lot of people will be finding a place of flourishing more quickly.”

The Sanctuary Mental Health course has grown in popularity since it was started in 2018. First Baptist Church in Vancouver is one of many churches who advocate for the course. Their goal is to get 20% of their congregation to go through the material. John Tsang, Minister of Congregational Care, says he can’t speak highly enough about the benefits of the course.

“Our experience with the Sanctuary course surpassed our expectations! From the feedback that we received after the course, participants really found the videos deeply moving and the material in the manual very informative. The spiritual practices included in each session were also well received, as they helped us to process the content in light of our faith. All three of the group facilitators found it extremely rewarding to take part in the Sanctuary Course,” John said.  

“When we decided to run this course, we thought we would get enough for one group of 8 or 10 people. We ended up with 20 people who signed up, and we had to cap our registration. I think this showed how much people are hungering for something like this. Everyone knows a neighbour, a family member, a friend, or a co-worker who has experienced mental health issues. The Sanctuary course gave us an excellent framework to understand mental health and in particular, how spirituality and community can play a crucial part to someone’s mental health.”

Besides the main course, Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries is offering a free course titled “Faith, Grief and COVID-19” to help support people during this time. For more information, visit

For additional resources check out Timothy Colborne’s Book: Directions For Getting Lost- The Spiritual Journey Through the Wilderness of Mental Illness

Summer is Cancelled? No, it’s not!

With government restrictions slowly starting to lift in many of our provinces, there is hope that we might be able to emerge from our homes and be able to enjoy the summer months. However, there is no doubt life will not look like it used to. All major summer events have been cancelled, group gatherings still have strict guidelines, weddings and reunions have been post-poned and most vacation locations have had their spots reduced so significantly that only a few have been able to book a spot.

But there is an undercurrent of positivity beneath it all. The way in which we have all been forced to slow down and communicate differently has challenged many to think outside the box and be more intentional about investing in relationships. There are many creative ways that people have come up with to respect the current rules and enjoy life to the fullest.

Many CBWC camps for example are adapting as new information arises. While it is almost certain that the usual summer camp experience will not be happening (though many camps stand ready to go if the rules change to permit it), many camps are offering alternative programs to reach out to kids.

For the past few weeks Gull Lake Centre has offered some online camps with great success. There is a possibility of that continuing in the coming months. With the latest changes to Alberta, they are also seriously considering running day camps. The guidelines for these camps would be ten people including leaders. Gull Lake is set up so it would be possible to run seven of these groups at once (in different buildings). They are also determined to still run their LTD program, though it will look at little different.

Miller Creek Camp out of Pincher Creek, AB is also planning on running some online camps, and are putting together ‘Camp in a Box’ care packages. They are also hoping to open their grounds for campers to come, one at a time, so that the property will be used.

Keats Camp from Burnaby, BC is another camp who is being creative during this time in their effort to reach kids. They are using their social media to share devotions, challenge kids with camp activities that would help them get outside and be active. They also have their merchandise store open online. They are hoping to facilitate small work parties and use this time to pour into the grounds accomplishing work on some projects.

Katepwa Lake Camp in Fort Qu’Appelle, SK is hopeful to run their LIT program later this summer, under Saskatchewan’s phase 3 and 4 plan reopening plan. They are also seriously and optimistically looking at doing a “Staff Camp” this year, and taking what would be a “Sabbath Summer” of sorts to spiritually invest in and mentor their staff while also working on some property projects.

There are also reports of churches who are going to be running VBS programs online, which involve sharing devotions, songs, crafts and even providing care packages to be sent out to families who have signed up.

For more information, visit your local camp website to keep up to date on activities being offered and the latest rapidly changing news.

 Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

Our Region Under Covid Restrictions | Words from Paul Hebert

The Gathering 2020

By Esther Kitchener

The CBWC seeks to be good stewards of the resources held in our care for ministry, and one of the cost-saving measures implemented in 2014 was to begin holding our Assemblies online every second year. Who would have known that this forum for holding AGMs would be the only available option for registered charities in 2020? We are blessed to have had the practice of four such online assemblies now!

The CBWC Online Assembly was held on Thursday, May 21, 2020 with more than 211 in attendance, including 171 delegates and pastors representing 79 churches, as well as 27 staff and several non-voting guests. The meeting opened with a creative video montage of Psalm 8 with submissions from church members across Western Canada, followed by an opening prayer by CBWC President, Sam Breakey. Victor Ku (Director of Administration and Finance), Herb Ziegler (VP of Finance), and Colin Godwin (Carey President) brought reports, with motions put forward and carried as part of the business of the CBWC.

We also enjoyed a ministry initiative update on Kurios, and a compelling address by Rob Ogilvie, Executive Minister of the CBWC. Rob shared some of the myriad ways CBWC churches and ministry leaders have been able to think outside the box in caring for their neighbours while living out the hope and love of Christ during this pandemic. You have found ways to be the church, and your resourcefulness and discernment has been profoundly encouraging to us as CBWC Staff!

Because of our years of Online Assembly experience, and as part of our Kingdom work together during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to effectively partner with our sister denominations in sharing resources, encouragement and support for our churches and leaders across Canada. One of the ways CBWC was able to contribute was to resource CBOQ, CBAC and the French Baptist Union in exploring how to transition their in-person Assemblies to an online format for 2020, due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate.

We look forward to the possibility of seeing you in-person next year at The Gathering 2021, which is scheduled to take place in High River, Alberta, May 27-29, 2021. Save the date!

Below are links to three videos shown at the Gathering:

Psalm 8: Praying Across Western Canada

CBWC Life Together (30 minute Pre-Gathering Show)

Kurios Update from Steve

The Mustard Seed Street Church’s Chris Pollock Presented with Leadership Award

Last month Chris Pollock, the Hospitality Pastor at The Mustard Seed Street Church and Food Bank in Victoria, BC, was honoured to receive the Belonging & Engagement award from the 2020 Victoria Community Leadership Awards.

Chris said that when he heard he had won, he was surprised—as he didn’t even know he had been nominated. This award was well-earned. Chris has been working with The Mustard Seed Street Church for almost twenty years and is passionate about the ministry.

“So many pour their hearts and lives serving Christ, sharing in love and life, through the ministry of the Mustard Seed. So many, over the course of the last 40 plus years, have been involved and found belonging within the community of the Mustard Seed Street Church. Some for the entirety of that time. I am another one of those who call themselves ‘Seeders’, who has found hope and belonging in community here,” he said.

Chris runs several programs including The Urban Hermit, an evening for people to come and share their way of being creative. Some bring poems they’ve been working on, some describe their artwork, others will sing a song that has significant meaning for them by Karaoke. The Urban Hermit is a bridge for all walks of life to come together, respect diversity and learn from one another. For a period of time, the community of the Urban Hermit was stopped, and for the duration of that time, the hope that the community would rekindle to life again never ceased.

Another ministry is the Street Café. Started over 10 years ago by a group of students at UVIC, the Street Café is also a bridging point for people from all walks of life. The tables are open for anyone to come and enjoy an outstanding, nutritious, thoughtful meal—candle-lit and with great dinner music being played in dim lights. Volunteer cooking teams, connecting with their Viewfield Food-Distribution Center in Esquimalt, prepare wonderful meals with options. A restaurant experience is produced on Friday evenings with a Maître-D calling names to open tables from the waiting area, waiters and waitresses to seat and serve, as well as bussers for cleaning up. It is a safe place; a refreshing place where people find rest after a tough day or week. Sometimes, the candlelit tables of Street Café can be a nice option for a couple to have a romantic dinner together.

The third ministry Chris runs is called Beyond the Streets. These are day excursions for groups of people to trails and beaches and mountain tops for fellowship and soul care. The city can be like a desert, suffocated by concrete and noise; Beyond the Streets has become an oasis of hope for those needing a break from the pressure and tension the streets can bring. Often, by a fire or during a picnic, transformative conversations will ensue, relieving aloneness in a moment of real togetherness and leading the group into prayer. There is time for quiet walks as well as adventurous hikes. Going Beyond the Streets is becoming a part of the community culture at the Mustard Seed Street Church.

In his teen years, Chris attended Royal Oak Baptist Church while Tom Oshiro, Executive Director and Senior Pastor of the Mustard Seed Street Church, was serving as a pastor there. Chris states that Tom is one leader he most looked up to growing up because of his undefended compassion and presence with people. Another leader he admires is Gipp Forster, founder of the Mustard Seed Street Church, for his poetic encounter and inspired empathy for those struggling, unknown and alone, on the margins of society.

Chris shared one of his favourite quotes is from Gipp Forster’s, “1987 Rambling Number Seventy-Eight”:

“Each of us is given an opportunity… be it great or small… to make some difference in this world we live in. To sow a seed of peace and of love… of concern and caring for the stranger as well as the appreciated. We are surrounded with such opportunities in our roller coaster world… and need only to reach out and touch them. But the blindness of ‘self’ prevents us, most of the time, and we are so busy defending what is ‘ours’ that we forfeit those treasures that do not rust or corrode. But, tomorrow is another day. A day to give a smile to the stranger on the street, to invite the enemy home to dinner, to forgive a wrong suffered. What shall we store up for ourselves. Tomorrow? And, how much is each of our lives worth?”

To learn more about Chris’ story, watch for the #weareallcbwc post coming this week on Facebook.

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.