An Invitation to the Health of the Church
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.