Making Connections July 2024

Active in Mission Campaign:

Feeding Hope

Our CBWC Staff team is getting active AGAIN this summer to help raise funds across Canada for those grappling with food insecurity both locally and globally. Our team goal is to walk/run/bike/golf/kayak the distance across Canada—7,560 kilometers—by the end of August!

Last year, we were able to raise $110,000 collectively, and of that, 11,000 of those dollars were granted to CBWC churches engaged in food security programs here in Western Canada. We want to make an even bigger difference this year! It’s not too late for you to get on board and get Active in Mission with us and other Canadian Baptists from across the country to help feed people around the world.

If you or your church would like to register to join the 2024 campaign—Feeding Hope—click on the link below for instructions.

To learn more about Team Staff CBWC and to encourage them with your donation, visit CBWC Staff ( and let’s see how far across the country we can get by the end of the summer!

 Partner Spotlight: CBM

The Power of a Few to Inspire the Many

On the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, a small 25-member church serves 75 children every day. A church of 600 in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon serves more than 4,000 refugees. And in Nagaland, India, a local Baptist denomination is helping victims of human trafficking by providing job skills training for a better future.

Amidst the volatility and uncertainty in our world today, CBM’s global partners are making an impact in their communities. God is present and active in places of instability, tragedy, and human suffering.

And they aren’t doing it alone. Part of CBM’s long history in mission has been to make connections among our global partners to help fulfill their desire to extend their reach and impact by partnering and networking with other churches and organizations. The Gisenyi Africa partners have brought together other partners in East Africa to learn from and support one another. Groups like the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development, the Global Baptist Mission Network, and the Ascent Network have reached out to collaborate further for greater Kingdom impact.  

These types of networks have been key in responding to recent tragedies and unexpected crises. With feet already on the ground, our partners are able to identify and deliver what’s most needed. In recent months, there have been flash floods in Kenya, continued unrest in DR Congo, and the war in Ukraine still rages on. Because of your support, we have been able to respond quickly.

We celebrate the ability to reach people in need when they need it most. Thank you, CBWC family, for your part in allowing us to ensure we’re ready to respond again when the next crisis or unforeseen tragedy occurs.

BCY Regional Newsletter

July 2024

Carolyn Arends at BPC 2024! 

Anticipation is building towards welcoming CBWC Clergy, Chaplains, and Spouses to Banff 2024! Come and invest in rest, expansive time without ministry demands, deep conversation with others in ministry, worship that you don’t need to plan, and thought-provoking sessions geared towards transformation and growth.

There is something deeply refreshing and comforting about having long, unhurried, undistracted conversations with fellow pastors in a beautiful place.

– BPC Attendee


Monday Evening Concert

Following a shared dinner together, our Monday evening concert will be filled with the inspiring and uplifting music of Carolyn Arends and Spencer Capier!

Carolyn Arends has released 14 albums (including two brand new projects, Recognition, and In the Morning) and is the author of 3 critically-acclaimed books. 15 of Arends’ songs have become top 10 radio singles on the Canadian pop and US Christian charts. Arends has earned 2 Dove Awards, 3 Juno Nominations, and was recognized as the West Coast Music Awards’ Songwriter of the Year. Her prose has been recognized by The Word Guild, The Evangelical Press Association and The Canadian Church Press Awards.

In addition to her busy touring and speaking schedule, Carolyn has been a regular columnist for Christianity Today, Faith Today, and CT Women, and has served as an adjunct professor at a number of universities. She has a degree in Psychology and English from Trinity Western University and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Regent College. She lives in Surrey, BC, with her husband, Mark, and their young adult children, Benjamin and Bethany.

Carolyn is currently the Director of Education for Renovaré, a far-reaching organization that encourages and nurtures spiritual renewal. She continues to be available on a select basis for speaking, retreat facilitation, concerts, worship leading, and songwriting and performance seminars. Connect with Carolyn by visiting and be sure to sign up for her Weekly Digest. You can also find her on Instagram (@carolyn_arends), Facebook (@CarolynArendsOfficial), Twitter (@CarolynArends) and Spotify.

Tuesday Morning Session: Worship and Keynote

Living in the Overflow: The Cycle of Grace

Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-39)

As we pour out our lives for others, are we continually replenished or constantly drained? Are there some things we can do to co-operate with God in His desire to fill us with living water? On Tuesday morning, Carolyn Arends will lead us in song and also help us explore “the cycle of grace” and its connection to a sustainable way of life in ministry.



HeartSmart HR: Understanding Clergy Communication Privilege

By Louanne Haugan, Director of Communications and Development

Clergy communication privilege in Canada is a legal concept that protects confidential communications between clergy and individuals seeking spiritual guidance or counseling.  Individuals often turn to the Church for guidance in matters that are deeply personal or sensitive in nature. Understanding the level of privacy can be confusing at times. While preserving trust between clergy and parishioners is paramount, are there circumstances that require pastors to divulge what they have been told? The Canadian Centre for Christian Charities provides helpful information on this.

In Canada, clergy communication privilege varies across provinces and territories—there is no federal legislation. Instead, it is primarily established through common law principles and may be subject to interpretation by courts on a case-by-case basis.

The last time the Supreme Court of Canada discussed this matter in detail was in 1991 concerning the case of R. v. Gruenke. In that case, Ms. Gruenke confessed to a pastor and of her involvement in the murder of an elderly man. The pastor went to the police and gave a statement outlining what he was told.

Ms. Gruenke’s legal counsel made the argument that the information given to the pastor was privileged and could not be disclosed during the trial. The matter made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where seven out of nine judges determined that religious communication between a parishioner and a clergy member does not warrant special status unless if fits the “Wigmore Test” (John Henry Wigmore, Evidence in Trials at Common Law) as determined on a case-by-case basis. There are four elements of the test:

  1. The communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be disclosed.
  2. The element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relation between the parties.
  3. The relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be sedulously fostered.
  4. The injury that would inure to the relation by the disclosure of the communications must be greater than the benefit thereby gained for the correct disposal of litigation.

When it comes to the welfare of children, there is no situation for which a pastor or religious leader can legally refuse to report suspected or actual abuse. In some provinces, it is also required to report elder abuse. A church cannot say that the refusal to report was because they planned to deal with it as a matter of internal discipline. If there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child may be in need of protection, then you are required by law to promptly report the suspicion and the information upon which it is based to the authorities. Many tragic incidents of child abuse continue because of the failure of informed individuals to report the ill-treatment to the police and other government agencies. The church, including its directors and officers, may be liable for failing to report suspected abuse if such reporting would have curtailed the abuse.

Overall, clergy communication privilege plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of individuals seeking spiritual guidance and support without fear of disclosure. While it is not absolute, it reflects Canada’s commitment to respecting the privacy of individuals in matters of faith and personal conscience. It is important for clergy to understand the importance of maintaining clergy-parishioner confidentiality while also understanding when that confidentiality may be overridden legally or in the interest of public safety. In cases where a pastor may be called upon to give confidential evidence—for instance, in a court case—it would be prudent to consult legal counsel before doing so.

Churches may wish to develop policies as to how they will handle such communications. At the very least, they should consider adopting a policy in which any confessions that pose a “risk to public safety” will be reported, and individuals who may be undergoing counseling by pastoral staff should be made aware of this policy in advance.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17)

¹R v. Gruenke [1991] 3 S.C.R. 263

Developing a Vision for the Future

Westhill Park Baptist Takes Advantage of Gov Grant

By Jenna Hanger

It is common knowledge that society has shifted a lot over the past 30 years. The ever-expanding use of technology, changing demographics in communities, inflation rates rising, significant social-cultural changes, and a growing number of young people who don’t identify with faith or moved away from it, have all led to new needs that churches have to confront.

When the pandemic hit, churches were significantly affected within a short-time frame, leaving many in a place of uncertainty. Westhill Park Baptist Church in Regina, SK, felt these pressures. One of the most noticeable changes for them was the number of people choosing to engage online instead of in-person. Pre-pandemic, around 5% of the congregation took part online. After the pandemic, about one-third of the church had moved to online, creating a need to figure out how to still care for and pastor the people who weren’t attending physically.

On top of the shift brought on by the pandemic, Westhill’s pastor of twenty-two years retired. These circumstances led to an opportunity to sit and evaluate their priorities, and to refocus the mission of their church.

When Westhill received an email from CBWC alerting them of an opportunity to apply for the Government of Canada’s Community Services Recovery, they moved quickly to fill out the lengthy application with a unique vision in mind—to hire a third-party company to guide them in developing a “Strategy Map.” This map would clearly lay out their hopes and dreams, as well as mission statement and goals that their church would strive to follow and be held accountable to.

With funds from the grant, Westhill was able to hire Praxis Consulting who, over the course of a few months, held many spirit-led discussions, prayer meetings, and conversations. They talked with people from all parts of the church—from leadership down to the youngest children.

The process was very affirming––bathed in prayer and worship together. The congregation was fully engaged with God and each other as an expert guided them in meaningful conversations.

These meetings led to the development of a document which articulated their vision, mission, hope and dream for the world. They were then able to develop some deliverables, aspirations, and goals—as well as a tangible plan to achieve them.

“With God’s direction, we now have a 5-year strategy map that will inform, contextualize, and guide our ministry goals, priorities, programs, activities, and staffing. This is a very exciting time for our church, and we want to continue to transform lives, families, and our community in ever-increasing ways,” Pastor Tim Coleman shared.

One thing that came out of the sessions was a clear focus to reach the next generation. This desire led to a priority to hire a Next Gen ministries youth pastor, which was achieved.

The timing for a refocus was also unique for Westhill as they just celebrated their 100th anniversary. As they reflected on this milestone, there was a lot of thoughtful discussion in what they want to lay as groundwork for those who will be here to celebrate the next 100 years.

Special note from Westhill Park Baptist Church:

The strategic planning initiative was funded by the Government of Canada’s
Community Services Recovery Fund. The Community Services Recovery Fund is a
$400 million investment from the Government of Canada to support community
service organizations, including charities, non-profits and Indigenous governing
bodies, as they adapt and modernize their organizations.

We are grateful for this support in enabling us to put together our Strategy Map.

He Refreshes My Soul

Do you long to rest in the character of God, release the things of this world that we cling to, and reset our focus on the Kingdom of God? Then join us in this fourth devotional from Psalm 23, seeking to follow Christ’s invitation to each of us to enter His shalom. These reflections are adapted from Deb Judas’ book Cultivating Shalom and are used with permission.  

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3) 

Rest. Drink. Restore. Repeat. The imagery the psalmist uses to describe the restoration of our souls opens up our imagination to the wonder of what rest could look like. 

It is stunningly beautiful. Will we allow ourselves to be led by our Shepherd, giving ourselves permission to stop for a while and receive a much-needed break from our schedules and the chaos of life?  

The purpose of spiritual disciplines is not as a means to control our sin. Their purpose is to help us open our hearts to God. This is not drudgery. It is freedom.  

To spend time with the Lord is to let your guard down and rest in Him. To sit in His presence without having to fill the silence, without having to accomplish something, and without having an agenda to bring to God is not only a soul thing—it’s also a heart, mind, and body thing. It is all interconnected. Our whole being longs to be filled with the shalom of God. We simply don’t always recognize our restlessness and discontent as a lack of resting in God’s presence. The connection between soul care and wellbeing is undeniable. 

Are you struggling to make decisions in life? Has feeling anxious become a way of life? Do you find yourself filled with negativity (critical of others, negative thinking, gossip, judgmental, tense and short tempered)? Do you have unexplained pain, headaches, or digestive issues? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by small and trivial things, or do you feel out of gas? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be your soul telling you it is in need—and not only your soul but also your heart, mind, and body. 

There is a collective fatigue and yearning for something more. There is a desire, whether conscious or not, to connect with God and people at a deeper level. And there is a longing to live at a pace that is sustainable and life-giving. For years, we have worn busyness as a badge of honor. Lately, though, there seems to be an underlying sadness attached to it. We feel trapped by our busyness. 

What will it take for us to exchange fast-paced productivity and efficiency for a slow, deep, and meaningful way of life? 

The truth of the matter is, it is a question of lordship. Who gets the final say on our health and well-being—the world or Jesus? As a shepherd tends to his sheep making sure all their needs are met, we too are invited to experience the same kind of care from the Lord. Are we willing to submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, for the sake of His Name? 

By allowing ourselves to be guided by Him into the best places where will we grow and thrive, we will find the spiritual sustenance to strengthen our souls, enabling us to go out and participate with God in redeeming the whole earth. 

The Gospel is far more than merely “coming to Jesus” and securing our salvation. It is an invitation into the kingdom of God where there is no sacred and secular divide. Jesus is Lord of all, and when we submit to His lordship through righteousness and repentance, shalom is cultivated in us and the world around us. 

Righteousness cultivates shalom. As we allow the Lord to guide us along the path of righteousness, giving ourselves away to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we open the door to receive the abundant generosity of the Shepherd. We lack nothing. But we also become less fragile. Our relationship with Jesus is strengthened because we are building spiritual muscle. Rest and responsibility lead to renewal and righteousness. 

Repentance cultivates shalom by turning us back toward Jesus and giving us a fresh and renewed presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

Questions for Reflection 

  • Where have you gotten off track from the path of righteousness?  
  • What cultural voices are drowning out the voice of Jesus and work of the cross in your life? 
  • What is going on in your soul?  
  • Where do you see the Holy Spirit in this situation? Will you allow your Father in heaven to guide you back along the path of righteousness? To gather you to Himself and let the longing of your soul be met with His intimate love? 

As He heals and restores us, He is shaping and forming us into new creations in Christ. While we rest, we grow, becoming the people God both imagined and created us to be. 

This reflection is brought to you by CBWC’s Banff Pastors and Spouses GIVE and GO campaign, a clergy care initiative where your donation can make double the difference helping as many pastors as possible attend Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference this November. Learn more: 

Notice of Voluntary Disaffiliation

The CBWC wishes to express its gratitude to First Baptist Church in Edmonton, AB in honour of our shared history and ministry together. The CBWC was notified of their voluntary disaffiliation effective June 21, 2024.

FBC Edmonton joined the CBWC in 1907. We pray God’s blessing upon this congregation as they move forward in embracing a new beginning and alignment elsewhere.

Copyright ©  2024 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.