Making Connections December 2022

What’s Happening in December

  • A huge thank you to everyone who responded to our GivingTuesday project this year! $16,150 will be sent to Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Winnipeg to help cover costs in resettling Ukrainian refugee families
  • Theology for the Ordinary Book Club: Our next meeting is Wednesday, January 4th at 6 pm PST using zoom. We’ll be focusing on Seven Things I Wish Christians Knew About the Bible by Michael F. Bird. RSVP to heartland@cbwc.ca for the zoom link, even if you have attended in the past.

  • Save the date for Assembly June 1-3 2023 in Calgary; registration opens February 1, 2023. 

Exciting Kurios News

It is with great excitement that we announce the Kurios Gap Year Experience will be moving its home base to the beautiful town of Jasper, AB! 

We are blown away by the news that the Jasper Lutheran Church (JLC) has decided to gift their historic sanctuary, land and manse––located in the middle of Jasper––to the Jasper Park Baptist Church in partnership with Kurios. 

In late March of 2022, JLC had announced they would be closing their doors, and accepting proposals from non-profit organizations for the building and grounds. Adam Parsons, a key lay leader from Jasper Park Baptist Church, had organized the bid on behalf of Kurios and the church. He passionately believed that the move would be hugely beneficial to the church, our Gap Year program and to the community.

JLC shared that they were blessed by the proposal and celebrate that Jesus will continue to be a visible and active presence within Jasper’s community. Their mission was to uphold the cross. They are excited that the property and sanctuary, which was passed to them 56 years ago from the Catholic Church, will continue to honour its Christian heritage.

The Baptist congregation intends to sell their existing building and property and use the funds to build a new facility where the manse is currently located. This new, multi-purpose building will provide a fantastic home for Kurios participants, ministry space for Jasper Park Baptist Church, and a place to facilitate outreach within the community.

“This is an amazing opportunity for Kurios to broaden its appeal and solidify its future,” Steve Simala-Grant, director of Kurios said. “Now we can invite young adults to experience the timeless majesty beauty of the Rockies, while challenging them to give their whole lives to the high call of loving God and neighbour.”

The goal is to relocate Kurios by the fall of 2023 in time for the beginning of the new Kurios year. Applications are now open for the 2023/2024 year! Click HERE for more info!

Carey’s UBC Residence – A Place of Preparation

In this season of Advent, we’re looking forward to Christmas, preparing for the celebration to come. Here at Carey, we see the work of our residence program resembling this season. Advent is a season of ‘already and not yet.’ Jesus has already been born, but we’re still preparing to celebrate His birth. Similarly, with the University of British Columbia students who live at Carey during the school year, we minister to them in their season of ‘already and not yet.’ They haven’t yet entered the real world of adulthood, but already do experience much of the real world in their day-to-day university experience. This year, there are 44 undergraduate students in programs from geology to music, dietetics to kinesiology. Many students feel uncertain about where God is leading them and how they’re called to serve Him with their unique giftings. At Carey, we help prepare these students by looking ahead to the life God is calling them to, while knowing that the life God is calling them to, doesn’t just start after they finish university—but matters today. 

Photo from Fall 2022 Annual Carey Resident Retreat; Camp Kawkawa, Hope, BC

Not only does Carey offer a safe place to live, our studen programs also help foster Christian community, guiding and nurturing these students navigating adulthood. They learn how to be neighbourly, how to resolve conflict with compassion and generosity, and how to build good habits of time management. Weekly Bible study, prayer and worship nights, end-of-term events, an annual camp, and many meals shared together bring an integrated approach to Christian formation during their time studying at UBC. These rhythms of activity, with academics, help to shape students as they prepare for the life ahead of them—while teaching them how to integrate their faith in their work. 

Living in a safe, Christian community, students have the opportunity to practice, try, and even fail—but to get up and try again. Those opportunities to practice and try again are for everything; from knowing how to graciously engage unbelieving peers or fellow Christians who might think differently, how to act when a friend they care about is hurting, or even how to spend their money and time. Carey provides a community so that students don’t feel isolated in this journey. It’s estimated that about 1% of UBC students are Christian. By living at Carey, these UBC students are supported in a community of life, where they can grow in love and compassion, without feeling anxious or alone. As Grace, a second-year science student described, 

“At first, my transition to university was very difficult, but the people at Carey made all the difference… Everyone has so much compassion for those around them.”

This brings the light of Christ into the classrooms, lecture halls, libraries, and coffee shops. 

At Advent, we are preparing for something magnificent: the incarnation, God’s presence in the birth of His Son, Jesus. Similarly, here at Carey we seek to minister to these students in an incarnational, present way. As we look forward and prepare for this celebration of God’s presence, we are so grateful for the opportunity to be present to these students. At Carey, we help students grow their light in Christ, letting it become a great brightness, preparing them not just for their post-undergrad life, but for their life today and beyond. 

Rachel Hart and Rafael Franco are the Deans of Student Residents for Carey. Do you have a student beginning their degree at UBC? Are you interested in supporting the Carey Residence program or helping fund the construction of our new building? Visit our website to donate or reach out to deanofstudents@carey-edu.ca for further questions about living at Carey.

BCY Regional Newsletter

December 2022

Darkness to Light!

By CBWC Executive Minister, Rob Ogilvie

The Christmas Story! Not the “Go to the malls or to Amazon to buy endless gifts for those in your life” story. Not the “Eat so much turkey and stuffing that every January you seriously consider buying a new gym membership” story. Not the “Santa and Rudolph and chestnuts by the open fire” story. All of which are pretty good stories. But the Christmas Story. The story—when first foretold by the prophet Isaiah to the Israelite nation—of a child being born who would not only be known as Immanuel, God with us, but also Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. 

When Isaiah tells the story, he describes how—with the coming of Jesus—darkness turns to light.

Many people would describe the last few years we have gone through, and even the times we are in right now, as pretty dark. Sickness, economic hardships, polarization, and war are just a few of the challenges—the darkness—that our world is facing. My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you would know Jesus, the One who turns darkness into light. The One who offers hope when everything else seems hopeless. The One whose peace surpasses all understanding. And the One who is the Light of the World. That’s right—the world, of which you are an important part. 

The Christmas Story! May it never become too familiar, and may the light and hope and peace of Jesus be yours this season and forever more. 

MSR Regional Minister, Dennis Stone, is Retiring!

By Jenna Hanger

After serving as the Mountain Standard Regional Minister for the past 13 years, Dennis Stone is officially retiring in the New Year. 

He has had a long career, faithfully serving the Lord in many capacities. His story started in Montana, where he was born and raised. In grade seven, he gave his life to the Lord after attending a Methodist Church special event. 

In high school, Dennis met the love of his life, Anita. They have been married 44 years, during which they have had four children and three grandchildren.


While in high school, they assisted in developing an exciting youth ministry that several of their peers ended up joining.

“It was significant work for God at the time. Many people who attended went into other ministries later in life,” Dennis said. He believes the teenage years are among the most productive for people and the church. It’s a time of connecting with people with high energy, and enthusiasm to learn.


After graduating high school, Dennis decided to attend Bible college. At that time, he wasn’t considering going into full-time ministry; he went with the aim of learning more about the Bible so he could be useful to the Kingdom of God. His education took him to Prairie Bible Institute, the College of Great Falls, Montana State University, and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in Vancouver.


Over the course of the years, Dennis was involved in many denominations before—he jokingly says—he was paid to be a Baptist. In 1986, Dennis got the call from White Rock Baptist Church in Surrey, BC. He was ordained there and was the lead pastor for a few years. He then pastored a church in Northeast Edmonton before pastoring Claresholm Faith Community Baptist church for 14 years.


When the Mountain Standard Regional Minister position came up, Dennis was encouraged to apply. His four children had already moved to Edmonton, so the decision to move had additional benefits, besides being central within the Mountain Standard Region. The job proved to be an excellent fit. Dennis loved connecting with people in the region and across Canada, encouraging pastors and churches, and working with executive staff.


“I’m probably better at pastoral care than preaching. That carried over, I think, into how I’ve done some of my regional ministry work. It’s been caring for pastors and church leaders.”


Dennis shared that a few highlights over the past 13 years include seeing some of our immigrant churches enter the denomination, working with pastors to get their credentials and ordinations, and connecting with Baptist colleagues across Canada.


Another highlight has been working with people in other denominations––helping form relationships and understanding between people of different backgrounds. Dennis shared that one of his gifts is pulling people together into community who otherwise might not be, and that this was something he enjoyed doing.


Dennis’ last date in the office will be January 31st. While Dennis and Anita are looking forward to traveling a bit and being with family, they haven’t made very many concrete plans for retirement.


“It’s kind of like graduating from high school,” Dennis laughed. “It’s like, now what? There are so many unknowns. We are open to whatever comes.”

Do you have more Christmas spirit than Louanne?? 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time we get to celebrate for a month that Christ has come. The lights, trees, and decorations are all a reminder of this amazing miracle, and we want to see how you celebrate! 

During the month of December, we want to flood our social media page with pictures from CBWC members. Whether it’s decorations from your church, your home, or your town, snap a selfie, send it to us, and tag a friend to do the same! Email it to Cailey at cmorgan@cbwc.ca or hashtag #cbwcchristmas on Facebook and Instagram to be featured on our page! 

Highlights from Banff!

We had so much fun connecting at the Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference on November 7-10!

Check out the highlight video HERE.

To view the TIMTalks showcase, click HERE.

NOTE re 2023: 

The CBWC Leadership recognizes that CBWC church budgets will face possible financial pressures over the next couple of years as congregations resettle, interest rates and inflation rise, and we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. With unexpected costs to church budgets of two in-person assemblies back-to-back, and to faithfully steward all of our joint resources well, Banff 2023 has been postponed to 2024 to allow financial margin and recovery. The CBWC Leadership also recognizes that the Banff Conference serves as an important lifeline for mental health and well-being as well as ministry sustainability. Pastors and spouses are encouraged to connect with their regional offices for possible regional retreats and resourcing offered in 2023.
Assembly 2023 will also provide an opportunity for connection, encouragement, dialogue, and resourcing.

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections November 2022

Things Happening in November!

  • The next Theology For the Ordinary Book Club meeting will be held on November 2, to discuss Nijay K. Gupta’s 15 New Testament Words for Life. RSVP to heartland@cbwc.ca. Also watch for our next book review coming out Nov 16!
  • Pray for rest and renewal for all the ministers heading to Banff Nov. 7-10.
  • CBWC Sunday resources are now available! Choose a worship service in November to celebrate what it means to be part of the body of CBWC and take advantage of the many components that have been provided.
  • Join us for the next free Evangelism Masterclasses on November 1 and January 24.
  • Monday, November 7 is the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer hosted by Baptist World Alliance Women. The 2022 theme is “Victorious Life” drawn from the truth of 2 Corinthians 2:14. Find more details and resources here.
  • GivingTuesday is a global day of generosity. Find out how we can band together this November 29 to support the important work of Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Winnipeg as they sponsor many families fleeing unrest in the Ukraine.

GivingTuesday: Fundraiser for the Ukranian Refugee Crisis

On Tuesday November 29th, the CBWC will participate in the International Day of Giving, known as GivingTuesday. Last year, we raised funds for Moosomin Baptist Church’s Grow Hope Project.

This year, we are excited to support the amazing work of one of our oldest affiliated churches, Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church, Winnipeg (UEBC). Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, UEBC has welcomed 18 refugee families, with an expectation to bring over many more. 

“We have not reached the peak of people needing to come over. We are just at the start,” Pastor Alex Andrusyshyn said, sharing that all the people they bring over and support are families who have lost everything because of the war and were forced to flee.

While Winnipeg has one of the best programs for Ukrainian refugees (covering full cost for three months or so in hotels), the financial burden to support all these families has been significant. Pastor Alex, has given much of his own personal money to help families with the basics to begin their new lives in Canada.

The money raised on GivingTuesday will go towards some of these costs, such as damage deposits on rent ($500-$1000) and furniture for their new homes (roughly $2,000-$3,500 per family, depending on the amount of people).

Some money will also go towards helping families with their initial grocery bill. Pastor Alex said the minimum he has paid to start a family off with food is $500-$700, which doesn’t go very far with the high price of food.

Before the influx of refugees, UEBC had a congregation of around 30 people. Now, they have 80-plus attending church, with many people coming to the Lord and asking to be baptized. Being able to practically support people in need has been a powerful ministry opportunity for UEBC, and we are excited to partner with them for the GivingTuesday fundraiser.

If you would like to take part and support, click HERE to give.

 Partner Spotlight: CBM

It seemed that almost overnight, the world changed with the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us had hoped that making it through to the other side would bring a new sense of normal and a return to pre-2020 times and rhythms. Unfortunately, this has been far from the case.

While the world continues to grapple with the social and economic implications of the pandemic, many nations have been burdened with new crises. Changing weather patterns have impacted millions of small-scale farmers around the world, and the war in Ukraine is threatening millions with food shortages—especially the numerous African countries that heavily rely on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine. Hunger is on the rise.

We know the prices for everything have risen—just look at your grocery and gas bills. There is not a country in the world untouched by current events. Uncertainty requires us to be prepared and flexible so that we can be in the best position to assist when needs arise or when economic or political shifts suddenly change the landscape. CBM continues to respond to the needs of communities all around the world.

In this year’s Hopeful Gifts for Change Catalogue, giving to Where Most Needed will be matched. It is the best way for you to help us respond to the most immediate needs arising from each context and location in which we serve expediently and efficiently.

As you browse the catalogue, you’ll hear about the situation on the ground from our Field Staff Team Leaders. From their perspectives, they highlight the context and needs arising from their communities. In this time of global upheaval, your gift can make a lasting difference. These gifts represent the hopes and dreams of individuals empowered for a future beyond these times.

Your faithful gifts and prayers empower us to act with generosity and compassion in places where the transforming power of the gospel needs to be felt. Your support allows our church partners on the ground to aid their communities and display the hope of Christ amidst the darkness.

To explore the catalogue and give gifts of hope, visit www.hopefulgifts.ca.

Heartland Regional Newsletter

 November 2022

Celebrating Our Veterans

The CBWC has a long history of members serving in the Canadian Armed Forces; from veterans who served, to chaplains who worked with military personal, to members and families who have recently served or have loved ones still active today. 

This Remembrance Day, we want to highlight two individuals from First Baptist Church, Regina who have both served in the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Eva McMillian, from First Baptist Regina, will be celebrating her 100th birthday on Remembrance Day. During the war, Eva worked in a clerical capacity. In the period following the war, she was involved in the discharging and repatriation of Canadian soldiers, spending time in both England and Germany while filling this role. Happy Birthday Eva, and thank you for service!

Norman Latham, 82, was in service in military for quite a number of years. During his time, he went on tours in the Congo and Vietnam. The tours took place from 1955 to 1960. Thank you, Norman and family, for all that you sacrificed! 

Advent Resource & Christmas Reading

The Advent season is almost upon us! This year the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec have put together an Advent Resource for the upcoming season, which follows Isaiah 40 as a framework. Check out their page here. 

If you are looking for some short Christmas themed books to read this season, here are a few recommendations! (Descriptions take from synopses provided on Amazon.)

Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller: Even people who are not practicing Christians think they are familiar with the story of the nativity. Every Christma,s displays of Baby Jesus resting in a manger decorate lawns and churchyards, and songs about shepherds and angels fill the air. Yet despite the abundance of these Christian references in popular culture, how many of us have examined the hard edges of this biblical story?

The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren:  In his powerful yet compassionate voice, Pastor Rick Warren sounds the clarion call to “remember the reason for the season,” taking readers back in time to the most wonderful story of all—the birth of the baby Jesus. 

Pastor Warren encourages readers to identify and confront what drains peace from their lives. Warren explains that the way to respond to these peace-robbers is to learn how to surrender to God’s will and not feel defeated or discouraged when life does not go as planned. True peace of mind is found by having an unshakeable faith in God—knowing that His empowering Spirit will guide His children through life’s challenges.

Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel: Who was in the manger that first Christmas morning? Some say He would become a great moral leader. Others, a social critic. Still others view Jesus as a profound philosopher, a rabbi, a feminist, a prophet, and more. Many are convinced He was the divine Son of God.

Who was He really? And how can you know for sure?

Consulting experts on the Bible, archaeology, and messianic prophecy, award-winning legal journalist Lee Strobel searches out the true identity of the child in the manger. If Jesus really was God in the flesh, then there ought to be credible evidence, including:

Eyewitness Evidence—Can the biographies of Jesus be trusted?

Scientific Evidence—What does archaeology reveal?

Profile Evidence—Did Jesus fulfill the attributes of God?

Fingerprint Evidence—Did Jesus uniquely match the identity of the Messiah?

The Case for Christmas invites readers to consider why Christmas matters in the first place. Somewhere beyond the traditions of the holiday lies the truth. 

Christmas Playlist by Alistair Begg: Christmas is a great time to give a non-Christian friend or church visitor a short book getting to the heart of what it’s truly all about. This is perfect for giving out at church events, or with a present. 

Music is everywhere at Christmas—chart-toppers, carols, children’s tunes… Alistair Begg takes us to four songs that were sung by people at the very first Christmas (and his favourite carol). 

In this short, winsome book, a teenage girl, a respected priest, a group of angels, and an old man bring readers to the heart of Christmas, showing them the joy and peace that comes from meeting a baby who lay in the food trough and changed eternity.

Implementing New Faith Communities in Rural Canada

Tim and Joel on Bivocational Ministry

A reality facing many rural pastors is the need for bivocational ministry, that is, taking on another job in addition to their roles in the church. We spoke with two CBWC ministers, Tim Challen and Joel Usick, about their perspectives on the opportunities and difficulties they face as pastors in small-town Manitoba. I hope their stories encourage you towards deep thinking on the nature of pastoring as a calling, job, lifestyle and more! ~Cailey Morgan

 

CBWC Church Planting: Tell us a bit about you and your ministry context? 

Tim Challen:

I’ve been a pastor now for three and a half years, serving in Virden, MB: a small town of 3000 people in South-West Manitoba.

When I started looking for pastoral jobs, I didn’t give any thought to working as a solo pastor of a small town church. I expected to find a job as a youth pastor or associate pastor in Greater Vancouver, which is where I grew up. But after more than a year of searching, with no success, I decided to expand my search to the rest of Canada.

I found that there is less competition for jobs in rural churches. So, when people ask me why I moved all the way out here, I usually respond, “this is the first place that offered me a job.” Although, to be fair, I wouldn’t have taken the job if I had not genuinely felt that God was calling me to serve in this particular church. And after all this time, I still believe that I made the right decision, and that this is where God wants me.

Joel Usick: Shoal Lake Baptist Church became my first solo pastorate in July of 2021. In a town of about 700 people, we are located on the main street a short walk from the school. Through an incredible succession of God’s providence, it was clear to the church and us that we were to begin pastoring here. After a few years of ministry and completing my undergrad in Saskatoon, we ventured home to small town Manitoba where Heidi and I grew up.

Continue reading on the Church Planting Blog…

Celebrating 40 Years with Canadian Centre for Christian Charities

The CBWC has been part of the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities (CCCC) for the past 40 years. On top of that, we have recently gone from just being a member to earning our accreditation. The CCCC sent us the below letter in recognition of our long history with them. Thanks, CCCC! 

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections October 2022

What’s Happening in October

Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference 2022 is coming up fast, but there is still time to sign up! At midnight (MST) October 8, our room block at Banff Springs is released, with accommodations then based on availability

leading up to the conference dates, so please sign up before then at cbwc.ca/bpc. Also please note that BPC 2023 has been postponed to 2024. CBWC Leadership recognizes the financial strain on churches due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as unexpected costs to church budgets of two in-person assemblies back-to-back, and have therefore postponed the event to allow for financial margin and recovery in our churches.

The next Theology For the Ordinary Book Club meeting will be held on November 2, 6pm PST, to discuss Nijay K. Gupta’s 15 New Testament Words for Life. Please RSVP to heartland@cbwc.ca to receive the zoom link, even if you have attended in the past. https://cbwc.ca/newsletters/theology-for-the-ordinary/ 

October is Clergy Appreciation Month. Check out this article for some ideas to show your pastor some love! https://cbwc.ca/making-connections-september-2019/#clergy

Each year we ask that you set aside a Sunday in November to celebrate what it means to be part of the larger CBWC family and its shared ministries. Watch for CBWC Sunday resources on our website by mid-October. https://cbwc.ca/cbwcsunday/

Join us for the next Evangelism Masterclasses on October 4 and November 1. These seminars are being offered free of charge over the next several months, in concert with CBOQ and the Salvation Army. Find out more and sign up here: https://churchplantingatcbwc.wordpress.com/2022/08/03/resource-for-you-evangelism-masterclasses/

October Print Edition

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections September 2022

Things Happening in September

  • Theology for the Ordinary Book Club discussion is happening September 7th. Email heartland@cbwc.ca to RSVP.
  • Banff Pastors Conference earlybird registration deadline is September 8th. To sign up click here!
  • FREE Evangelism Masterclasses! CBWC has partnered with Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec and Salvation Army to share stories of everyday pastors and leaders engaging on mission in our complicated culture. The first installment, “Coffee and Culture” takes place Sept 20. More info and free sign up here.
  • CBWC Board Members Meeting: Sept. 22-24
  • CBM is hosting a national online service for Remembrance and Reflection for National Truth and Reconciliation Day – September 30. Sign up here!

Summer Camp Updates

It was a busy summer for our camps! Camp ministry is such an amazing outreach for kids and youth, and we were so excited that they were able to run at full capacity once more. Check out some of the awesome photos from all the fun and read a few of the highlights below.

The Quest:

Summer at the Quest has been full of fun, energy, and memories! We had 6 weeks of camping ministry to kids and youth ranging from ages 5-14, had a week of family camp, and hosted diabetes camp—which was run by the Diabetes Association of Canada—where we led skills and helped to serve them in whatever way we could. God has worked in wonderful ways throughout the summer, especially as this was the first summer since Covid that we could functionally run as camp used to. Our staff was mostly new, but they grew and served well as the summer went on. In spite of the variety of difficulties faced during camp like sickness, continually fixing equipment, and the tiredness the cabin leaders faced from service all summer, God has worked in amazing ways and kids have come to know Jesus as their Lord. We are thankful for all the amazing help and prayer we have received over the summer, and excited to see what the future brings for the Quest.

Gull Lake Centre:

Wow! At the time of writing this, summer isn’t even over yet, and I am already overjoyed and basking in God’s goodness for the amazing blessing that this season has been. We have bounced back after Covid and bounced back with fierce determination! The staff and LTDs (leadership students) arrived with their hearts set to learn and to create an amazing experience for campers and we have been doing that every single day. For the past 2 years, we have been carefully cultivating and supporting our young leaders, making sure to maintain connection and training, and that has paid off hugely. Our summer staff team led by Evangeline Hammond, our program manager, has been phenomenal. I have watched them arrive at leader’s meeting every single morning at 7:30 am with smiles on their face and a song in their heart. The staff go hard until 10 or 11pm each day as they love on these campers with kindness, gentleness, and care, creating a space that is 100% safe, relational, and fun. Everything that they do points to Jesus. It has been an absolute honour and joy serving with these young leaders. What a blessing it is to be here.  

Keats Camp: 

What a summer it’s been at Keats! As I write this, the sounds of music pumping from our Boardwalk, kids laughing during the game, and the staff cheering them on can be heard around the camp. Seatrades (our activity blocks) are going on with high ropes, climbing wall, tubing, blobbing, sailing and more. Camp is alive in a way it hasn’t been in a few years, and it brings so much joy. Staffing has been a major challenge for us this year, and some weeks we ran with just enough to get by—but each and every person who has come, whether it be for an afternoon, a week, or a full summer, has given everything they have and for that we are grateful. God has been faithful each day, and as we enter our last week of camp, we are celebrating another season with over 1200 campers, 60 LEAD students, more than 70 staff and volunteers and a huge community of support. Thanks to each of you for your continued prayers and support. 

Mill Creek Camp:

What an amazing and refreshing summer!  It felt so good to do camp, fully and unencumbered by Covid restrictions. We had a younger staff team than typical years, which gave us a chance to build up an amazing group of teens we hope will come back and serve as camp leaders for years to come. Our campers had a blast singing, swimming, crafting, dressing up, and learning. This year we had The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as our theme, which was such a rich well to draw themes from, such as lying, repentance, forgiveness, and salvation. One of my personal favourite moments was leading worship, and hearing a room full of kids shouting out, “I’m not cool but that’s okay, my God loves me anyway!” at the top of their lungs. It might not be deep, but being cool and accepted by their peers means a lot at that age. I got chills! We had one camper come back, not once or twice, but three times as a junior leader in our Trek program. She is from a non-religious home, so it meant a lot that she was connecting in some way to something this summer at camp. We had an amazing summer, and I’m looking forward to what it means for the future at Mill Creek Camp.

 Partner Spotlight: Hopehill

Funny How Time Slips Away

Can I be truthful with you? I’ve never liked August. I still don’t.   

When I was 8 years old, August seemed like it was 8 years long. As a small boy, I would get bored with long days of nothing. I actually looked forward to going back to school. I used to complain and my mother would say, “You are bored. Go outside and run around.” And I would. But it didn’t help. August dragged on insufferably.  

Today, I still don’t like August but for diametrically different reasons. I hate the fact that it races by.  The shortening of the days, the cooling of the breezes, the finishing of the flowers, and the harvesting of the garden tell me that summer is almost over. I don’t like that. I want summer to stay. I like sitting outside ‘til past 9pm in the evening. I don’t want to turn on my headlights as I drive home at 8pm.   

Then, we hit September and my mood lifts. It always has! As a child (and even as a parent of children), I enjoyed the return to regularity that September brings. School books and syllabi brought focus to the days. Whether it was by semester or by grade year, you could look ahead to a predictable course of events. There were fall events that were so much fun and so many school friends to enjoy the events together.   

Today, I still love September. Where I live, the days are shorter, but they are usually sunny and warm. The nights are refreshingly cool. Depending on where you live, mosquitoes don’t usually show up much in September. Vacation spots are emptier than they were the month previous. Road traffic in the large cities has increased, but on the highways it has decreased. Very few motorhomes and trailers and camper vehicles are on the road. Sometimes, the leaves start turning giving a burst of colour to the horizons.  

It’s funny how your perspective changes as time slips away.  

Here is another perspective change as I have aged through life. When I was a child, I didn’t think about dying. I only thought about living. I had no desire to die. Why would I? Life is to be lived! The operative question to an 8-year-old is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Your parents were old. Your grandparents were really old. 

Now, as an adult that is entering into that 4th quarter of life, and working with many residents on the last laps of their earthly journey, my perspective is different. Recently, an aging friend finished his earthly journey. Sickness had taken its toll and his body was succumbing to a life-shortening disease. Over the last few weeks, he was sleeping longer and longer.  A few days before his death, I visited him. He was weak and sleepy. We chatted, but not long. As he began to snooze, he opened his eyes wide and whispered, “Good night. When I wake up, I’ll see you. If I wake up here, I’ll see you here. But if I wake up on the other side, I’ll be looking for you.” He never woke up in this world. He’s on the other side waiting for me and so many others to join him. Mitch Albom writes in The Five People You Meet In Heaven— “Dying is not the end of everything. We think it is. But what happens on earth is only the beginning.  
I am okay with that.   

Jamey McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, Hopehill—Living in Community. Hopehill is an affordable housing society for seniors in Vancouver, BC. It has been a partner with the CBWC since it’s inception in 1951. Today, 400 folks call it “home.” Because of the demand for housing, especially affordable housing for seniors, the Board of Hopehill has committed to building 2 new residences for independent living seniors (adding 120 new units of housing to the campus) in the next 5 years. If you have interest in living at Hopehill, contact office@hopehill.ca . 

Rev. Jamey S. McDonald

Chief Executive Officer

Spiritual Care Series Workshop

Hopehill, in collaboration with CHAT Canada, is pleased to offer a series of training workshops designed to help those working with aging adults. The goal is to help caregivers be better equipped to face the challenges of their service with special attention paid to the spirituality of aging. It is especially helpful for professional care givers, dedicated volunteers, and family members trusted with the wellbeing of an aging relative. 

Workshops will be offered live in Vancouver or via Zoom to your community.  

The dates for the sessions are October 1, 15 and 29. Cost for sessions + materials is $150 per person or $120 per person in cohorts of 5 or more.

For further details contact Mary Dickau, chaplain at Hopehill, at Mary@Hopehill.ca.

See below for details!

Spiritual Care Series Workshop

Spiritual Care Series is an eight-part course designed to equip health professionals and volunteers with the skills necessary to help older people discover pathways to meaningful ageing.

Built upon the realization that while physical and mental health are essential to a person’s well-being, it is not enough. True, holistic care means understanding and supplying their spiritual needs as well.
Spiritual Care Series provides participants with everything from a realistic understanding of the ageing process, to practical techniques for re-connecting people with their pasts, and coping with the losses that come with the ageing journey.
*All participants will be provided a participant’s guide in digital format unless a physical one is requested (additional cost applies). Further instructions for purchasing your physical workbook will be provided after you have registered for the event.

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

September 2022

How to Get the Most Out of BPC

The deadline for early bird registration is just around the bend for the 2022 Banff Pastor and Spouses Conference! Haven’t gone before and wondering how to get the most out of your time? We asked several pastors who attended in the past to share their experiences and top advice!

What have you loved most about attending Banff Pastor’s Conference?

Mostly, I love getting away with my wife to such a beautiful place! But we both love connecting with other pastors, being poured into, and the generous schedule to relax. — Pastor Randy Hamm, First Baptist Vernon

The setting is what I love most about Banff. Not just the breathtaking scenery or awe-inspiring architecture, it’s also the pace of the conference that allows for exploration or relaxation. — Pastor David Ohori, Kaleden Community Church

My favourite part about Banff is the freedom to choose what you want to participate in, along with the quality of what is available. Sometimes we just need to do our own thing for the day, while at other times we dive into as many of the meetings, workshops and activities as we can. —Pastor Jim Galbraith, First Baptist Church Prince Albert

Why do you think other Pastors and spouses should attend?

The rhythm and rigour of ministry is such that we are constantly giving and meeting demands made on our time and person, which consequently makes us susceptible to burnout, stress, and often a misplaced life and work balance. Going to the pastor’s conference offers an opportunity to reset, reconnect, and rediscover the passion and calling of ministry, and enjoy the company and encouragement of colleagues who understand the unique challenges of ministry. It’s always better to come with your spouse if you can, as the setting offers a very unique opportunity for spouses to reconnect and share in fellowship and friendship with other pastors and their spouses. Even when you have to pay out of pocket for your spouse to come, I have always found it to be worth it. — Pastor Tim Coleman, Westhill Park Baptist Church

I believe that having the opportunity to connect with other CBWC pastors and executive staff is an invaluable way to keep abreast of what is happening in the wider denomination, and to know that one is not alone in the ministry joys and challenges that one experiences. — Pastor Ryan Emmons, Argyle Road Baptist Church

What advice would you give to those attending to help them get the most out of their time there?

It can be hard to find the balance between connecting as a couple and connecting with others. So, take note of your energy levels, personal needs and do what you both need. 

Insider scoops – Don’t need the crowd? Connect with one or two others or focus on each other. Need to relax? Enjoy the pool or the spa (the massage therapists at the Spa are RMTs, so some can be covered by benefits). Need to connect with others? Let your Regional Minister know and let them help you. 

You’ve poured out so much, come and receive. — Pastor Randy Hamm, First Baptist Vernon

Try not to rush. Plan well, but be flexible. And even though you may want to keep to yourself, engage with other pastors and spouses because you will be glad you did. — Pastor David Ohori, Kaleden Community Church

Take time to explore the hotel and grounds, and take some more time to explore the surroundings. There are nature walks literally outside the front door of the hotel. — Pastor Jim Galbraith, First Baptist Church Prince Albert

One piece of advice I would give is to be honest with what you need. Do you need to rest? Do that. Do you need to worship and listen without being in charge? Then do that. Don’t feel pressured to have to attend every session or workshop at the expense of returning to your ministry context just as tired and worn as when you arrived at the conference. — Pastor Ryan Emmons, Argyle Road Baptist Church

 First of all, if you can afford it, plan on coming early or even spend an extra couple of days so that you don’t feel rushed. Then, ask yourself, what do I need in this season of ministry? Sometimes, we come exhausted and just need to be refreshed, so you may find that hikes or extra sleep, or hanging out in the hot tub may be what your soul needs. Sometimes we come in need of encouragement or renewal, and in that case, you may find that the times of worship and fellowship with other pastors may be what you need. More often than not, we will need a balanced schedule between rest, adventure, fellowship, among other things. I would encourage you to plan ahead to experience something new every time that you go, like a new hiking trail or restaurant, etc. — Pastor Tim Coleman, Westhill Park Baptist Church

Confessions of a Caregiver

Written by Jenna Hanger

John Murray, 83, started writing in his early twenties, contributing articles to various Christian magazines, but it wasn’t until he retired in 2006 at the age of 67 that he finally pursued his dream of publishing a book. Sixteen years later, he has five books to his name.

His first was published in 2006 and mainly focused on the many amazing stories from his extensive travel during his twenty years as Executive Director for a mission called Eurovangelism Canada.

He travelled many times through Russia, down the former East Bloc countries, all the way to Albania with the aim of practically supporting the churches.

Three books quickly followed, Real Faith- What’s at the Heart of the Gospel, Discover Your Hidden Self- Opening the Door to who You Really Are! and Body Parts and the Invisible You. 

It’s his newest book, however, that was the hardest to write because it is, by far, the most personal. In 2020, John published a book called It’s All About Love- Confessions of a Caregiver, which intimately details his wife Rita’s life with Parkinson’s disease and John’s role as her caregiver.

John and Rita, both originally from England, met in their teens. Rita joined a youth choir for which John was the conductor. He was 18 and she was 14 at the time. At first, she was not too impressed with what she saw. A year later, she changed her mind, and they started going out. Four years later, they were married. 

This year, John and Rita celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Throughout the years, they had been through a lot together. From moving from England to Canada, raising children (one who needed heart surgery at just 13 weeks old), breast cancer, colon cancer, and a mower accident that severed half of John’s thumb. Their current situation, however, has been the most challenging thing they have experienced yet.

Fourteen years ago, at 65 years old, Rita was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At that time, her symptoms were fairly mild. Over the course of the years, the disease has progressively worsened and eight years ago John became her full-time caregiver. 

“It’s got to the point where she cannot do anything herself. She has no balance, cannot walk, and cannot stand. I lift her about 25-30 times a day,” John shared. 

“It’s very hard to share with the world the actual struggle that goes on inside. I’m honest enough to say that there are times that I hit the wall with exhaustion,” John said, adding that God gives him daily strength to do what he does.

John had no intention of writing a book about their personal journey, but many people encouraged him to share their story, and it has proven to be a powerful testimony and a great encouragement to many. For other caregivers, it has been a source of comfort to know they aren’t alone. To others, it has been an eye-opener about what caregiving actually entails.

John wrote about the book: All I want to do here is to relate how life is and how it has been for us. I plan to share the things that have occurred and affected us on our journey with Parkinson’s disease. All illnesses are different, which create different scenarios. Caregiving is not an easy road to travel. In fact, it can be quite difficult at times and often uphill. It is a permanent learning experience. However, certain principles remain the same and interpersonal relationships are similar in these different scenarios. Those who are caregiving will see themselves reflected in our situation and will identify with some of the issues we have faced.

Throughout writing it, John was very conscious of getting Rita’s opinion on everything.

“In writing the book, I was concerned about maintaining Rita’s dignity and privacy. So, I read the manuscript to her as I went along. When it was finished, we went over the manuscript and made sure she was quite happy with it being published. She agreed, for the benefit of others, that we go ahead [and publish],” John said. 

John also made it very clear throughout his book what a privilege it is to care for his wife and be able to show her love in this way. The book explores many areas of their life—such as how their new reality is a big change for the both of them. Rita has had to accept she cannot do the things she once did, such as cooking, laundry, walking and reading. As things have progressed, she has become dependent for everything. Dressing, washing and eating are now activities that take great effort and support. John has had to learn new household skills and also how to care for someone who completely depends on him.

Today, John still does a bit of writing, usually short thoughtful, blog type posts he shares on his website and Facebook page. The possibility of another book is in the back of his mind, but as of now Rita is his sole priority.

John shared that he and Rita had discussed the big “why” question relating to Rita’s illness, especially as she was miraculously healed of breast cancer in 1986. However, they concluded that they should simply lean on the Lord and trust Him for the future. 

John stated, “It is a challenge for both of us, but Rita has never asked ‘Why me?’ The most negative comment she has ever said was ‘Why is life so difficult?’ We resigned ourselves to the fact that God is sovereign. We know He understands and is in control from the beginning to the end. And now, when we hear of the many people who have reported being helped by reading the book, we can see God’s hand in using Rita’s illness for the encouragement and blessing of many others.”

To learn more about John, or to purchase a copy of his book, check out his website: https://jmurray.ca

Thoughts on the Pope’s Penitential Pilgrimage

 
By Jodi Spargur on behalf of The Justice and Mercy Network

“Was the Pope’s visit a success?” This question has been on the lips of many with whom I have spoken over the last couple of weeks. At the end of the Pope’s visit, a CBC interviewer asked the same question of an Indigenous leader (whose name I missed as I tuned in). His response, “I don’t think we can know the answer to that for a long time yet.” The implication being, we can only measure words by corresponding actions in matters like this. 

It is important to note that people most impacted by the Pope’s visit had a wide range of responses, each one legitimate. 

Here, I would like to reflect on how the Pope’s visit might be instructive to those of us who have also committed ourselves to a journey of healing and justice in the way of Jesus. 

1. Healing and humility:

True confessions, throughout the Pope’s visit—as reference has been made to his penitential pilgrimage—I have had a scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade running through my head. I hear Harrison Ford’s voice puzzling over the phrase, “Only the penitent man shall pass.” At the last moment, Indiana Jones realizes that the penitent man is “humble and kneels before God.” This realization gets him through the first booby trap protecting the Holy Grail, which Jones pursues in the hope that it could bring healing to his dying father. I could preach a whole sermon on the parallels between the Pope’s visit and this movie scene. However, suffice it to say that Indiana Jones survives this challenge because he bends low enough to escape the blade that has destroyed those who came before him.

In my own life, healing has often only come as deep as my repentance. When I have been shallow and self-protective in my repentance, the healing I have received has been equally shallow. Many had hoped for a deeper repentance to come from the Pope’s visit; for fuller responsibility to be taken, for greater humility to be demonstrated as signs that there might be deeper healing possible. 

What path of deeper humility and deeper repentance might we embark upon? 

2. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8)

Repentance without action is meaningless. Much has been said about this already, but it is perhaps the greatest miss. There are specific things the Pope was asked to do by the contingent who went to Rome this spring; repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, make good on the payments required of the Catholic Church through the court decision on residential schools, repatriate Indigenous ceremonial objects from the Vatican. None of these were articulated by the Pope. There may still be action that could be taken, but one wonders why those commitments were not articulated. 

Before we cast stones without considering our own actions or inactions, we are reminded that there are many Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action that have still not been realized. Last year after the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation event, some asked what the CBWC had done about the Doctrine of Discovery, a document much discussed during the Pope’s visit. Is now the time for us to pursue this?

How might followers of Jesus in the CBWC produce fruit in keeping with repentance? How might our commitments to honouring the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation bear fruit in keeping with repentance and not simply be a bunch of words we assent to with our lips but not our actions?

3. How will we respond to extravagant gifts extended?

No doubt you have heard opinions and speculations on Wilton Littlechild’s gift of a headdress to the Pope. I want to suggest that this is not a matter for non-Indigenous folks to worry ourselves with. I want to look at the giving of that gift and many others from a different perspective. I want to invite us to put ourselves in the shoes of the Pope. 

At every stop, Indigenous People gave extravagant gifts and extended generous welcome to the person who represents deep hurt, betrayal and even genocidal acts. Yet he was received with welcome and was honoured with precious gifts—gifts he did not seem to recognize the significance of. Still, the gifts were given. 

Indigenous Peoples throughout this land, elders and residential school survivors especially, continue to demonstrate a grace and an invitation to relationship to settlers even as we fail to properly honour that gift. 

During the Pope’s visit, I saw Jesus and the message of the gospel enacted over and over again. It wasn’t from the officials of the church; it was from Indigenous members of Christ’s Body. May we have ears to hear and eyes to see.

Implementing New Faith Communities in Rural Canada: Hubert’s Story

This article is part of a series. Read the introduction “Same but Different: Implementing New Faith Communities in Rural Canada” here.

Hubert Barton attends Grandview Church in Vancouver, BC, and has been serving as the coordinator for the Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver School of Theology, after graduating from the program himself in 2019. We had the opportunity to connect with Hubert, hear his story and get his perspective on rural church planting in western Canada. You won’t be able to miss his pastoral heart and huge love for Jesus and for his community in this interview! 

It’s great to meet you, Hubert. Tell us a bit about where you came from. 

I’m from the North Coast of British Columbia, from a community called Ging̱olx, BC, right at the mouth of the Nass River. There are four communities that make up the Nisga’a nation. The furthest inland is Gitlaxt’aamiks, with 2000 people in that community. If you drive about 15 minutes down the highway, you get to the smallest community, called Gitwinksihlkw: roughly 150 to 200 people. Drive a little bit more towards the coast. You will travel along a lava bed, you will travel along the river and through the mountains, past hot springs and waterfalls and you get the community called Laxgalts’ap. It’s similar in size to my community: roughly 250 or 300 people.  

Drive another 30 minutes to the end of the road, and you’ll get to Ging̱olx, where the river meets the coast. We’re surrounded by mountains and wildlife; still very, very untouched by the outside world. We have a few mom-and-pop type corner stores, but up until a few years ago, we didn’t have cell service or paved roads. 

It’s so peaceful. It’s absolutely beautiful and very pristine. That’s probably my favorite thing about it. If you stop and listen you could hear two rivers flowing by. You can hear the birds, the eagles in the air.  

And what was life like for you growing up?   

I’m the youngest of four brothers and one sister. They’re all really close together in age, and there’s a seven-year gap. And then there’s me. I just remember being surrounded by family, all the time.  

When I was 13, I had two options because there was no high school in my community: I could either move to Prince Rupert or to Gitlaxt’aamiks. I chose initially to go to Prince Rupert because that’s where a lot of my brothers had gone, but I only lasted for a couple months because I just couldn’t stand being away from my community, staying at some strangers’ place. It was pretty tough. So I ended up doing high school at Gitlaxt’aamiks.  

At that school I stayed in a student residence with all the other students from the Valley. So even moving away for high school, I was surrounded by my people.  

I’ve actually been really homesick lately. That’s the thing about being an urban indigenous person. Growing up in Gingolx and in my culture, I was always surrounded by family. Living in Vancouver, that’s not the case anymore. I appreciate the opportunities of city life, but I really miss home—even something as simple as meals. These days I usually eat alone. I’m used to eating with my whole family, or my 17 closest friends at high school! Totally different.  

Share a bit of your own faith journey? 

I grew up in a Christian family. My parents are Christian. My grandparents were Christian, so I was the kid playing in the pews. I grew up in that environment, but it didn’t actually become real until 2010. That’s the year that I lost my mother. We were finally approaching that point in our relationship where we could become friends. We were getting close. But she just left, and my world kind of fell apart at that point.  

I remember very clearly: I was sleeping downstairs in my bedroom and my dad came running downstairs. He said, “Son, come upstairs. Your mom’s not doing well.”  

She was in a lot of pain and she couldn’t say a single word. We rushed her to the hospital in Terrace, which is about a two-hour drive. She was only in the emergency room for about 15 minutes, and I was rubbing her back and trying to comfort her. In true mother fashion, she was more worried about us than anything. She was telling us to get food and check into a hotel. And then, just like that, she took her last breath while I was literally rubbing her back.  

My world fell apart. In the weeks and months that followed, my family would have family dinners to encourage each other, to bring a laugh and lift each other up. It worked for a while—sitting in my living room being surrounded by 30 or 40 brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins and friends of the family. But two or three months into this, I remember being surrounded by my loved ones, but feeling really, incredibly alone.  

It was during one of these dinners that I felt something inside me kind of stir up. And it told me to get up and move. So I grabbed my sweater and I just walked out the door. I went for a walk and I had no idea where I was going. But I eventually found myself outside my home church, Gingolx Church Army

I snuck up the stairs, opened the door as quietly as I could and peeked inside. I could see everybody inside peeking back at me. About a dozen of them, having a Bible study. But their faces lit up when they saw me and they immediately welcomed me in. They asked me if I wanted to have tea and to hang out with them. I remember stepping inside that church and feeling this Presence. I remember feeling this calm, this peace and this love that I didn’t quite fully understand at that moment. So, I kept going back for a couple of weeks after that to the regular church services.  

A lot of my aunties and uncles, especially on my mom’s side, were part of the church, and I just remember learning from them about the love of God and Jesus. During one of these services, I recognized who that Presence was. That Presence that I could sense continued to go with me after that moment. And I remember just bawling my eyeballs out, just saying, “God, I can’t do this anymore. Here: You take complete control. Just take over because I can’t do this anymore.”  

I poured out all my garbage, and in return I felt Jesus’ peace, and this love. From that moment, He kind of just put the pieces of my heart back together. Losing my mother was one of the biggest challenges in my life, but that’s also when everything became real for me—when my relationship with God, Christ, Holy Spirit came, one-on-one, and I realized what this was all about.  

And that kind of started the path I’m on right now to be living in Vancouver.  

So how did you end up in Vancouver? 

One of my aunties invited me along to summer school here at the Vancouver School of Theology Indigenous Studies program. I happily said, “yes!” and I came down to audit some courses. I got to meet so many people from different cultures and backgrounds and different places across Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand. It was so encouraging to hear everyone’s stories, I kept coming back to audit courses and eventually was encouraged to work towards the Masters degree. Through a lot of hesitancy, I said yes.  

I studied at a distance for the first few years, but in 2016 something stirred up inside me again. I needed to stretch and to grow. So in 2016 I left my home and moved down here to study through the VST Indigenous Studies Program full time. I graduated 2019 and I’m very blessed in the fact that I’m now coordinating the program that I graduated from.  

Tell us more about your work? 

The Teaching House that Moves Around is a smaller part of the Indigenous Studies Program. My favorite thing about it is it’s all Indigenous-led. Typically, Ray Aldred or myself will visit a community and will have a meal or coffee with either the community or the leaders. And we’ll see what they need and we’ll do our best to help them now. Then we go through the planning, we secure appropriate faculty members—qualified facilitators, and we do our best to keep it Indigenous. 

We do our best to help strengthen their strengths versus trying to build something new. We do our best to help them with what they’re good at already so that they can do it better and help people more. The two most popular courses that we offer are “Ministry in the Midst of Trauma” and “Indigenous Christology.”  

One of the biggest things for Indigenous communities is trying to wrestle with your Christian identity and your Indigenous identity. But also there’s a lot of trauma in communities and it’s not uncommon to experience so much loss and death in a short period of time. And that tends to compound on each other. And so that’s probably the most popular one: “Ministry in the Midst of Trauma.” Especially with the recent discoveries in Kamloops and other places of the unmarked graves at Residential School sites. There has been a lot of grief in our communities and so training on trauma has become even more important. Grief is hard to process—especially to do it in a good, healthy way, to know that it is okay to feel like that. So we aim to help equip people with these types of tools and skills that they can help themselves and use to help others. 

Each course goes anywhere from three days to five days at the most. In the morning there are teachings and then in the afternoon, we try to do the fun activity or a land-based activity. This structure helps balance the intellectual side and the grounded and connected, relational side. 

Sometime later we’ll do a follow up and just go for coffee, have a meal and check in to see how everyone’s doing.  

We have done them as far as Ontario, Alberta, we’ve even done them in Hawaii. 

Is there a place for Settlers to be the ones bringing the Gospel into Indigenous communities, especially in light of Canada’s history? 
Most Indigenous peoples really love the Gospel. They love Jesus, but when it comes to the institution of the church, that’s when it gets quite challenging. 

It would depend on the community honestly. I can’t foresee it being an overall positive thing—unless you go with the Anglican approach back home, where it’s a very long vision: kind of just show that here you want to be a part of the community and you genuinely care for the people. 

Yes—tell us about the history of Christianity in the area you grew up?  

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well with the first missionaries to arrive in in our area. They came to our communities and basically were very, I guess, stereotypical when it comes to the history. They looked at us as evil or devil worshippers. They made us scrap all of our traditions. They did their best to make us get rid of all of our traditional ways of knowing and being. It went so far as, in the community of Laxgalts’ap, they made them gather all their regalia, traditional drums and totems and they put them in the center of the community and they burned them. They just made a big bonfire of everything we were as Indigenous peoples.  

And then they ditched us. They left. 

However, after that the Anglicans arrived, and they did things very differently. They didn’t try to change us completely. Yes, they shared with us the Gospel and shared with us the love of God, but they also lived with us. And what I mean by that is right beside my house growing up was a big Christ Church that was built in early 1900s. Right in front of it was a place called the Mission House, and that’s where they stayed. And so they literally came to live with us. They stayed with us. They learned our culture, they went as far as to learn our language.  

They journeyed alongside us. They became so close to us that the Bishop of our diocese was adopted into the Wolf clan. He was so welcome and loved, they gave him a Nisg̱a’a name, loosely translated in English as “Wolf Shepherd,” because he came in and just cared for the people.  

I remember church services being packed out as a kid. We had two churches in my community. One is Christ Church, which is the typical Anglican church. Services are very liturgy-filled and the space is very sacred. But then afterward they would make us breakfast and we’d all eat together. Even something as simple as boiled egg, toast and jam, and coffee. This is truly why I believe that Anglicanism is strong as it is in my area when it comes to denominations. 

We got excited about the stories, and can easily get with Jesus’ ways of knowing and being. We wanted an opportunity to celebrate. So, in the afternoons we’d gather at the second church: Church Army. That was more expressive, more Anglican-Evangelical, with guitars, drums and bass guitars.  

People would be standing, singing, clapping, raising their hands and praying. And to be honest I think we kind of drove the regular Anglican church nuts at times because we would take the Gospel and make it our own. We started preaching ourselves and we started reading and learning ourselves, and we started sharing testimonies. It was our way of living out the good news they had brought. 

But in terms of bringing the Gospel, they did it in a really good way in the sense that they actually came and journeyed alongside us. They lived, celebrated, cried with us. They genuinely care about us and basically lived the Gospel to us. In essence, they embodied God’s love when they came versus trying to completely change us. 

What advice would you give for those considering rural church planting? 

Your question reminds me of when I did chaplaincy training in the Downtown Eastside. And I remember arriving there for my first day, and I just reminded myself over and over and over and over again: “God, I know you are already here, so I’m not gonna be bringing You anywhere. You already exist everywhere and in all things. You created all things, you are already here. So just give me the eyes to see You. Just help me to stay grounded in love through the process.” 

One of the questions I would get asked about the most is “Why? Why are you a Christian? Why did you go to VST?”  

I would tell them, for me personally, it’s never been about a denomination. It’s never been about a building or worship space or about a Bishop, priest or anything like that. It’s about when my story of brokenness collided with the gospel and the story of Jesus. He got broken. And beautiful love was displayed in that moment.  

One piece of advice that I tend to give the most is don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I notice a lot of people, especially non-Indigenous people, often get afraid to take a chance because they’re afraid they’re going to do something wrong. They might offend someone, so they end up being paralyzed in that fear, and they don’t do nothing at all, right? But mistakes are kind of expected from us, you know, Creator expects some mistakes from us. There is forgiveness. Do it in a good way, from a genuine place, and especially grounded in love.  

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections August 2022

Summer Fun!

Summer is a busy time for our churches! Many host week-long VBS programs and day camps for kids in the church and community. One such program is ZAO, Leduc Community Baptist’s Day Camp.

We run 2 weeks of full days with roughly 80 campers (Grade 2 to Grade 7) and 25 volunteer staff each week. It is a great community outreach in Leduc! So many campers have never been to ZAO or church before. A typical day at camp consists of chapel, snack, Bible Ex (Bible verses and sharing of the Gospel), Skill Track (crafts, woodworking, rockets, sports, photography this year), lunch, activities (waterslide, go-karts, bubble balls, canoeing, gaga ball ), and chapel to end the day. Over half of the campers learned their Bible verse (Psalm 121) in the first week! So awesome! It’s our first camp since 2019, and we are SO GLAD its back!

If you have pictures from your summer camps please send to jhanger@cbwc.ca. We would love to share them! 

Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College

In the Making Connections April issue, we announced two special opportunities exclusively for CBWC ministers and lay leaders. We’ve received positive feedback from your CBWC colleagues excited to have Carey Theological College be a part of their journey.

For this month, we are spotlighting three Carey graduates who currently serve as ministers in CBWC churches across Western Canada. It is our privilege to provide these students with high-quality theological education and walk alongside them as they pursue their calling. Read on to hear about their Carey experience.

Carlee Turner
Degrees: Diploma in Ministry – 2021, Master of Divinity – ongoing
Location: Kelowna, BC
Current Position: Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church Kelowna

What brought you to Carey?
As a pastor at a CBWC church, I chose Carey based on the affiliation. It has been such a cool blessing to get to know so many people in the CBWC network.

What was your favourite aspect of your time at Carey?
Listen, the courses and profs were amazing but man I made some stellar friendships. Even though we’re distant, it feels like a pretty tight-knit community.

What do you intend to do next?
I’m already pursuing my M.Div. at Carey, and I love my call to FBC Kelowna. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

How has your degree helped you in your ministry?
My Diploma has enabled me to become more confident in my giftings and grow and stretch myself as a leader.

Troy Taylor
Degree: Master of Divinity – 2022
Location: Lethbridge, AB
Current Position: Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church Lethbridge

What brought you to Carey?
Carey offered online courses at a time when other schools did not, and was able to offer substantial financial aid through the denomination. Online learning allowed for greater diversity in classes, including instructors and colleagues from around the world.

What was your favourite aspect of your time at Carey?
My favourite times at Carey were the deep dives into specific books of scripture, as well as learning original languages. These were specific, felt needs that Carey was able to meet for me.

What do you intend to do next?
I already have the position I need. I will continue to do the odd course as continuing education, but want to settle in for a while to the goodness of current life with church, family and community.

How has your degree helped you in your ministry?
My undergrad degree was in business, and was getting old. This degree prepared me for ministry by filling in some of the gaps in my understanding, allowed me to orient and prepare spiritually for the next season of my life, and gave me an opportunity to be refreshed.

Mark Doerksen
Degree: Doctor of Ministry – 2020
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Current Position: Heartland Regional Minister, CBWC

What brought you to Carey?
I was a pastor in the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, and doctoral program at Carey was accommodating, affordable, and I knew some of the instructors, as well.

What was your favourite aspect of your time at Carey?
I was able to do a directed study course that involved international travel, through an organization that our denomination has partnered with for a long time. I was also able to take a course on Missional Theology with Darrell Guder, a leading missional thinker for our time.

What do you intend to do next?
My main response to this is that I want to keep growing in understanding Baptist History and polity, and to see that understanding help our churches.

How has your degree helped you in your ministry?
I had great opportunities with my course work, my knowledge of Baptist History increased significantly, and my writing project helped me in my current work.

We trust these personal stories give you a glimpse of the rich and varied experiences of our academic programs at Carey, ranging from diplomas to doctors. Your partnership with Carey allows us to provide affordable theological education to pastors and ministry leaders, which empowers them to live out their calling in a way that honours God and touches peoples’ lives in a Kingdom-meaning way.

Remember, if you aren’t ready to commit to a full degree, we have a streamlined application process that allows you to try a few courses with us and to experience getting to know our faculty and students with whom you’ll be learning alongside.
Read more about how Carey is innovating theological education to make it more practically achievable, personal, and accessible for everyone, by visiting our website carey-edu.ca/about-carey/.

 BCY Regional Newsletter

Trinity Baptist’s Basketball Camp| North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy | BCY Women Autumn Celebration

SERVE 2022 

SERVE 2022 wrapped up on July 9th with over 11 churches and 140 participants attending the in-person event in Nelson, BC!

It was an amazing time as people from all over Western Canada came together to bless a community and show the Lord’s love in tangible ways. One person, Yvonne Brazeau, did not have a group of her own, but came from Kelowna to help FBC Nelson host. It was her first experience with SERVE, and it was filled with many positive moments.

“The teens who attended were the biggest highlight. They had so much energy and just a heart for helping the community. My role was to help do all the shopping, as well as providing the evening snack. It was amazing coming into the curling rink, where everyone was staying and where all the meals were served, with a van full of food supplies and having the teens offer to help unload. This was after they had a full day of working in the community. One teen was even disappointed that the van was empty saying, ‘But I came to help!’”

Yvonne shared that another highlight was hearing stories of how groups went above and beyond what anyone expected of them. Like the one group who went to a senior lady’s home with the task of cleaning the tops of her cupboards. The lady was moved to tears when the kids not only completed that chore, but also cleaned her cupboards, her fans, her porch and all the windows.

There were many “God moments” too. Yvonne said it was incredible seeing how people were praying and seeing God answer those prayers in practical ways.

“I would love to go again,” Yvonne said. “It was a tiring week, but I had so much fun. And my faith grew as I saw how God drew the right people there to bless the community!”

Check out some highlights of SERVE 2022, click HERE!

New Name, Same Vision

Cailey Morgan and Cam Roxburgh take a stroll down Memory Lane, celebrating 30 years of Southside Community Church.  

Cailey: Southside began as a BUWC church plant in 1992 in the Edmonds area of Burnaby. Along with Cam and his family, my parents were part of the inaugural leadership team.  

Cam: It is hard to believe that it has been 30 years! Our vision from the beginning was to plant a church that planted other churches. It was never just to grow bigger and bigger—with many driving from miles away—but rather to have an impact on the immediate neighbourhoods in which we lived and to which God had sent us. Little did we know how wonderful the journey would be.  

Continue reading on the Church Planting Blog…

Linda Ferguson- Bonavista Church, Calgary AB

By Jenna Hanger | Originally posted on Facebook on Thursday, July 28,2022

Linda Ferguson has lived a full life, and she isnt done yet. Shes experienced childhood trauma, crippling postpartum depression, a divine intervention, moving across the world to a new country, several career changes, the loss of a spouse, a second love, and a life-altering disease. Throughout all of it, God has faithfully guided and protected her, and given her a fierce passion for life and for people.

Linda was born in Glasgow, Scotland. Her family werent church-goers, but her grandmother would often bring her and her siblings to church. She was baptized at around 12 years old. She didnt quite understand the significance of it at the time, but the Lord did, and she would experience His protection and love many times over the years.

Her teenage years were tumultuous––at just fourteen, Linda classified herself as an alcoholic, and she was troubled with depression. When she was seventeen, Linda overdosed on pills, and her mom arrived home abnormally early, just in time to help her—a moment Linda credits to the Lord now, as she looks back. Around that age, she got together with Ian, her future husband.

In University, Linda studied cell biology and worked in cancer research. After her daughter—Jayne—was born, she was offered a chance to work with her professor, developing experiments to go into space. Linda told him she couldnt. She felt she needed to stay home with her daughter. With big tears in his eyes, he said, You are doing the right thing.” His daughter had passed away at twelve years old the previous year, and he regretted not spending more time with her.

It felt nice to be affirmed in her decision to focus on her family instead of her career, but just three months in, Linda was hit with severe postpartum psychosis. It was quite a distressing time for her and for Ian. Nothing seemed to help. She visited a psychiatrist twice a week and was on medication. It got so severe they were considering shock-therapy and institutionalizing her.

I really wanted to die. It was so intense. I had thought that, maybe if I could regain the peace I felt when I went to church when I was young, it would help.”

In desperation, she and Ian decided to go to church. They planned to blend in and get out quickly after the service, but the Baptist church they attended had only six other adults, so sneaking in was not an option. They were enthusiastically welcomed and soon became part of the community. The pastor, whose wife also struggled with depression, asked Ian if they could meet to pray for Linda. Ian, who was not a Christian, agreed to. When the pastor began to pray, Ian saw white flames all over the room. Later, he understood it to be the Holy Spirit. It filled his heart, and he gave his life to the Lord. From that moment, Lindas depression lifted. Her psychiatrist was astonished and asked Linda to share her experience with his class of 500 students at University.

Ian got baptized after that, and over the years they welcomed two more babies––boys named William and Andrew. After Andrew was born, Linda experienced severe hemorrhaging. When she was released to go home, she couldnt move without the bleeding starting again.

I think it was the devil just trying to keep me down, because at that time we grew our church––there was only like 12-15 people and before we knew it, we had over 100 members. So, we were working really hard for the Lord and here was me, unable to move out of bed,” Linda shared.

Every night, I would wake up at 3 am with a sense of doom. And just feeling Im gonna die. It was like evil surrounded the room. You could feel it. And one of those nights I woke up, and I just said, Jesus.All of a sudden, the darkness lifted and I could see the face of Christ in front of me. I thought, Thats it, Im gonna be fine. I got up the next day and was fine.”

 Not long after this, an opportunity came up for Ian to work in the space industry and move to Montreal. They arrived there on June 14, 1985. Linda started working for the Quebec Association of Baptist Churches, mainly with youth. She went back to school and took Family Life education through Concordia. A lot of the focus was on how to help people get to a place where they feel good about themselves.

 As a Christian, I would make sure I read Christian books, as well as secular books, all about that journey. Neil Andersons book, Victory over the Darkness, really helped me understand that as Christians, we are sinners—but that is only part of the equation. We are sinners, but we are saved by grace. And if that doesnt lift your esteem, nothing else will.”

 Self-esteem was something Linda struggled with, but she wasnt alone. She discovered that many Christian women had the same roadblock in their lives. So, she developed a program called Christian Women and Self-Esteem. They expected to have six or seven people show up and were astonished when over 30 women came.

 One woman said to me I dont know why we have to have this, we are Christians. We shouldnt be bothered with self-esteem.And I said, ‘And how do you feel about yourself?and she just burst into tears,” Linda said.

Linda really valued her time working with women and youth in Montreal. At the time, Montreal had one of the highest suicide rates for teenagers in all of Canada. Linda felt that because of her past, she was able to identify with the struggles that young people were going through. When she was speaking at a Youth for Christ event, she had a moment of clarity about some abuse she suffered at the hands of a relative, and all her struggles as a teen suddenly made more sense. It was a time of growth and healing that came straight from the Lord.

 As their journey progressed, Ians role changed and they ended up moving to BC. There, Linda did some schooling with Carey Theological and was ordained in 2001. Two months later, Ian died of colon cancer.

It happened quickly. In April, he was diagnosed, and by August he had passed. It was a terrible blow for Linda as she was forced on a journey to try to understand grief and unanswered prayer.

 Looking back on it, I didnt have to worry about him, cause I knew where he was going. It was just the rest of us that were left—and trying to wrestle with that one in my head was quite difficult,” Linda said.

 When she was offered a position in Bonavista Baptist Church, she took it in 2003. The move was healthy, as BC felt too burdened with grief and reminders of a painful time.

 It was a lovely church to go to, to learn who I was, myself again. Because when you have been married for a long time––when you have known someone that long—you cant imagine yourself without them. So, I used a lot of the techniques I learned gaining my self-esteem again and renewing my understand of my place with God.”

 In 2004, the day before Christmas Eve, Linda was walking into Starbucks just as a man named Ross was walking out. They got to chatting and ended up talking for four hours that evening. It became quite clear the Lord placed them together––Ross had been through some hard times and Linda was still grieving. They had much in common and after three years of dating, they were married.

 After a time, Linda started working at Altadore Church, where she had the opportunity to work with women in rehab. She learned that a lot of things they were journeying with were mental illness or childhood abuse, and usually these things went hand in hand with addictions. Linda was so interested in that work, she pursued a Masters in Counselling Psychology—which meant taking a step back from ministry for a while. After she finished it, in 2018, her mother died and she had to make a trip back to Scotland. After she returned, it was the beginning of what Linda described as four years of hell.”

 It started as the flu, but developed into a rare infection called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Within four days, Linda was completely paralyzed, except for one little strip on her face. She couldnt walk, couldnt feel, couldnt do anything. With treatment, the syndrome should have cleared up within a few years, but it became clear early on that her condition had turned chronic. She ended up not being able to walk for 3.5 years. The journey has been a long one. At one point, they had put a central line in so she could get treatment three times a week, but the line became infected and she nearly died. During COVID, she was told that to get sick would be a death sentence.

 It was a very tough time. Linda struggled with depression as she had to learn how to be the one accepting help, instead of the one giving it. One thing that significantly helped was journaling, which is a tool she learned about while counselling.

 I have five different books full of ranting. Its a way to release fear and tension. When you arent able to do much yourself, theres a lot of fear. I told myself, ‘God knows whats going to happen, and I know where I am going, so why am I fearful?’ That came out of a lot of wrestling.”

 While she has made progress and is able to walk with some assistance, she probably wont ever drive again or be as healthy as she once was. She isnt letting it stop her, however.

 When you read books like Pain: The gift nobody wants by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, you realize how valuable pain is. A good lesson is that pain—in every aspect of our lives (emotional pain, physical pain)—if weve given it to God, He can use it and make something powerful out of it,” Linda shared.

 Lindas colleagues and friends appreciate her for her keen intellect, articulate faith, and her compassionate insight into the hurts and hearts of all who come into her orbit. The youth and young adults she has mentored are better people because of her ability to speak the truth in love. With her gentle emphasis on the love part of that equation, hard conversations result in growth and change in individuals and deepened connection between the mentor and mentees.

Linda is a beloved teacher and retreat leader whose sharing of Gods healing love through the story of her own life draws others to her to share their stories and open their hearts to receive Gods love into their own places of pain.

She now feels that she is on the right track with her health and desires more than ever to be useful again in ministry. She has a heart for women and counselling, and is yearning to use her skills and abilities to serve the Lord and further His Kingdom.

Honouring Layne Daggett

Layne Daggett, a former CBWC Chaplain, Pastor and interim BCY Regional Minister passed away on July 15, 2022. Just ten days prior, the Vancouver Airport Chaplaincy honoured Layne by naming the new post-security Chapel facility “The Layne Daggett Prayer Room.”

A plaque which reads: Rev. Layne Daggett, VAC Founder and Chaplain 1983-2013, Refugee Champion, YVR Employee friend, “Flying Without Fear” Instructor, including Layne’s favourite verse, Zephaniah 3:17, is mounted on the wall.

Rev. Dennis Kirkley (YVR Chaplain) and a few others, presented gifts to Layne’s daughters—Dixie and Sharon—who represented him at the dedication as he was unable to attend in person.

Dennis writes:

The Vancouver Airport Chaplaincy (VAC) was initiated with YVR Airport Authority by Rev. Layne Daggett in 1982, and officially opened a chaplain’s desk in the domestic terminal in 1983. Over the years, Layne built a team of board members, associate chaplains and reception volunteers that, in 1996, moved to a new Chapel facility in the International Arrivals Building. Layne became well known throughout the airport as a friend of employees and a helper to passengers, especially those arriving as refugee claimants, needing love and practical support. He was famous for carrying his ‘office’ (laptop computer) with him everywhere and for running an incredibly useful Thrift Store near the terminal for over 15 years! In addition, Layne founded his “Flying Without Fear” course that enabled hundreds of people to board planes successfully, many after years of great trepidation.

After 40 years of exemplary service, Layne became VAC Chaplain Emeritus in 2013, relinquishing his cherished ministry to me. That year, YVR Airport Authority gave Layne rousing accolades at a wonderful farewell party, and they have recently shown their deep appreciation for Layne by dedicating the new post-security Prayer Room to his name and legacy.

What can we say, but that Layne Daggett was a “Man for all Seasons”—greatly loved and appreciated by all who knew him. We honour his founding and leadership of the Vancouver Airport Chaplaincy. Certainly he has shared his life verse to the fullest, “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. (Zephaniah 3:17)

On behalf of the Chapel Team,

Dennis Kirkley

This additional Chapel facility is now open in International Departures, in a beautiful BC scenery atrium that features the Prayer Room, a Quiet Room and a Yoga Space, for both passengers and employees.

Please be in prayer for Helena and their four grown children & families as they grief the passing of Layne.

Banff Pastors & Spouses Conference

Pastors and spouses: join us in Banff this November to explore and learn together—to rest, to worship, to dine, and to dream. Featuring speakers Dr. Anna Robbins, Dr. Josh Coutts, and Dr. Joel Thiessen! 

Earlybird registration now open: cbwc.ca/bpc

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections July 2022

Things Happening in July!

-SERVE is happening July 3-9th in Nelson, BC! Please keep our young people in mind as they engage in service projects and take time to focus on the Lord.

Kurios students! Make sure you apply by July 15 to secure your bursary! Click HERE for more info.

-Registration for Banff Pastor’s Conference opened July 1st! Earlybird deadline is September 8th. Click HERE for more info.

Celebrating Milestones with our CBWC Family Members!

Calvary Baptist Church, Chemainus, BC turns 125!

Saturday, June 25th, 2022 was a day of great celebration for Calvary Baptist Church at 3318 River Road in Chemainus, BC. The warm sun was a welcome invite to our party! What a privilege to be in the community of Chemainus for one hundred and twenty-five years! During those years, 1897-2022, the congregation met in three different church buildings, with our current one built by the congregants themselves in the mid-80s.

We celebrated our anniversary making great use of our spacious 14.25-acre property. As people were welcomed in, they could peruse tables of historical details, read stories, look at photos, and even see a framed cradle roll from the 50s! Current ministries were also highlighted to ensure that folks who might be new to our church would get a sense of who we are. BBQ’d hotdogs and snacks were followed up with celebratory cupcakes, and jumbo freezies were passed out to anyone needing a cool down! Opportunities to visit and reminisce were endless. Under tents over in the field, we enjoyed live music, while the kids jumped in a bouncy castle, played organized sports or made a craft. The day ended with highlighting those folks who have been part of this church the longest. Two of the honorees were a couple that have been attending since 1967. The longest serving pastor at Calvary Baptist was Rev. A.E. Cook, 1910-1940. The second longest serving is our current pastor, Rev. Edgar Unrau, has served from 2010-present. We were blessed to have approximately 170 folks on our property to commemorate this milestone event. The Lord has been faithful to us through all the joys and adversities over the span of 125 years. We are grateful to be in this community serving our Saviour!

Gull Lake Centre’s 100th (and 2nd!) Celebration!

In 1920 Dr. C.C. McLaurin and 13 other pastors met at Dr. McLaurin’s cottage on Gull Lake and decided to create a space set aside as “a place to play and pray.’ 100 (and 2!) years later, we (finally!) got to celebrate a milestone anniversary of this ministry, the decades of God’s faithfulness, and the countless lives changed here at camp. It was a special day of celebration with over 400 old and new Gull Lakers in attendance. There was food, balloons, games, and a warm sense of joy and homecoming.

 Heartland Regional Newsletter

Theology for the Ordinary Podcast | Roslyn & Josephine, Filipino Evangelical Church

Spotlight: CBM | Responding in Times of Need

According to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), more than 6.2 million people have fled Ukraine; the vast majority of these are women, children and the elderly. There are more than 3.3 million refugees in Poland alone, along with more than 924,000 in Romania, more than 610,000 in Hungary and more than 464,000 in Moldova. Inside Ukraine, roughly 7.7 million people are internally displaced as a result of the conflict, which is equivalent to 17.5 % of the entire population.

The Ukrainian Baptist Union Coordination Centre continues to distribute aid across Ukraine. As of May 20th, they have sent out at least 320 vehicles filled with humanitarian supplies from their warehouse. Churches inside Ukraine continue delivering food, medicine and other necessities to those in need, some of whom are still sheltering in basements.

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions continue to experience heavy shelling. Local churches continue to provide aid and are helping to evacuate those wishing to leave. About 60,000 people remain in the free Luhansk region and are in need of humanitarian goods. A team of volunteers from a local church have been serving those by helping refugees leave, bringing medicine and food, and visiting basements and bomb shelters. Because of the heavy shelling, the city of Lysychansk has no electricity or water supply.

On Easter Day, church services were held across Ukraine, with many non-Christians attending. In the Chernihiv region alone, 25 people gave their life to Jesus during the Easter celebrations. 

In Irpin, a local church is housing a team of up to 70 volunteers. The team repairs damaged homes, delivers hot food to the armed forces, and welcomes people into the church to wash their clothes, charge their phones and receive food and clothing. Pastors and deacons are on hand to provide pastoral care.

As well as responding to the needs created by the conflict, congregations such as the Church of the Resurrection in the Odessa region continue to provide practical support to blind people and run rehabilitation centres for people struggling with drug addiction.

The Baptist Union in Moldova is operating four refugee shelters with space for over 700 people per day. Two of those centres are being run at camps, housing 400 people per day with the support of 75 volunteers. Refugees are also volunteering in the centres, including a refugee who is a trained chef and is helping to prepare meals.

Immediately after the conflict broke out in Ukraine, 50% of churches in the Polish Baptist Union cancelled all their meetings and opened their doors as shelters for Ukrainian refugees. The shelters in churches and seminaries are providing hot drinks and meals, personal hygiene supplies and beds to approximately 1,600 people per day. The union is also helping to transport some goods across the border into Ukraine to support those internally displaced by the conflict. 

In Romania, our partner, All4Aid, continues to respond to the refugee crisis in a multitude of ways. In April, All4Aid completed the setup of their third and largest housing unit in Bucharest: The House of Hope. Following their principle of working with refugees, and not only for refugees, they have invited the Ukrainians staying at the other All4Aid houses to come and help. They gladly assembled beds, fixed curtains and did many other jobs to help make House of Hope a beautiful and comfortable place for the new Ukrainian refugees who are now living there.

With several rooms spread over more than 250 square metres of living space, the House of Hope is able to comfortably accommodate 40 refugees, the vast majority of whom are women and children. The house offers bedrooms with proper beds and bedding, a good number of bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a dining room, as well as a common area/living room. In the area outside there is even a playground for the children.

In addition to housing refugees, the team makes trips from Romania across the border into Ukraine with food and hygiene supplies. All the food and supplies are handed over to partners on the ground where help is most needed. They are primarily two local churches which are acting as distribution centres for the community around them.

Visit cbmin.org for updates, prayer requests and the opportunity to give. 

(or use qr code attached)

Celebrating Rob Ogilvie’s Renewed Contract

In April, the CBWC Board was pleased to offer Rob Ogilvie an opportunity to sign on for another 5-year term as Executive Minister of the CBWC, which he agreed to. His new term began June 1, 2022. We are grateful for his ongoing desire to follow Christ and to live out this calling for this season. – CBWC President, Loralyn Lind

JustCatering – A Heart for Helping

Eighteen years ago, Grandview Calvary Baptist Church in Vancouver had a vision of helping the growing number of people in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood who were struggling to find work. Through this desire, JustWork Economic Initiative was incorporated as a charity in 2006, and operates three social enterprises; JustPotters, JustCatering and JustRenos.

Like many businesses, JustCatering had to get creative during the pandemic. Their usual services of catering corporate lunch functions and dinner banquet events were suddenly put on hold. To counter this, they developed a delivery or pick up meal subscription service. Customers can now sign up for a minimum of 4 weeks and have a delicious homemade meal ready to go once a week. 

Nozomi Imanishi, manager at JustCatering, sat down with us to answer a few questions and share a delicious summer recipe!  

1. How long have you been a Manager at JustCatering?

I’ve been the manager at JustCatering for the past 2 and a half years. I began in the October before the pandemic began!

2. What led you to this position?

A friend actually asked me if I’d be interested in the position. I was working at the time in Food Rescue and Food Security at a local community centre.  

3. Can you share a little bit about the value of good food?

Sure, I think we’re all learning more about the value of good, accessible food, as we live through the current pandemic and as we see food prices continue to increase in the past few months. Good food, and access to it, allows folks to have a bit more peace of mind that they can feed themselves and the community around them.  

4. In a nutshell what is does JustCatering do and what is your mission?

JustCatering’s main mission is to provide dignified work for folks who face barriers in traditional workplaces. 

5. What kind of barriers would that be?

We have folks working with us who are in addiction recovery. We also work with folks who have a variety of mental health issues and physical disabilities.  

6. How many people do you employ?

Right now, we have 8 people on our staff. 

7. The Take and Bake meal service, when did that start up? Is that a new initiative that came out of Covid?

Yes! The Take and Bake meals were absolutely born out of the need for alternative work during the pandemic. Overnight, we had both our ongoing contracts and all special event catering canceled, and we had to figure out a new way to keep going!

8. Could you share a good summer recipe with our readers? 

Sure! 

A recipe we love is:

Vegan Avocado Crema (you will need a food processor or hand blender)

2 avocados

3 or 4 cloves of garlic

1 tsp of salt

A bunch of cilantro

1 lime

1/2 cup of water

1/2 jalapeno

Take all the ingredients and blend! It makes a great topping on a variety of foods, or works as an amazing dressing. Perfect for summer!

For more info on JustCatering and JustWorks visit their websites!

Sammy Khalife – Community Baptist, Swift Current

By Jenna Hanger

Sammy Khalife has lost much over the past four years; his health, his physical heart, and his family. But what he has gained has been immeasurable—a new, bigger, loving Christian family and a faith in the Lord that has been unshakeable and life-giving in the most crucial time of his life…continue reading here.

Originally posted in Humans of CBWC facebook album on June 28, 2022. 

Jesus Gave His Church a Job…Part 3

“God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, The Message). 

In this series (read part 1 here and 2 here), we’ve been examining the crisis of non-discipleship that the Church is finding itself in.   

The emphasis on “making disciples” from Matthew 28 is not to make good church people—those who attend and serve within a church including participation in its internal programs. While there is much good that is within this part of our life as a community of followers of Jesus, it has developed us into churchgoers but not so much as disciples. Continue reading on the church planting blog

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections June 2022

Lessons from Fatherhood

by Tim Kerber, Pastor at Leduc Community Baptist Church

Before my wife Rachelle and I ever had children, I would have happily told you that I wanted six kids. This coming weekend, we will get to watch the first of our two children graduate from high school. Yes, we only had two kids, and we do have friends who refer to me as “a quitter!”  

Our first child, a son, was born in the summer of 2004. I remember the day Ty came into our world, and how overwhelming it was in all the right ways. There are few moments in my life that have been as profound. But it would be only 8 weeks later that, on a Tuesday morning at 10:30am, I was called and asked to come to the local hospital where I knew he and his mom had gone that morning for an ultrasound. I walked into radiology, instantly aware that something was wrong, and by supper time that day we were being ushered into a permanent room on Unit 4E2 at the Stollery Children’s Hospital—Pediatric Oncology. Ty was officially diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma a few days later.  

For the next year and a half, we would learn a lot about chemotherapy drugs, nephrology, pediatric intensive care, CT scans, and how families walked this kind of journey. We would miss out on lots of “regular firsts” that new parents talk about and share on their Facebook stories.  

But during that time, God was working. We were blessed by a church family at Leduc Community Baptist Church that loved us, prayed for us, and offered grace and practical help in an unending, variety of ways. We were also amazed by the broader Christian community—and sometimes complete strangers—who encouraged us, fasted for us, and interceded for us in this difficult season.  

In the fall of 2005, we were told Ty was in remission. It was a wonderful day! We were told to “go live your life.” So, we sold our home, began building an acreage, and found out we were expecting our second child. In the spring of 2006 Ty relapsed, needing more treatment, we moved into the country, and Ashlyn was born. As I recall, that was a tiring year… I’m not sure my dear wife even remembers much of it. Ty would undergo one more cycle of chemo. 

Things would however get better, and we would move into a long season of doing what regular families do; trying to raise our kids to the best of our ability. When they were small, it was about good sleep habits and potty training. This transitioned to teaching them to use their words, and to understand what was acceptable behavior and what was not. There were also lots of trying not to laugh, and “being the parent” moments too! We taught them to pray, read them Bible stories, and did our best to integrate faith and life together.  

With Ty Samuel, the years have been full of adventure and lots of hockey. I once said I wanted to raise confident kids, and that he is! Sometimes I joke that what I meant was competent. Ty and I have shared a love for hockey that I believe began in a prayer I prayed long ago. “Dear Lord, please give me the chance to see this boy play hockey.” Just a few months ago, with my emotions close to the surface I watched him play his final game of U18 AA. I can no longer keep up to him, and he stick handles around me like I’m a pylon.  As he graduates, Ty is looking for full-time work as an electrical apprentice. 

With Ashlyn Sara, the years have been every bit as wonderful in their own unique ways. Ashlyn is maybe more like her dad in personality than her brother. I relate to her competitive nature, and passion for life. She might be the funniest kid I’ve ever met, quick and perceptive. She has a giggle that even now melts my heart. There is also justice in her that seems to be leading her in the direction of law enforcement. For many years, she was on a competitive cheer team, but now spends her time crushing girls on the rugby field, or “hittin’ dingers” on her softball team. She enjoys describing herself (with a silly grin) as a multisport athlete. Ashlyn is looking forward to her second summer as an LTD at Gull Lake. She, too, is growing up fast.  

Yes, I am a proud dad. 

Two things stand out to me as I reflect on Fatherhood. 

First, the experience has led me to understand and appreciate in new ways, God as my Father. We sing songs these days that speak of this. It is rather overwhelming when I consider how deeply I want the best for my children, and realize that this is a reflection of how God feels deeply for me. At the end of The Blessing, the song repeats, “He is for you, He is for you, He is for you… Perhaps the writer understood that people like me need to sing it over and over again to actually get it. The Old Testament prophets speak to this with the kind of emotion I want to convey. Zephaniah 3:17 says:  For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears.[b] He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Second, more than most things, being a parent has changed me, sometimes by force. I have learned that these two are not mine, and that my call is to take care of them on His behalf. I have learned to be more patient, to lay down my own desires, to speak less and listen more. I have learned that quality time needs quantity time. I have learned my timing isn’t that important, and not to care so much about what other people think. I have learned I hate disciplining my kids, even when it’s what’s best. I have learned that just because I think I’m not yelling, doesn’t mean I’m not. I have learned to say I’m sorry, and to ask for forgiveness. I have learned to pray without ceasing. I have learned that the most important thing I can do is to show my kids that I continue to be changed by the work of Christ in me.   

I realize that as I wrap up I haven’t said anything about being a dad who’s a pastor. There have been times I have felt bad that my kids have to listen to me on Sundays, seeing as they have to listen to me the other six days. I also know they don’t like explaining to new friends what their dad does… Is he a priest? Does he only wear black? Does he pray all day? But mostly, I believe being P.K.’s has been a privilege that I hope one day they come to see in full. This has little to do with me, but lots to do with a church who has loved them, and continues to—just as they are, with little expectation. They are fortunate to have many wise and genuine voices that speak truth into their lives. My father-in-law likes to joke with us, “You know pastor’s kids are the worst, eh?” While not true, I do believe that even if our kids were really difficult, our church would continue to love and walk with them. 

We talk a lot about raising kids, but there are many days when it feels like they are raising me. I am not always sure who’s taught who more. And yet I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is nothing quite like parenting to tangibly reveal the grace and goodness of God. I came across a quote by Frank Pittman that sums this up well: “Fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.” 

I am grateful for this amazing experience, and for my Father in heaven who continues to gently and faithfully lead me.  

30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw Him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for His child. Now He has brought you to this place.’ Deuteronomy 1:30-31

Assembly 2022 Moments

 Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

Small Church Ministry | Gull Lake Anniversary | New Pastors

Partner Spotlight – CBWC Foundation

Who You Gonna Call?

You are a pastor, just doing your thing when a drunk driver totals your car. Ouch! You are OK, but it’s the last thing you needed. Your insurance covers the car, and after the dust settles, your car loan is paid off; but now you need a car. Insurance leaves you with a small down payment, but you need a car loan at a time when interest rates are rising and used cars are expensive and hard to find. You need a convenient, price-friendly way to buy the car if you find one. Who do you call?

This was the situation a few weeks ago for a CBWC pastor, and they called the Foundation. We were able to get a loan approved in a hurry, with a favorable interest rate and many generous payback features. The pastor found a car and the deal was put together. He is back serving in his pastoral role, and we are fulfilling our role in supporting CBWC ministry.

The CBWC Foundation exists to support ministry in the CBWC. We have a mandate to help pastors with grants for education and for appropriate loans when necessary. If you have a situation like this pastor did, give us a call. We will help if we can. It’s what we do.

Faye Reynolds – 21 Years of Service

Faye has served as an important part of the Executive Staff for many years. Her willingness to take on new roles and adapt has been an example to all. Faye will carry on with the CBWC in all the papers and Bible Studies she has written in the past, but her voice today will be incredibly missed by our team. Faye, we love you and wish God’s richest blessings upon you as you enter in this new season of life. Let the adventures begin!!   – Rob Ogilvie, CBWC Executive Minister 

After nearly 21 years serving on staff at CBWC, with many years serving various CBWC churches beforehand, Faye Reynolds is retiring from her official duties at the end of June.

Faye’s journey with CBWC started as a young child, having been born and reared in a CBWC church in Saskatoon. After becoming a teacher, Faye decided she wanted to pursue a Master’s in Christian Education. She enrolled in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982 and ended up in the three-year Master of Divinity program. It was during her time there when Faye met her future husband, Stephen.

After Faye was called to Bonavista Baptist Church in Calgary, AB, they became engaged. Faye ended up working part time for BLTS for 5 years while Stephen and she split duties at Bonavista.  From there, they served at First Baptist Church, Calgary, then First Baptist in Pincher Creek, before eventually settling in Lethbridge.

During their time at Pincher Creek, Stephen was serving as the solo pastor, and Faye was volunteering. In 2000, Faye heard the CBWC was looking for a Director of Women’s Ministries. After attending a meeting, Faye realized she could do the job and accepted the half-time position in January 2001. Over the years, the position increased and by fall of 2005, Faye was invited to be on Executive Staff, her position changing to Director of Women’s and Intergenerational Ministries, and eventually morphing into Director of Ministries.

There have been many different aspects to Faye’s job. She has served on the CBM board for the past twenty years, been the liaison between CHAT Canada and CBWC for ten years, worked with the camps connecting the directors and troubleshooting, conducting exit interviews for pastors and coordinating the Ordination Preparation Workshop. 

One aspect of Faye’s work, which has had a significant impact, is her role processing refugee applications, which she took over doing in 2018 and plans to continue to do after retirement.

Each year, the number of displaced persons continues to rise. UNHCR now estimates there are 100 million men, women and children displaced by violence, conflict and persecution world-wide. 26.4 million are considered refugees, 42% of which are children. 

CBWC is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder and has been helping churches apply to sponsor refugees since the late 1970s. Faye’s job is to help churches submit the application to the government for private sponsorships or Government Assisted sponsorships. She is also required to ensure that churches are meeting all financial and settlement needs of the refugees. Each year, the government gives a certain number of refugees the CBWC can sponsor, and Faye does her best to fill each spot.

When it comes to the church’s role, Faye said not only is there a need to sponsor, but there is also a need to be hospitable and provide support systems for when people arrive. 

“It’s part of our calling and a huge part of our witness to welcome the stranger. And in Canada, if there’s anything we got, it’s room. We are a vast country with a very small population. Plenty of room for people,” Faye said. 

Not only does Canada have plenty of room, but Canada also benefits greatly from having refugees come and contribute to society. Statistics prove that the Canadian birth rate is in decline and immigration is key to our growth as a country. Within five years, refugees prosper and join Canada’s middle-class, with an unemployment rate close to that of Canadian-born citizens.

On top of keeping this important work going, in retirement Faye hopes to continue working on some personal writing, get involved with a few more social opportunities and continue leading worship at her church, as well as preaching on occasion.

When reflecting on her time with CBWC, Faye said there are many highlights, from traveling for mission trips and conferences to places like India, Nairobi, Jamaica, Washington and Oklahoma, to working with the various ministries with which she’s had the privilege of being involved. 

In terms of the broader work of Executive Staff, Faye has enjoyed the writing aspect of her job and a particular joy has been working with pastors toward their ordination.

The biggest highlight, though, has always been the people. Faye has loved meeting people, not just people she works with, but all across Canada from all the opportunities CBWC brought her way. That part, she will greatly miss.

Jesus Gave His Church a Job…Part Two

By Shannon Youell

For about twenty-five years I have been exploring, reading, writing and talking about the non-discipleship crisis. Most everyone recognizes the crisis when we talk about it. Often, someone will offer a great new discipleship program that is sweeping through various locales around the globe, sending me the links to the person/groups that developed it. Good, thoughtful, laborious work has gone into most of them. There is much to glean, and I am so appreciative that others are tackling the crisis we find ourselves in. Continue reading on the Church Planting blog…

Changes to CBBenefits

Beginning last fall, Canadian Baptist Benefits (CBBenefits) began sending communications regarding an upcoming change to our Canadian Baptist Pension Plan (CBPP). Read more about these changes here.

Banff Pastors & Spouses Conference

Save the Date!
Banff Conference
Theme: All Things New
Speakers: Dr. Anna Robbins, Dr. Joel Thiessen, Dr. Josh Coutts
Dates: November 7-10, 2022

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections May 2022

Lessons Learnt from Raising PKs

By Pastor Sara Westnedge, First Baptist Nelson

The other day when I was getting my son’s laundry out of the wasteland that he calls a bedroom, I found a hoarded stash of empty communion cups. For my 8-year-old, this was the equivalent of empty beer bottles—he knows he isn’t supposed to take the pre-sealed communion cups that we started ordering at church for the pandemic, but he just finds them irresistible. He seems to be sneaking them on the nights that I bring the kids to my office to hang out, while my husband attends and I lead a small group. 

Because he wasn’t with me, I was able to have a chuckle and take a moment to reflect on my worries about raising children and pastoring at the same time. (When he realized his treasured stash was gone, he came downstairs and confessed. Of course, I had to pretend that I was VERY disappointed and that this behaviour will NOT be tolerated).

When I accepted my calling and role as the lead pastor of First Baptist Church Nelson, my first concern was raising pastor’s kids, or “PKs,” as they are sometimes known. Apparently, this type of upbringing can be difficult for children, and watching a few Tik-Tok videos by Abraham Piper confirmed for me that I may be ruining my kids’ lives. There was no denying that I was called to pastor, but I wrestled heavily with what this meant for my family, especially my daughter.

Our first child was born, and joined our family, after years of trying to have children. We had read all of the books, decorated his nursery, and were beyond prepared. We flew to Orlando to complete our adoption of him and began a parenting journey that has been beautiful, hard, nuanced, and a complete gift. We knew that he might be our only child, and so I wanted to wring out the experiences of every age with him; if I was only ever going to have one 18-month-old, I wanted to spend every minute of it with him. 

Our second child was a shock and surprise; we missed her first trimester because we didn’t think that we would have biological children. Our daughter is a true second-born; she was hauled around by her three-year-old brother, she had no real schedule, and our ‘No sugar or screens before two!’ rule was out the window by the time she was six months old. I also went back to work when she was two, which was a major change from being home full-time with our son until he went to kindergarten.

It turns out that pastoring is a lot like mothering. You see, when I became a mom, I knew everything about parenting; that changed approximately five minutes after actually having a child. My son taught me that best practices usually aren’t practical, that social media is fake (you show me a mom who is home with toddlers all day wearing jeans and full makeup, I’ll show you a trickster), and that the long game is hard and grueling and requires faith and support. In the same way, a new pastor shows up to a church and has the perfect plan to bring glory to God and the church (hopefully in that order). As I was worn down by sermon writing, prayer, leading people and navigating all that life throws, I was reminded that this isn’t my church, it’s God’s church. My plans, as wonderful as they may seem, might not be quite what our Lord in this year of 2022 has for FBC Nelson. When something goes right, a sermon seems to land or growth in people is evident, I enter into that joy and excitement. But when the sermon won’t come or we have to discuss boundaries and extend grace to one another once again, I remember that pastoring is playing the long game, and that it can be hard and grueling and requires faith and support. I’m grateful for the years of training I had at home with my two children before I was unleashed on my unsuspecting congregation.

As for those two children, God is good and gracious, and it just so happens that our church runs an excellent preschool program. My daughter began attending four days a week and I hear her and her friends playing outside my office window. Most of the time it warms my heart and soothes my guilt—although a few times I have heard a distinctive voice assert forcefully, “There can only be ONE Elsa, and it’s ME!”

Our small church still does cake and coffee after church, and I have been admonished many times by the ‘church grandmas’ that I am being too harsh with my son when I tell him that four pieces of cake is too many. Our center aisle between the pews is perfect for power slides in socked feet, and there is nothing better to my daughter than standing on stage, holding a mic and singing her heart out. It doesn’t matter that she’s doing it while mom is working and the mic isn’t turned on; in her mind, she is the star of the show. My kids often come with me to visit some of our folks who don’t drive. One of my favourite memories was one woman, who anecdotally seems to have been quite strict with her own children, telling the kids that “If you don’t finish your ice cream, you can’t have a cookie.”  All this to say that, at least, my own two PKs seem to be doing alright.

Partner Spotlight: Hopehill

By Rev. Jamey S. McDonald, Chief Executive Officer

Several times a month I will get a phone call or an email from someone looking for affordable housing in the Lower Mainland. I usually offer verbal support for their situation and refer them to our tenant office to get their name on the list.  We have 300 units of affordable housing for seniors here at Hopehill. It is a 3-year waiting list to get to the front of the line. A person phoned last week. Here is an edited version of the email I received from them the next day.  

 Good Morning, Jamey!

I will definitely call the office and get things started.

On a side note, ever since I was a young person, I’ve had a fear of being homeless. My Dad raised me (received custody over my mother in the 70s). We were always moving around from house to house (renting) and not stable for very long. As a young adult, I continued with unstable housing right up to 2007, where I stayed in one place for 9 years until the house that I was living in was sold in 2016, and I was thrust into a very different high rental market. I did find a place, but in 2018—after just 2 years—the house I moved into was also sold, and I was looking again. God found me a very nice duplex, which I rent with a friend. The landlady is a Christian, and she chose me out of 45 other people. Another “God” thing. Sometime in the not-so-distant future, my roommate will be moving out of the city, leaving me with the rental on my own. I will continue to stay here as long as I can and maybe get a temporary roommate (Christian) to cut costs.

 The feeling of one day being homeless has never left me. It sits on my shoulders daily and invades my dreams. I know this is the enemy exploiting a fear I’ve had since childhood. And from this I have had a silent mini-ministry, where I go around to various homeless places and do what I can for people there (Downtown Eastside, under bridges, parks, etc). Sometimes I sit with them and have lunch (my treat of course!), or leave bedding in plastic bags for when they wake from their cardboard homes. I always remind myself, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I have asked God for a forever home (except under a bridge), and then I will once again feel safe. I should have applied for co-ops, but life pulled me in other directions. I think God placed you on my heart. I’m not sure why, but I will let Him lead me. 

Thank you again for your help and suggestions.

These are the kinds of things that cause me to say “I love my job.”  

 BCY Regional Newsletter

Events | Comings & Goings

Blessed to be a Blessing

By Jenna Hanger

When the war started, Kurt and Lynn Cole sat in their house on their ranch in Brownfield, AB watching the news in near disbelief. The footage and stories were like something out of the history books. Thousands of people were leaving everything they had, to flee to safer countries—most of them women and children, similar ages to the Cole’s own daughters and grandchildren. 

Flash-forward to today, Kurt and Lynn have opened up their home as a refuge for families needing a safe place. Their first family of five arrived the day before Easter, followed by a couple who arrived a couple weeks later, with more connections being made as others reach out inquiring about a place to stay.

The process started by connecting with a group on Facebook called CANADA- Host Ukrainians. 

“It was interesting to just read the stories. We basically just pushed message and said, ‘Hey if you guys need a place, we can figure something out,’” Kurt said. 

The realistic options were quickly narrowed, as Brownfield is a very rural community that isn’t a realistic option for everyone. They connected with people who just needed a safe place to go temporarily while they figured out the next steps, and a few who wanted to live in the countryside. While they chat with many people wanting to come, they don’t know who is actually coming until visas and biometrics are completed. They had one week’s notice of the first family’s arrival.  

They also don’t know much about the backgrounds of the people coming, or how much English they know. The Canadian government does vet everyone who enters the country, but the Coles do not know their story until they are actually sitting across the table from them.

“You take a risk—we won’t know everything about everyone who comes, only that they need a place of refuge, and we are willing to be that place. Every time you deal with people, you take a risk—that needs to be understood. We are in a stage of life where we can and are willing to accept that risk,” Kurt said. 

The Facebook group also provides opportunity to connect with other Canadians who want to help. Through it, Kurt was able to work with a group in Montreal who paid for the five plane tickets. The family arrived with no luggage, save for a couple carry-on bags and the clothes on their backs.

The decision to take people in was a relatively simple one—they had the space in their home, and they wanted to share it, as well as the fact that they have a generous community surrounding them who are more than willing to help. 

“They recognize this could be their family, this could be their kids, and it motivates people to dig in and do their best to help others. Generally speaking, I think people want to be generous and help. I’m so impressed by that in our community,” Lynn said.

Many people have donated various resources such as clothing and money, and have brainstormed different housing options and business opportunities for whoever might end up coming to the rural community. The school, too, openly embraced the three children who don’t speak English, and are working to teach them. 

The goal is to support the people who come with whatever business and job ideas they have, and eventually find them a more permanent place to live—whether it be relocating to the city or finding a place to rent nearby. For now, they are open to taking in whoever is able to come.

“All we can do is offer what we have, and for now that has to be enough, and hopefully doors will open,” Lynn said. “We believe it will—we have seen it happen before. Often it seems like if you’re willing, God will honour that and there will be opportunity—that seems to be the way it works.”

Kurt and Lynn also added that they feel very blessed to have people of different backgrounds in their home—they both love traveling and experiencing different cultures. To meet new people and learn their stories is quite fun and something they appreciate, even as they understand the commitment that it is.

“We are blessed to be a blessing,” Lynn said. “I think that’s the basic principle of Christianity. If you have something, then you have something to give.”

If you are interested in learning more about helping families arriving in Canada, you can reach Kurt and Lynn by email at klccattle@gmail.com or by cell, 403-575-5388. 

Kurios: A Peek at the Last Week

Kurios wrapped our first, full year of discipling young adults on Easter Sunday. Each participant completed a “Capping Project”—reflecting on how they experienced Jesus during their time at Kurios—and we are delighted to share a peek at how wonderful God has been among us!

Alyssa reflects on who she was as she arrived at Kurios in September 2021.

One of the top 5 impactful experiences for Myra was the Banff Pastors conference.

Kia remembers a Lectio Divina we shared in Kananaskis, and how the Holy Spirit spoke to him through the story of the blind man whom Jesus healed (John 9).

Beulah Garden Homes welcomed us for 3 days, where we learned of God’s faithfulness, of the beauty of aging, and of practical tools like organizing ministry and considering careers in elder care. For Eva, it was one of her top 5 experiences!

Several participants recalled an afternoon spent in solo prayer early in our journey, high up in the Rocky Mountains of Kananaskis. It was a powerful time of hearing God speak and affirm!

Raquel is a super creative person who developed a board game reliving highlights from her Kurios experience! The two favorite squares were: “Van breaks down: return to Kamloops!” and “Steve finally answers your question: move ahead 4 spaces!

We had a very hard February, as our community contracted Covid, and we were in isolation for most of the month. Steve took this picture and wrote this poem during that challenging time.

Starry created a series of original paintings for her capping project. She titled this one “Shift” and included this description: “This resembles the transformation of my identity. How I have been reborn in Christ, and called to be a child of God.

We celebrated the completion of our year together with an intimate feast!

Our last weekend together was Easter. Beginning on Thursday evening, we followed Jesus using the text of John 12-20, walking, and dramatically reading the story all through the weekend. On Friday, we left some things nailed to the cross, and on Resurrection Sunday (around 6am) we rejoiced around the empty tomb as the sun rose, and then we walked in that freedom and power into all God has in store for the rest of our lives.

Jesus Gave His Church a Job

By Shannon Youell

…To “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything He had taught and] commanded.” This was the Risen King revealing God’s mission to the world, through the gathered disciples. In many Bible translations, we’ve aptly titled it the Great Commission, because of the clarity of vocation for the church, those gathered together under Christ. 

On this blog we’ve often written about discipleship in connection with church planting, defining church planting as the fruit of disciples who make disciples who can also make disciples. Disciple-making is the call of the Great Commission. In other words, the mission of the church isn’t evangelism, it’s discipleship. Continue reading on the church planting blog …

Hank Dixon – Prison Chaplaincy from the Inside Out

By Jenna Hanger

Hank Dixon has lived through experiences few of us can fathom. He has accumulated over 45 years of Corrections and ministry experience, often working with people whom most of society has written off. 

His book, A Lifer’s Journey: Prison Chaplaincy from the Inside Out, is a beautiful, poetic, heart-breaking narrative of his life—from when he became a Christian as an inmate to his work as a prison chaplain. This holds-no-punches book is a detailed account of a world most do not understand, and the lessons it teaches challenge some Christian ideology in the best of ways. 

The catalyst for his life trajectory was when he experienced drugs for the first time at just 12 years old. Hank describes it as a light bulb going on; he was immediately addicted. After growing up in various places in Ontario, Hank dropped out of school at 16 and worked for the CN railroad for a year and a half, before he moved to Edmonton, AB. His drug use quickly escalated and soon he found himself, at just 19 years old, incarcerated for second-degree murder after a break and enter went wrong.

He spent 9 years in prison in which he experienced profound hopelessness, a miraculous conversion experience followed by disillusionment, relapse, near insanity and a slow pulling by the Lord back to the light. His experience in prison and afterwards, as he worked with many individuals with various issues, has shaped his theology into one of compassion and understanding. 

“I encountered people who tried over and over to change, and failed and tried and failed. It opened up this whole world of understanding in terms of how we learn to engage with God in our lives,” Hanks said. 

In contrary to the “get fixed quick” theme that can often be preached to new Christians, Hank’s experienced taught him that there is actually a lifelong journey that occurs—full of difficulties and failures. This view has helped him to understand grace and be able to extend that grace to others repeatedly. 

After being released in 1985, Hank married his wonderful wife Linda, and they had two children together. Hank pursued a calling to enter ministry. He was eventually ordained by the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada and pastored a church for 6 years. 

Contrary to what the prison guard thought who had snarled “You’ll be back” as Hank left, he had no intention of ever stepping foot in a prison again. However, the Lord had other plans for him, and in the late 90s, Hank felt the Holy Spirit urging him into prison ministry. He initially wrestled with it, likening himself to Jonah as he struggled to come to terms with what the Lord was asking. In the end, Hank decided he had to trust in the Lord.

Hank wrote in his book, “What held me—what compelled me—to work in this environment turned out to be something that overpowered all the fears and concerns I had walking in. What developed was a deep well of compassion and care for inmates and staff that has never left me…

He spent the next four years at the Atlantic Institution and then eleven years at Stony Mountain Institution in Manitoba, where he became affiliated with CBWC.

During his time as a prison chaplain, he dealt with prison riots, disturbances, murders and suicides. Prison chaplaincy is a hard job—filled with personal sacrifices, and a lot of time and energy that yields very little obvious reward.

Hank wrote, “Most times, a chaplain is merely a channel through which help can be provided. You are faced with the harsh reality there is nothing you can do except pray and walk in the dust of the road with the one who is suffering, remembering that ‘invoked or not, God is present.’”

After Stony Mountain Institute, Hank spent two years mentoring prison chaplains until he eventually moved into the program manager position at Open Circle, a prison visitation program based in Manitoba. In 2020, he moved into the Executive Director position.

For many years, Hank wrote various snippets of his story whenever he needed to process something. It wasn’t until there were some significant changes happening within chaplaincy across Canada that he felt maybe he should write a book. He wanted to provide something to future chaplains that could act as a sort of guide. 

As he began writing, though, the book proved to be much more than that. It became a book not just relevant to prison chaplains, but to any Christians anywhere who want to live an authentic life following Christ and loving people. His book challenges views of the prison system, inmates, ideas about self-forgiveness, conversion and what walking alongside fellow Christians really means.

It was a deeply personal project, one that felt almost therapeutic as he recounted his story. He gave up a few times, feeling it was far too private to put out in the world. After several friends read what he had started, they urged him it needed to be published, so he continued. The entire process took about four years to complete. His friend published it through his company, Prairie Heart Press, and Hank’s daughter’s painting became the cover. 

Hank said if there was one thing he hopes people would take away from the book, it would be that they truly see how it is to engage the world as a Christian. 

To check out Hank’s book, click here.

Below is a brief excerpt:

Perhaps one of the most striking facets of walking my own hidden journey has been how I can relate to other men going through the same. One such event is etched in my memory, a heartfelt discussion with an inmate named Harvey.

It had been a tough conversation as we sat in the visiting area of the institution. He was back inside for a revocation after doing so well. He was staying clean, studying at university, reconnecting with friends and family. Then it all fell apart. The loneliness started to build. It was too much. Next came a friendly welcoming group, a beer, and then the downward slide began.

As we sat looking at each other, talking about his attempts to somehow give back, make atonement for the horrible things he had done, we talked about the burden we both carried, the reality that nothing brings back the dead. There is no way to fix it. We just need to learn to live with it. 

I looked at him and just made a statement of fact. I didn’t know it would hit so deep. “Harvey, you’re a good man. Your heart longs to make amends. You are a good man.” The tears slowly slid down his face, a face etched with years of journeying through gangs and death.

We sat in quietness. My heart ached to give a magic moment of healing. I had none. All I had to offer was to be present, encouraging him as he wrestled to find the path that would help him heal, and learn to live with the reality of the void he had left in the lives of others.

Assembly 2022

Assembly is only 25 days away! Registrations are at full capacity, and we look forward with great anticipation to worshipping and learning together as well as doing the business portions of Assembly. Event details and the Assembly docket will be distributed by email to all registered delegates on May 5, 2022. If you do not receive it, please connect with your church administrator or CBWC Regional office. Please click HERE for general information and the Assembly schedule.

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections April 2022

Easter Sunday: Seen

A Reflection for Easter Sunday by Jan Richardson. Click HERE for the original post.

15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.—John 20.15-18

I never fail to be dazzled by this moment when Jesus calls out the name of the woman whom he finds weeping by his tomb. Mary. At the sound of her name, the Magdalene finally sees and knows who has found her there. It is a stunning moment of recognition.

Yet as I spiral back around this passage this week, what draws my attention is not only the way that Mary Magdalene sees Christ when he calls her name. What tugs at me this time is how, in that moment of hearing her name, Mary Magdalene must see herself.

With an inflection that only Christ could have given to it, his speaking of her name conveys everything: all their history, all that passed between them in their friendship, all that he knows of this woman whom he healed and who, along with other women, traveled with him and sustained him from her own resources. He knows her. He sees her. And now he asks her to see herself as he does.

Mary.

In that moment, and in the call and commissioning that will soon come, the risen Christ gives Mary Magdalene to herself. Not, of course, as if he owns or controls her but because, as ever, he knows her and wants to free her from what would hinder her from the life that God desires for her. Long ago, Jesus had released the Magdalene from the septet of demons that haunted her. (“A demon for every day of the week,” writes Kathleen Norris; “how practical; how womanly.”) Now he releases her again, this time from clinging to him, from becoming entangled with him. Where holding onto him might seem holy, Christ sees—and enables Mary Magdalene to see—that her path and her life lie elsewhere. Beyond this moment, beyond this garden, beyond what she has known. In going, Mary affirms that she has seen what she needed to see: not just Christ in the glory of his resurrection, but also herself, graced with the glory that he sees in her.

In the centuries to come, Mary Magdalene will become layered over with other visions that people have of her: other titles, other depictions, other names. Sinner, prostitute, penitent, bride: the stories and legends of who the Magdalene was and what she became will both fascinate us and frustrate our ability to know her. But on this day, the Magdalene we meet in the garden is simply one who has learned to see, and who goes forth to proclaim what she has seen.

This day, what will we allow ourselves to see: of Christ, of ourselves? How would it be to know ourselves as he does, to see ourselves as he sees us, to know that the risen Christ speaks our name, too, and releases us to tell what we have seen? What will you proclaim as you leave the empty tomb this day?

Seen
A Blessing for Easter Day

You had not imagined
that something so empty
could fill you
to overflowing,

and now you carry
the knowledge
like an awful treasure
or like a child
that roots itself
beneath your heart:

how the emptiness
will bear forth
a new world
that you cannot fathom
but on whose edge
you stand.

So why do you linger?
You have seen,
and so you are
already blessed.
You have been seen,
and so you are
the blessing.

There is no other word
you need.
There is simply
to go
and tell.
There is simply
to begin.

—Jan Richardson

“Despite all the pain that Jesus suffered on the cross, there is beauty in it all.” Dana Wiegner, The Neighbourhood Church, Surrey, BC.

A beautiful reminder for us this Easter that the cross is crucial, but not final. Christ has overcome.

Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College

Holding the Ropes

“… Carey Theological College wishes to be holding the ropes for you”

Wiliam Carey, often called the father of the modern missions movement, told his good friend, Adam Fuller, before leaving for India, “I will go down into the pit, if you will hold the ropes.” For the next two decades until his death, Fuller tirelessly supported his good friend, serving, fundraising and inspiring William Carey to persevere in his ministry.

Who holds the ropes in your life? Who inspires you in your ministry? Among your supporters, prayer partners, and friends, Carey Theological College wishes to be holding the ropes for you, also.

Carey Theological College has helped hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders by providing accredited Master’s and Doctoral level theological education for over three decades. Last year, through the generous support of our donors, it was an honour to be able to offer a tuition-free start to over 90 highly-qualified students to jumpstart their studies.

We wish to provide CBWC pastors and ministry leaders with early access to two new opportunities coming this September.  

The first opportunity provides qualified students with 8 tuition-free foundational courses in Bible, Theology, and Church History. These courses may be used towards a Master of Arts, or Master of Divinity degree if you wish to continue your studies.

The second opportunity provides ministry leaders with a Master’s degree to pursue doctoral level courses towards an Advanced Diploma for half the regular tuition fee. Advanced Diplomas may then be extended towards a Doctor of Ministry degree.

In addition to this new opportunity, Carey Theological College continues to offer CBWC pastors with free online access to its 10,000-volume online library to help prepare sermons and further their professional development.

As you pursue your ministry, Carey Theological College considers it a privilege to hold the ropes for you by providing high-quality, accredited theological education. Please prayerfully consider these opportunities to engage with us in our shared ministry for the people of God.

Our website at www.carey-edu.ca will further explain our programs and our student advisors are ready to answer your questions at registrar@carey-edu.ca.

If you would like to know more about how Carey is advancing in our mission to re-imagine Christian discipleship, we invite you to take a look at our latest video below:

 Heartland Regional Newsletter

The Human Condition | Meet Rev. Zabiak Cung Biaka

Beginning Anew

By Jenna Hanger

The change to spring is one of my favourite times of year. There is something refreshing about the warm weather slowly melting the frozen landscape left behind from winter. Birds start to flock back, thoughts turn to planting, colours begin to emerge as flowers start to open and green takes over the previous naked branches and buried lawns.

On the ranch, the signs of new life are evident all around as animals start to give birth. We have over five-hundred head of cattle on our farm. At the end of March, a few newborns can be spotted; by the second week of April, we are full blown into calving season.

It’s a favourite time for all of us. We all love quadding out to the field and seeing all the calves—some wet with afterbirth, standing on shaky legs, others running around like pups, playing and kicking as they experience their first taste of life.

You can’t help but feel positive in the face of all that. It is a strong reminder that no matter what is happening in the world, life continues on. The sun rises and sets, new seasons come and go like waves hitting the beach. New life begins. It’s a beautiful and powerful thing to witness—especially after a long winter, which was preceded by a long season of uncertainty, hostility and division. We all have felt it—in our friend groups, families and churches. A friend of mine has started to refer to it as “The Great Divide.” She isn’t wrong. It feels as though disunity has infiltrated all areas of our lives. There has been a lot of anger, a lot of feeling wronged and a lot of hurt. 

Now, though, we get to take a breath. Though the pandemic is not over, there is a slow easing into familiar ways. There is a general feeling that the worst is behind us with regards to the pandemic—we can look forward and start picking up the pieces left behind by clashing ideas and warring sides—and we desperately need to. The world has been shaken once again by the implications of Russia invading Ukraine—now more than ever we need to fight for unity and love. 

As we enter this season of new life, I hope we all can take a deep breath and begin anew as well and remember the most important commands Jesus left for us; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength—and love your neighbour as yourself. 

The Gift of Growing

By Jenna Hanger

As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of the earth. This means more than just recycling and trying to curb your ecological footprint. This means wisely using the resources the Lord has given us—it means producing food to feed the hungry, tend and care for the fertile land we are blessed with, and use it to honour the Lord. In a word, it means gardening. 

Gardening is an important biblical practice on many levels. In their document Why Every Church Should Plant A Garden… And How! the Christian conservation group A Rocha lays out a clear and convincing case why gardening is important. 

They state, The Bible is strong on gardening. Whether in Genesis, Jeremiah or the Gospels, gardens play a prominent role in God’s plans. It even starts in one. A garden is a wondrous place where we can “meet” with the Lord and marvel at His miracles. It’s a place to love your neighbour, care for creation and grow veggies.

They proclaim church gardens can be so much more than a way to grow food for food banks, have a healthier diet and promote community. They say it also can be a way to celebrate the bounty of God’s good earth and a way to honour and care for people and the planet.

Broadmoor Baptist Church in BC is an example of a church who has embraced community gardens.

Jo-Ann Matiachuk started the gardens nearly 11 years ago. It has grown from just her, to four plots, to twelve—plus a large designated food bank garden. The spots are quickly filled each year. A few are from the congregation, but mostly spots are filled by neighbours in the community. Each of the gardeners are asked to help tend to the food bank garden. They are also encouraged to share their own harvest with those in need.

“The purpose really, first and foremost, is stewardship,” Jo-Ann said. “We have a property that much of it is unused. It seemed a shame because there are a lot of townhouses around here and apartment buildings where people don’t have their own area to garden. It just seemed like a way to share and be good neighbours.”

Jo-Ann said that aside from other things, it’s also healthy on many levels—spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. It also promotes neighbourliness and provides opportunities to have significant conversations with people. 

Crescent Heights Baptist Church in, AB (CHBC), is another church who has seen the value in community gardens. 

Sunnye Kay, a deacon at CHBC, has been the one to head up volunteers, encourage participation and manage much of the maintenance. In 2020, the youth group was awarded a grant from the city, which allowed them to construct some raised garden beds. The vegetable gardens are planted each spring with the help of the young children in the church. The bounty is shared with the church family, people coming to the church requesting help, and donations to the Calgary Community Fridge.

Prior to that, the church had planted some perennial garden beds on the west and south sides of the church. Staff from local businesses often stop to have their lunch on the benches or stairs to enjoy the green space. Pastor Tyler hosted weekly ‘tent meetings’ in the garden during Covid to safely see parishioners.

Sunnye said she loves working in the garden as she often has the chance to visit with neighbours in the community. She said the gardens provide opportunity to step outside the church building and show the love of Jesus to those passing by, and the harvest is impactful as well. 

“The fresh vegetables are such a gift. If you plan well, weekly harvests can be made,” Sunnye said. “In the centre of the city, it is so calming to see a space with growing things—it’s a hopeful, caring and inviting space.” 

Kitsilano Christian Community, BC also had similar motives when they built a new growing space after receiving a grant in 2021. They wanted to create a place that would invite the community to engage in their space, without having an expectation of them entering the church building. 

The garden features 4 accessible garden boxes for community gardeners, a blueberry & squash patch, a pollinator garden box and one garden box used for growing food to give away. In the centre of the garden is a picnic table that welcomes anyone to come and rest.

“We are a city church with lots of apartment buildings within our neighbourhood, which means most of our neighbours have little to no outside space,” Nadia VanderKuip, Kits church administrator said. “We have found that the garden is an entry point into conversation with our neighbours, a gift to those who walk by and a chance to share in the food grown.”

If your church is interested in starting a community garden, we encourage you to check out the resources available at A Rocha. 

For more resources regarding Creation Care. Check out the JMN webpage here. 

Meet Kiarash

CBWC’s gap year discipleship experience, Kurios, is nearing the end of its second cohort. Over the past months, we’ve been thrilled to hear about what’s been happening in life and heart of each Kurios student, and are grateful for this opportunity to share a story especially close to our hearts. Today, we’ll meet Kiarash, a Kurios student from Emmauel Iranian Church, one of our church plants in BC.

 ~Cailey Morgan, CBWC Church Planting 

Hey! My name is Kiarash, and I am 18 years old. I enjoy photography, videography and occasionally like to play the drums.  

Because of my dad’s job when I was younger, my family had the opportunity to frequently travel abroad. This allowed my family to be introduced to Christianity—in our home country, Iran, the freedom to practice any religion was and is still forbidden. As such, my parents were able to be introduced to Christians and Christianity in other countries, such as Korea, while doing their travels. When they returned to Iran, through some missionaries, they managed to find a few other Christians who would gather at each others’ houses every week in secrecy to worship and study the Bible in what is known as “Home Churches.” 

When I was 7 years old, after the arrest of our pastor in Iran, my family made the reluctant choice to flee the country in a matter of weeks, to Turkey. Through the help of the UN Refugee Agency, we were then able to get accepted into Canada in 2014. We were sponsored by Pastor Arash Azad at a time where Emmanuel Iranian Church only consisted of 10-20 people. 

Through that period, my family was able to again connect with other Christians going through similar circumstances as us. So, growing up I was always surrounded by Christians, and at some point, 7-year-old Kiarash decided that he wanted to have the same thing my parents had. I openly accepted Jesus into my heart. 

Having been there from almost the beginning of the church, has been a fantastic opportunity to see how Emmanuel Iranian Church has grown from the start and where they have gotten to now. You can see the growth through the 40+ baptisms that they do every few months. 

I was first introduced to Kurios through my pastor, who thought it would be a great opportunity for me to gain that solid foundation on what it means to be Christian. It was also at a point in my life when I simply had no idea what I wanted to do. Going into this program, I was not sure what I was anticipating, but I know now that it has exceeded every expectation I could have had, and I am extremely grateful for that. 

One of the best aspects of Kurios has to do with it being very mobile. One of my favourite memories involve the first week of the program, where we took a one-week camping trip down to Kananaskis. It was a wonderful experience being constantly surrounded by nature and seeing God’s beautiful creation firsthand; it was also very giving in terms of building relationships with people that I am now grateful to call ‘family.’ The biggest thing I have learned is that God is God and I am not, as well as the importance of putting all your trust in Him. 

For me, taking a gap year has been one of the best decisions I have ever made! I truly do not know what I would have been doing instead of coming to Kurios. In my opinion, a program like Kurios can be perfect for someone who is still searching for their passion and can be one of the best ways to figure out what God has called them to do. 

Visit kurios.ca for more details on this great opportunity. They’re accepting applications for the 2022-23 year now! 

Theology for the Ordinary – New Podcast!

Join hosts Mark Doerksen and Cindy Emmons as they host Dr. Ed Neufeld in the CBWC Theology for the Ordinary podcast series on the Book of Revelation. Ed will take a redemptive-historical view as he leads us through this fascinating book. Pastor at Kleefeld Christian Community and Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Providence Theological Seminary, Ed loves to study the Bible and help others understand it. Our hope is that you will come out of this series encouraged and strengthened as we better understand and apply the Book of Revelation in our own contexts.

To listen to the first episode, click HERE. 

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections March 2022

Recognizing & Affirming Women in the Church

By Moreen Sharp, Canadian Baptist Women President

I had the privilege of participating in the Baptist International Conference of Theological Education in the Bahamas in July, 2019. It was rich time of gathering together to think through the touchy subject of Women in Ministry. It was a powerful time of hearing five main presenters from five countries, with ten others from nine countries, responding to thoughtful papers and compelling arguments—presented on topics like Bible Translations and How They have Affected Women’s Engagement in Church and Society, The Place of Women in A Baptist Theology of Ministry, Baptist Women in Ministry-Their Unique Contribution, as well as others.

(If you would like to read these informative papers, please see www.bwawd.org/women-in-ministry). A result of that was a Resolution on Recognizing and Affirming the Calling of Women in the Church, which calls global Baptists to:

REPENT from the teachings and practices through which we have prevented women from flourishing as human beings created in the image of God and full members of the body of Christ;

OPEN OURSELVES to the Holy Spirit to bring conviction, inspire discussion, and provoke transformation in individual lives and communities, affirming the God-given call of women for service in the church, so that their stories may take a rightful place in the wider story of Christ’s body in the world;

LEARN and then use language that is affirming to both women and men in worship, communications, and publications, including Bible translations; and

WORK intentionally to create equal space for women in all leadership roles in the church, Baptist conventions and unions, and in the Baptist World Alliance.

Baptist World Alliance is a fellowship of 248 conventions and unions in 128 countries. One-hundred people from over 35 countries were at the gathering to vote on this resolution. It was also sent to all General Council members for feedback, if they weren’t present. What was most impactful to me, was to see every one—except two—of the voting members affirm this resolution. It was a deep blessing to me. As an individual who grew up with a theology of women “not being able to be” in ministry, and knowing God had a call on my life, I took much time and study and energy to research this topic. I cannot help but believe that God’s work in the world has been hindered over the centuries through the limitations that have been placed on half of His Body, who are also called to minister to the world—in a very real sense, blessing the curse, instead of living out the redemptive freedom that was accomplished through Christ’s example, death and resurrection.

On International Women’s Day, I am so thankful to be part of a denomination, along with many global Baptists, that recognizes and affirms women’s calls and gifting so that God’s work is strengthened and impacted through the willing work of the “the other half” of His Body.

CBWC is proud to support women in various ministry roles as we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th. Currently, we have 80 females serving in leadership positions in CBWC –– as pastors, chaplains, Camp Directors and CBWC Board members.  

Partner Spotlight: CBM | One Body

As the days get a little bit longer and we enjoy a little more sunshine and warmth, we look forward to the snow melting, trees budding and grass beginning to regrow. With the coming of Spring, we also think of Easter and Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Easter is an exciting and important time in the Christian calendar, but it is also a busy time.

Churches often hold multiple services during Easter weekend to proclaim the good news that He Is Risen! Worship team members arrive early to practice their music, and greeters welcome new and regular faces. With all the energy that goes into planning these services, staff and volunteers and pastors may feel tired and over-extended.

Here at CBM, we wish to provide a reprieve from this planning and effort while also inviting Canadian churches to stand in solidarity with the church in the global South. Solidarity is more than vague pity or compassion. It is a determined commitment to demonstrate the love of God and act for the good of others.

CBM is happy to share that we will be providing another pre-recorded service and inviting churches across Canada to participate on the Sunday following Easter, April 24th. This Solidarity Sunday service is a call for us to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and continues to disproportionally affect people living in poverty in the global South. You will hear updates and prayer requests from our global partners, and we will pray for those in need around the world.

There are multiple ways for your church to participate. You may choose to utilize the entire recorded service including worship, updates from the field, teaching, and prayer. Alternatively, you may use only the recorded sermon or field updates and take time to pray as a congregation. Whichever works best in your context, as Christ’s body, the Church, please join us in prayer and in solidarity with the world’s vulnerable.

All resources will be available to download on cbmin.org on Friday, April 8th.

For any questions regarding the service, please contact Canadian Partnerships Director Adrian Gardner at agardner@cbmin.org.

 Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

Note from Dennis | New Staff | Retreat Recap

Coming to Peace with Our Pain

6-part Lenten Webinar Series

Aging into your senior years is a privilege, but with this privilege comes an entire set of new challenges that can be daunting. There comes a time when it seems all conversations with friends start to revolve around health and lingering emotional hurts.

Rev. Steve Pike, a pastor for over forty-plus years and CHAT Canada affiliate, has observed that there are two types of people when it comes to dealing with pain. The first are those who become bitter and moan endlessly about their woes; they end up leaving behind a legacy of anger and complaints. 

The second is a person who emanates gratefulness, who has a sense of humour even though their physical health is failing, who keep smiling even though they have endured significant emotional trauma.

When Steve was hit with a new reality of chronic pain from a severe back issue, he started exploring deeper what the Bible says about pain, and studying people who have endured different types of pain. Steve wanted to be like the second type of person. He wanted to learn how to come to peace with his chronic pain and not let it control his life and his attitude.

These reflections have turned into a webinar which Steve, along with Faye Reynolds, is running through CHAT Canada during this season of Lent. Coming to Peace with Our Pain (6-part Lenten Webinar Series), will start on Mar 7th and run weekly until the end of Lent. The description of the webinar is as follows:

Everyone experiences pain to a greater or lesser degree, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. When we are first confronted with some new and acute pain, we naturally fight it any way we can. But is there any redeeming quality in pain? When it becomes chronic, how are we to come to peace with it—or should we? God’s Word has much to say about the subject. It also gives voice for us to express our struggles. The answers to our questions and deep longings may be entirely different from what we expect, or from what society or other believers urge upon us. We can learn from many others who have struggled with the same questions, doubts, and fears. Sharing our stories and learning to walk with others in their pain can bring a measure of acceptance and meaning to our lives so that we eventually come to peace with our own pain. Our hope is that this interactive webinar will become an important part of your journey. It is also a Lenten journey.

Jesus’ passion, His acute suffering—beginning with mental and spiritual and culminating in extreme physical suffering—is a path on which He invites us to join Him when He says, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NLT)

Lent is a season of reflection, repentance, and self-denial, leading to the glorious realization of the Resurrection. “For the joy set before him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrew 12:2, NIV)

The One-Hour sessions include:

I. Introduction: Expectations, Theme & Motto (Mar. 7)

II. Faith in the Dark: Job & Jeremiah (Mar. 14)

III. Hope for the Future: Crowning Glory, Eternal Inheritance (Mar. 21)

IV. Gratitude leading to Service: Paul, Peter, James (Mar. 28)

V. Training for Service: Jacob & Joseph (Apr. 4.)

VI. Brokenness: For the Sake Of Others – Following Christ In Suffering and Joy (Apr. 11)

To register, click HERE

Stay in the Story – Church Planting Update

By Rev Shannon Youell

“Stay in the Story”—I heard this phrase a while ago from a guest on a podcast. He was referring to our need, as Christ’s ambassadors who join God in His work, to continually put ourselves back into the larger Story. We must not lose sight of the Big Story of God in the midst of life’s challenges and joys inherent in being humans together.  

It is no coincidence that a story reminding us of the goodness of God in the land of the living can shift our focus from discouragement and weariness back to our raison d’être.

When we tell one another stories, placing each other back into the Big Story of God and humans, we see evidence of God at work all along. Join us as we “Stay in the Story” in this update of God’s work in a few of our newer communities.   

Makarios Evangelical Church – New Westminster, BC

This gathering continues to grow deeper and wider. In the final months of 2021, Makarios welcomed new arrivals from Hong Kong who are relocating to Canada. This is a growing part of their ministry, partnering with ministries in Hong Kong to help newcomers settle into churches and communities here.  

Along with new families comes an increase in children and youth. And along with the recent hire of a part-time English Ministry pastor for the college students ministered to at Douglas College, Makarios will be looking to hire a part-time children’s worker this coming summer. It is with great thanks to CBWC and our churches who support new works that they continue to grow and extend the Good News Story all around them, with a special shout-out to the hospitality shown by Olivet Baptist Church! 

Emmanuel Iranian Church – North Vancouver & Coquitlam BC 

EIC continues to grow despite COVID restrictions. Their main campus is undergoing renovations, and there is a great need for more leaders and for an English-speaking youth worker. Limited finances and health issues are challenges for both pastors. They have rotating services to accommodate both space and health restrictions, but this framework increases the workload for the leaders. In January, 67 new believers were baptized. This brings baptisms up to well over 400 since the fall of 2018!  

They have also recently begun planting a new community in Burnaby out of CBWC’s Royal Oak Ministry Centre. God’s Good Story is compelling for those coming from a Muslim background, whose religion can feel like an oppressive authority. I have had several new believers express to me the great joy they have found in Jesus, and the liberty and grace of being able to explore and express their journey as disciples without fear. 

Please continue to pray for provision for this community, church, pastors and leaders as they continue to boldly and plainly proclaim that Jesus is God. 

Hope Christian Church of Calgary 

In the past you’ve been invited to join us in praying for, and supporting, Hope Christian Church of Calgary, a small Arabic-speaking congregation. Our current situation is that planter and Pastor Mouner Alajji stepped aside last July, sensing a call to the Arabic-speaking mission field in Europe. One of the leaders in the church told me that Mouner was the best pastor he has ever had, and how missed he will be! Sadly, Mouner has also been undergoing serious health complications and is unable to continue currently in the mission work as he undergoes treatment in Calgary. Please remember to pray for Mouner and his family during this time. 

The church has been wrestling with the departure of their pastor, and have really struggled with the COVID restrictions and how they would continue forward. The board of the church prayerfully discerned that they would shift their focus to a home church led by one of the gospel teachers in the congregation, and to officially close the Hope Christian Church of Calgary location.  

While some might see this as a failed church plant, it is most definitely as successful gospel plant. The congregation continues to speak God’s Good News into their lives and into the lives of those they interact with in their places and spaces. What is a church plant after all? It is a gathering of believers who are communicators of God’s justice, love, grace, mercy, salvation, and hope, alive and active in the broken places in our lives and in our world.  

As Gospel Planters in general are seeing movement of the Spirit in micro-churches as an avenue to engage people with God’s Good News, we continue to pray for this home church (one expression of micro-church) in joining God on His mission right where they find themselves. 

Other Gospel Planting Work 

I love how, out of our deepest doubt and questions, God shows up! Well into the pandemic, a lot of conversations were going around the catalyst conversation table: How do new plants happen now? How will new church communities, committed to evangelism, survive? But, surprise! God is still at work and His Spirit is still inviting His people to join Him.  

Not only have several new works actually thrive in various ways, but new gatherings have happened! CBWC Church Planting is working with a new planting in Kelowna, a new Burnaby plant currently in the discernment process, as well as a handful of already-existing church communities looking to become family with CBWC. We will keep you updated as these new works progress!  

You are invited to join too! Please continue in prayer for our existing and future plantings, lifting up the leaders and the congregations that courageously press forward with the Good News of God’s kingdom in our troubling times. They are committed to telling the Story by intersecting the stories of seekers with God’s Good News.   

For that matter, remember to pray for all our churches—each and every one devoted to being salt and light in our communities across Western Canada! 

Want to know how you can be a part of the Story with these and other new communities? Contact us to discover how you can join in: syouell@cbwc.ca. 

Yay for Summer Camp!

After two years of uncertainty, it’s looking very positive for camp season to be able to function close to normal this summer. Many camps are open and taking registrations––and filling up fast! Camp has always been an impactful ministry for kids. Not only do campers form life-long friendships with peers, but they are exposed to the Gospel in a way that many of them have never experienced before. We highly encourage churches to support and promote their local camps. If you have no camp age children to send, then consider volunteering, donating or reaching out to see what practical needs they have. It’s been a challenging two years for our camps, and we are very excited to see them running full summer programs once again!

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

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.