Church Gatherings – Update

To the pastors and churches of the BCBA,
You have been amazing in the way you have so creatively continued on with your ministries even without being able to meet regularly in your buildings.  In BC the work that we have all done together in order to ‘bend the curve’ has worked and now we are beginning to move to phase 2 of the pandemic response which allows for gatherings of up to 50 people.  We still need to be cautious and respectful about how we slowly get back to a more normal way of living and meeting.
Below is a copy of the guidance that was given by Dr. Bonnie Henry on May 13, 2020.  This report was taken from the Church For Vancouver article.  The full interview can be seen by using this link (Dr. Henry’s presentation begins at 19:34): Health Ministry Update
“Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry did offer some guidance Wednesday afternoon, May 13.

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.”

Another article that has been made public is the one put out by the Alliance Church.  They have created a BC Restart Plan for Churches as they begin meeting together again.  I have attached a copy of their guidelines below for your reading.  (NOTE: their contact information is given in the document but you can contact the BCBA for further information or concerns).
The important part of how you as a church go about reintroducing meeting together, is that you make sure you have a plan to keep safe as you meet.  The virus has not gone away and could surface in a group at any time if even one person is infected.
Let us continue to pray and care for each other as we now move forward.
Blessings,
Bob
Dr. Bob Krahn
Executive Minister

BCA Virtual Annual Meetings – Saturday, May 16, 11:00 am

To the Pastors and Churches of the BC Association:
We are pleased to invite you to attend the Virtual Association Meeting on Saturday, May 16th at 11:00 am. We will be using the Zoom platform for our meetings and will provide the login details as well as instructions to all registrants prior to the meetings.
 

Each member church shall have the right to be represented at the AGM in the following way: For the first fifty (50) members, four (4) delegates and the pastor or pastors; For each additional twenty-five (25) members, or fraction thereof, one (1) delegate

Please register by Monday, May 11th using the link below.  Each delegate will need to register separately and please make a note in the “Comments” section if your Zoom account name is different than your registration name as we will admit registrants to the meeting based on the name on the registration.
Please let us know if you have any questions!

Christ Has Risen Indeed!

To pastors and churches of the BCBA,

CHRIST HAS RISEN!  HE HAS RISEN INDEED!

Perhaps now more than at any other time in history since the death and resurrection of Christ, we are able to understand some of the emotions of the early disciples.  The world as they knew it was changed forever and nothing they could do would bring it back.  The intense sorrow of loss and disillusionment as they saw their Lord crucified (“Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. When he had said this, he breathed his last – Luke 23:46).  And then the confusion but elation as they saw him alive and walking among them (Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us – Luke 24:32).  And then the overwhelming joy and praise as Christ blessed them and (was taken up into heaven – Luke 24:51).

NOW WHAT!!!

Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:45-49. They “worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple praising God. Luke 24:52-53

It’s all different and it’s all new!  They were going into unfamiliar and uncharted territory.  It would be dangerous.  It would be confusing.  It would be wonderful.  It would be led by the Holy Spirit. It would result in praise and glory to the risen Christ.  It would see millions of people come to understand what the good news of the gospel was all about.  It meant that the attachment to the synagogue, the building, the structure, the old ways were gone.  It meant that the old wine skins could not hold the new wine.  It meant martyrdom and persecution.  It meant freedom and healing.  And in it all Christ will be glorified and lifted up.

The world as we have known it has changed and there is nothing we can do to bring it back.  We are in unfamiliar and uncharted territory.  Allan Roxburgh quotes a poem written by Antonio Machado (1875-1939).  The English translation of the Spanish work says this: “Traveler, there is no path.  You create the path as you walk”.

Wanderer. your footsteps are the road and nothing more;
Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.
Waking makes the road, and turning to look behind
you see the path that you will never tread again.
Wanderer, there is no road, only foam trails on the sea.
(Campos de Castilla, 1912)

This is our new world; confusing and exciting just like when the early disciples experienced the death and resurrection of Christ.  Our road is new, but we walk in the power of the Spirit and leadership of the risen Christ.  May the death of Christ’s followers point to the hope we have in Christ.  And may the life we live point to the grace and forgiveness we have because Jesus rose from the dead.

Because he lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because he lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future, 
And life is worth the living, 
Just because He lives!

POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19, Pastor’s Conference & Association Meetings 2020

PastorsAGMBanner2020

BC Baptist Association pastors are invited to join us this April 26-29 at Cedar Springs Retreat Center, in Sumas, Washington, for Pastor’s Conference and the Annual Association Meetings.  For those pastor’s unable to attend Pastor’s Conference, and those church members and delegates who wish to attend the Virtual Association Meeting on April 27, from 7:30-8:30 pm, there will be additional locations.  Please see the BROCHURE
and REGISTRATION pages for more information.  We hope to see you there!

Encouragement, Fellowship, Resourcing and Caring: SAVE THE DATE

PastorsAGMBanner2020

WHAT: BCA Pastor’s Conference & AGM
We will have a Special speaker on Tuesday
Encouragement, Fellowship, Resourcing and Caring
WHEN: Sunday, April 26 (6pm) – Wednesday, April 29 (after brunch)
The AGM will be held on Monday night
WHERE: Cedar Springs Christian Retreat Center, Sumas, Washington
SAVE THE DATE AND WATCH FOR REGISTRATION COMING SOON!

Devotional – The Journey of Lent

Below is “The Journey of Lent” devotional by Kerry Bender, VP of International Missions, and the first of a Lenten Series of devotionals that was featured in the NAB Daily Devotionals.  You can sign up to receive these devotionals directly: NAB Daily Devotions. The music that accompanies this series can be found here: Lenten Devotional Playlist on Spotify.

The Journey of Lent

Screen Shot 2020-02-26 at 9.27.06 AM  Kerry Bender

My introduction to Lent was on a bus in rural North Dakota on the way to school, probably around junior high and probably not the best place to learn the deep truths of the Church and the significance of the liturgical calendar.

As a Baptist teenager, my internal response to my young non-Baptist friend who was denying himself chocolate for forty days was to think, “Wow, just another work of the flesh! Thankfully, I know salvation is by grace alone.” I was a pretentious, but well-read, Baptist for my age. My second thought was worse, “I can totally out-sacrifice my non-Baptist friend. I mean, I’m Baptist; we are better at all things religious – especially suffering.”

As Baptists, these seem to be the two unfortunate extremes of our experience with Lent. We either deny the value of the Church calendar and view these practices with self-righteous skepticism, or we try to “out-Lent” our more liturgical brothers and sisters by demonstrating that we can suffer way more than they could ever imagine. But the journey of Lent is not about working our way to righteousness, and it certainly is more than simple self-sacrifice. Lent is a journey of preparation that begins with a divine blessing and finds fulfillment in the joy of the resurrected life.

The forty days of Lent are reminiscent of the forty days of fasting and temptation that Jesus endured at the start of His ministry (Matthew 4:1–11). Immediately preceding the temptation, however, are these words: “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased.’” It is this divine blessing that begins the journey of fasting for Jesus, and likewise this divine blessing begins the journey of Lent for the Christian pilgrim. It is not a means to become righteous or loved by God; rather it flows from and is made possible by this divine proclamation.

With the realization of God’s love firmly in mind, the pilgrim on the journey of Lent uses this time as an opportunity to focus their mind, body, and spirit on the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the common practice of fasting or self-denial is not the focus of Lent, but rather it is a useful tool to help focus the pilgrim on Jesus’s sacrifice and bringing them to more fully appreciate and participate in the new life provided through His resurrection. The journey of Lent, therefore, is bookended with these two divine blessings: the realizations that we are children of our Heavenly Father and the power of the resurrection enabling us to enter fully into the resurrected life of the Kingdom.

Three decades after my introduction to Lent, I continue to learn more about Lent and the importance of the Church calendar. Most recently this was in a chance encounter with a friend who recommended a fantastic book, Theology of the Ordinary. This book led to a conversation with the author, Julie Canlis. This conversation led to another book by her husband, Matt Canlis; that book, Backyard Pilgrim, is itself a journey through the forty days of Lent. The beauty of this short, practical book is that it serves as a guide not only through biblical texts, which it does beautifully, but through your own neighborhood, recognizing God’s presence and mission there and inviting you to more fully participate in it. Whether or not you use this guide, I would encourage you to journey through Lent this year beginning with the recognition of the divine blessing that you are loved by your heavenly Father and journeying toward a deeper appreciation and participation in the resurrected life.