Mandi Hecht has been appointed the first part-time children and families worker and began her position in January. There are two equal and opposite responses to Mandi’s work. One is a concern over hiring of staff and the expenditure of money. The other is an expectation and impatience that we would get on with our work in this crucial and vital area of ministry. To those who are concerned about money and hiring more staff, we need to recognize that the Assembly of the denomination in April 2005 approved these staff hires, but did not articulate how they would be paid for. Because the means of paying for them is not clear, I have been restricted to making these appointments for only a one year duration and on a part-time basis. Having said all this, I want to tell you how exciting it has been to see Mandi’s work in the Heartland, as she encourages, supports and facilitates Children and Family work.
Dawn Medgett has begun her work in Alberta.
What follows in today’s newsletter is a description from Mandi of what she does. Please pray for these people and this work.
Who is CFam?
In the broadest sense, CFam (that is, the Children and Families missional network) is actually a lot of people throughout Western Canada. CFam is every child and caregiver, children’s volunteer worker, children and/or family staff members, and really just anyone who cares about children and their families in our churches and in the world. And that is a lot of people.
On another level, the CFam missional network represents all of those mentioned above throughout Western Canada, and has a planning team which meets about 3 times every year. Over the years, it has included many people, but currently the planning team consists of Mike Engbers (Trinity Baptist Church, Sherwood Park, AB); Pam Borchert (First Baptist, Kelowna, BC); Sue Julien (First Baptist, Summerland, BC); Sharon Harris (First Baptist, Lethbridge, AB); Brad Naylor (First Baptist, Brandon, MB) and Sherry Bennet (Southside Churches, Surrey, BC). And of course, this newsletter is timely, because we are meeting this week (May 8 and 9th) and would appreciate your prayers for wisdom during those meetings.
The final “who” is the staff members that the denomination has hired in order to serve the larger network. There are three staff positions, and four staff members in total, all on one year contracts. Mandi Hecht is the coordinator for the Heartland Area, and she began work there on February 1, 2008. Dawn Medgett is serving the Alberta area, and began May 1, 2008. Sue Julien and Pam Borchert will be added to the staff list in September 2008, focusing on BC’s interior and the North.
What does CFam do?
As our mission statement says, we are “committed to raising values and enhancing effectiveness of children and family ministries in the CBWC local churches and the denomination.” This of course can be achieved in many ways. In the past, CFam has put on conferences and workshops for volunteers and leaders in this area. We are also working on a number of other initiatives to serve you in the future. If you have any ideas of something you would like to see done, or something your church could offer, contact one of the staff members in your area!
When does CFam do their job?
We are always at work! CFam was officially begun in 2006 at the (then) Baptist Union board meetings, and they have been working hard since that time to raise values and enhance the effectiveness of children and family ministries. The staff appointments are one of the fruits of their hard work.
Where Is CFam?
CFam is anywhere there is a child, a family, or someone who cares about ministering to a child or family, in any of our churches across western Canada. So, that would be just about everywhere, including in your church!
The reason that CFam exists is because many people in our denomination have long recognized the importance of ensuring that we pass our faith to our children, and seeing that families are equipped to live out their faith in the home.
Jesus says “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15). Jesus tells us to welcome children into our churches and our lives. Stanley Hauerwas wrote: “Christians ought to see themselves as persons who welcome the other, and the other includes the child. Thus they have to ask themselves what kind of persons they will have to become in order to welcome children into the world.” This is why CFam exists – to find ways that we can welcome children into our local churches, and into our denomination.