Making Connections June 2018

Q&A with Jodi Spargur, One Year after CBWC Adopted the UN Declaration

What has it meant that CBWC adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

It means that we now have a framework to engage as a non-party denomination, who wasn’t involved in running residential schools. The UNDRIP gives CBWC churches a clear way to participate in the work of reconciliation.

Our pastors are telling me they feel they now have a way to participate in the conversation about healing and justice after the Truth and Reconciliation process. It has brought clarity, and given us a role.

What are some CBWC churches doing to participate in the work of reconciliation?

We’ve hosted conferences throughout the denomination where participants learn the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and about the current realities that prevent Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations from thriving. Each of those conferences includes one UNDRIP learning session. They also include opportunities to hear from local Indigenous leaders about what is necessary for moving forward.

There have also been several teach-ins about both the UN Declaration and Bill C-262, what it means for churches to support the government in adopting the UN Declaration as a framework for reconciliation. A number of churches used the prayer resource during Lent, and others have used it as a resource outside of Lent. It’s pretty broad engagement on the topic, for us.

What comes out of these conferences?

One place that’s had some amazing outcomes is Dauphin, Manitoba. Last year a group of church members attended a conference in Winnipeg, and were so impacted that they decided to host one in Dauphin. They’ve begun a process of learning and healing both within their congregation and among the community. In their church there are some Indigenous folks who were adopted in the Sixties Scoop, but some of them didn’t know that wider context until they did the blanket exercise and realized, ‘That’s my story.’ This whole journey has been about them finding their identity in Christ, in their community and in their traditional communities. Those are powerful stories to watch unfold.

As a church also, Dauphin is continuing to build right relationship with their neighbours. For example, they’ve learned the names of all of the chiefs of the five nations who surround them, and they pray for them every week in their church. Similar to how some churches pray for provincial leaders and city leaders. I love that they know their names, and they have this framework for why it’s important.

What are the Bill C-262 teach-ins?

MP Romeo Saganash contacted me asking to be put in touch with our churches, so a number of teach-ins have occurred regarding Bill C-262, where people can ask questions and learn what the implications of the legislation would be.

I’m really encouraged by this. Because it’s a private member’s bill, lots of people were pretty pessimistic about it even making it to committee, but it’s almost done in committee and will come back to the floor this summer. Even for it to get this far is hugely encouraging, and speaks to the actions of a lot of churches involvement across the country from a variety of denominations.

(Bill C-262 is a private member’s bill, sponsored by MP Romeo Saganash, which would legislate the federal government to adopt and implement UNDRIP, as it has promised to do. Learn more in this past Making Connections article.)

What is CBWC leadership doing to participate in reconciliation?

Rob Ogilvie recently appointed me as the CBWC representative on Indigenous justice issues to the Canadian Council of Churches and Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, for the next three years.

The CCC committee will meet four times a year with representatives from other denominations to talk about which peace and justice issues each of us is working on. We’ll look for ways to collaborate and resource one another. Indigenous justice is one of their main focuses for the next three years.

With EFC, I’ll be in Halifax in June attending the North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Study symposium on white supremacy. That’s the next step the EFC’s Indigenous advisors asked for. So we’ll attend that conference and then meet to talk about collaborating.

What are the next steps for our churches?

We’re continuing to plan conferences—five are scheduled through November, two in the Okanagan, two in southern Alberta, and then back to Regina for a follow up conference from what we did last year.

There will continue to be conversations with all of the places we’ve been in terms of how we keep moving forward. And the teach-ins will continue.

How can churches start to get involved if they haven’t yet?

They can contact me. We can talk about anything from study resources for their congregations to prayer resources, all the way up to hosting a conference or listening circle.

I’m encouraged by conversations I’m having with churches who previously haven’t known what their place is in this process. They’re realizing the potential this has to open up areas of relationship in their broader community—and sometimes, to open conversations inside their own community that they hadn’t known were sitting there.

Aspen Green Living Celebrates its Grand Opening

The day of the ribbon cutting was overcast and chilly. People were holding cups of coffee, milling about the entryway. Architects, donors and residents were here to celebrate something remarkable.

In a town where rents and home prices have immobilized retiring homeowners and pushed out fixed income renters, Aspen Green Living offers an alternative: lifetime leases where you get your money back when you leave.

L-R: Rob Ogilvie, Executive Minister of CBWC; Nis Schmidt, Board President of the Beulah Garden Homes Society; Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East; Bud Phillips, Board President of BG Aspen Green Society; Heather Deal, Vancouver City Councillor; Larry Schram, BCY Regional Minister for CBWC; Jamey McDonald, CEO of BG Aspen Green Society.
“When I saw that sign, ‘From $299,000’, in Vancouver, I thought you missed a zero,” said Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East, to the crowd. That low number is possible because of the investment that a small group of people made in 1947.

“It was an embryonic group,” says Beulah Board President Bud Phillips, of the early founders. Seventy-one years ago a group of Christians were concerned about housing prices for seniors. So they held a Mother’s Day carnation sale, raised $500 and bought a whole city block. “They had vision, but they didn’t know what to do with it yet.”

That was the start of Beulah Garden Homes Society’s campus of care in East Vancouver. Now they have five seniors’ residences with a mixture of independent and assisted living. All of them are below-market pricing, but Aspen Green is the first to offer a life lease. The threshold to be called below-market housing is to be 20 per cent below; Aspen Green is 35 per cent below.

Residents were given carnations as an homage to the original carnation sale of 1947 that raised enough money to purchase the land.

Life leases are relatively rare in Canada. Here’s how it works at Aspen Green: Residents pay 29 years-worth of a lease in a lump sum. But when they pass away or move out, Beulah “buys” their suite back from them, minus a slight refurbishing fee. It’s kind of like a long-term savings account: the investment doesn’t grow, but it’s guaranteed safe. And more importantly, residents don’t pay rent, just a management fee similar to a strata fee.
No one really makes a profit in the life lease model, which is probably why it’s so rare and why it takes such a remarkable organization to do it. With no profit expected, and because residents get their lump sum returned to them, this kind of business plan doesn’t qualify for loans. Because Beulah already had four other seniors’ residences right across the street, they were able to subsidize the life lease building as part of their whole campus of care. Residents also benefit from being surrounded by a supportive community right away.

“There is lots of other non-market housing, but they don’t offer the support we can,” Phillips says.

The City of Vancouver, while not a financial partner, and while they still put Aspen Green through all the regular development hoops, is thrilled with the outcome.

“Thank you for being the kind of partnership we can say yes to,” Councillor Heather Deal said to the crowd of celebrators. “When we introduced Vancouver’s housing policy, we knew we’d need great partners like you. The quality, community and care in this project made it easy to raise our hands and say yes to.”

Aspen Green is the result of a deliberate effort to make affordable, safe, connecting housing for seniors. It’s also a direct outcome of faith.

The rooftop garden, with views of Burnaby and the North Shore has been planted with vegetables, herbs, flowers and vines by the residents.
Aspen Green is the result of a deliberate effort to make affordable, safe, connecting housing for seniors. It’s also a direct outcome of faith.

“We believe in compassion because Jesus taught us compassion,” said the new Aspen Green CEO, Jamey McDonald. “We owe a great deal of our identity to our background as Baptists. There are many expressions of faith, and for us it’s a rich and important part of who we are.”

Beulah Garden Homes Society is a not-for-profit organization, affiliated with the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. The other residences are: The Cedars, Beechwood, Charles Bentall, and Rupert Residences. Aspen Green has four floors, a rooftop garden with beautiful views and 54 suites located at 4th Avenue and Rupert St. in East Vancouver.

“We’re not done yet,” McDonald told those assembled, reverberating the future-focused mindset of the Beulah founders, 71 years ago.

CBWC Foundation Column: Unforced Rhythms

By Christine Reid

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl 3:1). As the dog days of summer approach, we cannot help but observe the unforced rhythms of florae in bloom, and the shifting landscapes from bronze to emerald. Likewise, the unforced rhythms of change help us navigate the pending shifts of distinction, diversity and development. As our role in the CBWC family continues to mature, we remain faithful to “why” we exist and use our talents as contributions to the bigger story.

  1. Distinction (dəˈstiNG(k)SH(ə)n) – a difference or contrast between similar things or people

The CBWC Foundation is similar to the CBWC in terms of “why” we do what we do but looks distinctly different in “how” we get there. Our pastoral brothers and sisters labor joyfully, managing the human capital that keeps the local church relevant in today’s culture. As math-types, we create, manage and tweak the financial matrix needed to resource these vital relationships. Although the aim of the Foundation is to protect and grow financial assets, we never lose sight of what team we play on. We walk alongside our CBWC family, offering varied perspectives that satisfy key roles on the ministry playing field. We do not simply cheer from the sidelines but instead, continually focus on honing skills, showing up for practices, and being game-ready.

  1. Diversity – If you’re brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello. P. Coelho

In June 2018, we bid adieu to three retiring board members and welcome two new ones to our Foundation tribe. Truth be told, I am not a fan of goodbyes, but do speak for many others when expressing a deep gratitude for the time spent with Jack, Steve and Peter over the past 33 years of collective service. In parallel, am equally appreciative for the servant hearts of our newest members (Donna and Ken) trusting they will quickly feel at home and provide a renewed sense of energy and optimism.

Jack Borchert, Chairman & Director, 2002 – 2018
Jack served five years at (Avalon) Emmanuel Baptist in Saskatoon after graduating from Seminary in 1978 and prior to moving to Summerland Baptist in 1983, where he served until 2000. Jack joined the BUDF until 2007, subsequently moved to FBC Kelowna and enjoyed semi-retirement at Summerland Baptist before returning to full-time co-pastor in 2017. He is happily married to Pam, with whom he shares a wonderful circle of friends, children and grandkids. In 2016, Jack and Pam’s house burned down which has been a great source of angst, forcing them to live out of suitcases and sleeping in 17 different beds and locations. Jack’s 2018 goal is to be settled in one place for retirement! We expect his summer will include long trips on his motorcycle and taking Pam to Costco for date nights. Thanks, Jack!
Steve Newransky, Director, 2011 – 2018

Steve has been a member of the CBWC for 28 years, serves on his church council, and was an Assembly rep in 2017. Steve served six years with the Opportunity Grants Committee, has a heart for initiating new ministries, shared his musical talents on many praise and worship teams and is currently involved in ministry to men from different churches. Steve’s professional background includes 22 years in the financial industry in both in advisory and corporate roles and is a proud dad of two teen girls, which is his biggest personal challenge to date. Thanks for your service, Steve!

Peter Burnham, Secretary & Director, 2008 – 2018
Peter is a geologist by training, worked for Dome Petroleum in the early 1980s and moved into the realm of junior-sized oil and gas entities, spending 35 years building new companies and selling them. He’s participated on the boards of several private and public oil and gas companies and for the past 10 years has been involved part time in private equity placement in the oil and gas sector. Peter has been married to Wendy for 35 years, has three married children and one granddaughter who brings an incredible amount of joy. Peter enjoys sailing, fishing and travelling with Wendy and friends. He’s interested in international mission, particularly the Middle East and India, has a 40-year history of involvement with Young Life of Canada and upon retirement from the Foundation Board is available for other areas of service. Thanks, Peter!
Donna Johnson, Director, appointed April 2018
Donna attended Kings University in Edmonton studying psychology and music, and then worked at Family Freehorse Wellness Society with Indigenous families. After moving to Calgary, Donna attended the University of Calgary and switched gears, using her talents in the credit industry, working with UFA for six years handling commercial credit and leading regional managers in the field. While raising a young family, Donna freelanced in bookkeeping, accounts receivable & payable, payroll and credit adjudication. In 2015, Donna joined the Westview Education Society, handling the bookkeeping and intra-office administration. She is currently finishing her second year of a B.Comm. in Accounting and was most recently hired by BDO. Donna is an active member of Westview Baptist Church, serves in the CBE teaching pysanka and mentors seniors regarding credit security and fraud. In her spare time, Donna is learning ASL in the hopes of increasing her volunteer time with the Deaf Church at Westview. Welcome, Donna!
Ken Ritchie FCIP, Director, appointed April 2018
Ken is a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of Canada, has a Business Management Certificate from the University of Calgary, has enjoyed a career in the insurance business since 1976, and is currently the CEO of Mennonite Mutual Insurance Co. (Alberta) Ltd. Ken has served on the boards of The Society of Fellows, Camp Chestermere, Crescent Heights Baptist Church, the CBWC Finance Committee and remains actively involved with several Mutual Insurance Associations. Ken’s greatest satisfaction in business and non-profit work has been participating in setting and implementing strategic plans. Having the ability to influence organizations to move in creative new directions captures his interest and motivates him to succeed. Welcome, Ken!

3. Development – Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. Viktor Frankl

When it comes to missional development, we each do our part to resource the CBWC community. For example, the Foundation provides an environment to steward resources, and our churches provide the environment to place them. We act as an intermediary, resourcing goals by converting monies from our Ministry Impact Fund into loans for churches, pastors and partner agencies. Again, we notice the natural, unforced rhythms play out through a collective net worth. In early seasons of cultivation, many organizations rely heavily on capital, however, when a mature harvest reaps fruit, the excess is re-deployed and replanted. We depend on these natural and cyclical shifts to create loving, interdependence on community and, when done in harmony, we all thrive. Currently, the Foundation has the privilege of stewarding monies that are available to lend out, so if you are in a season, where additional capital can increase ministry potential, please give us a call. We are eager to serve. (

Celebrating 130 Years at First Baptist Calgary

First Baptist Calgary celebrated a momentous 130 years as a church this May. Here are a few photos from their celebration.

Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference:

Registration is Open

A highlight of our year is the Banff Pastors and Spouses Conference, were we get a chance to retreat among the majestic Rocky Mountains and be filled with worship, preaching, fellowship, and of course, food! This year we’ll gather over November 5-8, 2018. Details are all posted on our website here: Click on the speaker’s names to view session topics.

Copyright ©  2018 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the Monthly Newsletter of the CBWC. The senior editor is Zoë Ducklow, who works under the executive editorial direction of Rob Ogilvie and the Communications & Stewardship committee. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email Zoë at