Chaplaincy in the Canadian Forces
As we come to Remembrance Day, we are reminded of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and we honour those who served and continue to serve today.
Chaplaincy in the Canadian Forces has a long and proud record of caring for the thousands of military personnel who have served our nation. Chaplains are unique in that they serve on the field of conflict and as non-combatants. In the midst of war and violence, you will find CF padres caring for troops wherever they find themselves. They remind us that God is present even in the most difficult and terrifying circumstances.
The CBWC is privileged to hold the credentials of ten military chaplains stationed across Western Canada. They are: Major Paul Beckingham, Department National Defense; Chaplain Troy Dennis, Canadian Forces Base, Shilo; Rev. Heather Donovan, CFB Edmonton; Rev. Richard Larsen, Canadian Armed Forces; Rev. Stephen Neil, Canadian Armed Forces; Rev. Ken Nettleton, Canadian Scottish Regiment; Rev. Kevin Park, St. Joseph Medical Centre; Mr. Gordon Poley, Canadian Armed Forces; Chaplain Daniel Walton, CFB Shilo; Rev. Dr. Major John Huh, 3rd Canadian Division.
Rev. Dr. John Huh (GoodTree Christian Fellowship) and Rev. Ken Nettleton (New Life Community Church) are unique in that they also serve as full-time lead pastors in their respective CBWC churches.
Rev. Ken Nettleton
Rev. Ken Nettleton was first assigned to the Calgary Highlanders, an infantry regiment in Calgary, while pastoring at First Baptist Church. He served his regiment for five years before being called to pastor New Life Community Church on Vancouver Island, at which time he joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s). Ken has been deployed three times within Canada: the Calgary floods of 2013, the BC Fires of 2017 and the BC floods of 2018.
Pictures are of a field service during the B.C. wildfires of 2018.
Ken explains, “I joined the CF out of a long-standing interest in serving Canada through police and/or military, and when I arrived in Calgary, I found out that though there were several hundred reservist soldiers in the city, there was no padre (chaplain) south of Edmonton to serve them. At the time, there were also over 70 Calgary reservists on the ground in Afghanistan. Weeks before being officially sworn in, I found myself in the homes of several Calgary families providing care for them because their loved one had been gravely injured that day in Afghanistan and were being brought home near-death. I have experienced the difficult moments of informing parents, spouses and children that their loved one is not returning to them. It is in these moments that chaplains prove their value within our armed forces.”
As an older and experienced chaplain, a large part of Ken’s role is mentoring younger chaplains in his region and recruiting others to pick up where he leaves off at retirement when he reaches age 60. Ken concludes, “I will look back on my years of chaplaincy as yet another delight and privilege that the Lord has provided me–one I never expected but will always hold dear.”
Rev. Dr. Major John Huh
Rev. Dr. Major John Huh is the Deputy Chaplain in the 3rd Canadian Division and lead pastor at GoodTree Christian Fellowship in Calgary, AB. He has been serving in the reserves for the past eight years after joining the military at age 40. Reservists are not normally deployed overseas, however, John has accepted a 7-month tour of duty. Due to the security of his mission, we are not able to share when and where John is being deployed.
Husband to Doris and father to four children between the ages of 13 to 21, it was not an easy decision to agree to be deployed. On top of being away from his family for an extended period of time, he will be missed by his church family who graciously agreed to grant him a leave of absence.
John has had to take many courses to be ready for active duty including “conduct after capture” and what to do in the event of chemical or biological warfare.
He has had to obtain a number of security clearances and holds a military driver’s licence.
John joined the Canadian Forces as a way to give back to Canada. John is second generation Korean and is very grateful for Canada’s role in the Korean War of the 1950s. If it hadn’t been for Canadians joining UN forces to fight against the North Korean insurgence, the entire country would likely be under North Korean rule today. John does not take this for granted and is honoured to serve Canada with his regiment as a way of saying thank you.
Until his deployment, he will continue to work two days a week in an administrative capacity for the Canadian Forces, and once deployed, his focus will be on the care and support of troops. John says he is very excited to go, as it is a privilege to move beyond administrative duties to one-on-one pastoral care. To do what he and other chaplains have been trained to do is the culmination of many years of service: to care for people when care is needed, with skill, compassion, experience and the Holy Spirit.
When asked whether he will put his name forward at some point for a second tour of duty, it took John only a second to say, “Doris made it clear it’s a one-time deal!”
Walking Through Advent Together
By Shannon Youell and Cailey Morgan, CBWC Church Planting
Can you believe Advent begins in a month?
On our Church Planting blog, we’re in a series discussing the importance of shared practices in missional discipleship. As the Christmas season approaches, we’d love you to consider whether Advent 2019 would be a good chance for your community of faith to be introduced to shared rhythms.
Here’s why: Advent is a defined period of time when churches can focus thematically on reflection, hospitality, Scripture and prayer. During this season, churches likely already engage in shared practices such as eating together, giving generous offerings, incorporating Advent readings into Sunday gatherings, serving the poor, and perhaps even a daily Advent devotional or prayer guide. The kind of intentionality that we find in the weeks leading up to Christmas is a great foundation for exploring what deeper engagement in shared practices could look like in the broader church calendar.
The Forge Church’s Experience
Shared practices as we’ve been introducing are not a new thing at all. The Jewish community of Jesus’ day practiced traditional Spiritual Practices throughout the year. (Jesus emphasizes three of the main practices in Matthew 6, though as correctives to how they were being practiced). These formed and shaped them into a community on God’s mission together when they practiced them in ways faithful to God’s ongoing redemptive plan of restoring all things together in unity.
Utilizing the Advent season to introduce shared practices has been a rich and growth-inducing journey for Shannon’s church, the Forge. For two years now they have been digging deeper into what it means to be disciples together on God’s mission.
The Forge has offered to share two resources: the Advent Guide they used when first implementing an intentional framework of shared practices for their congregation, and also the guide they used a year later as the Shared Practices were more established. As the folks at The Forge grew deeper together, so did their Shared Practices—and you will see that reflected in these two guides, which are a year apart.
The guidebooks are only one of the tools Forge uses to make room in their everyday lives to spend time both with God individually and as the scattered community of disciples who gather for a few hours during the week.
Advent Shared Practice Resources
Here are some other resources that you may find helpful in gathering your congregation or household in shared reflection and action throughout Advent:
- Advent Conspiracy is a multi-faceted movement to “celebrate Christmas humbly, beautifully, and generously.” They offer tools from inspirational videos and kids’ curriculum to a full-fledged book and small group series. Great to engage as whole churches or as a family, Advent Conspiracy was the basis for The Forge Church’s Advent Guide provided above. If you look further into the Advent Conspiracy resource, you may wonder how children felt about their parents engaging in the Spend Less (on yourselves) and Give More (to those who have less/not). Overwhelmingly, from small to teen, the kids at The Forge embraced this idea. So that’s just a plug for those of you who fear your kids not feeling like Christmas is Christmas.
- CBWC’s Advent Page provides samples of Advent devotionals, Advent readings and Christmas Eve service orders.
- Saturate’s “How to Make a Plan for the Holidays” is a short, simple and very practical guide to preparing for the season before it bulldozes us. Intended for use in small groups.
- Marva Dawn’s brief daily devotional Follow the Story https://www.amazon.ca/Follow-Story-Daily-Advent-Devotions-ebook/dp/B008PTU9KO takes a reflective bent as she walks slowly through the story of that first Christmas and invites us to enter into the anticipation of the coming Saviour alongside ancient like disciples Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, Joseph and Mary.
What other resources have you found helpful around Advent? Let us know by visiting churchplantingatcbwc.wordpress.com and leaving a comment.
BCY Regional Newsletter
Note from Larry | Church Planting Stories | Camp Update
Refugee Sponsorship Update
This summer, the Canadian Government partnered with the Shapiro Foundation and G. Barrie Landry to provide funding for refugees who have already been identified and approved to come to Canada but need local sponsors. We sent out a plea to our churches, and White Rock Baptist as well as Altadore Baptist took up the challenge to help sponsor these refugees. Where many of our church refugee applications take 12 – 18 months or longer to be approved, processed and finally arrive in Canada, these Blended Visa applications brought Fihima and Charles to their new church families within three months! Fay Puddicombe has led the team for White Rock, making arrangements for accommodations and local support services for their Somali woman to begin making her home in the Surrey area. Fihima is wanting to find her lost sons so that they may be able to join her, and White Rock Baptist is willing to help her accomplish this dream. Fihima speaks no English and so there are many challenges to understand her needs, but she is determined to make a new life here.
Marilyn Kaiser has guided Altadore in helping to sponsor Charles to make a new home in Calgary. This small church would not be able to financially care for Charles if not for the funding grant to assist with housing and food costs for Charles to settle here. Already there are challenges with paperwork and identification as his name was not properly recorded and Charles has no passport but a temporary visa. It does take patience and perseverance to complete all of the needed paperwork for a new resident to access banking services, health services and other essential needs. I am so grateful for these two churches accepting this challenge and walking for the next year with these landed refugees.
Many of our CBWC churches are helping refugees who have already settled in Canada bring more family members to Canada. I am presently working with 12 churches who have sponsored family members of refugees [that they have already supported] and have assisted a few individuals in bringing their families to Canada. We are also partnering with a Lutheran community to bring Eritrean refugees to the Calgary area and so, in 2019, the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada will have helped with the sponsorship of close to 100 refugees this year!
The Canadian Baptist Youth Team has released a brand-new curriculum called “Imaginative Justice” designed to engage the next generation on ways to creatively right wrongs in our world in the name of Jesus. The curriculum includes two, full youth group sessions which focus on an exploration of what Biblical Justice is all about, with a special emphasis on issues faced by refugees and displaced people. There is also a 24-hour engagement which challenges youth to put into practice what they’ve learned—on November 14. To watch an informational video and download the curriculum, visit imaginativehope.ca/justice.
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Making Connections is the Monthly Newsletter of the CBWC.