Heartland Regional Newsletter August 2023

Tragedy in Dauphin, Manitoba

By Mark Doerksen

A recent tragedy in Manitoba was a horrific accident where 16 senior citizens from Dauphin, MB, were killed. With tragic memories from Humboldt, SK, in the not-so-distant past, here again a community will need to come together in grief and support for families, both now and for the future.

As things turned out, our Westman Cluster of pastors was scheduled to meet in Dauphin on Thursday June 22. As a group, we gathered at Pastor Loralyn Lind’s house around the television as the names of the crash victims were released. It wasn’t an easy broadcast to watch.

Later that evening, folks from the community of Dauphin met at the local hall for a memorial service. There were several members of the clergy, from various traditions, who led the community in prayer, singing, and words of consolation. Loralyn, who had been on the planning committee for the service, lit candles as names were read, and closed the service with the benediction.

In the meantime, in downtown Dauphin a large truck had been parked for the better part of the week. That truck housed crisis chaplains and counselors, and had been sent to Dauphin from Calgary. The ministry that sent it was the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. Another CBWC pastor by the name of Tim MacKinnon, out of Weyburn, SK, used his chaplaincy training to minister in Dauphin for the week.

I write of this experience for two reasons; first, to prod us to remember to pray for this community. Those who have lost family members need our prayers. The first responders need our prayers, too. It was quite moving to observe the first responders from Carberry, the site of the accident, greet the first responders from Dauphin.

Second, Loralyn and Tim were encouraged to minister in these ways by their churches. These congregations understood the importance of sending them to care for a community reeling with grief. I am grateful for pastors and congregations such as these.

Have a safe summer!


The Long Game

By Adam MacDonald, Associate Pastor at Westhill Park Baptist Church

Adam & Karen MacDonald

God isn’t in a hurry, and sometimes he plays a long game.

This is a lesson that I’ve been learning in my first few weeks of pastoral ministry, and has been reinforced by the path I took to arrive here. Now that I’m in the role, I find myself impatient to get things rolling, and have discovered how many things really do take time to germinate, root, and grow, regardless of how fast I want them to happen. This is ironic, since it is almost thirty years between when I first started feeling a call to ministry and my first official church staff role.

I grew up in a family where church was a significant part of life. When I graduated high school, the roast / prediction speeches included a reference to Pastor Adam riding a motorcycle up the aisle of his church. (This has not happened so far). I went boldly off to attend Canadian Bible College, where I met my wife Karen, and managed to squeeze my 4-year program into 7 years. Those years included moving back and forth to Kingston, ON, getting married, and exploring future job possibilities. We thought we were moving back to Regina for one year to finish my Bachelor of Theology. That was 24 years ago this summer and we’re still in Regina. I discovered after high school that I actually did like being a student, and since we were living within blocks of the seminary, I completed my MDiv. We’ve always been very involved at our churches, including a period of time where I was on the preaching team and two different times on the board. To my ongoing surprise, and a bit of confusion, none of these seasons involved being part of a pastoral ministry team. I had always thought that it would, but for various reasons it didn’t, and eventually I concluded that it just wasn’t going to happen. So I focused on things that I loved to do, like teaching Sunday School, sometimes for adults, sometimes for children. I’ve enjoyed teaching each of my kids (Jack 18, Julie 16, Elizabeth 11) as they passed through my various classes.

Until this spring, when I noticed a change in my thinking. God isn’t in a hurry and he plays a long game. Through various conversations with our lead pastor and others close to me, I felt that it was time to seriously consider the position of Associate Pastor at Westhill Park Baptist Church. I started in that role on April 1, 2023. It’s been such a good fit that a close friend, who is an atheist, has commented on how well it seems to suit me and how much I’m enjoying it! I truly am enjoying it, and am looking forward to participating in new ways with what God is doing here.

Update from Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church

Written by Mark Doerksen

In the mid-summer of 2022, Ukrainians displaced by the war with Russia began to come to Winnipeg. At first many people came and would be ministered to by the folks that make up Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church (UEBC). UEBC is located in the William White neighborhood in Winnipeg, and this year will be celebrating 120 years of ministry.

The congregation has grown since then, in different ways. First, the church has gained some additional members, including church leaders. Second, the congregation has grown in what it means to serve folks who have been displaced and are now seeking to settle in Canada. It hasn’t always been easy, and it’s difficult to predict how many people need to be helped, and some folks who have started in Winnipeg have already moved to places like Calgary and Abbotsford. Over the past year, the congregation has learned that helping these displaced folks over the long haul requires motivation, energy, resources, and perseverance.

In terms of motivation, Pastor Alex Andrusyshyn relies on a couple of things. He has seen how the government of Canada and the government of Manitoba has been very helpful to Ukrainians, and feels as though the church should also be seen as helpful in supporting these newcomers. Second, and more from a theological perspective, the congregation relies on the story of the Good Samaritan to keep them motivated.

In terms of energy, Pastor Alex notes that the congregation is getting weary. The initial challenge and excitement has ebbed a bit, and now people are feeling the effects of supporting folks for the long term. They have also learned, by way of experience, to take a “step by step” approach to helping. Food hampers and a visit might be the first step in connecting with folks, and eventually an invitation to church, and then meeting needs of clothing and furniture after that.

In terms of resources, the congregation appreciates the support given by the CBWC family, and notes that many newcomers still need items such as food hampers, beds, clothing, and the like. As the congregation networks locally for those in need, some families are hoping to settle in Winnipeg for the long haul. UEBC is committed at the moment to 2 single moms, their children, as well as a husband and wife and their 3 children, in addition to the folks that come intermittently for help.

In terms of perseverance, Pastor Alex and the congregation are certainly feeling weariness, but are committed to helping as long at it takes. Over the past year different strategies of support have been developed, and sometimes there is plenty of need, while at other times, the need is not so acute. The need, it seems, comes in waves as Pastor Alex describes it.

Please continue to remember this congregation in your prayers, and please remember to pray for those displaced by the war. If you would like to connect more directly with a family that UEBC is helping with, please contact Pastor Alex at the church.

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