As all of us are aware, great damage and trauma has occurred in Southern Alberta. Please go to our website (www.cbwc.ca) to be continually updated by the writing of Ceal McLean based on conversations with Dennis Stone and several others. Later in the week we will provide some pictures of the chaotic result of flooding at High River Church. Some of the Calgary youth who were headed to SERVE in Winnipeg, MB (at last report, according to Ken Nettleton, FBC Calgary are included in that number) will be working to alleviate some of the flood issues. This particular piece of information is brought to your attention to remind us of the larger context of our work and experience in Western Canada.
Each year, in the month of July, our Director of Youth experiences the culmination of a year of planning when over 200 young people and leaders arrive at a community to serve. Great care has been taken to ensure that the needs of the community have been carefully engaged before plans have been made. Relationships are built as much in the preplanning as in the actual time spent together. Danice Carlson has been our coordinator of SERVE and has done the planning with others in the city of Winnipeg. What they are about and what they will do is about to unfold in this newsletter. I ask that your thoughts and prayers regularly and easily turn to Danice, her co-leaders, and the youth in this next week.
1. Danice, you’ve been in a lot of ministry and church experience. Please tell us about them.
I grew up going to Olivet Baptist in New Westminster, BC and jumped into an internship role there fairly soon after graduating from High School. Since then, I’ve worked as a Youth Director at First Baptist Vancouver, BC and as a Youth Pastor at Grandview Calvary Baptist in Vancouver – where I am now still serving part-time.
2. Danice, you have been the Director of Youth ministry of the CBWC. Could you tell us what is involved in that role?
Basically, I get to be a support for youth ministry workers in the denomination. Most of time is divided between prepping and planning for SERVE, and keeping up to date through the YLT members – youth workers who volunteer to be representatives of their regions. We do our best to notice when there are transitions, and aid both the youth worker and the church who are in youth ministry transitions. Finally, I see a large part of my job to be maintaining some kind of connection between the easily marginalized youth workers across 4 provinces. We have a facebook group where we attempt to establish a place where we can share ideas and resources and helps, but also provide a place to “run in” to one another online.
3. We’re coming up to another SERVE summer. Could you tell us something about the history of SERVE?
For sure! Serve this year will be the 13th annual event in 14 years! Basically, every year SERVE gives the CBWC a tangible a way for our young people to come together and experience our larger denominational family, meanwhile serving and blessing a particular community in Western Canada. We do our best to rotate each year through a different province – last year was in Peace River, AB, and the year before that in Kitimat, BC. In each community, SERVE takes on a slightly different flavour, but the purposes are the same: to connect youth from across the CBWC; offer a missions experience in “our own backyard”, without going overseas; being encouraged to deepen our faith as they Serve God in varying ways and worship in a larger group setting; and blessing a city or town with a week of service.
4. What’s in store at SERVE this summer?
This July, 200 leaders and students will be spending a week together in the north end community of Winnipeg, MB. This year we have a coalition of 3 local Winnipeg churches – Cornerstone, Willowlake, and Filipino Evangelical Church (FEC) – with the support of many other Southern Manitoba churches supplying volunteers. Our Heartland rep on the Youth Leadership Team, Sandra Sabourin, has been busy securing a team of volunteers from these three churches as well as others to coordinate the projects, food, accommodations and transportation. The north end of Winnipeg has many projects for us to work on – there are a few larger buildings that are waiting to be cleaned, painted or fixed up in any number of ways. We also hope this focus on a smaller community within the city of Winnipeg will allow us to be able to see more clearly the steps we can make in our projects, while also creating a bit of a stir with 200+ teenagers working hard to better that part of the city. Other projects that are being prepared for SERVE 2013 participants include food bank, soup kitchens, gardening, day camps, and even something called “muffin ministry”!
P.S. Reed Elley kindly, appropriately, and gently mentioned that I didn’t identify John Diefenbaker as a Conservative Prime Minister. He is quite correct and I do so now…speaking of nostalgia, and a little political mischief and humour, I could also have referred to John Diefenbaker as the “first red Tory” but that would make me as many enemies as friends. God blesses everyone. It would also be inappropriate not to mention Reed Elley’s service as a reformed MP from Vancouver Island.