The Messenger Fall 2011
The Church is a
Fellowship of Believers
The body is not made up of one part but of many . 1 Corinthians 12:14
PO Box 34025, RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5
Dear Friends, I know I have been silent for a long time. Believe me it was not my choice to go without publication for well over a year. I do hope you forgive my friends at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada, they mean well. I guess I understand things were busy, what with only temporary administrative help for the first half of 2010. Once Julia Stein arrived as the new Director of Ministry Support, she had a lot to learn and spent her first year getting to know the ECCC. I kept to myself in my file on the office computer. But enough is enough! It’s time for me to get out there and be The Messenger once again! So here I am! It’s good to be back. Warmly, The Messenger CanadaECC@gmail.com
The Messenger p.1 ~ A Message from The Messenger p.2 ~ Superintendent’s Note p.3 ~ Restoration Through Relationship p.4 ~ The Many Who Make up the Fellow ship of Believers Fellowship of Believer? p.-5-6 ~Upcoming Events p.7 ~ Softball Fellowship p. 8 ~ Greetings P.9 ~ Church Planting Letter 1
The new ECCC email address is: CanadaECC@gmail.com.
Superintendent’s Note Jeff Anderson If one does a search of the biblical text on the phrase “fellowship of believers” the closest you will find is “The Fellowship of the Believers” as a heading over Acts 2:42-47. In other words, the phrase is clearly implied in the text but it isn’t found in the text. In reading Dr. Luke’s commentary on the early church it is clear that he points to something far more dynamic than a time of coffee and sweets connected with a worship service. The phrase reminds me of a historical phrase from the life of the Covenant: Mission Friends. Like the Acts 2 passage, the phrase includes both warmth and purpose. In doing some historical research on the early years of the Covenant I came to realize that there were many small congregations spread across western Canada that I had never heard of. Take for instance what is stated of Burdett, Alberta: “…a church building was not built,” but “…meetings were held in homes, the N.H. Strom home was the main meeting place.” There were numerous dynamic gatherings taking place as friends gathered for the purpose of mission and ministry. There was a deep fellowship of believers happening whether or not a formal congregation came into existence and whether or not that congregation is still in existence today. The truth is that most of these early congregations are not in existence, nor are the communities of people that originally brought them together. It is clear that these gatherings were BOTH friendly and missional. The fellowship of believers carries the call to active fellowship not only with one another but also with the mission of the one who brought them together. Those who live out the values of the Kingdom populate the Kingdom of Christ. The day will come when your name might be like the name of N. H. Strom; or it may be like the unnamed family that also hosted gatherings. Few may know who you were or even the location where you lived. In similar fashion the Acts passage gives no clue as to who the average person was that made up the fellowship of believers. These women and men of history and we today are called to be a vibrant part of the Mission Friends movement that help us understand the fellowship of believers. In the next few years the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada is going to work toward a goal of one new church plant per year. If this goal has any chance of leaping off the minute page and into reality it will demand a renewed cadre of mission friends who live life as a fellowship of believers.
Restoration Through Relationship Rich Drinovz, Surrey, BC— Emmanuel Covenant Church Chair & Leadership Board Member There’s nothing like a severe trial or crisis to reveal the true nature and character of a relationship. It’s in the difficult times that we discern relationships for what they really are, whether in our families, churches, workplaces or wherever else. Certainly, as we look across the span of Old and New Testament history, we see example after example of relational responses to circumstances God deigned to occur. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes, not so well. Like many of you, our church (Emmanuel) has had its fair share of both joyous and difficult experiences over the years, all within the realm of what one might expect or call normal in the life of a church. In 2009 however, we experienced circumstances outside these boundaries which left us vulnerable and broken as a church body. On reflection, we were able to see that our crisis was the result of a slow and almost undiscerned downward spiral over time. Nevertheless, these circumstances tested our relationships on all fronts; as attenders, members, leaders and as partners with the Canada Conference. Thankfully, by God’s grace, we chose as a church body to sustain our faith in the true head of the church, Jesus Christ, to find our way. God has honoured that choice and we our regaining our health as time passes. One of the outcomes during our time of difficulties was that we had to suspend our church giving to the Conference in order to meet our existing financial obligations. In returning to health we are now able to restore that financial commitment. Discussing this issue at a recent council meeting led us into a time of reflection on how our relationship with the conference, and when I say conference I mean the people of the conference (Leadership Board, Superintendent & Staff), and their Christ-like response, had factored so prominently in assisting us through the trials. Very quickly we were able to identify assistance provided through finances, interim pulpit supply, prayer, personnel resources, encouragement, pastor search and revitalization (Veritas), to name a few. Recently, the conference has been central in assisting us transfer our mortgage from National Covenant Properties in Chicago to Canada thereby eliminating the constant uncertainty of dollar fluctuations affecting our church budget. In essence, our relationship with the conference flourished in our greatest time of need. A couple of thoughts have continued to resonate with me. Firstly, the Conference was able to respond to our need because our Canadian fellowship of churches tithes to the conference thereby equipping them with the expertise and resources necessary to sustain local church life in today’s times. Thank you for doing that. Secondly, what a shame it was that difficult times were the catalyst for Emmanuel to fully engage with the Canada conference. So I guess the question is, “Are there positive circumstances in your local church life that would benefit from an enhanced relationship with the conference?” “Has God brought a vision for a church plant, or a Mission work abroad or revitalization through Veritas?” The ECCC Leadership Board has assigned leaders on a geographic basis to connect with local churches in order to have these types of conversations in the days ahead. I encourage you to respond to the invitation and to engage in the conversation, that all our relationships might be strengthened in the pursuit of realizing our call to…”live fully, intentionally and missionally into our kingdom priorities and purposes…”
The Many Who Make up the Fellowship of Believers Linea Lanoie, Prince Albert, SK— Gateway Covenant Church Intern & Leadership Board Member The Fellowship of Believers: There is something very attractive about this concept. It makes me think of all the Christians that I have entered into fellowship with over the years. It takes me back to my childhood Sunday School teachers and brings back a memory of days spent with an older couple on their farm during my parent’s absence. It reminds me of those who were faithful and persistent in their work for the church, spreading the Good News. I have a long list in my head of those who cared for me because they knew that I was loved by God as they were. Because they were part of my fellowship, I was nurtured in the faith. It makes me think of those special people who have entered into my life, with whom there seems to be a holy connection and an almost instant bond that develops. We share a unity in Christ even though we may participate in faith groups that are widely different. There are Father Marcel and Sister Jose who share not only my passion for Christ but a passion for missions. There is a friend in Winnipeg who shares my love for the marginalized poor. Friendship with a fellow Christian is more than simple friendship. There is a bond that goes to our hearts and joins us in our spirits. My list is very long of wonderful Christians who enrich my life. I love the fact that being part of a fellowship of believers gives me like minded people with whom I share and work. My involvement with Gateway at Soup on Saturday, our participation in service to the disadvantaged has let me share love and concern for the people we serve with members of our congregation. Working together with the same love for Christ that energizes us has helped me to get to know the people I worship with every Sunday strengthening our bond in Christ. It also has introduced me to Joe who
Salvation Army offices, and Daisy, who comes and does dishes for us. It lets me share not only in the joy of knowing them but invites me into their sorrows, gives me permission to wrap my arms around Daisy as she shared with us that her son died from a stabbing incident in a nearby city. Fellowship is not only joy but the deep friendship where sorrows can be borne together. The great gathering of all before the throne of Christ will be the ultimate experience of the fellowship of
Fellowship of Believer? Patience Henning, ECCC Church Member Some days I long to go to church and sit next to people “just like me”. People that think like I do, view the world as I do, value the same things I do and worship as I do. In some superficial way this makes me feel good, safe, right. After all, aren’t “real” Christians “just like me?” It’s true, some days I really think these things! How did my longing to follow Christ and live this journey among a community of believers so quickly become about me rather than the one I follow? Isn’t it within a context of diversity that we become united by Christ, the foundation of our faith? Diversity drives us deeper into the heart and mind of Christ. This is the beauty of the fellowship of believers. We are pushed, stretched, pulled and prodded to seek God more fully. In our pursuit of God we are drawn to release our selfishness and surrender to a God who embraces our differences and unites us through his love. Next time I am in church and I look around to those who seem so different from me, I will see God more clearly, embrace diversity, stay firmly planted on a strong foundation and love more fully. This is God’s way and so I will follow.
What happens when 6,000 high school students get together in one place? Something amazing!
What is CHIC? CHIC is the triennial Christian conference for high school students sponsored by the Department of Christian Formation of the Evangelical Covenant Church. In 2012 CHIC will be held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville from July 15 – 20. Thousands of students and adults from around North America and the world will gather for a week of worship, interacting with God’s Word, learning experiences, service, fun, and new friendship. Who can attend CHIC 2012: FIVE? High school students completing grades 9 -12 in the 2011-2012 school year and who are at least 15 years old by September 1, 2011. Where can I find out more about CHIC? The CHIC website www.chic2012.org will help answer all your CHIC related questions. However, if you still can’t find what you need, please contact the ECCC liaison, Marc Lantz at email@example.com.
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2011 October 3-5 ~ Pastor/Spouse Retreat Banff, Alberta October 21-23 ~ ALIVE Canmore, Alberta December 9 ~ CBC Legacy Bursary Applications due
2012 January 28-30 ~ Youth Workers Connection Chicago, Illinois January 30– February 3 ~ Midwinter Chicago, Illinois May 3-6 ~ Annual Conference (ECCC) Edmonton, Alberta June 21-23 ~ ECC Annual Meeting Irvine, California July 15-20 ~ CHIC Knoxville, Tenessee
Ecuador Adventure Dates: Jan. 21-30, 2012 (optional beach trip Jan. 30Feb. 4) Destination: Sumaco, Napo Province, Amazon jungle After a devastating earthquake in 1987, the Covenant Church of Ecuador was instrumental in giving emergency aid and helping relocate the community of Sumaco. It has become know as Sumaco Pacto because Pacto in Spanish means Covenant“. This poor agricultural community has a Covenant church operating there, but they cannot afford a trained pastor. There is a property bordering the village that the commuThe Bible talks a lot about how we nity would like to develop into an experimental farm treat our neighbors. God invites us to be a to support better methods of producing a wider varikind of people who love, who look for op- ety of crops in a safe and ecological way. In 2010 the portunities to practically express the care of Canadian team built the outside structure of a house that will serve as an agricultural training centre and Christ. The people of Ecuador are our neighbours, and relationships built between residence for the farm manager. We will return in January of 2012 to stay in the community, do kids us can bring transformation. From God’s programs, help out at the local elementary school, perspective our lives are intricately conand to work on the interior of the house. We will exnected and how we choose to live impacts plore some virgin forest, see monkeys and tropical them. Jesus commands us to love our plants. We welcome all who would be interested in neighbours. joining us in this exciting new work! For those interested in a few days rest on the beach you can extend your stay and join us for that as well. Applications accepted until October 15, 2011, first come, CBC Legacy Bursary first serve.
Applications Available NOW
www.canadacovenantchurch.org/cbc-legacyscholarships The CBC Legacy Fund provides scholarships of $500 for students who are enrolled in theological, biblical or discipleship programs that equip men and women to live as disciples of Jesus Christ, through spiritual formation, biblical knowledge, Christian service, and intentional community. These awards are distributed on a “first come, first serve” basis, and are intended to support the discipleship of students who are affiliated with Evangelical Covenant Churches within the Canadian
To apply, just contact Andy or Jenell Pluim by calling 780-352-2450 or 780-360 5079 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com COSTS PER PERSON * Food, lodging & transportation in Ecuador: $60 US/day * Your flight & spending $$ (arranged by participant) * A contribution of $250 US to the group’s fund for for construction materials * NOTE: A $250 US deposit is due by Oct. 15, 2011
Softball Fellowship Sharon Kent, Prince Albert, SK—Gateway Covenant Church Summertime…and the livin’ is easy. Yes, we have all kinds of events happening too, during these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Seems like a great season to rest, relax and enjoy being with our families…and our church families. Our church family had a softball game last Sunday afternoon. What a hoot! As I sat and watched the proceedings, I began to liken the game to the fellowship of believers. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.Philippians 2 :4 (The Message) I observed the young helping the old, a runner taking to the bases for someone lame, a fielder encouraging a hitter, and a mom taking to the field while a team member looked after her baby. Gateway, like the team, has been given opportunities to put others first. We offer Kid’s Klub to the neighborhood children, we help at the soup sitchen downtown, we visit homes for the shut-in and elderly and sit with the dying. Just a few examples of putting others first and helping out. Paul says it’s the thing we ought to do! And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10 :25 (NLT) There were shouts of ‘Go team!’, and ‘Great hit!’, not to mention ‘Want to play?’ We met to play softball as a fellowship of believers and to enjoy one another’s presence like we do on a Sunday morning, or at an anniversary celebration (Mildred and Lloyd Skiftun’s 60th) or a gathering for prayer (for the upcoming Veritas Pathway). All are moments for deep fellowship and 7
encouragement! The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. I Corinthians 12:25,26 (The Message) It was a game that exemplified dependence! Where would the pitcher be without a hitter? How could a catcher get flattened at home plate without a runner? All depended on the other for the game to go on. At Gateway, when one is sick, we pray for healing; when one is healed, we praise God for the miracle (Darrell Wiberg recovering from a stroke); if one gets an award (Brian Thomas - high school graduate), all rejoice; should anyone go astray, we attempt to seek them out; when one dies, we mourn together (Ernie Heit passed away May 26). We pray, seek, mourn, rejoice – together! Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet. James 4:8-10 (The Message) Yes, that’s how the game is won – when we get serious! But more than winning or losing a softball game, it’s the game of life that the Master is serious about! When we recognize our failures or find ourselves fence-sitting, the best place is on our knees. Gateway is moving towards this very thing. We will enter into the Veritas Pathway where we will ask God’s Spirit for direction – does he want a super great team…or simply a willing one? RUN, GATEWAY! RUN – by the power of the Holy Spirit!!
Greetings . . . I thank God for the ECCC. I have served here since 1995 and have been blessed down through the years by this fellowship of believers. Whenever I go to an annual meeting or a pastor and spouse retreat, I am reminded what a precious jewel the Canada Covenant is. I will miss this fellowship as God is leading us to minister at the United Covenant Church at Clear Lake, Wisconsin. Thank you and God bless you all, Dan Pearson, Pastor, Minnedosa Covenant Church (formerly) Greetings from the west coast and beautiful White Rock, BC! God is good and has been gracious to us as a fellowship of believers. We ask our fellow Covenanters across Canada to join us in prayers of thankfulness for all God is doing amongst us, for the work of revitalizing our church, for the birth of new ministries like our community garden, and for the new faces in our midst, eager to participate in what God is doing here in the lower mainland. We also ask for prayers of wisdom and guidance for our council, that we may be led by Jesus as we lead others to Jesus and that God would grant us peace in the midst of a season of rapid change and excitement and growth. Thank you for standing with us as we serve the Lord together. Keith Chow, Pastor, Emmanuel Covenant Church Full-time Missions for Kaila Johnson I have grown up in the Covenant Church my whole life. My grandparents, Irving and Florence Johnson, raised my aunt, Diane Augustson, and my dad, Grant Johnson, in the Minnedosa Covenant Church. My parents have carried on that tradition with me and my sisters. Covenant Bible College runs in my family, dating back to when my grandfather attended CBC the 2nd year it was open, all the way to me graduating in 2006. The Evangelical Covenant Church is in my blood and I am grateful for the influence it has had on my life. This influence and passion for missions have come together, with God calling me into ministry. I will be leaving in mid-November to pursue full-time missions with Greater Europe Mission (GEM), in London, England. GEM is currently working with local Christian churches and organizations to create different ministry opportunities across the United Kingdom for the 2012 Summer Olympics. I desire to minister in this region and am trusting in God as I prepare, create awareness, and raise the funds needed ($1800/month). If you would like more information, or would be interested in partnering with me through prayer and/or financial support, please feel free to contact GEM or me. I would love to hear from you! Kaila Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org http://freshpagenewchapter.blogspot.com/
Greater Europe Mission 100 Ontario Street Oshawa, ON L1G 4Z1 1-905-728-8222 email@example.com 8
The church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning. ~Emil Brunner Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. ~Jesus Dear Friends of the ECCC: The ECCC Leadership Board have decided to make church planting the top priority for the ECCC. This does not mean that we will neglect other important ministries like discipleship, leadership development, church vitality or compassion, mercy and justice. What it means is that we believe a church intent on following the missional passion of Jesus will be involved well in all of those other ministries. This is your invitation to be involved in following the Spirit as we pursue new church planting opportunities. The leadership of the ECCC is committed to being key players in the advancement of church planting in the following ways: Praying and Giving Establishing a small Task Force to work as a team on this ministry Committing to good coaching and care for all church plants. Setting a goal of one new church plant per year. Bringing at least 15 people to the National Church Planting Congress in Winnipeg this November (a multi-denominational conference aimed at expanding Kingdom work across Canada). Please consider joining the leadership in this important ministry. The churches planted today could be the Malmo, Norquay, Saskatoon or Emmanuel of the future! Here is how you can advance church planting: Pray – nothing moves ahead without God’s involvement. If you will commit to pray we would like to send you information. Send us a note or email! Give – we need to raise at least $20,000 this year to follow out our church planting strategy. We need churches and individuals to generously give. You can give online at: www.canadacovenantchurch.org and follow the “Support” tab or send a cheque to ECCC with a church planting written in the memo line. Watch – look for opportunities where your local church or where you as an individual can be involved in church planting. Thank you for considering one or more of the above responses to this letter. I can tell you that the leaders are very excited because they believe the Lord is going to bring about a new energy and missional movement through our reengagement with church planting. Yours in Christ,
The Messenger, a publication of The Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada