The One, True Superhero
I like watching superhero movies. Whether it is Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Ironman or the like, something draws me to them. I love the imagination it has taken first to write the script. Then again, I marvel at the technology and photographic instrumentation it takes to bring to life that which was in the author’s mind. Truthfully, some of it is the mental escape these films provide, the privilege of getting lost in a world that does not really exist. (By the way, I can be a sucker for the average ‘chick flick’ as well.)
The annual season recognizing the Resurrection of Jesus has just passed at the time of this writing. In that story, it seems to me that all the traits of superheroes are lacking when compared to Jesus. He appears in a room while not coming through a doorway. He ascends into heaven. He transfigures while with Peter, James and John. He passes through crowds without being touched. He expels demons. He makes bread and fish multiply. He is able to kill a tree by talking to it. He knows what people are thinking, even when at a distance. Superhero myths might copy some of these abilities, but they cannot match Jesus. Even if those myths have a superhero come back to life, it is obvious they will have to die yet again. Truthfully, imaginative superheroes cannot compete with omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence.
Movie writers usually miscast representatives of the Church. They will show the plot where the villain is a vain tele-evangelist wrongfully raking in monies for themselves. They often mock the average Christian or church attender (Homer Simpson’s neighbour comes to mind). Then they will borrow some concepts from Scripture and bend them in a manner that is quite unbiblical (angels do not get their wings when a bell rings).
With our Saviour so supreme over human imagination, how is it the efforts of the Church seem so common and less dynamic in the minds of most people around us? How is it that the mystery of the Creator of the universe living within us, is not the story noticed and told most often? The message of God’s great love, pardon and mercy does not yet seem to resonate as profoundly as it deserves within the average resident on earth.
What happened to the passion I had when I/we first believed? Is it the distractions? Is it the schedule? Is it a divided loyalty? Can I—can we—become what our neighbourhoods need at this time of uncertainty? Will I/we care enough? Will I/we make sacrifices as God might lead? I think for us to regain the ‘superhero’ quality within us, which should be shining, it will require us to ask these important questions and take them seriously.
Our theology is lacking if we only go for what we can find in popular psychology. If Jesus made a difference in us, then we should allow Him to make us different. We do not believe in an unrecognizable ‘higher power’ but in Jesus, the Saviour of the World. Isn’t this Superhero enough for us, for the world? Of course He is!
-Your co-worker, Dennis
Weathering the COVID Virus
We have been more than a year under COVID-19 restrictions. To my knowledge, there have been infections in some members at Zion Baptist, at Bonavista Baptist, and at Shiloh Baptist to name but a few. The Roadhouse family at Gull Lake Centre has also encountered this infectious disease. Beyond these few stories, there are numerous individuals who came in contact with a potential link, therefore needing to isolate themselves for the required number of days.
Rumours persist that restrictions in Alberta will be lifted at the end of July. That is not a sure date, as many factors will need to be assessed. The number of people taking the vaccine is the greatest measure by which governments will make judgments as to when we can circulate freely.
This has been a tough season for congregations, pastors, church boards or even denominations in the process through the middle of this health crisis. I have heard from several pastors who are facing the stress from congregants pushing one agenda or another. There are the maskers and the anti-maskers. There are the vaccinators and the non-vaccinators. There are the ‘Come as you are’ and the ‘Don’t worry about the regulations’, versus the larger majority that wish for the church to follow the regulations as much as possible. It is tough to be a leader and a procedure manager within these settings. What makes it more difficult is the lack of ability to share, in-person, the reason behind decisions in a more present manner. Emails and signage only go so far and do not express the agony and level of thought process that church boards and pastors have gone through to make decisions. Those decisions relate to what to do currently, and then again, how to plan going forward.
Everyone is looking for this season to end. Everyone is hopeful for a return to what we saw as normal. There have been victims during this epidemic. Some have lost jobs, lost investments, lost meaningful friendships, and lost privileges. Others have benefitted financially. Others have made gains through increased time and attention to marriage and family. Others have taken stock of their goals and priorities.
No one knows where we will be a year from now. There could be more calamity or very little. There could be prosperity or a challenge to the financial markets. There could be a rush to re-enter church sanctuaries, or quite the opposite. Whatever is to come, we need to remember that our God will never leave or forsake us. He is always present and everywhere present.
May God give you wisdom in your own setting!
-Your co-worker, Dennis
Dayle and Dawn Medgett from Westview Baptist Heading into Retirement
On April 8th the Calgary cluster of CBWC Ministers were invited to join a Zoom conference to hear from and celebrate with Dayle and Dawn Medgett, who are retiring from Westview Baptist in Calgary after a couple decades of ministry. Dawn noted that she will miss ‘doing life with people’, which means sharing in the joys and challenges of the church family. Dayle referred to the ups and downs of his tenure at Westview, but that he felt he was leaving the church in a positive space. He was pleased to leave the church where they have connected more strongly with their community, where they became more multicultural, and where they have reached a place where their debts have been paid. God has blessed both them and the church during their time at Westview. The couple are moving to Campbell River, BC to be closer to grandkids and to sailing.
Coming to Westview in June as the new Senior Pastor will be Garry Koop from Steinbach, Manitoba. Also coming in June is Hanneke Boersema to take up the mantle that was held by Dawn Medgett in Children and Family Ministries.
Spring is Here!
While Covid restrictions have locked us up at home more often, it is good to notice what is right around us. This beautiful photo of a chickadee in flight was taken by my daughter Cara in our backyard recently. For our family, winter seemed longer than usual, partly because of Cara’s chemo and radiation treatments. Her prognosis is very good and her attitude amid the challenge has been exceptional, especially with her friends and faith intact. God has been so good. May all of us see the good around us, even when the challenges are also great.
Calvary Community Church Yellowknife
When the pandemic hit, plans were already in place at Calvary Community Church Yellowknife to upgrade our facilities so that those with mobility issues could access our building. We had already completed phase one—installing a ramp, rails and power doors. Phase two was to install the elevator lift that could go from the basement, to the foyer and sanctuary. Phase three was to reconstruct the washrooms in the basement so we could have an accessible washroom. The accessibility project was due to the ongoing generosity of churchgoers and the work of our property coordinator, Vicky Johnston, who oversaw the work of contractors and applied for federal funding from the Enabling Accessibility Fund. Overall, this project cost about $250,000 with $150,000 granted through the federal government.
So, when we could not access our building in the early months of the pandemic, construction was taking place inside of the church in order that, in due time, others would have access. We also thought it was an opportune time to replace our large 45plus-year-old windows with ones that are more energy efficient and that also qualified for an energy rebate.
Many community groups utilize the church, and it is great that in the future no one needs to be left out without access to the building. Church services, events, fellowship gatherings in the basement around food, piano recitals and other events are now accessible. We look forward to gathering together again soon—restriction free!
This regional newsletter is published quarterly within the CBWC’s monthly newsletter, Making Connections. Have a story idea? Want to tell us how great we’re doing? Or how terribly? Email our senior writer, Jenna Hanger: email@example.com