Recently I was at the 50th Anniversary celebrations for the Carey Ministry as it met in the Okanagan. I attended these sessions with Brian Stelck and as Brian preached at First Kelowna in the morning, I was kindly offered the opportunity to preach at First Baptist Church Penticton. Callum Jones was away that Sunday and Gail Alcock led the service on her second to last Sunday. It is important for me to mention, and certainly not in passing, that Gail has served faithfully and with great giftedness both in First Baptist Penticton and in many other ways and through many other relationships. Gail will be missed at and we pray for opportunities that the Lord will provide in the weeks and months ahead.
Brian and I caught up with each other as Connie Cristall, our BCY Regional moderator, provided hospitality for the 50th Anniversary celebration which was held at the First Baptist Kelowna’s KLO Campus. We really appreciated Connie’s hospitality, which was shared by several people, including Jack Borchert who did the sound.
The real purpose of this newsletter is to share with you some creative examples of ministry that I encountered at First Baptist Penticton, Kelowna and at the KLO Campus. Here are the stories of God’s work in the very creative lives of those that seek to serve Him in these settings.
First Baptist Church Kelowna (Connie Cristall)
Mars Hill Music and Arts Cafe
We have Mars Hill Music and Arts Cafe every second Tuesday. We average about 50 non-churched college students. We try to spot light one “social justice” cause each month. We have done “Beads for Life”, “World Vision”, “Free the Children” and International Justice Missions. We also try to offer a venue for artists. We have been getting a lot of quality musicians.
We have another group that meets every second Wednesday called “Barrier Busters” and these are folks with various physical and mental disabilities. We meet and discuss relevant topics, play games and drink Lattes
Once a month we run a Vespers service (this is on a Sunday evening) we have contemplative music, prayer, scripture and a short homily. It attracts a number of people from the surrounding area.
Once a month we have a senior’s lunch. We average about 50 seniors, some from the senior’s home next to KLO, and a number of shut-ins. We have food and either hymns or a guest speaker
There is an international Students group that meets every Friday night (it’s about 40 Korean students). The focus is ESL and fellowship (they usually have a pot luck dinner)
Wednesday morning’s Pam Borchert runs a “Mats and Chats” time which is gym time for young children and their moms. This just started up but is going really well with a number of folks from the community coming
First Baptist Church Penticton (Clark Taylor)
The Ark Youth Centre
A youth centre was a dream when I came to First Baptist just over three years ago. Walking through the basement of the church there was a huge room primarily used for storage of old stage props and other discarded items which needed recycling or discarding. The room connected to this large storage room was the old youth room with worn couches and multi-coloured walls! Together, these two rooms and two attached washrooms would become a self sustainable area operating apart from the rest of the church building to provide a unique place for youth to meet and begin the journey towards Jesus.
The dream of opening this drop-in centre became a reality with the help of the Baptist Union Development Foundation (BUDF) in the fall of 2006. A grant of $22,000 was given by the BUDF with the church raising the additional costs and doing all the work voluntarily. By early 2007 we had received the grant and begun raising money to renovate this 3000 sq. ft. area. By fall we had installed drywall, a drop ceiling, flooring, painted the rooms, and put up new lighting. We officially opened “The Ark Youth Centre” in January 2008.
Every Friday night middle and high school students come and hang out, play games, watch movies, and chat. Adult volunteers from the church take the time to build friendships with these young people and everyone has a great time. Our hope and prayer is to see youth come off the street, have a safe place to spend time together, and encounter Christ in those volunteers who serve. The larger of the two rooms is equipped with all the necessities: a Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation, two pool tables, ping pong tables, and foosball. There’s a projector system for movies and a sound system for bands to come and perform. The other room has been transformed into a full service coffee shop with leather chairs, wireless internet, and a full service kitchen serving espresso drinks, Italian sodas and a variety of snacks.
In addition to youth ministry in these facilities, an after school club for elementary students was started in March this year and runs every Tuesday afternoon for a couple of hours. As well as these ministries the rooms are used for small group gatherings, Bible studies, movie nights, and adult gatherings during the day. They are also available to the general public for use. The possibilities are endless, and the project would not have been possible without the grant from the BUDF. Thank you for the opportunity to dream big and see that dream come to pass.
See our three videos about the transformation and use of the ARK Youth Centre at the CBWC website (www.cbwc.ca) or by clicking the links below.