We’ll engage the title in just a moment. We want to continue on reporting and giving thanks for our season of Celebration Dinners. The Vancouver dinner was quite distinct from the Victoria one as it was somewhat smaller yet had in its one hundred plus people twenty five churches present. The diversity of ministry and calling was utterly spectacular. Let me introduce you to some. Again some churches will be named and some not.
One of the congregations has a Sunday afternoon service of over 300 people, 60% of whom are under 25. One of the keys to their effectiveness of drawing young people is that they include people of all ages in their worship, a truly intergenerational experience.
Several of our churches are involved in redevelopment or building. Sechelt is particularly excited about their new building redevelopment particularly around Christian education plans, as is FBC Vancouver who are partnering in redeveloping a considerable part of half a downtown city block.
Ward Memorial is involved in Metro Vancouver Alliance seeking with other Christian and community groups to specifically address issues of loneliness, wages, homelessness, and transportation. They have been cited by this community organization for their excellent work with youth unemployment.
Several of our community ministries were represented at the dinner: Dennis Kirkley was representing the airport chaplaincy; Adrian Dar Santos, the CEO of Beulah Garden Homes Society, who work in the area of seniors work; Loren Balisky from Kinbrace, which engages in the radical hospitality and welcome of those who are seeking refugee status in Canada. Loren is very helpful for those who want to know more about Syrian refugees. We are very thankful for his experience and counsel in this area.
Kits Church was present in the person of several folk. Bobbi Salkeld, who is on pastoral staff there, was able to share about a play conceived, authored and performed by the children in Kits Church, entitled “Our Hopes and Fears” which is pretty powerful stuff considering the source is children.
U-Campus Baptist Church was present and they were able to share how encouraging it had been to arrange their Sunday morning worship in a Presbyterian Church in Point Grey.
Finally, in terms of creative ministry and location award (if there was one) – it should go to Westside Baptist in Vancouver which has two services, one in Mandarin and one in English, who bought space just off Marine Drive. They have as a basement tenant an auto-body shop and some rental lockers which are mortgage helpers.
This is a season of the celebration of summer, barbeques, weddings, family gatherings, so much of what happens in the Western Canadian summer. One of the celebrations described in the Bible in John 2 is the wedding feast in the village of Cana in Galilee. It’s a wonderful encounter not only with Jesus and the wedding guests but Mary, the mother of our Lord. She not only speaks to the servants at the wedding when she says “Do whatever He tells you” but I would put it to myself and the rest of us, she says it to all of us. May that exhortation shared at the Celebration Dinners in Vancouver and Victoria be something that stays with all of us through the summer as we do indeed follow it – “Do whatever He tells you”. It will be fascinating in the Fall to discover what God has done.