Vol 9 No. 49 A New Way of Looking at Things

Dear Friends,

Part 1:

The new Partnerships and Possibilities Guide is now available.  It represents the outstanding writing and editing work of Ceal McLean, chair of our Communications Committee.  It is a labour of love, gifted layout and creative thoughtfulness by Bob Webber, our Director of Ministries.

This year’s topics include:

  • Church Support
  • Supporting Pastors
  • Camping Ministry
  • Education
  • Women in Focus
  • Canadian Baptists of Western Canada Foundation
  • Youth
  • Church Planting
  • Opportunity Grants
  • Justice and Mercy
  • Building Community

Please use this guide for:

  1. Your Elders’, Council or Deacons’ meeting as an aid to understanding our ministry together and financial commitment made to one another.
  2. Please ensure you have enough copies and that there is a creative way to make them available to the congregation.  They should have arrived over the last 2 weeks.
  3. If you don’t have a copy of this please contact Louanne Haugen at (403) 228-9559 or 1-800-820-2479 and we will send it to you.

Part 2

A simple article for Advent that I wrote for the Kits Church Advent Reader:

A disclaimer that some of the themes from this devotional may be familiar from another newsletter (about 40% of it).

There are so many places in our world and in our lives where we are uncertain, cautious or even afraid; there are precious few where we feel safe.  Our times, or our seasons of life, bring with them their own unique challenges.  Ironically, the Advent season, the beginning of the church year and the anticipation of the birth of Christ are often in the midst of turbulent times, places of worry or even fear.  That was true at the beginning of Kits Church 25 years ago; it was true at the birth of Jesus.

The core of people that formed Kits Church came from 1st Baptist Vancouver and had their leave-taking service and farewells the first Sunday of Advent, 25 years ago.  What followed was a whole month of waiting until we would meet in public for the first time in January. The feelings of many of us in that early church were a mixture of excitement and anxiety.  The two seasons around us at the time – the approaching winter solstice with its lengthening nights and the Advent season with its anticipation of the birth of Jesus – represented the perfect conflict within many of us.

Our times are not so different.  Imagine if you were a Syrian Christian, a Sunni in Iraq, a Coptic Christian in Egypt or part of the Anglican congregation in Pakistan that was murdered last month.  But we don’t have to go that far away, do we?  Think of those single women and parents who are at the second stage Salvation Army shelter house, wondering where they will live next.  Think of the refugee family who will be helped by HomeStart or the displaced Filipino from this month’s typhoon who has lost everything including loved ones.  How do we say to anyone else, let alone ourselves, ‘Be not afraid’… Who are we willing to hear that from?

The shepherds in Luke chapter 2 were understandably terrified at the unknown heavenly ambush that embraced them on that night.  Their religion and their culture taught them to be afraid of the heavens, whether they were Jews or Greco-Roman poly-theists.  They had reason to be afraid. Rather like Sarah McLachlan’s powerful version of “Noel”, the heavens for all time were torn asunder, the Christ child is announced and as the shepherds who find him in a stable and as each of us find him in our lives and collectively celebrate him in our community, we feel within ourselves the rising evidence of subsiding fear.

The angels’ message to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid”, takes me to a place where in the midst of the jumble of all that is around me, I am willing to hear from God not to be afraid.  He seeks to give me his peace and in the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Christ, he has given me new life.  “Be not afraid” is brought home to me in the Advent season, just at the cusp of the Christmas Eve declaration of the angels.  This phrase however carries new meaning for me since August 30th and the death of Seamus Heaney, the Nobel laureate and Irish Catholic poet.  As he lay dying and could not communicate with his wife, Marie…I think he simply could not speak…he texted her, “Noli Timere”, Latin for “Be not afraid”.

From the angels to the shepherds, from the Lord to all of us, from Seamus to Marie, may each of us find the powerful presence, power and indwelling of the Christ child in each of us. “Noli Timere” this Christmas.


In Christ,