Join us for 77 days of Prayer

Leaves are changing colour. Sap retreats to the roots to hibernate safely underground. Sunset comes sooner and sunrise is slower. And we turn again to prayer, to attentive listening.
CBWC has a new Executive Minister, and as we all look ahead to the next years of work and ministry, first we’ll settle into prayer, “a silence in which another voice may speak.”
Starting October 1, Rob has initiated 77 days of prayer and discernment, and you’re invited to participate.
“Will you join together with us as we earnestly listen and discern for God’s leading,” Rob writes, “and from that, by faith, seek His blessing?”
The idea is to find a group of three to pray with once a week, either in person or over video conferencing. There’s a guide here with a Scripture and prompting question for each week. One person out of the three is asked to record what comes up during prayer, and share them with Rob’s office (email: prayer@cbwc.ca or call 604-225-5916).
“I can’t help but wonder,” Rob writes, “what it would sound like to God to have people from 170 churches and ministries all asking at the same time for the direction He would have us take for the next five years.”
First Baptist in Nelson, BC is one of many churches who have committed to participate. They’ve integrated the prayer guide into their ongoing ministries.
“We’re coming into a new season with new initiatives in our church locally, so I want to spend the time in prayer this quarter as well,” says pastor John Thwaites. Instead of starting a separate new initiative around the prayer triads, FBC Nelson is integrating the prayer guide into their regular ministries & prayer times.
“We’re going to have a bunch of evening prayer times, so we’ll use this as a guide for how to pray for our denomination and also what’s going on locally here,” John says. “I love that this is the beginning of Rob [Ogilvie’s] term, that he’s bathing it in prayer.”
The church has printed out the bookmarks and prayer guides for bible study leaders and ministry staff to hand out, and have instructed them to incorporate the prayer guide into what they’re already doing. “So for their closing prayer, this week they’ll read Colossians 3:12-17 together and ask, ‘what is God’s desire for us as a people of compassion?’” John says. “I love the bookmark idea, because it’ll be in someone’s Bible or on their fridge, so they get reminded while they’re doing what they were already doing.”
“Too often I create plans, and then I stop and ask God to bless them,” Rob writes. “I know, it’s backwards. If we really believe that God has gone before us, then we need to begin by asking him for those ideas, and then to be attentive to the way he directs us.”

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 9 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

Restoring Life Through Creativity

Westview ARTS Academy was founded in 2016 with the help of a CBWC Opportunity Grant. One year later, founder and Director Elaine Hileman wrote this article to share the story of how the ARTS Academy ministry has been going.


Susan arrived in Calgary a few years ago with her two children after fleeing a harrowing case of domestic violence. Alone, broken, and tired, she wondered how to even begin to rebuild their shattered lives. With no biological family to turn to, she turned to her newly found spiritual family, the Christian church, for hope and comfort.

Initially, the church was supportive, but before long they judged the challenges of single-parenting and the trauma her children were experiencing from domestic violence. Some church members, misguided but well-intentioned, suggested that Susan give up her oldest child for adoption. They knew of a couple in the church who were eager for another child, and whom the church members felt would be more capable parents than Susan.

This unexpected betrayal from the very people she looked to for guidance, support and encouragement left Susan reeling. Disillusioned, angry and confused, she quietly shut herself and her children away for nearly six months. She was lonely, discouraged and distrustful of the church.

After some gentle nudging from a friend, she decided to give God’s family another try. When she hesitantly walked through the doors of Westview Baptist Church, she had no idea how God was planning to creatively put her life back together.

Part of a mosaic-mural being pieced together by families of victims of drug related killings in the Philippines. Photo by Vincent Go

 

Around the same time, God was working in my life by nudging me to start an arts academy at Westview Baptist Church. Inspired by years of working in ministry, education and the arts, I proposed starting a professional, affordable and Christ-centred arts academy at Westview. Church leadership immediately supported my vision and encouraged me to apply for an opportunity grant from CBWC. I did, and after receiving a generous start-up grant, founded the Westview ARTS Academy.

Last fall, our professional instructors began teaching art, dance, drama, and music classes to over one hundred students, from 3-year olds to adults. The Academy runs classes in painting, sculpture, ballet, choreography, banjo, guitar, voice, theatre and more.

People are generally excited by the ARTS Academy, but I think some are confused at why it’s a ministry of our church. I however, often wonder why arts academies aren’t a natural part of every church. Being created in the image of God is a mysterious thing, and one thing it means is that we can’t help but be creative. It is part of our nature. And creativity isn’t just exercised in traditional arts, but in all aspects of life. Our goal with the ARTS Academy is to give people permission to explore and grow their God-given nature. As Eric Liddell famously said in Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.” I echo it by saying, “When I paint, I feel God’s pleasure.”

 

Susan heard our vision for the ARTS Academy at a Sunday service and introduced herself to me, offering to volunteer.

“I was drawn to the ARTS Academy because I think that there’s truth in the statement, ‘Once an artist, always an artist.’ However, it was a part of my past that remained buried underneath some unpleasant memories,” she said.

“I was resistant initially, despite feeling drawn. But once I met Elaine and she shared her vision for the academy, I felt compelled to be a part of it. I knew that this was a step on the path of healing and restoration the Lord was walking me through.”

When I first met Susan I didn’t know she was a single mom, let alone one who had been through so much trauma. I also didn’t know how much talent accompanied her offer to volunteer. Later, I learned that the very hand she painted so beautifully with had once been broken by her ex-husband in a fit of jealousy and in an attempt to keep her from ever creating again. I felt such awe at God’s work in restoring that part of Susan’s life as well as everything else He was doing to bring her physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

“In my life, before Christ began to set me free, the heaviness I was carrying didn’t allow room for creativity. When you are in survival mode, some things just go. They are not essential,” Susan said. “In my marriage, I felt that life was draining from me. Creativity, random emotions, fun, humour, the ability to laugh… all these things fell to the wayside. It wasn’t a fast thing, or all at once, but as the years passed away, so did ‘life’. So did hope. At times, there seemed to barely be enough room for breathing, let alone creating! It sounds dramatic, but this is the truth. I did not begin to re-surface from the depths of this until I made a confession of faith in Christ. Overnight, even though nothing in my outward life had changed, the breath of life came to me and hope was born in me. I struggled against this foreign feeling of hope, but ultimately, it remains, and, as we remain in Him, our life is slowly restored. Creativity is Him. He is the Creator. His creative expression brought this earth to life and all that is in it. It went from darkness and chaos to beauty and life—and life in abundance! ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water… and so it goes. God speaks and it happens. God forms, and it becomes. God breathes, and human life becomes. We are made in His image, in His likeness, and so we too, can create, form, mold, shape, become… and we can use these gifts to bring light, beauty and truth to the world around us, and bring glory to Him, pointing to Him, the One who created all things.”

Trinity Dancers from Light of the World, an original Christmas production by Westview ARTS Academy students and instructors.

 

Beyond restoring our individual creativity, I believe God also wants to restore the church’s united creativity for His glory and to be a light to a lost world. Currently, the church only embraces a fraction of the arts, and funds even less.

The goal of Westview ARTS Academy is not to create “Christian art,” but to create artists who communicate God’s truth, beauty and love. Christian art is often segregated art. It is art for Christians; art meant to entertain believers, or art that is considered safe. Art created by Spirit-filled believers will challenge unbiblical worldviews and make people reflect on life, rather than giving them clichés.

This is a long-term investment in Christian discipleship and artistic training and it requires engaging professional artists who will impart their Christian worldview and technical skills to our students, but it is an investment we are excited to be making.


Elaine Hileman is the Director of Westview ARTS Academy. To find out more about Westview ARTS, visit their website: www.westviewartsacademy.ca

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 8 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

Opportunity Grants Awarded

The CBWC has awarded $55,000 in Opportunity Grants in 2017. Opportunity Grants fund innovative ministries that churches and partner ministries would otherwise be unable to afford. The following grants were awarded:

Centre for Healthy Aging Transitions, Vancouver, BC — $10,000 for Re-Engaging Retired Pastors, phase 2. Many pastors have experienced loss of connection from the churches and organizations that they served faithfully for many years, some with poor salaries and minimal retirement packages. These retired pastors have a wealth of experience in spiritual care and counseling, and have stories that can enrich the lives of others. There is little clergy care offered to retired pastors, but they could be mobilized to help one another: older adults helping their peers live well. CHAT is developing an online network to facilitate this connection, provide training, and gather at symposiums.

Hillside Church, North Vancouver, BC — $13,200 for North Shore School of Mission. Hillside Church is establishing a ministry internship program for their 20-somethings. The program includes church-based service, college-credit theological education, and short term missions. With Columbia Bible College as a partner, students will be able to earn undergraduate credits during the 12-month intensive. The CBWC grant will be used to renovate a classroom space. Operating budget funding has been provided by Hillside Church, other supporting organizations, subsidized tuition from Columbia Bible College, and tuition paid by participants. Stay in touch with the school or find out more details here: https://www.schoolofmission.org/

Gull Lake Baptist Camp, Lacombe, AB — $25,800 for a new multipurpose recreational space. A new flat surface space with surrounding boards, bleachers and a storage shack will expand the activities possible at the Gull Lake Centre. The camp has many fun activities, but almost all of them require trained staff (climbing, boating, canoeing, archery, etc.) A playing surface can be used as a skating rink in the winter, and infinite possibilities in the summer. Construction is starting this fall to be ready for winter rentals.

Broadway First Baptist, Winnipeg, MB — $6,000 for Tapestry: Healing Retreat for African Immigrants. Broadway First Baptist is providing a free weekend retreat each fall for women who are recent immigrants to Winnipeg, especially those connected to the Shalom Church in Winnipeg, while building relationships with the women of Broadway-First. Because there are tribal struggles that come from African into Canada, time spent getting to know each other and learning to tell one’s story is so vital. The first retreat was held in 2016. This opportunity grant will fund 2017 and 2018 retreats.

Since Opportunity Grants began in the early 1990’s, more than $4 million has been provided to support the ministries of CBWC churches and their partner ministries.

In this round of funding, Opportunity Grants received four requests for a total of $121,200. All requests were granted, but one was for a lesser amount than requested. Opportunity Grants are awarded annually; the next deadline for applications is April 30, 2018. To get an application form, visit the grants and loans section on the church life resources page: https://cbwc.ca/resources/church-health/

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 8 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

Banff Pastors Conference is coming up!

Our annual pastors’ and spouses retreat is coming up again. Held in beautiful Banff, the conference is a time for pastors and their spouses to rest and charge up. The theme is life on the vine. Our time together will be restorative and focused on reconnecting with Christ, our source of resurrection and joy. Guest speakers and worship leaders will bring encouragement and inspiration, and the splendid Rocky Mountains will ensconce us in the presence of God.

The conference begins with dinner on Monday night and finishes on Thursday, November 9th. Stay a couple of extra days, and you’ll still have plenty of time to be home for Sunday! Early bird registration is open until September 10. Last chance to register is October 22. Visit our website to register and find more details: https://cbwc.ca/events/. Download the registration brochure here: https://cbwc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Brochure_Banff2017_web.pdf

David Fitch will be leading us in a reflection on faithful presence. David is a strategist for missional church and the planting of missional churches in Western culture. David Fitch teaches evangelical theology and directs the Theology and Mission Masters & Doctoral programs at Northern Seminary in Chicago. He is an ordained pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and currently co-pastors with three other pastors in Westmont, Illinois. He writes regularly on culture, politics, political theory, ethics, ecclesiology and mission.


Rob Parker will lead us in practices of life on the vine through Bible studies and prayer times. Rob is the founding director of the National House of Prayer based in Ottawa. NHOP was established in 2005 with the mandate originating from 1Timothy 2: 1-3. Rob’s desire is to mobilize informed, focused and sustained prayer for Canada and its leaders. Rob is gifted in preaching and teaching, and has a pastor’s heart for God’s people.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour.

– 1 Timothy 2:1-3

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 8 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

Update from a Century II Donor recipient

 

Century II is a fundraising program for church capital projects. It was started in 1980 by a men’s group, and has been raising money for much needed upgrades ever since. Four times a year, a particular CBWC church is chosen and a fundraising campaign is distributed to donors who have pledged regular support to Century II initiatives. This summer a camp was selected for the first time. Gull Lake Centre in Lacombe, Alberta is in need of upgrades, and received some of what they need through generous donations of Century II supporters.

Earlier this year, First Baptist Church in Ponoka, Alberta made an appeal to expand their sanctuary. The existing sanctuary seats about 260 people, but it’s too small to house their church family. While they offer audio and video links in the gym, it is not a long-term solution. “We miss being with each other. Our desire is to have all worshiping together.”

 

CBWC donors responded, and the crew has been busily working all summer. We received a progress report from someone on the construction team recently, with photos and thank you’s. Have a look at where they’re at! (Note the prayers included in the construction materials.)

The new multi-purpose sanctuary will seat up to 450 people, allowing the congregation to worship together. It will also provide additional ministry space throughout the week. The first service in the new sanctuary will be held September 10th. Visit and celebrate with them if you’re nearby!

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 8 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

A record year of refugee sponsorships is just the beginning

One hundred and ninety-three individuals, almost half of them children, arrived in Canada last year to the welcome arms of CBWC church communities. Fifty-one more were sponsored and are waiting for final approval to come. Most years we sponsor between 6 and 12 refugees, so last year was remarkable. The high number was possible because the government increased the quota, and because our churches generously committed to sponsor a record number of people.

Emile, Rita and baby Elias left Syria when their mostly Christian town was invaded by ISIS.

One young couple—with a baby born just 10 weeks before coming to Canada—was sponsored by Trinity Baptist Church in Sherwood Park. The refugee sponsorship committee met Emile, Rita and their newborn baby Elias at the Edmonton airport in April last year, and haven’t left their side since.

One church member shared her home for the first few weeks while others helped the couple shop for their own apartment. The committee helped Emile & Rita navigate English classes, apply for Social Insurance Numbers, open a bank account, and find the good grocery stores nearby.

Other young mothers came over to play with Elias, and one family took them all fishing. Eventually they found a good daycare so Rita could start applying for work. Emile had been an appliance repairman in Syria and is now an apprentice electrician.

Sponsored refugees get one year of financial assistance and support from their sponsor, whether it’s a private sponsor or government agency. Month 13 looms over them in that first year as they study English, find housing, and figure out what work skills are transferable.

Emile was an appliance repairman in Syria and found work as an apprentice electrician in Edmonton. His job started right after he finished the required English school, but his first paycheque wouldn’t come until three weeks into month 13. Trinity Baptist wasn’t about to abandon Emile & Rita.

“Some church members, above the church commitment, donated grocery gift cards and other things to get them through the month until Emile’s first paycheque,” Barb Borkent says. Barb’s been supporting the new family as part of the sponsorship committee.

“And of course, as an apprentice electrician, Emile needed to buy an inventory of tools, so someone paid for a work jacket, boots and the tools he needed to start.”

The transition period after the first year is important says Majd AlAjji, CBWC’s refugee sponsorship coordinator. “Number one is, we stay friends. They are part of the family. This wasn’t a business transaction. Just because the legal requirement is up, our friendship doesn’t stop. I encourage the churches to go over to visit, invite them over, stay friends.”

Strathcona Baptist Church in Edmonton sponsored a Syrian family of five who arrived in February 2016. It’s now well past the one-year mark, and the three couples who were primarily involved are still there, helping set up dentist appointments, picking the youngest daughter up from camp, helping the father and oldest sons jobs. “The honeymoon is over,” says Luella Currie, who initiated the sponsorship. “This is the time when they really need to be more independent, and they’re getting there. But it’s hard, learning a new language, and getting used to a new culture and everything.”

Last week the family invited Luella and the others who have been regularly helping out to a BBQ in the park. “They’re so fun to spend time with, we really enjoy being with them.”

This ministry is an opportunity to show love without asking for anything in return. “You can’t force Jesus Christ on anyone,” Majd says. “What I see is that people are coming to Christ because they see love. They see love and ask questions, and from there they learn about Jesus Christ.”

 

Majd works with churches and sponsored refugees through all stages of the process. He’s an invaluable resource for the sponsoring churches, Barb says.

“For us, the process is going as well as it is because of Majd. Answering all our questions multiple times—committee members ask the same questions separately, and he patiently answers all of us—and he tells us what things we need to think about ahead of time and prepare for,” she said. “And then there’s the help with translating. Emile & Rita have pretty good English, but sometimes we had trouble understanding each other, so Majd would help translate. I’m sure he’s working three times as many hours as he’s getting paid for. We’d love to see that ministry get more funding and resources.”

Since Majd started working with CBWC in 2015, his prayer has been that refugee sponsorship would become a regular part of church life, not just a crisis response. “I want it to be part of their regular budget. That has been my prayer from the beginning,” he says. It’s why he puts so much focus on following up with the sponsoring churches, to help them through the struggles and support them through the whole process, so they build the resources and experience to do it again.

So far it seems to be working. This year, CBWC was allocated 22 spots (less than the 61 spots we applied for, and far less than the need, but still higher than the previous years’ average) and they’re already spoken for. Most churches sponsoring families this year, Majd says, also sponsored a family last year, including Trinity Baptist.

“It’s something our church is planning to do every year,” Barb says. “The oil downturn has really affected our church, so giving is down. But we’re still committed to making this a regular part of our ministry.”

Before Emile & Rita arrived, the church had already applied to sponsor another family. It’s an Iraqi mother and son who fled to Syria as refugees before the Syrian civil war spread throughout the country. Now they are refugees twice over, and are still waiting for Canada to process their application to be sponsored by Trinity Baptist. Barb expects it could take another 5 years.

Not content to wait, Trinity Baptist has also applied to sponsor Rita’s mother, sister, brother in law and niece who are in a Lebanese refugee camp. They’re expected to arrive next summer.

Last week, Barb took Rita and the family go karting. “They think it’s really cool that I have a car and that I drive, and I offered to teach Rita how to drive. She got her learner’s license and we went out, but I found out she had no idea how a car works,” Barb laughs. “It was too much, so I decided to take them go-karting. Simple go, stop, steer! We had a great time, and it was a good chance for Rita to get familiar with driving something simple.”

This article was published in Volume 13, Issue 6 of Making Connections. Subscribe to the Making Connections monthly newsletter here

CBWC Adopts UNDRIP

CBWC votes to adopt UNDRIP, signalling commitment to participate in the (re)conciliation with Indigenous people

Shamen Worshipping Jesus by Ovide Bighetty, 2007; (c) Indian Metis Christian Fellowship

Last week almost 300 pastors and delegates from CBWC churches gathered in Calgary for a biannual assembly. Among the shared meals, times of worship and preaching, some significant business was conducted. As is custom, CBWC Board and partners brought reports to the assembled delegates, and various motions were presented for a vote. One motion in particular is historic.

In 2015 Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 calls to action to various stakeholders. The specific actions are meant to continue the process of healing and reconciliation, which the truth telling at the TRC began.

Faith groups were requested to “formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.” On Saturday, May 27, 2017, the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada voted to do just that.

(If you’re not familiar, see below for an overview of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.)

What does this mean for CBWC churches?

UNDRIP is a document that lays out what the rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide ought to be. The rights are things like: the right to liberty and security of person (7.1); the right to not be subjected to genocide or other violence, including the forcible removal of their children (7.2); the right to not be subjected to forced assimilation (8.1); the right not to be forcibly removed from their land, but to have free, prior and informed consent (10); and, the right to practice their spirituality with the full protection of freedom of religion (12.1).

For CBWC churches to adopt these rights as a framework for reconciliation means that we agree these rights ought to be realized by the Indigenous peoples in our regions. As CBWC churches throughout western Canada engage with our Indigenous neighbours, we commit to acknowledge and support these rights.

The UNDRIP framework guides us to respect inherent rights that have heretofore been denied. It encourages us to subvert and reverse the suppression of Indigenous culture (that’s been Canada’s strategy for so long) by supporting Indigenous communities’ efforts to be strengthened and healed.

The U.N. Declaration is a state to state document; it was not written with churches in mind. Yet the Indigenous peoples of Canada have asked, through representatives, that the church participate in its implementation.

Jodi Spargur, a CBWC pastor who led the motion to adopt UNDRIP, has focused her ministry on listening to Indigenous people and asking how the church can participate in conciliation. She recounted a conversation with Chief Robert Joseph:

“He asked me, ‘Jodi, how is the Baptist church going to respond? Government knows they need to come to the table. Education knows. All these sectors know, but I want to know if the church knows? If the church doesn’t show up, I have no hope for this process of reconciliation. Because it is primarily a spiritual task.’”

The particular details of what this adoption means for CBWC churches will be worked out as each church goes forward with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as their guide.

Mike Deihl, the delegate from Willowlake Baptist Church in Winnipeg addressed the Assembly as the motion was deliberated. He said:

“I am part of the privileged. One of the privileges I have is that I am unaware of the extent of my privilege: the system is set up to work for me, for my success, for my comfort. The principles in the UN Declaration already apply to us, the privileged. Yet I sense fear, uncertainty, and doubt from many about what this motion means to the CBWC, to our member churches, and to us personally.

“If you feel uncomfortable about this motion, it probably means you are part of the privileged, that our society is set up for your comfort and success. So think about people who try to live in a society that marginalizes and devalues, and dehumanizes them—now, and for many generations past.

“Yet, Indigenous peoples are reaching out to us, and inviting us to participate in this conciliation process. We have a long history of telling indigenous people what they should do, what is good for them. … Let’s break that and let them guide us.

“In two years at the next Gathering, I hope and pray that we will hear many stories of God’s work that arises out of this commitment we make today.”

What does compliance with UNDRIP look like?
Here are some examples where churches have respected rights of Indigenous peoples in the going about of church activities and ministry:

  • A new church plant on the Musqueam reserve was initiated by asking permission from the Musqueam band leaders. “Is it okay that we’re here?” If support was not given, the church plant would not go ahead.
  • Pastors Erwin and Coral Buchholz in Battle Lake, AB were invited to bring communion to an elderly woman who could not travel to church. Each month they bring communion and sing hymns, she sings in Cree, they in English. In this way and others, they affirm and support Indigenous culture and practices.
  • New Life Community Church in Duncan, BC have a ministry with children that came out of a consulative process with the neighbouring reserve where the church asked how they could serve the community.
  • A number of other denominations have already adopted UNDRIP as a framework for reconciliation, so watch what they do for some positive examples. (The Canadian chapters of: Anglicans, Catholics, Quakers, Christian Reformed, Evangelical Lutherans, Presbyterians, The Salvation Army, the United Church and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.)

What can I and my church do to learn more?

  • For more information about how your church can healthily approach conciliation, Healing at the Wounded Placeis a ministry out of Grandview Calvary Baptist Church in Vancouver that seeks to equip and help churches in this task. They host conferences on exactly this topic, and have helpful resources in their website. Get in touch with Jodi Spargur for opportunties to learn at Jodi@redclover.ca.
  • If you haven’t already done so, read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to actionand the 46 articles in the UN Declaration.
  • There’s also a project underway to translate the state-to-state language of the Declaration into statements more relevant for churches. Have a look at that project at Healing at the Wounded Place resources pagewhere it will be posted as it becomes available.
  • Study groups are a great way to talk through issues and learn more. The magazine Wrongs to Rightsis a recommended guide. If you want to be connected to others who are interested in learning, contact Jodi Spargur  at Jodi@redclover.ca

Background

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008 with a mandate to hear the stories of Indigenous people affected by the Indian Residential School program. The Commission was an opportunity for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to share and hear each other’s stories.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (often referred to as UNDRIP) is a document detailing specific rights Indigenous people worldwide should have. The declaration was written by Indigenous delegates over 30+ years of discussion and negotiation. It represents a major achievement in Indigenous global politics. It was presented to and ratified by the United Nations member countries in 2007 with the exception of Canada, United States, Australia, and New Zealand—each of which, not incidentally, were settler colonial states. Canada has since ratified, but has made clear that UNDRIP does not have legal power in Canada.

Kinbrace receives funding for refugee support work

“The voice of the asylum seeker … is a voice that’s difficult to hear at times. The asylum seeker’s voice … gets lost in the noise of politicians who shamelessly conflate asylum seekers with risk and terrorism … [and gets] crowded out by our own instinctual fear of the ‘other’.”

— Loren Balisky, executive director of Kinbrace Community Society

Last week Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson awarded $181,220 to five refugee support services, including $5,000 for CBWC-affiliated Kinbrace Community Society. 

The money comes as Canada experiences an increase in refugee claimants. British Columbia and Manitoba have both had over 400 refugee claimants in the first three months of 2017 alone, and Alberta has received over 300. 

Mayor Robertson spoke out in favour of refugee claimants during the funding announcement, something no other Canadian mayor has yet done.

Immigrant Services Society of BC received $70,220 towards their work in facilitating the myriad logistics of asylum claims. They are heavily relied on by refugees, government and other support agencies to connect refugees with services, housing, work, training and support. The funding is welcome, ISSofBC says, as they work to meet “unprecedented service demands.” 

Kinbrace provides transitional housing for 30-40 refugees annually while the refugees wait for their claim to be processed.  Kinbrace has a community living model where refugee families and several Kinbrace staff and their families share their lives in the same houses.  Kinbrace staff embrace refugees in a community that walks alongside them during the complex and arduous refugee claims process.  In addition to providing shelter, Kinbrace provides other essential supports like its very practical READY tours that orient refugees to the refugee claims system and for its advocacy on behalf of refugees.

Kinbrace is one of many community-based ministries associated with Grandview Calvary Baptist Church on the east side of Vancouver.  To learn more about Kinbrace and its work with refugees, go to www.kinbrace.ca or contact Loren at loren@kinbrace.ca.

With files from ISSofBC

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The French Connection

 

CBWC member Kim Louise Clark has published a collection of devotionals, called The French Collection. The book follows a walk through Paris and parallels the deeper journey of faith. 

Here’s a teaser excerpt from the first chapter. The French Connection can be purchased on Amazon, online at Chapters Indigo and at a few select bookstores in Alberta. A portion of the sale proceeds are being generously donated to the CBWC. Thanks Kim!

My mom used to say that a vacation that started off badly would be a great trip. I never took this seriously, and certainly never purposefully attempted to do something foolish before a trip if nothing bad had yet happened. I also do not remember her saying this after she became a Christian, and not surprisingly, I can’t find any Scripture to substantiate this idea.

It was a few days before I flew to Paris, and my feet were resting comfortably in bubbly, silky warm waters: I had finally used my gift certificate for a pedicure. From the wide selection of colours, I chose a deep pink called ‘Bijou’, which is French for ‘jewel’. My silky smooth feet would soon be strolling around the exotic streets of Paris.

With a sense of enchantment, I stepped back out into the shopping mall but the feeling of specialness quickly began to fade as the tinges of a migraine that had been lurking around the back of my head grew painfully obvious.

I took meds but they proved ineffective and, as I passed a few stores, every movement emphasized the headache’s onset. I began to feel extremely ill. While I made my way over to one of the comfortable chairs clustered throughout the mall, I dug out my cell phone to tell my husband that I didn’t think I could drive home.

How life’s situations can change so quickly. One moment I’m a lady exiting an expensive salon; the next, I’m a crumpled heap in a chair, vomiting into a bag.

I can’t go to Paris. How am I going to manage on my own for six days, when I can’t even get home by myself from the mall? …

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New BC Yukon Regional Minister Announced

On behalf of the CBWC Board, it is my great pleasure to announce the hiring of our next BC/Yukon Regional Minister, Rev. Larry Schram. Larry currently serves as the Lead Pastor of Summerland Baptist Church. For over thirty years, Larry has encouraged local churches and pastors to be healthy, effective and faithful. Larry has been part of the BCY Region for the last 10 years and has already been an asset to Rob Ogilvie in encouraging and assisting the Okanagan churches. Larry rounds out the Executive Staff team well and he is eager to ensure we are prepared for upcoming cultural changes. Larry will begin orientation for this new role on Sept 1, 2017. 

Even before Larry begins, you will have the opportunity to welcome Larry to this new position and get to know him a bit better at our upcoming CBWC Gathering May 25-27 (see cbwc.ca/assembly for details of this event).

At The Gathering, we also look forward to thanking Rob Ogilvie for his service as BCY Regional Minister over the last decade and will commission him for his new role as Executive Minister effective July 1, 2017.
Please join us in prayer for our BCY churches during this time of transition, for Larry and Erna Schram as they prepare to move to the Lower Mainland, for Rob Ogilvie as he transitions to his new role and for Jeremy Bell as he juggles many details in wrapping up his time as Executive Minister. It has been my privilege to hear each of these people share their heart and passion for advancing God’s Kingdom and I am grateful for their service in our midst.   
Shalom,
Rev. Kayely Rich
Vice President of Personnel & Programme

Written by Kayely on behalf of the CBWC Board.

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