Making Connections July 2021

A Journey to Healing & Understanding

By Michelle Casavant

I raise my hands in honour of Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, Cowessess First Nation, and the many more Nations that will continue to uncover the remains of innocent children in unmarked and mass graves.

The determination to find the children that Canada left lost and unaccounted for. The strength to share this tragic news with our country, and the world.

The grace to witness an international response of surprise and shock to the realities that Indigenous communities have been recounting and living with the devastation of for too many years.

In 2016, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report acknowledged the tragic experiences suffered by children who were forced to attend our country’s Indian Residential Schools between 1831 and 1996, speaking to the likelihood of mass, unmarked graves at the sites. On May 27, 2021, the small bodies of 215 of those missing children were found, buried at Kamloops Indian Residential School. Every week, more have been found, and with the astonishing numbers, like at Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan. More will be found… with determination, strength, and grace.

These horrific discoveries, in their indisputable physicality, have finally triggered long overdue action to commence the work it will take to address the myriad of intangible forces that have suffocated so many Indigenous people. In a morbid, yet necessary, offering of reconciliation, some engineering firms across Canada are providing their ground-penetrating technology, pro bono, to help First Nations locate and recover the ones who are still missing.

It has reignited outrage and cries for justice.

We knew these little ones were missing.

They were never forgotten.

For me, right now, the intersectionalities of the identities that I was born into—and have walked into—are breaking. My heart, soul, mind and body ache in ways I haven’t known before.

I am a Cree Métis woman. I was raised in rural Saskatchewan; however, my Métis grandmother completely denied our Indigeneity. Withdrawing from ceremonies to evade racism, my ancestors may have feared their children would also be taken. They felt it necessary to deny their history in an attempt to protect their future—and succumbed to the colonizer. When discoveries are made near my home, it hurts even more deeply.

I am a mother. It shatters me to imagine what it was like for the mothers, grandmothers, and communities to witness Indian Agents and RCMP destroy families. Children stolen. It overwhelms me to think of small, rural towns without children laughing and playing. It devastates me to consider the mothers of the missing and murdered being lied to, dismissively informed that their children had simply ran away from school. As if that could be enough for any mother. Subsequently, countless families have been searching for these lost souls for decades. The heartache I have for these generations that were lost…for the knowledge keepers, mothers, fathers, siblings, that were callously denied their life’s purpose.

I am a lawyer with the Government of Canada. For six years, on behalf of Canada, I witnessed the confidential, individual hearings with the Survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential School system. The Survivors bravely attended, forced to describe frightening experiences in exchange for a financial ‘compensation’, calculated via an objective spreadsheet that will never make anything equal. The trajectories of so many lives diverted and devastated and perpetuated through generational trauma. Almost ten years later, the memories of those hearings continue to occupy my thoughts.

I am a Christian. I cannot reconcile the actions that were committed in the name of Jesus. I want to scream from the rooftops that this is not Christianity. Jesus is calling those little ones to Him now, “Come to Me. You belong in the kingdom of heaven, all ye who are hurting, and I will give you rest.” Christ is the one that is bringing me peace during this time of deep sorrow and grief. Yet some of those who suffered these great injustices do not know His peace because they were violated by those who held positions of power in the church.

I am a Christian Indigenous person. I know Creator is the one true God. My current struggle is that despite requests, precedents and reasoning, the leaders of my home church will not incorporate an acknowledgement of the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory that the church is located on into our practices. Simultaneously, there are Indigenous communities in Canada that don’t have access to clean drinking water, and yet, our churches are sending enormous amounts of money to remote countries. I’m hurt and confused by the perceived hypocrisy of my church’s resistance to engagement with acts of reconciliation.

I am human. I am heartbroken by the reality of adults, in a faith-based position of trust, systematically harming vulnerable children. I am confused by the reality that virtually no one has been held accountable for these crimes. Trusting children—instruments of pure love—led into physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, and cultural abuse. These are crimes against humanity that have gone unpunished. If these found remains were of Caucasian descent, the culprits would have been held to account.

These days, my sorrow changes as it unfolds. I am working to be present to the feelings, so that I can heal. I do not want to be resilient anymore; I am fatigued, I am weary and I am weak. Yet, I know that I need to heal so my children can have a better life. As communities, we need to heal so our offspring will have better lives. As each of these discoveries is unearthed, the open, gaping wound in my soul is covered with salt again.

I know that Jesus can and will restore all things…with determination, strength, and grace.

All my relations.

-Michelle Casavant

If you would like to contact Michelle, she would be happy to hear from you at metismichelle@gmail.com 

Honouring Our Responsibilities

By Jodi Spargur

Memorials have popped up all over the country. Flags fly at half mast, our attention captured we don an orange t-shirt or an Every Child Matters frame on our profile photo, we try to find the words to pray for the 215 children now 751 now… What now? 

Let your heart feel this hurt in the hopes that we might find the strength for change. “Listen hard to the stories you are told (by Indigenous Peoples) so that your heart can begin to be changed. Without a changed heart you have no capacity for changed action.” Dr. Ray Aldred

Dr. Cheryl Bear and Brian Doerksen have written a new song called 215.
215 Indigenous children
who can’t come home.
215, how many more missing?
Indigenous children
who can’t come home.

Why did it take so long?
Revealing this ancient wrong
When mothers cried
through countless nights alone.

The church and the government
Complicit in violence
How could such savagery
Stay unconfessed?

How do we allow those questions to move us to action rather than indifference and silence?

Let the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples help us recover the image of God in our neighbour.

Article 7
ii. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom,
peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to
any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly
removing children of the group to another group.

In May 2017, the CBWC voted to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation. What does that mean for us? A number of things:

  1. That when the atrocities of genocide as articulated in Article 7 above are revealed, as people of faith committed to these principles we cannot turn away and say, “That wasn’t us.” That, in essence, is an “Am I my brother’s keeper?” question, and the answer is, Yes.
  2. Like Zacchaeus—who, when convicted that he had been benefitting from harm done to others, set about to repay his debts and more—we too must commit to setting wrongs right. This is a long process and not one we fix overnight, but we must commit ourselves to this path.
  3. We need now, more than ever, to commit ourselves to prayer. We need all kinds of prayer, repentance, lament, prayers for healing, prayers for conviction and for courage to act. But I would encourage us to pray with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at this time to help us see what perhaps we have been unable or unwilling to see before now.

Let justice be our part in setting the stage for healing and conciliation.
Aubrey Bosak, in speaking about reconciliation as a black South African says, “If one expects forgiveness from the victim, why can we not expect justice from the perpetrators and beneficiaries? If the name of Jesus is invoked regarding forgiveness, His name must also be invoked to call for justice.” (Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism). For Settler Christians, our place in the journey of healing and reconciliation is one of seeking justice as those who have benefitted from the perpetuation of injustice whether it happened by our hand or not. This is a spiritual call and spiritual work that can only be sustained by faith as we walk with our neighbours in self-giving love.

Three next steps:

1. Pray with this resource https://cbwc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Praying-the-United-Nations-Declaration-on-the-Rights-of-Indigenous-Peoples.pdf
2. Learn. There are many places to start. Check out this resource for a next step that is appropriate to where you and your community are.
3. Act. Contact Jodi Spargur to explore how your church community might begin engaging locally in your context.

CBM Spotlight | Get Moving for Education: Active in Mission

Most of us, in the past year, have had the chance to recognize what a privilege it is to physically go to school, that even the struggles of online learning are worth persevering through—rather than to go without education. Perhaps our perspective has shifted as we have witnessed our own children’s formal learning threatened, and we can understand how important it is to try to help our global neighbours resolve the issues that keep kids out of school. In many places, families face school fees they can’t afford, or need their children to help support the family by working.

At the height of the pandemic, schools were closed for over 90% of learners.  While schools shifted to remote learning such as radio, television, and online, an estimated 500 million students are being left behind due to lack of equipment needed for at-home learning, remote learning policies, and access to the internet. Add to that, the 258 million students who were already out of school before the COVID-19 crisis. There has been much loss because of the pandemic; we cannot let the virus take the futures of millions of children as well.

Thankfully, through CBM’s partners and local churches, many of those students will not be left behind. It’s in the margins—the places that are overlooked—where the church is present and caring for those often pushed to the sidelines. 

In 2021, Active in Mission is back! From July 18-25, 2021, we will be walking, biking, and running to raise funds to support education for kids. Education is a powerful tool to fight generational poverty, and you can get active this year to bring children around the world the education they deserve. 

Just as we help our kids get out the door to walk or bus, or out of bed and onto their online class, we can partner together with communities to help solve their barriers to education.   

Will you help these children along a path to a brighter future today?

Let’s say YES and get Active in Mission together!

How to Take Action:

1. Go to activeinmission.ca and register your fundraising campaign page, either as a group or as an individual.

2. Get social! Follow us and tag us on Instagram @readytobesent #ActiveinMission

3. Between July 18-25, 2021, get moving! Whether you’re kayaking, rollerblading, walking, or biking, anything goes–as long as you’re active.

4. Let your donors see the progress your fundraiser is making in real-time on your campaign page.

 BCY Regional Newsletter

Starting What Can’t Be Finished

Newest Board Members 2021-2023

The CBWC wants to extend a warm welcome and thanks to the newest Board Members for 2021-2023, with a special acknowledgement of our new President, Loralyn Lind. For a complete list of Board Members, click here.

Loralyn Lind pastors in Dauphin, MB. She is married to Cordell, and together they own a Bed & Breakfast and train Cordell’s hunting dog, George. Loralyn and Cordell have served in all three regions of the CBWC and attended the Banff Conference with determined consistency for 30 years. Loralyn loves to read and discover new insights into how God is bringing us all closer to Himself as we daily experience His presence.

Tim Kerber pastors at Leduc Community Baptist Church in Leduc, AB and has done so for the past 26 years. He is married to Rachelle, and they have two teenage children. Tim loves God, his family, his work and his community. He loves to preach and plan and create and dream. It is his desire that people find freedom and hope in Christ which invades their daily lives and changes the world. Tim enjoys being active and challenged. He enjoys road biking, triathlon and adventure races. He loves to garden, work with wood, and read. He also loves burgers, pigeons, hockey and hot tubs.

Richard Currie lives in Duncan British Columbia, is a member of New Life Church, and does some volunteer work in his community.

Before retiring in 2018, Richard was Vice President of Finance and Operations at Concordia University of Edmonton for nine years. Most of his career has been with operation management of non-profit organizations, having held senior administrative positions in health care administration as well as with advanced education institutions. In addition, he has worked cross-culturally for three years as administrator of a busy rural mission hospital in far-west Nepal, and later as administrator at the office of TEAM of Canada. He also has done volunteer work assisting with settlement of Bhutanese and Syrian refugees in Canada. He currently volunteers as vice-chair of Cowichan Valley Basket Society (Food Bank), treasurer of the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival Association, and treasurer of Stonewood Village Strata Association. He holds a CPA (Alberta) designation and a Master of Health Services Administration degree from University of Alberta.

Grant Hill, with his wife Becky and their two daughters, has been a part of the Elk Lake Baptist Church community in Victoria, BC since 2016. Born in Kelowna, Grant completed his Bachelor of Music at UVic in 2003 and his Master of Divinity at Regent College in 2007. He served as an Associate Pastor at Mississauga Chinese Baptist and Olivet Baptist (New Westminster) before his call to serve at ELB. He enjoys people, good conversation, playing guitar and being outdoors.

Gladys Tsang came to Canada and studied in Ontario when she was a youth. Gladys returned to Hong Kong upon graduation from U of Toronto but returned again to Canada to study at Regent College in the 80’s. Gladys was called by our denomination to plant an ethnic church in Vancouver in the 90’s which resulted in founding the church called Westside Baptist Church in Richmond, BC. She has been serving as the senior pastor at Westside since its beginnings. Gladys is married to Anders Tsang who is also an ordained minister with CBWC.

Laurel Auch “I’m a farmer’s wife, a mother of three, and a gramma of 2. My husband and I became Christians in 2002 and were baptized together at Faith Community Baptist Church in Claresholm. I was a Chartered Accountant until I decided to stay home with my children (one of whom has autism), and help with the management of the farm. I’ve used my training to serve as the church bookkeeper for many years and have also taught Sunday school and helped in other ministry areas. I don’t consider myself to be a leader, but I enjoy working collaboratively with other people to enact a common goal or vision, so I’m very much looking forward to being part of the CBWC Board.”

David Vandergucht lives in Regina with his wife Katherine and four young children. He and Katherine are members at Argyle Road Baptist Church, and David has previously served on the church board there. He works as a lake ecologist for the provincial government.

Flexible Existentialists 

By Kevin Vincent, Director of the Centre for New Congregations Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada

Recently, I heard Simon Sinek explain his philosophy of “existential flexibility.” He said, “Existential flexibility is the capacity of a leader or an organization to shift 180 degrees and begin to plan and behave in an entirely new way, given an entirely new reality and environment. It’s the capacity to make a 180-degree shift to advance your cause.” 

In addressing that specifically for churches, he said that as the church moves past the COVID-19 chapter, many faith leaders are simply moving back to the way it was, to what they know and to what they have always done. He said, “They know they can’t do what they used to do, but they don’t know what to do!”  

Perhaps you can relate. As it relates to your church, you would say, “I know we can’t go back now! But I don’t know where to go now!” Let’s be “flexible existentialists” for the next few minutes. Let me prompt your thinking by heading down what would be a 180-degree shift for most churches moving forward, and let’s begin with a radical question. Here it is. 

Is it time for your church to cancel your Sunday morning worship service? Is it time to say that the current model of how most of us “do church” has run its course? Is it time to embrace the reality that the culture has shifted, people have little interest in weekly, larger, group gatherings and post-COVID, it’s not coming back? Is it time to abandon a tired old model of church? 

If I’ve already said enough to tick you off, stick with me because I’m much more hopeful than I’m sounding. 

A recent survey in the United States by the UNSTUCK group reported that churches that have re-opened have seen about 36% of people return. 

Now, I know those are American statistics. Hold your fire! But, at least anecdotally, even if we don’t have Canadian survey results that are as clear, a lot of pastors are experiencing the same and are wondering, “Who’s coming back?  When will they come back?  Who’s not coming back?”  

Let’s just imagine that we’re twice as good as the Americans (Canadians like to think that!).  Let’s imagine that we get 70% of people back! Are we OK with that? Is 70% good enough? Perhaps we should just conclude that those that don’t return are simply the hard soil, the rocky and thorny ground, of Jesus’ parable. They’re a good excuse to clean up our membership list. 

Even more shocking is that the American survey discovered that only 40% of those under the age of 36 prefer larger in-person gatherings. That means that 6 in 10 church-goers under the age of 36 aren’t sure that they care about your Sunday morning worship service anymore and aren’t looking to return. So, should you cancel Sunday? 

I believe the answer is No!  But let me suggest an “existentially flexible” new way forward that was true pre-pandemic and has been dramatically accelerated as we move toward becoming a post-pandemic Church. Here it is. 

The future of the church in Canada will not be grounded in a single-site expression but in a multiplicity of congregational gatherings, meeting at different times, in different places, with different people. 

Single site. Single gathering. Single location. Single time. “See you Sunday at 10:30” is not the future. 

What could that look like for your church, if you adopted that type of a posture? Is there still a place for a Sunday morning worship gathering? Of course! There are many who love that expression of church. In fact, 70% of the church-going Boomers surveyed want to go back to that traditional Sunday gathering. It’s still meaningful. It’s what they know and love. We can’t steal that. Moving forward, it needs to be a piece of the reimagined church. 

But the great majority of younger generations don’t share that conviction. They’re finding connection in the digital church. They’re enjoying a house church that has emerged with 4 other families. They’re creating dinner church experiences with a dozen friends on a Thursday night. They’re a Sunday morning “huddle church.” Some are creating their own “worship gathering and liturgy.” Others are joining together for a “watch party” of their church’s online service. 

What would it look like for your church to consider a multiplied model? What would it look like to embrace a true hybrid expression of church that still celebrates the traditional Sunday gathering but also cheerleads and celebrates multiple, smaller congregations meeting during the week, in various locations, at various times, with many groups of people?  

I think I can already hear some push-back. “Yeah but we’re a little church! We’re only small! We can’t multiply anything! That’s a big church model!”  

No, it’s not!! Don’t take your “existentially flexible” hat off yet!  What if there were 31 people meeting on Sunday at 10:30am in your church facility? Perhaps there’s another group of 14 on Thursday night, over dinner? And another group of 23 on Tuesday night over coffee in a café? And what if fellowship happened? What if care happened? What if teaching happened? What if you started serving together? Could that, in fact, be a true congregation by New Testament standards? Could that simply be another expression of your church, another congregation, at a different time, in a different place, reaching different people, tethered together as multiple congregations and still ONE church? 

Could THAT be a new way forward? Could that be the answer that your church needs to consider? As Simon Sinek asks, “Do you have the capacity to make that 180-degree shift to advance your cause?” We must! It’s a new day for the Church!  Jesus is still building His Church, and His cause is too great not to try! 

Kevin Vincent is the Director for the Centre of Congregational Development with CBAC. He is part of Canadian Baptist National Cohort along with Cid Latty from CBOQ and Shannon Youell from CBWC. Together we dream and vision and work towards sharing resources and imagination for our churches as they join God in extending the Good News into multiple communities in which the folk in our churches live, work, play and pray. And we laugh a lot. 

Banff Registration is Open!

Those in pastoral leadership know that restful rhythms do not just happen – space must be created for rest and renewal. It has been a privilege to provide such space to our pastors and spouses for the past 44 years in one of the most picturesque locales in the world! November 2021 will be our 45th year to gather together in Banff for restoration of mind, body, soul and spirit. We hope you can join us this year at the Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference!

Registration for Banff 2021 opens on July 1, 2021.
Early bird registration: August 30, 2021.
Regular registration deadline: September 30, 2021.
Dates: November 1 – 4, 2021

Click Here to Register!

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Heartland Regional Newsletter March 2021

Reflections on Reconciliation

By Mark Doerksen

In February, most of Canada celebrated Family Day, but in Manitoba, this holiday is called Louis Riel Day. We experienced the Polar Vortex on the prairies this past week and a half, which is another phrase for “unbearably cold”—combined with the restrictions of COVID-19 , it meant that our family did very little to celebrate Louis Riel Day. Keeping warm was the main objective of the holiday this year.

Louis Riel can be a polarizing figure for some, and his history is—at the very least—important and interesting. Our house is located not too far from his birthplace, and if you drive the streets of Winnipeg, you’ll see names of some of the folks that were important for the founding of Manitoba and who had interactions with Riel. This is the birthplace of the Metis nation, and Winnipeg is located on Treaty 1 land.

Part of my work includes participation and leadership on the Justice and Mercy Network of the CBWC. This committee gets together to talk about ways to animate churches on justice topics, should churches so desire. One of the topics that we’ve spoken about, and that we continue to pay attention to, is that of Indigenous issues. To that end, I have enrolled in a free, online course through our sister denomination, the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada. The course is called Walking in a Good Way with Our Indigenous Neighbours, and you can access it here. The course takes about 20 hours to complete. You can do so at your leisure, as it is always accessible, and it is free of charge. I travel less due to COVID-19, and I have happily been able to insert courses like this into my calendar.

I have not completed the course, but it is quite clear that much harm has been done to Indigenous people in our country, and some of this harm has come by way of the church. It’s easy to say that Canadian Baptists were not as involved as other denominations in residential schooling for instance, but relationships between Canadian Baptists and Indigenous people have not always been what they ought to be. For example, according to an article by David R. Elliot, William Henry Prince worked alongside Alexander Grant, stationed at First Baptist Winnipeg, for some time in the 1890s. Unfortunately, this work amongst Indigenous people in Manitoba all but ceased by the time of the First World War. Prince was the first missionary to the Indigenous people of the region. Jodi Spargur has also written a paper on this called Baptists and First People’s of Canada 1846-1976: A History. If you would like to hear the latest update on this, you can contact Jodi at spargurj@gmail.com. I am also sure that if you want to fund her doctorate so she can write a book on this topic, she would be happy to connect.

I understand that this history can be difficult to hear, and difficult to know what to do with. Yet I also understand that I have a lot to learn when it comes to understanding the history of Indigenous people in Canada, and how I can be a part of reconciliation moving forward. I wish to do so within a biblical and theological framework, and this course helps me with that. So, if you’ve got a bit more time on your hands and you wish to know more about this topic, please consider enrolling.

Blessings,
Mark

A Journey to Life in Ministry

By Pastor Mandi Hecht

My name is Mandi Hecht, and I am currently serving as the Pastor of First Baptist Church in Saskatoon, SK. I have lived nearly all of my life in Saskatchewan; and most of that was spent in the city of Prince Albert, where I grew up. It was there, while I was about 14 years old, that I felt the call to vocational ministry. Still, life is full of surprises, and it was not a straight line for me from call to ministry.

Following high school, I went to Baptist Leadership Training School. In fact, I was a member of the last class to attend that denominational institution! It is also there that I met my husband, Ian. After a year in Calgary at BLTS, I moved to Regina and studied Social Work at the University of Regina. Ian and I were married in 2000. When Ian finished his degree in education, we moved to Prince Albert as he took up his first teaching post.

Shortly after the birth of our first child, Caleb, I began to study with Carey Theological College in hopes of further pursing the pull I felt towards ministry. In 2004, I began with Carey a program called “Diploma of Ministry.” A few years later, I switched to a new program that they were offering, the “Master of Pastoral Ministry.” I took classes by distance where possible, and in person where I could get to them. In this way I studied while at home with Caleb, as well as his sister, Grace, who came into the world in 2005. As I studied and volunteered at our church in Prince Albert, the CBWC became interested in offering support for churches to enhance ministry to children and families. I came on staff with the denomination during this time as the Coordinator for Children and Family Ministry in the Heartland area.

I had nearly completed the Master of Pastoral Ministry when Carey was approved to offer a “Master of Divinity” degree, and so I joined that program. Only 4 classes shy of earning the MDiv, I discovered I was pregnant with our third child! So, I completed the last 2 classes of that degree with an infant in tow. The birth of Noelle also meant that I gave up my position with the denomination to care for my growing family.

I graduated with my MDiv (finally!) in 2011. That June, I started as a part-time pastor of Faith Community Church in Wakaw. With a pastoral role and an MDiv in hand, I spent a couple of years balancing work and looking after my young family. I was ordained by the CBWC in 2013. However, in 2014 an opportunity presented itself that was too good to pass up! I was accepted into a Doctor of Ministry program at Northern Seminary, which enabled me to study with New Testament scholar and author Scot McKnight. I began classes there in 2014 and graduated in 2018. A highlight of this program was a trip to Israel with my classmates, professors, and any family and friends who wanted to come along.

A new chapter in our lives kicked off when I received and accepted the call to the role of Pastor of First Baptist Church Saskatoon in the summer of 2020. The transition to a new city has been

stretched out over time for us. I am working in Saskatoon, my husband continues to teach in Prince Albert until the end of the school year 2021, and our kids are at three different schools in two different cities. While we had planned on a bit of chaos in this season of change, we have had some unplanned difficulty as well. Our son, Caleb, began to feel sick this fall, and this led to a two-week hospital stay around Christmas. Fortunately, he is no longer in the hospital, but unfortunately, he continues to have the same symptoms, and a diagnosis (up until this point) has proven elusive. One of the beautiful things about bride of Jesus Christ, however, is how we care for one another. I am very thankful for my church family at First Baptist Saskatoon, who have both accepted the care that I have offered them, and who have stepped up to “pastor” their pastor as my family goes through this season of challenge and transition.

Although the road to and through ministry (and through life) has not ever been the straight line that I expected it might be, I am grateful every day to the Lord for walking with me through the highs and lows of this journey, and for allowing me to walk alongside God’s people as an under-shepherd of the Great Shepherd!

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

Making Connections March 2021

Kurios Recruitment and Campaign Celebration

Jesus Christ is Lord!

I am overwhelmed by the response to our Pulling Together: Raising Tomorrow’s Leaders Now fundraising campaign. Throughout February we’ve been telling stories, building our communications, and asking for financial support (see www.Kurios.ca/give for details). The outflowing of generous support is humbling, and exciting!  We raised $96,407! We are so amazed that we came that close to our goal of $100,000, and while the campaign has ended of course we will gladly continue to accept donations. Those funds will help us continue to offer this experience, bridge us to our next group of students, and provide safe and reliable transportation!

I am so encouraged by the response, and feel so blessed to part of this community! Thank you, deeply and sincerely, to all of you who support Kurios financially, in prayer, and by pointing young adults towards Kurios.

Kurios: A CBWC Gap Year Experience is designed to walk alongside young adults in their pursuit of Jesus as Kurios (Lord). We are actively looking for the next group of young adults to join our experience this coming September, for 28 weeks of seeking Jesus together and pursuing Him as Lord of all.

Can you help pass the word along? A great opportunity to find out more is at our Virtual Open House, coming soon, including live guests from Guatemala!

Spotlight: CBM | Reflections of God at Work in 2020

Adrian Gardner – Director, Canadian Partnerships

On the evening of March 11, 2020 news of a novel coronavirus broke out. Within a week, our church had moved online, the SENT program was placed on hold, the Canada-US border was closed, and non-essential businesses were shuttered.

Looking back, I am overwhelmed by the faithfulness of God and the generosity of His people. In a time of difficulty, when it could have been easy to focus on our own hardship and need, Canadian Baptists continued to proclaim and demonstrate the love of God for the most vulnerable around the world.

I think of CBM Calling, a daily livestream we launched to tell the story of COVID-19 and how it was affecting our partners.

I remember our first Solidarity Sunday livestream where we joined our partners virtually. Over 200 people joined live and thousands watched later. Participants heard updates and prayer requests from our global partners, and we prayed for those in need.

Through Active in Mission, our first virtual run/walk/bike-a-thon, we worked with churches to provide composting latrines and clean water in rural El Salvador.

At Christmas, over 70 churches launched online campaigns, practicing generosity and demonstrating God’s love throughout the season.

The world has changed radically since March 11, 2020. I am choosing to focus on the story of the church being the Church, embracing the truth that we are not defined by our buildings but by our love, for God and for others.

Untying the Bonds of Oppression: An Interview with David, Arturo, and Yola Nacho

By: Jodi Spargur- Submitted on Behalf of the Justice and Mercy Network (JMN)

In a recent conversation about Jubilee and some modern examples of living into this biblical principle, I encountered the experience of Arturo and Yola Nacho and their own story of liberation through land reform in Bolivia. I wanted to learn more.

A few historical details will help you follow the conversation. Until 1953, most Indigenous peoples in Bolivia were subjected to a life of indentured servitude. Also, it was against the law to teach Indigenous Bolivians to read or write. In the 1920s, an ecumenical group came into ownership of a large farm in the village of Huatajata (on Lake Titicaca) which was home to 48 households and 275 serfs. In the 1930s, this project was turned over to Canadian Baptist Mission. The following is my conversation with Arturo and Yola Nacho and their son, David, about this project and its impacts.

Arturo: My name is Arturo Nacho Laura. I was born on the shores of Lake Titicaca. I attended a mission school because there was no government education until after the revolution in 1952. I worked for around 37 years as a pastor and in literacy and education.

Jodi: Arturo, what is your first language?

Arturo: The Amara language.

Yola: My name is Yola Vargas. I was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and my background is Indigenous. I grew up not being very happy to have Indigenous roots. When I grew up going to school, there was a lot of discrimination. I think many people like me don’t show their background. I was one of them. But Arturo was different. He was proud of who he was and helped me be proud, too.

Jodi: I want to talk about the farm at Huatajata. Were you born on the farm, Arturo?

Arturo: No. My community is called Llamacachi, a free community, nearby. Huatajata was not a free community.

Jodi: Were both of your grandparents from a free community?

Arturo: No, my Dad was a serf from the hacienda. My mother was from a free community, though.

Jodi: How did land reform and education bring the gospel in a meaningful way to your community?

Yola: It really was a very significant start for indigenous people. Even though in the past, 100 years ago, some Indigenous peoples fought and gave their lives for the rights of Indigenous peoples, still they could not gain this (these rights). There was a CBM missionary (Merrick) who argued that slavery was a conspiracy against the gospel and must end.

Jodi: So, originally, missionaries ran the hacienda in Huatajata like all the other haciendas around were run, with slaves. But they decided that this needed to be changed for the sake of the gospel. The action taken then was the liberation of the Amara and the title for the land being turned over to them?

Yola: Yes, and this was the model for the revolution of 1952. With that revolution, the other communities around—all the land of Bolivia—benefitted (from the) land reform.

David: When there is empowerment, or recognition of the value of another’s culture, and their right to live freely, there are good things—missiologically— that happen. The farm is one example of that.

Yola: Also, I think that any community needs its own leaders. What these missionaries did well was to develop, support and raise up and prepare the leadership in the rural area. As well as in Bolivia, in general.

Jodi: I am struck by the fact that the actions on this farm become the model for nation-wide agrarian reform. Are there ways that the church in Canada is being called to bold action around the return of land?

Yola: I think that people in Huatajata were empowered by this return of the land. For people like us who live in the city, maybe not as important. But for them, yes, it was very important. But it is not possible to return land everywhere. We know around the world that there are those who have lost their land and other people occupy it. And it cannot be returned.

Jodi: Let me push back on that. In Canada, 89% of the land is owned by the Crown, very little is occupied. Is there not room here to return some land, even just the land agreed to in the treaties?

Yola: Then, if this is the case, we must fight to get this land back. We must support people to get that right! Also, as a church, I think we must be committed to the empowerment of Indigenous People, and we can push a bit, politically.

David: I think there is a link here. By giving the people the deed/title for the land, you acknowledge them as responsible for it. Not in a paternalistic way, but in a way that calls all the others to restore the respect that was not there.

Maybe there is a lack of awareness in urban centers about how important this issue of land is for those who live on it, steward and take care of the land. The blindness of urban dwellers to the importance and significance of the land makes it harder to understand.

Arturo: I want to say what the Bolivian government is doing right now in Bolivia. They are working with internships because Indigenous peoples need to be included in every level of leadership. They do not just need to be hugged and told they are loved; they need to be included in government and leadership at every level. The Canadian government needs to do this, too.

Yola: I am very hopeful. It is very good for my spirit to see young people trying to live in a good way. There is something about the work they are doing in Bolivia. We need Indigenous youth as much as they need us. This is a dream, maybe, that we can share.

The CBWC’s Justice & Mercy Network seeks to inspire and equip churches in their theological vision of the kingdom of God so that we all pursue right relationships with God, with self, with others, and with the world. We seek to provide a thoughtful and wise social analysis of injustice, and to offer various resources that help inform decisions about justice. For more information about JMN please visit: https://cbwc.ca/our-ministries/justice-mercy-network/

 Heartland Regional Newsletter

Reflections on Reconciliation | A Journey to Life in Ministry by Mandi Hecht 

Betty (Milne) Anderson – A Life in Ministry

Submitted for March’s Church Planting blog-Originally published as a Humans of CBWC story on Facebook

God blessed me at the very beginning of my life by giving me Christian parents. At a very young age, I decided to be a nurse. After I accepted the Lord as my Saviour at age eleven at Christopher Lake Baptist Camp, my life goal was to become a Missionary Nurse.  Everything I did worked towards that goal; I obtained my BSN at the U of S because I knew Public Health training was essential, attended BLTS because I would need Bible and Christian Education knowledge, and did Midwifery training because I knew I would be delivering babies. I had a few years of nursing experience with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) and was in communication with the Baptist Overseas Mission Board. I was ready and waiting for God to call. But He didn’t.

My thoughts turned more towards nursing in the North, so I investigated nursing in the NWT. There was a position available in Frobisher Bay! But there was also an exciting VON nursing position in Nova Scotia. I was torn in my decision until one night, God very clearly called me to N.S. I wondered why until I became involved in a church which really stretched my faith and where I matured spiritually. I also had the privilege of going to Bolivia for a six-week Mission trip. I was sure that God would call me back to Bolivia, but He never did.

I was back home in Saskatchewan working with the VON in Regina when God did two wonderful things. First, He brought Joyce Oxnard into my life. At first, she was my boss, but then she became my best friend, mentor, supporter, prayer warrior and colleague. Second, He provided opportunities to learn an Evangelical approach to Christian witnessing. While there, a nursing position became available in Yellowknife to establish a Home Care Program. Joyce and I accepted and moved there together. It was during this time that God prepared both Joyce and myself to eventually move further north. The CBWC shared in great detail with us a desire to begin a new church plant in Inuvik. I waited on the Lord to call me further north. And finally, He did! It took twenty years to prepare me for that calling, but now I was finally ready.

It was very uncommon for two women to head up a church planting mission back then. Women in ministry and church planting were in their infancy almost 50 years ago.

Our Executive and Area Ministers took us to the Edmonton Airport, gave us a filmstrip projector and told us to go and “do our thing.” What a lot there was to learn!

During the next four years, we tried not to do “our thing”, but “God’s thing”. That was the only way we could survive. Our congregation started with a few people of Baptist-like backgrounds and gradually increased. The adult ministry was mainly to the white population, but the children and teens were Inuit and Dene. We were blessed with gifts and prayers from across the country. The Alberta area provided a lovely van sent up on the barge. There were no roads into Inuvik in those days. There was wonderful support from the Yellowknife church and especially from the Pastor, Alan MacPhedran. As Inuvik was the Triennial Project of 1976-79, money was raised to erect a building, which was built by volunteers from the south and our own people. It took three months and three days, much to the astonishment of the town! This and so much more was the excitement of that beginning work. But there was also the day to day work, the demands, disappointments, tears and doubts and wondering why everything didn’t happen as we hoped and planned. But there was also the constant reminder that God had called us. He was there with us. He would provide. And He did!

Those four years were the beginning of a variety of ministries: Interim in Fort McMurray serving a hurting new church plant suffering from an early split in the congregation. A wonderful five years in Grand Centre, leaving a strong congregation but no church building! Encouraging a discouraged, despondent church and Pastor in Medicine Hat. Surveying and attempting a church plant in Edmonton without a Mother Church. Re-establishing a closed church in Swift Current. Interim ministry at Argyle Road Baptist Church whose pastor had to resign because of ill health. Pastoring in Yorkton, called “as a last resort” when it seemed no one wanted to follow a 24-year pastorate! Return to Inuvik to a very small congregation who had been without leadership for some time. No one suitable became available, so the church was closed and the building sold. We would have stayed longer, but Joyce’s asthma was a severe health problem. So, we were there at the beginning and at the end of that ministry. Joyce retired at that time, but I spent five more years as half-time Associate at FBC in Saskatoon.

What we learned during almost 30 years of ministry is that what you experience in one place, what you read in books or are told by someone else or what you think might work, is not always the answer. What is essential is a strong sense that you are exactly where God wants you to be. That His timing and His ways are perfect and are not always your ways and timing. It is His work and He will accomplish His purposes, sometimes despite you. What a blessing to know the Lord is the one in charge.

After retirement, there were significant changes for us. Joyce gradually lost her sight until she was legally blind, although she still served as best she could in our local church. Alzheimers was diagnosed in 2016 and she spent the last two years of her life in Long Term Care. The Lord called her home on October 19, 2020 with rejoicing in Heaven but great loss here on earth.

Within a year of retirement, I married a wonderful man, a friend and colleague, Blake Anderson. He was also retired but serving part-time at Wakaw and is still involved in ministry, so we are serving together in various ways. Becoming a wife, a stepmother and grandmother all at once is exciting and I love every minute of it. Along with eight grandchildren, we now have five great-grandchildren with two more expected this year and 5 foster great/grandchildren. Never a dull moment! We regret not being able to see more of them these last months.

What a wonderful God we have! How thankful I am for His salvation and constant presence and provision!

Easter Preaching Series 2021

As we continue to live within the reality of a global pandemic, we collectively lament various layers of loss while searching for glimpses of hope. The fullness of lament involves honest emotion and eventually a turning toward a hope that is based on the promises of a God who delivered Israel from captivity, delivered us from the curse of sin and death, delivered Jesus from the grave, and will one day return to make all things whole. As followers of Christ, we are reminded that God meets us in our most overwhelming loss with a message of life, newness, and durable hope.

CBWC Staff have created a video-based Easter preaching series entitled “Durable Hope” to help lead your congregation through Holy Week – from Palm Sunday through to Celebration Sunday. You are welcome to use one or all of the pieces provided in the series:

Palm Sunday: Sermon by Peter Anderson
Maundy Thursday: Written reflection by Faye Reynolds
Good Friday: Sermon by Rob Ogilvie | “Lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” – Mark 15: 16-39, 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Easter Sunday: Sermon by Shannon Youell 

Watch for it HERE and on all CBWC social media platforms in early March!

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections February 2021

In this edition:

*Correction: The email that was sent out for this month’s Making Connections had incorrect dates. The OPW event will take place February 8-11, 2021.

Kurios – Month Long Fundraising Campaign

Kurios: A CBWC Gap Year Experience began in 2020 with a vision of young adults seeking Jesus together and pursuing Him as Lord (Kurios) of all. Last night we celebrated the goodness of God in the first class of Kurios participants! Thanks to all who joined us! 

The CBWC is committed to cultivating leadership. 

Our 8-month experience includes teaching that grounds us in living out Scripture, community to foster healthy relationships, service to explore our place in God’s Kingdom, spiritual rhythms of morning and evening prayer, and 6 weeks in Guatemala in partnership with Canadian Baptist Ministries.

We are excitedly planning for our full Kurios experience in September 2021!  And we need your support. 

We need your prayers.
We need help inviting students.
We need financial support.

Kurios is excited to launch a month-long fundraising campaign, “Pulling together to raise today’s leaders now”. We will be sending regular email updates, including testimonies and stories, throughout February as we progress towards our goal of $100,000. Great news – we already have $45,000 in matching funds committed! Please join our Kurios email list so we can continue to share what God is doing.

Join the Kurios community!

Spotlight: CBWC Foundation

On December 28, 2019, CNN published “20 things to look forward to in 2020” some of which included the Tokyo summer Olympics, release of the new James Bond movie, the world Expo in Dubai, historical anniversaries and a bustling Broadway scene in New York. As it turns out, 2020 headlines unfolded very differently than predicted, including instead Australian bushfires, Black Lives Matter protests, impeachment of the US President, the stock market crash, an invasion of murder hornets and last but not least, the global pandemic claiming two million lives worldwide. Woe is the grief of disrupted plans.

In 2021, numbers continue to be influenced by the rising stock prices of Zoom and Amazon, unemployment, infections rates and urban office vacancies, coupled with declines in GDP, concert attendance and recreational travel. The truth is, numbers reflect more than the number itself. Numbers represent people, and we’ve all been impacted in some way, positively or negatively by events outside our control.

At the Foundation, we too reflect numbers behind people. Math behind ministry. And although 2020 didn’t lend itself to a myriad of feel-good stories, we do know that amidst uncertainty, we assisted 14 pastors with funding for theological education, facilitated $100,000 in donations to CBWC churches, funded over $600,000 in grants to CBWC and managed a $13 million loan portfolio supporting Christian ministries. We walked alongside churches requesting payment flexibility, and continued to show up every day despite significant organizational change.

As we enter a new season, there is no easy antidote. The truth is, the global landscape is forever altered, as is the fabric of the CBWC Foundation. So how then do we nurture a posture of possibilities? Perhaps we choose to view 2021 through the eyes of British World War II veteran Capt. Tom Moore who raised more than $40 million for health care workers by walking 100 laps in his garden in the weeks leading up to his hundredth birthday. His resources? Determination, passion and service. And to each of you demonstrating courage in the midst of ambiguity, thank you. Let us not grow weary. It is a new day.

Isaiah 43:19

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

 Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

The Fear of Fear | New Pastors | Zoom Meetings

Common Expression: An Updated Pastoral Resource

Over the past several years, staff from across our four Canadian Baptist families have met periodically, according to their ministry assignments, for the purpose of collaborating on common practices. The group that oversees clergy services such as ordination, settlement, ministerial credentials and clergy well-being felt that it might be time to update the Ministerial Manual that is shared across Canada. This resource has been used by Canadian Baptists for decades to assist in the planning of worship services, weddings and funerals, child dedications and other key events in the life of the local church. Much of its material continues to be invaluable for pastors today, but the last update was in 1998 and though the basic content continues to be solid clergy practice, there were a few sections of more dated practices that could be removed. The primary driver however, was the need for an electronic version, as more and more pastors move to tablets for officiating services. 

The team divided the manual into sections to review and offer suggestions for changes and edit. We then recruited the help of Paul Matheson, from Saskatoon, to be our primary editor to finalize the product. Once the team was happy with the content, CBM, the owners of the Ministerial Manual contracted out the formatting of our final electronic version: Common Expressions: A Canadian Baptist Manual for Worship and Service. We trust that this updated version and format will continue be an indispensable tool for Baptist clergy from sea to sea.

What are some of the new changes?

  1. Most Scripture references are now quoted in the New Living Translation, unless specifically noted. This translation continues to grow in usage as it more easily communicates the message to listeners of all ages.
  2. Updated language for some of the liturgies and worship guides
  3. Some additional new material for sample prayers, calls to worship and removal of less useful material
  4. Easy “cut and paste” format that allows you to extract pieces you want to put into your own documents, phones or tablets
  5. New low price of $10.00!

*Click here to purchase your copy. 

*Please note: You will be taken to the CBWC’s event registration portal to make this purchase. The event is listed as Common Expressions. Please fill out all necessary fields to proceed to payment section. Once payment is received, a confirmation email will be sent to you with the downloadable link.

God is Always at His Work

By: Shannon Youell, Director of Church Planting

Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.”- John 5:17

No one has been unaffected by the events of the past eleven months. No one. Individuals, families, businesses, governments, weddings, funerals and places of worship. All have experienced the affects that a pandemic can have in our world.

Our churches have shifted and responded from no-gathered meetings, to partially-gathered meetings and back to no-gathered meetings. Through all of this, we have been prayerfully asking God to reveal Himself at work around us so that we are encouraged to continue being missionally and faithfully present in our neighbourhoods and in encouraging and discipling our churches.

We are all hearing stories of churches both adapting to the challenges and struggling with the challenges and changes. And some of those stories are surprises–we can’t always assume which churches will be struggling and which will find new ways to thrive and flourish. Some of those stories are within our current new churches/plants. Here are some of their stories.

Greenhills Christian Fellowship-Winnipeg-East

GCFWE is our newest plant launched from GCFW. This faithful and passionate group of Filipino church planters began training and discipling their core group in 2019. When COVID-19 hit, they were just ready to officially launch and had begun to gain some traction in their target area.

If you have the pleasure of hanging out with Filipino people, you will know how they evangelize–they eat together, have parties, BBQ’s in the park. With the Code Red restrictions in Winnipeg, it became very challenging to build neighbourhood relationships and do evangelism.

Yet, this past summer they celebrated baptism of new believers and as Pastor Arnold Mercado notes, in terms of people studying the Bible and learning the deeper truths of God, they’ve had more opportunities and people are growing in their faith. He reports that the best way to describe their planting community right now is in how God is building them, noting that ten months ago they hardly knew one another and now are growing together deeper in their relationships with Christ and with one another. They feel better prepared to saturate their neighbourhood with the Gospel, once restrictions are eased.

This past fall, they had their official launch from their sending church. Where God is at work and His people join Him, even a pandemic cannot stop the work of the Spirit among the people!

Hope Church of Calgary

Pastor Mouner and this community of Arabic speaking believers are finding the challenges of COVID-19, well—challenging.  Like all of us, they are deeply missing the opportunities to gather and be together.  One thing I’ve learned about people from the Middle East countries is how excellent they are in hospitality. We may consider ourselves a nation of warm friendliness, but compared to our Middle Eastern friends we are really not that great in the area of hospitality!

Everything they do is around food and tea and visiting. Take those out of the equation and our brothers and sisters at Hope are discouraged and not adapting well to the online meeting applications. But even in the midst of these challenges, God is still at work.

Pastor Mouner faithfully delivers to each congregant’s home the elements of bread and cup for shared, online Communion. An important element of Communion for them is the actual shared loaf of bread. It gives him an opportunity to have a safely-distanced, non-virtual conversation with his congregants.

A new preacher among the congregation is being raised up—a blessing for the Pastor and congregation. Mouner has also begun an online connection with other Syrian ministers around the world and the testimonies from other places are exciting and encouraging. There are many testimonies of an amazing revival among Iranians and Kurdish peoples.

Even in the challenges and struggles, Mouner and Hope Church see God at work amid the chaos of COVID-19.

Makarios Evangelical Church

Pastor Jessica of MEC is an innovator. Like the rest of us, she has had to pivot and adapt multiple times in the past eleven months. This new plant, launched in 2018 has been very intentional in both the spiritual formation of the community of believers who gather at MEC and in their mission field of international students who are housed and schooled right across the street from their church building location.

Using social media, apps, zoom and other creative vehicles they are staying connected on a daily basis with one another and the students. This is vital for the students, already isolated from home, culture and family, and now isolated from activities and relationships they were beginning to build in this foreign land. Meeting with the students online can be challenging, as they are already online for all their classes, yet Makarios has found places that resonate with the students. One of the practices the church has been doing all along is to cook dinner together with the students and then eat, fellowship and talk about life, school, family and faith. Most of these students would be eating alone, and this has been a very popular event for them.

Now restricted to their dorms, they eat alone, so the church is now ‘eating’ with them via zoom. Now that’s looking at your context, at the needs of your neighbourhood and finding a way to engage in spite of Covid!

Emmanuel Iranian Church

With Pastor Arash and Pastor Ali leading this growing, thriving community of Iranian people, discipleship is a key focus. A large percentage of the congregation are new converts to Christ and with hundreds of baptisms since they launched in 2018, there is a LOT of discipleship happening every day (and night!).

With Pastor Arash and Pastor Ali leading this growing, thriving community of Iranian people, discipleship is a key focus. A large percentage of the congregation are new converts to Christ and with hundreds of baptisms since they launched in 2018, there is a LOT of discipleship happening every day (and night!).

We’ve been celebrating the stories of new believers and baptisms since then. One might wonder how this can continue during a time of gathering restrictions, yet Pastor Ali reports that lives are being transformed on a weekly basis. 

Many of us are experiencing congregants weary of zoom meetings (if they liked them at all) and disengaging with an online version of community. Certainly, EIC has struggled with that as well, yet Pastor Arash said that, lately, more people are getting used to this new way of meeting and it’s now become ‘real’ to people. In a recent evening prayer time, people reported, for the first time, experiencing the presence of the Spirit virtually connecting the participants spiritually and emotionally together! There are even people coming to Christ on their zoom meetings, so new people are engaging with the community, sense the presence of the one true God and raise their hands to commit to Christ. 

EIC is currently praying and discerning another plant in the Surrey area of the lower mainland. Many new immigrants settle there and their desire is to serve in that community in a multi-cultural context with both Farsi and English-speaking services to serve and train 2nd and 3rd generation young people. 

Pray for and Celebrate Together

These are incredible testimonies and a reminder that God is certainly at work amongst His churches despite any restrictions placed upon public gatherings. We can choose to riff on all the barriers to ministry we are trying to navigate through, or we can allow our thinking and creativity to forge us into finding new rhythms and ways of being the people of God, called to be both salt to one another and light to those struggling in dark places. Yes, there are challenges and some of us are really struggling to find our way. Let our stories of God-at-work among us shed some light into our own darkness and grant us encouragement to persevere through our trials.

Pray for each other. Pray for these new churches and for the churches in your area. Pray for light to break through in the least expected of places. God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and though it may seem like it some days, He has not done either but rather is stirring us up to join Him in HHs work of bringing his kingdom come here on earth, as it is (already) in heaven.

Joyce & Dave Insley: A CBWC Love Story

Joyce and Dave Insley have been married for nearly 66 years—a beautiful, impressive milestone that they (with a bit of a laugh) call a miracle. From their love for each other, came four children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

It all started in Coquitlam, B.C, when Dave was nineteen and Joyce was twenty-one. They worked at a neighbourhood department store together. Joyce was a cashier, and Dave worked in the warehouse.

They had a foundation of friendship already as they shared many of the same social circles. Dave said one of the things that drew him to Joyce was how smart she was. (She was in school to become a teacher at the time). One Saturday when they were both working, Dave asked Joyce to accompany him to the movies. It became a bit of a habit after that, and soon they were a couple.

They got along well with each other’s families, despite some major differences. Dave had six brothers and sisters, Joyce was an only child. She greatly enjoyed joining in with a larger family though. Dave appreciated her family as well, her parents often had them over for Sunday supper and encouraged the two of them when it was time to get married.

They wed in 1955 and rented a house for the first five years or so until they paid-off their $2,500 building lot. They then applied for a special federal mortgage-build loan for $12,800 and with family labour help, they built a modest, three-bedroom home. While married, they started attending the local United Church, but later joined Olivet Baptist Church in New Westminster.

Exactly one mile away from their house was the school where Joyce worked as a teacher. She took a ten-year break to raise her young kids, then went back to teaching from 1970 to 1995. Dave held various roles in sales and product support for a multi-national equipment firm for 33 years. He then held various other jobs over the next 12 years, including being a realtor and helping run a DQ franchise for two years. He also had a very busy volunteer life.

After living in the same place for 50 years, they decided to sell their home and move to Kelowna, B.C. to be closer to family. They now live there and have been members of the Kelowna First Baptist Church for the past nine years.

When asked what advice they would give to young, married couples today, they both agreed that being patient with each other was vital for a healthy marriage. Life is long with many difficulties. In order to have a partnership last you must have grace and patience for one another. Their marriage allowed each to maintain some sense of independence and growth, while staying committed to each other and the family.

SERVE+ | July 8-11, 2021

SERVE+ (SERVE “Plus”) is a brand-new experience coming to your local community from July 8-11, 2021.  SERVE+ will feature the core of the familiar SERVE experience while adding in a few new elements, allowing the event to proceed safely as the pandemic recovery continues.  Each day (Thursday-Saturday) during SERVE+, youth from across Western Canada will bless their hometowns through active service in the name of Jesus.  Each night, hundreds of youth from BC, YT, AB, NWT, SK, and MB will gather online for an interactive livestream worship celebration.  Then on Sunday, each youth group will have the opportunity to bring their SERVE+ experience back to their local church family.  Register on the SERVE page.

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter February 2021

The Fear of Fear

By CBWC Mountain Standard Regional Minister, Dennis Stone

All of us are aware of what ‘fear’ is. We learn it as a child. At first it might have kept us close to our mothers. After experiencing pain in a few different ways, we learned to stay away from hot stoves, snarling dogs, dark spaces, or situations that would offend siblings. Overall, it might be safe to say that the emotion of fear has helped us, taught us, and protected us, so it is not in itself a bad emotion.

There is another level, however. In 2015 an article appeared in ‘Psychology Today’ by Gregg Henriques entitled, “Fear and the Fear of Fear.” The short article goes on to express how this can possibly be measured on an ‘anxiety sensitivity index’ (ASI). Further down in the article, it speaks of ‘affect phobia’, or the fear of negative feelings.

A question for church ministry coming out of this is, Does our preaching and teaching feed those who fall easily into the ‘fear of fear’? Do we cater more toward comfort and protectionism than toward faith in the face of adversity? It is much easier to cleave to what feels safe than to put ourselves into a place of the unknown, a place where fear might entangle us.

My grandparents came from Sweden in the early 1900s. This meant leaving family behind, knowing they would never return, crossing a country that spoke a foreign language, and setting up house in a culture largely unfamiliar to them. They knew no one and had to develop relationships from the ground up. It took courage and hope in a future that promised to be more exciting than their past.

The fear of fear can (and has) set back the ‘church’ quite severely. Where is the preaching on ‘go into all the world’? In our Western world church of today, we are far less likely as a whole to cross the street, to make friends in new places, to give out of resources that might pad our retirement, to leave our comfortable surroundings, or to welcome immigrants whose culture we do not understand. If we are waiting for society around us to welcome Christian truth openly, allowing us to feel safe in sharing… that time is not likely to come before Jesus does. The fear that holds us back from being or doing whatever the Lord wants us to be and do is paralyzing.

Scripture points out the ‘love casts out fear.’ We need to be more enveloped by Jesus’ love and have Him as our firm foundation. If fear is our foundation, or the fear of fear, we might be stuck for good…like in the concrete out of which many foundations are made. Let us break out of the mold that holds us back.

“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” – 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT.

Your co-worker,

Dennis Stone

CBWC Mountain Standard Regional Minister

New Pastors

Hiring of pastors across the CBWC during COVID-19 restrictions has slowed down quite dramatically. Without face-to-face meetings by churches and their committees, it has been difficult to continue proper process of assessing candidates or helping a whole church come to consensus. Even with these challenges, a few churches in the Mountain Standard Region have been able to call new Senior Pastors.

Mark Duesling is the new pastor at Zion Baptist Church.  He and his wife Doris and their two children have moved into their new home in NW Edmonton. Mark studied at Ontario Bible College and at Trinity Seminary in Indiana. He has some missionary and inter-cultural experience. He served as pastor in a few churches within the Canadian Baptists of Ontario Quebec, gaining his ordination with the CBOQ in 2011. We welcome Mark to his new calling in NW Edmonton and look forward to having this new colleague in our midst.

Troy Ellison is the new pastor at Evangelical Baptist Church. He comes from Ontario, having studied in Kitchener, Ontario at Emmanuel Bible College, associated closely with the Evangelical Missionary Church. Troy has musical gifts as well that he has used in previous ministries. To quote from his resume’: “As pastor, leaders and church council, we will work together to make the church relevant to today’s world without compromising the message of the cross. My focus is teamwork in ministry as I believe it is crucial to our success.” The Edmonton CBWC ministerial cluster are ready to warmly welcome this new pastor among his supportive co-workers.

George McGregor is the new pastor at Sonrise Baptist Church in Calgary. Originally from Montreal and a widower since 2016, he has been part of the Sonrise church before becoming its pastor. He has three children and two grandchildren. His experience as a computer programmer has been a great help to the church during COVID-19 restrictions. He has done some training at Alberta Bible College and has been involved in various ministries in the Calgary area for quite some time. He is currently the chair of NextStep Ministries, a ministry to help women exit from the sex trade. Welcome George to the CBWC and to ministry among your colleagues here in Western Canada!

Zoom Meetings Dominate

During these COVID-19 restrictions, so many have become familiar with Zoom, a program they may not have been exposed to before. For myself, as many others, I have attended board meetings, executive staff meetings, church business meetings, candidating interviews, conflict resolution discussions, a moral failure redemptive/restoration committee, ministerial, constitutional review committee meetings, processing future changes to the CBWC Protocol Manual with a team, and even time with my administrative associate, who is the only one in the regional office space at Taylor Seminary. Even the upcoming annual Mountain Standard Region Gull Lake Ministry Retreat will be on Zoom this year on February 9th. We can get screen fatigue, but at least we can connect in a meaningful way and help the Kingdom grow.

Screenshot of a CBWC Edmonton ministerial.

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

BCY Regional Newsletter January 2021

The Call to Serve

A note from BCY Regional Minister, Larry Schram

We are servants.

Jesus repeatedly reminded His disciples that the pathway to success in His Kingdom was not by power, authority, or striving for entitlements. Instead, to be His follower, you needed to become a servant, humbly laying aside your rights, and taking up His call to serve. 

Many Biblical passages communicate this expectation and many churches in our family of faith have taken the truth to heart and acted accordingly. Serving the needs of those close to home and around the globe have led many of us to give time, skills, and money in sacrificial ways. To make the point, two stories from the BCY region of our family of churches follow.

Jesus calls us to serve in His name and, like Mary, we can embrace the role of being the Lord’s servant and yield to His will (Luke 1:38). The challenge before us, however, is as simple as it is ancient. The Scriptures warn to not let the world around us squeeze us into its own mould (Romans 12:2). How do we know if we are being squeezed? I believe that one of the signs, among many, is when we forget that we are called to serve, and instead start fighting for our own needs to be met at the expense of serving the needs of others.

Jesus calls us to do what He did and willingly lay down our rights and sacrificially serve. The culture/world around us, on the other hand, calls us to fight for our rights and protect ourselves. Are you ready for the hard question? Which one of these forces is most evident in your life right now?

As we enter this year to come, let us embrace it as servants until we are known for what our Lord is known for: sacrifice and service.

WRBC Trunk or Treat Event

Submitted by White Rock Baptist Church

The first annual WRBC Trunk or Treat event was a huge success! People from all over the lower mainland attended and had a great time! There were approximately 500 guests who received 12,000 treats–mini-chocolate bars, candies, treats, chips, wagon wheels and more! The parking lot had lots of fun decorations and hanging lights strung throughout, along with 22 cars, each decorated with different themes. A fog machine, music, and movies playing on the outside walls added to the fun. Parents were able to enjoy hot chocolate and coffee. All for free! We look forward to having another free community event soon.

Loving Thy Neighbour

Southside – Edmonds
By Shelley Roxburgh

Southside Community Church, a multi-neighbourhood community of Christ followers, started in in the Edmonds neighbourhood of Burnaby. From the beginning in 1992, until today, we

continue to have opportunities to proclaim the good news of Jesus and His kingdom through being in, with and for our neighbours. We are privileged to be with those who are impoverished and underhoused.

There are several opportunities to be with these neighbours regularly. Monday evenings, we work with others to serve a hot meal to 75-80 neighbours as we build relationships and eat together. We also use the opportunity to distribute food hampers for the week. On Thursdays, we host the Society to End Homelessness in Burnaby, who work with sometimes up to 150 people who need assistance as a result of being homeless. Foot care, hair dressing, and other health-related services are provided, and there is help for tax forms during tax season. Once again a warm meal is provided. Throughout the week, when temperatures run close to zero, our building turns into an Extreme Weather Shelter (hosted by Lookout Society). A recent clothing drive will provide warmth for many without adequate clothing.

God continues to give us opportunities to be with neighbours who have been hit hard by COVID-19 and other circumstances in their lives. As we see more and more of the congregation engaging in times together with these neighbours, we are learning much from them. We are grateful for the chance to see flourishing beginning to happen as a result of God’s work in and through us in this place. More to come…

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

Making Connections January 2021

Kurios Gratitude Gala

KURIOS is completing its first year and there is much to be grateful for. On Sunday January 31, 2021, you are invited to a special, “ONE NIGHT ONLY” online event. This celebration will include:

– KURIOS Participant Testimonies
-Reflections from Baptist Leadership Training School and Ascent alumni
-“KURIOS Crew… Who Knew?” Gameshow
-Special Live Musical Performance
-KURIOS Reimagined Highlight Video
-Month-Long Giving Campaign Launch
-Prize Draw for KURIOS Merch

And more…

Everyone is welcome. You do not need a paid ticket to attend the KURIOS GRATITUDE GALA, but registration is required. Only one registration per household is necessary. Once registered, you will be sent a web link, giving you direct access to the event.

To register, click here

Curious what Kurios is all about? Below is a firsthand student account about Kurios 2020!

Kurios Experience

Hello, my name is Abigail Arthur, and I had the immense privilege to be a part of the first group of Kurios Students. I wanted to take this time to share my experience of how God brought me to Kurios and the incredible journey that I went on with Him. I graduated in 2019 and my plan was to take a singular gap year and do a Capernwray Bible School Program in Costa Rica, but as it often happens when we make our own plans, God turns them upside down with a greater-than-expected outcome. I have been very blessed to have grown up in the church, but as I reached adulthood, I had this longing to take all the head knowledge that I had accumulated about God and transfer it to my heart and then into my hands, making my faith my own and really living into it. On February 3, 2020, I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica and spent an incredible 7 weeks immersed in Christian living and Bible study. March 22nd marks the day I had to fly home to Canada, 10 weeks earlier than expected. I was fairly devastated, but I knew the God that went with me to Costa Rica came home with me. Fast-forward to summer 2020, where I spent 8 weeks at Gull Lake Centre (a camp affiliated with CBWC), working on the maintenance team. At that point, I was planning on heading back to Costa Rica on September 26th, 2020. The Director, Steve Roadhouse, mentioned that there was a Bible Gap Year Experience happening at the camp in September. I can’t explain it other than the Holy Spirit, but I had a feeling that I should have a Plan B for the fall. So, I got some contact information but didn’t think about it much more than that. On September 5th, I got a phone call saying that the school in Costa Rica was cancelling their Fall semester and, once again, I was very upset. That afternoon, I recalled the email address that I had gotten and sent an email off to the Director of Kurios Reimagined, Steve Simala Grant. Eight days later, not entirely sure of what I was getting into, I stepped through the doors of Kurios’ home base, excited for what God had in store. 

The first evening I met the group of people that I would spend the next 6 weeks with and, already, I knew that the 5 students and 2 staff were handpicked by God for a very specific reason. We asked the standard get-to-know-you questions, trying to find common ground, and it wasn’t long until we felt like we had known each other for years. During the first evening prayer we participated in, we were gathered around the fire and Steve spoke about his heart for our group’s experience based on Deuteronomy 6:4-5. We followed this with a time of personal prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit. I got an incredibly clear picture that I was standing on the edge of a cliff face, that I had been in this spot for a while, too scared to step out. Growth is incredibly daunting. There is always the unknown of whether you’ll be flying or falling. That night, I knew in faith that I could step out to experience the fullness of life that God had planned. There would be times where I fell, but God would be there through it all. 

One of my favourite portions of the in-person experience was our time in the mountains of Kananaskis, AB. It was one of the first things that we did as a team, and it moved us from 7 strangers with different backgrounds to a family unit growing together in faith. Setting up tents in the dark requires a lot of teamwork and communication. We shared our testimonies, which is incredibly vulnerable but also an incredible, bonding experience. It is so beautiful to see how God works in others’ lives and to hear how, through highs and lows, He meets each one of us where we are. We can learn so much about the character of God from others’ stories.

I found myself in awe of God every single day of that trip, exploring His incredibly intricate and beautiful creation. We went on some breathtaking hikes where the mountains reminded me of God’s strength; the wind called attention to His steadfast love, and the waterfalls put in mind of His everflowing mercy. Standing on top of a mountain with my good friend Blaise Evans, a fellow Kurios participant, after climbing the steepest incline I have ever experienced and with the rain absolutely pouring down, the world unfolded before us, and the only thing I could do was praise God for how good He is. Even now, writing this, I am tearing up, thinking about that experience and how close God felt to me. God has given us such a gift with His creation, and in it we get to know His character and love for us. 

We were blessed throughout our experience to have multiple, fantastic teachers come and share with us. I could go on forever talking about each one of them and the lessons that stuck with me, but I do not have the word count for that. Pamela Reichenback’s conversation on Prayer was one that I desperately needed. She highlighted prayer as being a conversation with God, building our relationship with Him, but also as an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to be present, interceding for us. I’ve struggled with prayer. It has often felt like a one-sided, poorly-scripted conversation. Prayer is a vulnerable thing that brings healing and is our most powerful tool against the enemy.  There is so much emotion around prayer, and God wants all of it. This session was one of our first, and it was beautifully coordinated because built into the Kurios schedule is morning and evening prayer, so we got a lot of practice at it. It was incredible to see the space our scheduled prayer time created and how evident it was that God was moving. We were able to worship God in glory together and reflect on where we had seen Him during the day. God is so present during our daily lives, and getting into the practice of reflection is so beautiful, and it gets us into an attitude of thankfulness. His hands are evident everywhere, but when we focus too much on our busy lives, we lose sight of the blessings that God has given each one of us daily. Some of our evening prayers were hard. There were tears shed and hearts left vulnerable. Living in fellowship with one another means we walk alongside each other and are supported with prayer, pointing back to Christ. There was a lot of growth in these times, and the Holy Spirit brought healing to situations.  

It would be easy to write an entire book on my Kurios experience because I’ve barely scratched the surface. I didn’t have a chance to mention the ways that God provided when our van broke down on our way to BC, or share the numerous inside jokes that were centered around awful puns, and the beautiful way we were able to walk with each other and know each other’s stories. We each grew a little more into the people that God has created us to be, to share His light and love into His Kingdom. The gratitude in my heart for this experience is more than I could ever put into words. On the last night we had together, we discussed what we had learned and how we were feeling about transitioning back home. We prayed over each other and, once again, I had a very clear image of one of those inflatable carnival structures where you’re tethered in and try to run as far as you can and place a beanbag before you get bungeed back. This represented my life up to this point. I’ve had routine and safety and I knew my boundaries. Now, I can cut my tether and run freely. The question, of course, is what direction I will be running, but with God I am figuring it out. Kurios has equipped me to be a confident leader in Christ’s Kingdom. I know the depth of Christ’s love and my identity in Him. I’m continuing on my journey to know God fully in my heart and have that translate into my hands, living each day for Him, but the support from Kurios was immense. Thank you for supporting our team in prayer and encouragement.

 BCY Regional Newsletter

The Call to Serve | WRBC Trunk or Treat Event | Loving Thy Neighbour

Spotlight on Beulah Garden Homes

Submitted by Jamey S. McDonald
Chief Executive Officer

Beulah, on one hand, is a seniors’ residence in Vancouver. It has been part of the CBWC since its inception in 1950. It’s home for 400 residents. We care about aging adults. But on the other hand, it’s more. The Beulah Board has lately been encouraging me/us to be more than just residences—we need to be a purveyor of knowledge, experience and expertise. 

If we have been around for 70 years, surely we have learned something about working with aging adults? And surely we need to share that learning?

So, fired by that thought, I was privileged in early December to spend two hours with the Kurios cohort. Kurios is a group of young adults from CBWC churches who have chosen to invest time during their gap year to listen to God, figure some things out, and grow in their personal lives. Steve Simala-Grant (Edmonton) leads it, and students from Vancouver Island, Alberta, Saskatchewan are all part of the team. It was my pleasure to spend time with them in a Zoom webinar early one Monday morning.

The first hour was devoted to answering one request—”Tell me about a warm, learning life experience you had with an aging person?” Students told stories of grandparents who received them with unconditional love (even when their parents did not), of a widow in their church who always picked them up and brought them to Sunday School, of seniors who expressed love in tangible ways—one lady always baked pies and gave them away, another spoke of a relatively poor older couple who gave her $10 to go towards her Bible School tuition (she only needed $3450 that year!) Talk about a widow’s two mites. By the way, that’s a good question for you as a reader—can you think of an older adult that impacted your life at some point in time? In the second hour, we talked about “caring as the mark of a Christian.” One student corrected me that “loving was the mark of a Christian” (John 13:34). She was right!

If we are a Christ follower, we don’t have an out-clause when it comes to loving (caring). Then we talked about caring as a vocation—meaning, sometimes, we feel called to tasks, jobs, careers that are deeper than the pay cheque or the prestige. They are places of service and personal identification. Why not work in a medical field—if you want to see people well? Why not teach if you want to see children thrive? Why not be a pastor if you feel strongly that you want to serve the body, soul and spirit of people? And the flip side is that if you don’t have a deep, strong, steadfast stomach for people-work, then find your calling in tools, technology, and transactions. Calling is deeper than a job. It’s your sense of doing what you think would be the best way for you to honour God with your talents.

Re-Missioning: Tradition Innovation

By Rev. Shannon Youell

The Maori people have a proverb that beautifully encapsulates their traditional world view: 

“We walk backwards into the future, our eyes fixed on the past.”

It gives us the picture that we approach the future every day not knowing what it will look like, as we can’t see into it, but that “(looking) to the past informs the way we move into the future.” The Maori people understand the past and present as “a single, comprehensible space because it is what they have seen and known. “We walk backward into the future with our thoughts directed toward the coming generations, but with our eyes on the past.” 

As I read church history and stories of God’s faithful people moving missionally throughout time and space, I am often surprised how innovative and creative people are in their love for God and His mission; how they adapted to the culture, context and time that they found themselves in for the benefit of those who did not yet know the God of all creation and the saving work He accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Often they stepped outside what was considered ‘traditional’ to innovate and map out a new pathway of being disciples, so that others could find their way to following.   

There is a difference between tradition and traditional. Tradition is really about our why—why we believe what we do. We look upon the ancient scriptures of the people of God and the new scriptures that tell of Jesus and His ushering in of God’s kingdom. We rely on the early translators and interpreters and our contemporary translators and interpreters. We live into and share values and ethics that have been passed along for centuries. Traditional, however, is usually the way we do things. You’ll hear families, around Christmas traditions, complain when something changes with a loud, “But that’s traditional!” In the church, we often say, “Well that’s the way we’ve always done it!” 

I’m with the Maoriwe must always look to our past. It has formed us and gives us a foundation. We still believe God is the creator of all things, that He created humans as His co-labourers to steward the earth, that He called a people His own to be both salt and light so that other peoples could see the glory and love of God lived out through them and extended to others. We believe that God so loved the world that He sent His Son…. 

But we always walk with these things in sight, into a future for the coming generation and for the current society and culture we live within. This means taking a good look at our traditional ways of being church and having open hands and empty tables to let go of things we may hold dear but are no longer effectively equipping us as we serve God’s mission of His kingdom of shalom into all the places and spaces of our human experience. 

The people of God have always adapted and pivoted as their mission field changes and evolves. To be local missionaries we must know our particular mission field. And when our particular mission field demographic shifts, we must revisit and re-mission ourselves to it or become irrelevant or obsolete ourselves as missionaries. It is a humbling experience to recognize that and to do the hard work of re-missioning.

As Josh Haydenpastor, author and re-missioning coachnotes,

 “Re-missioning established churches with movemental practices and missional theology is some of the most difficult and needed work in North America.” 

There is no doubt this will be difficult for us to do, and it’s not that we discontinue all those things. What we do with each activity, each program, each element of our worship and witness, in both our gathering and our scattering, is to discern together and  continuously evaluate the things we do and the impact they have, not only on ourselves, but on the world into which we have been sent. 

Like the Maori, we do not dismiss our past but embrace our past, allowing it to inform us as we move into innovating, missional practices that take us into fields that are ripe with harvestright where we live, work, play and pray.

A version of this article was originally published here: https://churchplantingatcbwc.wordpress.com/2020/11/27/re-missioning-tradition-innovation/

Pastoring the Pastor Update

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have far-reaching effects—economically, relationally, and in terms of mental wellness, for everyone. Many CBWC pastors and ministry leaders have carried an increased load of pastoral leadership and congregational care as the pandemic has stretched to the end of 2020.

In response, CBWC Executive Staff developed a Webinar Series entitled “Pastoring the Pastor” for CBWC Pastors and Chaplains, to come alongside them as they continue to live, love, and lead amid the changing landscape of ministry. The Zoom calls were hosted by Executive Staff 

and led by specialists in the fields of psychology and mental wellness, conflict management, digital ministry, and church leadership. More than 247 registrants had the opportunity to take part in these webinars that were offered across the CBWC Regions and Territories. One additional webinar is scheduled for January 26 entitled “The Church after Covid: Allowing the Spirit to Re-Orient us around the Mission of God.” Click HERE for more details and to register for this important resource.

The CBWC Executive Staff continue to virtually engage with and walk alongside our Pastors by:

  • Hosting regional ministerial cluster meetings
  • Offering 1 on 1 check-ins with local pastors
  • Pulpit supply and Board leadership support
  • Gathering COVID-19 provincial guidelines and updating website with resources
  • Crisis care through the Canadian Baptist Benefit Plan
  • Developing meaningful and relevant resources for pastoral leadership in the local church

We look forward to creatively and passionately serving CBWC pastors and their churches in the coming year!

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

Making Connections December 2020

Congratulations to our 2020 Ordinands!

Ordination is an act of the local church. The churches in the CBWC have covenanted together to recognize each others’ act of ordination. The CBWC helps facilitate this by offering training and support to see that each candidate successfully completes the educational and theological requirements needed for recommendation to gospel ministry.

This year, we had ten candidates attend the Ordination Preparation Workshop (OPW) at Carey in February, to work through some of the Baptist and CBWC distinctives of our theological thinking, understanding of 

Scriptural authority and view of ordination practices.  Time was also spent discussing pastoral resiliency, emotional health, and spiritual practices for prevention of burnout and ministry failure.

Due to Coronavirus restrictions, we did not hold the Ordination Examining Council in May as planned, and instead interviewed the candidates in an online OEC in October. Our goal was that every candidate would do well before the Ordination Examining Council (OEC), and indeed, all candidates who went before the council were recommended for ordination! Two of our candidates were previously ordained and therefore did not appear before the OEC but were recognized on completion of OPW by the Ministerial Credentials Committee. We look forward to the ongoing, fruitful ministry of all our ordinands for many years to come.

Brian Carnahan is pastoring at Bethel Baptist in Sechelt, BC since 2018 and came to us from the Fellowship Baptist in Ontario. Brian received his M. Div. from Tyndale Seminary and was ordained in 2014. He and his wife, Joanne have two children, Brandon and Alicia.

Brian Munro is pastoring at Kitimat First Baptist. He is married to Susie and they have three grown boys—Duncan, Matthew and Steven. He is a graduate of Taylor Seminary and pastored 15 years in Saskatchewan before accepting the call to Kitimat in 2018.

Aaron Hansen is an associate pastor at Cranbrook Baptist Church with a focus on mission and youth. Aaron hails from Cranbrook along with his wife, Robyn and came out of a Pentecostal background and served with Young Life before coming to us in 2008, first in administration while starting his M. Div. work at Carey.  They have two children, Paige and Payton.

Chris McClure is married to Myrna and they have three daughters—Kaylie, Janaya and Tianna.  They served in ministry and mission in Kenya before completing his studies at Trinity Western University. Chris was called to serve at Brightview Baptist Church near Falun, Alberta in 2011 and has had an impactful ministry there.

Doris Kung-Poon is serving at Trinity Baptist in Vancouver in their multi-cultural outreach ministries. She is a graduate of Taylor Seminary (2005) with an M.A. in Intercultural Studies and has a Doctorate in Worship from Northern Seminary. Multi-lingual in language, Doris is a gifted evangelist and is strong in discipleship.  She is married to Joe and has one daughter.

David Ohori pastored in Port Alberni in the role of youth pastor before returning to his hometown of Prince George in 2011 to serve at First Baptist there. He and Carmen have six children. Recently, David received a call to pastor at Kaleden in the Okanagan, and so his ordination process began in Prince George but was affirmed and completed at Kaleden. He is a graduate of Carey.

Dean Haugan is well-known as a pastor’s kid, having grown up in the CBWC family. He is a graduate of Ambrose University and has served at both First Baptist in Calgary and now at Leduc as Associate Pastor of Youth. He is currently completing his M. Div. at Carey and is married to Jenna. They have 2 young daughters, Daidrie and Maya.

Peter Anderson is our American son from Wisconsin.He came to study at Regent College and became the Youth pastor at Westpoint Grey Baptist in Vancouver.  He served there for 11 years before he felt God calling him to a new ministry, which fortunately for us turned out to be Director of Next Gen Ministries with the CBWC. He and his wife, Brianna, enjoy their three sons—Lincoln, Everett and Levi.

Reymus F. Cagampan is a church planter in Winnipeg, first pastoring in the Philippines, then coming to Canada to serve at Maples Evangelical Church in Winnipeg, and then called to work with Greenhills Christian Fellowship in 2011. He completed his M.A. at Canadian Mennonite University in 2017. He and Angie have a daughter and a son.

Tyler Hagan serves as Discipleship Pastor at Westview Baptist in Calgary for the last 6 years. He and Charity are parents to Noah and Tilia. He is a graduate of Briercrest, where he met his wife and life-partner in ministry. Tyler has a high view of Scripture and a deep love for God’s people.

Carey Theological College: Reflections on Hope During Advent

Rev. Dr. Colin Godwin, President

2020 brought uncertainty, doubt, loneliness, perhaps fear or even the unthinkable into many of our lives. We know that during times of barrenness, God lifts us up and gives us hope with a way forward. In Genesis 25:21, Isaac experienced that when he prayed for Rebekah’s barrenness and God answered his prayer with hope as 

she conceived. In the midst of a COVID-19 year, Carey’s hope came in many ways through our Lord Jesus. We welcomed 24 UBC students into our student residences, we moved forward with plans for the construction of our new ministry centre, we continued to serve our theological students through our innovative online learning experience, and we were joined by two new Biblical studies faculty members, professors Amy Chase and Wil Rogan. Below, they give us a glimpse of who they are by each sharing a devotional for this season of hope.

Dr. Amy Chase, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (Old Testament)

For me, from a large family with a holiday business rush, Christmas recalls multi-generations working, eating, talking and laughing together. But holidays can seem bittersweet if some beloved among us do not share the faith, want to attend services together, or otherwise

partake of Jesus. For such feelings, Advent supplies comfort and hope.

In Advent we anticipate not only the birth of Christ but also his coming into each person’s heart and his return to reign. Zechariah, one of Israel’s prophets, foresaw that future day when Messiah will set things right. “ ‘Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord” (2:10). “The Lord will signal for Israel’s children and gather them in. He will redeem them; they will remember him, and they will return (10:8-9).”

Many nations will be joined with the Lord on that day, says Zechariah (2:11). They will urge one another, “Let’s seek the Lord!” and they’ll grab hold, ten per Jew, saying, “Let us go with you; we have heard that God is with you!” (8:20-23).

For those worried about their children, Zechariah also assures. On that day when the Lord saves his people, they will sparkle like jewels in a crown: young men flourishing from ample grain and young women from new wine (9:16). Restored Jerusalem’s streets will be filled with playing boys and girls (8:5). And if this seems impossible, too marvelous to conceive, the Lord asks: “…but will it seem impossible to me?” (8:6).

The Lord’s coming kingdom will be so crowded with his gathered people there will not even be enough room (10:10). The city of God will be so crammed, its walls will burst (2:4). But not to worry: God will protect. “I myself will be a wall of fire around it, and I will be its glory within” (2:5). So, if your precious ones are not all yet gathered: be comforted, anticipate — and be glad.

Prof. Wil Rogan, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (New Testament)

When we think about Christmas we can’t help but think of the stories of Jesus’s nativity in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Conjured up are images of shepherds, and joyous sounds of angels’ songs, and warm, friendly beasts around an infant, who as an infant was

nonetheless God-with-us. Somewhat less popular at Christmas, but no less pertinent, is the Gospel of John’s story of Jesus. Although John includes no nativity and mentions only in passing Jesus’s mother, we are told that the Word that was with God in the beginning became flesh, dwelled among us, and made possible our birth from God (John 1:1–2, 13–14). In other words, by some mystery, the flesh of Jesus gives our mortal flesh the capacity to be born from God, or, as Jesus was to say to Nicodemus, to be born from water and Spirit (3:5).

Early Christians understood birth from water and Spirit as what happens to a person in baptism. Submerged in cleansing waters, one is born from above. I have not yet grasped the mystery of the birth that happened to me as Theodore Petrikis pushed me down into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But I do know that Jesus has come to mean everything to me, and this would not have been possible without his becoming flesh. I can’t help but think that baptism has brought me into the story of Christmas—not merely by way of memory or imagination or faith (though all those things are involved), but by God’s work. Christmas will always be for me a story about God’s work in Jesus. And, in baptism, I’ve found that it has become my story too. Since Jesus became flesh, my mortal flesh is bound to Jesus, bound to see his glory, and bound to be with him forever. Thank God.

We invite you to visit our online course list to learn more about Carey and consider taking a course with Dr. Godwin, Prof. Rogan and/or Dr. Chase or one of our other faculty members, Dr. Joyce Chan and Dr. Ken Radant as an occasional student; one of the simplest ways to take courses at Carey. Students enrolled into our degree programs from a CBWC member church are eligible for 40% financial aid in the 2020/2021 academic

 Heartland Regional Newsletter

Thoughts from Mark Doerksen | God Makes a Way – Even in Lockdown

The Small Stuff

By Jenna Hanger

Julie was not a baker.
She was a Youth Pastor.
She supposed she could technically be both, but if she was to pick another way to describe herself she would say planner, not baker. She was gifted with planning events; she was organized and meticulous. Her back-up plans had back-up plans ready to be executed at a moment’s notice. Often, she headed up planning the bigger events for church, even if it was out of her wheelhouse. Ever since she was a kid, Julie had kept a careful calendar, colour-coded with notes on how long each scheduled event should take. Her brother used to tease her about her calendar-keeping ways, and now her co-workers did, but with admiration behind their jibes.

But this year all her plans, and back-up plans, and back-up-back-up plans were blown to bits. For the first time in her life, Julie’s calendar was mostly empty. She tried to do some things with the youth while things were shut down. They did a few virtual events, and she met up for a six-feet-apart coffee with as many as she could, but there was no getting around the fact that there just wasn’t much to be planned.

So now, Julie was baking even though she was not a baker and had very little experience making anything that didn’t come out of a package. It was a simple enough recipe, her mom assured her, even she could handle making sugar cookies. They used to make them together when she was a child at Christmas time. Julie mostly watched, waiting until it was time to slather them with icing and sprinkles. She would lick her fingers clean, sneaking gobs of green, white and red icing out of the bowls when her mom wasn’t looking. Almost as much or more ended up in her belly instead of the cookies, but that was half the fun. To her, sugar cookies-cut in a variety of bells, angels, stars and pine trees- were linked to the sweet aroma of hot chocolate and lights twinkling against the black night. Just the smell of them brought to mind snowflakes falling in heavy waves and presents wrapped in bright crinkly paper stacked under a tree.

Julie looked at the rows of cookies now, waiting to be decorated. A pile of angels lay crowded together with their crumbling edges overlapping, breaking all the social-distancing rules. She should draw little masks on them… but maybe that would be too depressing. Funny, but depressing. These were supposed to boost morale, to make the receivers think about tinsel and carols, hot drinks and colourful lights. All the wonderful small things of Christmas.

Her dad used to tell her not to sweat the small stuff. He said it often, worried about his little planner and her overly detailed notes. But Julie liked sweating the small stuff. Small stuff she could control; it was the big stuff that she couldn’t. Like a global pandemic, like all church events having to go virtual or be cancelled. Those were the big stuff. 

The small stuff was feeling the icy sting of the night air as you admired the neighbourhood lights and leaving homemade jam on the doorstep of your favourite display. It was thoughtfully buying presents and sending Christmas cards to let people know you were thinking of them. And it was baking cookies to add to goodie baskets that would be dropped off at her youth kid’s doors.

It was possible that the small things were how they were going to keep the Christmas spirit alive this year when everyone was spread out and alone. The small stuff made you smile, pause and appreciate. This Christmas, there might not be the big events she loved to plan like Christmas concerts, banquets and large Christmas eve services. But there were still small gestures, small moments, and it would be more than enough. It would be beautiful.

Humans of CBWC

In a year of isolation and social-distancing, connecting with others has been a challenge that we’ve all had to face. One of the best ways to connect with others is through storytelling. This past year, we have been privileged to share stories from different members who make up our CBWC family under the hashtags #humansofcbwc and #weareallcbwc. Being able to hear the stories of these folks has been such an honour. Modelled after Humans of New York, these mini-bios have been a hugely successful campaign that many people have been inspired by and felt a connection to. We’ve had an artist, a chaplain, retired and active pastors, a camp program director, a teacher, retired missionaries and more submit their stories to us, and we are excited to continue growing our list of contributors! If you would like to check out their stories, visit our Facebook page.

If you know someone from the CBWC family who might have a story to share, please pass their contact information to jhanger@cbwc.ca, and please help spread the word to your church (maybe even include a notice in your bulletin!) This is a great way to stay connected during this time of social distancing, and it’s also a wonderful way to get to know the many faces that make up the CBWC!

Copyright ©  2019 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.

News & Notes Vol 13 No. 20

An Invitation to the Health of the Church

Dear friends,
The Gathering 2017 is happening in one week’s time. We will celebrate our heritage, our present, and our future as Canadian Baptists. Gary Nelson from Tyndale will speak to us on leading in disorienting times. Our own Sam Breakey will encourage us to look to the health and renewal of our churches. We will engage in conversation and voting in areas of our shared ministry including human rights, education, and ministerial protocols. Shaila Visser, director of Alpha Canada, will share an exciting vision of evangelism across Canada. Gifted performer, Deanna Storfie, will weave our imaginations in a story of William Carey. We will welcome our new Executive Minister and new BCY Regional Minister. All this we will do together in prayer and fellowship from May 25-27.

A couple of weeks ago our first Potential Impact event happened.  Shannon Youell writes about it: Potential Impact found more than twenty young adults from Alberta, BC & Saskatchewan, gathered at Gull Lake Camp to challenge the next generation to focus on spiritual direction, an openness to ministry potential, and general calling and leadership in their life. Facilitated by CBWC ministry leaders and pastors, the conference metaphor quickly formed around the charging rhinoceros, who can see only twenty feet in front of itself yet knows that to see the next twenty feet requires stepping into the unseen-ness of the future. Participants commented that, though they “don’t know the exact details of (my) direction, I do know that what I am to do is make the most of where I am.”  Others commented that they had finally accepted the calling that they knew God had been asking of them for a long time.  For others it was confirmation that they were moving in the right direction.
The call to ‘join God where he is at work’, no matter where life leads was dominant in both the presentations and in the small group coaching and peer sessions where participants could wrestle with the presented material and “engage in the topics of identity and call”, with speakers and coaches who “were awesome, encouraging, helpful and practical.”
As a session presenter and coach, I was deeply affected by the passion and honest wrestling of these young adults to hear God and pursue the ‘ministry of reconciliation’ wherever and however that may look.

I would like to close with this. Many have experienced loss over the last year. Several have been mentioned in these newsletters with the recent additions of Tim Kerber and Nora Walker whose fathers have passed in the last 2 weeks. My dad Roy Bell passed away at noon on Thursday amidst family, prayers, tears and some light moments too. He struggled in these last days, but was peaceful in the end, as we his family are as well. My mum is well embraced by her strong faith and a very diverse and supportive family. Roy served at Westlane Baptist (Moncton), Atlantic Baptist College/Crandall, Strathcona Baptist (Edmonton), First Baptist (Calgary and Vancouver).  He also was principal of Carey Theological College and in that role taught at Regent College.  My dad loved this family of churches and more clearly loved Christ’s body, the church. The service is on May 28th at 3pm at First Baptist Church, Vancouver. On a more personal note I have been very touched by the kind notes of support. It has been a great encouragement.

Warmly,
In Christ,
Jeremy
 

Roy Bell

Roy Bell, former Pastor at Strathcona Baptist Church (Edmonton, AB), First Baptist Church Calgary, AB and First Baptist Vancouver, BC, and former Principal of Carey Theological College, passed away Thursday May 11th, 2017 in Duncan, BC, 2 days after his wife Elizabeth and he marked their 65th wedding anniversary. More to follow.