Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter September 2022

The Rumour is True! 

Yep, I am taking steps toward retirement from the CBWC role of Mountain Standard Regional Minister. I’ll be carrying duties well into January, but someone else will likely take up the mantle at that point. After that time, I expect to be more available to assist with the needs of our kids and grandkids, and hopefully have a bit more time for travel and fishing as well.

This is written months ahead of my departure date, but the CBWC Board needs time for some due process. Even if the Board makes a hire at their September meeting, the chosen individual likely needs to give three months’ notice, then I’ll need some crossover time with them for orientation. Guaranteed is the fact that the next person will bring a different personality and do some things differently… just as in pastoral ministry no two people are identical in how they fulfil their role. Pray for the individual to be chosen!

Looking back over thirteen years, I have to say that most activities of my duties have amounted to wonderful privileges. I’ve always enjoyed travel and meeting with people and providing resources. There are/were only a few areas where I could speak with a sense of “This is what you have to do.” Usually, all I could do is advise from my perspective, show options, assist in the direction a church or pastor has already chosen, all the while showing support within Scriptural and CBWC guidelines.

We have some wonderful and fantastic pastors, board members and laypeople. I wish all could see how, when I visit churches of various types, God shows up. Everyone and every church is truly unique. The most common phrase I have heard over the years is “We are not a normal Baptist church” which, I must say, is both common and normal. Our ability to be unique within our own context is likely the greatest strength of being Canadian Baptist.

I am sure I will miss parts of being in this role, but I am sure God has someone else who can venture into areas I have not, taking our church family into an even healthier level of ministry together.

Thank you all for the grace shown me over the years. May God continue to lead going forward!

Your co-worker, Dennis

Creative Life, Happy Life Retreat!

Art is the lens through which I experience the world. Art is the medium to present the human condition… love, fear, bewilderment, pleasure, distaste, brotherhood and all the subtleties that we all know… 

— Alton Tobey

We often talk about God as Savior, God as King, God as Love. What is less explored is God as Creator and what that means for us. Those simple words “In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth”(Genesis 1:1) cannot cover the vastness—the absolute, breathtaking magnitude of what it means that God is Creator. He is the original Artist—creating creatures, nature, galaxies and intelligent species in such detail and beauty that our minds simply cannot comprehend it.

We, as humankind made in His image, have in us this desire to create. Whether you are drawn to painting, writing, quilting, photography or some other avenue, all of these things stem from the Great Creator Himself. It is an incredible tool He has given us. Not only as a form of self-expression, but as a way to express truth, to challenge that status quo, and to explore what it really means to be human. Whether you write worship songs or secular songs, paint scenes from your backyard, design cards, knit a scarf, or take photos of weddings––all art is a form of honouring the Lord.

Lynn Cole, from Brownfield Baptist Church, and her family are hosting a retreat at Gull Lake Centre this October to explore this very thing. The Creative Life, Happy Life retreat is for anyone who is creative, or wants to be. Over the course of the weekend, folks will have time to work on individual projects, listen to Lynn speak, take part in some group activities and share about their work. Whether you have a project you are working on, want to start something, or just want to relax and learn, this is the weekend for you.

Lynn has been the speaker at many functions—including multiple camps and leadership training weeks at Gull Lake Camp, SERVE in 2010, Women’s Retreats (including the 2017 CBWC Women’s Retreat) and various youth events. 

Over recent years, Lynn has discovered the joy and importance of creating art through her work as a painter. She is currently being certified as an Art Therapist. 

“For me, creating art is a form of therapy. It gives me a sense of connection to my emotions and an outlet to express deep things that can’t be put into words. Plus, it’s just out right fun!” Lynn said.

Art is also one of the most effective ways to reach people, to relate to them and convey a message. Just think how a song has the ability to sweep an entire crowd of people away, how a book can capture millions of people’s time and attention, how a painting can evoke feelings in generations of audiences. Art is one of the most powerful communicators that the Lord has given us. 

The Creative Life, Happy Life Retreat is meant to encourage those in the church to celebrate and explore their creative urges. It will also be a time to learn how to use your art to further God’s Kingdom and why the arts are so important and needed in this day and age.

“The world needs our voices through the arts because often—at our best—our voices are the voice of the God that lives within us,” Lynn said. 

To register for the event, CLICK HERE. Any questions? Feel free to email jenna.cole93@gmail.com

Assembly Made Changes to Credentialling Categories

With our newly approved CBWC Ministerial Protocol Manual, if you were a ‘licensed minister,’ you now have a new title as ‘credentialled minister.’ Those just hired with a CBWC church or ministry are automatically ‘registered ministers.’ Anyone who is hired by a CBWC church or ministry is accountable to the standards of the MPM. The new delineation of categories is found in the MPM located on the Careers page.

Many had thought that a ‘licensed minister’ had a ‘license to marry,’ but the truth is that a ‘licensed minister’ only had a license to minister within a CBWC context. Marriage licenses are distributed differently by the Ministerial Credentials Committee and that process is described in the MPM.

The CBWC will no longer have a category entitled ‘Accredited Ministers’ but will annually produce a copy of our ‘credentialled ministers list.’

The ‘credentialled ministers list’ should then include only those active in paid CBWC ministry contexts.

You can also find in the new MPM a copy of the new CBWC Identity Statement in the MPM Appendix.

Photos From Our Community

This picture is from the CBWC Assembly 2022 held in Calgary May 26-28. At these meetings, the Identity Statement and changes to the CBWC Ministry Protocol Manual was approved.

From June 6 to 8, the CBWC Executive Staff was in Calgary meeting with our newer ministers at our New Ministers Orientation. This meeting had been delayed two years due to Covid. The meeting was a bit larger than most years, but this time of orientation is important to those new to the CBWC.

On June 5th, after a couple year delay due to Covid, Brightview Church held an ordination service for their lead pastor, Chris Maclure. The church has had a very healthy season under Chris’s leadership. Chris has been intentional about leadership development and discipleship, and growth in this rural context is evident by just walking through the door. There is a good and positive spirit in the church, and a hunger for God is evident.

Our Northern Cluster of the Mountain Standard Region often meets on Zoom each month. This provides those in more isolated communities to join and have some collegial support. These people meet faithfully and are an encouragement to each other.

At a recent Southern Cluster of the Mountain Standard Region, a few of us were able to meet afterwards over a meal and enjoy being comrades together.

Our Edmonton cluster met together after Assembly to share together on two questions: what conclusions can we accurately draw from Assembly, and what are not conclusions to draw from Assembly. The interaction was quite healthy in this gathering.

Our Calgary Korean Baptist Church held an anniversary service on June 19th and had that event coincide with the ordination of one of their own, Hanseung (Henry) Kim. This event included some of Henry’s family from South Korea as well individuals from other Korean churches across Calgary. For me, it was a wonderful privilege to share in this experience. This community shows a healthy amount of generosity and truly committed to the cause of Christ.

Note the organized and youthful choir that shared at Calgary Korean Baptist Church on the day of the church’s anniversary and the ordination of Hanseaung Kim.

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

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter June 2022

Landmarks

The view of Square Butte was the landmark I saw every morning as a child.  The living room picture window faced the mountain in the photo. In an area of Montana known more for its bald prairie, this butte stands out for miles in every direction. Growing up we never needed to know which way was North, South, East or West, it was just ‘Where is Square Butte?’

As my children approach their mid-thirties, it is interesting to see how family is a landmark for them. This was not as apparent when they were young, but now they are interested in their family heritage and connections. One of my sons went to Ellis Island on a search, and even in Minnesota found headstones of past family unheralded for decades. The phonecalls my wife and I receive now are different, as it seems we—in a way—are their familiar landmark whereby they set their bearings.

Every believer can point to certain individuals as landmarks—those individuals who helped us set our bearings spiritually. That may be a parent, friends from a youth group, a Christian friend, a pastor, a childhood friend, or even a neighbour. God placed us within families and communities where relationships affect us and we affect others.  

The serpent raised in the wilderness is a symbol of how we need to look to God, look to Jesus as our landmark. Of course, I am speaking metaphorically, but in relationship with Him we set our life, our bearings. This is true for us individually, but also for the whole of God’s Church. In the words of Paul, “In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you, too, are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” (Eph. 2:21-22)

I am at an age where there is more looking back than looking forward. Time passes by for all of us, and the next generation eventually takes over. At some point, they will look back at the landmarks, at the history that brought the present. In the future as others look at me, at us, at the Church, I want people to see foremost in their eyes that God lived in us by His Spirit. The story here transcends the words. It is not in the black and white. It is the Life of Christ in us that needs to show forth.

Your co-worker, Dennis Stone

Small Church – Significant Ministry

I was raised in a small church. It was about 35 attendees when I started. I was new to Christ, but this group of older individuals shared lovingly with me and my friends, which started a whole new movement for the church that continues to this day. It was quality over quantity.

Many larger churches are staffed by those who grew up in one of those smaller churches. Smaller churches give opportunities for service, gift development, and early leadership openings. Here in Alberta I’ve seen the richness of ministry in Brownfield, Claresholm, Webster, and other places in both rural and urban settings. The smaller church is often a singular family unit that loves their community and the people that come together to worship and minister together.  

The ministry of a small church might show gaps in their outreach, but there are gaps in the larger church too. One example of a gap is that during the Covid experience, smaller churches showed more resilience than the larger churches did. Few, if any, of our smaller churches had to lessen their pastoral staff to meet payroll.

This newsletter has a couple pictures attached. One image is of our church in Webster, Alberta worshipping together.  Brian Burkart was the guest speaker. Years before he intentionally left ministry in Grande Prairie to start this little church at the crossroad of a couple gravel roads North of Sexsmith. Today by the picture you can see the number of young people and positive attendance at this location.  

In another picture you will see the children’s moment at One Accord Bible Fellowship Baptist Church in Edmonton. This church has struggled with low attendance for years, but now is seeing growth while working within a multi-lingual context (English, Spanish and French) from various backgrounds, including many new Canadians. Their building is a historical CBWC church, now with over an 100-year history, showing significant progress to younger families in their neighbourhood.

Gull Lake Centre Celebrates 100th Anniversary! 

We (finally) get to celebrate our 100 (and 2nd) anniversary on June 11, 2022!  This is going to be a slightly more laid-back version of the previous plans.  The event will be from 11am to 5pm, and the mood is going to be based on an ol’ timey county fair.  There will be food, there will be music, there will be some games, there will be tons of old pictures from all of the generations, and there will be heaps of camp friends ready to reminisce with.  A good time for sure. 

Please RSVP at https://gulllakecentre.ca/100th-celebration/

New Pastors in the Mountain Standard Region

Meet Josh Dory, the new pastor at Webster Community Church.  Josh is recently from New Brunswick but has found a home for his family in what locals call ‘the Peace Country’.  To his wife Jessica and their family, we want to extend a warm welcome to the Peace Cluster of pastors, and to the collective of ministers of the Mountain Standard Region and the whole of the CBWC!!

Meet Kevin Dick, the new pastor at Sonrise Baptist in NE Calgary.  He lives in the area close to the church and was attending for a few months before asked to be pastor.  He comes to this position as his first pastoral role, but he is a student of Scripture and eager to learn more about leading the church and preaching/teaching.

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

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter March 2022

How many times did God have to start over? Adam and Eve had a rough start, and God had to reset and restructure their lives to move forward. Under Noah, God dealt with a corrupt society, and He started anew with our physical world. Under Abraham, He created a new covenant relationship. After enslavement in Egypt, a new nation was built. After the time of the judges came the kings, after which came captivity, after which came restoration of Jerusalem. All of this preceded Jesus, through whom came life and rebirth through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling––changing people from within. It was something completely new that was beyond expected structures of what was before.

So, we stand at this point in our world history wondering: Is Covid over? Can we make plans again? Is there going to be a ‘new normal’ or can we just go back to our old sense of what was normal? Can we really start over with any level of confidence that our world will not be thrown into chaos yet again?

Starting over is difficult. I work with church search committees that have worked and prayed to discern who should be their candidate of choice. Sometimes a candidate is chosen by the committee, only to be turned down by the candidate, or by another level of authority within the church’s structure. Reassembling a search committee, after a season when they thought their work was done, is difficult. Momentum levels are hard to rebuild after such disappointment. Some may want to just settle on a ‘someone’ rather than taking the time to discern a true calling to this particular ministry.

Starting over is actually something I do every day when I roll out of bed. I admit it is easier with the sun coming up sooner every day this time of year. Every day includes some Scripture, some prayer, some encouragement of others, some questioning of philosophical positions…and life goes on. On very few days, there is a big success story to tell—though they do come occasionally.

This all reminds me of the text: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

So, let’s pick up our cross again and follow. Faithfulness is sure to be rewarded.

May God help all of us with our ‘restarts.’

Your co-worker, Dennis

Introducing:

Sherisse White, The New Mountain Standard Regional Administrative Associate

Sherisse lives in Edmonton with her husband, Terry, and their two kids. She has been involved in volunteering at church her whole life. She spent 10 years as a volunteer leader and teacher in church preschool children’s programs. After spending many years as a stay-at-home-mom with her kids, she rejoined the working world in administrative positions with her community league and in the mortgage industry. Sherisse is excited to part of the team at CBWC and the Mountain Standard Region.

1. What’s your job title? Administrative Associate, CBWC Mountain Standard Region

2. Who inspires you? My Family

3. Do you like traveling? I love to travel with my family. We are thinking about a beach vacation and a trip to Germany and Europe in the future.

4. What’s the best place you’ve traveled to? I loved my time serving at an orphanage in Mwanza, Tanzania.

5. Do you like reading? If so, what genre of books do you like? I have always been a bookworm. When I have the time to read, I enjoy mysteries and personal development books, and anything by Robin Jones Gunn.

6. What’s the most exciting part of your job? Working with amazing people

7. Where did you work before this position? Since going back to work after being a stay-at-home-mom with my kids, I have worked in administration positions with my community league and, most recently, for a mortgage broker.

8. What’s your most-used productivity hack? Moving passed thinking about the task and just do it. The task will take less time than I think and often is easier than what I am making it by overthinking it.

9. What’s something you’re proud of? The independence I am seeing my kids

10. What’s your favorite food? Anything

11. Do you have any pets? Luna is our Sheltie/Collie family dog.

12. Are you a sports fan? Who are your favorite teams? I love watching the Olympics.

13. Are you a morning person or a night owl? I am more of a late-morning/early afternoon type of person.

14. Are you a coffee or tea person? Both

15. What’s one thing you’re really bad at? I lack sports and artistic talent.

16. What’s one thing you’re really good at? Driving my kids to school and activities

17. What’s a skill you’d like to improve on? Adding more movement and exercise into my daily life

18. What’s your favorite memory? Marrying the love of my life

19. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A nurse. I did achieve this, as I was a registered nurse before I had kids.

20. What’s your least favorite chore around the house? Anything I can get my kids to do

21. What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekends? Sleep in and enjoy a whole cup of coffee before it gets cold

22. What’s your favorite holiday? Any of them that I can spend with my family

23. Can you speak more than one language? I can speak German.

24. What was your favorite subject in school? Sciences

25. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Introvert

26. Do you like roller coasters? Some, as long as they do not go upside down.

27. Do you have any phobias? Falling from tall heights

28. If you could play an instrument, what would it be? I can play a bit of piano but would love to be better at it.

29. Which historical figure would you most like to meet? Jesus

30. What’s your favorite season? Spring and Summer

Sherisse is in our Edmonton office regularly from Tuesday through Friday from 9am-1pm. Skip the answering machine and call between these hours as needed… hear a human voice! Her contact information is msregion@cbwc.ca or 780-462-2176.

The Mountain Standard Region Virtual Retreat – February 8, 2022

In lieu of meeting at Gull Lake this year, a virtual retreat was held together with ministers across the Mountain Standard Region of the CBWC.

This year, we were privileged to have Dr. David Williams, president of Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, lead us in some thoughts on ministry ethics. There were close to 40 attendees on Zoom—a good number for this opportunity. Our presenter pulled some interesting topics from After Virtue by Alasdair McIntyre.

If someone asked me about the main piece I pulled from our morning on February 8th, I would answer that I was intrigued by the need to choose virtue over power. One quote I wrote down was, “Those in power do not listen well.” It made me think that in ministry, we can easily sacrifice positive Christlike character traits and yield to seeking power over what we perceive to be an obstacle.

The retreat was interactive in that we shared in ‘breakout’ rooms in smaller groups to discuss three themes relating to the topic: ‘narrative, practice, and/or virtue.’ These groups discussed

some applications of ethics as it related to these three tactics. After this experience there was some time for Q&A, after which we went back to our groups for a time of prayer.

The retreat was positive, but we look forward to meeting again in person next year at Gull Lake!

Community News

Aziz Aslami who has moved to Calgary and is working with Northmount Baptist Church to set up ministries to Afgani refugees.

Zion Baptist Church Edmonton has done renovations to extend the auditorium into part of a former foyer, relocating the sound system, allowing more room for congregants.

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter August 2021

The Desire to Win

By Mountain Standard Regional Minister, Dennis Stone

Originally posted on February 5th, 2021

Okay, I just tweeted, “The desire to win gets in the way of healthy dialogue.” That is a paraphrase from the book: “Crucial Conversation Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High”. Out of all the thoughts I’ve seen, heard or read this month, this one has struck a cord with me.

In my work I deal with policy writing, conflicted individuals, politicized debate, stereotypes, and conversations with various levels of potential conflict. The tensions or potential tensions continue into relationships with family, neighbours and friends. Fear is behind all of this.

We will never see an end to tension. I think some believe that somewhere in the past or somewhere in the future, even before Jesus returns, that there will be a time of no stress, no conflict, and no infighting. That kind of self-talk will drive us bonkers. At some point we need to realize and accept that conflict will always be with us …‘until death do us part’.

If we are only observers of others in a squabble, it may be easier to see through to the individuals’ motivations. That is not always the case. We become experts at hiding our real motivations …the outcome we really want. It is this desire to come out on top and win that complicates us in a battle. When we ourselves are in an argument, we usually convey only aspects that help our side. Our own desired ends may even be hidden to ourselves. Perhaps we just want validation, affirmation, or an action that will help us get to another goal we have for ourselves.

Scripture says that ‘the heart is deceitful’. Perhaps we should acknowledge this more readily. We are often blind to what is stirring the pot, what is making us agitated, or what gets us riled up. Looking back each one of us can see the plots where we were on the wrong side of a discussion. That would be several times over for me personally.

May God help us to see more clearly where we need to repent, apologize, calm down, grant grace, and start from scratch. God says we are to love our enemies. If we could even get a small slice of that in our hearts in conflicted situations, we could likely come out honouring God more and living with outcomes more easily.

Your co-worker in the conflict,

Dennis

Update on Adventure Day Camps

By Pastor Ashley Winke

For the last 22 years Adventure Day Camps has been ministering to children from Sherwood Park Trinity Baptist church and our surrounding community of Strathcona County. Though it has taken on different forms throughout the years, it has always provided campers with week-long day camp experiences that include a wide variety of fun activities and meaningful ministry time with worship time and interactive Bible lessons. Every year we see children and their families impacted by the relationships they form at camp and by the truth of God’s word that is planted in their hearts.

In 2021, we have smaller numbers of campers due to Covid-19, but we’ve taken the opportunity to re-structure camps to allow for more weeks of camp to run throughout the summer, and we’ve included a week of camp for preschoolers and kindergartners. Also, we’ve looked for ways to maximize every opportunity to pour into our youth leaders who come to serve in Adventure Day Camps to maximize their leadership growth. Later this summer, we plan to do pop-up camp activities at playgrounds around Sherwood Park to minister to kids in our surrounding neighbourhoods. In these ways Adventure Day Camps continues to serve the vision of cultivating leadership, investing in relationships and engaging in mission in our community. We are excited for all that God has in store for the next 20 years and more!

Trinity Preschool has now been serving the families of Strathcona County and Trinity Baptist Church for over 20 years. We have a fully-licensed, thriving program that runs from September to May for 3 and 4-year-olds that engages them in ima play and learning and instills truths of God’s word and love for each child in their hearts.

Welcome to Two New Pastors in MS Region

Garry Koop is the new lead pastor at Westview Baptist Church.  His wife’s name is Kimberley and they have two adult daughters. For the last 20 years, Garry has been actively involved in ministries within the Evangelical Mennonite Conference and with the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec. He comes to Calgary from Steinbach, Manitoba. Garry has his Doctorate in Ministry from Northern Baptist Seminary and also studied at Tyndale College, University and Seminary. Garry has been a featured guest speaker at Bible camps, retreats and conferences.

We welcome Garry to his new calling in Calgary and look forward to having this new colleague in our midst.

Hanneke Boersema is the new Children and Families Minister at Westview Baptist Church. She is joined by her husband Ryan and children Keira and Naomi. Hanneke received her Bachelor in Applied Theology in Belgium and a Master of Educational Science while living in the Netherlands. She brings over 20 years of experience as a Child and Education Specialist, Religious Teacher and Pastor of Families and Children. We warmly welcome Hanneke to the CBWC!

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter May 2021

The One, True Superhero

I like watching superhero movies. Whether it is Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Ironman or the like, something draws me to them. I love the imagination it has taken first to write the script. Then again, I marvel at the technology and photographic instrumentation it takes to bring to life that which was in the author’s mind. Truthfully, some of it is the mental escape these films provide, the privilege of getting lost in a world that does not really exist. (By the way, I can be a sucker for the average ‘chick flick’ as well.)

The annual season recognizing the Resurrection of Jesus has just passed at the time of this writing. In that story, it seems to me that all the traits of superheroes are lacking when compared to Jesus. He appears in a room while not coming through a doorway. He ascends into heaven. He transfigures while with Peter, James and John. He passes through crowds without being touched. He expels demons. He makes bread and fish multiply. He is able to kill a tree by talking to it. He knows what people are thinking, even when at a distance. Superhero myths might copy some of these abilities, but they cannot match Jesus. Even if those myths have a superhero come back to life, it is obvious they will have to die yet again. Truthfully, imaginative superheroes cannot compete with omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence.

Movie writers usually miscast representatives of the Church. They will show the plot where the villain is a vain tele-evangelist wrongfully raking in monies for themselves. They often mock the average Christian or church attender (Homer Simpson’s neighbour comes to mind). Then they will borrow some concepts from Scripture and bend them in a manner that is quite unbiblical (angels do not get their wings when a bell rings).

With our Saviour so supreme over human imagination, how is it the efforts of the Church seem so common and less dynamic in the minds of most people around us? How is it that the mystery of the Creator of the universe living within us, is not the story noticed and told most often? The message of God’s great love, pardon and mercy does not yet seem to resonate as profoundly as it deserves within the average resident on earth.

What happened to the passion I had when I/we first believed? Is it the distractions? Is it the schedule? Is it a divided loyalty? Can I—can we—become what our neighbourhoods need at this time of uncertainty? Will I/we care enough? Will I/we make sacrifices as God might lead? I think for us to regain the ‘superhero’ quality within us, which should be shining, it will require us to ask these important questions and take them seriously.

Our theology is lacking if we only go for what we can find in popular psychology. If Jesus made a difference in us, then we should allow Him to make us different. We do not believe in an unrecognizable ‘higher power’ but in Jesus, the Saviour of the World. Isn’t this Superhero enough for us, for the world? Of course He is!

-Your co-worker, Dennis

Weathering the COVID Virus

We have been more than a year under COVID-19 restrictions. To my knowledge, there have been infections in some members at Zion Baptist, at Bonavista Baptist, and at Shiloh Baptist to name but a few. The Roadhouse family at Gull Lake Centre has also encountered this infectious disease. Beyond these few stories, there are numerous individuals who came in contact with a potential link, therefore needing to isolate themselves for the required number of days.

Rumours persist that restrictions in Alberta will be lifted at the end of July. That is not a sure date, as many factors will need to be assessed. The number of people taking the vaccine is the greatest measure by which governments will make judgments as to when we can circulate freely.

This has been a tough season for congregations, pastors, church boards or even denominations in the process through the middle of this health crisis. I have heard from several pastors who are facing the stress from congregants pushing one agenda or another. There are the maskers and the anti-maskers. There are the vaccinators and the non-vaccinators. There are the ‘Come as you are’ and the ‘Don’t worry about the regulations’, versus the larger majority that wish for the church to follow the regulations as much as possible. It is tough to be a leader and a procedure manager within these settings. What makes it more difficult is the lack of ability to share, in-person, the reason behind decisions in a more present manner. Emails and signage only go so far and do not express the agony and level of thought process that church boards and pastors have gone through to make decisions. Those decisions relate to what to do currently, and then again, how to plan going forward.

Everyone is looking for this season to end. Everyone is hopeful for a return to what we saw as normal. There have been victims during this epidemic. Some have lost jobs, lost investments, lost meaningful friendships, and lost privileges. Others have benefitted financially. Others have made gains through increased time and attention to marriage and family. Others have taken stock of their goals and priorities.

No one knows where we will be a year from now. There could be more calamity or very little. There could be prosperity or a challenge to the financial markets. There could be a rush to re-enter church sanctuaries, or quite the opposite. Whatever is to come, we need to remember that our God will never leave or forsake us. He is always present and everywhere present.

May God give you wisdom in your own setting!

-Your co-worker, Dennis

Dayle and Dawn Medgett from Westview Baptist Heading into Retirement

On April 8th the Calgary cluster of CBWC Ministers were invited to join a Zoom conference to hear from and celebrate with Dayle and Dawn Medgett, who are retiring from Westview Baptist in Calgary after a couple decades of ministry. Dawn noted that she will miss ‘doing life with people’, which means sharing in the joys and challenges of the church family. Dayle referred to the ups and downs of his tenure at Westview, but that he felt he was leaving the church in a positive space. He was pleased to leave the church where they have connected more strongly with their community, where they became more multicultural, and where they have reached a place where their debts have been paid. God has blessed both them and the church during their time at Westview. The couple are moving to Campbell River, BC to be closer to grandkids and to sailing.

Coming to Westview in June as the new Senior Pastor will be Garry Koop from Steinbach, Manitoba. Also coming in June is Hanneke Boersema to take up the mantle that was held by Dawn Medgett in Children and Family Ministries.

Spring is Here!

While Covid restrictions have locked us up at home more often, it is good to notice what is right around us. This beautiful photo of a chickadee in flight was taken by my daughter Cara in our backyard recently. For our family, winter seemed longer than usual, partly because of Cara’s chemo and radiation treatments. Her prognosis is very good and her attitude amid the challenge has been exceptional, especially with her friends and faith intact. God has been so good. May all of us see the good around us, even when the challenges are also great.

-Dennis

Calvary Community Church Yellowknife

When the pandemic hit, plans were already in place at Calvary Community Church Yellowknife to upgrade our facilities so that those with mobility issues could access our building. We had already completed phase one—installing a ramp, rails and power doors. Phase two was to install the elevator lift that could go from the basement, to the foyer and sanctuary. Phase three was to reconstruct the washrooms in the basement so we could have an accessible washroom. The accessibility project was due to the ongoing generosity of churchgoers and the work of our property coordinator, Vicky Johnston, who oversaw the work of contractors and applied for federal funding from the Enabling Accessibility Fund. Overall, this project cost about $250,000 with $150,000 granted through the federal government.

So, when we could not access our building in the early months of the pandemic, construction was taking place inside of the church in order that, in due time, others would have access. We also thought it was an opportune time to replace our large 45plus-year-old windows with ones that are more energy efficient and that also qualified for an energy rebate.

Many community groups utilize the church, and it is great that in the future no one needs to be left out without access to the building. Church services, events, fellowship gatherings in the basement around food, piano recitals and other events are now accessible. We look forward to gathering together again soon—restriction free!

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter November 2020

Learning and Growing

By: Andrew Bird, Youth Pastor at Brightview Church

My philosophy of youth ministry has always been focused on relationships. The relationships between God with His people, and between the people of God with each other and with the world. However, my philosophy has developed greatly during my time at Brightview Community Church in Wetaskiwin County, AB. Here is a community of people who have long, family histories of farming, raising families, and doing life together in the county. Over these past 5 years, my philosophy of ministry has developed from an intellectual concept into something active and alive.

In my early days at Brightview, I was encouraged to meet with students in the schools and at their extra-curricular activities as much as I could. One of the opportunities that I had to connect with students was initiated by a small group of teenage boys who expressed a struggle during the days between youth nights. We talked together and decided to start each morning with prayer, so we began to meet in the school parking lot to pray together. Those boys have now graduated from high school, but what they started has grown to include many, resulting in 15 or more students meeting outside of the small rural high school every morning to pray. (We have even prayed in temperatures of -30°C). Little did I know that a time was coming when gathering would be difficult, and these relationships would be vital.

This year has introduced many new challenges to ministry, especially youth ministry, and yet God has, once again, proven to be faithful when the temptation for us is to lose hope. In July of 2020, I was having some difficulties with the home I was renting, but Kathleen (my wife) and I felt trapped there. We did not think we could afford any other living arrangements. We were wrong. With some advice and guidance by some of our friends (and not a few miracles), we discovered a house for sale that we could afford to purchase. We purchased our first home and moved in on August 15th. The house we purchased used to be a teacherage, a home provided for rural teachers at the local high school. I now live less than 100m from the high school. Kathleen and I prayed that God would make our home a useful tool in ministry.

When the school year began, many new restrictions had been put in place, and I was unsure how they would affect the ministries that I did within the school. I scheduled a meeting with the principal. As I sat down, the principal said, “I know you are here to talk about your involvement in the school, so I have already talked with administration. You are not allowed to come into the school during the lunch hour as you have in the past 4 years. However, I asked them specifically about the prayer group outside. That has been approved, so long as you wear a mask.” I was shocked! Furthermore, I learned that the school desires to reduce the number of students in the building during the lunch hour, so students in grades 10-12 have been given permission to leave campus during the break. I informed the students that my door would be open at lunch hour.

This year has been challenging for all of us, especially those of us in ministry. But each morning I walk out of my house and join a group of students in front of their school and we pray. Every lunch hour I encourage a group of students who come to my home. God’s mission continues, and I pray that He finds us faithful and ready to respond when He calls.

The Upside and Downside of Wearing Masks!

We enter the colder months still on the tails of COVID-19 restrictions. Never before, and likely never again, will we enter a banking institution that has a sign: “Put your mask on before entering.” My nephew sent his graduation picture to me… and he was wearing a mask. These days will be remembered, and we will all have stories to tell.

Although we have several churches postponing regathering in person, most are having some form of in-person meetings.

Sunday services look quite different, with people sitting six feet apart and wearing masks. As a speaker in a worship setting, I must say it feels very odd to speak to a group and not see facial responses. With an audience of masks, the speaker is unaware of smiles or grimaces. It can come across as though no one is really paying attention.

None of this is to judge an audience unnecessarily. People are generally happy to get together even without the privilege of personal touch. However, I would suggest that if seated in a pew it would be good to show some emotion somehow. Raising or clapping hands would be quite appropriate at the right time in the service. I highly suggest nodding instead of merely having a blank forward look. Help your presenter know that you are paying attention. After the service, take time and speak (six feet apart, of course) to your presenter to let them know you heard the message.

The extra duty of sanitizers will continue for a while, but when in worship gatherings let’s not sanitize our sense of responsiveness. Now, more than ever perhaps, you have a role to play to support the preacher while sitting, listening and participating otherwise in worship.

Welcome Joyce Rebman – Our New Mountain Standard Administrative Assistant

Joyce began her duties in the Mountain Standard office in August. One great advantage she offers us all is a public availability from 9am-1pm, Tuesday through Friday. She should be on deck to answer the phone and address regional concerns, as well as pastoral settlement items.

Joyce has experience working among a larger church staff and is known for her organizational skills. Among other former experiences, she worked for a number of years working to efficiently recruit and acquire volunteers for a large nursery– known by most church leaders as a thankless and difficult task. She is gracious, hospitable, and willing to learn. She is a lover of Jesus and rejoices to see the church function well and grow.

We warmly welcome her among us as a servant to our pastors, chaplains and churches! 

Mountain Standard Region Online Presence Expands

Pictured below are a few screenshots from some of our churches across the CBWC Mountain Standard Region. Each church will set up their website differently. Now we see more recorded video preaching than ever before. Some presentations will be more elaborate than others, but keeping the church community together during the time of COVID-19 requires extra effort. Pastors and church volunteers are working behind the scenes to keep connections with their congregation. 

A YouTube presentation of one of these services is only a few clicks away. Most churches are aware that even when services return on Sundays to the worship building, that the online presence will stay a significant part of the church’s future.

It is official: Now the ‘church mouse’ is made by Microsoft, Logitech or some other company dealing with the digital world.

Again, thanks for those who have shared their expertise to assist our churches in expanding their ministry potential!

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter June 2020

The CBWC Mountain Standard Region Under Covid Restrictions

 

It has been my privilege to meet on Zoom over the past month with all five of our ministry clusters across the Mountain Standard Region – South, Calgary, Central, Edmonton and Peace Country. To be truthful, I expected more panic and anxiety than I have seen. Here are some of my summary observations:

– ONLINE SERVICES – The first couple weeks threw most church leaders into some unfamiliar territory. Most had to work on skills relating to Facebook Live, Facetime, Zoom, or Youtube. Most have found that the numbers watching their services online has exceeded what would have been their regular attendance. With many watching as couples or families, the exact numbers are impossible to get, but past members, members’ relatives, and neighbours have logged on to watch. This is a time of challenge, but it is a time of opportunity as well. The online presence of the Church is likely to be enhanced after this period of isolation. I am personally pleased with the advances we have made in the use of technology at this time.

– GIVING – Budgets have been concerning for most of our churches. Many are unfamiliar with new ways to share their giving to their church. Direct deposits, mailing checks, and dropping off monies at the church directly are foreign ways for most of us, who are used to the traditional passing-of-the-plate. In spite of the inconvenience, I can relate that a few of our churches are being blessed and are actually ahead of their monthly giving compared to last year. Giving is hardest to maintain in our new Canadian churches. Our Filipino church in Calgary has seen more than 40% of their congregation laid off over the past months and giving, therefore, has dropped off significantly.

– CONNECTING WITH OUR COMMUNITY – Pastors and board members take seriously the challenge of connecting with the church family while they cannot meet corporately. Several of these have made intentional, personal contact through phoning everyone in their church directory on a consistent basis. The personal ‘feel’ is appreciated, and intimate prayer concerns have been shared that may have been missed before. The number of Zoom meetings for Bible studies, committee meetings, and for other teaching purposes have risen dramatically in almost every setting.

– AN UNFAMILIAR FUTURE – Regular events and annual schedules have taken space in the new unknown. Planning ahead is a luxury we may not have for a while. Governments are sharing news on a daily or weekly basis on new restrictions or new benefits. This new future seems to carry the stain of uncertainty. Some CBWC or church events have been cancelled or postponed (like SERVE, anniversary services, Ordination Examination Council, sabbaticals) and serious planning for most Fall events is still up in the air.

– GOD AT WORK – God is touching people’s lives and bringing people in contact with Himself through technology. One pastor shared about a neighbour across the street from the church who had lived there for years and never came to church. But now, after accessing online services, the person sends encouraging emails and notes, expressing a positive connection to the church in the future. Gull Lake Camp has ventured into virtual camping and has seen people come to Christ in that way. Compassion for the poor and inconvenienced has increased as some churches have used up their benevolent funds and now seek a way forward to minister to their communities.

April 2020 CBWC Board Meeting

May 2020 Edmonton Ministerial 

SOME UPDATES:

o The CBWC Board is working on a CBWC core values statement that is likely to come to the 2021 CBWC Gathering for our broader church family to discuss. Most of our pastors have seen the current version, but it is still a work in progress. More details on this will come in the future.

o Duane Guthrie arrived as the new pastor at Fort Saskatchewan Community Baptist Church in March. He preached to a small crowd his first Sunday, which was just prior to full blown COVID-19 restrictions, when some were already staying away from crowds. He has been online every Sunday since, but this is truly an unusual and challenging way to start a church ministry.

o Dayle and Dawn Medgett have announced that they will retire from Westview Baptist in Calgary around Easter of 2021.

o Ashley Winkel is the new Pastor of Children and Family Ministries at Trinity Baptist in Sherwood Park.

o High River Baptist has hired a new staff member that will be announced at a later date.

o Peace River Baptist is looking at a candidate for lead pastor.

o Zion Baptist Church has Allen McPhedran as their interim pastor. The job description for their Lead Pastor position is now online.

– ITEMS FOR PRAYER:

o Our ability to disciple, to share Christ and to serve our communities in the midst of this season of isolation

o Our churches that are struggling over finances at this time

o Our MSR representatives on the CBWC Board: Sam Breakey (Board President), Herb Ziegler (Vice President of Finance – Sherwood Park) Randy Loewen (Yellowknife – Regional Moderator), Sandra Goetz (Regional rep – Charlie Lake), Brad Penner (Regional rep – Red Deer)

o Our CBWC online assembly decisions on May 21st

o Our church plants comprised of new Canadians

o Our ability to plan ahead appropriately, for the denomination and our churches

o Our government representatives while they wrestle with difficult decisions

o Our chaplains, especially those serving in this challenging season with the elderly and those under medical care

“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Eph 4:3 NLT

Your co-worker, Dennis

Note from Paul Hebert

Paul Hebert attends First Baptist Church in Peace River and is one of the first credentialed in the CBWC as ‘Mandated Lay Chaplain’. Here, he shares his report on the exciting things that God has recently led him into.

Good day, my name is Paul Hebert and I am blessed by serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These last six months have been so awesome. There are so many things I can write about, but I will try to keep this short.

For the last five years I have been part of the Bikers for Christ Motorcycle Ministry, and also the Gideons Ministry for six years. Four years ago, we started another outreach ministry called Picnic in the Park. All these ministries tie together our acts of serving our Lord.

Bikers for Christ allows us to safely navigate and learn the biker culture.

Gideons support our ministry in how to evangelize in our world and have Bibles for us to distribute throughout our ministry.

Picnic in the Park is a ministry where, every Thursday from April until mid-October, we have a free community picnic. Everyone is welcome to share in food, testimonies, relationships and scripture.

For all of these ministries, we have never asked for donations or support, yet God has always taken care of our them by providing finances, protection and volunteers.

This last year, God put it on my heart to expand our ministry and to seek out a charitable status. I was reluctant and stubborn but God, in His wisdom, knew to keep at me until I listened to Him. When the time was right in my heart, He introduced the Great Commission Foundation (GCF) to me.

I applied through the GCF for charitable status and was approved. Our ministry name is called Servant’s Heart Initiative. (Go to the GFC website and our ministry is on the programs list for further information)

Servant’s Heart Initiative is now the main ministry in serving in our community and the communities around us. It is growing daily, with Picnic in the Park as a leg of the ministry. We now have a Life Skill ministry to teach young adults how to cook, clean, shop and financially budget.

We also have a work ministry called Chisel and Hammer. This ministry is to help our elderly, widowers, those with disabilities and single parents with yard work, vehicle maintenance, cleaning homes, house repairs and more.

Another ministry we have is a food program ministry. This ministry is to help feed those in need, prepare meals for those that cannot do so themselves, and support lunches for children that are no longer being fed in the school lunch programs.

Lastly, we have our evangelical ministry which incorporates sharing the word, Bible studies, supporting churches, bringing churches together as one body, and youth activities and engagements.

This is a summary of what Servant’s Heart Initiative is and what all our volunteers and community support. It’s only been active since March 15, 2020 and God has led our communities to donate more than $28,000 so far—without us trying to seek funds. God is so, so good!

On top of all this, being a lay minister has allowed me to marry couples, share the Word and so much more. We build relationships every single day and there are daily testimonies happening in our community.

This is why I say that I have been blessed. God has picked me to serve Him and has blown my mind every day with how good He is.

Our goal is to spread this ministry to over 100 communities in the next five years. It’s been a vision that’s on my heart.

Thank you all for your support and prayers. God bless you all.

Need office furniture? Talk to Dennis! dstone@cbwc.ca

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter March 2020

Trust is the Measure of Your Ministry! 

Trust is the measure of your ministry. A person can be 100% right and people may not trust them. A person can make significant mistakes and yet people may still trust that individual. Just because a person has good reasoning skills and relevant head knowledge does not mean people will automatically place “trust.”

There is no class you can take in seminary that makes assurances that people will trust you. There is no past experience you can go through, no significant book you can write, and no quality reference given by another that can make people trust you. Then again, not all people who are trusted should be granted that privilege.

We live in a world of broken trust. People often point out (albeit inaccurately) the percentage of marriages that end in divorce. Politically, we can speak of treaties not followed. Businesses make agreements and then break them through some loophole. Too often politicians have said one thing and done another. The news emphasizes clergy that are guilty of moral inconsistency. Parents have been heard saying to their children, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Is it any wonder that the world is in a mess today? For the average person coming into the world today, the concept must be very strange one when we say “Trust God!”

We depend and trust in our bank accounts, our hard work, our achievements, our ancestry, our self-perceived position in society, our reputation, our plans, our discerning skills, our ability to defend ourselves, our goodness and other facets feeding our sense of self-sufficiency.

One stock market crash, one job loss, one hospital visit, one accident, one internet thief, one virus taking root… any of these can change our plans and perspective. It might even bring us back to reality.

Whatever happened to understanding “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10)? That kind of attitude makes one humble. It leaves one in awe of our Creator. It makes a person an individual of integrity even when no one is looking. It makes one trustworthy—worth being trusted. Even when we do everything right it does not mean people will trust us; that is a choice others make on their own. We do not make trust in ministry by doing our stuff, but by doing His—and it is usually over the long haul! It is not really about having people follow us, but it is all about our following Him. Too often people seek to go up some invisible ladder to make themselves a capable leader, when going down the ladder is likely more important. Keeping our attitude in check is the greater accomplishment. Unfortunately, it can be faked, so be genuine!

May all of us seek the proper balance of humility while being courageous in our own setting!

Your co-worker, Dennis Stone

The Chaplain’s Corner

 

It is always good to hear about the pastors and churches in the Mountain Standard Region, and to listen to the stories that bring our region together and identify us with the long history of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CBWC). There is a story that often remains behind the scenes, but deserves some recognition, as well. That is the story of the chaplains.

We have a number of different types of chaplains in our region, including a chaplain for the Edmonton Police, military chaplains, mandated lay chaplains, health care chaplains, prison chaplains, community chaplains and athletic chaplains, among others. I began my journey into health care chaplaincy only about two years ago, so although I am passionate about the work of companioning with others through various health conditions in various environments (long-term care, acute care, mental health), I realize I am a relative “newbie” when I read the list of chaplains in our region!

Often when I introduce myself as a chaplain, people ask me, “What does that mean?” Sometimes, patients assume we are there to give them “religious” advice or to get them to believe in God. One time, a lady who had requested I visit her after she chose to discontinue the life-sustaining treatment she was on, said to me, “Okay, I guess now is when I tell you how I made my decision, and then you will tell me if it is right or wrong.” I explained that I was there to accompany her on her journey with the decisions she makes. Chaplains are committed to providing client-centered care.

Outside of the chaplaincy work environment, there is also confusion about what a chaplain does. People will ask, “So, do you have the same qualifications as a pastor?” In order to become a certified Spiritual Care Practitioner with CASC/ACSS, we must have a minimum Master of Theology Studies (or other 2-year Master’s level theological degree) or Master of Divinity degree and then enter and successfully complete a program of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). CPE is comprised of four units of supervised chaplaincy along with intense theological reflection and psychodynamic group work. We are required to take a faith-based ethics course as well as a professional ethics course and write papers demonstrating competencies in spiritual care.

Within our health care environments, chaplains are called on to minister to and work with patients, their families and friends, as well as staff in health care facilities. We are considered an important part of multi-disciplinary teams, often providing other members of the health care team with insights into why patients might be behaving in certain ways or making certain choices. Chaplains are called on to provide guidance for ethical questions or dilemmas and participate on ethics boards/committees.

As chaplains mature through their chaplaincy work, some may choose to enter into guiding new students (either as a clinical preceptor or as supervisor-educator) through the CPE program and certification processes. We are privileged to have preceptors in our denomination- Reverend Lyn Beddoes, Reverend Jane Christenson, and Chaplain Becky Vink. We also have a newly certified Supervisor-Educator—Reverend Brent Watts—one of only three such supervisors in the Edmonton area and the only one in Edmonton working with Alberta Health Services.

I recently spoke with Brent about his journey to becoming a Certified Supervisor-Educator. He spoke of the additional coursework and papers required. He also assured me that he has by no means arrived and he is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Carey Theological College.

I noticed at the most recent AGM of the Alberta Association for Spiritual Care (AASC), that eight of the approximately 40 spiritual care practitioners in attendance were a part of the CBWC–that is 20%! Three of the 10 AASC board members are part of the CBWC, representing 30% of the board. The CBWC is very well-represented within spiritual care providers in the health care and other environments in Alberta! I think this speaks highly of a healthy theological ethos within the CBWC, of which I am glad to be a part.

Respectfully submitted –

Kathy Brown, MS Region Administrative Associate Student and Casual Chaplain

 

MS Region Chaplains

Calgary

Cassandra Coster, James Scorgie, Becky Vink

Central  Ricky Williams

Edmonton Lyn Beddoes, Becky Bonham, Kathy Brown, Jane Christensen, Heather Donovan, Dean Eisner, Susan Hunter, Garret Parsons, Lawrence Peck, Gordon Poley, Howard Rittenhouse, Kayley Sanders, Amanda Strain, Craig Traynor, Brent Watts

Peace Herman Friesen, Paul Hebert

South Anna Braun, Jack Knight, Stefan Ulrich

2020 Gull Lake Ministers Retreat

We had better numbers and an excellent experience at this year’s annual retreat. Our Regional Advisory Group prepped this event so that it went off without a hitch. Every part went well. Even the weather was decent. It started with our spiritual reflection workshop led by Brian Burkhart. Brian started and attends our Webster Community Church. The past few years he led a retreat centre in Germany. He learned that the European community appreciates the visual arts, so that was part of his presentation, which was to our largest group yet to this part of the retreat. Tuesday saw Lynn Dietz and Brian Archer from the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada present some of their insights into discipleship. This theme is important to all of us regardless of our role, so the thoughtfulness on this topic was

appreciated. Wednesday ended with a testimonial by Brian Burkhart and then communion. Future years will be measured against this one. If you are a pastor or chaplain, don’t miss this event next February.

We also saw the brand-new Gull Lake Centre buildings that are almost completed. We heard about Gull Lake Camp’s 100th anniversary scheduled for June 13th. They expect about 800 people at that event. One interesting piece from the retreat was that our presenter, Lynn Dietz, knew that his dad came to Christ at Gull Lake Camp, but he had never been there before. In coming to the camp, he had come full circle with his spiritual heritage.

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: jhanger@cbwc.ca

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter December 2019

Too often we feel that the work of God is in our human hands…our responsibility. Too often we limit the work of God by imagining only as far as our own actions and budget can take us. It is true that everything needs to be done ‘decently and in order’, but we need to be careful not to tie God’s hands (as if that was even possible!)

As believers we know that God intervenes in our human experience. God intervened in history when He sent Jesus to us and when the tomb was opened. In our own lives, if you are reading this, you likely experienced the direct touch of God when the Holy Spirit came into you and confirmed that you are a child of God. If that was not your personal experience when you received Christ, hopefully you have had those moments since childhood where you have known the Holy Spirit’s presence. That presence is literally God’s guarantee of His work in you and acceptance of you.

God’s intervention in our lives is so often unseen by anyone else. That is true of so many acts of God done in our heart. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience/forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When God plants this fruit in our heart, where we even want those items to take over our actions, that is an invisible work of God in us.

Mary and Joseph saw the work of God like no other humans. They knew the whole story that few others could accept while they were in the manger adoring this newborn King. They had heard from angels—in their own private moments—what their minds might have hesitated to accept. This private moment for them was real…and that private moment has and will affect life today and in the future.

May God move you in your private moments, and not-so-private moments, to yield to and worship this King! This act is not only about Christmas, but it is about living in a world that our human hands cannot fix.

Your co-worker,  Dennis

Connecting with our Brothers and Sisters from the Congo

In Edmonton, we are working with a worship community of individuals that come from the Congo. They worship in their native language, but are an exuberant and welcoming congregation which has been meeting for about two years. On November 2nd it was my privilege to assist the church in a memorial service for the ninety-nine-year-old grandfather of Pastor Guillaume Munyakuri. On this particular Saturday, the church gathering was about sixty caring Congolese individuals. The story of murder in East Congo was not an unusual one for this crowd as many attending had also lost family members in a similar way in the past. News of the house burning and the initial scattered bits of information left the family short on the exact details. For a while, the pastor thought his cousin had died too—but he had managed to escape. Please pray for this worshipping community as they support one another here and seek to effect positive change back home. The Gospel can bond people together like nothing else can even when separated by oceans.  – Dennis Stone

Fun Times at the Fishing Retreat

In September the CBWC Peace River ministerial cluster was invited to lodging at Jasper Park Baptist Church for a few days on a fishing retreat. This group spent some time sharing casually, sitting on boats and enjoying food together. The scenery was phenomenal on Maligne Lake. The moose count was around a dozen or so. In our case, the two fish caught did not multiply, but maybe next time! It was a privilege for me to spend time with them. -Dennis Stone

In the picture from left to right: Herman Friesen – prison chaplain, Michael Hayes – Fort St John, Everett Budd – Peace River, Josh Goetz – Charlie Lake, Peter Ma – Grande Prairie, Nathan Friedt – Peace River, but recently moved to a pastorate in New Zealand. 

Visiting Brownfield Baptist Church

It was a privilege in September to be with our church in rural Brownfield. The church has multiple cameras going during the service to facilitate their online outreach. The service is shared with Nanton Baptist Church and that relationship continues to grow stronger, showing increased viability of ministry from one rural setting to another.  – Dennis Stone

CBWC Gathering at High River

 

This year, at the CBWC Gathering at High River, our Ordination Examination Council approved the following to proceed:

  • Pam Reichenbach, Strathcona Baptist, for ordination
  • Anna Braun, First Baptist Church Lethbridge, for ordination
  • Mikel Laurie, Highlands Baptist, for ordination
  • Sam Kim, Bonavista Baptist, for recognition of prior ordination

Pictured above is the congregants at Highlands Baptist singing a humourous song to their new ordinand. At that particular service the guest speaker was Mikel’s father. As I met Mikel’s dad, he introduced himself as Wayne, and I gushed out that his name would be easy for me to remember as that is my middle name—then he told me his first name was Dennis. That has never happened to me before.  –Dennis Stone

International Conference for World Evangelism

It was a privilege for me to take part briefly in an international conference hosted in Edmonton by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism with a specific focus on the Sikh community. People were there from around the world to hear about ministry to this community often neglected by the church. One fact shared was that about 40 per cent of truck drivers in California are Sikh—which was just one of the fascinating details shared that evening.  – Dennis Stone

Prayer Request

This Fall sees the return of snowy and icy roads. Please remember to pray for those needing to drive for the sake of ministry, such as your own Regional Minister!

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email the BCY office: msregion@cbwc.ca

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter September 2019

Leadership Tugs 

Many of us taught officially and unofficially a leader must lead.  In other words, stick your neck out, speak out, set a path for others to follow, plan, plot and set your objectives.  The structure of authority most of us were born into involved obeying parents, obeying teachers, and obeying bosses.  This bred a desire in many of us to reach that goal of climbing the ladder – being able to be rulers.  Part of that fits Jesus economy, but part of it does not.

Jesus took another position when he taught His disciples in Matthew 20:25-26, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.”  At this point Jesus emphasizes the greater importance of taking the role of a servant.

I was reading in a book by fellow Canadian Len Hjalmarson (Broken Furtures) that leadership should be less about progress and more about process.  The process to which he alludes includes listening to the community.  Listening and teaching people to listen will ultimately mean more engagement and involvement.  This posture may be helpful in being a better servant-leader, but there is an even deeper element we must wrestle with to be better disciples.

That deeper element is to let the Spirit of God investigate our heart for the pride that may be rooted there.  If we are in any position of leadership there is the tug to prove oneself worthy of the role, the tug to make something of one’s opportunity, the tug to be seen as prosperous in the job, the tug to be esteemed by others, or even the tug to show oneself one’s own worthiness through obvious accomplishments.

Somehow in life we get lost and we can forget the phrase in Philippians that Jesus ‘made Himself nothing’.  (Okay, those of you with your Greek lexicons out, just put them away for a minute … I know this emphasis can go too far.)   Jesus faced all the same tugs/temptations, He wrestled with the opportunity to show Himself for who He was before His time.  For the true Christian servant, all of us need to take a step back from the ‘tugs’ of life and realize the temptation is often for something to happen ‘now’ … and for the ‘how it looks to others’ perspective.  Faithfulness reveals itself over time.

God calls us to know Him, to faithful service, to be obedient and to have a heart of service, no matter what things look like to others.  I think we will be surprised who in fact hears the ‘well done, good and faithful servant’.  It may be the single parent down the street, or the quiet elderly couple who need walkers to get around, or the believer who is also a Walmart greeter.  Our sense of what it means to be successful needs to get separated from that subtle pull of pride deep within us.

Let’s take steps to be better servants by accurately assessing and dealing with the pride that is deep within us.

Your co-worker, Dennis

Happenings & News

From the desk of Dennis Stone: August 2019

Here are some quick updates for our CBWC ministers of the region.  Most of us feel as though we start our year in September, so this piece is meant to keep you up to date.  The comments below are my own.

“THE GATHERING” AT HIGH RIVER BAPTIST IN MAY

This event was very well-received by delegates attending. Pastors Scott Fisk and Michael Lorusso and the whole crew at HRBC were highly hospitable and helpful in every aspect. The sessions were well-attended and all business was handled respectfully.

Regional Celebrations: 

  • OEC recommended Pam Reichenbach, Mikel Laurie and Anna Braun for ordination.
  • OEC granted Sam Kim from Bonavista Baptist ‘Recognition of Prior Ordination’
  • New churches welcomed at HRBC meetings included Filipino Community Christian Church – Calgary and Greenhills Christian Fellowship – Calgary
  • FBC Peace River celebrated 100 years in early August

PROPOSED UPCOMING MINISTERIAL CLUSTER MEETINGS:

Sept 10 – Edmonton Cluster at Braemar

Sept 15-17 – Peace Cluster in Jasper

Sept 19 – Central Cluster – TBA

Oct 1 – Edmonton Cluster at Braemar

Oct 10 – Southern Alberta Cluster

Oct 17 – Calgary Cluster at FBC

UPCOMING CBWC STAFF AND BOARD:

Sept 5-7 – Staff retreat

Sept 25-26 – Staff/MCC meeting

Sept 27-28 – CBWC Board meeting

 

OTHER NEWS:

  • New Mountain Standard Regional Advisory Group for 2019-2021:  Randy Loewen – Yellowknife (Moderator), Sandra Goetz – Charlie Lake, Mark Archibald – Lethbridge, Bill Christieson – Calgary, Brad Penner – Red Deer, Kathy Brown – Edmonton
  • New CBWC Board members for 2019-2021 from the Mountain Standard Region: Sam Breakey (President) – Edmonton, Herb Ziegler (VP of Finance) – Sherwood Park, Randy Loewen, Brad Penner, and Sandra Goetz
  • Our OEC examiners from the Mountain Standard Region this year were Brad Penner, Randy Loewen, Juli Wells, and Harriet Mitchell.
  • Our church in Pincher Creek is working on a merger with another church, to be effective for 2020.
  • Our Brownfield Church is using its own unique brand of “Rural Light Ministries” to assist Nanton Baptist with services through the use of technology. Other rural churches are interested.  (Click on “Donate” at www.cbwc.ca to contribute to this ministry).
  • A former CBWC Executive Minister and pastor among us, Doug Moffat, passed away on May 2nd.  His son Andy is one of our pastors at FBC Olds. Doug will be missed and remembered.
  • Our new Mountain Standard Region’s ministers since the 2017 CBWC Gathering where listed and shared at the HRBC assembly. They are as follows: Natalie Wong, Crescent Heights Baptist, Calgary; Leah Seguin, Braemar Baptist Church, Edmonton; Heather Hiebert, Community Baptist, Cold Lake; Ken Bender, McLaurin Memorial Baptist, Edmonton; Hovig Bajanian, Evangelical Baptist, Edmonton; Sarah Wipf, Westview Baptist, Calgary; Aaron Cranton, Strathcona Baptist, Edmonton; Nathan Harris, Brownfield Baptist; Dawn Stiles, First Baptist, Edmonton; Brandon Parsons, First Baptist, Red Deer; Tash Ingram, Westview Baptist, Calgary; Clinton Pigeau, Trinity Baptist, Sherwood Park; Kaleb Penner, McLaurin Baptist, Grande Prairie; Joseph Steeves, Faith Community Baptist, Claresholm; Joshua Goetz, Charlie Lake Community, Charlie Lake;   Sebastian Dykstra, Altadore Baptist, Calgary; Kent Dixon, Braemar Baptist, Edmonton; Ron Ford, Battle Lake Community Baptist; Wilbert Adolphe, Bonnie Doon Baptist, Edmonton.

This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email the Mountain Standard office: msregion@cbwc.ca