Recognizing & Affirming Women in the Church
By Moreen Sharp, Canadian Baptist Women President
I had the privilege of participating in the Baptist International Conference of Theological Education in the Bahamas in July, 2019. It was rich time of gathering together to think through the touchy subject of Women in Ministry. It was a powerful time of hearing five main presenters from five countries, with ten others from nine countries, responding to thoughtful papers and compelling arguments—presented on topics like Bible Translations and How They have Affected Women’s Engagement in Church and Society, The Place of Women in A Baptist Theology of Ministry, Baptist Women in Ministry-Their Unique Contribution, as well as others.
(If you would like to read these informative papers, please see www.bwawd.org/women-in-ministry). A result of that was a Resolution on Recognizing and Affirming the Calling of Women in the Church, which calls global Baptists to:
REPENT from the teachings and practices through which we have prevented women from flourishing as human beings created in the image of God and full members of the body of Christ;
OPEN OURSELVES to the Holy Spirit to bring conviction, inspire discussion, and provoke transformation in individual lives and communities, affirming the God-given call of women for service in the church, so that their stories may take a rightful place in the wider story of Christ’s body in the world;
LEARN and then use language that is affirming to both women and men in worship, communications, and publications, including Bible translations; and
WORK intentionally to create equal space for women in all leadership roles in the church, Baptist conventions and unions, and in the Baptist World Alliance.
Baptist World Alliance is a fellowship of 248 conventions and unions in 128 countries. One-hundred people from over 35 countries were at the gathering to vote on this resolution. It was also sent to all General Council members for feedback, if they weren’t present. What was most impactful to me, was to see every one—except two—of the voting members affirm this resolution. It was a deep blessing to me. As an individual who grew up with a theology of women “not being able to be” in ministry, and knowing God had a call on my life, I took much time and study and energy to research this topic. I cannot help but believe that God’s work in the world has been hindered over the centuries through the limitations that have been placed on half of His Body, who are also called to minister to the world—in a very real sense, blessing the curse, instead of living out the redemptive freedom that was accomplished through Christ’s example, death and resurrection.
On International Women’s Day, I am so thankful to be part of a denomination, along with many global Baptists, that recognizes and affirms women’s calls and gifting so that God’s work is strengthened and impacted through the willing work of the “the other half” of His Body.
CBWC is proud to support women in various ministry roles as we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th. Currently, we have 80 females serving in leadership positions in CBWC –– as pastors, chaplains, Camp Directors and CBWC Board members.
Partner Spotlight: CBM | One Body
As the days get a little bit longer and we enjoy a little more sunshine and warmth, we look forward to the snow melting, trees budding and grass beginning to regrow. With the coming of Spring, we also think of Easter and Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Easter is an exciting and important time in the Christian calendar, but it is also a busy time.
Churches often hold multiple services during Easter weekend to proclaim the good news that He Is Risen! Worship team members arrive early to practice their music, and greeters welcome new and regular faces. With all the energy that goes into planning these services, staff and volunteers and pastors may feel tired and over-extended.
Here at CBM, we wish to provide a reprieve from this planning and effort while also inviting Canadian churches to stand in solidarity with the church in the global South. Solidarity is more than vague pity or compassion. It is a determined commitment to demonstrate the love of God and act for the good of others.
CBM is happy to share that we will be providing another pre-recorded service and inviting churches across Canada to participate on the Sunday following Easter, April 24th. This Solidarity Sunday service is a call for us to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and continues to disproportionally affect people living in poverty in the global South. You will hear updates and prayer requests from our global partners, and we will pray for those in need around the world.
There are multiple ways for your church to participate. You may choose to utilize the entire recorded service including worship, updates from the field, teaching, and prayer. Alternatively, you may use only the recorded sermon or field updates and take time to pray as a congregation. Whichever works best in your context, as Christ’s body, the Church, please join us in prayer and in solidarity with the world’s vulnerable.
All resources will be available to download on cbmin.org on Friday, April 8th.
For any questions regarding the service, please contact Canadian Partnerships Director Adrian Gardner at email@example.com.
Coming to Peace with Our Pain
6-part Lenten Webinar Series
Aging into your senior years is a privilege, but with this privilege comes an entire set of new challenges that can be daunting. There comes a time when it seems all conversations with friends start to revolve around health and lingering emotional hurts.
Rev. Steve Pike, a pastor for over forty-plus years and CHAT Canada affiliate, has observed that there are two types of people when it comes to dealing with pain. The first are those who become bitter and moan endlessly about their woes; they end up leaving behind a legacy of anger and complaints.
The second is a person who emanates gratefulness, who has a sense of humour even though their physical health is failing, who keep smiling even though they have endured significant emotional trauma.
When Steve was hit with a new reality of chronic pain from a severe back issue, he started exploring deeper what the Bible says about pain, and studying people who have endured different types of pain. Steve wanted to be like the second type of person. He wanted to learn how to come to peace with his chronic pain and not let it control his life and his attitude.
These reflections have turned into a webinar which Steve, along with Faye Reynolds, is running through CHAT Canada during this season of Lent. Coming to Peace with Our Pain (6-part Lenten Webinar Series), will start on Mar 7th and run weekly until the end of Lent. The description of the webinar is as follows:
Everyone experiences pain to a greater or lesser degree, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. When we are first confronted with some new and acute pain, we naturally fight it any way we can. But is there any redeeming quality in pain? When it becomes chronic, how are we to come to peace with it—or should we? God’s Word has much to say about the subject. It also gives voice for us to express our struggles. The answers to our questions and deep longings may be entirely different from what we expect, or from what society or other believers urge upon us. We can learn from many others who have struggled with the same questions, doubts, and fears. Sharing our stories and learning to walk with others in their pain can bring a measure of acceptance and meaning to our lives so that we eventually come to peace with our own pain. Our hope is that this interactive webinar will become an important part of your journey. It is also a Lenten journey.
Jesus’ passion, His acute suffering—beginning with mental and spiritual and culminating in extreme physical suffering—is a path on which He invites us to join Him when He says, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NLT)
Lent is a season of reflection, repentance, and self-denial, leading to the glorious realization of the Resurrection. “For the joy set before him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrew 12:2, NIV)
The One-Hour sessions include:
I. Introduction: Expectations, Theme & Motto (Mar. 7)
II. Faith in the Dark: Job & Jeremiah (Mar. 14)
III. Hope for the Future: Crowning Glory, Eternal Inheritance (Mar. 21)
IV. Gratitude leading to Service: Paul, Peter, James (Mar. 28)
V. Training for Service: Jacob & Joseph (Apr. 4.)
VI. Brokenness: For the Sake Of Others – Following Christ In Suffering and Joy (Apr. 11)
To register, click HERE
Stay in the Story – Church Planting Update
By Rev Shannon Youell
“Stay in the Story”—I heard this phrase a while ago from a guest on a podcast. He was referring to our need, as Christ’s ambassadors who join God in His work, to continually put ourselves back into the larger Story. We must not lose sight of the Big Story of God in the midst of life’s challenges and joys inherent in being humans together.
It is no coincidence that a story reminding us of the goodness of God in the land of the living can shift our focus from discouragement and weariness back to our raison d’être.
When we tell one another stories, placing each other back into the Big Story of God and humans, we see evidence of God at work all along. Join us as we “Stay in the Story” in this update of God’s work in a few of our newer communities.
Makarios Evangelical Church – New Westminster, BC
This gathering continues to grow deeper and wider. In the final months of 2021, Makarios welcomed new arrivals from Hong Kong who are relocating to Canada. This is a growing part of their ministry, partnering with ministries in Hong Kong to help newcomers settle into churches and communities here.
Along with new families comes an increase in children and youth. And along with the recent hire of a part-time English Ministry pastor for the college students ministered to at Douglas College, Makarios will be looking to hire a part-time children’s worker this coming summer. It is with great thanks to CBWC and our churches who support new works that they continue to grow and extend the Good News Story all around them, with a special shout-out to the hospitality shown by Olivet Baptist Church!
Emmanuel Iranian Church – North Vancouver & Coquitlam BC
EIC continues to grow despite COVID restrictions. Their main campus is undergoing renovations, and there is a great need for more leaders and for an English-speaking youth worker. Limited finances and health issues are challenges for both pastors. They have rotating services to accommodate both space and health restrictions, but this framework increases the workload for the leaders. In January, 67 new believers were baptized. This brings baptisms up to well over 400 since the fall of 2018!
They have also recently begun planting a new community in Burnaby out of CBWC’s Royal Oak Ministry Centre. God’s Good Story is compelling for those coming from a Muslim background, whose religion can feel like an oppressive authority. I have had several new believers express to me the great joy they have found in Jesus, and the liberty and grace of being able to explore and express their journey as disciples without fear.
Please continue to pray for provision for this community, church, pastors and leaders as they continue to boldly and plainly proclaim that Jesus is God.
Hope Christian Church of Calgary
In the past you’ve been invited to join us in praying for, and supporting, Hope Christian Church of Calgary, a small Arabic-speaking congregation. Our current situation is that planter and Pastor Mouner Alajji stepped aside last July, sensing a call to the Arabic-speaking mission field in Europe. One of the leaders in the church told me that Mouner was the best pastor he has ever had, and how missed he will be! Sadly, Mouner has also been undergoing serious health complications and is unable to continue currently in the mission work as he undergoes treatment in Calgary. Please remember to pray for Mouner and his family during this time.
The church has been wrestling with the departure of their pastor, and have really struggled with the COVID restrictions and how they would continue forward. The board of the church prayerfully discerned that they would shift their focus to a home church led by one of the gospel teachers in the congregation, and to officially close the Hope Christian Church of Calgary location.
While some might see this as a failed church plant, it is most definitely as successful gospel plant. The congregation continues to speak God’s Good News into their lives and into the lives of those they interact with in their places and spaces. What is a church plant after all? It is a gathering of believers who are communicators of God’s justice, love, grace, mercy, salvation, and hope, alive and active in the broken places in our lives and in our world.
As Gospel Planters in general are seeing movement of the Spirit in micro-churches as an avenue to engage people with God’s Good News, we continue to pray for this home church (one expression of micro-church) in joining God on His mission right where they find themselves.
Other Gospel Planting Work
I love how, out of our deepest doubt and questions, God shows up! Well into the pandemic, a lot of conversations were going around the catalyst conversation table: How do new plants happen now? How will new church communities, committed to evangelism, survive? But, surprise! God is still at work and His Spirit is still inviting His people to join Him.
Not only have several new works actually thrive in various ways, but new gatherings have happened! CBWC Church Planting is working with a new planting in Kelowna, a new Burnaby plant currently in the discernment process, as well as a handful of already-existing church communities looking to become family with CBWC. We will keep you updated as these new works progress!
You are invited to join too! Please continue in prayer for our existing and future plantings, lifting up the leaders and the congregations that courageously press forward with the Good News of God’s kingdom in our troubling times. They are committed to telling the Story by intersecting the stories of seekers with God’s Good News.
For that matter, remember to pray for all our churches—each and every one devoted to being salt and light in our communities across Western Canada!
Want to know how you can be a part of the Story with these and other new communities? Contact us to discover how you can join in: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yay for Summer Camp!
After two years of uncertainty, it’s looking very positive for camp season to be able to function close to normal this summer. Many camps are open and taking registrations––and filling up fast! Camp has always been an impactful ministry for kids. Not only do campers form life-long friendships with peers, but they are exposed to the Gospel in a way that many of them have never experienced before. We highly encourage churches to support and promote their local camps. If you have no camp age children to send, then consider volunteering, donating or reaching out to see what practical needs they have. It’s been a challenging two years for our camps, and we are very excited to see them running full summer programs once again!
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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.