As you’ll see from this newsletter there are many things that prompt me to celebrate community amongst us. Even in the last three weeks I’ve been to a leadership/association meeting in Winnipeg, in Lower Mainland and a Partnerships & Possibilities evening last night in Richmond.
We live in community. We might not describe our lives in those terms but like it or not, we do. All sorts of them. We are made to be with others. I’ll never forget Bruce Milne, who was senior minister of FBC Vancouver when I was there as an associate, saying that the triune God was in fact the first small group, if you like…in my mind the source of identity and community we must imitate. There are challenges to living together over this wide expanse of Western Canada as our first Prime Minister Sir John A MacDonald was wont to say “Canada has too much geography and too little history”. Westerners might disagree with that statement. We have a strong Western identity and our history while not long, is deep. I would remind you that this land was scouted out for ministry in 1869 and that the first Baptist church service in the west was in Winnipeg in the spring of 1873, lead by Pioneer McDonald. This is our 15th decade and within it we will celebrate our 150th year of ministry. Many of us will recall individuals, groups, camps and churches that were influential in our lives. I want to capture for us though, in the wonderful material found in Partnerships and Possibilities, the present sense of community we now experience.
Our biannual assembly occurred in Calgary in May under the outgoing leadership of Jan Paasuke and the anticipation of a large number of new board representatives with Greg Anderson being our new President. Over the last two years we have engaged in Celebration dinners with have drawn representatives of the vast majority of our churches together to celebrate the faithfulness of God. Our Partnerships and Possibilities evenings have begun in part to expose people to the breadth of ministry we are engaged in as a community of churches and in part to offer the opportunity for people to financially support this broad and exciting work. The tragic and devastating experience of the flooding in Southern Alberta caused many of our churches to pray fervently and to give generously to the cause of restoration and renewal, particularly in the High River and Bowness churches. Over 60,000 dollars has been raised so far. Churches express extended family like no others. While we build up and encourage the individual household of children. A healthy church takes collective responsibility in praying, encouraging and advocating for folk of all ages, including children. While that is true of youth groups, intergenerational activities and Sunday School – it is especially true of camping. There is a sense in which we send “our children” to camp regardless of whether they are biological children or not. One of our strongest statements of community is in fact the work we engage in our 7 camps.
So we live in community, the Lord bless, keep and nurture these bonds in a great part of the country with a deep history. A deep history not only of one another but far more importantly, a deep history and memory of the faithfulness of God. It is in the strength of this faithfulness that I invite you to participate in a Partnerships & Possibilities dinner in your area in the next two months.
When and Where:
October 9, 2013 at 6PM at First Baptist Church, Saskatoon, SK
October 10, 2013 at 6PM at Westhill Park, Regina, SK
October 21, 2013 at 6PM at Bonavista, Calgary, AB
October 22, 2013 at 11:30AM at First Baptist Church, Ponoka, AB
November 13, 2013 at 6PM at Gateway Baptist, Victoria, BC
Please Contact Heather Thomson for more information or to reserve a spot at a dinner.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: (778) 242-2598
Correction Notice for Making Connections newsletter:
CBWC Sunday in NOT on November 13th.
Rather, it is on Sunday, November 17th.
Looking forward glorifying God as we celebrate the ministries we share together as Canadian Baptists.