Making Connections July 2023

Churches & Community Rally After Mustard Seed Street Church Fire

The Mustard Seed Street Church in Victoria, BC, suffered severe damage from an accidental fire at the end of March. The fire was started by a member of their street community, who was trying to keep warm with a torch—which blew out of control. The person wielding the torch is now totally safe, but the fire burnt through the hospitality department and through the fire door. As a result, the entire building suffered smoke damage.

Originally, the estimates were months and months of getting everything back up and going, but with the help of the Victoria Fire Department, local churches, and community, a lot of things have been expedited.

“It’s been wonderful watching the progress and watching the community work together. It’s also been wonderful to watch partnership in the gospel happen, from within different denominations within our community,” Rev. Stephen Bell, Executive Director and Senior Pastor, said.

“We had people from the Pentecostal denomination, the Anglican denomination, United denomination and, of course, our good friends at the CBWC coming by to lend a hand––bringing sandwiches and drinks to help our staff and to volunteer. It’s been incredible to watch.”

Local churches, including The Forge in Langford and Centennial United Church, have also offered their space so the Mustard Seed could hold their regular service times.

There are a couple of ways people can still help the Mustard Seed Street Church as they recover.

“Always donations are number one for us. At this point in time, we don’t have a lot of space to put food donations. But we can always accept what we like to call ‘cans of cash’,” Stephen shared, adding that their buying power with cash right now is substantial because of all the discounts they are able to get.

He also added another way that local people can help is by volunteering in their hospitality kitchen. The coordinator, Claudia, can be reached at

 Partner Spotlight: Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM)

Active in Mission 2023

A village in Thailand, a tribe in India, vulnerable households in the Democratic Republic of Congo, widows in South Sudan displaced from civil war, farmers in Rwanda struggling with the changing climate to produce enough food—these are just a sampling of the people who are experiencing hunger today. While here at home, the cost of groceries has sky-rocketed, causing over 5 million Canadians to seek assistance from food banks and other food-related programs.

This summer, our Canadian Baptist family–Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, l’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada, Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, and CBM–is partnering together to raise $100,000 that will help those experiencing food insecurity.

Half of those funds will be divided amongst our denominations to support food programs in local contexts through churches here in Canada, like Bromley Road Baptist Church in Ottawa. Partnering with local organizations, they pick up surplus food from a nearby bakery which is then distributed to ministries and food banks to serve the needs of their community.  

The other half will support CBM’s global food programming in 11 countries around the world, including El Salvador, the Philippines, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Ukraine. These programs help people like Eunice, in Kenya, who experienced repeated crop failure. She learned about conservation agriculture through our partner, and now her farm is thriving enough to fulfill her nutritional needs.

Join us in getting Active in Mission today! Your participation will make all the difference in addressing the problem of hunger in our world and in Canada! Visit to find out more.

Join the Action!

We are so excited to be participating in Active In Mission (AiM) this summer! The CBWC is encouraging all our churches to get Active this summer and help raise money to end hunger globally and locally!

We would love your support as we try to reach our Exec Staff Team goal of raising $2,500! Check our team page HERE!

Check out a few of our Active team members!

Mountain Standard Regional Minister, Tim Kerber: Biking 1000km over July & August

Heartland Regional Minister, Mark Doerksen + his wife Mary: Walking 10km/day for 90 days

Director of Communications & Developement, Louanne Haugan: Paddleboarding as many lakes as possible

Executive Administrative Assistant,  Esther Kitchener: Walking

Executive Minister, Rob Ogilvie: Cycling and Biking

Administrative Assistant, Sherisse White: Walking

Mountain Standard Regional Newsletter

July 2023

Celebrating Family News

Our wider Canadian Baptist families are celebrating some exciting news! L’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada (FBU), Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ), and the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC) have all elected new Executive Ministers!

The Executive Minister for l’Union des Églises Baptistes Francophone du Canada is Raphael Anzenberger. Born in Strasbourg, France in 1972, Raphael is married to Karen, and the father of four children: Josiah, Abigail, Lisa, and Matthew. In 1996, after receiving a Master’s Degree in Economics, he and Karen left for Chad, where Raphael was the CFO and CEO of the Bebalem

Hospital for two years. After a brief stay in France, they then moved to South Carolina for five years so that Raphael could pursue seminary classes at Columbia International University.  ,He has since received a Master of Divinity in Leadership, Evangelism and Discipleship, a Doctor of Ministry in Missions, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies. 

You can read Raphael’s full profile HERE.

Executive Minister of the CBOQ, Leanne Friesen, is a pastor, writer, speaker, grief educator, wife, and mother. Born and raised in Newfoundland, God led Leanne to Ontario to attend school, first attaining a degree in Child Studies from the University of Guelph, and then a Master of Divinity Degree from McMaster Divinity College. Upon graduation, Leanne began serving as the Lead Pastor of Mount 

Hamilton Baptist Church, where she served joyfully for eighteen years. As part of her ministry, Leanne has also served as a teacher and speaker in countless churches and conferences around the country. She has also written for a wide variety of publications and currently hosts an Instagram page to support people grieving. Her first book, “Grieving Room,” will be published in 2024.

Leanne cares deeply for the local church and is particularly passionate about helping each church live into the calling God has for them. One of her life “theme” verses which has shaped her ministry is 1 Peter 5: 2-3: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve…” Leanne lives in Hamilton with her husband, two teenaged children, and their dog. She enjoys walking, hiking, reading, and discovering new donut shops. You can read some of her writings at

CBAC is pleased to introduce Renee MacVicar as their new Executive Minister. Following a thorough, prayerful, and Spirit-led process, Renée received the unanimous support of the Search Committee. The same overwhelming affirmation is expected by the CBAC Council for ratification by the Assembly in August 2023.

Renée served as the Director of Youth and Family Ministries for CBAC for a five-year term, from 2014-2019. Her tenure as the Director of Youth and Family was marked by four main areas of concentration: investing in leaders, providing catalytic gathering points, encouraging missional and service opportunities, and providing resources to leaders and churches. Renee also served as adjunct professor at Acadia Divinity College where she taught a course called “Transformational Discipleship.”

Most recently, Renee represented the CBAC on the Board of Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) and served as Pastor of Community Engagement at Hillside Baptist Church where she guided the church through the COVID-19 pandemic. Renee lives with her family—Joe, Emma, and Isabell—in Salisbury, New Brunswick where they are all involved in life and ministry of their church. 

CBWC Head Office Under Renovation!

If you drop by the CBWC Calgary Office this summer, you’d better bring your hard hat!

An office renovation project is in full swing to better utilize the area of open space previously occupied with cubicles, most of which were largely unused. CBWC Operations Manager, Jerry Wang, explains, “The scope of the renovation project is to convert the middle area into an open conference space and build two offices in the copier area to accommodate staff previously working in cubicles. The project also includes changing the existing, rarely-used shower room to a storage room connected to the server room.”

After the renovation, the CBWC Head Office should be able to host meetings of up to 33 people on site, plus as many attendees as allowed by Microsoft Teams or Zoom joining remotely. Existing mounted televisions will be reused, and if the specifications meet the requirements, existing spare NUCs will also be reused in the new conference area.

Natasha, a friend of one of our staff, has been helping sell office furniture no longer needed in the renovated space. So far, we have sold $4,495 worth of old furniture instead of junking it! She and Jerry have been doing an excellent job at recovering costs during the project.

Victor Ku, Directory of Administration & Finance, adds, “The total renovation cost for the office plus the audio-visual equipment is around $37,000, but the long-term benefits outweigh the investment required. In the long term, the repurposed office space can be used to accommodate the CBWC Board and the CBWC-Foundation Board. Moreover, it will also cater to the needs of NMO and OPW/OEC training seminars. The estimated annual savings from this alone is around $7,000 a year.”

Since the CBWC office was purchased in 2016, it has always been the hope and prayer of CBWC staff to one day utilize the space for training leaders and hosting Board meetings—not just to save money for the association—but also to better practice the gift of hospitality. Praise be to God we will hold our first Board meeting in the Calgary Head Office this September!

Welcome to the Evangelism Masterclass!

By Rev. Shannon Youell – Director of Church Planting (and all things discipleship & evangelism!)

“Evangelism” is one of those trigger words: most of us believe it to be something the Church universal is to be engaged in, but we reserve it for those who are specifically-gifted evangelists. While Paul seems to delineate that particular gift, Jesus never does so. He calls His followers to be His apprentices, watching and learning from Him to become more like Him in thought, practice, and engagement. He also calls us to be salt and light in the world, His witnesses, His evangelists, His missionaries in the places where we and our churches live, work, play and pray. 

Evangelism isn’t a program but rather a posture. To help all of us shy and self-identified “ungifted evangelists,” CBWC Church Planting has partnered with CBOQ Church Development & Salvation Army Church Planting to offer all our combined churches opportunities to explore being missional in their contexts and communities. This opportunity is for old churches, new churches, and those exploring disciple-making in all sorts of innovative ways. 

This past year (Fall 2022-Spring 2023), we offered monthly opportunities to hear from practitioners in a variety of contexts and cultures. They shared their wisdom and experience through a short, but mighty, presentation, followed by breakout rooms to engage with one another and a Q&A of the presenter to answer any questions that come to mind. Many of our CBWC folk participated and gave good feedback:

I value hearing different perspectives from participants and leaders from various backgrounds.”

“This was out of the box thinking for me. I appreciate that it has opened up a whole new perspective on engaging people spiritually.”

“It was interesting to hear creative ideas about connecting with people about faith.”

“This time together is very rich!”

We are thrilled to announce our 2023-2024 line-up of topics and presenters! If you are a reader of our CBWC Church Planting Blog,  you will find a new page added just for Evangelism Masterclasses to see our amazing line up and how you can register for these free interactive classes.

Join us in discovering how learning from one another spurs us on to joining God at work in our neighbourhoods and communities!

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.