Making Connections March 2023

What’s Happening in March

Registration is open for CBWC Assembly 2023! Step 1: Register online Step 2: Book Accommodations

Book Club Meeting TONIGHT! Join us at 6pm PST, March 1 for Theology for the Ordinary Book Club discussing James Martin’s book entitled Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone. Email to receive the zoom link, even if you have attended in the past. 

Sign up for SERVE 2023 in Kelowna, BC! Each summer hundreds of youth from CBWC churches gather for a week that mixes the best parts of summer camp with the best parts of a short-term service trip. Earlybird Registration open until April 30:

BCY Pastors and Chaplains Retreat BCY pastors and chaplains are invited to a retreat in the beautiful Fraser Valley April 24-26, 2023, with speaker April Yamasaki. Visit for details and to register before March 31st.

Report from Kurios — That’s a Wrap!…Or is it?

That’s a wrap!… or is it?  I don’t think paying it forward ever ends but we are so grateful to everyone who supported Kurios financially during our fundraising campaign.  With your assistance, we raised over $25,000!  Thank you to everyone for supporting us!

And we know that is not the only way we are supported. We know and feel the support of your  prayers for us. The past 5 weeks in Guatemala was evidence of that on many levels:

Physically, we had safe travels, easy passage through security checks in the airports, no injuries or major sickness, the ability to enjoy God’s beautiful creation with all of our senses.

Mentally/emotionally, we were sustained when culture shock affected us, when there were minor bouts of homesickness, when we grappled with the realities of the lives of people we met in relation to what we know, when we rejoiced and celebrated God’s goodness in the lives of the people we met.

Spiritually, we were transformed, encountering God’s kingdom here on earth, being pushed out of our comfort zone to discover more of who God is, sharing and receiving God’s love and word, walking in step with the Spirit.

We were able to worship and serve our Lord with our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  And that is the heart of the Kurios Gap Year experience – seeking Jesus together and pursuing Him as Lord of all!

If you’re a young adult who needs space to discover more of who they are in Christ, a safe space to ask questions about faith, prayer, scripture; a space to discover our heavenly Father and encounter His kingdom on earth, then come join us this fall! Registrations to Kurios are free and available at  Or do you know of a young adult that would benefit from the Kurios gap year experience? Don’t underestimate the word of encouragement about your own experience in a similar program or the passing along of information about Kurios to the young adults in your life. It can be the difference to them. 

They can contact us directly with any questions they might have: Director Steve Simala Grant ( or Assistant Director Ingrid Reinholdt (

 Partner Spotlight: CBM Impact

We are grateful for your partnership and want to take a moment to reflect upon how you’ve helped us make a meaningful impact this past year. Through your generosity, we are grateful to have supported 136,018 individuals through our five key causes: poverty, justice, kids at risk, build the church, and crisis response.

In 2022, you brought hope to vulnerable communities by empowering women, ensuring access to education, assisting refugees, helping to set up small businesses, and building up local churches. You directly supported nearly 140,000 people through CBM’s partnerships and programs. Of that number:   

  • 27,000 kids at risk could recapture aspects of their childhood by going to school, having safe spaces to play in, and being cared for.  
  • 8,000 women were empowered in regions where women are often in the margins of society.
  • More than 7,500 leaders received further training to respond biblically and contextually to the reality of the needs in their communities.    
  • More than 2,000 farm animals were distributed for income generation. 
  • Critical aid was delivered to nearly 90,000 refugees.    
  • and more than 60,000 people received much-needed food assistance.  

  Of special note, your incredible response to the emergency appeal for Ukraine raised over $1.2 million. Because of your support, we were able to address the immediate needs of refugees with emergency shelters, food, personal hygiene supplies, and winterization measures. Thank you for your generosity and compassion. 

Our goal is to respond to adversity with God’s practical message of love. This message is needed more than ever as we face new crises and challenges.

This past month, magnitude 7.8 and 7.6 earthquakes struck southeast Türkiye and neighbouring Syria, killing more than 47,000 people and leaving one million homeless. The disaster’s economic cost is expected to be tens of billions of dollars. The impact of the loss and the trauma that the people of Türkiye and Syria face is devastating. Türkiye’s energy infrastructure has been severely damaged, thousands of buildings have crumbled, and many roads are unusable. Syrian refugees, already suffering through twelve years of civil war, must now contend with the quake’s destruction.

When humanitarian disasters leave victims wounded and vulnerable, they often turn to the church for assistance and assurance that they are not forgotten by God or His people. In these times of emergency, CBM and its global partners respond quickly and with accountability to ensure that even in the chaos, relief is sent where it is needed most.

CBM is part of the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD), a network of Baptist relief and development organizations coordinating funding and activities during significant humanitarian crises such as earthquakes and conflicts. BFAD has chosen two lead organizations to carry out relief projects that will respond to victims of the earthquakes. These organizations are already on the ground with churches and local networks to provide food, shelter, and medical care support. In addition, Hungarian Baptist Aid has been on the ground since February 6th with a team of highly-trained search and rescue specialists and rescue dogs.

For updates, prayer requests and the opportunity to give, click here:

None of these ministry initiatives would be possible without your steadfast prayers and support. Thank you for your continued partnership as we embrace a broken world through word and deed.  

BCY Regional Newsletter

March 2023

Easter Colouring Contest!

Colouring contest for all ages! Pick a picture (drawn by CBWC’s own Grace Wulff) , put your name and age and email it to to be featured on social media and for a chance to win a prize! Winners will be announced in April, prizes donated by Kurious!

Click images below to download.

Wrestling the Angel: A Lenten Journey Through the Psalms

Written by Brownfield Baptist member Robyn Bruneau

I feel dull this year. Maybe it’s the foggy aftermath of having Covid last February. Maybe it’s this year of menopause that has left me slow and inarticulate. But by the grace of God, this week has felt sharper than usual, and right now I’m standing on the edge of Lent, awakening to a fresh invitation.

Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

In truth, I’m a stranger to my own heart right now. After a year of desert wandering, I’ve become so desensitized to my inner lostness that it takes all the silence I can muster to hear that still, small voice that helps me find myself with God. In returning to silence, this is what I hear: a growing murmur inside, a sense of something within me that is very out of joint. Twisted, you could say. It is not so much like a cord that twists around itself, but more like a disordered spine whose descending vertebrae are out of place just enough that the whole body has had to shift and twist in order to compensate for the imbalance. O Lord, clear a good path in me!

The crooked straight…

John the Baptist was a wild man. He thrived in the wilderness. He knew that there was something about the desolate places—their beauty and deprivation—that opened people’s hearts to God and coaxed their souls out of hiding. He cried out in the wilderness for the people to return to the proverbial desert, allowing the penetrating gaze of the sun to do its work on their souls and expose the crookedness of their ways—leaving them emptied and ready for the Son of God to enter easily and without resistance.

…and the rough places plain.

Jacob was a plain man. By Hebrew reckoning, it meant that his interior life was upright and complete in the sight of God. He had his heart on straight, you could say. Jacob was also acquainted with desolate places—places within his own heart that led to enmity and exile. This is where God found him, and this is where he wrestled with God until daybreak. Yes, the Angel lamed him, but He also blessed him, and Jacob named that place Peniel—for He had seen God face to face and lived.

Facing this season of Lent, I’m standing in this barren place—my inner life all crooked and rough—longing to receive John’s invitation to remove the inner barriers that keep me from all that God has for me. Lord, how do I open myself to this piercing gaze, to the Angel who would wrestle me until my soul is finally made straight and my heart made plain? I was reminded of a phrase from Rilke’s poem, “The Man Watching”:

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming…
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

It brings me back to the Psalms and how they are like a living habitat for all that is truly human. They have a way about them. They are raw and weighty, penetrating and perplexing. They speak to the myriad of displaced passions and disordered attachments that hold the descending vertebrae of the soul in its crooked posture. These inspired poems provide an arena for God to firmly wrap Himself around our twisted ways, steadily and unyieldingly twisting them back. They provide a sacred place where we can wrestle with God in the safety and sanctity of the psalmists’ own intimate grapplings. In his poem, Rilke reflects on what it means to truly wrestle with the Divine:

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great.
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
…What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.

Wrestling with God through these psalms requires that we yield ourselves to the sacred text—line by line, chapter by chapter—in all of its emotional complexity and primal tenacity. I’ve read the Psalms countless times, but wrestling is much more than just reading. It’s about acknowledging our desperate need for the blessing. It’s about becoming humbled enough to finally arrive at the cross with our souls laid bare before the passion of Christ. It’s about finding ourselves hopeful at the dawn of Easter morning, waiting eagerly for His light to break forth in the deep places of our readied souls. And this, I believe, is God’s delight,

I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers’ sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

I have found that it takes courage to face these sacred poems with abandon and resolve. I have had to enter into each reading in both solitude and silence: solitude because this is an intimate journey, silence because my flesh has to be hushed before my spirit can hear. This wilderness journey demands that I come with a bowed head and an unassuming mind as I sit daily under the texts and allow the Spirit to speak to me on His terms, not mine.

As I read each chapter slowly, several times, I pay attention to what is most evocative—the word, phrase or image that makes me want to lean in closer or, conversely, makes me want to pull away. Putting words to this evocation, I invite God into a raw and vulnerable dialogue with me, all the while resisting the temptation to justify, avoid or project. Here I lean in, taking hold of God. Here God leans in, taking hold of me. This is not about winning.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
…went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater Beings.

This Lenten journey through the Psalms is about responding to an invitation to bewilderment—to be thoroughly lured into the wilderness where the piercing rays of the sun cast light into the dark corners that hide our pride, our fear and our shame. Where the deprivation of our fleshly impulses awakens our sacred desires and longings. Where we are emptied and expanded, growing our capacity for more of what Jesus has waiting for us in His death and resurrection. My earnest hope is that, like Gomer, we might find the courage to be lured into the wilderness so that God might speak kindly to our adulterous souls. And like the bride in the Song of Songs, we might emerge out of the Lenten season, coming up from the wilderness, leaning on our Beloved.

Advice for Land Acknowledgement Process

By Filipe Balieiro, FBC Vancouver

The Spirit of God is moving in the midst of our CBWC churches as we journey together regarding Indigenous issues.

I would like to share with you a few aspects of the experience that we had at FBC Vancouver writing our Land Acknowledgement (LA). Keeping in mind that each church has its own journey towards healing and reconciliation, we pray that this article may be helpful to your church as you go through the process of crafting your own LA.

Do not rush, but have a clear timeline.

It is important to make this process a communal process where the church community has the chance to participate and own the document. When the congregation takes ownership of this process, it organically becomes part of the mission of the church.

Our church took more than 2 years to have an official version of Land Acknowledgement. Although I believe that most churches should not take that long, it is important to give time to this process without losing perspective of the timeline.

Colonial past and the word unceded.

Why did it take that long for FBC Vancouver to have a final version of their LA? We had a hard time wrapping our heads around these words. So, during the process we offered some teaching material to and dialogue with those who were struggling with that concept. With grace and love, we were able to learn and be in agreement with the language that we were using. Let me take this opportunity to encourage you to learn not only about Canada’s colonial past, but about our whole continent. 

Resist the temptation of making it a teaching document. 

Keep it short and clear. In our Land Acknowledgement, there are 4 elements. It acknowledges: God, the creator; that the ancestral land that we are located in is unceded; that Canada’s colonial past has profoundly injured Indigenous peoples; and that we are committed to address the recommendations from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

There was a moment during our process where the discussion became about whether we should include Bible verses in it. An extremely long document would confuse rather than help. So, we agreed that: 1) the document would have an addendum with the Biblical basis supporting the main document; and, 2) that all teaching about Indigenous issues should happen elsewhere—blanket exercise, sermon series, Sunday school, seminars, etc.

If you are wondering where you can find resources, let me point you to our denomination webpage: 

Perhaps another aspect you should consider during this process is ways to ease your congregation into this conversation—for instance, by adding a sermon series or a TRC service, doing a blanket exercise, or having Jodi Spargur speak at your church to help make the conversation around this issue easier and more familiar.

Growing a Life of Healthy Leadership

By Rev. Del Riemer

As we continue in our blog series on Healthy Leadership, we hope to share with you some helpful stories, insights and considerations on developing ourselves as healthy leaders. Since November, we’ve been focusing on A Life of Healthy Leadership (check out our previous articles “Leadership is Heavy” and “A Soup Kitchen Confession” to get caught up on the series). Later, we will delve into a discussion on Healthy Leadership Structures. These two parts are sides of the same coin: true healthy leadership involves both healthy structures in our organizations and emotional, physical and spiritual health in ourselves and the leaders around us.  

We pray that as people of God we increasingly think of healthy leadership, both as leaders and structures, as being Christ-centric. As we face the unknown landscape of our day as followers of Jesus, this is more crucial than perhaps ever before in the history of the church as we hope to form communities of hope, centered on loving God and others, as Christ himself teaches. 

We are grateful to Rev. Del Riemer who, upon his retirement at the end of 2022, shares with us some of the ways he developed as a healthy leader in his 45 years of ministry.   ~Shannon and Cailey

As I retire after 45 years of ministry and 20+ years as Pastor at Summerland Baptist Church, it is impossible not to sit back and consider all the water that has flowed under the bridge. Successes, failures, lessons, regrets, growth, advice received and given, relationships built and broken and some 38 different staff that have come and gone during my tenure.   

To read more CLICK HERE!

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Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.