Making Connections April 2020

An Easter Unlike the Rest

A message from CBWC Executive Minister Rob Ogilvie

That first Holy Week was a time unlike any other. Palm Sunday had people rejoicing and celebrating as the new king made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Yet, four days later, that same man was arrested and the following day put to death. And just as His closest followers were trying to understand this new reality, suddenly—miraculously—they learned that the tomb was empty. Jesus was alive!

The week the Saviour of the world defeated sin and death and rose again is a week that will never be forgotten, although this year will be celebrated much differently than usual. No group gatherings, physical distancing and social isolating means that our church buildings will not be filled with people remembering, lamenting and then celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. It will be different, but Easter will not be forgotten. It can’t be forgotten, because it’s the hope of the resurrection that we cling to today in this time of upheaval and uncertainty.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die.”

Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.”

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

It’s the message of Jesus that lives on, that carries us, that continually reminds us that this world is not all that there is.

Jesus said, “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust Me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live.”

So, as together we try to understand our reality, and as we live with this great uncertainty, and as this Easter will be celebrated differently, may the Good News be that the Saviour of the world loves you so much that He invites you to love and trust Him back, and allow Him to be your strength, your comfort and your peace.

I wish you all a blessed Easter, and keep well!

Rob

Below you will find a prayer written in early March by Rev. Sam Chaise, as a response to the pandemic which we are in. We thought you might appreciate his words.

A Prayer in the Midst of a New Coronavirus

We come to you, God, as we are.
Not as we’ve heard we should be, not as we think we should be, not even as we hope we will be, but as we are.
And for many of us, if not all, we come in this moment with fear, because the headlines on our screens and in our papers are about the unknown, about a new disease that seems to be stalking the earth and stalking us.
We know of Your promise, and Your call, which says, “Do not fear”, and have to say that at times, that seems a little bit crazy, or at least unrealistic.
And we wonder what You mean by that, because for sure we know You don’t mean that everything’s fine or that everything will necessarily be okay. Perhaps it is a call to remind ourselves that our fear can be enfolded by something larger, some that is not global in scope but larger than the universe. Something that is love.
We confess that we live in such an unusual and amazing time in history that we’re not good at facing these kinds of global threats. We know that most of our ancestors were used to this sort of thing – they were used to living with the unknown because so much then was unknown – they were more used to sickness and death than we are because it was all around them. So we acknowledge that our fear, and our lack of resilience, is actually a sign that we live in a time of great blessing, where the diseases that killed so many in our history are now managed with medication. So, thank You.
We also acknowledge the gift that it is to live in Canada, with the wealth of resources that have been invested in our medical system, and the fact that it is available to all regardless of ability to pay. We pray for parts of the world that would be devastated were this virus to hit them, where there is poverty, minimal health care, and just very little resilience to be able to deal with this virus.
We also pray for the many people who have been, and will be affected by the economic downturn . . .for the millions of people in the Global South who live close to the edge in terms of livelihood, for whom a lack of economic growth means that difference between eating healthy food or perhaps just eating rice. It may be that more people will be harmed by the downturn in the global economy than by the virus itself, and we pray for them.
And we pray for one another. We pray that our fear will not cause us to turn on one another, keep resources from one another, or withdraw from one another. We think of Your people, who lived centuries ago, who were known for the fact that as others were fleeing plague-ridden cities, Christians were marching in, in order to care for the sick, knowing that if they died, they would come alive again in the resurrection. And that because of that, as others marvelled at the courage and sacrifice of Your people, they wanted to know about the God who inspired those people. And we wish we could be like them. We want to be like them.
Or, do we?
At the least, we aspire to that. And, so, if this does get bad, we ask that You fill us with Your Spirit so that Your Church will become known for its courage, hope, and self-sacrifice. What a story that would be . . .
So, in the end, we long for more than a lack of fear. We pray for hope, faith, courage, conviction, resilience, and people who bear witness to a larger story than this current story that is gripping our world.
Amen.

The Remarkable Story of Dr. Gerald Hankins

By Jenna Hanger

There are many times in our life where it feels like what we are going through now will never end. It is easy to be short-sighted, to let the worries of today eclipse the vision of tomorrow. But life is a journey with many twists and turns. Our current worries and stresses will fade away, and new ones will replace them. There is one constant though—one thing we can always depend on to never change—and that is the faithfulness of the Lord.

Dr. Gerald Hankins’ life is a testimony to this. This October will mark his 97th birthday. Born on October 16,1923, he has seen much in his long, remarkable life. In his time, Gerald served in WWII, became a surgeon, then a missionary doctor, then a successful writer. His path has crossed with the likes of Mother Teresa, as well as Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary (the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest) and many other notable persons. 

His mother raised him and his younger brother in a small town outside of Calgary, AB. His childhood years were during the Great Depression, a hard and stressful time for his small family. Education was always of great importance to him, but hard to come by. The only school available to him was a two-room schoolhouse with two teachers who had the enormous task of teaching every subject to their students. Despite that, Gerald was very grateful to have the opportunity to be educated, as this isn’t a luxury everyone has. 

During WWII Gerald joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and served as a radio navigator with the Royal Air Force Squadrons 96 and 176 in Britain, India and Burma. In 1943, Gerald and his pilot were flying near Edinburgh, Scotland in a two-engine fighter plane called The Mosquito when one of their engines failed. A more experienced pilot might have been able to cope, but his pilot was new, like himself. They smashed into some buildings; the pilot was able to walk away unscathed, but Gerald sustained significant fractures to his spine. Three vertebrae were crushed. He ended up in a plaster cast that covered his whole torso for around ten months. While able to be mobile, he couldn’t bend at all. This accident turned out to be one of the most significant instances in his life.

He was recovering in the general ward in the Princess Margaret Rose Hospital in Edinburgh when a middle-aged, grey-haired lady came along and started visiting with him. She suddenly looked at him straight in the eye and asked rather forcefully, “Do you know the Lord?” Gerald had to take a deep breath and he answered honestly that he didn’t. She gave him a little Bible, which he still has to this day, and he started reading it. He didn’t understand it all because of the language, but it was the start of Gerald’s faith journey, the beginning of a process that went on over the years to develop into a steadfast faithfulness.

“That’s one thing I am most grateful for. A wee, Scottish lady having asked that question. She wouldn’t let me dodge it,” Gerald said, laughing as he recounted her forwardness. “I’ll be forever grateful to her.”

After Gerald recovered from his injury, he went back to flying. In 1945, he served with a night fighter group in India until the war ended. Upon his return home, Gerald pursued his education, got married and became a General Surgeon in Calgary, AB. He and his wife, Alison, had five children and they all became involved with the First Baptist Church.

As time went on, Gerald had an interest in becoming a medical missionary. In 1966 he took part in a two-week mission trip to Mexico, but felt anything more extensive should wait until his children were grown. Then, in 1970, an opportunity was presented to him. His friend Dr. Helen Huston needed a locum to cover for her at the United Mission to Nepal hospital in Ampipal, which she had established. The one month commitment turned into a four-year term in 1974 in Kathmandu, which eventually led to twelve years serving as a doctor in Nepal.

When asked if the experience was what he expected, Gerald answered with a resounding, “No!” then laughed. 

“There was good and bad about it. For one thing, the facilities in a mission hospital are pretty primitive. You have to do with second-class materials and equipment. And your staff, goodness knows, are willing but not fully trained. These were the real challenges,” Gerald said. 

The time spent in Nepal, Gerald expressed, was a tremendous experience overall, with many memorable moments. He recounted a particular situation that always stuck with him; a teenage girl who had a fractured femur was carried to their hospital for three days in a basket on someone’s back. The pain she had experienced to get help was unimaginable. He also performed several tracheotomies and dealt with a lot of bowel obstructions. Another time that stands out amongst the sea of memories was working in a field clinic in a very remote village, performing surgery by flashlight. “Those were challenging times,” Gerald laughed. 

These experiences led Gerald to pursue another venture—writing. It started with heading up an enormous project; writing a medical textbook that third world doctors could use. To give patients the best care possible, doctors had to learn how to do surgeries differently than they would in a first world setting, in circumstances that were much less forgiving. The textbook, Surgery in a Third World Country, began by Gerald taking notes on various types of surgeries, then referencing classical textbooks of surgery. The textbook was accepted by local doctors in the country, and they arranged for it to be printed. It went on to have a wide circulation.

“That’s one achievement I can look back on and say, ‘Well I’m glad to have done that’,” Gerald said.

Writing the textbook was a catalyst for a whole new career for Gerald. He returned to Canada in 1986. In the following years he would complete short medical relief missions in Inuvik, N.W.T. Then, in 1990, he officially retired from the medical field to pursue his newfound love of writing.

He ended up writing biographies on Dr. Helen Huston, Dr. Arthur Jenkyns, Dr. Otto Schaefer and Dr. Gary McPherson, all of whom received the Order of Canada. He also published a book on Calgary’s Mustard Seed Street Ministry, and wrote several articles, poems and stories over the years.

When asked why he thinks it’s important to tell others’ stories, Gerald replied, “Because people do worthwhile and interesting things. When you think about people who are willing to go overseas and use their talents to cure diseases or if they are engineers, or whatever, I think skills like that deserved to be preserved in written form.” Gerald shared that one of the highlights of his life was meeting people from various races who have achieved remarkable things in both peace and wartime.

Gerald admitted writing never came particularly easy to him. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, but he is very glad to have done it. “I never planned to do much writing initially, but once you get into the swing of it, it can be very rewarding you know,” Gerald said. “Whether your books reach a wide market, to me never felt to be a major object. If you got something that can be helpful to other people, or express some real good opinions that you have [it’s worth the effort of doing].”

The best advice Gerald can pass on to the next generation is to keep learning and never give up. “I always thought it was important to learn, not to give up on a project or something when you got a start or some skills. Because the people with tenacity and endurance are the ones who get things done in this world,” he said. “Even people with mediocre skills and interests can achieve a lot if they are persistent and constantly seeking to learn new things.”

As for what he would have done differently, Gerald laughed and said, “Just about everything. Could have done a better job all around. I was fortunate enough to be living in a time when there were opportunities galore. [I could have] learned new skills and been trained… could have done better. That’s all I could say in retrospect. Having said that, I am thankful to have opportunities that I could never have anticipated.”

Gerald was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2005. He now resides in a little community outside of Red Deer, AB.  

Heartland Regional Newsletter

God’s Faithfulness Through Big Changes | The Appeal of the Heartland Retreat 

Embodied Connection Amidst Physical Distancing

By Mary Dickau from Beulah Garden Homes and founding member of CHAT

In the last 3 weeks at BG Homes, we have been facing down COVID-19 with continuous transitional decisions made toward keeping our resident neighbourhood safe and providing good care. These efforts include empowering our community to stand together, to endure, and to find comfort and peace amidst this pandemic. As one of our team said, “It has been like trying to drink all the water that is coming out of the firehose and not drown!”

For instance, how do we put measures in place towards distancing and self-isolation while living out the Gospel that teaches us to break down the walls of isolation and fear? The very act of self-isolation and quarantine means to being hidden—not heard, not seen, not connected. Last week, some of my friends who are in their 30s and 40s told me that they have always enjoyed time away from others; however, now that it is being enforced as protocol, it does not feel very good to them at all. They feel vulnerable, fearful, alone. One person realized what he is encountering now is something that older adults feel much of the time and more so in these days. Strangely, the fear of COVID-19 has now made people fearful of being around older adults too, “In case they get it.” One person at Beulah said that people are fearful to step on the property and bring supplies to the door of the building, in case they run into a resident who might be outside sitting on a bench. What has been set in place as protection for the vulnerable has become twisted into fear OF the vulnerable. Jesus taught us to replace fear with love. What does that mean in this present situation? How can we participate in the love Christ has for the vulnerable during COVID-19 in ways that embody connection while keeping everyone safe?

‘Be Careful but do not be Afraid.’ Fear is so normal for us but God’s response—seen clearly in the gospels—is for us to bring our fear to the One who will replace our fear with love. Loving people in a fearful time has such power of life and this Christ-light shows up strongly in the darkness of these days. Of course, before I can love well, I need to recognize and bring my own fear to Christ; to trust Jesus for readying me to ‘live the gospel’ in the instances of my work and home. I have needed to recognize that being careful and wise is NOT the same thing as being afraid. COVID-19 is giving me an opportunity to practice how to live the Love of God well in fearful circumstances.

The Spirit of God, who has hovered over darkness since before the beginning of time while initiating life, comfort and peace, has a surprising way for us to follow. One surprise at Beulah has been the institution of Patio Concerts. We can no longer physically gather, but two musicians came with their fiddles and guitar to walk around the outside of our buildings playing music. Residents could open their windows, step out on their patios, cheer, and wave to each other. Some residents even came outside to dance and play in the sun— while keeping appropriate distance. We had a beautiful time. Perhaps joy, laughter and comfort are more possible in these days, where we can no longer take our physical life for granted. At a conference on Aging, hosted by Regent College years ago, Maxine Hancock said that one of the best ways to live the Christian life well was to contemplate our mortality for fifteen minutes every day. She explained that as we face our own physical death, we remember that we are finite beings, but also that Christ lives in us forever and has defeated death. Contemplating this mystery gives me a sense of deep grace and hope that reaches far beyond my days and abilities, along with a response of gratitude and increased strength for the day.

Throughout history, Christians have been known by their response to plagues and pandemics. They have walked in when the world walked out. They have held hope in the face of death. While we are all figuring out how to walk the way of Christ in these present circumstances, I invite you to consider how the truth of these words impact you and your community’s response: “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.”

Be careful, but don’t be afraid.

About the author:

Mary Dickau offers Spiritual and Community Care for a community of more than 350 Older Adult residents at Beulah Gardens. Mary is an elder at Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, and her other job is facilitating an urban retreat called Stillpointe, where she hosts weekly rhythms of prayer and meets with people for Spiritual Direction and Healing Prayer. She is passionate about looking for the love and grace of God found within our shared stories and journey of life. Mary’s family includes three adult sons, two daughters-in-law, a grandson, a therapy dog named Bella and whoever walks in their door. Mary is a founding member of CHAT.

For more information about CHAT Canada, and to keep up to date about their services and events visit their website https://chatcanada.org.

Event Updates: Covid-19

Online Assembly: Registration open

NMO: Rescheduled for 2021
OEC: Postponed to later in 2020
BLTS/Ascent Reunion: Postponed to later date (yet to be determined)
BCY Assembly: Registration open
Banff Pastors Conference: Registration opens May 1st
SERVE: Cancelled. See you in 2021!

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

Making Connections is the Monthly Newsletter of the CBWC.  

Heartland Regional Newsletter April 2020

Seeing God’s Faithfulness through Big Life Changes

A note from Pastor Garth Plamping, from Asquith Baptist Church

What a great God we serve! 

My wife, Cara and I are thrilled to have joined the CBWC last March, to serve at Asquith Baptist Church. We have been married for 18 years. Our boys, Hezekiah (12) and Amos (10), are homeschooled.

Over the last decade, I have been privileged to serve as an associate Pastor and as a bi-vocational Pastor in Calgary and the surrounding area.

I have to admit, we were a little nervous when we received the call to come to Asquith. This would be the largest move since Cara and I married, leaving all our social networks behind.

As we dialogued with the church, prayed with our family, and sought advice, Cara and I believed the Lord was calling us to make the move. We said yes to my first full time Pastorate.

I am happy to say that God is faithful. Yes, change brought stress, as change always does. But God has brought us into a province with wonderful people who have a heart to serve the Lord and each other.

Through the Lord’s faithfulness, we have grown through the many challenges and joyous events that have happened over the last year, both personally and with the church.

Our family has spent a huge amount of time in the mountains. Like most people in Alberta, we had heard all kinds of stereotypes regarding the land in Saskatchewan. Yet we were determined to discover the jewels of Saskatchewan. So far, we have not been disappointed. Our family has had a number of wonderful experiences, both in nature, and at a number of museums and parks.

For those of you who are in their first year with the CBWC, I encourage you to connect with Mark Doerksen, and to take advantage of the mentorship that is offered. I have found both Mark and my mentor, Ron Phillips from Regina, to be valuable, not just in acclimating me to the CBWC, but they have helped me process my ministry and helped me serve my people better.

As Asquith Baptist Church looks forward to the excitement of spring and summer, can I ask you to pray for us?

Pray that I would continue to learn from my people, to grow in my faith, and to lead people through faithfully teaching God’s word. Like many of you, we have many ministry events that the people of Asquith Baptist will pour their time and energy into. Pray that we will minister in love, and with a boldness that will reach the community of Asquith and the surrounding RMs.

Garth Plamping, Pastor at Asquith Baptist Church

The Appeal of the Heartland Retreat

By Mark Doerksen 

Superbowl Sunday is an important day for plenty of people, especially as folks host viewing parties and cheer on their teams.  Yet Superbowl Sunday also typically signals an important event in the Heartland Region. There’s a 24-year tradition in the Heartland, and it’s called the Heartland Pastor and Spouse Retreat at Russell, Manitoba.  It happens every February at the Russell Inn, the Monday after Superbowl Sunday. The retreat has been happening longer than this, but we’ve had the retreat at this location since Wayne Larson was Heartland Regional Minister.  It’s been great to see the relationships that have developed between the hotel staff and the Heartland Regional Office, and we are so pleased to enjoy their hospitality each year. 

The retreat is made up of scheduled activities, free time, and worship sessions, and we try to instill relationship-building as one of our main emphases at the retreat. We try to have at least one event where we pit our Saskatchewan contingent against our Manitoba contingent.  In previous years, we’ve curled against each other; the last two years, we’ve played crokicurl.  Team Saskatchewan is deceptively good, and have been crokicurl champions for the last 2 years. Team Manitoba has proven to be reluctant losers at such events.

One of the highlights of the retreat each year is the food that is served.  Cindy works with the staff in coming up with a menu each year, and the hotel catering staff always does exceptional work for us. The helpings are generous, and the food is terrific, and we always feel well cared for.

Of course, we also have significant times of worship and teaching as well.  Chris Neudorf led us again in terms of our singing together.  This year we had Brendon and Karen facilitate conversations on Paying Attention to God, to self, and to others. It was a time where they each brought their strengths to the conversation, and we were reminded of how important attentiveness is in all areas of life.  Brendon described their presentations as bearing witness, speaking of how these themes work themselves out in their lives. I was deeply encouraged by these sessions, and challenged as well. 

We do allow for significant free time, and people enjoy this—though being in Manitoba in February usually means that this free time is spent indoors.  Our evenings are spent together playing games; sometimes we have crokinole tournaments, others play Wizard, and so forth.  It’s fun to watch our retreaters display their competitiveness.  I, for one, know that there are some people that I will no longer play Dutch Blitz with, as I get tired of losing time after time.

One of the pieces of this retreat that I’ve appreciated is that of building relationships.  It’s fun to see pastors and non-pastors connect with each other, and these relationships spill out beyond

the confines of the retreat.  The connections continue to happen afterwards, and it’s great to see the support that is fostered in our all-too-brief time together.

All of this is to say that now, when a new pastor comes to the Heartland, I really encourage them to come to this retreat. Banff is a spectacular conference, of course, but this retreat has a different feel altogether, obviously, with important opportunities for relationship building.  I’m grateful for this tradition in the Heartland, and I hope it continues for a long time.

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

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter March 2020

Trust is the Measure of Your Ministry! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your co-worker, Dennis Stone

The Chaplain’s Corner

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Respectfully submitted –

Kathy Brown, MS Region Administrative Associate Student and Casual Chaplain

 

MS Region Chaplains

Calgary

Cassandra Coster, James Scorgie, Becky Vink

Central  Ricky Williams

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

Peace Herman Friesen, Paul Hebert

South Anna Braun, Jack Knight, Stefan Ulrich

2020 Gull Lake Ministers Retreat

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

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

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

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

Making Connections March 2020

The Season of Lent

 

The season of Lent 2020 began on Ash Wednesday, February 26 and extends the length of 40 days ending on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.

The season of Lent is patterned after the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. It is an opportunity to deeply reflect on where our lives may be misaligned with, or distracted from, the life and mission of God. The invitation in this season is towards confession, shaped by an understanding of the grace of God shown to us in the renewal of life on Easter Sunday. In order to appreciate the gravity and wonder of Easter we must first journey the darkened path of our human condition. In order to do this reflective work and diminish the distraction people try to give something up or take something on for the next forty days—sometimes this can establish a new pattern of behaviour that helps us align once again with God’s heart and His resurrected life within us. For example, some people will fast, or give up social media or TV for the duration of Lent. Others might intentionally set aside time to read the Bible daily for the forty days or begin a new devotion book. The point is, whatever you decide to do, the end goal should be to spend time with the Lord and focus on what He wants to teach you, as you prepare for Easter.

This year we are suggesting Scot McKnight’s book, 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed, which is a devotional book based on his book titled, The Jesus Creed. Scot McKnight,Ph.D is an award-winning author and a Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He is also going to be the guest speaker at this year’s Banff Pastor and Spouses conference. He uses his book to help people to reflect on, pray about and practice loving God and loving others.

“We tend to think of Lent as a time of sorrow and repentance and grief, and that is one of its core ideas.” McKnight wrote on the patheos.com website. “But we don’t grieve in order to heighten our capacity to grieve, or repent so we can focus on our ability to repent. If Lent has its proper impact, it will form us spiritually—and to be formed spiritually is to grow in love of God and love of others.”

40 Days Living the Jesus Creed is a short 40-Day devotional that will challenge you and help guide you this Lenten season.

Click here to purchase a copy.

Enabling Others to Preach

By Jenna Hanger

 

Not all people gifted with teaching and public speaking are pastors. A lot of people have these gifts but don’t necessarily have the opportunity to use them in a ministry setting.

Pastor Jeff Gullacher, from Trinity Baptist Church in Sherwood Park, has come up with a program for this exact purpose; to help others develop their gifts and abilities and provide opportunities for them to step out of their comfort zones.

This is the second year the Preaching Lab has been operating, and so far, it has been met with great success.

“The heart behind it is three-fold,” says Pastor Gullacher. “First off, it is basically celebrating that lay people can do everything a pastor does. The difference is I am going to preach more often but other people can [preach as well], and God can use their preaching just as much as He can use mine.”

The second reason, Pastor Gullacher goes on to explain, is that at a functional level it is helpful to be able to share the workload of preaching. Many churches will bring in special guest speakers or do a pulpit switch, but by helping develop the skills of congregates through the Preaching Lab, the church is able to get someone local who knows the members quite well to share a message.

And thirdly, if Pastor Gullacher takes a sabbatical in the future then there will be a strong line-up of people who could fill in on Sunday mornings.

It’s all about enabling people. The program itself runs very efficiently; it starts off in September and runs till June. Participates meet around seven or eight times throughout. The first half is all about how to do in-depth Bible studies. The goal is to give people a good template for how to get the most out of the text. They are given exegetical homework, and a lot of what they come up with Pastor Gullacher actually uses in his sermons.

“It’s kind of fun, because I announce before my sermon that if you hear any new ideas or deep thoughts, a lot of the background work came from the Preaching Lab participants,” Pastor Gullacher said.

As the year goes on, they switch more to outlining sermons and delivery tips. By February, the group is ready to start putting their skills into practice. First, they deliver their sermons in front of each other, and any friends or family they want to invite.

Then they are challenged to find a medium-sized gathering to deliver their sermon to. For example; they might share at a men’s breakfast, or small group or a retreat. It is their prerogative to seek out that opportunity.

As the program begins to wind-down, they have the opportunity to speak in front of the church. This usually happens sometime after Easter. Pastor Gullacher is there behind the scenes, giving tips and reviewing drafts of their sermons before they deliver it Sunday morning.

In order for the program to run smoothly, Pastor Gullacher suggests capping the amount of people at around half a dozen.

“I would cap it, logistically, because you want to have a realistic chance for people to preach and preach multiple times. You get better at it by doing it, so you want the ability for people to do it a lot,” said Pastor Gullacher. “Half a dozen is really important, so you can help each person enough. They send draft copies of studies or sermon manuscripts; some don’t require a lot of feedback but some do, and if group is too big it would require a lot of work.”

The Preaching Lab is a practical and exciting way to cultivate leadership in your church. If you would like more information on how the program works you can contact Pastor Gullacher at jeff@tbcsherwoodpark.ca.

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

The Chaplain’s Corner | Gull Lake Ministers Retreat | Trust is the Measure of your Ministry!

Coldest Day of the Year

 

Winters in Canada can be brutal. Especially this year when we have experienced record-breaking cold spells. Imagine trying to survive in this weather without the safety and warmth of your home. That is what the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser is all about; bringing awareness to the struggles that people who live on the streets face every day, and raising funds for organizations who, according to the Mustard Seed website, serve the “hungry, homeless and hurting in over 100 communities across Canada.”

There were many people involved in this year’s event who represent the CBWC. The Forge Church in Victoria BC, as well as the Southwest Community Church in Kamloops were two such groups who entered teams into the fundraiser event and walked the 2, 5 or 10km distance. Pastor Shannon Youell and Pastor Andrea Tisher shared their team’s experience.

Pastor Shannon – Forge Church:

At the Forge church, Victoria BC, we are a community endeavouring to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves. Gathering in our community on a Sunday, we have people from many different walks of life, including those suffering hunger, homelessness and hurt.

We long to demonstrate and tell stories of God’s love for all the world that does not exclude but invites. Thus, joining the Canada-wide event The Coldest Night is an outflow of who we are becoming as missional disciples of Jesus and one way to literally put our feet to the ground and walk the streets where many end up calling ‘home.’

Our team of walkers ranged in age from 4 months to 80+ years as we walked the 5km route (one of our team chose the 10km route). Donning our Coldest Night toques along with hundreds of other walkers, we took to the streets with smiles on our faces to all we encountered along the way. Surpassing our team fundraising goal was awesome, but most poignant was the time spent back at the Mustard Seed sharing the regular Saturday night meal with those who consider the Seed their safety and comfort zone and perhaps, for some of us, seeing these folks as our neighbours to love for the very first time.

Pastor Andrea- Southwest Community Church:

The event went great! The national goal was to raise $6 million and they almost made it! As of right now, they’re at 97% of their goal and donations are still coming in.

Meanwhile, for the Kamloops walk, we are at about the same as the national levels, almost making our goal of raising $26,000 for Mustard Seed Kamloops. Out of 22 teams, the Southwest Striders came first out of 22 teams for fundraising! We had a team of 21 walkers signed up and a few more registered on the spot and joined in, so I think we had about 25 in total.

Our goal had been to raise $1000 for Mustard Seed Kamloops- one of our ‘mission partners’, which means we commit to giving about $5000 to them annually. But we far surpassed our goal and managed to raise a little over $3000! With donations ranging from $10-$200, every little bit counts. It seems that raising money for helping people experiencing homelessness is something that our friends and family can get behind regardless of their faith background. One participant sent her fundraising page link to everyone in her office and discovered a whole bunch of people who were really happy to help.

As a pastor, I’m delighted by the way the walk gave us an opportunity to connect with one another, with a local organization, and with the wider Kamloops community. Sometimes it can seem like we’re all off doing our own thing—this church working for this, that church focusing on something else, and then non-faith-based groups doing yet other things. This was a great way to join together for the sake of a common cause.

Upcoming BLTS Alumni Reunion

This year we are excited to launch the new CBWC Gap Year Experience, Kurios. Beginning this fall, students will have the opportunity to be part of a 28-week program that will challenge and help them grow in their relationship with the Lord Jesus.

This program is built on the foundations of CBWC’s previous gap year programs, BLTS and ASCENT. These programs greatly affected many people over the years and on May 22-24, 2020, these memories will be resurfacing at the BLTS and ASCENT Reunion. The weekend will include sharing stories and experiences, reconnecting and learning about the new Kurios program.

Marcel Leffelaar, Mary Martin and Fay Puddicombe are three such alumni whose experience with BLTS shaped their lives. Below is a snapshot of their stories.

Marcel Leffelaar- Former BLTS Choir/Music Teacher:

BLTS was perhaps the most significant place I could have been involved in ministry during the early years of raising our high energy family. Involved in the spiritual formation of gifted, intelligent and dedicated young people was both challenging and inspiring for me. Our four sons (Daniel, Philip, Joshua, Jordan) had the privilege of fulfilling ‘mascot-like’ roles when they interacted with these school students, coming to believe that all teenagers were amazing human beings – strong, witty & fun-loving, and that they wanted to be just like them when they grew up; a kind of Greek god and goddess status. Their welcoming influence helped shape each of our boy’s own spiritual development, later going on to complete the LTD program at Gull Lake Camp and as well as the new ASCENT and OUTTA TOWN Programs. 

BLTS was a magical place for me also as I took on the responsibility of trying to corral all voices in the student body each year to achieve a simultaneous unity of heart in sound in the presentation of all the songs we had set out to learn. Simply put, it was nothing short of a miraculous transformation between September and April when we set out for choir tour, with cassette recordings in hand, to share with churches over the next few weeks what we’d worked so hard to learn together. This was tremendously rewarding work for me and though at times I felt like I was in over my head with my choral and ensemble aspirations, I was always loved, affirmed and encouraged by my students. I am deeply indebted to, and grateful for, all the students that helped shape and love my family and I during my years of ministry there. 

Mary Martin (Davies)- 7th BLTS Class 1955-1956:

When BLTS opened in the early 1950s, information was sent to churches in Western Canada – a six-month program with courses developed to help young people grow in their Christian lives and become effective workers in their local churches. My older brother decided to attend BLTS for the 1954-55 school year. He found it very helpful and had made many good friends before he continued his post-secondary education, so I decided to follow his example.

 

When I graduated from high school in 1955, I knew I wanted to become a nurse, but did not have a lot of self-confidence. I thought that time away from home in a place where I could learn more about my faith, the Bible, and be with like-minded people would be worthwhile.  Living for several months in close quarters with 30 young people from various backgrounds and churches was a challenge at first, but as the year progressed we became a family. I found the courses and practical work helped as I continued my education. I think one of the most important points I learned was that you need to be a full-time, even if imperfect, Christian regardless of where you are and what you’re doing: at home, at school, at work or at leisure.  Although it’s many years since I left BLTS, I often think of experiences I shared with my classmates, and remember the faculty, staff, and the old building we were in! Although I’ve moved several times, I still have my yearbook!  

 

I was sorry to hear BLTS had closed a number of years ago. However, I have recently heard about the Kurios “gap” program being set up by CBWC, with a similar philosophy to BLTS, but geared to the youth of the 2020s. I hope and pray that it will continue the BLTS legacy of combining Biblical content with practical experience.

Fay Puddicombe- Former Dean of Residence:

My BLTS experience was unique in that not only did I have my own wonderful years’ experience (72-73), but my husband and I were Deans of Residence for four years (80-84). We had the joy of walking with four groups of young people in their amazing time at BL. Living in a Christian community is a great experience. Not only do you learn and grow through the teaching you receive, but also from experiencing the year with others walking with you. And I have life-long friends from those years!

The Kurios experience that has been developed looks amazing- wish I was 20 again! Young adults will be richly blessed to be part of this adventure.

The schedule for the Reunion is as follows:

DATES:  Friday – Sunday, May 22-24, 2020

LOCATION: Altadore Baptist Church, 4304 – 16 Street SW, Calgary AB, T2T 4H9

WORKING SCHEDULE (Subject to Change):

Friday, May 22

   7:00pm – 9:00pm – Dessert Reception at Altadore Baptist

Saturday, May 23

   9:30am – 11:00am – Class Connect Brunch

   1:00pm – 4:00pm – Free time

     Optional Activities Include

     – Tour the BLTS Facility

     – Prepare an impromptu hand bell, choral, drama or puppet show performance

     – Take a stroll to “My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe”

     – More options to come

   5:00pm – 8:00pm – Reunion Banquet

     – Alumni Performances, Sharing of Stories, Slideshow, Kurios Preview and more

Sunday, May 24

   – There is no official program on Sunday.  You are encouraged to worship at the church you attended while at BLTS or ASCENT.

COST:  $95.00/person

Includes all programs, meals and receptions listed above. Does not include transportation to/from the reunion or accommodation.

To register, click the link below:

https://cbwcevents.sunergo.net/qry/sb_conf_registration.taf?_filter_conf_id=46

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

Making Connections is the Monthly Newsletter of the CBWC.  

BCY Regional Newsletter February 2020

A “Treasure” We Were Privileged to Know: Roy Simeon, August 4, 1956 – Nov 30, 2019

Written by Pastor Bob Swan from First Baptist Vancouver

 

Sixty-three years ago, Roy was born into the Haida First Nation on British Columbia’s North Coast. His childhood and adolescent years were troubled and difficult. He struggled to teach himself the skills that are needed to hold down a job. But whenever he had a chance to work, that is what he did. He experienced a large variety of work places.

Near the age of twenty, Roy got a job at a car-crushing metal recycling plant. One of his jobs was to remove the documents from the glove compartments of cars before the crusher hit. But on one fateful day, a new young operator dropped the crusher before the light turned “green” and before Roy had removed the documents. This man’s error cost Roy his right arm.

He was still in the hospital recovering when he heard that the young man who made the “error” was out drinking heavily trying to erase the memory of the accident. Roy then asked that the young man be brought to his bedside.

His request was granted and Roy “seized the moment.” He consoled the young man and told him that is was indeed an accident and that he was forgiven. Roy told him that he needed to forgive himself and give himself a chance to live well. He blessed the young man in the midst of his own suffering.

Some years after the accident Roy made his way to Vancouver and met his wife to be, April.  She recalled seeing Roy’s right-arm prothesis and his right-hand hook for the first time. She said, “I loved him and it was irrelevant to me whether he had one arm or two.”

They married and shared life together with all its struggles and challenges. The “brokenness” they shared was crippling and they ended up on the street; homeless and addicted. April recalled the tough times of living under a bridge near Powell Street and Heatly Avenue in Vancouver.  Those were very difficult years but by God’s grace they made it into a recovery program in a home called, “OUR HOUSE.” It was at this home that Roy heard about our First Baptist Shelter and he soon showed up to volunteer.

That was more than 10 years ago and it turned out to be an enormous help for Roy and April and a gigantic blessing for First Baptist Vancouver, myself and many others. Roy gave thanks to God for his “new life” and poured out God’s grace to many in our shelter, to us as staff, and to the homeless in the alleys near our church. Whenever Roy was present and an argument or fight was about to erupt, Roy’s God-given voice conveyed authority, wisdom and grace. Roy was the best peacemaker we ever had. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

Roy also proved the words of Isaiah 58 to be true:

“Is this not the fast which I choose, [says the Lord],…Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you;…Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’… 10 And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday…; and you will be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”

Not only did Roy volunteer at a number of churches but he was determined to learn a new skill, and he did. He became a Computer Tech after graduating from CDI College in Computer Technology.

Roy also attended First Baptist on Sunday mornings and helped with security for 8 years. His smile, while greeting people on their way into our fellowship hall after the service was over, is emblazoned on the minds of hundreds of people who came in for coffee.

Whenever Roy was engaged in a conversation with someone, he gave them his full attention and greeted them with his incredible smile. He would slightly squint his eyes and look right through you and you knew he was reading you. He was very perceptive.

Roy had an incredible sense of humour and God used that to help us in many tough times; even on the day of his passing.

I thank God that twenty-one years ago, First Baptist Vancouver gave permission for us to start the Shelter Program, because without it, I may never have gotten to know Roy Simeon. He was one of God’s great gifts to us.

We thank God for Roy and we miss him deeply. He is now with Jesus, his Saviour; his suffering from accidents and cancer has ended and he is at peace. 

His friend and pastor,

Bob Swann

Matthew 5:16  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

Mark your Calendar!

July 2-5, 2020:  BCY Assembly/BC Convention and Pastors and Spouses Retreat in Nelson, BC

July 2-3: Guest Speaker- April Yamasaki. April is an ordained minister with 25 years of pastoral ministry experience. She is currently the Resident Author at Valley Crossway Church and the Editor of the monthly magazine; Purpose: everyday inspiration. She also writes numerous articles online and in print on Christian living and spiritual growth and is the author of many books.

July 3-5: Assembly

 On-line Assembly:  May 21, 2020

 Banff Pastors Retreat:  Nov 2-5, 2020

 Keats Camps registration is now open! Go to https://keatscamps.com for more info!

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 February 2020

Marriage & Relationships: Advice to Succeed

 

 

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it is the perfect time to think about how to bless your significant other. Whether it’s with flowers or chocolates and cards (or my personal favourite, some kid-free time to read) it is a great time of year to show your affection in the form of gifts.

However, we all know that whether you are dating or married, maintaining a healthy relationship takes more than just giving gifts once a year. It’s important to have a strong foundation and to always be open for improvement. To that end, we have asked different pastors and youth workers for their top relationship advice.

Marriage Advice:

Your spouse doesn’t have to be your ‘everything’…that’s too great a burden to bear. You each get to be human and you’ll need people other than your spouse in your life. 

Love your spouse not as you want to be loved but as they do. Personality differences mean that they may have different needs/wants when it comes to communication, schedule, everything! And it takes time to learn those differences. So be patient but also intentional about figuring out what makes each of you feel loved and supported. The lists may be very different for each of you. Every marriage looks a little different. So, by all means watch other marriages, but don’t expect yours to perfectly resemble any one marriage you see.                                                        

-Andrea Tisher from Southwest Community Church, Kamloops BC

Jordan and I can agree on one lesson that has been the most important for our relationship’s stability.  Do not avoid conflict. Even if confrontation means that there might be a fight, don’t fear it. We can give all these tips on how to do conflict well, how to respect each other in an argument, and those are important, but the key is to not run from it. By all means, take a moment to cool down. Ask Holy Spirit to be present and guide the conversation. Just make sure you have the hard conversation sooner rather than later. If the two of you cannot find a resolution, find a counsellor, speak with a trusted friend or Pastor, ask for help. Great things happen in relationships when a conflict is worked through, but tension will always remain if it is ignored or forgotten. When we reconcile with each other, we imitate God’s relationship with creation. We were in conflict with God once sin entered this world, and Jesus came to defeat our enemy. Jesus willingly entered into conflict, into battle, to reconcile our relationship with the Triune God. That is our example for marriage; enter the conflict so relationship can be reconciled.

-Tash Ingram from Westview Baptist Church, Calgary AB

Relationship and Dating Advice:

For my wife and I, we have always adhered to the principle that if you put God first in your life, the rest will follow and fall in their proper places. This principle beautifully applies to marriages and to people who are dating. I have always preached to people who are dating to look for a person who has the “Fear of the Lord.” This is the fear that honours the Lord! A person who puts God first and has a healthy fear of the Lord will be convicted by the Holy Spirit to put away his or her pride and apologize if they are in the wrong. 

-Clinton Legaspi from Filipino Evangelical Church, Winnipeg, MB

I wish Jordan and I had asked people to more boldly speak into our life and relationship. There was so much we figured out, but could have had a lot more peace if we had asked for support. We spent time with friends and family as a couple, but did not talk with those we trusted about what was hard. I wish we had prayed together more and asked more people to pray for us. In my reflections, I have realized that we isolated ourselves. Ask people to mentor you as you pursue dating relationships seriously, and don’t forget your friends. Trust Jesus and pray that the Holy Spirit would give you wisdom.

-Tash Ingram from Westview Baptist Church, Calgary AB

 I would advise the couple to place God at the center of their relationship by intentionally setting a time to pray together. When praying together, they can both know God together, and discover who He is and His love for them. When they pray together they can also listen together, and this will help them know what God has in store for them. When they pray together they will get to know each other better. To quote Timothy Keller, “It is in prayer, you can see yourself for who you really are.” It is by praying together, they become truly vulnerable before God, and by doing so, the couple will be able to begin to truly know each other’s hearts. 

Depending how far they are into their relationship, I would also advise them to talk about love languages, and learn about what the love languages are. Learn about how they feel loved, and how they can love each other. By establishing this early, this will get them to realize how they can fully communicate their love to each other effectively. It will help them in future for when they are married. I recommend Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to love that lasts.” 

-Jason Rahardjo from White Rock Baptist Church, Surrey, BC

Engaging in Mission Opportunity: Summer Camps

By Jenna Hanger

It’s hard to imagine there will be an end to the freezing cold temperatures we have been facing, but eventually winter will pass and summer will be here before you know it. With that in mind, it’s time to start thinking about summer camp opportunities, as registration has opened for many of the CBWC camps. 

If you have been a camper or a staff member yourself, you will know what an amazing experience camp is for young people and how important this ministry is. As Executive Director of Keats Camps, Stan Carmody, says “Camps have the unique opportunity to build relationships, share the gospel and transform children and youth for the majority of their young lives, many of whom do not come from a Christian home or upbringing. For some people their decision to follow Christ began at a young age, and attending camp was not only the place a seed was planted, but it was also a safe place for them to ask questions, dive deeper and transform their lives. Camping Ministry within the CBWC has been changing lives for over 100 years!”

Carmody goes on to say there are many different opportunities for campers and staff at camp. Not only do they get to experience activities that they might never get the chance to do elsewhere, but camp gives young people the space and opportunity to grow in their independence, as they have choices they get to make for themselves (what to eat at meals, which activities they try, to change their clothes or not, etc.) This can be a vital step to help kids to maturity.

One of the main values the CBWC tries to promote in churches is Engaging In Mission. One way that churches can do this is by providing practical support for their local camps.

“There are many ways you can practically support your local camp. The obvious answer is through financially donating, but not everyone has that ability,” Carmody said. “Many camps are in need of strong and passionate board members; consider joining the board this year or in the near future. Many camps will have opportunities for your church and community to rent their facilities for weekend getaways. Consider taking advantage of retreats with your youth and young adults, men’s groups, women’s groups, or church leadership; having the ability to get away from the busyness of life and relax in a welcoming environment can be exactly what your community needs.”

Other suggestions include inviting your local camp to come speak and share what God is doing through camp and ministry and what their specific needs are, as well as looking into any leadership development programs the camp might have.

“Leadership development is a large part of why camping ministry exists,” said Carmody. “These programs are not only beneficial to those who attend, but they are also there to build up leaders to become future volunteers and staff the for the camp, the church and local communities.”

And of course, one of the biggest ways to support camps is by sending campers to fill beds and young people to help lead! Here is a list of all the CBWC camps. If you are wanting to sign up a camper, move quickly because they can fill up fast!

BCY Regional Newsletter

Remembering Roy Simeon | Upcoming Events

BLTS/Ascent Reunion Coming Soon!

There is power in telling stories, especially the stories of God’s goodness.

Ps 145:4 says “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.” We are excited to launch the new CBWC Gap Year Experience, Kurios, on the shoulders of our two previous gap year programs, BLTS and ASCENT.  

All BLTS and ASCENT alumni are invited to a reunion May 22-24, 2020, where we will reconnect, tell stories, and hear about the CBWC’s new initiative. We are planning to honour those who taught, laugh at the good memories, visit the old facility, share pictures, and reflect on God’s goodness. And of course, in proper Baptist fashion, we shall share great meals together. There’s a good chance some puppets and handbells will make an appearance…

The schedule for the weekend includes an informal Friday evening reception with memorabilia and photo table, a Saturday brunch, and various options for Saturday afternoon including touring the old BLTS building, a choir rehearsal, and walks to My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe!” Saturday evening there will be a banquet, with stories, alumni performances, and a chance to hear more about Kurios. On Sunday morning we encourage you to worship at the CBWC church you attended during your gap year. 

All events will be held at Altadore Baptist Church, and hotel rooms are available nearby. All the details are available at www.cbwc.ca/reunion .

Please help spread the word to all BLTS/ASCENT Alumni!

A message from CBWC Executive Minister Rob Ogilvie

I’m very mindful this week of Pastor Arash and the congregations of the Emmanuel Iranian Churches in North Vancouver and Coquitlam. These communities have been rocked by the deaths of friends, family and loved ones in the Iranian/Canadian community after the shooting down of the Ukrainian jetliner on January 8th over Tehran. Would you please join with all our CBWC family in praying for these churches and all others who are mourning the loss of loved ones from this terrible tragedy.

Emmanuel Iranian Church held a special memorial service for the Ukrainian jetliner tragedy.

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.

News & Notes Vol 13 No. 19

From Alpha to OEC

Dear friends,
 
You will hear more about this from Shaila Visser (Head of Alpha Canada) at the Assembly later this month. Over 75,000 people took the Alpha course last year, and over 35,000 people made first time commitments or recommitments to a relationship with Christ. A very exciting year. Click on the image to see a great video about Alpha, and then come to hear more at Assembly.

We engage every year in a wonderful process known as Ordination Examining Council.  This has always been a community event. We have representatives from the three regions, staff, and Board.  This year’s council will be held at Westview Baptist Church, in Calgary, AB, on 24 – 25 May 2017, preceeding our biennial Assembly.  Let me introduce you to the folk on this years council:
 
O.E.C. Chair: Steve Simala Grant
O.E.C. Recording Secretary (non-voting): Doug Johnston 
 
CBWC Executive Staff (non-voting members)
Jeremy Bell, Executive Minister (voting)
Dennis Stone, Alberta Regional Minister
Mark Doerksen, Heartland Regional Minister
Rob Ogilvie, BCY Regional Minister
Faye Reynolds, CBWC Director of Ministries
 
CBWC Table Officers (voting members)
Laura Nelson, President
Kayely Rich, VP Planning
Tim Kerber, VP Personnel
Michael Hayes, VP Finance
 
Elected or Appointed Regional Representatives (voting members)
Alberta Regional Representatives:
Greg Butt
Connie Shalagan
Brent Watts
Shelley Utz
BC/Yukon Regional Representatives:
Jodi Spargur
Larry Schram
Moreen Sharp
Gerry Davison
Heartland Regional Representatives:
Paul Matheson
Debra Cwir
Mike Engbers
Francine Vandergucht
 
Mentored Ministry Coordinator (non-voting)
Axel Schoeber, Carey Theological College
 
And let me introduce you to the candidates who are presenting themselves before the Council this year:

Eric Brooks, Edmonton, AB
Darlene Edwards, Sherwood Park, AB
Nathan Friedt, Peace River, BC
Rob Klingbeil, Lacombe, AB
Doug Liao, Surrey, BC
Kayley Sanders, Peace River, BC
Mervin Tippe, Regina, SK
Andrea Tisher, Vancouver, BC
 
The task of the OEC is not to rubber stamp what has been decided by a local church or a regional interview committee, but it is to sincerely discern and enquire of the candidate in an ongoing process.
Finally, let me draw your attention to a simple explanation of ordination and its process; this piece has been worked on over the years by Wayne Larson, Steve Simala Grant, and Laura Nelson in their roles as Chair of the Council.
Ordination and its Processes
 
One of the most serious aspects of our life together as Baptists in Western Canada is the examination of Candidates for ordination to the gospel ministry. Under Baptist polity, and in keeping with our understanding of the nature of the church, the ordination of a Candidate is the prerogative of the local church, while the official recognition of the Candidate is the prerogative of Canadian Baptist. 
 
From the local church the call for ordination is issued; to the local church the recommendations of the Examining Council are returned; on those recommendations the local church acts. The church convenes the Service of Ordination and on its behalf those who have been previously ordained to the gospel ministry join with members of the local church to lay on hands, with prayer, for the plenitude of the Spirit and His gifts in thus setting apart a man or a woman to a life of ministry in the church.  
 
But, although ordination is at the request, under the auspices, and by the authority of the local church, it is the custom in Baptist churches to request the fellowship of sister churches in this solemn act. To this end, sister churches are invited to send representatives to an Examining Council. Previously ordained ministers take part in the ordination service; and the Regional Minister normally conducts the service so that all may see that the universal church has a share in the solemn act of a local church.
 
In Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, by mutual agreement of the churches and areas, and at their request, the denomination convenes a central Examining Council each year. This council is composed of representatives elected by the Regional Executives or Advisory Groups, the elected officers of Assembly (President and Vice-Presidents), up to two representatives from a Candidate’s local church, the Executive Minister and the staff ministers (Regional Ministers and the Director of the Graduate Internship Program) who are non-voting members of the Council.  
 
The Co-Chairs and Secretary of the Council are appointed by the Credentials Committee of Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. The Co-Chairs are responsible to ensure that questions are clear, that the Candidate is not harassed, that communication between both Council and Candidate is open, and that the business is conducted in an impartial and orderly manner.
 
Candidates are invited to the Ordination Examining Council at the request of the local church on the recommendation of the area in which the Candidate serves and by the approval of the Ministerial Credentials Committee when they have satisfied all requirements of the Ministerial Ordination Standards and Procedures (MOS&P). 
 
Warmly,
In Christ,
Jeremy Bell

News & Notes Vol 13 No. 18

New Ways of Listening To God and Each Other

Dear friends,

There was so much to choose from in our life and ministry together this week, that I was challenged to limit it to these 2 wonderful experiences before us.
 
The first is Potential Impact, which we have spoken of before. Several dozen youth have followed the pattern described below. We are very excited about what God will be doing in their lives.
 
POTENTIAL IMPACT: CALLING THE NEXT GENERATION OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS

Every generation needs to encounter Jesus, rise up and put faith into action. That action might be as a waitress, a carpenter, a pastor, a children’s church leader, a board member, a musician, a youth leader, and the list could go on and on. I Corinthians 10:31 states, “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
 
We come to an age where bigger questions are being asked about our place in the world and the plan God might have for our lives. Every believer faces these challenges, but no one stares them in the face as much as those us of between grade 11 and age 24. This retreat is intentionally wired for those who are taking these questions seriously.
Potential Impact is not about someone telling people what they should do. Potential Impact will be asking questions: “What is God calling you to do?” “How do we help you prepare for that challenge?”
You will be joined by peers and coaches who are committed to helping you explore your future – your “potential impact.” They will help you hear and clarify the call of Jesus in your life.
Join us from Thursday evening April 27th, 2017, at Gull Lake Centre until Sunday, April 30, at noon. Early bird cost is $160, regular registration $175.
 
This retreat is the first of its kind among the churches of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. If you are a church leader, determine who among your church will profit from this experience and do everything in your power to see they come. If you are a dedicated young person, now is the time to seek God and say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
 
 
Secondly, the New Ministers Orientation is of critical importance to building relationship, collegiality, cross-resourcing and a sense of family beyond our backgrounds, geography, and the many miles we travel in Western Canada. These are the folks who are attending this year.
 
Eric Brooks, Strathcona Baptist, Edmonton, AB
Troy Dennis (Chaplain, Canadian Forces), Shiloh, Edmonton, AB
Aaron Hansen, FBC Cranbrook, BC
Brian Louw, White Rock Baptist, BC
Kevin Corbett, Hope Farm (Mustard Seed), Duncan, BC
Hannah Juras, Southwest Community Baptist, Kamloops, BC
Ella Cho, West Point Grey Baptist, Vancouver, BC
Alisa Powers, Moosomin Baptist, SK
Kevin Dyck, Moosomin Baptist, SK
Troy Taylor, FBC Lethbridge, AB
Norm Derkson, FBC Calgary, AB
Nixon Solomon, Sonrise Community Baptist, Calgary, AB
Heather Hiebert, Community Baptist, Cold Lake, AB
Terry Coe, FBC Dawson Creek, AB
Samuel Kim, Bonavista Baptist, Calgary, AB
Lee Young, Summerland Baptist, BC
Everett Budd, FBC Peace River, AB
Gabriel Alalade, Northmount Baptist, Calgary, AB
Anna Braun (Chaplain), FBC Lethbridge, AB 
Ryan Friesen, Keats Camps, Keats Island, BC
Isaac Godwin, Kitsilano Christian Community, Vancouver, BC
Jerry Wang, CBWC Staff, Calgary, AB
 
Please be in prayer for these events as they have unfolded, and I will update you with news of God’s faithfulness in them and around us.

Warmly,
In Christ,
Jeremy