Dawn Johannesson, Honouring 29 Years of Service
Written by Jenna Hanger
29 years ago, Dawn Johannesson accepted the position of admin for the BCY Region. She had no idea the position would turn into a lifetime career, or the deep friendships that she would form with co-workers would give her an extended family and life-long connections.
Born in Port Alberni, Dawn moved around for the first few years of her life, spending many years in Richmond, BC and some time in Edmonton, AB—until eventually landing in Surrey, BC at the beginning of high school. This move turned out to be a significant chapter in her life. Dawn grew up in a loving, wonderful home, but it wasn’t until high school that she came to know the Lord as her personal Lord and Saviour. Being new to the school was a significant challenge so when a locker mate invited her to a concert, Dawn agreed, hoping to make new friends. Little did she know, the concert she found herself in was a Youth for Christ concert.
Dawn quickly said she would wait for her friend at the back, but a youth leader convinced her to stay and hear the speaker. It was the first time Dawn had ever heard the gospel, and she was immediately moved. It was the piece in her life that she hadn’t realized was missing. That night she gave her life to the Lord. This led her to plug into Berea Baptist Church (formerly called Reidville Baptist), and after graduation, moved to Calgary to attend the BLTS program.
“BLTS, was a life-changing year for me,” Dawn said. “It was the most significant time in my life.” As a fairly new Christian, the one-year program challenged her spiritually, and many of the relationships Dawn formed with her classmates have lasted her whole life.
After BLTS, Dawn worked in Jasper, AB for a few years, then took a youth services program at Grant MacEwan in Edmonton. After that, she worked in Calgary for Alberta Government services before moving back to Jasper. Soon after, she married Garth and they had three kids together; Mandi in 1980, Jenene in 1982, and Brandon in 1984. They spent a few years living in 100 Mile House/108 Ranch but eventually settled in Surrey, BC where, in 1992, they eventually started attending Dawn’s old church.
That year, Dawn’s pastor, Frank Lucia, showed her a job posting from CBWC (formerly BUWC). The BC region was looking for a secretary. Dawn was completing a computer course at the time and was unsure she qualified. Encouraged to apply, Dawn decided to go for it and sent in her resume. On Nov.11, Dr. Don Anderson phoned her to set up an interview time and by Nov.23 Dawn was starting the job she would have for the next, nearly-thirty years.
“I didn’t know I was going to stay that long,” Dawn shared, stating she believes the job was given to her for a reason. “It just worked out really well. I really love my job.”
Part of what she loves is the people. Dawn said she was privileged to have four wonderful bosses over the course of the years. She worked for Dr. Don Anderson from 1992-1995, then Dr. Paul Pearce from 1996-2008. Rev. Rob Ogilvie took over the position from 2008-2017, then Rev. Larry Schram from 2017 to present day.
Dawn also said many of the people she works with have felt more like family than co-workers. From her regional advisory team, to the CBWC staff, to the pastors, churches and board members Dawn has gotten to know and work with over the years. The connectiveness she has felt and fostered has been the highlight of her time with CBWC and made it more than just a job.
Another thing Dawn loves is the variety within her position. Each day is a little different, with the variety of duties that fall under her portfolio. Her job description has changed somewhat over the years, but part of what she does is being the first touchpoint for anyone trying to contact the BCY Region, or anyone applying for temporary and permanent marriage licenses. She also coordinated the New Ministers Orientation.
On December 31, 2021, Dawn will retire from her position, but she has many plans in the works for the next chapter of her life. In the New Year, she will begin a part-time position with the BC Convention, which oversees Keats Camp, Carey Theological College and Beulah Garden Homes (Hope Hill). She is also looking forward to having more time to spend with her soon-to-be eight grandchildren. Dawn also plans to read more, travel, be with her mother—whom she cares for and has many exploring adventures with—and continue her Thursday night ladies bible study, which has been running for 18 years. Dawn loves to play bridge weekly with friends.
Dawn is also excited to have the time to closely explore her roots. Recently, Dawn received her Indian Status. She is part of the K’tunaxa tribe and Akisq’nuk Nation in the Kootenays. This past summer, she visited Cranbrook’s St.Eugene Residential School, where her great-grandmother Teresa attended before marrying her great-grandfather, Baptiste. She also visited Golden, the town her great-grandfather Baptiste Morigeau named. In the coming months, Dawn is planning on diving deeper into her history and sharing what she learns with her adult children and grandchildren.
The CBWC would like to publicly thank Dawn for all her years of hard work, friendship and dedication. You will be missed, but we wish you the best in this next chapter!
Partner Spotlight: Carey Theological College
Immanuel Shall Come to You
WHEN I WAS A CHILD, I learned never to turn my back on the ocean for fear that the shore break would billow, break, and sweep me away. Even so, I found myself drawn to the ocean, exhilarated at learning to glide along its blue-green swells. Without me knowing, the ocean taught me to pray my first Psalm: “Do not let a tempest of water overwhelm me or a deep swallow me up!” (Ps 69:15).
The Psalmist’s ambivalent relationship to water is perhaps best captured in praise of the Lord who both subdues the roaring, raging sea and showers the earth with water (Ps 65:7, 9). We need water for life, but mighty waters are wild and unwieldy. Water gives us life but threatens us with tempest and flood, so water becomes a biblical image for the vulnerability and fragility of human life in the world. Israel’s God, the Psalmist effuses, rules the sea’s chaotic expanse and sustains the land with the life-giving water of snow, river, and rain.
If we had only Mark’s Gospel, we might not have Christmas. Like John’s Gospel, it has no nativity, no virgin birth, no shepherds, no magi. Like Matthew and Luke, it has no prologue disclosing Jesus as the Word made flesh. But we do have Christmas, so what happens if we read Mark’s opening as his rendition of Christmas’ joy?
According to Mark, the beginning of the gospel is that Jesus is Isaiah’s Lord come to bring a new exodus (1:1–3), come to despoil the devil (1:12–13), come to proclaim joyful news of God’s kingdom (1:14–15). Central to Mark’s prelude is a revelation as John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan. With the heavens torn open, the Spirit—dovelike—descends on Jesus and the heavenly voice sounds: “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:9–11). The Psalmist’s question “Why is it, O Jordan, that you turn back?” is answered by the earth’s trembling at the Lord’s presence. (Ps 114:5, 7). Jesus, entering the Jordan River, subdues the mighty waters and deep abyss. By his baptism, Jesus is revealed to be God’s Son and Lord of creation.
Mark’s view of Jesus, however, is variegated, irreducible to a single color or shade. Mark also identifies Jesus as the truly human one, David’s son (Ps 2:7) and God’s servant (Isa 42:1; cf. Mark 1:11). As the human one, Jesus descends into the mighty waters in his baptism by John, just as He would descend all the way down into the chaotic depths of human suffering in what He called “the baptism with which I am baptized”—His death on the cross (Mark 10:38). Jesus is revealed to be as fully human as He is fully divine—at once in complete solidarity with human affliction and in perfect unity with Father and Spirit—in His baptism(s).
Affliction overwhelms the world and sin has swept us away, but God has not turned away from us. Christ the King has come. The Lord enters the mighty waters with us, rescues us from the flood of sin and affliction, and floats us on the river of the water of life. Because this Lord has come, we can inhabit the world with joyful longing and sing: “O come, O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem, unto your own and rescue them! From depths of hell your people save, and give them victory o’er the grave. Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel.”
Wil Rogan has been an assistant professor of biblical studies at Carey Theological College since August 2020. He has a Ph.D. in New Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary and has articles published in New Testament Studies, Currents in Biblical Research, and Journal of Theological Interpretation. To learn more from Carey’s incredible professors, sign up for two exclusive opportunities only for CBWC churches. Apply at carey-edu.ca for a tuition-free start to your Masters and DMin coursework! Also, follow this link to gain free access for a limited time to our online library of 20,000 resources to help you in your ministry and education.
By Paige Ibbotson, local Alberta poet
She’s waited 9 long months,
She can wait a few moments more.
The journey has been difficult,
She’s starting to feel sore
But greater still than the aches and pains
that come with pregnancy
Are the thoughts that swirl inside her brain,
The waiting, the expectancy
The weight of what she’s about to do,
Is almost too much to take
She’s been entrusted with the Son of God
A task that seems too great
How is she to raise this boy,
And teach him the all the ways
Of a man who will grow up to change
The course of the human race?
They make it to their place of rest,
It’s not what she had in mind.
She knows that Joseph did his best,
It was all that he could find.
She labours through most of the night,
while cattle stir at her side,
She pushes hard with all her might
until she hears a baby’s cry.
Every life is a miracle,
Each breath we take, a gift.
But as she holds him in her arms,
She knows this is different.
The prince of peace, he will be called.
It’s clear that this is true.
For the worries that she felt before
Have bid her all ado
Guests arrive from far away, with gifts of Gold and Myrrh.
She knows this moment is significant,
Something much bigger than her
His brand-new eyes are sparkling,
His fingers are all curled
“My child” she whispers in his ear
“You are going to change the world”
Banff Highlight Video
Life from the Missional Web
By Rev. Shannon Youell
Donning rain coats and boots, my husband and I went on a rainy-day, guided hike in one of our local parks boasting old-growth 800-year-old Douglas Fir, a multitude of resident creatures and an incredible diversity of understory plants. Our focus was on mushrooms—Marvelous Mushrooms, as the hike was titled. We expected to learn and identify mushrooms but this was so much more. We discovered mycelium!
Mycelium, a vast network of fungal threads, are something like the root and digestive systems of the mushrooms. These networks are what is going on underneath the top layer of soil. They are formed from the mushroom’s mycelium, a web-like network that makes its way beneath the forest floor connecting to other lifeforms. What we see on the surface and recognize as mushrooms are the fruit of the fungi.
Surprised as we were by that discovery, it was the symbiotic relationship that the mycelium has with the forest trees which brings Marvelous Mushrooms to this blog. Called mycorrhiza, this under-the-surface relationship is crucial to the health of the trees and of the forest ecosystem, and of course for the support of the mushrooms themselves.
The short version is that mycorrhiza from the mycelium weave around the underground roots of trees to nourish and protect them. They help trees absorb their needed nutrients and help to protect them from absorbing toxins that could affect the health of the tree. Mycorrhiza also connect trees in the forest—via the mycelium web network—to one another, and help the trees sense when one of their ‘community’ is struggling. Once those ‘sensors’ are triggered, healthy trees will divert their own nutrients to help the struggling trees, even trees of different species. Current research being done at the University of British Columbia has discovered that these ‘connections’ go even deeper: ‘mother’ trees, through the web, can detect when one of their own ‘baby’ trees is struggling and divert energy and nutrients to help foster their growth. They will prioritize the nurture of their ‘own’ over another tree!
My apologies to any mycologists out there. I am just learning and excited to learn more about how all life is connected. Let me get into more familiar territory. What do mushrooms and their ‘web’ have to do with how followers of Jesus, and specifically communities of followers of Jesus, participate in the support and nurture of one another’s communities?
This blog has often touted the benefit of partnerships for the establishment of new expressions of the gospel in our communities. Both past and current plants are the beneficiaries of partnerships with already established churches (small and large), and in fact, those partnerships are necessary to nurture those plants and crucial for their ability to grow into healthy gospel communities of their own. We encourage symbiotic relationships in these partnerships—a flow back and forth as needed for the health and discipleship of both communities.
We need more of these symbiotic relationships as an eco-system for all our churches. Would more of our existing churches be willing to risk planting new expressions of the gospel if they knew they would not be on their own but supported by the ‘underground network’, communities of Christ ‘mycorrhiza’? Can we operate as an eco-system of communities connected even while distant from one another, so that we naturally respond to the struggle’s others are having—diverting some of our own energy and nutrients to support them? If Jesus were talking to nature folk rather than agrarian folk, would he have told the Parable of the Mycorrhiza? The kingdom of God is like…?
I think of this in supporting gospel communities both new and existing. How might we, as our vast geographical network of churches, live symbiotically—nurturing one another for the health of the whole? Can we be more active and involved in the health of one another’s communities in our common mission of joining God in his work of revealing the Good News wherever we live, work, play and pray? Think about it. (Paul writes about this in 2 Corinthians 8.)
There are new communities right now that you can nurture and encourage by your connections with them. Contact me at email@example.com for how you can join the web of life that connects all of us to God’s creation and to God’s mission in and to this amazingly interconnected and interdependent world He created.
The CBWC is blessed with a highly gifted team of creative, technologically savvy storytellers. This past year, Kent Neufeld joined the team as Interim Assistant to the Director of Communications & Development. Kent was hired to fill the shoes of Cailey Morgan who went on parental leave to welcome and care for new daughter, Rory.
Thank you, Kent, for your excellent work in sharing our stories via social media this past year. You were such a gift to our Team! Kent has taken a position at Hope Mission in Edmonton where he will be managing the Tegler Youth Centre.
Congratulations, Cailey and Kyson, on becoming new parents–Rory is such a sweet girl! Cailey has returned in a part-time role as Assistant to both Director of Communications & Development and Church Planting. Welcome back, Cailey!
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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.