Vol 12 No. 23 Thanksgiving

Dear folks,

For many complicated and varied reasons, I am brought to the theme of thanksgiving this week in a very brief newsletter. There is no particular order to this theme, but I have a sense of feeling these things very strongly.

I know it is odd, and I have already given thanks for the successful webinar, but I was mentioning to both Laura Nelson (our CBWC President) and Shelby Gregg (our Board liaison and webinar minute recorder) how much more we could have shared with one another about God’s work in our midst in this family than the brief opportunity allowed us. It struck me that there was such great, good will and in future, even in webinar form, we must take more time to celebrate, which reflects the true thankfulness we share.

I am thankful that in the first day during our move into the new Calgary office, everyone present that day gathered together and read scriptures over the space, praying for each individual person and their work station, and for each and everyone of you whom we serve, together in Christ’s name. I was thankful for the simplicity and thoughtfulness, and for me a powerful sense of God’s presence and purpose in this new season. The previous tenants left us a good coffee machine; Tim Kerber our CBWC VP of Planning) wishes to be the “barista.” We will have an opportunity to invite him to be that from time to time, you just wait and see!

I am thankful that God answers our prayers, not just in our places of anxiety, anger or pain, but knowing us full well, responds to our prayers according to our needs and His purposes. I say that because 12 years ago next month I went forward for prayer at Holy Trinity Brompton in London, England and asked the person praying for me that God would “lead me out of Christian work.” The “unperceptive wretch” (my expression) chose to pray for me that “God would give me strength to chose the more difficult path.” And the following January I responded to that difficult task by listening to the call to this work at the CBWC. I am thankful that God listens to our prayers in ways that are better than we ourselves craft them. I have been deeply grateful and thankful for this continuing season of life.

Lastly, I have been travelling a great deal in this last month and have become unwell. I am on the mend and am thankful that I cancelled a trip back east and spent a quieter day with some colleagues, being restored. My destination back east was the Canadian Baptist of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ) Annual Convention, our partners in central Canada who have been great mentors and supporters of our work in the west. I am deeply grateful and, even at a distance, feel grateful for the Baptist family across the country. Kayely Rich (CBWC VP of Personnel and Program, and our Assembly Chair) and Jill Schuler (Vancouver Administrative Associate and member of the Assembly Planning Team) are attending and will continue to glean best practises of this family gathering in anticipation of our own gathering next May at Westview Baptist Church, Calgary, AB.

I have three or four other things I want to share today but I am going to stop. I wish to simply savour these and in part, I stop now because two of the other places of thanksgiving that I wish to comment on are the lives of two who are no longer with us. Conveying my thankfulness for Rob DesCotes and Thea Anderson and the richness of their families requires more space than we have here and a deeper place than is easily conveyed in this day.

Many thanks for you and your patience for reading.


In Christ,

Jeremy Bell