The MARCH 2013
Celebrate and Anticipate Donnie Scearce, Lead Pastor
...train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God.... (1 Timothy 4:7-10 NLT) Canada rightly celebrated when the women’s rowing team won silver in the London 2012 Olympics. But few knew that they were a “disparate group” just two years prior. They formed as a unit in 2010 and did so with one purpose in mind: the gold. Every Olympic athlete trains hard and with purpose. And that is good. It’s the only way they stand a chance of competing at that level, especially to medal. Paul’s writing to Timothy (and us) gave the instruction to “train for godliness.” All of us recognize that Paul was right. It requires hard work to be a godly person but with the help of the “living God” there is hope. And that training means that we are pulling for one another to accomplish the mission God has given us. A few years ago, our North Park leaders met over a two year period to try and succinctly restate that mission:
To inspire, support and mobilize one another to live like Jesus as a transforming and life-giving presence in our families, communities and the world. What powerful and encouraging words! And the values that would drive us were equally as powerful, all coming right out of the pages of Scripture: transformed lives, gratitude and generosity, practical and relevant faith, grace, missional, and community. Every year our church leaders and members gather to review the previous year and to look forward. Our annual report is good for detail but our annual meeting is a special time to share together in live worship, prayer, and to hear from our leaders. Like the rowing team striving for gold and sometimes hitting silver, it is important for us to be able to say what Janine Hansen said from the Olympic team after the race: “We trusted each other and believed in what we were doing. At the end of the year we didn’t want to have any regrets and today we had no regrets.” I look forward to our annual meeting. While there is necessary and important business to accomplish, our prayer and desire for this brief time is to help us celebrate together as we reflect on God’s faithfulness and anticipate together as we look forward to God’s blessing on the year ahead. We invite you to join us March 3rd at 6:30pm. We will have refreshments following this time in the gym allowing for even more time to enjoy ourselves!
A Journey Through the Cross. Where life truly begins. Paul McIlwraith, Teaching Pastor
For the past six months at North Park, we have been on an exciting journey. Through our Enter the Story weekend message series, we have travelled together through the story of the Bible from Old to the New Testament. It is a story where we are invited to go beyond simply observing, to actually jumping into the scene, to daring to begin, to daring to risk and daring to change. God has been doing some amazing things in our midst because of our willingness to step out in faith.
The story of the Bible actually has its culmination at the cross. The Old Testament and the gospels of the New Testament all find their climax at the cross. This is a journey as well. In the last week of his life, Jesus’ focus shifts from outlying areas of Galilee to Jerusalem and to the cross. Along the way, there are significant moments in the journey. There are the loud choruses of Hosanna early in the week, as Jesus rides along the roadway on a simple donkey, exalted as a King. There is the tender moment as he crests the hill and gets a full view of the city of Jerusalem; a view that evokes such emotion in Jesus that he weeps. There is the intimate gathering of his closest followers in a room in Jerusalem as they celebrate Passover; and Jesus uses this final opportunity to teach them about his kingdom and the fate he is about to endure. And at end of the week, there is the tortuous pathway to the cross along the Via Dolorosa, where a beaten and betrayed Jesus carries his own cross to his crucifixion. This is a powerful journey. And again, we are invited into it, to walk with Jesus during the week leading to his crucifixion. At the end of the week, he announces, “It is finished,” and he breathes his last. Dead. If that were the end, it would be a tragic conclusion to the life of a remarkable man. But the cross is not the end of the story. Jesus invites us to journey with him; it is a journey that does not end at the cross, but goes through the cross. It has to go through the cross. It is through the cross we see that death could not contain Jesus; he resurrected, came back to life. It is through the cross that our lives are truly made whole. It is through the cross that the resurrected Jesus offers a whole new way to live: for him and through him. But he does give us a choice. Will we enter into this journey with Jesus? Will we walk with him this Easter? This is a journey that goes through the cross, but that is where Life truly starts.
Guys’ Night Out Jeff Cordell
Would a girls’ night out be the same as a guys’ night out? It’s funny, when you think about a girls night out, it’s not hard to imagine how easily women can come together as a large group and instantly start to talk, laugh, connect (sing?). I wondered what was in store for me as I drove to the Youth for Christ (YFC) building to North Park’s elusive “Guys’ Night Out.” I arrived to find well over a hundred guys from North Park chatting, laughing, and playing pool while waiting for dinner. So far so good. During dinner, Paul McIlwraith, North Park’s new teaching pastor, made his way throughout the building, meeting as many guys as he could. He discussed every topic imaginable as he connected with us, and I don’t think he even mentioned once that he is a Toronto Maple Leaf’s fan. In an after dinner ice breaker, Pastor Matt Eckert challenged us to meet some new people by dividing us into groups based on different criteria. This allowed me to meet five great new people and learn something about each one. Here’s a quick recap: • • • • •
I met Chad (an Elder) because we both attend the 9:00am service. I met Emanual (has twin boys) because we are in the same age group. I met Henry (who is making North Park his home) because neither of us are on Facebook. I met Gates (who has served in every capacity at North Park for twenty years) because we don’t have a high-tech cell phone. I met Dick (works with the North Park Bike Ministry) because we are both over six feet tall.
This led into Paul’s message about the importance of male friendship. He touched on the idea that many guys keep their friends at an arm’s length. But keeping them away from us never allows us to grow deeper in any of our friendships. Paul used the story of David and Jonathan from 1 Samuel to illustrate what a true, loving friendship looks like. I am challenged by this, yet feel convicted that God truly desires us to have authentic relationships with others. Guys’ Night Out has motivated me to invest more of myself into other people – both familiar friends and new ones. And next time, I think we might be ready for some Karaoke!
Monette Benjamin, Admin Assistant for Community Outreach
At the Life Resource Centre we have been so blessed to run our Kids Connection program this year in two locations: The Life Resource Centre portable, and Boullee Social Housing. Our programs started three years ago at Boullee, for a couple of days a week as a drop in hour, with one staff member. At present, our programs are in two locations, four days a week, with about 15 volunteers. This expansion in our programs has been made possible because we have so many amazing and committed volunteers! And we believe strongly that part of our mandate for working in the northeast community is to love, nurture and disciple the kids with whom we work, out of the overflow of the love of God we experience in our own lives. This September we transitioned our programs from an after school program to “Kids Connection” because we began to realize the children’s great emotional and social needs which can better be met through positive adult relationships, in contrast to meeting only academic needs through tutoring. We are working on social/emotional development themes through various art and interactive activities. To better meet this need, our desire is to have a volunteer ratio of one volunteer for every two children. We know through research that having consistent, positive interactions with healthy adults, children will improve emotionally, socially, behaviorally and academically. We have the amazing opportunity for school aged children to experience these positive interactions with adults through Kids Connection. However, the reality is that we sadly turn kids away every week because we need more volunteers; individuals who are committed to coming and developing long term relationships with children who desperately need the influence of positive adult role models. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, please contact email@example.com. Here are some of the comments from volunteers at Kids Connection when asked about why they volunteer and what they love most about Kids Connection: “Kids connection is a place where kids come to grow different characteristics and to come and just be a kid. I volunteer at Kids Connection in hopes of showing the kids a glimpse of God’s love. My favorite part is to see the joy when a kid succeeds at an activity that they previously could not do.” Taylor Eckert - Kids Connection Boullee “To me Kids Connection means growth. Not only do I get to help the kids learn important life skills, but I also get to learn how to deal with the challenges I’m faced with. I’m passionate about helping kids grow, as well as spending time with them playing games and making crafts. I love the hugs, and the laughter. To see kids smiling and enjoying every moment of their time with you makes the chaos all worth it.” Maddison Eckert - Kids Connection Boullee “Kids Connection gives me the opportunity to share the love of God with children in a very practical way. I volunteer at Kids Connection because I love working with kids and my teaching experience has given me the skills I need to be able to help them. When I retired, I watched out for an opportunity to volunteer where I could use my skills for working with children. When I read that The Life Resource Centre needed help with the after school program, I knew this is what God wanted me to do. My favourite part about volunteering at Kids Connection is helping the children improve reading and math skills. It is also a joy to see them improve in any other area of their lives.” Barb Doney – Kids Connection Life Resource Centre “Kids Connection provides a chance to influence kids in so many ways: socially, emotionally and spiritually. I volunteer at Kids Connection because the kids are great and I really believe that we can make a difference in their lives. My favourite part of volunteering here is getting to know the kids individually and seeing them progress as they come to us week to week.” Sarah Hostetler – Kids Connection Boullee
Creative Team Night Jeff Pike
This year in Youth Ministries, we have chosen to do something that we have never done before, something called Creative Team Night. This event exists to gather us with one focus: Jesus. There is nothing quite like those moments when I have experienced and encountered Jesus in this collective, creative community…where painters, writers, dreamers, believers, helpers, encouragers, musicians, dancers, bakers, filmmakers, number-crunchers, coffee makers, pray-ers, singers, young, old, in-between-ers, ALL gather with ONE purpose: to glorify Jesus. Whatever we do as a creative team, we are making sure we are pointing people to Jesus!
Some nights are nights when we gather as a whole community to grow and learn together as one. Other nights we break off into different groups to focus on our specific area; these groups are made up of guitarists, vocalists, film-makers....etc. These are amazing moments and it is awesome to see already what Jesus has done and how the youth have grown individually and collectively. I am excited and expectant for what the future holds for our Youth Ministry, and I pray that these Creative Team Nights will have a huge impact.
Family Day....fun and play Cathy Thornton, Director of Preschool Ministries
On Monday morning, February 18, North Park was alive with the sounds of squeaks & squeals, chatter, laughter, and yes, a few tears, as approximately 40 Preschool Families descended on our building to play together. It was Family Day, and it was time to play. We had play areas set up in the front foyer, the fellowship hall, the gym, and the JK/SK hallway. We had brothers and sisters, moms and dads, grandma’s and grandpa’s, aunts and uncles, life groups, playgroup attendees and North Park Families and friends all playing together. It was a bit of a zoo, but it was fun. Feedback was positive, and included such comments as: • • • •
There was just so much to do! The kids had a great time. We had time to play with our kids and to talk with other adults. I looked around and there were so many faces I didn’t recognize! It was a great way to meet new people. I loved seeing all the dads together. As moms, I think we get more opportunities to be together. We have Playgroup, and Moms’ Bible Study. The dads don’t get as many chances to be together and they need opportunities to build their relationships too. I never thought of using those foam squares to build things. What a neat idea. I have some of those at home.
Special thanks to the facilities team who quickly cleaned up on Sunday so we could set up Sunday night, and who gave up their holiday morning so we could host our event. Thanks also to my dad, Ralph Thornton, who helped set up all the play areas on Sunday night, and helped rearrange on Monday for our Tuesday Morning Playgroup. Thanks to Matt Eckert, who started up great conversations with so many, and Madison Eckert who took photos, played and helped clean up. And… thanks to all the families who attended, making it such a special morning, and who also helped clean up so well before they left. It was a delight to spend the morning with you.
A Story of Redemption Connie Woodburn
I was in an abusive marriage when I walked through the doors of Celebrate Recovery 8 years ago, not knowing anything but desiring everything. My past had haunted me, my present shook me, and I lived in fear for my future. I had a tainted past with bad decisions that had hurt myself and others. I had numerous losses in my life, including suicide, rape, physical abuse as a child, low self-worth, rejection, abandonment and trust issues. I needed a miracle! I needed a new life! I needed to be set free! I needed love! I was not beyond the touch of Jesus, and he was waiting for me with open arms. Forgiving myself and forgiving others was a hard thing to do sometimes, but each day as I spent time with God, praying, reading his word and sharing my brokenness with people who loved me for who I was, God was changing me and preparing me in ways I could not even imagine. I did not walk this journey alone. I had amazing friends who loved me, encouraged me, prayed for me, cried with me and whose faith at times carried me.
Because God loved me, I can love in ways that I never thought possible. I am a better mom, daughter, sister and friend because of his grace, forgiveness and love that is never ending. Little did I know that God was preparing me to love and give to those who are in prison. I drive once a week to Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, the federal prison for women where a group of volunteers bring Celebrate Recovery inside. We bring Jesus Christ: hope, grace and love. These women are grandmothers, moms, sisters and daughters. They too need a miracle, freedom from their past hurts, hang ups and habits. They also need love! This past year has been some of the most significant times I’ve ever spent in ministry. “Freely you have received;” says Jesus, “freely give!” The blessing for me has been in giving it away and loving those who sadly are often deemed to be the unlovely. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 It has been my pleasure to walk alongside Connie as she sought healing and freedom from the pain and struggles that held her back from God’s best for her. We in Celebrate Recovery proudly support Connie’s ministry in Grand Valley Institution. Our heart for all those who attend Celebrate Recovery would be that they would stay the course and allow God to lift burdens, bring reconciliation in relationships, and prepare people to enter into ministry where God can use their experiences. These and many other stories of redemption, healing, and service are shared in Celebrate Recovery weekly. If you are struggling with hurts, abuse, addiction, or other issues that you feel ready to face and let God bring healing and transformation in, join us on Mondays from 7:00-9:30pm. No need to register, just arrive ready to be blessed! Wendy McLellan, Pastor of Community Care & Celebrate Recovery Ministry Leader
North Park and Our global outreach mandate Ron Burdock, Director of Global Outreach
Archbishop William Temple said in 1931 that, “The Church is the only society on earth that exists for its non-members”. It is our hope that if you have been around North Park for a while, you sense that we are living out this great truth that Bishop Temple speaks of. It is our prayer that everyone who comes to North Park finds a sense of vision and passion to engage the world around them in a new and vibrant way, ultimately living their lives on behalf of all who are not yet a part of our (or any) church family. It is with that spirit that I want to highlight for you the mandate for Global Outreach at North Park. The Global Outreach teams have been reviewing the mandate and you ought to be holding us up to Bishop Temple’s standard. The mandate as we see it is.... To awaken, equip and deploy the North Park family into becoming fully engaged in strategic alliance with the Global Church in the transformation of selected communities around the world. There are three key components to our Mandate. The first has to do with the focused outcome that we seek...the transformation of selected communities around the world. There are close to 2,000 people who gather at North Park on a weekly basis and who are learning to use their gifts and talents on behalf of our “non-members”. It is an understood fact that the greatest difference we can make occurs when we work together. While we deeply respect the heartbeat and passion of each individual member of North Park, the task of the Global Outreach team is to discern with the other leaders at North Park where to focus our energies collectively. The word selected is used intentionally and yet with great humility, as we know that it is God who must act before any community can be transformed. And it is the members of that selected community that must own their own future before our sacrifice can be of help to them. For us this means a great deal of time exploring and discerning where God would have us focus and serve; taking the time in prayer and planning....and in relationship building. Our work in Asia is an example; deep roots in two specific regions where there is great need for the church! That’s where the second component of the Mandate comes in - working in strategic alliance with the global church. I would suggest to you that the greatest awakening that our Global Team has had over the past few years has been coming to the realization that there is a vibrant and alive church that is emerging all around the world, and that the most appropriate and effective service we can give is to work in humble partnership with these brothers and sisters. If it is arrogant to assume that we are the source of a community’s transformation, then it is even more arrogant to assume that we can do it without the church in that community. For us this means that we are committed to a life giving relationship with local church leaders wherever we serve. Our greatest hope is that we might have the privilege of standing strongly beside those church leaders as they advance against oppression and darkness; they are the true heroes in the story. Khem with IJM in Thailand is an excellent example of someone who is transforming his community and who is in need of our partnership. The third component of our Mandate is where you come in. We want to share with you the work that we are doing and to equip you to join us. During 2013 you will learn more about Thailand as well as our team that is church planting in a sensitive region of Asia. We have deliberately focused on Asia given the number of Asians in our congregation. We are doing new explore work in Africa and Latin America and may launch new initiatives there in the coming seasons...pray with us that God will give us wisdom to know where we can collectively make a great difference in the world.
Wrestling with God Ruth Williams
The following article is written by one of our members, Ruth Williams. Ruth is someone who has learned important things through the practice of prayer. In what follows, Ruth opens up her heart to share what she has learned as she has wrestled with God since her husband,Tuck, died ten years ago. January 28, 2003 was the hardest day of my life. For three weeks prior to that date, my beloved husband, Tuck, had been battling for his life in the ICU. When the medical team determined there was no further hope for his recovery, the decision was made to turn off his life support.
As horrific as that day was, the days ahead were more painful than I had anticipated. I had lost my best friend and life partner. Tuck had been a marvelous husband and father. I wondered how I would ever manage without him. On the 10th anniversary of that difficult day I decided to challenge myself to think of 10 things I’ve learned through the last 10 years. 1. I’ve learned that God is with me. He has not abandoned me to deal with my feelings, fears, and memories alone. During the past 10 years I have felt his presence more tangibly than ever before in my life. I am often by myself, but I am never alone. 2. I’ve learned that God heals. Time alone doesn’t heal. However, God led me to revisit memories, places, and people from the past. God knew when I was ready to face “firsts” and deal with overwhelming feelings. He has gently directed my grief journey. Time + God’s touch = healing! 3. I’ve learned that community is essential. I have been blessed to have wonderful family and friends to support me through my journey of grief. I am so grateful for those who have listened to me, cried with me, challenged me, prayed with me, and encouraged me to carry on! 4. I’ve learned that God provides. How thankful I am that at just the right time, when my need is greatest, God supplies everything I need: jobs, finances, help, housemates, and good advice. I don’t get everything I want, but his provision is sufficient. 5. I’ve learned that grief takes a long time. This grief journey has taken longer and has been more difficult than I could ever have imagined. Ten years later I can still be hit with an unexpected wave of emotion as memories are stirred. However, God has given me the courage and grace, moment by moment, to face every challenge and get through it. 6. I’ve learned that even though my faith is strong, things are not always easy. I’ve had set-backs, financial challenges, and crushing disappointments. I’ve been tested in many areas. Christ-followers have an enemy who fights dirty. He often kicked me when I was down. 7. I’ve learned to accept my new reality. As much as I have wanted to go back and live in the past, or fast-forward through the pain and live in the future, I’ve had to adjust to my “new normal.” I have a different identity now; I am a widow. But I am learning to be content in my circumstances; my new normal includes laughter and joy again. 8. I’ve learned that you never forget someone you love. I still smile when I remember the good times Tuck and I had together. I treasure the things he gave me. I sometimes laugh out loud when I think of his whacky sense of humor. My memories of him are precious. 9. I’ve learned that the loss I experienced has helped me to be more sympathetic to others. If I had never walked the path of pain and loss, I would be ill-equipped to comfort others in their illness, loss, and grief. My prayers for them are fervent because I understand the journey. 10. I’ve learned that Tuck lives on. I see evidence of him everywhere. I see the things he made, projects he completed, and jobs that bear his name. People tell me of the influence his gentle spirit and godly wisdom had on their lives. I look at my kids and realize that each of them has physical traits, personality characteristics, and skills they inherited from their Dad. Best of all, I know that since Tuck had committed his life to his Saviour Jesus Christ, he is now “absent from the body but present with the Lord.” We will meet again! Having finished my list I realize there are still lessons to be learned. There are more challenges ahead but I will trust my faithful Lord to help me go the distance!
Happy Birthday Bob & Larry Jim Wells (Jazz), Pastor of Children’s and Family Ministry
For many kids and parents, we grew up on VeggieTales. We were amazed at how talking vegetables with no appendages, kept our attention and taught us some Biblical and moral truths. Phil Vischer, with a small team of talented individuals, broke onto the scene with a band of big-eyed vegetables. That was 20 years ago. During the peak of popularity (2001) the company (Big Ideas) out sold Disney in video sales. That year one of the biggest markets for their videos was college and university campuses. So if you have enjoyed VeggieTales over the years, or just love to sing silly songs by Larry, then come to North Park on Wednesday March 20 at 6:00pm. The only place to purchase tickets is online at www.uniteproductions.com. If you are 18 or older and would like to volunteer at this event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All volunteers will receive a free pass to this event. So warm up those vocal chords and see if you can find your hairbrush, and I will see you there.
Administrative Update Wanda Silvester, Director of Admin & Operations
I am happy to welcome a new administrative assistant to our team! Janine Danowski will be joining our administrative office on Monday March 4. Janine comes to us with a heart of compassion and grace. She is already involved on a volunteer basis within our North Park community, and we look forward to getting to know her better as she begins her employment with us. Here are some details of her faith journey that she has allowed me to share with you. “My faith journey started in my home of origin. I attended Sunday school as a child; and when I was in grade eight, I attended confirmation classes to prepare me for joining the church membership. I followed the tradition and joined the church but once that happened I seemed to stop attending and just went once in awhile on a Sunday morning when I sang in the choir. I always felt safe in the church, but God seemed big and distant from little “me.” In my early twenties I was going through a very difficult time and through those circumstances I met my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He filled the void of my very empty, troubled heart with peace. I know that I have been forgiven, saved and freed for eternity. I am truly grateful for this gift to this very day. I began an intimate, close relationship with my Saviour who poured out his love for me by bearing my guilt and shame on the cross to save me from my sin. God has blessed me now with over 30 years of a personal and intimate relationship with him. He has healed me and transformed my life in so many ways. Each new phase of my life brings a freshness of the Lord’s working out his purpose in me. I come to North Park a willing servant to continue the work of kingdom building for his glory.Thank you for this opportunity; I am blessed.” Please continue to pray for our whole administrative team and the work that they diligently complete, week after week. Yvonne Heeg works full time in the office, and Carolyn Veldhuis, Tampa Allen and Alisa Donaldson work part time. It is a busy place to be, and they are an amazing team that works hard to serve North Park!
IntroducinG Cam and Rebekah Korpan Ron Burdock, Director of Global Outreach
We are pleased to introduce to the congregation Cam and Rebekah Korpan. Both Cam and Rebekah are well known at North Park, with Rebekah serving for many years in youth ministry and Cam serving in both worship (on drums with Kelly Morrison’s worship team) and youth. They were married two and a half years ago and have dedicated themselves to both growing as a couple and serving young people. They began travelling to Eastern Europe in 2011 and then Cam led a team to the region in 2012. It was on those trips that they sensed God awakening them to global service.
The Global Outreach Team has been working in partnership with Kevin Norcross and our Youth Ministry to forge an opportunity to engage Cam and Rebekah into deeper service. We believe that God has given Cam and Rebekah a unique calling and set of gifts and have designed a Youth/Global Internship that will see Cam work part-time at North Park with a specific focus on youth. Over a two year period, Cam will work under Kevin Norcross’s leadership to develop skills and formal experience that will prepare both he and Rebekah for youth ministry. During the two years, Cam and Rebekah will be connecting with North Park’s global partnerships and gaining cross cultural training that will give them the necessary exposure and insight for effective global youth service. We are excited to have Cam and Rebekah’s heart engaged here in London to touch the lives of young people here, and we are looking forward to seeing how God leads them out into global service. Pray for Cam and Rebekah as they further their development and prepare for a lifetime of service.
Join hundreds of local business and social sector leaders and hear from world-renowned leaders. Reserve your tickets today: seating is limited to 500 guests. Friday May 10, 9:00am-4:30pm www.leadercastlondon.ca email@example.com
COMMUNITY LIFE WEDDINGS Jamie Grenier and Paul Monaghan (February 8)
DEATHS Doreen Joyce (February 7) – Wife of Ted Joyce Ray Gilbert (February 8) – Father of Marie VanderWyngaard Keith Wales (February 9) – Husband Pam Wales Emilio Briglio (February 12) – Mother of Achillo Briglio
Parking Ministry Serving Opportunity No previous experience required. We will train you to be a part of the first line of welcoming and helping people into our church. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org