It was a blessing for Bob and Dawn to visit College Heights Baptist Church, Fort George Baptist Church and Hartland Baptist Church in Prince George this past week.
On July 9, Dawn and I set out on our adventure from Vancouver to Stewart. The original plan was to get the Stewart building ready to be listed for sale. It had been sitting for a year and every time it looked like there was interest in the building by a third party to use it for ministry or a community centre for the town, the negotiations fell through.
We arrived in Terrace and rented a vehicle to take the four hour drive to Stewart. Being in Terrace and Stewart was like setting foot into the “land before Covid”. Yes, the businesses were doing all they were supposed to do, but other than that, it was like nothing else changed in the communities. Before driving to Stewart, Dawn and I took a tour of Melinda’s office and building at University North and we were impressed with the facilities. The Bahr’s were awesome hosts and great workers as they travelled to Stewart on the weekend to help us with the building clean up.
Another family from their church also came to help and we were able to take two big trailer loads to the dump, give lots of material to the Terrace church, pack up numerous boxes for the local thrift shop, offer items to former members of the church, and donate the Hymn books to a church in PG.
As we were planning this trip to Stewart, I received a call from Kimberly Reid, the chairperson of a community group in Stewart called, Stewart Community Connections Society (SCCS). She asked if we were open for them to lease the building. Their board works with the town of Stewart and they have an excellent relationship.
Dawn and I arrived on a Thursday evening and began sorting materials and carrying items from the second floor to the main floor; did I mention that there are 15 steps between floors? On Friday morning I had a meeting with the District Chief Administrative Officer. She has been in her position for one year and we had a very good talk about the town, and the support she would like to put behind this charity should an agreement work out for all of us. I took her and the town’s Chief Financial Officer for a tour of the building. In the afternoon I met with Kimberly and three other board members from their charity. They were impressed with the size of the building and the many possible uses it could have to serve the town’s needs. In our conversation we discussed some key issues that would be a part of a future rental agreement if it came to fruition.
As we were lamenting the loss of the Stewart building being used for church services, Dawn and I had an interesting word from the Lord. Our room in the house was beside a big tree. Every morning a pair of doves would sit outside our window and coo. As we thought of the doves, as symbols of God and of peace, a thought came over me. I believe that God was saying, you haven’t lost the church in Stewart, because I was never contained in that building. Use the building to bless the community! That’s not quite the same message that a neighbour got from the doves as I talked to him. He said that when the doves start cooing at 4:30 am he has other words he would use for them! LOL
On the drive back to Terrace we saw six bears, one was a mother with three cubs, but I wasn’t sure if it was three cubs or two cubs and one adopted dog! LOL
I am happy to announce that effective October 1st, SCCS will begin their five-year lease using our building to provide much needed support services in Stewart, such as youth support programs, a seniors drop-in centre, a safe house for battered and abused women, after school programs for children, food bank services, support for children and family services work, etc. We praise the Lord for His guidance in working out the details for the building in Stewart! Dr. Bob Krahn, Executive Minister, BCBA
Thank you to the BC Baptist Association for their generous gift of sponsoring two weeks at Green Bay Bible Camp so that pastors and their families, BCBA Executives and staff could enjoy some rest and fun together. Following the guidelines of less than fifty people at the camp per week, Green Bay opened its facility allowing campers to participate in social distanced activities outdoors, such as pottery painting, whittling, wake surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming and campfires.
Thank you to Green Bay for your hospitality and for blessing our BCBA family!
Following is a little report on a few things (pre-Covid) we have been able to do with the provision of funds for outreach within our community.
1. Christmas Photo and Breakfast outreach on November 15 and 16. We engaged 3 photographers to take family photos “Just in Time for Christmas” and invited everyone to a dessert night and bake sale on Friday night, and then the Family Photos “Just in Time for Christmas” with a breakfast on Saturday morning. We served about 50 families for the dessert night on Friday and 150 breakfasts on Saturday morning. It was a great outreach to our community that everyone wants to repeat next year. We were able to raise $ 450 for the Langley Food Bank from the Bake Sale. Some participants have found their way into our congregation.
2. Community Choir. We were able to present a Christmas Choir and Carol Sing on December 13th. This was an outreach event that presented the Christmas Story with a message of hope. It was presented in a decorated table atmosphere followed by delicately plated desserts and drinks. There were 120 in attendance. We were able to raise $ 1,245 with an offering for the Langley Food Bank. A community outreach event that wants to be repeated. The Choir is now preparing for an Easter Event in April. Some choir members have found their way into our congregation.
3. English Conversations. This event is scheduled bi-weekly in a non-threatening environment to help new immigrants with conversational English. It has been very successful with a small group of 14 individuals from a number of countries who are encouraged and helped to communicate in the English Language. All are grateful for the opportunity to learn and some have found their way into our church congregation.
4. Some outreach events we are planning in the near future are as follows:
a. Homeless outreach
b. Marriage seminar
c. Art Teaching event
d. Outdoor Sporting games and events
e. Spring/summer Community BBQ
We sincerely thank the NAB BC Association for the insight on helping the churches be able to do outreach events into our communities. What a great blessing it has been to our church here in Walnut Grove, Langley.
Peace and Blessings,
The Grove Church
(Walnut Grove) Langley, BC
Hi fellow pastors,
Wayne Stapleton Racial Righteousness
by Wayne Stapleton
NAB VP of Racial Righteousness
As followers of Jesus and as members of the Executive Team of the North American Baptist Conference, we deplore the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. It was an egregious and sinful act and an overt abuse of power. In the United States, we just celebrated those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the armed forces on Memorial Day, because life is precious. Soon after we witnessed the life taken from a man who was signaling to the police that he could not breathe while an officer’s knee remained on his neck.
This news comes after a seemingly regular cycle of reports of unarmed Black people dying at the hands of police. To question whether the motives in these cases were racial is at least disingenuous considering the history of the United States. Racism is sin and has deep, extensive roots in the States. Let us as followers of Jesus recognize racism and its corrosive impact as an affront to the Gospel and to the Lord Himself.
Absolutely. Racism matters because some who are hurting ARE the church. Many Black people and other people of color, and even many White people, are hurting. And many are our brothers and sisters. Christ followers are called to weep with those who weep. Right now, there are tears.
Racism matters because every single human life – of every color, of every age, in every socio-economic category, and of every brand of religion or none at all – is made in the image of God. George Floyd’s inherent dignity given by God was brutally trampled upon, as was the human dignity of Ahmaud Arbery and so many others.
The mission of the NAB is to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ at home and internationally. At the same time, we are on a missional and formational journey, being transformed more and more into His character. Because we are seeking to make disciples of people IN North American culture, we must recognize that these people come with sins of all types. One of them is racism, because they come from a culture infected with racism. The time is past for believing that issues of race are NOT Gospel issues: they are central to any kind of Gospel transformation and witness we can do in North America. To ignore the roots of racism while carrying out ministry is to allow it to grow unchecked. How credible can we be with our witness to a world that is suffering in pain and strife if we are numb to its injustice, silent about its brokenness, or selective in our treatment of its sin? How credible is our testimony to the love of God for the world if we ignore the world’s sinful stratification of people and their worth? To be on the mission of Christ in a culture is to deal with that culture’s brokenness with prophetic energy and passion.
For the United States, a large part of the brokenness that must be dealt with is racism.
Racism is an issue of formation. Each of us must face our own biases and idolatries in light of the cultural ground in which we have grown. If we are truly to be shaped into the image of the God who was made flesh, we often have just as much to unlearn as we have to learn. How is Christlikeness forged in each of us in a racialized culture? What does it require of us? Where are we challenged? Are there idols that need to be toppled? How would you know?
We should stop pretending that we don’t see the world racially. We do. It should not have to count against people of color to BE people of color, it should not be held against them. It is offensive for a White person to look at a person of color and pretend that person’s ethnicity has no bearing or meaning to who that person is. It is not a compliment to say you are color blind; it is hurtful. Our ethnicities most certainly shape us and inform our approach to the world and should not be disregarded.
As a church we take Christ’s marching orders from the Great Commission, but what motivates the Great Commission is the Great Commandment. And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40 ESV).
Let each of us ask ourselves what Christian love looks like to God. What SHOULD Christian love of neighbor look like? Does it depend on what our neighbor looks like?
We plan to meet in a Zoom call to discuss this on June 11 at 4:00 p.m. EDT. Our goal is to listen to hearts, to learn from one another, to be affected, to have a spirit of unity, and to work toward brotherly love. We invite you to join us.
Wayne Stapleton, VP of Racial Righteousness
Dan Heringer, Interim Executive Director
Richard Brown, CFO, VP of Ministry Support
Cam Roxburgh, VP of Missional Initiatives
Kent Carlson, VP of Leadership Formation
Kerry Bender, VP of International Missions
Stu Streeter, VP of Ministry Advancement and Church Multiplication
Hi fellow pastors and leaders,
Let me start by thanking Scott Lanigan from Trinity Church in Kelowna for tipping me off about a telephone town hall meeting between representatives from all faith groups in BC and Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. The meeting was to discuss what Phase two would mean for charities. I will list in point form some of the items that were addressed in the meeting.
1. There was deep appreciation from faith group leaders for the way the pandemic has been handled in BC. The three leaders also expressed their appreciation for the way charities have behaved and stepped up to the plate to help others in this time of crisis. They repeated this several times.
2. If you plan to begin services for 50 people and need help with ideas about how to do this safely please call your local public health office. They may be able to come to your facility to help you set it up, but with the work load they have now, it will probably be handled on a phone call.
3. Whether you have a 1000 sq. foot meeting space or a 10,000 sq. foot meeting space, the limit is still 50. If you have one meeting area or 5 meeting areas the limit is still 50. The main reason for the number 50 is not scientific but practical. If one person is infected, it is important that the other 49 be notified as soon as possible. As this number increases, it makes notification that much harder. Also, If people are in different areas in the building in groups of 50, it will become very difficult to monitor their movements going from one area to another, meeting in the parking lot, using washrooms, etc. The number who gather for outdoor services or for a drive in service is also to be limited to 50.
4. A question about why a big box store can have 100+ and a church only 50 was addressed. A big box store is full of strangers who tend to self distance and not greet each other the way those in faith groups might be tempted to do. As an example, one leader told the story of what just happened in their building when they opened it up for a meeting. The meeting was to be for only 50 members, but many more kept coming and he noticed that people were hugging each other even though they thought they had all their rules in place.
5. Kids clubs and day camps can be scheduled, but no overnight camps. This could be a difficult decision to make since kids may have more trouble understanding distancing.
6. It will be important to know who you want in your new bubble because each person you allow in may also have other people that they are in contact with.
7. Dave Fields from Summit Drive in Kamloops asked a good question about how many people could meet in homes for small house church groups. The answer depends on the size of the house, the use of all the precautions of Phase one, and the risk of those now included in your bubble. The suggestion was to keep the group the same each week in the homes.
8. At this point there is no financial help for charities who have had start up costs to move their operations to homes from the building. Premier Horgan said that churches, etc. should keep their receipts in case that is a possibility in the future. They are following the lead of the federal government in many of their financial decisions. Premier Horgan also said that at this point they have not made a decision on tax relief for churches, but that they are looking into it.
9. The charities were encouraged to keep up their work with washing hands, distancing, disinfecting and making sure there are guidelines for movement of people once in the building.
10. Charities may want to keep a record of who is in a service/meeting so that in the case of an infection either the charity or the health professionals can contact those who were in the building with the infected person.
11. Singing is one of the most effective ways to spread the virus from an infected person, perhaps even more so than coughing as the projection goes well beyond the 6M distance. The recommendation is for no singing with others present and if there is some singing, using a mask may help (but it will be hard to sing with a mask).
12. Phase 2 will be in place for 28 days. If the spread of the virus is contained it will mean moving on to phase 3, and if not … other measures will be put in place.
Some churches are prepared and ready to invite people back into their buildings for worship services and meetings for smaller groups. Always be respectful of those who are not ready to expand their bubble. We are so blessed to have digital means to communicate with each other, even if it isn’t the personal nature we all desire.
Saying she’s had a lot of questions from faith leaders about religious services, she began by thanking them for their support:
I have been so incredibly appreciative, as we all have, of how many of our faith leaders have stepped up and helped us out through this very challenging time for all of us.
They’ve found many creative ways to do that and I’m very heartened by the stories I have heard about how people have reached out in a virtual way, by telephone and other ways to support members of their community.
She then talked about reopening church buildings for services:
Starting next week, religious services can be held, with safe physical distancing, so that is a maximum of 50 people still – and that is provided that many people can fit into your facility. That may be way too many for many places of worship.
We have seen outbreaks starting from religious gatherings, so be mindful of the room you’re in, how long the service may be and who are your congregants who are there, particularly if they are elders, people who are more likely to have severe illness with this virus.
So hold your gathering in the largest room possible, keep the group small, if you can. The maximum is 50, but that means you have to maintain that physical distance. . . .
You may need to have shorter or multiple services, and keep those virtual connections going, especially for the older people of your congregation.”