Vol 7 No. 13 Celebration of Ministry Dinners

Dear Folks,

Starting last November, we began to do Celebration of Ministry Dinners in each of the CBWC regions. Co-sponsored by the CBWC Foundation, and the denominational family, we have seen people gather from Area churches around a meal, beginning at 6:30 on a weekday evening and going for 2 hours. Most of our times have been ably emcee by Bob Webber, our Director of Ministries, and outstandingly organized by Heather Thomson, who used to organize Alumni dinners for Trinity Western University.  They have been assisted with Dawn Johnannesson and Rob Ogilvie in BC and Sharon Onciul and Dennis Stone in Alberta and the Heartland.  These have been great times of fellowship and encouragement together.

It is important that we understand together the basic format of these evenings. We begin by saying what they are not; they are not covenanting or partnering sessions, nor are they ministerial. The celebration dinners are made available for up to 10 individuals from each church, with each church deciding who should attend. So far, there has been a huge mix of elders, deacons, moderators, pastors, staff and members of individual communities.

The first Celebration Dinner was held last November at Trinity Baptist Church, Vancouver.  Nineteen of the 28 churches between Chilliwack and Sechelt participated, with over 85 in attendance. Subsequent events occurred earlier in March in Regina at Argyle Road Baptist Church and in Saskatoon at First Baptist Church.   This past week, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria hosted almost 100 of us.

This newsletter includes the feedback we received from two of these Celebration dinners, but before I share that, let me simply outline the evening that Heather has organized.  Bob opens the meeting by welcoming and prayer. We then all participate in a catered meal provided at no charge. This is partly done in order that the church that hosts us is also free to participate. There are between 7-9 four-minute talks (strictly monitored for time). After three talks, there is a conversation around the table. These conversations are moderated by a resource person and often reflect on the presentation that has just been made. A typical evening looks like this:

Welcome & Opening Comments & Blessing
Bob Webber – Director of Ministry 6:30pm

Dinner 6:35pm

Jeremy Bell  7:20pm
CBWC – Executive Minister

Nadia VanderKuip  7:24pm
Short Term Missions Coordinator

Chris Senger  7:28pm
Executive Director- Katepwa Baptist Kamp

                                                    TABLE DISCUSSIONS – 15 MINUTES 7:32pm

Faye Reynolds
Director of Women & Intergenerational Ministries 7:47pm

Dennis Stone  7:51pm
Heartland Interim Regional Minister

Tom Lavigne  7:55pm
Director of Church Planting

                                                    TABLE DISCUSSIONS – 15 MINUTES 8:03pm

Stu Dinsmore  8:18pm
VP Operations – CBWC Foundation

Nadia VanderKuip 8:22pm
Carey Theological College

Gerry Fisher  8:26pm
VP – Stewardship & Development

Bob Webber   8:31pm
Director of Ministry
Closing Remarks End @ 8:45pm


Heather Thompson has compiled a report from the evaluations returned from two of the Celebration Dinners.

“The Celebration of Ministry events have just completed in Regina, Saskatoon and Victoria.   The evening consisted of various staff representatives from CBWC sharing what has been happening within their ministries across Western Canada.   The food was excellent, the fellowship with individuals from other churches was appreciated and those who attended enjoyed hearing first hand how God is moving across our constituency through CBWC.   The evaluations from those who attended were encouraging as they shared the value of connecting with CBWC leadership and area people; meeting others from their particular region; enjoyed the fellowship and being part of the larger family; the informative, relaxed environment; the format of the evening; learning about resources available for their particular church; the table discussions and opportunity to interact with others.

It was obvious from the evaluations that those from the regions would like to see more events like this.  Many were introduced for the first time to some of the resources available such as the newsletters, website, programs available through our camps, women’s ministry, short term mission opportunities, funds available through the CBWC Foundation, church planting opportunities, various study programs through Carey Theological College, and more.

As CBWC continues to look at ways to connect with those across Western Canada, it was obvious that the Celebration of Ministry dinners has made a huge step toward that goal.   Watch for further events in your area and encourage the leaders from your church to participate.”

I would like to thank the four churches that have hosted us:  Trinity Baptist Church, Vancouver, BC, Argyle Baptist Church, Regina, SK, First Baptist Church, Saskatoon, SK, and Emmanuel Baptist Church, Victoria, BC.

The response, as you can see, has been overwhelmingly encouraging. We are very excited about the possibilities ahead for doing more of these kinds of gatherings.



In Christ,