Making Connections September 2023

Summer Highlights!

Our churches were busy this summer! So many kids and youth were blessed by summer VBS programs and day camps that gave them a chance to connect and learn about Jesus!

We loved seeing the photos so much we had to share some highlights! Click HERE to see a snapshot of some of the fun!

 Partner Spotlight: Hopehill

Summer Case Study from a low-cost housing society for low-income Seniors—Hopehill—Living in Community, Vancouver BC (a ministry of the CBWC)

She was upset—understandably so. Her suite had suffered water damage from the tenant above her. The damage was so severe that she needed to move out of the suite for a couple of weeks while repairs were made. As I listened to her, I realized she was very angry. Angry about what? The damage. The disruption. The tardiness of the repairs. The unwillingness we had in allowing her to stay in the suite. And the bigger question—“Where will I go?”    

I listened to her even more intently, and I gently offered the observation—“It sounds like there is something really deep going on inside of you that’s deeper than the ruined ceiling. What’s going on?” She blurted out, “I don’t want to be homeless. I have nowhere to go. I have no money. I am estranged from my family. This makes me feel so afraid. I feel like I have been ejected from home. This is so frightening to me.”  

When people are afraid or anxious, they will sometimes say things that are harsh and unhelpful. They will sometimes even do things that are destructive, not contributive.  

I have been living in the story of the Good Samaritan for the last while. Besides the big idea of us needing to be like the Samaritan, I’ve tried to understand the situation of the traveller on the side of the road. He lay there, “stripped, beaten, and left half dead,” Losing your home leaves you stripped and beaten. So can losing your job. So can losing a connection to a loved one through a blow up. People we meet in life can be fighting a battle we know nothing about. A kind word is better than a combative one. It’s not about my needs; it’s their needs that are the issue.

In the end, we offered her a temporary place to stay which was less than ideal. Instead, she opted to go to a friend’s home and live, temporarily waiting for the restoration of her “home.” But we repaired the relationship. Maintenance of a building is very important—so too is people work.  

Jamey McDonald 

Hopehill–Living in Community

PS. On July 13th, 2023, we broke ground on construction of our next 64-unit, low-cost for low-income senior residence. It is slated to be ready for occupancy in early 2025. Helpful to you? Contact us at

BCY Regional Newsletter

September 2023

Resources for the 2023 National Day of Truth & Reconciliation

September 30th is the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. We want to encourage all our churches to take a moment to reflect on this day and participate in some form. Below is information found on the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) website:

In 2022, we extended a heartfelt invitation to all Canadian Baptists to unite in an online service of remembrance and reflection. This occasion brought us together as a community to acknowledge the painful history and lasting effects of the residential school system. This year, as we commemorate the 2023 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we invite you to join us in a prayerful and reflective commemoration, right on the very lands where you live, work, and play. To ensure this year’s observance is even more impactful, there are three meaningful steps you can take to honor the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation wherever you are located:

  1. Utilize the Prayer Guide: On September 19th, we will make available a guided audio meditation for your use on Sept 30th. This audio recording has been specifically crafted for this solemn occasion. This guide can serve as a powerful tool for your personal contemplation or to be shared with a small group of family and friends. Through it, we encourage you to deeply reflect on the past and present ramifications of the residential school system in Canada, offering prayers for truth, reconciliation, and profound healing. 
  2. Engage in Regional Events: Take an active part in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by participating in local events held in your region. Seek out gatherings that are led by Indigenous people, who hold a sacred and unique perspective on the experiences of their ancestors. Approach these events with an open heart, humility, and a genuine desire to learn. Discovering and attending these events will undoubtedly enrich your understanding and contribute to fostering a bond of unity and respect between all Canadians. Click here to locate a Friendship Centre near you and discover what resources and events they have to offer.  
  3. Explore Additional Learning Resources: Our commitment to truth and reconciliation extends beyond the day’s observance. To deepen your knowledge and awareness of the historical and ongoing impacts of residential schools in Canada, we encourage you to peruse the myriad of available resources. Delve into the stories, testimonies, and educational materials to learn more about the past and present impact of residential schools in Canada. We also encourage you to invite others to explore these resources alongside you, fostering discussions that promote empathy, growth, and understanding. Access these valuable resources for learning and reflection through the following links:  

Have less than 15 minutes?

Whitehorse Baptist Mission School (short article) 

Learn whose territory you are on (self-guided website exploration)

Have 15 – 60 minutes?

Indian Residential School History & Dialogue Centre Collections (self-guided website exploration) 

Former Residential School Site and the Search for Unmarked Graves (self-guided website exploration) 

Have more than an hour? 

Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts  (66 min. documentary) 

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Events (a series of online events Sept 25 – 30) 

Walking in a Good Way with Indigenous Neighbours Online Course (20 hour online course) 

Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report (sign up to pledge to read the 6 volume report) 

The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (5 part audio series) 

Red Clover (self-guided website exploration and ongoing training resources)

Through these carefully curated steps, we believe that the 2023 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will serve as a catalyst for meaningful change and foster a sense of unity and understanding among all Canadians. By engaging in prayer, participation, and education, we can collectively take significant strides toward reconciliation, healing, and a shared vision of a compassionate and inclusive Canada. Join us on this profound journey of reflection and remembrance, as we honor the past, acknowledge the present, and forge a path of hope and healing for generations to come. Together, we can build a stronger and more harmonious nation, founded on truth, respect, and compassion.

Unity through Music

Submitted by Pastor Sara Westnedge, First Baptist Nelson

I received a text message on Sunday night with this request, “Hi Sara, would it be okay if my son came to practice piano? Ours is gone for a couple of weeks.” This seemed like an easy request to fill—since our church has four pianos that sit alone on stage from Monday to Saturday, only displaying their full glory on Sunday morning. However, Erik, the pianist, also happens to be 15, and I was a bit skeptical as to whether he would actually show up each weekday morning.

Erik arrived promptly on Monday morning. The first thing he did was apologize because he is working on a difficult piece so he might be playing sections over and over, on repeat. Fortunately, I have small children and since they ask the same questions or share the same jokes over and over on repeat, I was able to assure him that I was not concerned.

On Tuesday morning, God made my heart soar through Erik’s beautiful music, and I was not alone. Monday was a delight, but on Tuesday I realized at 9:30 am that I was not alone in the upstairs of our church. The entire preschool that runs in the basement of FBC Nelson had congregated on the pews. Rows of children, all under five years of age, sat in silence as Erik played piano for 15 minutes. Their teacher came and told me that they had heard him from downstairs, and so they had to come for the concert.

Like most small rural churches, ours often feels somewhat neglected. We do not have the congregation that we once had, but the faithful souls that do attend have prayed fervently for life and renewal. This week God blessed us by answering this prayer through Erik and a community of small children—reminding me that God is always calling us to beauty and God’s presence in surprising ways. 

Protecting the Vulnerable

By Bree Young, Children and Families Pastor at Summerland Baptist

The statistics for child abuse in Canada is staggering. Government of Canada statistics show that about 6 in 10 individuals reported experiencing some type of child maltreatment before they were 15 years old. The sad reality is that abuse, in all its forms (physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect), is far too common.

Churches can be vulnerable places because they are considered places of trust, but can often lack the necessary screening for volunteers. I was reminded of this trust during the summer of 2020, when during the first summer of Covid our day camp was full. Even during a pandemic, parents trusted us with their children. The Church reflects God’s love to those in our care. The safety of the children, youth, and vulnerable adults in our care needs to be a top priority.  

Preventing abuse from happening is reason enough to make sure a church develops clear policies and procedures that will protect the volunteers, children, and youth in their care. But I have another reason. We have the privilege of walking with kids and youth, building relationships with them, and being people they can trust—which means we have a front row seat to notice when something is out of the ordinary. In order to recognize warning signs of possible child abuse, we need to know what we are looking for. Training volunteers and staff to know the indicators and how to watch for physical or behavioral changes or patterns helps us advocate for the children and youth in our care. 

At SBC we partner with an organization called Plan to Protect®. They equip SBC to meet the highest standard of vulnerable sector protection. By partnering with Plan to Protect®, we receive support, resources, and expertise of customized policy, procedures, and training. The job of being a safe Church requires lots of administrative work. Organizations like Plan to Protect® ease the stress by providing the expertise needed to write policies and procedures. In many cases, these resources are provided by them. All you have to do is customize them to your needs. 

One of the most important policies to have at a church is a screening process. A volunteer at SBC working with children, youth or vulnerable adults must:

  • Complete a Family Ministry application form 
  • 6-month, “getting to know you and you getting to know us” period
  • Interview and references 
  • Criminal record check
  • Plan to Protect® training (full training every 3 years + refresher every year)
  • Final approval from ministry lead
  • Training in your specific kid’s ministry role by a Volunteer Coach

Becoming a person of trust at SBC means completion of all the steps of the screening process. But it means more than just a process; it means that parents can trust that the staff and volunteers at SBC are safe, trustworthy, trained, and equipped. It also means that as a volunteer you are confident in how to keep yourself safe, look for indicators of abuse, report, record or ignore incidents, and know the expectations of the volunteer role you are in. 

Keeping kids safe requires commitment, time, and sometimes sacrifice, but it’s all worth it in the end. If you have any questions about keeping kids safe at your church, feel free to email me at

Upcoming Events!

As our summer activities wind down and we look towards autumn and a refreshed start into ministry and life together, here are several upcoming events to take note of. 

Please join us in praying for the Executive Staff Team who will be gathering September 5th-7th for a retreat and September 20-22 for meetings, and for CBWC’s Board who will meet September 22nd-23rd

We hope that over the past year you have already taken advantage of the great, free seminars being offered through CBWC Church Planting in cooperation with Salvation Army and CBOQ. The new lineup of Evangelism Masterclasses for 2023/24 features practitioners from across Canada, kicking off with a workshop on Prayer Evangelism on September 5th. Visit for details and to register. 

On September 10th at 10am, KURIOS is kicking things off with an Opening Service at Jasper Park Baptist Church! Please pray for them and for the new students who are beginning their adventure!

Don’t forget September 30th National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. Once again, we are invited to join CBM in prayerful reflection and commemoration. For a Prayer Guide and other resources on how we as churches and individuals can listen, remember, and engage well on this important day, click here.

Now is a great time to plan for your church’s CBWC Sunday participation. Each year we ask that you set aside a Sunday in November to celebrate what it means to be part of the larger CBWC and its shared ministries. Choose a service in November in which to highlight the CBWC, and watch for resources to be released soon.

Looking ahead, remember that there is no Banff Pastors’ Conference in 2023, but you can mark November 7th-10th, 2024, on your calendar for BPC ’24. Assembly 2024 will be held online in May, with the date yet to be determined. Watch for more details.

Lastly, we are excited to announce a new initiative starting this month called Making Connections- Live! A CBWC Fall Road Trip. Tour dates and details to come, stay tuned!

We pray that you and your congregations are blessed with opportunities to continue to grow in love for God, one another, and neighbour in this coming season.

Copyright ©  2022 Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, All rights reserved.

Making Connections is the monthly newsletter of the CBWC.