George Munchinsky

flower #5September 24, 2014 — We were saddened to learn of the passing of George Munchinsky, a man of God who had pastored several CBWC churches.

George died on September 18 at the age of 79 in Olds, AB of complications due to cancer.  George had served as pastor of three CBWC churches:  Grace-Kildonan Church in Winnipeg MB, First Baptist Church in  Prince Albert SK and First Baptist Church in Olds AB.

George leaves to mourn him his wife Darlene and many friends and family.  His memorial service will take place on Friday, September 26 at 2 pm at First Baptist Church in Olds AB.

Please keep George’s family and friends in your prayers.


Eileen Wall

Flower #6September 24 2014 — We mourn the passing of Eileen Wall who went home to her Lord on Sunday, September 21.

Eileen and her husband Clarence were pillars of Nanton First Baptist Church for more than 60 years. Clarence served as lay pastor at Nanton First Baptist for 6 years several decades ago.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 27 at 2 pm at Nanton First Baptist Church.

Please remember Eileen’s family and friends in your prayers.



Warren Hale

bigstock-Single-Red-Rose-Flower-44599210September 18, 2014 — The CBWC mourns the death of Warren Hale who went home to glory on September 15 at the age of 95.

Warren Clifford Hale was born in Eureka, Kansas on December 20, 1918 to John and Ruth Hale. He was the oldest of four children.  When Warren was a teenager, his family moved to Seattle where he finished high school.  At this time he also received Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. After high school, and being called by God to become a pastor, he enrolled in Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon (now Multnomah University).  Upon graduation, he moved to Salem, OR where he became a pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church.  At this time, on March 20, 1942, he married Susanne Esau.  They had their first daughter, Sharon, before moving to Seattle to further Warren’s education at Seattle Pacific College. Their second daughter, Charlotte, was born during this time.

Warren was then pastor to three churches in Washington:  Honeydew Community Church, Shelton First Baptist and Winlock First Baptist.  In 1968, he and Susanne moved to Nanaimo BC where he served as pastor for nine years. After their ministry in Nanaimo, they moved to Naples, Italy, where Warren was pastor at the Service Men’s Centre for one year. Ministry continued as they moved back to Canada where  Warren became pastor at High River Baptist in Alberta before becoming the Minister to Seniors at White Rock Baptist Church. He held this position until retiring from the ministry.

Warren was preceded in death by his wife Susanne, his brother Harold Hale and Lynn Marie and Scottie DeBoer.

Warren leaves a lifetime legacy of faithful service to the Lord.  A memorial service will be held at White Rock Baptist Church at 2 pm on September 18, 2014.  Please remember Warren’s family and many friends in your prayers.

Dan Brazeau

crocusflowersThe CBWC family is saddened to announce the passing of Rev. Dan Brazeau of Winnipeg on Friday April 11th. Dan had served most recently as Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Winnipeg.

Please pray for Dan’s widow Iona and the family as they plan a funeral and grieve the loss of their husband and father. Dan’s memorial service will be Saturday, April 19 at 2 pm at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 505 Oakview Ave. Winnipeg.

A benevolent fund has been set up to help with unexpected costs during this time and if you wish to donate please contact Cornerstone Baptist Church for details at

Grace Bonney

bigstock-Poppy-22832921We mourn the death of Grace Bonney who went home to glory on February 3, 2014.  Grace was the wife of the late Rev. Gordon Bonney who served as a pastor and chaplain in many CBWC churches and in Ontario, and mother of Rev. David Bonney, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Neepawa, MB. She was 84.

Grace was a loving mother to her son, David (Janet) of Neepawa, MB and daughters, Carolyn of Surrey, B.C., Sharon Birch (Brian) of Cottam. She was a loving grandmother to Nathan (Erin), James (Nikki), Michael, Susan, Jeremy and Joshua as well as 6 great-grandchildren, Charlotte, Soren, Eliot, Neriah, Gideon and Joseph. She will also be missed by her many friends in the various Baptist churches she and Gordon pastored in Ontario and Western Canada along with those at First Baptist Church in Leamington and the Leamington United Mennonite Home.

Grace was a member of First Baptist Church, Leamington and shared her love of music and volunteered as she could. The funeral service to celebrate Grace’s life will be at First Baptist Church, 3 Fox Street, Leamington, ONT on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11 a.m. Expressions of sympathy and memorial donations may be made to Canadian Baptist Ministries.

Please remember Grace’s family and friends in your prayers as they mourn her loss.

Joe Arthurs

bigstock-Pumpkin-Flower-22289249In the early morning hours of January 13, 2014, Joe Arthurs was welcomed into the presence of the Lord to be reunited with loved ones gone before.

Joe was born the son of Jennie and Wyman Arthurs who lived in the Durston area.  They later moved to the Old Dauphin District to the family farm.  Joe was educated in the area schools and spent one year in Winnipeg at the Agricultural School.  He returned to the farm, but joined the Royal Canadian Air Force to train as a Navigator.  While in the Air Force he married Irma Riehl and they were posted to several cities in Canada.  After his discharge he returned to farming.

Joe loved his life as a farmer and adapted to many changes in technology over the years.   He always maintained a positive attitude towards the weather or the outcomes of his labours.  He was also active in many community services such as the School Board, Dauphin Co-operative, and Manitoba Pool Elevator.  He provided Leadership in 4-H for fifteen years and served seventeen years on the Dauphin Hospital Board, five of them as Chairman.

Joe was a member of the Dauphin First Baptist Church since 1931 and he served in every role from greeter to a Deacon.  He loved his church and the people in it.  He became interested in serving the Baptist Denomination and held leadership positions as President of the Baptist Union of Western Canada (now Canadian Baptists of Western Canada), President of the Baptist Federation of Canada, Chairman of the Canadian Baptist Overseas Board, and an Executive member of the Baptist World Alliance.  Joe also loved to sing.  His beautiful tenor voice was heard at many weddings, funerals and Church gatherings.

After his retirement Joe had many happy days with family and friends.  He enjoyed travelling and curling.  At the age of 91, he was still volunteering to deliver for Meals on Wheels.  Of late he resided at St. Paul’s Home where he lived his days in contentment.  He was a talented, generous, loving man who lived out his faith in God in practical ways.

Joe was predeceased by Irma,  his wife of sixty-two years; his parents, Jennie and Wyman Arthurs; his sister Irene and her husband Gordon Alley, along with many other close family members.

He is survived by his children and their spouses:  Shirley and David Bell, Ken and Maureen Arthurs, Lynn and Wayne Stretch, Jean Arthurs and Dave Fast, Bert and Donna Arthurs, 13 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren as well as sister-in-laws Pat Wotton, Adeline Riehl and Yvonne Riehl and brother-in-law Durwin Riehl as well as cousins, nephews and nieces.  He was a guiding presence to all of us and we shall miss him dearly.

We give thanks for Joe’s life, his humble spirit of service and his immeasurable contribution to God’s work in Western Canada.  We ask that you remember his family in prayer.  Please join the family to honor Joe at a service to be held in the Dauphin First Baptist Church at 2:00 pm on January 25, 2014.  Internment is in the Riverside Cemetery.


Reflection on Nelson Mandela

Christmas and the Gift of Forgiveness

Dear Friends,

If we believe in the incarnation; Emmanuel, God with us, it is essential that we examine, engage and interact with the events in the middle of our collective experience. Nelson Mandela’s death is one of these things that prompt us to engage in with our faith.  It is not always clear, definitive nor accurate but it is a discussion that needs to take place more often.

The central theme in the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas is that his birth, life, passion, death and resurrection make possible the forgiveness of God through the Christ.  Forgiveness is often seen as an Easter gift but for more than obvious reasons, that gift begins at Christmas.  This reconciliation to Christ through the Easter resurrection and my claiming ‘what is on offer’ becomes the central narrative of human history and my own life.  I’m going to look at the life of Nelson Mandela in the context of this Christian understanding.

There is little to be said about Nelson Mandela that has not been said already.  There are some interesting sidebars, however, that might be of interest.  To be blunt, his primary contribution is his expression and modelling of forgiveness in his later years… much of the rest of his life is far too complicated to comment on… there are exceptions, but complicated is probably the rule.  His autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, has some interesting perspectives.  He followed his mother’s Methodist faith and was baptized even though he lived in a patriarchal culture where his father rejected the faith.  He saw, and I quote, “The church was as concerned with this world as the next; I saw that virtually all of the achievements of Africans seem to have come about through the missionary work of the church” (pg. 19).  His chief spiritual friend and mentor, Rev. Matyolo, was “of the fire and brimstone variety, seasoned with a bit of African animism.  The Lord was wise and omnipotent but he was also a vengeful God who let no bad deed go unpunished”(pg. 19).  There is no autobiographical comment by Mandela that his early experience of faith was a central theme in the rest of his life.  In fact, he considered the conversion of his first wife, Evelyn, to being a Jehovah’s Witnesses as the cause of the break up of their marriage.  Not because she was a JW, but in part because she “attempted to persuade me of the value of religious faith” (pg. 206) (over the value of political activism). Mandela seemed to see this an as either “or” choice.  His mentors and heroes were those whose pictures hung on the wall of his home: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin and Ghandi.  It is to Mandelas credit that in his autobiography, he doesn’t seek to conceal his embrace of Stalin.

I do not know whether I would have had the courage to seek non-violent protest.  Nor do I know whether many of us in the face of violence would have not sought to take up violence ourselves.  Amnesty International shed Mandela as one of their ‘prisoners of conscience’, when he signed up for the cause of violence.  It was a huge rupture at the World Council of Churches when, despite the ANC’s engagement in violent struggle, the World Council supported them.  There are a lot of complicated issues here.  I simply describe them and leave you to interpret.  I was moved by one South African BBC news reporter who summed up Mandela after his death by saying, and I paraphrase, “He was no saint but he was instrumental in the process of reconciliation”.

Mandela made up his mind for whatever reason that forgiveness would be his creed after he left prison.  He proceeded to very publically and resolutely meet, socialize with, and be publically and privately reconciled to those who had harmed him…a prison guard who was invited to his inauguration; the growing and deepening friendship with de Klerk, the last Afrikaanner and white South African President; the visits with the prosecutor who had sent him to jail or lunch with the widows of the South African presidents who had initiated apartheid.  All these were utterly important for peace in South Africa, and showed that Mandela had learned through his own suffering and the suffering he had sometimes caused others, that real courage lies in forgiveness.  Desmond Tutu commented on the day of Mandela’s funeral that it was a travesty that the Dutch Reformed Church and others who identified with white South Africa were not part of his memorial funeral.  Mandela had learned to be forgiving and a reconciler.  The ANC has clearly not learned that lesson.

When the now deceased CBC personality Barbara Frum interviewed Mandela during the week of his release from prison, she asked him whether during his incarceration he felt like a Job or a Moses (quite insightful given Frum’s general attitude towards religion). Mandela replied that that was for other people to decide.  He defied the role of prophet and embraced the role of servant, which is instructive.

If the central theme of my life is the forgiveness of God and my reconciliation and relationship with Christ then what am I to do with Mandela and a very public death which is imbedded in the Christmas season?  In all the media commentary and at the state memorial and funeral it is in the main, a generic god that is being spoken of.  Jesus rarely gets a mention.  We are asked to follow Mandela’s example, not our Lord’s (although former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda’s challenge to be a Christian was wonderful).  No one even dares suggest that we are to imitate Mandela because he was imitating Jesus… no one suggests it because it’s not necessarily true.  Nevertheless, I am moved by the man, respect and honour his suffering and find that he is in the handful of courageous folk in the 20th century who learned the lessons of forgiveness; and I believe that the roots of that come only from the Holy Spirit… the source Mandela drew from.

Enough of Mandela.  This letter has gone on long enough but I need to say one more thing. I experienced two dramatic times this year when the Lord shook me out like a dirty, dusty rag and awakened my own need to forgive and seek the forgiveness of others.  It was and continues to be an amazing journey that I only regret I did not start sooner. I regret that I do not do it more often.

PS: I once referred to a Marianne Williamson poem which is associated with Mandela… it is thematically appropriate to attach it to him and I share it with you again.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

May the gift of forgiveness that comes to us through the Christ child this Christmas dwell in each of us richly.  As we have sought from the Lord His forgiveness, might we receive it and grant it to others this day and forever more.  Amen.

Jeremy Bell, CBWC Executive Minister

Gordon “Keith” Churchill

bigstock-bright-yellow-tulips-isolated--16929578GORDON “KEITH” CHURCHILL  BA, M.Div, D.Min (1939-2013) of Greenwich, NS. A gentle man has gone quietly toward a new horizon. Keith was born in Sydney, NS, the son of Rev Ernest and Blanche Churchill who were pastoring in Mira, CB.  His public schooling took place in Digby, NS where he was active in student affairs. While at Acadia University, he became student council president.  After graduation as a math major, he decided to go into pastoral ministry. Student pastorates were at Port Bickerton and Spryfield.  He chose Union Theological Seminary in New York to take his theological training, graduating in 1964.

Returning to the Maritimes, he accepted the position as Associate Pastor at First Baptist, Amherst.  Subsequently, he served as senior pastor at Lancaster Baptist, St John NB, First Baptist Lethbridge, AB, West Point Grey Baptist, Vancouver, BC and Trinity Baptist, Sherwood Park, AB. While serving as pastor he completed studies for a doctoral degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. In 1995 he became Area Minister for the Baptist Union of Western Canada, now Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, – an area that stretched from the Arctic Circle to the US border.  After retirement, Keith did interim ministries in Vancouver, White Rock, BC, Toronto, Edmonton, Middleton, Margaretsville and Bridgetown.  His work was thoughtful, his love was genuine and his ministries effective. He married Joan Neily, North Kingston, NS in 1968. In 1970 their son, Jeffery Churchill, (Vancouver, BC)  was born.

Keith passed away December 7, 2013 in his home after a two year struggle with Lymphoma. His primary work and first love was to serve the worship and witness needs of a congregation.  But his interest went beyond that to a larger field of service – participating in US  civil rights demonstrations, visiting the work of world missions in Africa and India, spending a sabbatical building houses in Nicaragua, serving as local president of the Interchurch Council. Keith was an avid Scouter, became Queen Scout, attended a Jamboree in 1958.  In 2010 he was made a Baden-Powell Fellow under the patronage of the King of Sweden.  He was an admitted news junkie reading several newspapers a day.  He loved old movies.  The more often he watched Casablanca the better. Listening to jazz music, reading, feeding birds and enjoying his grand boys were treasured times.

Keith is survived by his wife, Joan, Greenwich NS; son, Jeff (Devony) and grandsons, Hayden and Callum, Vancouver;  brother, Rev. Dr. John Churchill (Lana) and the families of their children, Laura, Sharon and James; Aunt Minnie Clayton, Halifax; Special Niece Darlene; numerous cousins and friends from Coast to Coast to Coast.  He was predeceased by his parents. Cremation and burial have taken place. A Service of Celebration will be held at Port Williams United Baptist Church on December 11, at 2:00 p.m.  Reception to follow.  No flowers by request.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Port Williams United Baptist Church, Box 301, Port Williams, NS. BOP ITO or Doctors Without Borders, PO Box 1269 Stn K, Toronto, ON M4P 9Z9. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the White Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Kentville.  On-line inquiries may be directed”

Please pray for Keith’s wife Joan, his family and friends during this difficult time.



William Gietz

bigstock-Single-Red-Rose-Flower-44599210We are saddened to learn of the passing of Rev. William Gietz on November 21 at the age of 96 in Winnipeg.

Rev. William (“Bill”) Gietz was born in 1917 on a farm in Poland, emigrating to Canada with his family in 1928 and settling near Pincher Creek, AB.  He attended Winnipeg Bible Institute (now Providence College) where he met Thora Oliver, who became his wife in 1943.  Following the birth of three sons, Nelson, Wesley and Rodney, and service in the Air Force in Calgary during World War II, he began divinity studies at McMaster University.  During this time he served in student pastorates at South Cayuga, ON and Eagle River, ON.

His first full time ministry was at First Baptist in Kenora, ON, where son Peter was born, but who died in infancy.  He next served Emerson Baptist in Emerson, MB, where son Clark was born, then Westmount Baptist in Moose Jaw, SK, before taking a secular position with the Saskatchewan government. He was called to First Baptist in Calgary, AB as an associate pastor with Rev. Dr. Howard Bentall, then moved to Thunder Bay, ON where he pastored Ft. William Baptist.  During this time he also served on the Board for Canadian Baptist Overseas Mission Board, now CBM.  He concluded his ministry service at St. Vital Baptist in Winnipeg, MB, where he retired as Pastor Emeritus.

His devoted wife Thora predeceased him in 2008, and his son Rodney in 2011.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, December 2 at 2 pm at Willowlake Baptist in Winnipeg with Rev. Mark Doerksen officiating.

Please remember Bill’s family in prayer at this time.