Shaped by People and Places
MSR Regional Minister, Tim Kerber
Many years ago, I came across a small book called, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. It was written by Kathleen Norris, a journalist, who after forging a career in New York city had moved to a small town in south Dakota to wind up the estate of her late grandmother. What was intended to be a short sabbatical ended up becoming permanently home. In her book, she shares how the geography of the plains began to shape her, and even inform her faith.
Over the past number of months, I have had the opportunity to get into my car and begin discovering the places in Alberta/BC where we have CBWC churches. I have found something of a similar experience to what I read about in that book. As I cover hundreds of kilometers, and drive into new communities, I can begin to see how people and churches have been shaped by the places they live. I am given a sense of how each one of these congregations has been shaped by where they are and has developed their own personality. It is fascinating to see how churches are impacting their communities in unique ways with the power of the Gospel.
When I drove into the Peace Country, there was a sense of the vastness of space, a reminder of how big God is, a sense of His immense majesty. There are rolling hills, and vast stretches of forest, deep river canyons, and beautiful lakes. And there you find churches–sometimes in cities, sometimes in rural or small-town locations–addressing the needs of their communities. Some are ministering to the poor in their location, reaching out with offers of practical help and care. Some have begun ministering to newcomers, creating a welcome space to care for those calling this their new home. Others have thriving ministries to kids, inviting them to come and learn about Jesus. “Up there,” I find a sense of adventure among the people, a recognition of needing one another, juxtaposed with some rugged independence.
When I drove into the southern part of the province, there was the wide-open swaths of prairie, allowing you to see for “miles and miles.” As you drive past open ranges full of cattle, and fields being planted with crops, you get a sense of this being the breadbasket where so much of what we enjoy comes from. And all of this is happening with the breathtaking background of the Rocky Mountains. Here you find churches engaging with their communities, making spaces for the broken and lost to find hope. There are books clubs, Bible studies, and intentional efforts to engage their communities. There is a warmth here; people genuinely welcome you. And while there is great value placed in a good day’s work, there is also an easiness and openness to sitting down for a visit with a cup of coffee. We have country churches, and urban churches, small town churches, and big city churches. We have historic congregations and brand-new ones. We have ethnic churches from around the world. It has been a privilege for me in only such a short time to have the chance to join Caribbean, Chinese, Filipino, and Korean congregations in times of worship and celebration. And with each experience, I discover that there are things I have yet to learn about how God is at work in these beautifully different contexts. While there are still many places to see and to visit in person, (If this is you, I’m going to come!) I am recognizing that one of the most important things I can do is to listen and be attentive to where God is taking me each week. Where is God at work? What is He doing here? How is He speaking to these folks in this time?
But what is also amazing, is that for all the immense diversity I see as I travel the province, the Gospel of Jesus, and His hope remain relevant and alive in each and every location. As churches are faithful to their calling, God is using them to uniquely reach those who He has put in their paths.
The Bible verse that comes to my mind as I consider this is Acts 1:8: 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Everywhere I go, I meet witnesses. It has been a joy and a blessing. And I have no doubt, that as I go, God is shaping me, forming me, as I humbly listen and join with others, in offering the hope of Jesus to the world.
CBWC Mountain Standard Region Camps
Gull Lake Camp
Camp is happening!
At Gull Lake Centre we are currently in the middle of our Leadership Training and Discipleship (LTD) week. We have 79 leadership students in class this week learning about the Kingdom of God and how to run camp. Our LTD students make a three-year commitment and get to learn about identity in Christ, critical thinking, communication, practical leadership, Christian practice, and biblical literacy. These 79 students will be our junior leaders for the summer and are accompanied by our 53 summer staff who will guide, mentor, and care for our 1100+ campers that we will serve in the next two months.
Please pray for our leaders that they would serve well with humble hearts as they grow in their skills and confidence, as they grow in their relationships with others, and most importantly as they grow in intimacy with the Lord.
Please pray for our campers that they would encounter Jesus in a way that changes their life forever, just like I did when I came to camp as a 15-year-old camper.
I cannot describe how much your prayers mean to us. Thank you for caring and interceding on our behalf.
Grace and Peace,
Camp is going really well at the moment. We celebrated Camp Wapiti’s 60th anniversary a little while ago by holding a dinner fundraiser event, which was a great boost for the camp. We also have held a couple of volunteer workbees that have helped prepare the camp for this upcoming season! Set-up and prep mode for the camp is in full swing, which has been very busy, but also very good. It has been a blessing to see the many different ways the Lord has provided for us through funding, staff applications, volunteer support, and camper registration in the past few months. We have over 200 camper registrations already, and have multiple of our camps full, so praise the Lord for that! We also have already hired the majority of our paid staff that we need for the summer, which is almost unheard of to have this early for us!
Please pray for Camp Wapiti to receive volunteers. Currently we are short on a lot of volunteer positions, which will be needed during the summer. Please pray for wisdom for our staff team to lead this summer. Please also pray for the campers that come this summer, that their lives would be changed forever, and that they would encounter God in new and meaningful ways!
Director @ Camp Wapiti
Mill Creek Baptist Camp
As summer nears we have been doing many work projects including some demolition with the help of volunteers. We have also had a few unexpected and major financial costs/repairs happening, and so would appreciate prayer for the finance side of camps. However, we are happy to say that all of our staff positions are filled and we are excited to welcome campers very soon!
Please pray for our staff as they minister to campers this summer, and for the campers that they would encounter the love of God in a meaningful way that would stick with them.
Mill Creek Baptist Camp
Ministerials: The Connections Point for Pastors and Chaplains
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
In the CBWC, the support of our ministers is a top priority. Often times being in ministry can feel isolating and lonely. Pastors and Chaplains need support, community and connection with other ministers. One of ways CBWC provides this is through Ministerial meetings as part of the Investing in Relationship initiative.
In the Mountain Standard Region, there are 5 Ministerial areas: Peace Country, Edmonton, Central, Calgary and the South. Pastors and Chaplains have the opportunity to meet with the Tim Kerber, the Regional Minister, and other ministers regularly. With ministers spread out over a wide area in the Peace Country, these meetings are held through Zoom and there is an in-person gathering at least once a year.
The Central, Calgary and South Ministerials meet every season at various locations. These meetings are often followed by a lunch shared together. The Edmonton Ministerial meets for coffee and treats once a month, with a break for the summer, at one of the area churches.
During these Ministerial meetings there are times of teaching, sharing experiences of how God is working in lives and churches, and encouragement through prayer times. We encourage all ministers to join in the Ministerial meetings of their area. Contact the Regional office to find out when the next meeting is.
Pictures from around the Region