Need Something To Look Forward To? Check Out Summer Camp!
It is no secret that COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s physical and mental health. Especially our children, whose in-person interactions and physical activities have been so limited over the past year and a half. This is why it’s more important than ever to make plans this summer that support healthy living and meaningful development, and what better place to start than at camp?
While things might not be back to normal yet, CBWC camps have been hard at work coming up with creative camping ideas and preparing for this summer. Check out what your local camp has planned currently, and get involved!
Katepwa Lake Camp – Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask:
July 2021, Katepwa is planning to offer Summer Day Camps for the first time ever! This will allow them to offer a camping experience, while respecting the governments restrictions and keeping everyone safe. It will include tubing, zipline, rock wall, archery, swimming, crafts, chapel and much more.
The LIT program will be running as well.
In August, they are planning on opening their camp up for families to sign up for Family Getaways, with meals and activities provided. They will also be offering swimming lessons!
For more information check out their website: https://katepwalake.campbrainregistration.com
Mill Creek Camp – Pincher Creek, AB:
Mill Creek Camp is running a mix of camp programs this summer, some in person and some online. Make sure to check out the different camps on their website: https://millcreekcamp.org
There are a multitude of ways to be involved with Mill Creek Camp, and they are open to suggestions! A few ideas are to register for one of their summer programs, volunteer (painting, wood chopping, etc.), donate, book a family rental, or apply for a summer position.
Gull Lake Centre – Gull Lake, AB:
The theme for summer this year at Gull Lake Centre is “into the unknown”—a theme they say is “appropriate for our collective journey through COVID, but also our spiritual journey as we commit our lives to Christ.” There is hope that some of the camps will be able to run close to normal, as there is talk of restrictions easing this summer. With that in mind, Gull Lake will begin with three weeks of LTD camp, which will hopefully give time for overnight restrictions to be lifted. There is a back-up plan ready in the event that this isn’t the case. One thing is for sure though, there will be things happening this summer at Gull Lake!
For more info, go to their website: https://gulllakecentre.ca
Keats Camp – Burnaby, BC:
After a quiet summer last year, Keats Camp is excited to get things rolling again this summer! They are opening their camp up for eight weeks, for families to come experience camp life. They will take care of all the details so families can come and enjoy island life! Families can choose from a variety of activities, explore nature or just enjoy the chance to slow down. To learn more, visit their website: https://keatscamps.com
Quest – Christopher Lake, Sask:
Quest has been busy making exciting plans for this summer! They are offering three weeks of day camps, family camps called Family Fresh Air Weekend, and just got word that they can offer overnight camp using tents! Campers will get the fun experience of having their own individual tents, set up in what they are calling TENT-A-CITY. Campers will be able to experience all traditional camping activities. To register, visit their website: http://www.questnet.ca/camps.html
To hear more about the Quest and ways you can pray for them this summer, click here.
Camp Wapiti – Grand Prairie, AB
Camp Wapiti has been adjusting their plans as things change in the province. They are excited to run some form of camp this year, whether it’s hosting families for a camp experience or being able to run some sort of program. Check out their website for updates! https://campwapiti.ca
Spotlight: CBWC Foundation
The highly publicized, extra-terrestrial duo, “Perseverance and Ingenuity” launched on July 30, 2020, and after 6+ months of space travel, both the rover and tiny, robotic, solar helicopter landed safely on Mars. On April 19, 2021, Ingenuity boasted the first, powered, controlled flight on a planet other than Earth, and the team behind Ingenuity’s 3-metre, 39-second flight, logged thousands of manpower hours and invested $80 billion to make it happen. The short but triumphant flight is widely referred to as a Wright Brothers moment and is a critical step towards the viability of future human expeditions.
At the Foundation, we continue to envision a preferred future on prevailing and unfamiliar terrains. We imagine a lasting partnership with new donors whose extravagant gifts towards our Education Fund generates perpetual aid for current and next generation leadership. We imagine re-igniting a passion of converting family values into bursaries, similar to past legacy-givers like George Segerstrom, Margaret Kellough, Lynn Symington and Jack & Catherine Farr. We imagine churches accessing financing for building expansions that increase foot traffic, or for resourcing online platforms that open church doors to those who may not ever open one. We are ready for flight!
You’ve likely heard it said, “Necessity is the mother of invention” and as the Foundation re-invents itself, we remain committed to exploring optimal ways of combining financial expertise with financial resources. As Lincoln aptly wrote, “The best way to predict the future, is to create it,” and we believe, with God’s guidance, that teamwork, perseverance and ingenuity will get us there.
What Are We Planting Exactly?
By Shannon Youell
Models of church planting all have their season in culture and context. This is important, as we sometimes lament the future of the church. There have been innumerable books written, studies published and anecdotal stories surrounding our malaise on the state of the church in today’s Western society. We acknowledge and grieve and often blame ‘the world’ or ‘secularism’ for this state. To counter the dilemma, we invigorate our efforts to plant more churches, or attract non-believers to our existing churches, still stuck on the notion that if we build it (better) they will come. Sometimes our ‘stuckness’ is because of our DNA of ‘what’ church is. It’s so deeply imbedded that we can have difficulty imagining church gathering/life differently. We love certain things the way they are, and there is merit in that! Tradition is built upon the richness of how we gather and live as Christians.
‘Church Planting’ is rather recent terminology. Some of the reading on the history of church planting that I’ve done over the years suggests our current understanding of it developed right after WW2 and met the need of newly suburbanized, already-Christians missing their Methodist or Baptist churches that were in their neighbourhoods in the cities or the rural communities from which they migrated. In North America, it was also a time of rising multiplication of denominations. Juxtaposed together, denominations heeded the call of their adherents to provide suitable places of worship for Christian gathering, and teaching. Church Planting, then, was a response to what God was already doing in growing and developing neighbourhoods, as more and more people exited from city and rural communities to suburbia on the return of soldiers from the fields of war.
Four Churches on one block in NE Minneapolis
The target demographic was those who already were Christian and wanting to be in communities of Christian faith. During that season, many families attended churches of their choice for all sorts of different reasons. There was still a common shared moral ethic and those moral ethics emanated from the Bible, whether or not one was a church-goer.
With general society having a shared understanding in those codes of morality, evangelism as a calling of the local church, in general, declined–most were already considered ‘evangelized.’ Local churches focused their activities and teaching on helping Christians live better Christian lives.
Congregants mostly understood their role in evangelism as inviting their unsaved family and friends to come to church, where the pastors and elders would ‘get them saved.’ Most of us would never consider ourselves missionaries. Missionaries were a specially called and equipped people who are ‘sent’ to live among the people of other lands, and we were happy to support them and happy to not ‘be’ them.
Fast forward a few models and decades into the twenty-first century. As the once presumed common moral and societal codes seemingly disintegrated around us, the spiritual needs of our neighbourhoods shifted away from the church and towards other disciplines and pursuits. The presumption of North America being Christianized nations was crumbling, even in the midst of mega-churches and continued efforts to plant new churches. While engaging some, the majority of the unchurched remained just that, and the efforts mostly resulted in already-Christianized people to change address or move back ‘home.’
We are no longer a dominantly Christianized nation. Many who grew up in the church leave or are leaving and finding meaning in their lives in other ways. They aren’t necessarily abandoning God, they are abandoning our way of being the church. There is no doubt that our culture and context have experienced a sharp paradigm shift. I believe that when this occurs, it behooves us, the church, to pause and seek God for where and how He is working His mission in the world, because God is always at His work even when everything we thought we understood shifts.
The missiological movement has helped us recognize that we are all missionaries, each one of us–that mission overseas to usually under-developed nations is one aspect of God’s missional activity in the world. I believe it is also starting to shift our emphasis from church growth and church planting back to evangelism and discipleship as the task of the church. Healthy growth and the planting of new churches are not sidelined, just realigned within the goal of the God’s mission.
I think church planting and church growth are the accidental and necessary result of intentional relational evangelism and discipleship. Along the way of joining God on His mission of restoration, redemption and reconciliation to all humanity, we suddenly find ourselves becoming new communities of faith as “…the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47b)
Disaster Relief on St. Vincent
By Jenna Hanger
On April 9th, 2021 the beautiful, lush Caribbean island of St. Vincent was transformed when a volcano erupted, forcing those living in the northern part of the island to leave their homes and head south to safety. About twenty per cent of population (roughly 20,000 people) have been displaced, and likely won’t be able to return home for six months to a year (depending on when the volcano stabilizes). They are now living in shelters or with friends and family—a situation which is made complicated by the social-distancing requirements of the pandemic. The beautiful, green trees and blue water, along with thousands of homes, have been covered in a thick, heavy layer of ashfall from the violent explosions of the volcano. The once-vibrant colours have been diminished to a grey-coloured world, akin to a black and white movie. The damage done to homes in the northern part of the island is estimated to be extensive, from the cement-like weight of the ashfall—many of the roofs will have collapsed. Crop land in that area has been severely affected as well—a considerable blow to the economy, which heavily relies on agriculture.
For members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Saskatoon, the disaster is more personal than just another news story. Their connection to the island goes back several decades to when they first started taking groups on short-term mission trips to St. Vincent. On one of those trips thirty-four years ago, Brendon Gibson, a native on St. Vincent, met his future wife who was part of the mission team. For the past seventeen years, he has been on staff at Emmanuel Baptist and currently serves as the Executive Pastor. Over the course of those years, Brendon has taken five teams back to St. Vincent. Between 2010-2017, the teams worked in partnership with a local leader named Hadyn Marshall to build a church called Elim Community Church, which Hadyn now pastors. Elim is affiliated with the Gospel Halls of St. Vincent.
When the disaster struck, a formal partnership was established between the Gospel Halls and Emmanuel Baptist Church so they could set up proper channels to be able to send assistance to St. Vincent. Elim is in the safe zone, but two of their sister churches, consisting of 130 members, are in northern part of the island and have been directly affected.
The main aid Emmanuel Baptist has been able to provide is funds to support the relief effort of the Gospel Halls, through their disaster relief committee, which Hadyn chairs. Hadyn said the main focus right now is setting up the shelters for people to be able to stay long-term. Schools, church halls and community centres are being used to house people, but they need to be modified with things like showers etc. In addition to other sanitary needs, there is a plan to build privacy barriers (like cubicles) for families, as some of them are currently sleeping in open areas on cots or mattresses. The wood from these cubicles would later be repurposed to reconstruct homes, once it is safe to go back into the evacuated zone.
Emmanuel Baptist, with some help from CBWC’s disaster relief fund has been able to send $35,000 to the Gospel Halls to help. Right now, that amount has been substantial enough for their needs, but as things progress and the extend of the damage comes to light, more funds may be needed to assist the reconstruction efforts.
If you would like to contribute to the relief effort you can contact Brendon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or you can send donations to Emmanuel Baptist Church, designated to St. Vincent Relief.
Welcoming The Stranger
Testimonies of Sponsoring Refugee Families
By Faye Reynolds on behalf of JMN
I am so grateful for the many churches across the CBWC that have reached out to global refugees and offered them hope for a new life in Canada. Some churches assist Canadian newcomers to sponsor refugee family members to join them here. This is called a private sponsorship, as you are applying to sponsor a specific refugee. Mill Bay Baptist Church on Vancouver Island has a passion for assisting persecuted Pakistani Christians and has several sponsorship applications, in partnership with other churches to form a community among them. Emmanuel Iranian Church is reaching out to bring many Persian Christians to Canada, and other churches continue to sponsor Syrian refugees through the families they have previously sponsored.
Another pathway is the “Blended Visa Office Referrals” (BVOR) of our Canadian Government to bring refugees in urgent situations, who are already pre-approved for settlement in Canada, and the Government offers some funding support for these sponsorships. In 2019, White Rock Baptist church stepped out in faith to sponsor a Somalian woman with the assistance of an additional funding grant through the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto. Finances, however, were not to be the greatest challenge of this sponsorship. Fay Puddicombe quickly took Fih under her wing and began the daily commitment of helping one who speaks no English and is illiterate in her own language, but is fiercely independent, begin to navigate life in Canada. Finding accommodation with those having Somalian connections was helpful, but the learning curve for banking, language and other life skills was a huge challenge. Fay quickly realized that it would take much more than 12 months to help Fih get on her feet. Then COVID restrictions complicated the ability to access language classes and other support services. Those offering accommodation soon found Fih not the easiest person to live with, and her housing arrangements changed several times, often without Fay finding out until weeks later. But she persevered in caring for Fih, long past the end of the official sponsorship and recently wrote:
“Well, I feel like a mom after her chick leaves the nest. (Worried, hopeful, teary, relieved, and more!) Today I handed Fih the file of paperwork I was keeping for her rent/expense money for March and April, and the bank card for her account. She will need someone else to help her with it, and I hope she has honourable friends…. It’s not easy helping someone when you can’t communicate, but her smile says a lot. When we left and said we would visit again, that we care about her, she smiled and through the translator said that she cares for us too.”
This is agape love in action, and I give thanks for those who have given sacrificially for the sake of another.
Wendy and Peter Burnham had the opportunity through CBM to travel to Lebanon and became connected with a Christian refugee family during their visit. They came home with a burden to help this family come to Canada and began the process of sponsorship, with the help of their home church, Altadore Baptist. The family arrived in March 2020, one week before the COVID lock down took place. Suddenly, all of the immigration support services were closed, and language assessment tools inaccessible, which hindered the ability to begin language classes not yet established online. Canadian Government offices, which process Permanent Resident Cards, was closed—making everything more difficult for the family to get established in Calgary. Wendy and Peter, along with friends and many others, persevered in assisting the children to get into school, get their Benchmark assessment and into language school, finally obtain their PR card, banking established, health cards, dental and medical care. In the end of their 12-month sponsorship, Wendy writes:
They made out well in their apartment, with their two children in online Catholic School. The dad worked for the last half of the year in a construction/demolition/painting job with some fellow Arabic speakers, and the mom studied hard at her English course and made great strides in speaking English.
This family missed social interaction with family and friends very much through the year, as we all have. They decided they would, at the end of their sponsorship, move to Windsor where they have an aunt, uncle, and friends from the Iraqi village they ran from in 2014. And so, today we said goodbye at the airport. While we were sad to say goodbye, we could sense their anticipation as they moved to this new life with a community they know. Such is Canada, that persecuted people from a bombed-out village in Iraq can move to Canada and return to the warmth of their village. But now the village is in an area of Windsor, with safety for them all and opportunity for their children.
Sponsorship is not always easy, but graciously rewarding, and is one way that we as citizens of God’s kingdom can continue to welcome the stranger and offer a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus. Perhaps God is calling your church community to do the same.
Kurios – A CBWC Gap Year Experience
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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.