Making Connections March 2019

Engaging in Mission

BCY Regional Newsletter

Note from Larry | Passing of the torch at Summerland Baptist | A note from Beulah Gardens |  Baptist Union Ministerial Luncheon  |  Settlement Report

Meet Emmanuel Iranian Church! 

By Shannon Youell

I’d like to introduce you to Emmanuel Iranian Church and their pastor, Arash Azad.

The church was planted around five years ago. At the time that the Church Planting Team met with Arash in the summer of 2018, the congregation had grown to 150. They continue to grow and are currently at about 200 people.

A few weeks ago, 29 people were baptized and there are already over 20 people in the next baptism class. Arash tells us that not only have they grown in number but also in rootedness of the knowledge of God and in love.

The congregation is Farsi-speaking and primarily composed of new immigrants, including many Muslim converts to Christianity. The church meets in North Vancouver, BC, at Sutherland Church near Hillside Baptist Church. Arash and the congregation quickly grew in the hearts of the staff and congregants during their time renting at Hillside, and though it was logistically necessary to find another space to meet in, Hillside and EIC continue to be connected. Hillside staff are walking with Arash in mentorship, accountability and relationship.

Arash was born and raised an atheist. His parents were political prisoners in Iran. In the course of his growing-up years he was influenced by an aunt who had moved to Great Britain, and had become a Christian. In his telling, he decided to prove her wrong by researching major religions of the world to prove religion itself was unnecessary in the 20th century. In his search for truth, one night his aunt invited him to just pray with her.

“My aunt suggested me to join her in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit reveal the Truth to me. The presence and vision I saw in the summer night of 1998 melted my heart and humbled me before the Lord,” Arash says.

Since that time, Arash has had a strong calling to share the Good News of the kingdom of God to all who will hear. Every time we speak with him, he conveys the privilege of joining God at work among the Farsi-speaking community and how patience and perseverance has brought forth many people of Muslim background to faith. He expresses how much joy and happiness swells in his heart as Iranians, many of whom have suspicion towards the Christian faith, discover God’s presence and give their hearts to the Lord.

Praise God for His work in the Iranian community through Pastor Arash!

Originally published in the CBWC Church Planting Blog.

Fast, Pray, and Call your Senator

Bill C-262 is an “Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” It’s a simple bill, simply legislating that the government will actually begin and be held to the work to start implementing UNDRIP.

CBWC voted at our 2017 Gathering to support UNDRIP. Working to get Bill C-262 passed is one way we can follow through on our commitment. For a reminder of what Bill C-262 is, read our previous article here.

Tabled by MP Romeo Saganash, the Bill passed through the requisite three readings in Parliament, thanks to a remarkable push from Canadians. Now it’s in the Senate, waiting for their confirmation.

The Senate needs to send the bill to committee, where committee members will research, analyze, review and consider all aspects of the bill before reporting back to the Senate for a final reading and vote.

It is urgent that the Senate send Bill C-262 to committee so it can be dealt with before the session adjourns for the summer. If it doesn’t get into committee by the end of March 2019, there’s a serious risk the bill will expire on the floor.

The Canadian Council of Churches, CBWC, Mennonite Church Canada, Kairos have joined to invite their members to fast, pray and write to senators to get this bill to committee by the end of March. Join in! Here’s a guide from Kairos for getting in touch with Senators.

CBWC’s representative at the Canadian Council of Churches, Jodi Spargur shared this reflection before starting her fast:

I fast as a practice of prayer. I pray as an act of faith in God in the face of a political landscape in which I have no faith. I will ask for a miracle, that Bill C-262 will make it thru the Senate, and then begin to loose the bonds of oppression that are in the fabric of this country and have benefitted me. I will hunger and thirst and allow my body to teach my heart and mind to hunger and thirst for justice and right relationship.

The Senate has spent an hour or so over five meetings discussing the bill. Many senators have spoken in support of the bill, and a few have asked questions.

The primary concern from Senators asking questions seems to be whether the Bill will automatically give Indigenous Peoples veto power. It’s a concern related to the phrase ‘free prior and informed consent’ in the Declaration.

Senators answering questions about this have said no- it won’t automatically award veto power- and no- the Declaration will not automatically become law. They also reiterate that these questions are the sort that would be researched in depth in committee, so let’s send it to committee for thorough analysis and consideration. The motion to send to committee has not yet been made.

To stay up to date on the bill, here’s its official page: Bill C-262 Status

Find the senators from your province here: https://sencanada.ca/en/senators/

Lent

The season of Lent began March 6 with Ash Wednesday. It carries us through six weeks to Holy Week, Good Friday and glorious Easter, when we celebrate the risen Christ. Here are a collection of resources, ideas and images to support your own Lenten practice.

Not sure how to meaningfully practice Lent? Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

  • Go green! Turn the heat down and don an extra layer. Give up plastic bags or other single-use items.
  • Give up listening to radio / music in the car, to give more time for silence, reflection and prayer.
  • Don’t buy anything except for food (or otherwise strictly necessary), to refocus spending habits on what’s needed instead of what’s wanted.
  • Give away one thing that you own every day during Lent, to cultivate generosity and a refocusing on attitudes and behaviours toward material possessions.
  • Give up a certain food, or collection of foods, and use the cravings as a trigger to reflect on sacrifice, provision of God, the waiting for salvation, the hoping for redemption.
  • Fast and pray.
  • Give up social media, dedicate your time to something God has been inviting you to.
  • Give up the traditional sugar, meat, eggs, dairy and alcohol – then you can celebrate with all of them when Christ is risen!

Readings and other resources:

Copyright ©  2019 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 zducklow@cbwc.ca.

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