Making Connections December 2023

Upcoming Events

      • TFTO Book Club- Jan 3 at 6 p.m. PST– We will be discussing How to Read the Bible in Changing Times: Understanding and Applying God’s Word Today by Mark L. Strauss. For more info visit
      • MasterClass January 16, 2024: Sharing Faith with Children and Youth
      • CBWC Board Meeting Jan 19 Online
      • Alberta Regional Retreat Feb 5-7
      • Ordination Prep Workshop for Feb 27-29
      • Heartland Regional Retreat Feb 5-7
      • CBWC Board Meeting in person April 18-20
      • Ordination Examining Council May 13-14
      • New Ministers Orientation May 14-16
      • Save the Date! Online Assembly May 16
      • Registration open for SERVE 2024! June 30-July 6 in Prince Albert

Christmas Reflection 

From Executive Minister, Rob Ogilvie

You know how sometimes you don’t realize how good something is until you lose it? It’s easy to take much of what we have for granted. There was much pain and hurt that came out of the pandemic, but one of the blessings is that we’ve come out with a greater understanding of our need to “connect” with one another. Our communications team produces this monthly newsletter called Making Connections, and it is awesome. It’s an important way for us to be able to communicate and tell stories about what is happening across the CBWC. But it is limited, in that it is one-way communication. You read the stories, but you can’t engage with the storyteller.

For six weeks this fall, we attempted to add another level to our communications by presenting Making Connections Live!! Ten churches hosted regional gatherings from Winnipeg to Victoria, allowing a chance for CBWC staff to “connect” with about 450 people from 75 different churches in a setting where we could express the hope we share in Jesus, tell stories of our shared ministries, and engage with one another in dialogue. It was a gift!

I want to thank each of the host churches for donating your time, your space, and your desserts. They were fantastic. I want to thank our staff team for all the work they did behind the scenes organizing and planning and allowing those of us leading each night to walk into a church forty-five minutes before we were to begin, confident all would work well. And I want to thank all of you who attended a gathering. Many of you met people you didn’t know before, heard about ministries we do together that you didn’t know existed, or visited a church building you had never been in before. It was a gift!

We are about to enter the Advent season where gifts will once again become a theme. We look ahead to Christmas Day when we celebrate the greatest and most profound gift that has ever been offered, the gift of Jesus, our Lord and our Saviour. As I give thanks for the gift of Jesus, I have also been reminded again this fall of the gift of being an association of churches, called to serve Jesus together.

Merry Christmas to all!!


 Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College

Passing the Torch: Reflections on 2 Timothy 2:2 and Discipleship
Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President, Carey Theological College

Earlier this year, Carey Theological College began a reflection about how seminary education—the training of pastors and church leaders—can better support discipleship in the local church. While there have historically been many noble purposes for theological education, Christian discipleship as the goal of seminary education emerges clearly from Scripture.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” –2 Timothy 2:2

To inform our reflection, Carey commissioned a series of interviews with Christian leaders, pastors, and lay people to discover what the state of discipleship was in our local churches. Several themes that emerged from the interviews were aligned with the goal of leadership development in the local church, as expressed in passages such as 2 Timothy 2:2.

The core of Paul’s message, “the things you have heard me say,” underscores the indispensable role of Scripture in discipleship. This aligns with the survey’s findings, where a lack of biblical knowledge and theological depth were identified as key challenges in many churches. Today, as we navigate a polarized post-pandemic world where many people get their viewpoints in an internet thought bubble, anchoring discipleship in the enduring truth of Scripture is more crucial than ever. It is through a solid foundation in God’s Word that believers are equipped to discern truth, embody Christ-like character, and engage effectively with the world.

Paul’s call to “entrust to reliable people” speaks to the importance of intentional selection in the discipleship process. This echoes the survey’s emphasis on the need for relational, mentorship-based approaches. Discipleship is not merely about disseminating information; it’s about investing in individuals who demonstrate a sincere commitment to following Christ. This intentional focus ensures that discipleship efforts are channeled towards those who are not only receptive but also demonstrate the potential to lead and nurture others in their faith journey.

The phrase “who will also be qualified to teach others” captures the essence of reproducibility in discipleship. Paul’s vision extends beyond the immediate circle to future generations, reflecting a strategic, long-term perspective. The survey results highlighted the need for innovative and adaptable discipleship methods that address the real questions that believers are asking today. By equipping faithful disciples who can teach others, we can create a sustainable model of spiritual growth and multiplication. 

At Carey, we have found the results of these interviews quite challenging. We are considering how to strengthen the biblical focus of our curriculum. And although we make considerable efforts to ensure that our admission process selects students that are committed disciples of Christ and servants of His church, we do not always succeed. Most difficult for Carey is the realization that much of what is commonly taught in seminaries is not immediately transferable to local church leadership development. 

Please pray for Carey as we seek to align our courses and programs to the needs of discipleship in our churches, including Biblical knowledge, mentorship, and reproducibility. I would also encourage you to consider these same themes as you labour to strengthen Christian formation in your church.

Do these interview results connect with your experience? As Carey continues to reflect, I welcome your feedback at

In integrating these insights with 2 Timothy 2:2, we are reminded that effective discipleship is a journey that requires depth in biblical knowledge, intentional focus on devoted followers, and a vision for reproducibility. As we reflect on this scripture and the insights from the Carey Theological College survey, let us recommit ourselves to these principles, adapting them to our current context. May we strive to be faithful stewards of God’s Word, investing in reliable individuals who will, in turn, teach others—thus ensuring the continuous spread of the Gospel and the strengthening of the Church in this generation and beyond.

Carey celebrated the start of construction towards a new 104-bed Christian student residence at UBC–a bedrock of discipleship for generations to come.

Heartland Regional Newsletter

December 2023

Covid Relief Grant Blesses Church

By Jenna Hanger

Northmount Baptist Church in Calgary was recently the recipient of an incredible gift. After being alerted by CBWC about the COVID-19 Recovery Federal Grant, they were able to put together a proposal. They were ecstatic to have received nearly $100 000 to go towards enhancing translation and worship for members of their church.

With 80% of their congregation being new Canadians, finding a way to properly communicate has been a challenge, but the grant money has allowed them to purchase the equipment, and hire the employees needed to better minister to newcomers.

Using A.I. technology, Northmount now has the ability to translate sermons in real time into Spanish and Farsi, which are displayed on newly-purchased screens in front of the church.

“One immediate benefit is that Spanish- and Farsi-speaking people can at least feel a little more part of the service. Even if the translation is not perfect, they can get the gist of what is going on,” Pastor Greg Butt shared, adding that they can feed the program Bible phrases and words, so the translations will get more and more accurate with time.

On top of being able to purchase the translation technology, new screens, and video cameras, they have also been able to hire a part-time IT person who revamped their website so it can switch flawlessly from English to Spanish and Farsi. They have also expanded their sound booth to accommodate the new equipment and were able to purchase a whole new set of instruments for their worship team.

Having these new instruments has been a huge blessing in itself. This year, Northmount sponsored six incredibly talented musicians from Nigeria, who have committed to helping them with their worship ministry for at least a year. With these leaders, they have not only enhanced their regular Sunday worship times, but have been able to host special worship nights geared towards different cultures. They have already had an African worship night, and plan to have an Afghan and Spanish praise night, as well as a jazz concert for non-churchgoers.

“It’s been a huge boost for us,” Pastor Greg shared about receiving the grant. “With so many of our congregations new to the country, it has been a challenge to sustain what we have, but we are hoping because of these technologies and exposure the church will draw people in and grow.”

CBWC Has Two Christmas Gifts for You!

It’s the season of giving, and we are so excited to give you two amazing free gifts!

For the first, we have partnered with RightNow Media to give all pastors and/or paid ministry staff within the CBWC FREE personal access to RightNow Media, and churches will qualify for a significant discount for a church-wide subscription!

The second gift, we are pleased to share a brand-new youth leader resource called Create and Cultivate—born out of The Youth Ministry Forum in 2022.

Keep reading to learn more about these awesome gifts!

RightNow Media Gift:

The Canadian Baptists of Western Canada have partnered with RightNow Media – the largest streaming library of Bible studies and discipleship content. It has over 400 Christian publishers, tens of thousands of Bible studies, conferences, training sessions, kid’s cartoons, and much more. All pastors and/or paid ministry staff person within the CBWC, are receiving FREE personal access to this resource!

This is a gift to you to use personally and with your family. Please know that your user account cannot be shared or given away to your church. However, in addition to the free personal membership, your church now also qualifies for a significant discount for a church-wide subscription to use RightNow Media to equip families, resource small groups, and develop leaders within your local church. Note: If your church is already currently subscribing to RightNow Media, you may be eligible for a lower monthly subscription fee. To enquire, contact Graham Smith via the info below.

GET FREE ACCESS to this amazing resource with the following link –

The RightNow Media app gives you instant access to the whole media library, as well as the ability to watch content offline. Access biblical video content anywhere, anytime, for you and your family! Click here to get the free app with your membership!

You may hear from RightNow Media as they’d love to introduce themselves and help with any questions you might have, but you can also reach out to CBWC’s rep, Graham Smith, if you need assistance with anything in the meantime. You can reach Graham with the information below:

Graham Smith – Director for National Accounts, RightNow Media

(972) 560 – 4381

Thank you again for all you do, pastors and ministry leaders!

Create and Cultivate Resource Gift:

To access the Create and Cultivate flipsnack CLICK HERE.

Read below testimonies from pastors who attended the 2022 Youth Ministry Forum:

Andrew Bird- Youth Pastor at Brightview Church

The Youth Ministry Forum was an incredible time of fellowship and connection with other youth pastors from across the country. I had not met most of them, and so for me, the forum was such a great opportunity to hear from youth workers and learn about youth ministry in a variety of contexts. Our time together was incredibly life-giving. We were able to share joys and struggles, challenges and celebrations from the common ground of pursuing God’s kingdom wherever we served. Over this past year, we have continued to be connected through a group chat, offering prayer requests and care for one another. I personally would like to experience and see more gatherings of youth ministers from across the nation.

Create and Cultivate is a call to Canadian churches to take seriously the ministry to youth and young people. The wording of the document is both challenging and encouraging, pointing to the continued need for ministry throughout all generations, as well as encouraging churches that such a ministry is possible. All churches are in the process of creating and cultivating. It is what the Christian church does to varying degrees of effectiveness and depth. Therefore, I suppose the value of this document is that it calls churches to turn some of that work and effort toward the young, toward the lost, toward the disenfranchised. 

Kyle Merkel- Youth Pastor at Lethbridge First Baptist Church

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to attend the Canadian Baptist youth ministry forum last fall. It was great to connect with youth pastors from across the country who all have a heart and passion to reach our youth for Jesus. It was incredibly valuable to have a safe space to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and obstacles we are facing in youth ministry, and to receive encouragement and prayer from one another.

I am excited about the ministry priorities that were distilled from the conversations that took place and the unified vision they provide as we minister in our unique contexts. There is a deep encouragement that comes from knowing you are part of a community of youth workers, all pulling together in the same direction.

I am looking forward with anticipation to seeing how God will work in our ministries and churches as the Create and Cultivate resource rolls out, and for the continued opportunity to inspire, support, and encourage each another.

Christmas Fun for the Family!

In keeping with the theme of gifts, we wanted to gift you some ideas for a special time for you and your family this Christmas season! Check out the booklet below for craft ideas, colouring pages, crossword puzzles and more!

Ruminating on Rest

An Update from Rev. Shannon Youell, Director of Church Planting

I spent half the summer recovering from a bad fall that resulted in broken bones. I suppose it is a type of forced rest that isn’t all that restful! But it has given me a lot of time—while laying across the couch with an elevated leg—to read, think, and pray, specifically about the work we do in our own church contexts and in our greater CBWC family.  

Executive Staff Retreat this September: crutches and all!

When I think of the difference between rest and restful, I think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28:30, a very familiar verse where Jesus describes rest as something found in our souls: as His teaching (His yoke) being easy and the burden of it light. This kind of rest, Jesus infers, leads us to restfulness rather than to restlessness. And it appears to come to us when we respond to Jesus’ “Come to Me,” which reminds me of His “Come and see” we hear several times in the Gospel accounts.

“Come to me,” “come and see,” “taste and see that the Lord is good” all connote a rest that is otherworldly and unforced. The Message uses the phrase “unforced rhythms of grace” to describe the rest Jesus speaks of in Matthew 11:29. As we enter this new season before us, with all the activities familiar and new that our churches may engage in, may we discover anew the rest that is good for our souls and crucial for the mission God has entrusted to His Church. Taste and see that, indeed, the Lord has been and is good!

CLICK HERE to keep reading!

Notice of Voluntary Disaffiliation: The CBWC wishes to express its gratitude to First Baptist Church Calgary in honour of our shared history and ministry together for more than 100 years. The CBWC was notified of their voluntary disaffiliation effective September 24, 2023.

We pray God’s blessing upon First Baptist Church Calgary as they move forward in embracing a new beginning and alignment elsewhere.

Copyright ©  2023 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections November 2023

Things Happening in November

– It’s Book Club Night! Join us at 6pm PST TONIGHT, November 1, for the Theology for the Ordinary Book Club on Zoom. Email Cindy at to get involved.

– A reminder that there is no BPC 2023, but save the date for Banff Pastors’ Conference 2024! See some of the exciting details below!

Banff 2024
Dates: November 11-14, 2024
Location: Banff Springs Fairmont
Speakers: Rev. Skye Jethani, Carolyn Arends
In Concert: Carolyn Arends & Spencer Capier
More details to come!

-November is a great time to think about Advent rhythms for your home and church. Find resources at, and watch for more resources being added in the coming weeks.

-Upcoming Evangelism Masterclasses: November 7 – Relating to Newcomers, and January 14 – Sharing Faith with Children and Youth. Register for free at

-Join us this month for CBWC Sunday: an opportunity for your church community to celebrate our shared ministry across Western Canada. Visit for resources, or contact your Regional Office to make arrangements for a CBWC Staff person to participate in your service.

-November 28 is Giving Tuesday! We’re raising funds for the Disaster Relief Fund, which provides support to on-the-ground relief organizations in times of crisis.

Apply Today for an AiM Grant!

Over this past summer, many folks from CBWC churches participated in Active in Mission, raising money with other Canadian Baptists across Canada to ensure people around the world and here at home have access to adequate, nutritious food. You championed the cause as individuals, teams, youth groups, and churches by running, walking, cycling, playing volleyball, and so much more! 

Collectively, over $90,000 was raised! Amazing! Half of the funds will be used to fund global food programming in 12 different countries, while the other half is being shared between our Canadian Baptist denominations to fund local food programs.  

The CBWC’s Justice and Mercy Network wishes to thank all those who participated and now looks forward to dispersing our portion of monies raised by way of grants to CBWC churches currently involved in food security ministries. 

If your church offers hospitality and welcome by providing food to those who are going hungry, please complete and submit a grant application to the Justice and Mercy Network by November 30thCLICK HERE for link to application.

We hope to disburse funds to successful grant applicants before the end of this year. 

Thank you for making a difference!  

 Partner Spotlight: CBM

Making a Difference with Hopeful Gifts for Change

This year, we celebrate 20 years of Hopeful Gifts for Change!

For 150 years, Canadian Baptists have been answering the call to share the Gospel through word and deed around the world. We are thankful for how you have joined in God’s mission especially through CBM’s Hopeful Gifts for Change catalogue. Your generosity over the past two decades has helped alleviate poverty, bring about justice, give hope to children, respond in crisis, build up local leaders, and expand the reach of the Gospel message.

At CBM, we work together with our global partners to live out the Great Commission by demonstrating the Great Commandment. Because of your gifts, South Sudanese refugees have the resources to start over after the civil war. Marginalized women in Rwanda can start their own businesses. Youth in the Philippines are able to get a college education. These are just a few of the many ways your gifts make a difference.

We also know that needs shift in our unpredictable world. Your gifts toward What’s Most Needed allow us to respond in ways that make the largest impact. Whether it’s helping in times of crises, investing in sustainable programs, or empowering individuals, we are committed to supporting our local partners as they minister to those around them.

You and your church community can use the catalogue at Christmas (or at any time of the year) to purchase gifts that make a meaningful impact for people across the world. Kids can select gifts of education for their teachers, churches can support leaders around the world in honour of their own pastors, and families can give one another presents that matter—all through the Hopeful Gifts for Change catalogue. There are so many ways to give a gift that will last a lifetime!

Visit to find out more.

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

November 2023

Prayer for Remembrance

Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict,
and ask that God may give us peace:
for the service men and women
who have died in the violence of war,
each one remembered by and known to God;
may God give peace.
God give peace.

For those who love them in death as in life,
offering the distress of our grief
and the sadness of our loss;
may God give peace.
God give peace.

For all members of the armed forces
who are in danger this day,
remembering family, friends
and all who pray for their safe return;
may God give peace.
God give peace.

For civilian women, children and men
whose lives are disfigured by war or terror,
calling to mind in penitence
the anger and hatreds of humanity;
may God give peace.
God give peace.

For peacemakers and peacekeepers,
who seek to keep this world secure and free;
may God give peace.
God give peace.

For all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership,
political, military and religious;
asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve
in the search for reconciliation and peace;
may God give peace.
God give peace.

O God of truth and justice,
we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,
and those whose names we will never know.
Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world,
and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.

As we honour the past,
may we put our faith in your future;
for you are the source of life and hope,
now and for ever.

(All join together in the Lord’s Prayer)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

— from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), “All Saints to Advent.” Copyright 2000 © The Archbishops’ Council. Posted on the Church of England website.

Giving Tuesday—Disaster Relief Fund

In the event of an emergency or a natural disaster, we want to be able to jump into action to respond quickly and effectively during a crisis. The CBWC’s Disaster Relief Fund, financed by generous donors, is one way for us to meet the initial practical realities that come with natural disasters such as the recent wildfires in Kelowna and Yellowknife, as well as ongoing spiritual and mental health support in the days that follow. We assess each crisis to establish where donors’ dollars will make the greatest impact.

With natural disasters on the rise, the CBWC wants to be ready to respond generously and effectively. On Tuesday, November 28th, we will be participating in GivingTuesday to raise funds for our depleted Disaster Relief Fund. Visit and click on GivingTuesday to give!

Christian Plays with Pizzazz

Written by Jenna Hanger

NextGen Ministries newsletter is out! Mentioned in this edition is a terrific, free resource that will benefit churches this holiday season!

For the past decade, Joanna Richards from Elk Lake Baptist Church has developed a unique skill which has grown into an incredible resource for churches—writing original Christmas and Easter plays.

She just launched her website,, with six Christmas plays available for download. She also has plans to add Easter plays in the near future. The plays are biblically based, funny, and tailored to the skill level and needs of church congregations—running for about the length of a sermon, with characters able to be played by a mix of ages. 

Joanna’s journey into writing plays came from a heart to serve and a willingness to say “yes.” Since she started attending Elk Lake Baptist in 2000, she took part in the seasonal productions, which at that time were written by former pastor Les Funk (who has since passed). Les was an artist in his own right and brought his creativity to the original plays that he wrote. 

After years of being mentored and taking part, Les told Joanna he wanted to pass the mantle to her. At first, she was unsure she had the skill-set to take over—but with some background in writing skits, and a love of writing in general that showed through her academic work, Joanna agreed and wrote her first play in 2012.

Since then, she has written a Christmas and Easter play nearly every year. Often times, visitors would approach her and ask if they could use her plays in their own church. Many shared that finding a play which conveyed the holiday stories in a real, raw, yet authentically humorous way was challenging—with many online options coming across as cheesy rather than impacting. 

“It’s difficult to find fresh content. When you look around online, a lot of it is––you know––kind of canned. It’s such a potent story––there is such beauty in it, and a lot of what you can find is not capturing the audience,” Joanna said. 

Hence, her slogan: Christian Plays with Pizzazz! Your Source for Cheese-Free Christian Plays was born. 

With the Christmas season rapidly approaching, check out Joanna’s plays HERE, and see if there is a right fit for your congregation this season! All plays are free, but donations are accepted and will support Joanna and her playwriting efforts.

HeartSmart HR—Advice on Compensation Packages

By Louanne Haugan, Director of Communications & Development

Talking about salaries and compensation can feel awkward, especially in churches and Christian organizations. After all, we are doing the Lord’s work and ministry, and no one is in it for the money, right? However, neglecting to establish a good employment policy that lays out how employees are paid, and unintentionally underestimating your church’s compensation package can be a significant mistake. Attracting and retaining the most suited and gifted pastors and ministry workers should be a top priority, taking your church’s financial budget into account.

A proper compensation package will reflect Jesus

A well-designed compensation package, rooted in Christ-like attitudes, fosters positive relationships, and creates an environment that helps retain the men and women called to minister in your church. How you care for your staff will impact the church’s effectiveness and reputation, as well as help you fulfill your mission.

The best compensation packages do the following:

  • Demonstrate care for the employee, ensuring fair treatment and promoting employee morale
  • Ensure compliance with employment legislation
  • Help maintain competitive pay levels
  • Protect the organization’s reputation against claims of unfair treatment
  • Allow Christian organizations to model exemplary treatment of staff to their members and other stakeholders
  • Bring in the best possible people to serve your ministry
  • Sustain your pastors’ lives so that they don’t need to go somewhere else. For instance, the CBWC offers a Sabbatical Leave Plan to ensure pieces are in place to promote the mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of its pastors as part of ongoing pastoral care.

Annually, the CBWC provides a Salary Grid to assist our churches in determining fair compensation for their pastor(s) given qualifications such as education, work experience, responsibility, church size, and cost of living based on the location of the church. The grid does not include the cost of benefits such as pension and group insurance (including health & dental coverage), which should also be considered when determining payroll expenses for eligible employees.

The CBWC also provides churches with an annual recommendation for cost-of-living adjustments to salaries in keeping with Canada’s rate of inflation, found in our 2024 COLA Letter.

Changes in charitable legislation in 2023

As we draw near to the end of the year, we want to remind churches in British Columbia and Saskatchewan of important changes and updates made to charitable legislation in your provinces. Links to these changes are found below:

British Columbia

A number of changes to the B.C. Societies Act came into effect in May of this year. Designed to increase clarity and address concerns with the legislation since it was first introduced, the provincial government has put together a table that sets out the majority of changes.


A new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act governing charities and other not-for-profit corporations in Saskatchewan came into force in March of this year. Intended to modernize the law dealing with charities, some important changes in the new Act deal with director qualifications, audits and reporting requirements, and electronic communications.

Copyright ©  2023 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections October 2023

Don’t Miss These Upcoming Events

 Making Connections LIVE CBWC Fall Road Trip: Executive Minister Rob Ogilvie, along with members of Executive Staff, are stopping by locations across Western Canada to share resources and exciting stories about what God is doing in our midst. Previous stops were in Winnipeg and Brandon on Sept. 26 & 27.

  • Oct. 2: Regina
  • Oct. 11: Calgary
  • Oct. 12: Edmonton
  • Oct 18: Victoria
  • Oct 19: Vancouver
  • Nov. 1: Ponoka
  • Nov. 2: Grande Prairie
  • Nov. 7: Kelowna

Visit for event details. Hope to see you there!

Take part in the next Theology for the Ordinary book club via Zoom on Wednesday, November 1st. Email for details and to RSVP.

CBWC Church Planting invites you to join us for free Evangelism Masterclass webinars:

  • Oct. 3: Evangelism Incubator
  • Nov. 7: Relating to Newcomers

Register at

October Print Edition

Copyright ©  2023 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections September 2023

Summer Highlights!

Our churches were busy this summer! So many kids and youth were blessed by summer VBS programs and day camps that gave them a chance to connect and learn about Jesus!

We loved seeing the photos so much we had to share some highlights! Click HERE to see a snapshot of some of the fun!

 Partner Spotlight: Hopehill

Summer Case Study from a low-cost housing society for low-income Seniors—Hopehill—Living in Community, Vancouver BC (a ministry of the CBWC)

She was upset—understandably so. Her suite had suffered water damage from the tenant above her. The damage was so severe that she needed to move out of the suite for a couple of weeks while repairs were made. As I listened to her, I realized she was very angry. Angry about what? The damage. The disruption. The tardiness of the repairs. The unwillingness we had in allowing her to stay in the suite. And the bigger question—“Where will I go?”    

I listened to her even more intently, and I gently offered the observation—“It sounds like there is something really deep going on inside of you that’s deeper than the ruined ceiling. What’s going on?” She blurted out, “I don’t want to be homeless. I have nowhere to go. I have no money. I am estranged from my family. This makes me feel so afraid. I feel like I have been ejected from home. This is so frightening to me.”  

When people are afraid or anxious, they will sometimes say things that are harsh and unhelpful. They will sometimes even do things that are destructive, not contributive.  

I have been living in the story of the Good Samaritan for the last while. Besides the big idea of us needing to be like the Samaritan, I’ve tried to understand the situation of the traveller on the side of the road. He lay there, “stripped, beaten, and left half dead,” Losing your home leaves you stripped and beaten. So can losing your job. So can losing a connection to a loved one through a blow up. People we meet in life can be fighting a battle we know nothing about. A kind word is better than a combative one. It’s not about my needs; it’s their needs that are the issue.

In the end, we offered her a temporary place to stay which was less than ideal. Instead, she opted to go to a friend’s home and live, temporarily waiting for the restoration of her “home.” But we repaired the relationship. Maintenance of a building is very important—so too is people work.  

Jamey McDonald 

Hopehill–Living in Community

PS. On July 13th, 2023, we broke ground on construction of our next 64-unit, low-cost for low-income senior residence. It is slated to be ready for occupancy in early 2025. Helpful to you? Contact us at

BCY Regional Newsletter

September 2023

Resources for the 2023 National Day of Truth & Reconciliation

September 30th is the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. We want to encourage all our churches to take a moment to reflect on this day and participate in some form. Below is information found on the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) website:

In 2022, we extended a heartfelt invitation to all Canadian Baptists to unite in an online service of remembrance and reflection. This occasion brought us together as a community to acknowledge the painful history and lasting effects of the residential school system. This year, as we commemorate the 2023 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we invite you to join us in a prayerful and reflective commemoration, right on the very lands where you live, work, and play. To ensure this year’s observance is even more impactful, there are three meaningful steps you can take to honor the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation wherever you are located:

  1. Utilize the Prayer Guide: On September 19th, we will make available a guided audio meditation for your use on Sept 30th. This audio recording has been specifically crafted for this solemn occasion. This guide can serve as a powerful tool for your personal contemplation or to be shared with a small group of family and friends. Through it, we encourage you to deeply reflect on the past and present ramifications of the residential school system in Canada, offering prayers for truth, reconciliation, and profound healing. 
  2. Engage in Regional Events: Take an active part in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by participating in local events held in your region. Seek out gatherings that are led by Indigenous people, who hold a sacred and unique perspective on the experiences of their ancestors. Approach these events with an open heart, humility, and a genuine desire to learn. Discovering and attending these events will undoubtedly enrich your understanding and contribute to fostering a bond of unity and respect between all Canadians. Click here to locate a Friendship Centre near you and discover what resources and events they have to offer.  
  3. Explore Additional Learning Resources: Our commitment to truth and reconciliation extends beyond the day’s observance. To deepen your knowledge and awareness of the historical and ongoing impacts of residential schools in Canada, we encourage you to peruse the myriad of available resources. Delve into the stories, testimonies, and educational materials to learn more about the past and present impact of residential schools in Canada. We also encourage you to invite others to explore these resources alongside you, fostering discussions that promote empathy, growth, and understanding. Access these valuable resources for learning and reflection through the following links:  

Have less than 15 minutes?

Whitehorse Baptist Mission School (short article) 

Learn whose territory you are on (self-guided website exploration)

Have 15 – 60 minutes?

Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre Collections (self-guided website exploration) 

Former Residential School Site and the Search for Unmarked Graves (self-guided website exploration) 

Have more than an hour? 

Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts  (66 min. documentary) 

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Events (a series of online events Sept 25 – 30) 

Walking in a Good Way with Indigenous Neighbours Online Course (20 hour online course) 

Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report (sign up to pledge to read the 6 volume report) 

The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (5 part audio series) 

Red Clover (self-guided website exploration and ongoing training resources)

Through these carefully curated steps, we believe that the 2023 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will serve as a catalyst for meaningful change and foster a sense of unity and understanding among all Canadians. By engaging in prayer, participation, and education, we can collectively take significant strides toward reconciliation, healing, and a shared vision of a compassionate and inclusive Canada. Join us on this profound journey of reflection and remembrance, as we honor the past, acknowledge the present, and forge a path of hope and healing for generations to come. Together, we can build a stronger and more harmonious nation, founded on truth, respect, and compassion.

Unity through Music

Submitted by Pastor Sara Westnedge, First Baptist Nelson

I received a text message on Sunday night with this request, “Hi Sara, would it be okay if my son came to practice piano? Ours is gone for a couple of weeks.” This seemed like an easy request to fill—since our church has four pianos that sit alone on stage from Monday to Saturday, only displaying their full glory on Sunday morning. However, Erik, the pianist, also happens to be 15, and I was a bit skeptical as to whether he would actually show up each weekday morning.

Erik arrived promptly on Monday morning. The first thing he did was apologize because he is working on a difficult piece so he might be playing sections over and over, on repeat. Fortunately, I have small children and since they ask the same questions or share the same jokes over and over on repeat, I was able to assure him that I was not concerned.

On Tuesday morning, God made my heart soar through Erik’s beautiful music, and I was not alone. Monday was a delight, but on Tuesday I realized at 9:30 am that I was not alone in the upstairs of our church. The entire preschool that runs in the basement of FBC Nelson had congregated on the pews. Rows of children, all under five years of age, sat in silence as Erik played piano for 15 minutes. Their teacher came and told me that they had heard him from downstairs, and so they had to come for the concert.

Like most small rural churches, ours often feels somewhat neglected. We do not have the congregation that we once had, but the faithful souls that do attend have prayed fervently for life and renewal. This week God blessed us by answering this prayer through Erik and a community of small children—reminding me that God is always calling us to beauty and God’s presence in surprising ways. 

Protecting the Vulnerable

By Bree Young, Children and Families Pastor at Summerland Baptist

The statistics for child abuse in Canada is staggering. Government of Canada statistics show that about 6 in 10 individuals reported experiencing some type of child maltreatment before they were 15 years old. The sad reality is that abuse, in all its forms (physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect), is far too common.

Churches can be vulnerable places because they are considered places of trust, but can often lack the necessary screening for volunteers. I was reminded of this trust during the summer of 2020, when during the first summer of Covid our day camp was full. Even during a pandemic, parents trusted us with their children. The Church reflects God’s love to those in our care. The safety of the children, youth, and vulnerable adults in our care needs to be a top priority.  

Preventing abuse from happening is reason enough to make sure a church develops clear policies and procedures that will protect the volunteers, children, and youth in their care. But I have another reason. We have the privilege of walking with kids and youth, building relationships with them, and being people they can trust—which means we have a front row seat to notice when something is out of the ordinary. In order to recognize warning signs of possible child abuse, we need to know what we are looking for. Training volunteers and staff to know the indicators and how to watch for physical or behavioral changes or patterns helps us advocate for the children and youth in our care. 

At SBC we partner with an organization called Plan to Protect®. They equip SBC to meet the highest standard of vulnerable sector protection. By partnering with Plan to Protect®, we receive support, resources, and expertise of customized policy, procedures, and training. The job of being a safe Church requires lots of administrative work. Organizations like Plan to Protect® ease the stress by providing the expertise needed to write policies and procedures. In many cases, these resources are provided by them. All you have to do is customize them to your needs. 

One of the most important policies to have at a church is a screening process. A volunteer at SBC working with children, youth or vulnerable adults must:

  • Complete a Family Ministry application form 
  • 6-month, “getting to know you and you getting to know us” period
  • Interview and references 
  • Criminal record check
  • Plan to Protect® training (full training every 3 years + refresher every year)
  • Final approval from ministry lead
  • Training in your specific kid’s ministry role by a Volunteer Coach

Becoming a person of trust at SBC means completion of all the steps of the screening process. But it means more than just a process; it means that parents can trust that the staff and volunteers at SBC are safe, trustworthy, trained, and equipped. It also means that as a volunteer you are confident in how to keep yourself safe, look for indicators of abuse, report, record or ignore incidents, and know the expectations of the volunteer role you are in. 

Keeping kids safe requires commitment, time, and sometimes sacrifice, but it’s all worth it in the end. If you have any questions about keeping kids safe at your church, feel free to email me at

Upcoming Events!

As our summer activities wind down and we look towards autumn and a refreshed start into ministry and life together, here are several upcoming events to take note of. 

Please join us in praying for the Executive Staff Team who will be gathering September 5th-7th for a retreat and September 20-22 for meetings, and for CBWC’s Board who will meet September 22nd-23rd

We hope that over the past year you have already taken advantage of the great, free seminars being offered through CBWC Church Planting in cooperation with Salvation Army and CBOQ. The new lineup of Evangelism Masterclasses for 2023/24 features practitioners from across Canada, kicking off with a workshop on Prayer Evangelism on September 5th. Visit for details and to register. 

On September 10th at 10am, KURIOS is kicking things off with an Opening Service at Jasper Park Baptist Church! Please pray for them and for the new students who are beginning their adventure!

Don’t forget September 30th National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. Once again, we are invited to join CBM in prayerful reflection and commemoration. For a Prayer Guide and other resources on how we as churches and individuals can listen, remember, and engage well on this important day, click here.

Now is a great time to plan for your church’s CBWC Sunday participation. Each year we ask that you set aside a Sunday in November to celebrate what it means to be part of the larger CBWC and its shared ministries. Choose a service in November in which to highlight the CBWC, and watch for resources to be released soon.

Looking ahead, remember that there is no Banff Pastors’ Conference in 2023, but you can mark November 7th-10th, 2024, on your calendar for BPC ’24. Assembly 2024 will be held online in May, with the date yet to be determined. Watch for more details.

Lastly, we are excited to announce a new initiative starting this month called Making Connections- Live! A CBWC Fall Road Trip. Tour dates and details to come, stay tuned!

We pray that you and your congregations are blessed with opportunities to continue to grow in love for God, one another, and neighbour in this coming season.

Copyright ©  2022 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections August 2023

SERVE 2023

By the Director of Next Generation Ministries, Peter Anderson

From July 2-8, over 200 people from 17 CBWC churches gathered in Kelowna for the 25th annual SERVE experience. For the first time in many years, youth groups from all 4 provinces and 2 territories of the CBWC were represented. It was truly a special gathering.   

During the days, groups dispersed all across the city demonstrating the love of Jesus through active service and in the evenings regathered for incredible times of worship. The theme of the week was “Something Different,” and youth considered how Jesus calls them to live differently in the world around them. Choosing to spend the first week of summer sleeping on a gym floor and serving complete strangers was certainly a good start for the different kind of life Jesus wants for those who love Him.  

All together SERVE participants poured out over 5,000 hours of volunteer labor into the community, and many of those served were blown away by our youth’s selflessness and generosity (especially because of the 35-degree heat). A few of those who were served commented that the youth they encountered gave them a renewed hope for the future of the church and our world. Praise God for the impact that SERVE 2023 has already had and will continue to have for months and years to come.    

SERVE 2024 will be held in Prince Albert, SK.

Watch the recap video HERE!

 Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College

Carey Theological College Begins Construction Of New Student Residence

Exciting growth is underway at Carey Theological College as we begin the construction of a second Christian student residence building at the University of British Columbia. This new facility continues Carey’s longstanding commitment to nurturing the faith and community of young adults as they venture through their post-secondary studies.

Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President of Carey Theological College (front row, left) with the Carey Board of Administration, breaking ground for the new building project.

The new building will accommodate 104 additional students and offer a range of suites, from studios to three-bedroom apartments.

Each unit has been thoughtfully designed, with kitchens and ensuite laundry facilities, providing students with a comfortable living environment. Moreover, our focus on fostering a vibrant Christian community is reflected in the dedicated spaces within the building—designed specifically for Bible study, worship nights, and small groups. With the support from our Deans of Student Residents and volunteer Resident Assistants, these spaces will enable students to deepen their faith and engage in meaningful spiritual exploration. Additionally, the common areas will serve as gathering spaces, fostering connections and friendships among residents that will last a lifetime.

Proposed image of the new residency building.

As we reflect on the past year, we are humbled to share testimonials from two students who experienced the impact of Carey’s student residence program.

Nate L, 2nd year, Engineering:

“Carey gave me a supportive, Christian environment, something that I felt was necessary when moving to UBC. The biggest factor in my decision to come to Carey last year was the tight-knit community. Carey made sure that I had the resources I needed to succeed. Carey has been a place of growth for me, both spiritually and academically. Without this supportive community behind my endeavours, it would have been difficult for me to keep pressing forward. Thank you for your support in pushing the next generation to persevere, and to become the Christian leaders of tomorrow.”

Sarah S, 4th year, Land and Food Systems:

“Carey has been such an amazing blessing in my life. I thank God every day for bringing me to this amazing community that has truly been a home away from home in my life. I can assure you that God is using your generosity for His glory and to build up an amazing community of believers during their time at UBC, where we are all figuring out life together. That is why I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live at Carey, for God has blessed Carey so abundantly and has brought each and every one of us here for a reason.”

These heartfelt accounts highlight the profound impact that Carey has had on these students’ lives, both spiritually and academically. We firmly believe in the transformative power of Christian community and the lasting impact it can have on the lives of young adults. We are honoured to be part of empowering the next generation of Christian leaders, equipping them with a strong foundation of faith, discipleship, and community.

To contribute, please visit our website at Your generosity and prayers are greatly appreciated as we embark on this exciting journey of growth and discipleship. Thank you for your support in shaping the lives of future Christian leaders.

Heartland Regional Newsletter

August 2023

Getting Active!

On Saturday, July 15th, nearly thirty individuals gathered together for a 12hr volleyball game. From 7am to 7pm 43 sets were played, the Redneck Rangers barely beating the Blue-collar Busters. It was incredible to see all the people come together for the event. Gatorade and oranges were donated by the local grocery store and the beef on the bun meal afterwards was covered by Brownfield Baptist Church. It really was a community effort to pull off. We were very excited to have raised $2,760, and counting!


One of the participants was Jordan Webber, the current President of the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) Board. Below is a reflection by him about the act of Giving:

In Bible study last week, we looked at Mark 3 and 4. One high school student pointed out Mark 4:18-19.

18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly, the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.

The message is crowded out by worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. That seems painfully close to home. In thinking about that passage since, it seems to parallel Jesus’ interaction with the rich, young ruler. This man had been putting effort into following the commandments since he was a boy but still longed to have eternal life. Jesus lovingly responds, “One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.”

Three simple commands in that statement are to: liquidate our stuff, give to the poor, and follow Jesus.

In general terms, we have a wrong relationship with worldly possessions. Wealth, riches, and money are hoarded, stressed over, and lavished upon ourselves—to our detriment. “How hard will it be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23b). One sure way to break this negative spiral is to give our riches away. Through the Holy Spirit, let’s produce fruit!

As we give, our eyes open to the needs of this world. Many individuals and communities lack the means to access sufficient food and nutrition. The consequences of hunger extend far beyond physical discomfort—leading to impaired physical and cognitive development, increased vulnerability to diseases, and reduced economic productivity. Moreover, hunger perpetuates a cycle of poverty, hindering individuals and families from breaking free from its clutches.

Hunger is driven by war, inadequate social policy, weather, agriculture degradation and waste. As followers of Jesus, we are called to respond to the needs of those hungry and suffering. The staggering statistics of global hunger and the rising food insecurity in our own country demand our attention and action.

I am thrilled that Canadian Baptists nationwide are taking positive initiatives to raise awareness and support for feeding the hungry. Our Baptist family has embarked on a mission to raise $100,000 to combat food insecurity in 12 countries, including Canada, called Active in Mission. My family and I are thrilled to be a part.

In our church, Jenna Hanger thought we could play endurance volleyball! We ran up and down the gym floor, diving, serving, volleying, and having lots of fun for 12 hours to raise support for the Active in Mission campaign and awareness for the needs around the world. I was personally inspired to join by Biker Betty and Sam Breakey from Trinity Baptist Church.

I would encourage everyone towards three things:

1. Pursue Jesus, read His word, and apply it to your life. Make Jesus’ passions your passion. Jesus loved, cared for, and sacrificed for people experiencing poverty.

2. Give sacrificially. Give until it hurts. Give until the spirit of mammon loses its influence in your life.

3. Make a special effort to join in what God is doing in our Baptist family. There are a lot of great leaders that are authentically following God in His work, and we are called to join in the mission.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”


Jordan Webber

Heart Smart HR: Sick Leave and Disability Benefits

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~ Galatians 6:2

Minimum employment standards do not require employers to provide any sick leave pay to their employees. According to human rights legislation, employees cannot lose their position, be terminated or treated differently, for being away due to illness or disability. However, employers are not required to pay them during their absence. So, in short, the minimum requirement is zero. 

However, in practice, most employers make some provision for reasonable absences due to sick leave, and for exceptional circumstances and/or extended illness. Since employers set their own policies, these can vary widely, but in general, a typical number of sick days may be in the range of 10-15 days per year.

The CBWC does not have Short-Term Disability insurance benefit (STD) as part of its insurance package under the CB Benefits Plan. Premium for this type of insurance is very costly. In lieu of STD insurance, we recommend churches utilize benefits provided through the federal government’s Employment Insurance Program (EI). Every employee pays EI premiums and therefore is eligible to qualify to receive EI Sick Leave benefits, subject to the requirements of the program. As an addition to EI coverage, Service Canada also offers the Supplemental Employment Benefit Program (SUB Plan), which allows employers who are registered to top-up income to 95% while an employee is on EI sick leave without claw back. We recommend adding the SUB Plan to existing Staff Policies as a means of pastoral care.

EI Sick Leave benefits now terminate at 25 weeks from date of disability. This was recently increased from 17 weeks, which is the current waiting period for Long Term Disability benefit provided in our CB Benefits Plan. If an employee anticipates that they may not be able to return to work by the end of 17-25 weeks, both they and their employer should begin the application process for LTD with Canada Life as early as possible, around the 10- to 12-week mark. Assuming the criteria of LTD is met, the employee will continue to receive LTD benefits until they recover and are able to return to work, or reach age 65.

LTD benefits are payable for the first 24 months following the waiting period if disease or injury prevents the employee from doing their own job. You are not considered disabled if you can perform a combination of duties that regularly took at least 60% of your time to complete. After 24 months, LTD benefits will continue only if their disability prevents them from being gainfully employed in any job. Gainful employment is work they are medically able to perform, for which they have at least the minimum qualifications, and provides them with an income of at least 75% of their indexed monthly earnings before they became disabled.

Human rights legislation imposes on employers a duty to accommodate. This duty is phrased differently in each jurisdiction, but generally speaking, before an employer can refuse to employ or terminate an employee because the employee is unable to perform their duties due to a disability, the employer must try to accommodate the employee to the point of undue hardship. This means that an employer may be required to incur some expenses or make other adjustments to accommodate the employee. If you have questions about your duty to accommodate or need more information on the scope of your duty to accommodate, you should consult a lawyer. These can be complicated issues.

For more information about disability benefits or assistance in registering for Service Canada’s SUB Plan, please contact Louanne Haugan at

Kurios Update

Dear friends,

Our last update requested prayer for a meeting with Parks Canada. We did not get the response we were hoping for—we were informed that the Superintendent was not supportive of our plans and would not approve any development on the property.

While this was discouraging to hear, we have continued to move ahead with our intention to relocate Kurios to Jasper this fall. Instead of development, we are currently renovating the existing manse to be more functional for a group of 10-12 to live in and are moving forward with an offer to purchase a house within the community to allow us to grow to our target of 20-25 participants each year! 

Work crew from Hinton.

Kitchen after demo.

Hardwood found after removing carpet!

There is much to do in the ongoing manse renos, and we need help! If you or your group are able to assist, please contact me at We need floor repair/refinishing, wall patching and painting, a new sidewalk, and our new kitchen installed.

The Kurios Jasper planning group appreciates and covets all of your prayers, now and going into the future, for the continued renos in the manse, for the development of the program in Jasper, and for the students that are enrolled for the September start.  

For the King,

Rev. Steve Simala Grant
Kurios Director

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20,21

Summer Reading List 2023

Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan

What have you been reading lately? Shannon’s always got a list of books longer than her arm that she has just read, wants to read, or is in the middle of reading. Cailey’s a slower reader, and also has a 4-year-old daughter, so her list is shorter (although her arm is longer—some achievement at least!) Here are some books that we think may be of interest to you:

CONFRONTING OLD TESTAMENT CONTROVERSIES: Pressing Questions About Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence by Tremper Longman III (Baker Books, 2019). Longman tackles these difficult topics fairly and with years of Old Testament scholarship behind him. He confronts these pressing issues with a balanced approach, rather than through our tendencies toward the extremes of either ignoring tough issues or “treating them as though they are the only thing that matters.” Shannon says, “I found this book interesting, insightful, orthodox, and while I may not personally agree with all his conclusions, he presented the material in ways that I am still thinking about!”

MISREADING SCRIPTURE WITH WESTERN EYES: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien (IVP, 2012). Here’s a link to read the intro of his other book (…through Individual Eyes vs Collective Eyes) to give a good idea of what they are tackling. It is fascinating reading, highlighting how our predominantly western, white, not-on-the-margins, high-context-culture read and interpret Scripture differently from so many other Christian folk in the world.

I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW: Building Relational Resilience When you want to Quit by Heather Thompson Day, Seth Day, et al. (Thomas Nelson, 2022). Recommended by Tim Kerber and Larry Schram, this book helps us find ways to “choose community over division, commitment over cancelation, and vulnerability over indifference, and offers a bold response to today’s surface-level relationships.”

HOW THE BODY OF CHRIST TALKS: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church by C. Christopher Smith (Brazos Press, 2019). This is one of the books Cailey refers to in “Shannon’s want-to-reads.” Recommended by some of our pastors as helpful in guiding ourselves and the church to get beyond just “talking past one another,” and actually hearing each other. Watch for Mark Doerksen’s full review of this book on our blog this fall in our Healthy Leadership Cultures series.

TELL HER STORY: How Women Led, Taught, and Ministered in the Early Church by Nijay Gupta (IVP Academic, 2023). This is a great treatment of looking at women who lead in the Old and New Testaments. He addresses the “What about…?” passages regarding what Paul says in 1 Timothy and the submission texts in the NT Household Codes. A great way to read this is to sign up to join our CBWC Theology for the Ordinary book club. They will be tackling this book together in the fall (see below for how to sign up!)

THE BIBLE VS. BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD: How God’s Word Consistently Affirms Gender Equality by Philip B. Payne. Recommended by Tim Kerber and now listened to by Shannon on Audible, this book is well worth reading and does a thorough job of looking at how we read and interpret Scripture and thus come to particular conclusions (see above book recommendation on Misreading through Western Eyes). Both Tim and Shannon suggest getting the book copy. There are so many Scripture citations that this is a book you will want to reference again and again. Here’s the Amazon description: “In The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood, New Testament scholar Philip B. Payne argues that the very Bible passages that are often believed to teach male headship and female subordination actually teach gender equality. He demonstrates that the Bible does not endorse gender hierarchy but instead emphasizes:

  • The Holy Spirit gifting all believers for ministry
  • The oneness of the body of Christ (the church) and the priesthood of all believers
  • Humility, service, and mutual submission required of all believers
  • Freedom and willingness to relinquish freedom in order to spread the gospel”

JESUS AND THE DISINHERITED by Howard Thurman and Dr. Kelly Douglas. Speaking about talking past one another and misinterpreting through Western eyes…wow! Thanks to one of our BCY pastors for recommending this book (in the airport, after Assembly. You know who you are!) Howard Thurman was a Seminary student of Martin Luther King Sr, and this book–published in 1949–influenced Martin Luther King Jr as he took up the call to the civil rights movement. Thurman’s perspective on reading and interpreting the Gospels as an oppressed and marginalized group will get you thinking about how much we miss of the hope of Jesus to the world when we only read/interpret through our own particular cultural and societal lenses. 

Read this alongside Rev. Dr. Esau McCaulley’s award winning work, Reading While Black. The reviews from many known scholars attest that this is for all those who long to find the hope of the gospels in our world today.

THE RUTHLESS ELIMINATION OF HURRY: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World by John Mark Comer (WaterBrook, 2019). Shannon originally took this book out of the library. When you are getting close to retirement, you start finding ways to reduce your discretionary spending, and she tends to spend too much on books (as if that’s even possible!). But this is a book that will need to be marked up and read every year as a refresher, so there is now a hard copy on her bookshelf.

This is a must-read for every person in any type of lay or professional ministry. People need to be forced sometimes to be reminded to go God Speed, and Comer does an excellent job is sharing his own realization that to be a long-hauler in ministry we’ve all got to stop living ministry life and ordinary life as “hurried souls.”

EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY DISCIPLESHIP by Peter Scazzero (Zondervan, 2021). This book is another of Shannon’s “to-reads.” Sam Breakey often quoted Scazzero in the work he did in Church Health Assessments. This book addresses some of our favorite topic areas: Discipleship and Healthy Church Cultures and Christians! And the sub-title just screamed “read me”—Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation! Shannon may have skimmed some of the chapters, as the chapter titles were irresistible: “Follow the Crucified, Not the Americanized, Jesus;” “Discover the Treasures of Grief and Loss” (our lament the last several years is we don’t do lament well in much of the evangelical world); “Make Love the Measure of Maturity;” and “Lead Out of Weakness and Vulnerability.” We hope some of you read it this summer so we can discuss it. You know how to reach us!

Theology for the Ordinary
Our colleagues Mark Doerksen and Cindy Emmons have been coordinating a great initiative called Theology for the Ordinary, which uses spaces like book clubs and a podcast to create ways for CBWC folks to read and learn and have meaningful discussion on theological issues together. Over the next two months, we’ve made space on this blog to share book reviews: one from Cailey’s recent reading, and then several that have come out of the Theology for the Ordinary initiative. We hope you are challenged by the helpful reflections of these reviews and inspired to pick up books yourself this summer.

By the way, Theology for the Ordinary’s next Book Club meeting is on September 13 to discuss Nijay Gupta’s book mentioned above. Contact Cindy at for details or visit

And speaking of gatherings of learning, registration is now available for our next series of Evangelism Masterclasses, covering topics such as prayer evangelism, poverty and faith, cross-cultural witness, planting house churches, and more. Head over to our Masterclasses page for details.

Assembly 2023 Wrap-Up

We were pleased to have 107 churches gather together for the in-person 2023 Assembly this past June in Calgary. Click HERE to view the wrap-up information!

Copyright ©  2023 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections July 2023

Churches & Community Rally After Mustard Seed Street Church Fire

The Mustard Seed Street Church in Victoria, BC, suffered severe damage from an accidental fire at the end of March. The fire was started by a member of their street community, who was trying to keep warm with a torch—which blew out of control. The person wielding the torch is now totally safe, but the fire burnt through the hospitality department and through the fire door. As a result, the entire building suffered smoke damage.

Originally, the estimates were months and months of getting everything back up and going, but with the help of the Victoria Fire Department, local churches, and community, a lot of things have been expedited.

“It’s been wonderful watching the progress and watching the community work together. It’s also been wonderful to watch partnership in the gospel happen, from within different denominations within our community,” Rev. Stephen Bell, Executive Director and Senior Pastor, said.

“We had people from the Pentecostal denomination, the Anglican denomination, United denomination and, of course, our good friends at the CBWC coming by to lend a hand––bringing sandwiches and drinks to help our staff and to volunteer. It’s been incredible to watch.”

Local churches, including The Forge in Langford and Centennial United Church, have also offered their space so the Mustard Seed could hold their regular service times.

There are a couple of ways people can still help the Mustard Seed Street Church as they recover.

“Always donations are number one for us. At this point in time, we don’t have a lot of space to put food donations. But we can always accept what we like to call ‘cans of cash’,” Stephen shared, adding that their buying power with cash right now is substantial because of all the discounts they are able to get.

He also added another way that local people can help is by volunteering in their hospitality kitchen. The coordinator, Claudia, can be reached at

 Partner Spotlight: Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM)

Active in Mission 2023

A village in Thailand, a tribe in India, vulnerable households in the Democratic Republic of Congo, widows in South Sudan displaced from civil war, farmers in Rwanda struggling with the changing climate to produce enough food—these are just a sampling of the people who are experiencing hunger today. While here at home, the cost of groceries has sky-rocketed, causing over 5 million Canadians to seek assistance from food banks and other food-related programs.

This summer, our Canadian Baptist family–Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, l’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada, Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, and CBM–is partnering together to raise $100,000 that will help those experiencing food insecurity.

Half of those funds will be divided amongst our denominations to support food programs in local contexts through churches here in Canada, like Bromley Road Baptist Church in Ottawa. Partnering with local organizations, they pick up surplus food from a nearby bakery which is then distributed to ministries and food banks to serve the needs of their community.  

The other half will support CBM’s global food programming in 11 countries around the world, including El Salvador, the Philippines, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Ukraine. These programs help people like Eunice, in Kenya, who experienced repeated crop failure. She learned about conservation agriculture through our partner, and now her farm is thriving enough to fulfill her nutritional needs.

Join us in getting Active in Mission today! Your participation will make all the difference in addressing the problem of hunger in our world and in Canada! Visit to find out more.

Join the Action!

We are so excited to be participating in Active In Mission (AiM) this summer! The CBWC is encouraging all our churches to get Active this summer and help raise money to end hunger globally and locally!

We would love your support as we try to reach our Exec Staff Team goal of raising $2,500! Check our team page HERE!

Check out a few of our Active team members!

Mountain Standard Regional Minister, Tim Kerber: Biking 1000km over July & August

Heartland Regional Minister, Mark Doerksen + his wife Mary: Walking 10km/day for 90 days

Director of Communications & Developement, Louanne Haugan: Paddleboarding as many lakes as possible

Executive Administrative Assistant,  Esther Kitchener: Walking

Executive Minister, Rob Ogilvie: Cycling and Biking

Administrative Assistant, Sherisse White: Walking

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

July 2023

Celebrating Family News

Our wider Canadian Baptist families are celebrating some exciting news! L’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada (FBU), Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ), and the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC) have all elected new Executive Ministers!

The Executive Minister for l’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada is Raphael Anzenberger. Born in Strasbourg, France in 1972, Raphael is married to Karen, and the father of four children: Josiah, Abigail, Lisa, and Matthew. In 1996, after receiving a Master’s Degree in Economics, he and Karen left for Chad, where Raphael was the CFO and CEO of the Bebalem

Hospital for two years. After a brief stay in France, they then moved to South Carolina for five years so that Raphael could pursue seminary classes at Columbia International University.  ,He has since received a Master of Divinity in Leadership, Evangelism and Discipleship, a Doctor of Ministry in Missions, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies. 

You can read Raphael’s full profile HERE.

Executive Minister of the CBOQ, Leanne Friesen, is a pastor, writer, speaker, grief educator, wife, and mother. Born and raised in Newfoundland, God led Leanne to Ontario to attend school, first attaining a degree in Child Studies from the University of Guelph, and then a Master of Divinity Degree from McMaster Divinity College. Upon graduation, Leanne began serving as the Lead Pastor of Mount 

Hamilton Baptist Church, where she served joyfully for eighteen years. As part of her ministry, Leanne has also served as a teacher and speaker in countless churches and conferences around the country. She has also written for a wide variety of publications and currently hosts an Instagram page to support people grieving. Her first book, “Grieving Room,” will be published in 2024.

Leanne cares deeply for the local church and is particularly passionate about helping each church live into the calling God has for them. One of her life “theme” verses which has shaped her ministry is 1 Peter 5: 2-3: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve…” Leanne lives in Hamilton with her husband, two teenaged children, and their dog. She enjoys walking, hiking, reading, and discovering new donut shops. You can read some of her writings at

CBAC is pleased to introduce Renee MacVicar as their new Executive Minister. Following a thorough, prayerful, and Spirit-led process, Renée received the unanimous support of the Search Committee. The same overwhelming affirmation is expected by the CBAC Council for ratification by the Assembly in August 2023.

Renée served as the Director of Youth and Family Ministries for CBAC for a five-year term, from 2014-2019. Her tenure as the Director of Youth and Family was marked by four main areas of concentration: investing in leaders, providing catalytic gathering points, encouraging missional and service opportunities, and providing resources to leaders and churches. Renee also served as adjunct professor at Acadia Divinity College where she taught a course called “Transformational Discipleship.”

Most recently, Renee represented the CBAC on the Board of Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) and served as Pastor of Community Engagement at Hillside Baptist Church where she guided the church through the COVID-19 pandemic. Renee lives with her family—Joe, Emma, and Isabell—in Salisbury, New Brunswick where they are all involved in life and ministry of their church. 

CBWC Head Office Under Renovation!

If you drop by the CBWC Calgary Office this summer, you’d better bring your hard hat!

An office renovation project is in full swing to better utilize the area of open space previously occupied with cubicles, most of which were largely unused. CBWC Operations Manager, Jerry Wang, explains, “The scope of the renovation project is to convert the middle area into an open conference space and build two offices in the copier area to accommodate staff previously working in cubicles. The project also includes changing the existing, rarely-used shower room to a storage room connected to the server room.”

After the renovation, the CBWC Head Office should be able to host meetings of up to 33 people on site, plus as many attendees as allowed by Microsoft Teams or Zoom joining remotely. Existing mounted televisions will be reused, and if the specifications meet the requirements, existing spare NUCs will also be reused in the new conference area.

Natasha, a friend of one of our staff, has been helping sell office furniture no longer needed in the renovated space. So far, we have sold $4,495 worth of old furniture instead of junking it! She and Jerry have been doing an excellent job at recovering costs during the project.

Victor Ku, Directory of Administration & Finance, adds, “The total renovation cost for the office plus the audio-visual equipment is around $37,000, but the long-term benefits outweigh the investment required. In the long term, the repurposed office space can be used to accommodate the CBWC Board and the CBWC-Foundation Board. Moreover, it will also cater to the needs of NMO and OPW/OEC training seminars. The estimated annual savings from this alone is around $7,000 a year.”

Since the CBWC office was purchased in 2016, it has always been the hope and prayer of CBWC staff to one day utilize the space for training leaders and hosting Board meetings—not just to save money for the association—but also to better practice the gift of hospitality. Praise be to God we will hold our first Board meeting in the Calgary Head Office this September!

Welcome to the Evangelism Masterclass!

By Rev. Shannon Youell – Director of Church Planting (and all things discipleship & evangelism!)

“Evangelism” is one of those trigger words: most of us believe it to be something the Church universal is to be engaged in, but we reserve it for those who are specifically-gifted evangelists. While Paul seems to delineate that particular gift, Jesus never does so. He calls His followers to be His apprentices, watching and learning from Him to become more like Him in thought, practice, and engagement. He also calls us to be salt and light in the world, His witnesses, His evangelists, His missionaries in the places where we and our churches live, work, play and pray. 

Evangelism isn’t a program but rather a posture. To help all of us shy and self-identified “ungifted evangelists,” CBWC Church Planting has partnered with CBOQ Church Development & Salvation Army Church Planting to offer all our combined churches opportunities to explore being missional in their contexts and communities. This opportunity is for old churches, new churches, and those exploring disciple-making in all sorts of innovative ways. 

This past year (Fall 2022-Spring 2023), we offered monthly opportunities to hear from practitioners in a variety of contexts and cultures. They shared their wisdom and experience through a short, but mighty, presentation, followed by breakout rooms to engage with one another and a Q&A of the presenter to answer any questions that come to mind. Many of our CBWC folk participated and gave good feedback:

I value hearing different perspectives from participants and leaders from various backgrounds.”

“This was out of the box thinking for me. I appreciate that it has opened up a whole new perspective on engaging people spiritually.”

“It was interesting to hear creative ideas about connecting with people about faith.”

“This time together is very rich!”

We are thrilled to announce our 2023-2024 line-up of topics and presenters! If you are a reader of our CBWC Church Planting Blog,  you will find a new page added just for Evangelism Masterclasses to see our amazing line up and how you can register for these free interactive classes.

Join us in discovering how learning from one another spurs us on to joining God at work in our neighbourhoods and communities!

Copyright ©  2023 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections June 2023

What’s Happening in June

– Pray for Assembly 2023 June 1-3 in Calgary.

Ordination Examining Council May 31-June 1 in Calgary, AB.

– It’s time to apply for Kurios! And if you’re working as full-time staff at Keats, Mill Creek, Gull Lake or The Quest this summer, you can also apply for an extra $1000 bursary towards your Kurios experience. Find out more:

SERVE is coming up soon: July 2-8 in Kelowna, BC.

– Join us for Active In Mission this summer:  Walk, run, bike, kayak, cartwheel, hop, skip (or anything you wish, really) to help end hunger this July or August. Register today:

Churches Burn, Christians Flee for Safety in Manipur, India

Written by Jenna Hanger

Over 200 churches have been burnt to the ground in the state of Manipur, India. More than 70 lives have been lost, and 231 people been reported injured. 45 thousand people have been displaced. The numbers continue to climb as the systematic attack continues against the Tribals (Minor Christian Tribes) at the hands of the Meitei (Hindu-dominated).

On May 3rd, the indigenous communities held a rally to protest the Meitei’s demand for tribal status, which would allow them access to forest lands and even more control in the state. Violence erupted from this event, which continues today.

As details have emerged, it has become clear that these actions have been pre-meditated and state-driven, and that the protest was a thinly-veiled excuse. Several months before the violence erupted, a survey was taken that marked which homes were Tribal residences. These were the first homes targeted by the organized mob, which police were seen leading. In the first 48 hours, forty-five churches were already burned down.

The only journalists with access to the Internet are in the Meitei area, resulting in one-sided reports. No arrests have been made, and very little has been done to intervene as thousands of Christians are being forced to flee.

Lalpi Guite, a former Baptist Worship Pastor in the Vancouver area, and currently attends Trinity Baptist Church, has felt the turmoil deeply. Originally from Manipur, Lalpi has watched his family and friends forced to abandon their homes and all their possessions. The church his father helped build, where he attended growing up, has been reduced to nothing.

He has heard reports of his cousins having to carry his eighty-year-old aunt, who is barely coherent, from a camp where they were staying to a neighbouring state. Another relative of his wife’s—a nurse—took a bullet. A mob of hundreds forced his other cousins back into their neighbourhood when they were trying to flee. They stayed for five days before getting help to leave. They were able to evacuate to Bangalore to stay with family.

Lalpi said it’s been very upsetting being in Canada and hearing everything that is going on back home. For the Christians who have been in the thick of it, it has been challenging to know how to come to terms with the injustice.

“The Lord’s prayer is very much part of our tradition,” Lalpi said. “We say it in worship services and in prayer times at home. My cousin said, ‘How are we going to say the Lord’s Prayer now?’ She’s talking specifically about, ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.’ Do we just keep quiet? Or what do we do?”

“The cost of following Christ—but also interpreting our own beliefs in our daily lives has been a struggle. The struggle is real, and the tension and the anger. The loss, the grief, all of that. And seeing the injustice, feeling the injustice—” Lalpi said, growing emotional.

The CBM has been watching the situation unfold and sharing updates on their Facebook page. On May 11th, they shared a list of prayer requests. Lalpi agreed that the number one thing Canadian Baptists can do is pray.

“The immediate thing is prayer. The pain is real. The cry of the people is real. We need to stand together with our brothers and sisters. Pray for justice. The fight is not against somebody, the fight is against injustice.”

Last week, on Monday, CBM shared the following update:

Update on the situation in Manipur, India:

Tension continues as some Meitei people are forcing Christians among them to recant their faith and join Hinduism, said a senior Church official.

The Meiteis community, which forms 53 percent of the state’s 3.2 million people, are mostly Hindus, but a tiny minority of them are Christians, mostly Protestants.

Most Meitei Christian worship in house churches, but some 240 of their house churches were destroyed.

The riots killed more than 70 people, injured 231 others, and damaged 1,700 houses, besides displacing over 45,000 people, local reports said. […/christians-face…/101401 ]

from our partners:

– A relief committee has been formed.

– The local churches have taken on the responsibility to adopt the families/homeless and care for them, with the relief committee providing assistance where needed.

– There are thousands of people in various camps as well as in various church properties in the hill districts.

– The neighbouring state of Mizoram, with a strong Christian population, has been sending some help.

“The churches in the Northeast have been through a lot, and they know how to get on their knees and pray. I know this time, the intensity and damage run deep—and it will take a very long time to heal. However, I also know that the church will rise again. The NE tribes have been embracing Christianity since 1910, as opposed to the state religion, which has always been a pain point for the country. They tried to snuff us out, but the church grew exponentially instead, to their bewilderment. Complicating things further is that the Meiteis who have accepted Christ through the ministry of the local churches are also caught up in this, often persecuted by their own for “deserting the faith.” Some of their churches were also burnt.

Church leaders face the enormous challenge of rebuilding in the midst of trauma and displacement.

For now, it will be important to encourage our churches to continue to pray for them earnestly.” – Church leader in the region

Lalpi shared a song he had written previously, which feels especially applicable now for the people of Manipur as they face an unstable future.

COUNT ON YOU Lalpi Guite

When I feel forsaken, when I feel forgotten
I can still count on You
When I am abandoned and I am broken
I can still count on You


You don’t break a bruised reed
Or snuff out a smoldering wick
You don’t repay my wrongs
But You clothe me in righteousness
Your mercy’s like the ocean that goes beyond my eyes can see
I worship You, Your Majesty

You’re all that I have when all else is gone
And I will count on You
You’re all that I want above any other
So I will count on You

 Partner Spotlight: CBWC Foundation

The Generosity Project is Up and Running

Launched at Assembly 2023, the Generosity Project’s first initiative: a series of short, worship service-ready videos that are intended to foster healthy discussions on generosity in the CBWC family of churches.

The videos are around 3 minutes long and feature the following topics:

  1. Why should we give? Explores biblical reasons for giving.
  2. How should we give? Discusses attitudes and safeguards around giving.
  3. Where should we give? Navigating the huge array of possible ministries to fund.
  4. How much should we give? Biblical thoughts to guide generous giving.
  5. Giving—A transformation of the heart. Moving giving from head knowledge to deeper transformation.

We get it. It’s not easy to talk about money in the local church. For pastors and key leaders, it can seem self-serving. Abuse of donors by high profile ministries in years past has put a chill on “the money talk” for many of us. We can even try to avoid the conversation all together until budget time or a cash crisis. Simply put, healthy churches have healthy discussions about money on an ongoing basis. To help break barriers, the CBWC Foundation is committed to resourcing churches with charitable giving materials that are biblically sound and culturally appropriate.

So, pull out some popcorn and have a look. There is an explanation video for leader—maybe start there. Hopefully you will find these videos useful, even if they simply help you plan your own ideas for generating healthy money conversations.

The videos are free, just go to the CBWC Foundation Website and download.

BCY Regional Newsletter

June 2023

The Battle of the Elizabeths!

Betty, known as “Biker Betty,” is a 74-year-old cyclist from Trinity Baptist Church, Edmonton. Over the past 27 consecutive years she has pedalled across North America four times, and raised thousands of dollars for Christian charities. This June, Betty is participating in Active in Mission (AiM) which is a fundraising challenge to Canadian Baptists to raise money for food security both locally and globally by doing something active this summer.

For one month this summer, Betty will engage in a friendly competition with her friend Elizabeth Shirt, 42, (Hillside Baptist Church, North Vancouver) for a BATTLE OF THE ELIZABETHS. They will compete to see who can cycle the most kms and raise the most money for the entire month of June. 

Betty’s passion for cycling began on her 35th birthday in 1983. She had the opportunity to cycle from Jasper to Calgary with her two children as a chaperone for a group from Edmonton Christian school. They had to carry all their supplies on their bikes.

“The trip was incredibly challenging. The up-to-11% grades were crazy difficult, as our bikes were moving so slowly they were almost falling over,” Betty said. “Somehow, despite the difficulties, this trip made me fall in love with road cycling. It made me realize that, physically, I could do far more than I knew, and it made me cherish God’s creation.”

Betty continued to cycle each summer, always logging between 5,000 km and 10,000 km—which is not an easy feat in a climate where road cycling is possible for no more than six months of the year. Then, in 1997, she took part in her first Christian fundraising tour with the Canadian Bible Society. They raised funds by cycling one week through the mountains of Alberta and British Columbia. 

“That year was the beginning of fifteen consecutive Bike for Bibles trips, including a cross-Canada tour to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bible Society in Canada in 2006. This cross-Canada ride was from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, NFLD.” Betty said. “The total mileage was upwards of 7,400 km, and our daily average on this tour was 162 km (100 miles). We slept in churches, and we had superb support along the road–every 35 km, there was a sag wagon with food and drinks. All I had to do was pedal. The catch is I had to pedal all day, every day, with the exception of a handful of rest days, for nine weeks.”

In early 2013, Betty heard of a cycling tour across the USA to raise money for World Renew and Partners Worldwide, arms of the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Churches of North America. The tour was called “Sea to Sea” and the motto was “Cycling to End Poverty.” 

Betty arrived in L.A. alone, and quickly made friends with a few other Canadians of similar age. The tour went from L.A. to Toronto and Montreal, then headed back to the USA, ending in Staten Island, NY. During the last week, one of her new friends asked if she would do this kind of tour again. 

 “I emphatically told her ‘No,’ that I was no longer interested in the long days on the bike followed by setting up a tent, washing my cycling clothes by hand, showering in cold water, enduring all kinds of weather, and learning to live with a large number of people (some quite unique) in close proximity for nine weeks,” Betty said.

But just three weeks after the conclusion of the tour, in September 2013, her friend registered for a cross-Canada tour for the next summer and asked her to as well. She thought Why not?” So, in 2014, she participated in the tour by Alliance Churches of Canada called ‘Love in Motion.’

At this point in Betty’s life, she had cycled across the continent three times. In 2016, she heard of another “Sea to Sea” tour from Vancouver to Halifax.

“As I mulled it over, even my two children expressed concern (there are a lot of dangers out there on our highways), and told me that maybe I should think about ‘taking it a bit more easy.’” She laughed as she said, “That did not happen, and I registered for my fourth cross-continent cycling tour. I have now cycled 37 summers and have cycled for Christian charities for 24 of those years.

“I have gone through two very difficult times in my life, and I can say without reservation that it was the cycling that quite literally ‘saved my life.’ The love of long-distance cycling tours and meeting so many people who became friends for life, have resulted in my faith being strengthened and my love of God’s creation being deepened.”

When COVID began, Betty approached her church and asked if she could ride for a ministry project. For the next three summers that is what she did, bringing her total years of cycling for Christian charities to 27. 

Betty has learned much on her cycling adventures. One thing being that God doesn’t mean for us to go through life alone, and we need to learn to lean on one another in times of trouble or hardship. Another is that there is no need to be afraid of fundraising. Also, living on the simplest of supplies showed her that she does not need a lot of material things. After each tour, she went home and purged her belongings.

She also learned to have more compassion for people she might not necessarily enjoy, and to be more tolerant of people who differ from her in personality, fitness level, and organizational skills.

Another thing she took away from her time is that she is physically capable of more than she dreamed of. 

“I learned that my body can do so much more than I can ever imagine–it is a 90/10 proposition– 90% in the brain and 10% in the legs.”

When asked to explain why she is so passionate about cycling for a purpose, Betty said, “When my six grandchildren were young, I hosted a one week “Cousins’ Camp” each summer. In 2006, that couldn’t happen as I was going to cycle across Canada. One of my little granddaughters was completely distraught and she cried, ‘Grandma, why are you biking across Canada?’ Her slightly older sister replied, ‘For Bibles.’ That really does sum it all up.”  

If you would like to support THE BATTLE OF THE ELIZABETHs you can visit their fundraising pages here:

Special Father’s Day Recipes!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, father figures and male role models out there! This year to celebrate, we asked some of our CBWC Staff Dads to share their favourite recipes! Check out their recommendations and try something new this Father’s Day!

130 People Baptized in One Day!

God is so good and actively moving in our churches! Emmanuel Iranian Church recently had a significant day where they baptized a total of 130 people using Hillside Baptist Church’s facilities. They laid down tarps and towels between the baptism tank and the washrooms, and got it all done in an afternoon! We chatted with Pastor Arash of Emmanuel to learn more about this amazing event:

How did it come about that you had 130 people wanting to be baptized in one day?

A spiritual revival is happening among Iranians. On one hand, most Iranians are fed up with their inherited religion, as it is more than forty years of Islamic rule in the country—and there is no sign of peace, happiness or hope for the future. On the other hand, Iranians are the kind of people who are in need of God. We have a treasure of literature and culture that is amalgamated with the concept of spirituality. There is a void, and a search for the true God in most Iranian’s hearts. Jesus is one of the most respected personalities in our literature, and when Iranians get to know Him according to the Bible, they receive Him!

How long did it take?

Three hours and twelve weeks! We run a twelve-week baptism course in order to introduce Christianity, and when we feel the readiness in heart and mind, we offer the baptism.

How did the partnership to use Hillside Baptist church happen?

Hillside Church has always been generous to us. They let us worship in their sanctuary for a few months until we found a building to rent. Pastor Jeff (from Hillside) is the one who introduced me to the CBWC family, and we are proud to be a CBWC member for almost four years now. Pastor Nat (from Hillside) offered to help us for the recent baptism event in providing us with their place and baptismal tank.

The What and Why of the Ordination Examination Council Process

When a church calls a Pastor or Ministry Leader to ordination, it is a celebratory time for both the church and the candidate. Ordination affirms the sense of call of a particular person to Gospel Ministry. The candidate submits themselves to the discernment, evaluation, and affirmation of the greater CBWC family. It is, moreover, a recognition that it is the church that calls one to service.  

The OEC (Ordination Examination Council) is an organized council of lay leaders and clergy who are mandated to examine the potential candidates.

Each candidate writes a Ministry Paper requiring particular aspects of theology and ministry philosophy, along with their personal story and sense of calling. After presenting their paper to their peers at Ordination Preparation Workshop, they submit their final papers to the council, who—on a set date—examine each candidate and hear from the churches who have requested their candidate be examined.

The process is long-remembered as a cherished process. Candidates meet and develop, often ministry-long relationships among one another. Candidates are both affirmed and challenged to continue to seek God in mind, heart, body and soul, to develop lifelong learning habits, and patterns of mutual accountability. 

Recently, we chatted with Pastor Diana Ran Zhao from Joy Fellowship, who went through OEC in 2022. She shared with us why it was an important process for her, and how her church supported her along the way:

Tell us a bit about your church.

My church is called Joy Fellowship. It is a church of people of all abilities, which means it is made up of people with disabilities, their caregivers and those who love them. It is my honour to witness God’s marvelous work through our special friends.  

What is your role with Joy Fellowship, and what do you love most about it?

I’m the Associate Pastor of Joy Fellowship. My role is assisting the senior pastor in supporting our people spiritually through our services, Bible studies, visitation, and other church programs.

My favourite part is visitation. I love to get to know my special friends during the other six days. I see how God strengthens them in their daily life, and blesses them through all kinds of amazing people. And of course, how they become blessings in their community.  

Why was ordination important to you? 

Ordination is an opportunity to reflect my calling and my theology, which developed in this special ministry.  

Also, I want people to know of our ministry and special friends. God created them as a part of our community, and I want more people know their value to church. 

How did CBWC help you along the way? 

The process of ordination was quite a positive and encouraging experience. By reflecting on what we believe, I confirmed the value of my ministry and the congregation I’m serving. Through getting to know so many amazing people who share the same heart with us, I know I’m not alone.  

How did your church support you along the way?

Joy Fellowship is quite a unique ministry. I like to summarize my journey with Joy Fellowship as ‘learn to love through being loved.’ 

As a newcomer to Canada, I have felt protected and loved in this community, through their spiritual and practical help, since I arrived here. 

Through knowing each other’s lives and praying together, we experience God’s work. These wonderful experiences strengthen my heart to this ministry. 

Copyright ©  2022 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections May 2023

Things Happening in May

  • Easter Colouring Contest winners have been announced! Check out the submissions and winners on Facebook.
  • Theology for the Ordinary Book Club: Discussing Bryan Stevenson‘s Just Mercy, Wednesday, May 3rd at 6 pm PST. Email to RSVP
  • Evangelism Masterclass: Post-Enlightenment Evangelism with Merv Budd. May 30, 10am PST. Sign up for Free.
  • SERVE Registration closes May 31
  • Ordination Examining Council (OEC) Wednesday May 31st at 9:30am and Thursday June 1st at 9:15am. All welcome!
  • Learn how we can Take Steps to End Hunger Locally and Globally this summer through Active In Mission.

 Partner Spotlight: HopeHill

News from Hopehill-Living in Community — a low-income senior housing society in Vancouver, a ministry of the CBWC Family

What are the characteristics of family?

There are several characteristics that are generally identified with a well-functioning family. Some include support; love and caring for other family members; providing security and a sense of belonging; open communication; and making each person within the family feel important, valued, respected and esteemed.  Cf. HealthyChildren.Org. Nov 21, 2015

Points To Ponder:

  1. Hopehill is like a family. Nearly 400 residents call us “home.” Not everybody knows each other’s name, but people live together in a community, aware of each other’s needs, feeling supported by a staff, made to feel important.
  2. The CBWC is a family “of churches.” We don’t all know each other, but we are at our best when we care about other congregations, feel important as part of the big picture, and we esteem and respect each other as we are esteemed and respected. 
  3. Starting in 2023, Hopehill is expanding its roster. We are adding 64 new low-cost, affordable housing units for people looking to live in a family, neighbourhood community. In two years, we will have 50 “studio” and 14 “one-bedroom” brand-new units available. The Board of Hopehill has stated that we need to be “good to all, and especially to the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). If you as a CBWC congregant want to retire to Hopehill, we anticipate opening doors in the summer of 2025. You can contact us at We are taking names!   

P.S. A “low-income senior” by Vancouver standards is anyone living on less than $58,000/year.   

Heartland Regional Newsletter

May 2023

Kurios Camp Staff Bursary!

Kurios and participating CBWC camps are excited to announce a brand-new partnership.  Both our camps and KURIOS share a common mission to raise up the next generation of Jesus’ disciples and kingdom leaders.  Each year camp leaders become KURIOS participants and each year KURIOS participants follow up their experience by serving at our camps.  This common mission has led to the formation of the KURIOS CBWC CAMP STAFF BURSARY.  

This $1,000 bursary is for young adults who serve an entire summer on staff at a CBWC Camp and will be attending the Kurios Gap Year Experience beginning the following fall.  For more details about which camps are participating and how to apply visit

Celebrating Mother’s Day

In honour of Mother’s Day we have two special pieces to share!

This month’s Church Planting Blog featuring Carmen Ohori, who shares about being a church leader and a parent.

We also put together a special Mother’s Day greeting, from our home to yours!  CLICK HERE.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Church Planting Blog: A Lifestyle of Healthy Leadership: Families, Faith and Fear

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).

How do parents who are also church leaders walk faithfully with both their families and their congregations? After raising 6 kids, years of study in child development and attachment, and experiencing parenting as both a CBWC pastors’ spouse and a church staff member herself, Carmen Ohori says it starts with 1 John 4:18: big love driving out fear. Our kids’ fear, our congregations’ fear, and especially our own fear.

In this video, I ask Carmen to share some of her learnings from over the years as we continue our series on A Lifestyle of Healthy Leadership. She invites us to create space and time for our families to be connecting and figuring out our story together. She challenges us to show up with big love in those moments when our kids bring to us something that is hard for us to handle, and to also listen to the little voices that at first blush seem like just kids pushing our buttons but really are indicators of our own wounds.

Carmen also shares some encouragement on how to prioritize your most important relationship: the one with our Heavenly Father, in the midst of a busy or even chaotic life.

And let’s be clear: while Carmen specifically talks about building relationships with kids, her tools are important for all our relationships. Every behaviour we encounter in others and ourselves is a piece of communication—an opportunity to understand one another better.

Bottom line? We are all God’s kids and He’s got us.

To continue reading CLICK HERE.

One Big Family

CBWC Resources Help Youth Mission Trip | By Jenna Hanger

Last month, a group of fifteen teenagers and four leaders from Clive Baptist Church, AB, travelled to Keats Camp for a service mission trip. Prior to this trip, they had not heard of Keats Camp, but exploring into available CBWC resources led them to realize just how big and connected the CBWC family is. 

Clive youth pastor Amanda Scott had tried for weeks on her own to find a place for her youth’s mission trip. Originally, the plan had been to go to Mexico and support one of their missionaries. COVID travel restrictions in the States forced them to re-think their plan. Amanda called every YWAM base in the country and tried to chat with several other options before––in desperation––she reached out to the CBWC.

“It was an eye-opener for some of our people, especially our leadership,” Amanda said. “A lot of us don’t get the entire spectrum that is a denomination. We kind of go ‘Yeah, we are a CBWC church’, but we don’t really get the whole family, big picture that it is.”

When Amanda called, she was connected to the Director of Communications and Development, Louanne Haugan, who brainstormed a few ideas with her, and eventually connected her with the Director of Next Generation Ministries, Peter Anderson.

With Peter’s help, Amanda was able to connect with Keats Camp and with Hillside Baptist Church in Vancouver for a place to stay. They were thrilled to be able to find a place to serve that could be confident aligned with their belief system and would be a safe place for the youth.

“Here is a CBWC camp that we didn’t even know existed. And yet, they are part of us. So, having that opportunity to really see how they were operating, what was important to them, and being able to respect and honour them, that was really cool. It was also awesome to help, knowing that these are people we will connect with in the future; these are people we will see and communicate with again [as part of CBWC],” Amanda said.

Over the course of their time there, the youth group was able to help with a variety of projects—from spring cleaning to preparing the camp for the summer programs. Now, three of the kids who served are planning on returning to Keats camp to serve there again this summer.

Amanda said that the next time it comes to planning a mission trip in Canada, she will reach out to the CBWC sooner. She shared that the wealth of information and being able to talk to people more familiar with different areas was invaluable.

“I definitely would say it’s a resource we need to be more willing to tap into, and I know it’s one that I will be using again. If nothing else, for brainstorming [and connecting].”

Does Your Church Have a Social Media Policy?

Social media can be an excellent way for any ministry to connect with their constituency, promote upcoming events, and share stories as a way to encourage the broader Christian community. And while most churches acknowledge the importance of using social media tools to support their ministry, many may not be aware of the risks, or how to use networking tools safely to protect the reputation and relationships of their church and staff.

According to the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities, there are a few misconceptions out there when it comes to social media:

1. Posting content to my personal social media pages is private—it doesn’t concern my employer.

While it may seem that posting to social media is a private activity, legally speaking—posting content to social media is considered a “publication” (Justice D.M. Brown in Leduc v. Roman, [2009]). Information travels fast via social media, and once it’s out there, it’s very difficult to retract.

2. The content on my personal social media pages cannot affect my employment.

Policies and behavioural standards are no different in the virtual world than they are in the “real world.” When you post photos or make comments on social media, you represent both yourself and your employer and remain bound to behavioural standards agreed to such as confidentiality, anti-bullying, anti-harassment, and copyright policies.

3. There’s no need for a social media policy as long as we respect one another.

Even on a staff where everyone gets along and is respectful, we all have different ideas of what is acceptable to post and what is not. Without some kind of a guideline, it is easy to harmlessly post community. For instance, asking for prayer for a diagnosis that is not public knowledge or sharing one’s political beliefs without stating that the opinion is their own and does not reflect the views of the church can have devasting consequences. Providing a disclaimer to employees is helpful such as: This is my personal blog. The ideas, opinions, conclusions, and all other content expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, (name the church).

The CBWC has a social media policy in place for its own staff and has also included one in the Minister’s Protocol Manual (MPM) for all credentialed ministers. And while a credentialed minister is ultimately held accountable to the MPM under the umbrella of the CBWC, it is expected that he or she is firstly accountable to the church that they are employed by. This is why it is important that churches and ministry organizations have a social media policy in place for all staff, whether credentialed or not. Developing a social media policy will help your church clarify social media engagement on both personal and organizational levels—preparing for, and hopefully preventing, misuse and abuse.

Click here to see the CBWC’s Social Media Policy.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Copyright ©  2022 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections April 2023

What’s Happening in April!

CBWC Assembly Registration Closes this Month: Early Bird Deadline April 14, Regular April 28. 

Discipleship Culture Masterclass with Daniel McPhillips April 18. Sign up free here.

SERVE Earlybird Registration Deadline: April 30. 

Theology for the Ordinary Book Club: Discussing Bryan Stevenson‘s Just Mercy, Wednesday, May 3rd at 6 pm PST. Email to RSVP.

Early Bird Registration for Assembly 2023 is April 14th!

We can’t wait to see you at CBWC Assembly this year! Step 1: Register online Step 2: Book Accommodations.

The schedule is now available! Check out all the info at

Dying to Self—An Easter Reflection

By Faye Reynolds

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to Your love, remember me— for You, Lord, are good.  Psalm 25:7

We are entering the season of reflection as we head toward Good Friday; the day that we nail to the cross of Jesus any sense of privilege, entitlement, self-righteousness, judgmental thoughts, arrogance, pride…the list goes on…which is why we need forty days to reflect upon it. One theology that has always bothered me is the sense that Jesus died so that we would not have to die—when Jesus specifically said to take up His cross, His death, and His suffering, and follow Him all the way to Calvary.

Lynn Cole, Brownfield AB

This is what it costs us daily to be a true disciple of our Lord in the hopes of being “filled with all the fullness of God.” It is this dying to self that raises us to a new understanding of abundant life that will take us all the way into eternity. We are not very good at this, however, which is why we need a bucket-load of grace and forgiveness as also revealed most fully in the cross.

Jesus “gets us” way more than we really believe He does. He knows that it isn’t our inclination to embrace suffering or to put another’s needs before our own. It isn’t easy for us to live as a minimalist and give the rest away. It is more socially acceptable to hold a vengeful spirit, ensuring another would pay for their mistakes, rather than to embrace them with the costly gift of forgiveness. My fingers want to type that it would be more “natural”—though I have to believe that it was not God’s original design, but a result of separation from our Creator when we were made to be fully dependent upon His infinite love beyond our finite perspectives. And that is why He calls us to “repent”—to return to full dependence by putting independence to death and be reconciled into His heart of love and live out of that love and not our own cheap imitation.

That is why our witness to the incredible gift of Jesus Christ is not about being “good” people, for only our Father in heaven is truly good. If there is any goodness to be found, it will be in our “Christ-dying” imitation as those willing to enter into the pain and suffering of others and die to self, lest we “gain the world but lose our soul. This is a lot to ponder through the Easter Season, and it is baby steps for us all—but it is our calling, if we are to reflect the true Gospel and save our world from itself. Lord, grant us Your grace and mercy that we might have the courage to die to our definition of life and be born anew into Your glorious Presence.

By grace alone,

Faye Reynolds

 Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College

Obedience is Not Enough

Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President, Carey Theological College

For many years, I felt the key to “successful” Christian ministry lay in the preparation and the passion for that ministry. I thought that if I studied, nurtured a worshipping heart, prayed, sought to be holy in all that I did, and obeyed my Lord in all He commanded, then God would bless. Obedience on every level (in my personal life, in my marriage and family) was the key to the enterprise.

It was during my first years as a missionary church planter in Belgium that the Lord began to change my perspective on Christian obedience, for it was at that time that I saw the stark contrast between my small acts of obedience and the unexpected spiritual harvest that sometimes resulted. By this I mean to say that I found it difficult to believe that my own obedience would bring about such wonderful results. In several cases, I was genuinely surprised by the conversion of an individual to the gospel, and even more surprised by that person’s spiritual fervour for Christ. I saw bodies healed, relationships restored, and lives transformed. Clearly there was more to it than my own obedience. After all, I had been obedient before and such things did not happen. What made the difference?

In Ezekiel 37:1-14, God asks the prophet to prophesy to the bones, which he does, and then, because of his obedience, an amazing thing happens.

“And as I was prophesying there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.”

Wow! What an astonishing moment for Ezekiel! God had knitted these dead bones together when Ezekiel prophesied to them. But his obedience was not enough. There was no life in the bones. Only God could put life in the bones. Only God could send His Spirit to give life to what is dead.

My obedience is not enough. It is not enough to preach the Gospel, teach a course, preach a sermon, comfort a friend, or lead our denominational seminary. God’s Spirit needs to be released by God Himself. It is one task to stand before the dead and proclaim the Word of Life. It is quite another to stand before the Author of Life and summon the Breath of Life in the dead. So, we must obey, and we must pray. We must preach, and we must beseech God to pour out His Spirit.

Where does that leave us? It leaves those of us who are sent with the words of Jesus in our hearts, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15.5). I can obey God’s command to serve and to speak, but I cannot breathe life into dead hearts. It also leaves the senders with a wonderful task: to stand before the Author of life and ask Him to send His Spirit to bring life.

After more than a decade of planning and preparation, do you know that we are (finally) preparing to break ground this summer and begin the construction of our new building? We’re so excited—but, after all, it’s just a building. We need God to make it more than that. Please pray that God will breathe life into this project so that more students might hear the Good News and grow in their walk with Christ.

Do you know that Carey, like many seminaries, struggled to keep its doors open during COVID? We did our best and are thankful to God for His faithfulness. Please pray for God to breathe new life and health, both financial and otherwise, so that we may continue to serve Him in your midst.

Do you know that approximately half of all CBWC seminary students in North America are enrolled at Carey? Unfortunately, the grand total of all CBWC seminary students in North America is only about 30 students. Please pray for God to work through His Spirit to call more men and women into pastoral ministry from our church family.

We can obey, but only God can bring life and renewal. Let us pray for one another and for the churches and leaders of the CBWC, that God would send His Spirit and breathe life into our acts of obedience as we seek to honour Him.

Thanks to the generous support of faithful donors who share our vision, Carey has been able to extend the tuition-free start to include all 8 of our foundational courses in Bible, Theology, and Church History. These courses are completely transferable to a Diploma, Master of Arts, or Master of Divinity Degree. If you have always wanted to begin theological studies and hesitated due to the financial strain, now is the time to dive deeper into the word of God. For more information, visit or email We look forward to walking alongside you.

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

April 2023

Hope Farm Healing Centre—Bringing Hope to People & the Planet

By Jenna Hanger

In the beautiful Cowichan Valley in BC stands a beautiful 35-acre farm property. An ample orchard of 150 trees brings a harvest of fruit each year. Market gardens grow a variety of vegetables, and this year a crop of flowers is planned. Four hundred chickens keep a steady stream of eggs ready to be collected each day. Two large greenhouses, a variety of buildings including barns and a chapel, also grace the property. 15 acres are dedicated to hay crops. There’s a large garlic field that brought in 15 000 cloves last year, and ducks and geese flitter in groups around the pond’s edges. A flow of fresh spring water feeds the irrigation system, allowing the property to be self-contained and natural.

It is a place of peace. A place of production and work. The abundant produce and serene atmosphere are the product of many, many prayers prayed ever since the founders of The Mustard Seed Street Church in Victoria, BC purchased the farm in 2006. It is called Hope Farm Healing Centre.

Its initial purpose was for food security for the local community, and for an Addiction Recovery Program. Today, it has grown into an extraordinary community outreach and a place of restoration.

Brent and Lisa Cooper moved to Hope Farm in 2019, one year after losing their son to addiction. They initially were asked to spend three months helping tend to things while some programs were in transition. Now, four years later, Brent and Lisa are still there, enthusiastically dedicated to the work the Lord is doing—both in the land and in people.

Their leadership on the farm is very thoughtful and prayerful. Brent gets up early every morning and spends three to four hours praying for everything that comes upon the land and that is in the land. Their focus is on tending to the people who come to the farm needing recovery, to the community they live in, and to the land itself.

“Our hearts are that when people come to the property, they walk in to a place that feels different and has an impact upon their spirits. I pray it becomes a ‘pasture beside still waters’ for people,” Brent said.

For the first few years when the farm first began, they had eleven beds used for the Addiction Recovery Program. Folks who came could help with the farm’s operations as part of their recovery.

Just last year, Brent and Lisa had the opportunity to run a different sort of program for people who are on permanent disability, but wanted to be trained so they could potentially work part time. Through the program—which ran for a year starting in the fall of 2021—they had eight people come and learn how to garden, prune and take care of animals.

The change they saw in the people who took part was incredible. Science has long ago proven the benefits of working in soil, and Brent and Lisa can testify to the power of having one’s hands in the earth.

“I think God has made us [with the need] to contribute. And it does something to watch something grow and be a part of that whole process. You can watch these people—who were ages 20-63—you can see the transition, the change as they felt the touch of the Spirit and the touch of God’s creation,” Brent said.

“It’s been a phenomenal year of being able to serve people,” Lisa said, adding that during COVID, the farm was one of the few places people could drive to in order to get their produce, and it became a place where many lonely people came for interaction and comfort.

Lisa shared the farm has a major impact on the community. Not only do they have opportunities to supply people with food, but they can share about addictions recovery, relate to and comfort those who have lost family members to addictions, and support many local charity organizations. Not only that, but many people—farmers included—have remarked on the amazing produce the farm can grow. Another testimony of the amazing work God is doing at the farm.

Another exciting venture Hope Farm is undertaking is taking part in cutting-edge research that has the potential to dramatically impact Climate Change.

A few years ago, Brent and Lisa started experimenting with Biochar––a charcoal-like material that is produced from materials such as forest residues, grass, etc. This product has several benefits. The Biochar is first inoculated, and then it slowly releases its nutrients into the soil. This process is termed ‘regenerative agriculture’ as it increases the soil food web. Biochar doesn’t leech nutrients out of the soil during adverse rain effects, and it allows farmers to not have to fertilize their fields for several years.

Most exciting of all, though, it sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Experts predict that if all the farms were to use it, it would drastically lower CO2 levels and positively alter the climate change emergency.

Brent and Lisa used a large amount in their fields last year and saw an incredible increase in the production of their plants. This year, they have partnered with a soil specialist to conduct studies. Their goal is to have Biochar available for local farmers and gardens to use, and to spread awareness of the incredible benefits of using it.

This initiative is very important to Brent and Lisa, who passionately believe that Christians should be at the forefront of caring for creation.

“It is vitally important and Christians should be leading the way. We are called to be stewards of the earth,” Lisa said.

“What God has called us to do here on the farm is to leave a legacy for generations when it comes to addictions and supporting people with addictions. But more than that, we were given stewardship of this land.”

For more information on the incredible things God is doing through Hope Farm Healing Centre, and The Mustard Seed Street Church, visit their website HERE.

April is a fantastic time to stop and reflect on the role the church can have when it comes to Creation Care. Earth Day is happening on April 22nd. We want to encourage all our churches to take time this month to thoughtful and prayerful consider what more we can do to take care of this amazing planet we get to call home.

For more information and resources, visit the Justice and Mercy web page HERE.

Welcoming the Stranger

How a small church in Calgary is having a huge impact

By Jenna Hanger

Five years ago, when the Syrian Refugee Crisis was unfolding, Prime Minister Trudeau announced he was going to bring 25 000 Syrian Refugees into Canada. Around that time, Pastor Greg Butt from Northmount Baptist Church, Calgary, and a few other pastors visited Lebanon to see for themselves what God was doing there.

This trip would prove to be a catalyst for the small congregation of Northmount Baptist Church, who historically had been a mostly Caucasian, elderly congregation. Now, 70% of the members are new to Canada. The heart for outreach for immigrants and supporting refugees has become a focus of the church, and things are picking up steam.

In Lebanon, Pastor Greg had a conversation with a church that was about the same size as his. He asked them what they were doing to help the refugee crisis, and was shocked to learn this church of 100 people was helping 2 000 families (about 25 000 people).

“I came back from that thinking we have got to do more than just ticking the box of refugees, and helping one family for a year and saying we are done. We need to make it a lifestyle. Especially since 1 out of every 100 people in the world are displaced from their place of origin,” Pastor Greg said.

“Canada is an immigrating country. We have 400 000 coming every year. The government wants to bump that up to 500 000. 10% of those are refugees. The need isn’t slowing down.”

They started by sponsoring one Syrian family jointly with two other churches from Calgary. A couple of years later, Pastor Greg received a random email from a missionary in Kazakstan who was desperately looking for help from Canadian churches to sponsor an Afghan family. Pastor Greg said if they could get help with the financials, they could get spots for them.

This was the beginning of a tidal wave of opportunities for Northmount Baptist Church. Through raising money and sponsoring this family, Pastor Greg met a man named Aziz, a seventy-one-year-old Afghan church planter living in California. Aziz knew the family being sponsored and contacted the church offering to help. A few months later, he asked for help for a family of eleven stuck in Delhi, India. Aziz offered to pay the financials for them, so Pastor Greg worked on getting them spots.

Aziz eventually moved to Calgary to be a part of Northmount Baptist Church, where he is now serving as an elder. The goal is to establish an Afghan church under Northmount’s leadership. Eventually, they hope to have an Afghan church in each quadrant of Calgary.

Soon, more and more connections and pleas for help were being made. Whenever there is an opportunity to help, and financials can be covered, Pastor Greg says sure and works to find them spots. They are now expecting another 50 Christian Afghan people to come to their church over the next two years.

“What is interesting is, as God is putting this situation on us, the government has said they are bringing 40 000 Afghans to Canada, and 7 000 of those are going to be dropped in Calgary. So, we have 7 000 Afghans coming to Calgary, no Afghan church—and at the same time, God brings up this church planter from California, to begin an Afghan church here,” Pastor Greg shared.

There are a few challenges the church faces as they look at the logistics of hosting so many new people. Housing is one of the main ones. With the influx of people coming to Calgary, and the house-building industry slowed, there aren’t enough houses to go around, and the price of rent is being driven up.

Pastor Greg asked if anyone in the Calgary area is willing and able to share their home (a senior citizen for example or a single person or couple), they would match them with a Christian family who would be more than willing to help share the responsibilities of living together.

Another way locals can help is by offering to drive folks around. For the first few weeks after a family lands, they need to be driven to several places to get all their paperwork in order. The church could also use a part-time intern to help with the refugee work and running the church.

Sponsoring refugees is something Pastor Greg feels strongly that every church should make into a lifestyle.

“Most churches have the capacity to do it, even if they don’t think they do. Many churches may not think they can do it, because they are busy doing other good things. But if it is offered, they may find there are people in their church who have a heart for people of other nationalities.”

Many folks think if they are from a rural community, it isn’t feasible to sponsor families. But Pastor Greg thinks there are many strengths a rural community can offer someone new to Canada.

“What I found with most immigrants is they are starved socially. Even in the big cities. For the first three months, they are overjoyed and feel like they have landed in heaven. After that, culture shock hits, and they feel very lonely. They miss home, they feel like they can’t get their own food… The costs are expensive, it’s very cold, there’s all those kinds of things. And if there is a strong community like there is in rural settings, that can help them through some of that. Many of them are very hard-working people, willing to do whatever.”

For more information on how you can be involved with sponsoring refugees, visit the Justice and Mercy web page HERE.

Jodi Spargur: Storyteller & Bridgebuilder

By Cailey Morgan

Throughout February and into March, CBWC’s Church Planting team made space on their blog to take us back in time and hear some early Baptist church planting stories that were new to most of us. Each week, a new episode of Re-membering: Indigenous Teachers of the Jesus Way podcast was released, asking questions like, do you think trauma and hardship are the only lessons to learn about early Indigenous Christian contact in Canada? What are we willing to learn from missed opportunities in the past? How can we respond differently today? What path of deeper wholeness are we being invited into as a result of having heard these stories?

Hosted by Jodi Spargur of Red Clover Initiatives, the podcast tells of the faithfulness, wisdom, generosity and ingenuity of Indigenous church planters, and grapples with missed opportunities that arose. All six 10-minute episodes are available on CBWC’s Church Planting Blog, or all in one player at

Jodi’s name may be familiar; she has spent many years as a support and resource for our churches hoping to engage in the work of healing, truth and reconciliation and as a facilitator of healthy partnerships between non-indigenous and Indigenous groups. Moving forward, we are excited to share that there have been increased opportunities for Red Clover Initiatives across Canada, and they will be coming alongside CBM as a ministry partner. This new connection will allow Jodi to work more freely with Canadian Baptists beyond our Western provinces and territories.

“My connections with Indigenous communities have broadened since I started,” says Jodi. “Interest in the work, fueled somewhat by initiatives we have undertaken here in Western Canada, has grown, and there are increased opportunities to work with our Canadian Baptist Partners across the country. I will continue to work with the CBWC as a part of that, and the CBWC will always be my home. I am always keen to engage in conversation about how we can facilitate learning and on-the-ground partnerships with any of our churches.”

To learn more about the work or to get in touch with Jodi, visit

Copyright ©  2023 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections March 2023

What’s Happening in March

Registration is open for CBWC Assembly 2023! Step 1: Register online Step 2: Book Accommodations

Book Club Meeting TONIGHT! Join us at 6pm PST, March 1 for Theology for the Ordinary Book Club discussing James Martin’s book entitled Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone. Email to receive the zoom link, even if you have attended in the past. 

Sign up for SERVE 2023 in Kelowna, BC! Each summer hundreds of youth from CBWC churches gather for a week that mixes the best parts of summer camp with the best parts of a short-term service trip. Earlybird Registration open until April 30:

BCY Pastors and Chaplains Retreat BCY pastors and chaplains are invited to a retreat in the beautiful Fraser Valley April 24-26, 2023, with speaker April Yamasaki. Visit for details and to register before March 31st.

Report from Kurios — That’s a Wrap!…Or is it?

That’s a wrap!… or is it?  I don’t think paying it forward ever ends but we are so grateful to everyone who supported Kurios financially during our fundraising campaign.  With your assistance, we raised over $25,000!  Thank you to everyone for supporting us!

And we know that is not the only way we are supported. We know and feel the support of your  prayers for us. The past 5 weeks in Guatemala was evidence of that on many levels:

Physically, we had safe travels, easy passage through security checks in the airports, no injuries or major sickness, the ability to enjoy God’s beautiful creation with all of our senses.

Mentally/emotionally, we were sustained when culture shock affected us, when there were minor bouts of homesickness, when we grappled with the realities of the lives of people we met in relation to what we know, when we rejoiced and celebrated God’s goodness in the lives of the people we met.

Spiritually, we were transformed, encountering God’s kingdom here on earth, being pushed out of our comfort zone to discover more of who God is, sharing and receiving God’s love and word, walking in step with the Spirit.

We were able to worship and serve our Lord with our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  And that is the heart of the Kurios Gap Year experience – seeking Jesus together and pursuing Him as Lord of all!

If you’re a young adult who needs space to discover more of who they are in Christ, a safe space to ask questions about faith, prayer, scripture; a space to discover our heavenly Father and encounter His kingdom on earth, then come join us this fall! Registrations to Kurios are free and available at  Or do you know of a young adult that would benefit from the Kurios gap year experience? Don’t underestimate the word of encouragement about your own experience in a similar program or the passing along of information about Kurios to the young adults in your life. It can be the difference to them. 

They can contact us directly with any questions they might have: Director Steve Simala Grant ( or Assistant Director Ingrid Reinholdt (

 Partner Spotlight: CBM Impact

We are grateful for your partnership and want to take a moment to reflect upon how you’ve helped us make a meaningful impact this past year. Through your generosity, we are grateful to have supported 136,018 individuals through our five key causes: poverty, justice, kids at risk, build the church, and crisis response.

In 2022, you brought hope to vulnerable communities by empowering women, ensuring access to education, assisting refugees, helping to set up small businesses, and building up local churches. You directly supported nearly 140,000 people through CBM’s partnerships and programs. Of that number:   

  • 27,000 kids at risk could recapture aspects of their childhood by going to school, having safe spaces to play in, and being cared for.  
  • 8,000 women were empowered in regions where women are often in the margins of society.
  • More than 7,500 leaders received further training to respond biblically and contextually to the reality of the needs in their communities.    
  • More than 2,000 farm animals were distributed for income generation. 
  • Critical aid was delivered to nearly 90,000 refugees.    
  • and more than 60,000 people received much-needed food assistance.  

  Of special note, your incredible response to the emergency appeal for Ukraine raised over $1.2 million. Because of your support, we were able to address the immediate needs of refugees with emergency shelters, food, personal hygiene supplies, and winterization measures. Thank you for your generosity and compassion. 

Our goal is to respond to adversity with God’s practical message of love. This message is needed more than ever as we face new crises and challenges.

This past month, magnitude 7.8 and 7.6 earthquakes struck southeast Türkiye and neighbouring Syria, killing more than 47,000 people and leaving one million homeless. The disaster’s economic cost is expected to be tens of billions of dollars. The impact of the loss and the trauma that the people of Türkiye and Syria face is devastating. Türkiye’s energy infrastructure has been severely damaged, thousands of buildings have crumbled, and many roads are unusable. Syrian refugees, already suffering through twelve years of civil war, must now contend with the quake’s destruction.

When humanitarian disasters leave victims wounded and vulnerable, they often turn to the church for assistance and assurance that they are not forgotten by God or His people. In these times of emergency, CBM and its global partners respond quickly and with accountability to ensure that even in the chaos, relief is sent where it is needed most.

CBM is part of the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD), a network of Baptist relief and development organizations coordinating funding and activities during significant humanitarian crises such as earthquakes and conflicts. BFAD has chosen two lead organizations to carry out relief projects that will respond to victims of the earthquakes. These organizations are already on the ground with churches and local networks to provide food, shelter, and medical care support. In addition, Hungarian Baptist Aid has been on the ground since February 6th with a team of highly-trained search and rescue specialists and rescue dogs.

For updates, prayer requests and the opportunity to give, click here:

None of these ministry initiatives would be possible without your steadfast prayers and support. Thank you for your continued partnership as we embrace a broken world through word and deed.  

BCY Regional Newsletter

March 2023

Easter Colouring Contest!

Colouring contest for all ages! Pick a picture (drawn by CBWC’s own Grace Wulff) , put your name and age and email it to to be featured on social media and for a chance to win a prize! Winners will be announced in April, prizes donated by Kurious!

Click images below to download.

Wrestling the Angel: A Lenten Journey Through the Psalms

Written by Brownfield Baptist member Robyn Bruneau

I feel dull this year. Maybe it’s the foggy aftermath of having Covid last February. Maybe it’s this year of menopause that has left me slow and inarticulate. But by the grace of God, this week has felt sharper than usual, and right now I’m standing on the edge of Lent, awakening to a fresh invitation.

Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

In truth, I’m a stranger to my own heart right now. After a year of desert wandering, I’ve become so desensitized to my inner lostness that it takes all the silence I can muster to hear that still, small voice that helps me find myself with God. In returning to silence, this is what I hear: a growing murmur inside, a sense of something within me that is very out of joint. Twisted, you could say. It is not so much like a cord that twists around itself, but more like a disordered spine whose descending vertebrae are out of place just enough that the whole body has had to shift and twist in order to compensate for the imbalance. O Lord, clear a good path in me!

The crooked straight…

John the Baptist was a wild man. He thrived in the wilderness. He knew that there was something about the desolate places—their beauty and deprivation—that opened people’s hearts to God and coaxed their souls out of hiding. He cried out in the wilderness for the people to return to the proverbial desert, allowing the penetrating gaze of the sun to do its work on their souls and expose the crookedness of their ways—leaving them emptied and ready for the Son of God to enter easily and without resistance.

…and the rough places plain.

Jacob was a plain man. By Hebrew reckoning, it meant that his interior life was upright and complete in the sight of God. He had his heart on straight, you could say. Jacob was also acquainted with desolate places—places within his own heart that led to enmity and exile. This is where God found him, and this is where he wrestled with God until daybreak. Yes, the Angel lamed him, but He also blessed him, and Jacob named that place Peniel—for He had seen God face to face and lived.

Facing this season of Lent, I’m standing in this barren place—my inner life all crooked and rough—longing to receive John’s invitation to remove the inner barriers that keep me from all that God has for me. Lord, how do I open myself to this piercing gaze, to the Angel who would wrestle me until my soul is finally made straight and my heart made plain? I was reminded of a phrase from Rilke’s poem, “The Man Watching”:

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming…
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

It brings me back to the Psalms and how they are like a living habitat for all that is truly human. They have a way about them. They are raw and weighty, penetrating and perplexing. They speak to the myriad of displaced passions and disordered attachments that hold the descending vertebrae of the soul in its crooked posture. These inspired poems provide an arena for God to firmly wrap Himself around our twisted ways, steadily and unyieldingly twisting them back. They provide a sacred place where we can wrestle with God in the safety and sanctity of the psalmists’ own intimate grapplings. In his poem, Rilke reflects on what it means to truly wrestle with the Divine:

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great.
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
…What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.

Wrestling with God through these psalms requires that we yield ourselves to the sacred text—line by line, chapter by chapter—in all of its emotional complexity and primal tenacity. I’ve read the Psalms countless times, but wrestling is much more than just reading. It’s about acknowledging our desperate need for the blessing. It’s about becoming humbled enough to finally arrive at the cross with our souls laid bare before the passion of Christ. It’s about finding ourselves hopeful at the dawn of Easter morning, waiting eagerly for His light to break forth in the deep places of our readied souls. And this, I believe, is God’s delight,

I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers’ sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

I have found that it takes courage to face these sacred poems with abandon and resolve. I have had to enter into each reading in both solitude and silence: solitude because this is an intimate journey, silence because my flesh has to be hushed before my spirit can hear. This wilderness journey demands that I come with a bowed head and an unassuming mind as I sit daily under the texts and allow the Spirit to speak to me on His terms, not mine.

As I read each chapter slowly, several times, I pay attention to what is most evocative—the word, phrase or image that makes me want to lean in closer or, conversely, makes me want to pull away. Putting words to this evocation, I invite God into a raw and vulnerable dialogue with me, all the while resisting the temptation to justify, avoid or project. Here I lean in, taking hold of God. Here God leans in, taking hold of me. This is not about winning.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
…went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater Beings.

This Lenten journey through the Psalms is about responding to an invitation to bewilderment—to be thoroughly lured into the wilderness where the piercing rays of the sun cast light into the dark corners that hide our pride, our fear and our shame. Where the deprivation of our fleshly impulses awakens our sacred desires and longings. Where we are emptied and expanded, growing our capacity for more of what Jesus has waiting for us in His death and resurrection. My earnest hope is that, like Gomer, we might find the courage to be lured into the wilderness so that God might speak kindly to our adulterous souls. And like the bride in the Song of Songs, we might emerge out of the Lenten season, coming up from the wilderness, leaning on our Beloved.

Advice for Land Acknowledgement Process

By Filipe Balieiro, FBC Vancouver

The Spirit of God is moving in the midst of our CBWC churches as we journey together regarding Indigenous issues.

I would like to share with you a few aspects of the experience that we had at FBC Vancouver writing our Land Acknowledgement (LA). Keeping in mind that each church has its own journey towards healing and reconciliation, we pray that this article may be helpful to your church as you go through the process of crafting your own LA.

Do not rush, but have a clear timeline.

It is important to make this process a communal process where the church community has the chance to participate and own the document. When the congregation takes ownership of this process, it organically becomes part of the mission of the church.

Our church took more than 2 years to have an official version of Land Acknowledgement. Although I believe that most churches should not take that long, it is important to give time to this process without losing perspective of the timeline.

Colonial past and the word unceded.

Why did it take that long for FBC Vancouver to have a final version of their LA? We had a hard time wrapping our heads around these words. So, during the process we offered some teaching material to and dialogue with those who were struggling with that concept. With grace and love, we were able to learn and be in agreement with the language that we were using. Let me take this opportunity to encourage you to learn not only about Canada’s colonial past, but about our whole continent. 

Resist the temptation of making it a teaching document. 

Keep it short and clear. In our Land Acknowledgement, there are 4 elements. It acknowledges: God, the creator; that the ancestral land that we are located in is unceded; that Canada’s colonial past has profoundly injured Indigenous peoples; and that we are committed to address the recommendations from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

There was a moment during our process where the discussion became about whether we should include Bible verses in it. An extremely long document would confuse rather than help. So, we agreed that: 1) the document would have an addendum with the Biblical basis supporting the main document; and, 2) that all teaching about Indigenous issues should happen elsewhere—blanket exercise, sermon series, Sunday school, seminars, etc.

If you are wondering where you can find resources, let me point you to our denomination webpage: 

Perhaps another aspect you should consider during this process is ways to ease your congregation into this conversation—for instance, by adding a sermon series or a TRC service, doing a blanket exercise, or having Jodi Spargur speak at your church to help make the conversation around this issue easier and more familiar.

Growing a Life of Healthy Leadership

By Rev. Del Riemer

As we continue in our blog series on Healthy Leadership, we hope to share with you some helpful stories, insights and considerations on developing ourselves as healthy leaders. Since November, we’ve been focusing on A Life of Healthy Leadership (check out our previous articles “Leadership is Heavy” and “A Soup Kitchen Confession” to get caught up on the series). Later, we will delve into a discussion on Healthy Leadership Structures. These two parts are sides of the same coin: true healthy leadership involves both healthy structures in our organizations and emotional, physical and spiritual health in ourselves and the leaders around us.  

We pray that as people of God we increasingly think of healthy leadership, both as leaders and structures, as being Christ-centric. As we face the unknown landscape of our day as followers of Jesus, this is more crucial than perhaps ever before in the history of the church as we hope to form communities of hope, centered on loving God and others, as Christ himself teaches. 

We are grateful to Rev. Del Riemer who, upon his retirement at the end of 2022, shares with us some of the ways he developed as a healthy leader in his 45 years of ministry.   ~Shannon and Cailey

As I retire after 45 years of ministry and 20+ years as Pastor at Summerland Baptist Church, it is impossible not to sit back and consider all the water that has flowed under the bridge. Successes, failures, lessons, regrets, growth, advice received and given, relationships built and broken and some 38 different staff that have come and gone during my tenure.   

To read more CLICK HERE!

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.