I would like to begin this week’s letter by giving thanks for Ying An the Baptist Union Development Fund Treasurer who is leaving us to work for the SNC Lavelin. Ying has had a fascinating journey in these last five years; coming to Canada, learning English, coming to First Baptist Calgary, working at the Baptist Union (being hired by Michael Packer), coming to faith in Christ and contributing to the life of our denomination.
Ying was not only our treasurer, but is an engineer. Ying’s warmth, clear faith, and graciousness is one of the highlights of my experience in the Calgary office. When Ying first came to the Union she was learning English and sometimes found it hard to find the right words to express herself. Now that Ying is leaving we are all having a hard time finding the right words to express ourselves. It is our turn to struggle with the right words. While Jack Borchert and Stu Dinsmore (amongst others) will have more to say as they know Ying better, let me end with a verse, Romans 8:38-39, whose theme is “there is nothing that separates us from the love of God in Christ”. Some people are reminders that the Lord is near. Ying is one of them. Go in the Lord, Ying, and with our blessing.
By the time you read this a fascinating week will have unfolded as I continue to be oriented to the works of the Baptist Union. It began on September 19 as we set up our trial run of our Resource Centre (see last week’s letter). Today (September 20th), I am preparing a report for the board and finalizing agendas for Senior Staff on Wednesday (the senior managers of our work who meet twice a year).
On Thursday the 22nd and Friday the 23rd the Executive Staff meet. Who on earth are they? They are the Area Ministers; Paul Pearce and Sam Breakey with Ken Theissan the Area Minister Designate for the Heartland. John Prociuk, Director of Ministry, Jack Borchert, Executive Director of Baptist Union Development Fund, Brian Stelck, President of Carey Hall, David Holton, Director of Administration and Finance and Linda Kilburn, Executive Assistant, along with myself.
Friday evening, September 23rd, had Sam Chaise, the Baptist Union President, leading the Planning and Priorities group for the Board through to Saturday at noon. This group looks at some of the policy, research and planning issues that we must use to prepare for the fuller board meetings in October. It includes Sam, as the President, David Connop, Beth Millard, and Marshall Miner, who are Vice-Presidents of various policy groups, as well as representatives from a variety of ministries including the Baptist Union Development Fund, Carey Hall, and other Senior Staff.
I’ll have a break on Saturday afternoon and Sunday and catch a 7am plane to Calgary for a day of meetings with the Calgary office and Pam Stevenson regarding the Resource Centre along with Jake Kroeker of First Baptist and some others.
Tuesday I’ll be in Edmonton with the Edmonton Area Ministerial for a good part of that day talking about visioning and planning process that we hope to undertake with the Baptist Union. On Wednesday I will be in Saskatoon to meet with several folk from two churches; Cal Malena as Chair of CBM, Terry Summach and Rob Priestly around some creative ideas, and Paul Matheson from First Baptist Saskatoon.
I will be attending the Carey Hall board meetings on October 1st and also attending the Affinity Group meetings that are being led by Gary Nelson in Calgary the following week.
I thought I would give you an overview on the variety of experiences in our ministry in the Baptist Union. I am thankful for your prayers and excited about the work we are undertaking together.