Vol 3 No. 21 Alberta Listening Sessions – Peace District

I have personally been to Grande Prairie twice. Once for the meeting of the ministerial and then again for the Alberta Area Meetings. It is a place of incredible prosperity, economic growth, disparity, and contrasts. What a wonderful place of opportunity! I’d like to thank the patience of those in Grande Prairie for allowing me to be present only in an audio- visual presentation. The first time I have not been able to make one of these gatherings in person.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell


Listening Session – Peace District

May 11, 2007


The Peace River region of Northern Alberta and British Columbia proves to be a study in contrasts. On one hand the volcanic economic growth is invigorating a regional population of more than a million. Evidence of residential expansion and commercial development is unavoidable. Yet this rapid growth has drawbacks. In Grande Prairie for instance, 250 people are arriving on average each week. This influx has grossly inflated home prices and has produced a vacancy rate of less than 0%. I met a young couple that reveal the new face of homelessness; due to no fault of there own they had to move out of their rented suite a couple of days before Christmas. In spite of being preapproved for a large mortgage and having enough to pay the traditional two months rent, it took them four months to find accommodation. If a second young couple had not opened their small home, the first would have literally been on the street. Their story is not unusual.

Canadian Baptist congregations in the area are caught in the same tension. Multinational immigration is reflected in the pews. Ministries are evolving to meet the increasingly diverse needs; preschool and youth programs, music academies, soup kitchens, intentional marriage preparation and grief care programs as well as missions trips to Africa and Europe have become profitable endeavors.

There is no shortage of vision. Yet there are also signs of strain; six of the seven reporting congregations are facing facility limitations and are considering expanding or rebuilding. Staffing growth is required as well even within the two congregations that were unable to attend.

The potential for ministry advancement in the region is obvious, but a layer of great need resides below the surface. In times of explosive growth family life is strained by long working days and the advancing cost of living. Drug abuse and alcoholism is rampant and newcomers are too busy trying to establish themselves to invest in relationships that will last. Obviously the boom and the void are related.

Charlie Lake Community Church expressed thanks to God for the strong leadership of Canadian Baptists of Western Canada and its Biblically grounded response to the cultural issues of the day.


In Christ,

Sam Breakey



PEACE COUNTRY – 7 commitments


Taylor, Peace Community – 

Assistance in developing foundational structure in areas of finance, board development, administration and guidance in the building program

Yellowknife, Calvary Community – 

Better communication with other CBWC churches; missions budgeting determination.

Wembley Baptist – 

Resource us in building consulting and financing, vision development, come and make a presence to help connect with the congregation

Grande Prairie, McLaurin Baptist – 

Administrative support for changing job descriptions, staff role updates, future planning and visioning. Assistance with implementation of changes after our consultation process

Charlie Lake Community –

Help in training new leaders

Fort St John, Calvary Baptist – 

Help in getting the noncommitted in our church to become committed and use their gifts

Webster Community – 

Directing us toward people who can give us professional advice on building an affordable housing complex (seniors/transitional) Connecting with churches in similar ministries