Celebrate 100 Years of Camp Ministry at Gull Lake!
It is with great excitement and thankfulness that Gull Lake Centre celebrates its 100th anniversary on September 18th. Gull Lake Centre has been a pillar in the camp community over the years, providing a safe place campers could come and be challenged spiritually and make lasting relationships. The ripples of this ministry are seen throughout generations of people–– from young to old. Gull Lake holds a special place in so many lives. Below is just a small sample of these testimonies:
For Art Cole, 92, Gull Lake centre holds a very special place in his family’s lives––from his own father, who attend camp in 1924, to his grand and great-grandchildren who are currently still involved. For his part, Art remembers attending family camp with his kids when they were young, helping with several building projects throughout the years––including landscaping with his own farming equipment––and supporting the camp in various ways. To him, it was a place the kids could go to learn about the Lord, to bond as a family and be strengthened spiritually. Most significantly, Gull Lake was where his daughter, Faye Webber, met her husband, Bob. Gull Lake Centre had always been an important part of her life. When she passed in 2018, Art and his wife, Myrtle, decided to fund a new cabin in honour of her memory. Gull Lake Centre will always be a part of the Cole’s history and they are proud to leave this legacy.
I’ve been involved with Gull Lake throughout my whole life. My first camp as a child was Inter Boys sometime in the late 1980’s. I was a camper every summer throughout adolescence, including going through the LTD program and working as a cabin leader. I now am involved as a CBWC pastor and chaplain. I’ve attended Family Camps and was privileged to be guest speaker once. I’ve organized winter pastor’s retreats at Gull Lake. And most recently, this summer, I am sending all 6 of my kids as campers. I have been thrilled to see Gull Lake change and grow over the years through strong vision and hard work. It’s a very different camp today than it was a few decades ago, but it has always been a sacred space for me. Gull Lake was key in my spiritually formative years. It was a safe space for me to explore and discover my faith in God. It’s also where I made incredible life-long friendships and gained opportunity to lead and serve in ministry. I have always experienced rich, warm hospitality at Gull Lake and a strong sense that God is present at that camp. -Craig Traynor, CBWC Pastor and Chaplain
My name is Brittany Chorel and I have been a Gull Laker for 8 years. Here is a little bit about my experience at this place I call my second home.
My first experience at Gull Lake Centre was attending as a Sr. Teens camper in 2014. I continued coming back to Gull Lake as a camper, with my last year being 2017. Since 2018, I have been on summer staff and tried to be involved in as many retreats and winter camps as I possibly could. Over these last 8 years, I have made many fond memories at Gull Lake Centre, but these are a couple of my favourite ones.
One week while I was cabin leading during a Jr. Teens week, I was blessed with a cabin that got along very well. Throughout the week, we had made great memories together and had many deep conversations about God where the girls had asked difficult questions and been quite vulnerable with all of us. On the last night, while we were at campfire worship and as we were singing the last few songs, the girls in our cabin began to put their arms around each other and very soon become a tight circle. Neither myself or my LTD initiated this, but the girls on their own accord began to pray together. It was one of those moments where I could feel God’s presence and see His love reflected in each of them, as they tearfully lifted each of us up in prayer—with the sound of many voices singing praises to God in the background. It was such a beautiful moment to see the faith that these girls had and the love they shared for each other.
Another fond memory was at the end of an Inter[mediate]-aged week. There had been some division between the campers in my cabin throughout this week and it required some intentional effort to work through a couple disagreements. Because of this, my LTD and I wanted to do a unique activity on our last night of camp that would be memorable and bring all the girls together. The plan was to get bean bags full of chalk dust and have a colour fight. We put on clothes that could get dirty and headed out to the field to start our games. It did not take long before all the girls were laughing with each other, and very quickly it was as though none of the disagreements had happened as colour filled the air. Our cabin had so much fun covering each other in coloured dust and enjoying each other’s company. This experience allowed us to end the week on a positive note with a sense of greater unity amongst our campers.
To me, Gull Lake Centre is a home away from home. There is something about driving down McLaurin Lane, with the tall trees on either side, that never fails to bring a smile to my face and give me a warm feeling of comfort. I believe that it feels that way for me because of the culture the people here have created. After my first week as a camper, my mom asked if I wanted to come back next summer and my response was, “I don’t want to, I need to!” Looking back, I see this as a testament to how the people in this place made me feel like I really belonged and exemplified the love of Jesus for me.
The following summer, during a seemingly inconsequential conversation with my cabin leader about our favourite Bible verses, I felt a nudge from God, and I made the decision that I wanted to take my faith on as my own. Once I left that week, I began to take steps to continue to deepen my faith for I knew that was what I wanted after seeing the examples each of my leaders had set for me. Since then, Gull Lake Centre has continued to be a place where I have seen myself grow as a person and strengthened my relationship with God. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and encouraged to ask deeper questions about who God is and what it means to follow Him. I have gained a lot more confidence in myself and began to learn how I personally, best connect with God. As I came on staff, I was able to contribute to creating this same environment for the campers and other staff. I was able to pour into them as I continued to grow myself. This is why I have continued to come back to Gull Lake Centre and why this place has been and continues to make such an impact on me. I firmly believe that God has used Gull Lake Centre to point me back to Him so that He can work through me to further His kingdom. -Brittany Chorel, Summer Staff.
Don’t miss out on the fun! Click here for more info on the 100th celebration!
Partner Spotlight: Giving Back – An Invitation from Beulah
Beulah Garden Homes has been caring for senior adults in Vancouver for over 70 years. Today, close to 400 residents call Beulah home, and for 70 others, it is their place of work. We are at a place in our organization’s journey where we feel truly and abundantly blessed.
In this context and over these many years, we have learned that good care for seniors—which at Beulah begins with providing affordable housing—blossoms vigorously with a model of health and well-being that springs from a holistic vision of spiritual care.
Good spiritual care has to do with being alongside people in ways that recognize and respect their spirituality. It strives to facilitate that person’s ongoing search for meaning, purpose, hope and value. We have found that care which takes the mind, body and spirit of an individual seriously, has the capacity to transform and bless the whole community.
This kind of care also provides a strong alternative in purpose and identity—compared to the loss of connection and lack of meaning which has come to signal the ‘fearful on-set of ageing’ in our present times. Good care has the look of a gospel light in our society today.
Have you ever wondered what good ageing looks like? Or how churches, caregivers, and families can foster a spiritual well-being that transforms not only the person but the community? How does good ageing contribute to the person and legacy?
In our quest for a training resource that values spiritual care the way we do, Beulah Garden Homes has come across an amazing 8-week Spiritual Care Training series through CHATCanada, which is the benchmark for scalable, internationally informed training for health professionals and volunteers alike. It is specifically designed to equip participants with the skills they need to offer thoughtful, relevant spiritual support to those involved in the ageing journey.
This course was created with the expert collaboration and participation of Professor John Swinton, a world-renowned expert in dementia and meaningful ageing and the founder of the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability in Scotland. Professor John Swinton is also a registered nurse for people with learning disabilities and is a registered mental health nurse.
We are happy to announce that Beulah Garden Homes and CHATCanada have teamed up to host and produce this series in an exciting hybrid seminar/webinar format. We invite you to join us in person or online through Zoom at Beulah Gardens every Wednesday morning from 9:30am to 11:30am starting September 29th.
You can also take this course as a localized group by gathering a cohort within your church, family, or institution to meet in one place and join us online. The shared experience of learning together, with online facilitation in the local context, will give you and your group a head start in creating a ministry of care for seniors that fits your circumstances and resources.
Jamey McDonald, CEO of Beulah Garden Homes, challenged staff this year to “figure out how to give back. If God gives us more than we need, it must be so that we can share it.”
We want to give back by sharing the blessing of this course, along with our warm welcome, for you to come and join us.
To register please visit us online at scs.chatcanada.org or contact us at email@example.com
Watch the trailer at https://chatcanada.org/events/spiritual-care-series/
Donna Forster – Gateway Baptist, Victoria, BC
Written by Jenna Hanger
I trust that over the last many months you have been inspired by the “Humans of CBWC” stories shared in this publication. This month, you are being introduced to Donna Forster, a person who has literally put herself in harm’s way many times to care for and protect women who struggle with addictions and life on the street. Donna has been called to a ministry that few could do. She is fearlessly the hands and feet of Jesus to these women and their children. May her story push us just a little further out of our comfort zone as we all seek to answer God’s calling on our lives.
-CBWC Executive Minister Rob Ogilvie
Donna Forster, 85, has lived the majority of her life in Victoria, BC. While her official career was as an assistant manager at a bank, Donna had another passion she pursued for twenty years—helping sex trade workers off the streets.
From an early age, Donna had a heart to help streetworkers. She watched her mother run a bawdy house, and seeing that and how the women were treated inspired her to help those that she could. From 1998 to 2018, Donna took part in a street ministry that her church ran. She got to know many women who worked the streets. Some came to know the Lord and were able to get out and start a new life; others weren’t as fortunate and their stories still weigh heavily on her heart.
One such story inspired Donna to write a book about the experience. Her book, titled Anne: Where Did the Sunshine Go?, is heavily inspired by a young mom whom Donna connected with about ten years ago—a woman who struggled with addiction, left an abusive relationship, and worked on the streets to feed her children.
“It was one of those cases where she was just such a wonderful, caring, young mom when I first met her, and her whole focus was her children. She came down to the streets because she didn’t have enough money to feed them,” Donna said. “She had no family or friends here, which is often the case with many of the women. They were out there to feed their children, basically.”
Donna has always had an interest in writing. She has written lots of poetry over the years and even wrote a book about her husband. This book was a completely different experience though. It took Donna a year and a half to write. She described the process as very painful, as it opened up a lot of old wounds. Having to revisit the story of “Annie” was difficult, but Donna believes it’s an important story to tell.
“I hope as people pick it up, they pass it on, and that they change their attitude [towards sex trade workers]. I think that would be best thing,” Donna said. “There’s more to everybody, isn’t there? When we look at a person, we look at one dimension. We don’t really—until we get to know them very well—we don’t really know anybody. It’s all just a façade. Everybody has a story, it may not be tragic, but it’s a story.”
Another thing Donna hopes the book will accomplish is to challenge the way drugs are handled. In her view, providing drugs and clean needles to addicts isn’t a healthy solution.
“I see that as telling our young people that they don’t matter. It’s like, ‘Let us help you do this,’ and drugs are so destructive. You watch a young person who is like you and I, and they get into the drugs. The change in them is so drastic. And people write them off,” Donna said. “I’d really like to see rehab for young people. Don’t make it easy for them [to take drugs] because they are worth something. Our way of helping is skewed.”
Donna isn’t near done telling these stories. On top of the other writing projects she is working on (a potential first book in a fantasy series for preteens, and a children’s book), Donna might put together another book which has mini-bios of multiple sex trade workers whom she has met and connected with.
“I’m 85. I don’t anticipate a major career in writing, but it’s fun. I enjoy it,” says Donna. She also continues to have friendships with some of the women whom she has helped on the streets during her ministry, having many over to her house for food and keeping in touch over phone calls.
Anne: Where Did The Sunshine Go? is available online at all major bookstores. Donna’s website https://www.dforster.ca has links to various sites to purchase.
If you or someone you know has a story they want to share with us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
Banff Pastors & Spouses Conference
It has been a privilege to provide a space of sabbath for CBWC pastors and spouses for the past 44 years in one of the most picturesque locales in the world! November 2021 will be our 45th year to gather together in Banff for restoration of mind, body, soul and spirit. Transformative worship, inspirational speakers, open afternoons, good food, great conversation, and deep rest. We hope you can join us!
Registration deadline is September 30, 2021. Click HERE to register.
Federal Election Resources
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has put together various resources to help churches with the upcoming election. Their website states:
Voting is one way Christians contribute to society and the public good. When we vote we recognize the profound influence politics has on the lives of all Canadians. Public policy impacts our lives, influences the way we interact with one another, and helps shape the care and protection offered to our neighbours.
Go to www.TheEFC.ca/Election to view their resources which include:
-Election Engagement Kit 2021
-What churches can and cannot do during elections
-Election slides for social media
-Federal Elections: Faith, Voting and Political Engagement
-Related Civic Engagement resources
Transforming Polarized Conversations
Christian leaders across Canada are struggling with how to navigate increasingly polarized conversations with their congregations, families and friends. During seasons of change, it is common for perspectives to polarize and for people to struggle with talking well with one another. How do we, as Jesus followers, converse with divergent viewpoints and engage in active listening with a Christlike posture? What skills do we, as leaders, need to acquire to tackle tough conversations? Are there parts of our inner lives that need to be re-examined and addressed?
You are invited to a 3-session Zoom-based webinar series with Dr. Betty Pries who will offer a practical and engaging learning experience, offering tools and practices for transforming polarized conversations. Join other pastors and lay-leaders from across Western Canada in this online Zoom space to learn together about this timely and important topic. Dr. Pries will facilitate a Q & A following her presentation by using the Zoom chat function to offer engagement to those who are on the call. If you would like to submit your question in advance of the event, please email your question to email@example.com .
To register, click here.
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