Vol 9 No. 41 Anniversary

Dear Folks,

This fall represents the 25th anniversary of Kitsilano Christian Community church in Vancouver.  In the fall of 1988, First Baptist Church: Vancouver partnered with the Baptist Union of Western Canada (as it was then known) to plant a church in Kitsilano.  Four churches had recently closed in the area and there was a lack of an Evangelical witness and engagement.  A small group from First began to meet at FBC Vancouver’s coffee house called Hobbit House to discern a possible way forward for a new church plant.  The result was 42 individuals felt called to leave First and to begin in Kits.  Both First and the denomination provided $20,000 a year in financing for 3 years.  On the first Sunday of Advent 1988, a dedication was held for those leaving.  Bruce Milne preached at the service of dedication and the custodian, Mark Lochland, took a block of granite from the churches building (it didn’t seem to be missed) and chipped it into multiple pieces for each perspective member.

It was ironic that the dedication service was the beginning of the advent season.  It was also the time of the year when the nights get longer and the days get shorter, right up to the winter solstice…a mixture of celebration and anticipation of the coming of Jesus and the grim darkening in the approach of winter.  What broke for me in that month-long time where we were not meeting for public worship was the strength of God to be excited, engaged and called to this new work.  Which at every turn overwhelmed any anxiety and worry that I had.  It’s best summed up in the words of the angel in Luke 2:8-10.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

I want to end this newsletter with two very simple things.  We celebrated the 25th anniversary of Kits and the Ordination of David Jenkins on Kits Beach last Sunday afternoon in the roaring sunshine.  The Pastor, David Jenkins, had asked me as the founding minister; where had I seen evidence of the presence of God in the years I had been there at Kits?  And I shared with him that the first evidence of the presence of God was the words of the angels from Luke “Do not be afraid…” and in the mercy and strength of God, we were not afraid.

I teased those gathered at the beach last Sunday that if throngs of angels were a little too much for us then could we just abide by a simple text message…  On August 30th the Nobel laureate, well-known poet and devout Catholic Seamus Heaney lay dying.  His last communication was a text message to his wife with the Latin words ‘Nolle Timera’: they mean, ‘Be not afraid’.  So, in our own lives, relationships and challenges (be they ill health, mortal danger, anxiety, personal challenges about any number of things) may we in Christ “Be not Afraid…Nolle Timera”.



In Christ,