Vol 12 No. 43 Building Community

Dear friends,

This is a brief note so that you might chew over the issues it raises.  Be not discouraged but let’s challenge and encourage each other to the building of community.  For more than a dozen years now we have not had an annual Assembly while the 3 other partner denominations in Canada (CBOQ, CBAC, and French Union) continue to do so.  The other denominations have a clear geographic or historical affinity…  Of the 360 CBOQ churches over 90 churches are in the Greater Toronto area and the majority are within a reasonable drive of central meeting places.  Atlantic Canada have a central event called Oasis that people plan and anticipate to be part of.  Evangelicals in French Canada have always had a strong draw to gather together.  In Western Canada we have less advantages when it comes to history, ethnicity, and geography.

Previous leadership teams deemed it too expensive to meet together annually.  There are many ways in which they are right and continue to be so.  While I have submitted myself to the Boards and leadership teams I have served to meet biennially I have missed the opportunity for fellowship that this annual gathering offers.  For instance, if you miss one biannual meeting it will be 4 years between when you last met with the CBWC family and when you next attend.  Here is what we do to augment the absence of an annual gathering.

While pastors meet at CBAC’s Oasis we offer pastors 2 gatherings annually: regional ones and the Banff Pastors & Spouses Conference.  We have developed strong traditions of gathering people to build networks in the Leadership Forums which have been embraced well in BC and the Heartland.  Celebration Dinners have sometimes over a 12 month period exceeded over 1000 people altogether and have been well received in celebrating God’s faithfulness amongst us.  I found it amusing and frustrating when one pastor commented that we need less events and programmes and more relationship to build up the CBWC family.  The networking of churches in the Leadership Forums and the family gatherings which are the Celebration Dinners were all about relationship and continue to be so.  The supreme irony was this individual does not attend either of those events which brings me to the critical piece.

If we are not going to meet annually we must be more intentional about meeting regionally.  The BC Area Assembly continues to be an excellent place of fellowship and ironically the rather impersonal internet has provided us with an extremely effective biannual meeting called the Webinar which regularly draws over 100 churches and almost 200 participants.  This piece is meant to encourage participation and next week I will continue with all the communications and resources created to build up community in this disjointed age.  Just a beginning.  The peace of the Lord continue to be with you.


In Christ,

Jeremy Bell

Notes from the Family: Jodi Spargur has been granted some funds from the Trinity Opportunity Fund to continue the work of responding to Indigenous Peoples in Western Canada as per the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Quote of the Week: Invocation of the Holy Spirit from the Celtic Book of Prayer:


Most powerful Holy Spirit,

Come down

Upon us

And subdue us.


From heaven,

were the ordinary is made glorious,

and glory seems but ordinary…