shared from: nabconference.org/season-of-hospitality
Due to the ongoing concerns over COVID-19 and the difficulties in international travel, much of which likely not be fully alleviated by July 2021, the Governing Board has decided to move Triennial to a virtual platform. Excitingly, this also means we will be able to waive all registration fees. This means the entire Triennial conference will be free. Every main session. Every breakout session. Everything.
Though we will mourn the loss of many aspects we all love from Triennials past, we are excited about the opportunities this new format will afford us and about the accessibility made possible by free Triennial.
Many of the details will continue to be worked out in the coming months, but Efrem Smith, Julie Canlis, and James Choung will still be joining us to teach on the topic of Reimagining Hospitality. Registration will open in the new year.
Save the Date: July 8–11
I realize that it might be more fitting to write about the 4 Sundays in Advent with Hope, Peace, Love and Joy. Or the 3 wise men who visited Jesus in the manger (which we know wasn’t actually 3 people but rather wise men who brought 3 gifts). Or perhaps the great company of the heavenly host (this number is still being debated but it’s actually a lot). Or in a more secular and jovial way I could have written about the 12 days of Christmas or Santa’s 8 reindeer plus Rudolph. And of course there’s the 7 dwarfs who went to the restaurant for lunch, but with Covid only 6 could sit at the table so one wasn’t Happy.
So where did I come up with my 6 D’s of a Covid Christmas? I have been concerned about the health of our churches since the disruptions and closures began over 9 months ago. I have also been monitoring my own mental health over this time period and have talked to many of the leaders in our churches to see how they are doing. As I reflected on my findings, I noticed a collective progression in how we are dealing with the new world in which we’re now living. Not everyone reflects my interpretation of what is happening, but it has been helpful for me to put into words some of my thoughts.
1. Delighted: When the pandemic hit us, I had several meetings on my calendar lined up to work with churches dealing with conflict. In one week that all went to Zero. The mood changed from ‘how can I get my way’ to ‘how can we work together to get through this’. Even though there were lots of changes, the talk among leaders was about how God is in control and how the true missional church will still be the church as they find new ways to be on mission in their communities.
2. Disappointed: After a couple months of not meeting together, there was a sadness about the lack of support and connectedness that used to be there in public gatherings and especially in the smaller meetings.
3. Disillusioned: As rules changed for church gatherings and special events and as Covid numbers climbed and people died, there was a growing despondency over how this would all work out. In fact some churches found themselves talking more about whether they should wear a mask than about Jesus.
4. Depressed: Statistics are now out about the numbers of pastors and leaders who are considering resigning. One common comment I hear is: “I’m working harder than ever before and seeing fewer results”. Financial giving to churches is down and recent surveys say that many churches will have approximately 30% less attenders if/when this is all over. The balance is that church expenses are also lower, and the ‘virtual’ church is up as far as attendance.
5. Dead: Along with many businesses, some churches will die. Some will never recover. Marriages are stressed and may not make it. You can look at our world in chaos and find many examples of the 5 D’s above.
SO – as I check myself out on the first 5D emotional health scale, I ask where am I today?
AND – the bigger question is, What am I going to do about it?
6. DEPENDENT: That’s the big answer! I depend on JESUS to walk with me through each step of my emotional health. I don’t deny my feelings, but I don’t want them to dictate my life and future. I want to be a victor, not a victim of my circumstances. And I can’t do this on my own. How do I
do this? When I was young and crazy (OK, more crazy than now) I used to do a lot of street racing. I had an 8 cylinder, 4 door hard top, Dodge Polara with a push button transmission. Two of us were lined up at a red light revving our engines. The light turned green and the other guy dropped the clutch and took off. Since I had an automatic tranny, I had to put it into gear to take off. I was watching the light and when it turned green I accidentally pushed the R (Reverse) button and took off burning rubber backwards.
Philippians. 4: 8-9 is underlined, highlighted and has an asterisk in my Bible. It lists all the things we are to focus on – what is true … excellent or praiseworthy… think on these things. You can’t go forward if you are going backward.
As we enter into the uncharted waters of a Covid Christmas we have a choice to focus on our circumstances, or to focus on Christ who brings Hope, Peace, Love and Joy into the world and into our lives. When John the Baptist was in prison, I think that he was Depressed and would soon be Dead. How did he deal with his circumstances? He was encouraged to look to Jesus and Depend on Him for his salvation, hope, peace, love and joy.
Here’s your Christmas exercise – What D best describes you? What are you going to do about it? As for me … our family is going to have a Merry Christmas even though our new song is “I’ll be Home for Christmas (alone).”
Merry Christmas and many blessings to you in the new year!!!
From the BC Baptist Association
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
1 Chronicles 16:34
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