We are within weeks of the Banff Pastors Conference with all its intendant planning and hard work.
It also contains with it a sense of expectation and hope that it will be a time of education, formation,
personal enrichment and community building for those that are attending. At the present time we
have just over 210 participants, which is a little more than last year. We are closing off registration at
the end of this week but there is still room for those that wish to come. There was a general sense of
encouragement and acceptance of last year’s program but a couple of comments really stuck out. One
was that there was a real need for personal formation, skills, and help in the general often gruelling
work of ministry. The second was that it would be nice if Monday evening was more relaxed and
community building rather than feeling a bit like aspects of it being an infomercial. We’ve taken those
things seriously. Carolyn Arends is going to lead us in her gifted ministry of music on Monday night. Here
is a bit about Carolyn:
Carolyn Arends has released 10 albums and is the author of 3 critically-acclaimed books.
15 of Carolyn’s songs have become top 10 radio singles on the Canadian pop and US
Christian charts. Carolyn has earned 2 Dove Awards, 3 Juno Nominations, and was
recognized as the West Coast Music Awards’ Songwriter of the Year.
Carolyn’s newest musical project, Love was Here First features 10 new Carolyn originals
and a reinterpretation of the classic gospel tune “Standing in the Need of Prayer.” New
musical twists like vocals from the 3-man gospel group, The Sojourners, and a crackling
horn section surprise and delight, but what’s really on display here is the lyrical prowess of
a master songwriter passionate about her subject — the encompassing love of God. It was
nominated for a WestCoast Music Award and 6 Covenant Awards. Theology is Aisle Seven
is Carolyn’s newest literary release. Drawing together four years of her award-winning
Christianity Today column, the ebook offers sharp, creative glimpses into a full-orbed
Carolyn graduated from Trinity Western University in Langley, BC with a degree in
psychology and minor in English. She lives in Surrey, BC with her husband Mark and
their two children. In addition to her busy concert and speaking schedule, she teaches
music courses at Pacific Life Bible College, continues to write a bi-monthly column for
Christianity Today, and is pursuing a master’s degree at Regent College.
Secondly, we have heard from so many places that we have a need for some teaching around worship
and that begins with a sense of wonder through the biblical narrative. Myra Blyth is going to do teaching
around that area.
Myra Blyth began her ministry in South London, UK. She then went on to spend six
years with the British Council of Churches and twelve years with the World Council of
Churches, working alongside facilitating churches and partner humanitarian agencies in
conflict and disaster situations. In 2000, she was appointed Deputy General Secretary
of the Baptist Union in England and Wales for a four year term, and for the last seven
years she has held the position of Chaplain and Tutor in Pastoral Studies at Regent’s Park
College, in the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Myra is a gifted public speaker who spoke at the Canadian Baptists of Ontario & Quebec
(CBOQ) Assembly in 2010 and will be speaking to us around our conference theme and
verse from Psalm 29:2 “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in
the splendor of holiness.”
Myra, her husband Robert, and their son Andrew enjoy music, cycling and walking as a
We also believe from the practical and eloquent teaching of Cal Malena that our biblical reflections need
to be practical and encouraging. Hence, Cal will be leading us in the morning bible study.
Cal Malena will be leading morning Bible studies each day. Cal grew up in
Saskatchewan and began attending First Baptist Church Prince Albert, SK with his family
at the age of five. He attended the University of Saskatchewan in Chemical Engineering,
with an interlude at B.L.T.S. and then had a brief career with Shell Oil. He earned an
M.Div at Southern Seminary and later a D.Min. at Golden Gate.
He served in pastoral ministry for three years at First Baptist Lethbridge, AB and then
for twenty- seven years at Emmanuel Baptist, Saskatoon. He has served as President of
Canadian Baptist Ministries. His passion has always been for the health and effectiveness
of the local church and whenever he has strayed from this calling, ‘God has always
reeled me back in’. He and his wife Joanne have four brilliant children – three social
activists and an actor – none of whom has produced a grandchild. Cal and Joanne
currently live in Prince George, BC where Cal is Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church and
Joanne teaches English as a Second Language.
There are so many gifted voices and leaders in the area of music and worship within our denomination.
One of the many examples of that is Tora Klassen from West Point Grey Baptist in Vancouver.
Tora Klassen will be leading us in worship as we gather together during this time. Tora
has been a passionate worshipper since she learned to read music in her church hymnal.
She seeks to plan worship which is Biblically faithful, theologically rich, and grounded
in the life of the worshipping community. Tora is a lover of all genres of music, an
appreciator of beauty, an avid baker, a voracious reader, and forest dweller. She holds
a Bachelor of Music degree from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) and a Master of
Christian Studies in Theology from Regent College (Vancouver, BC).
She and her husband Jordan live and work in Vancouver, BC.
I list these things because tapes of these talks will be available so that whether or not you are able to be
in Banff, you can still be the beneficiary. I share these things so that you might pray for those attending.
Please pray for safety in travel, a sense of openness to God and some real practical encouragement as
well as theological reflection that might take place.
All these things and more,