Early stages of North Park Construction September 11, 1992
THE May 2014
THE BUILDING PROJECT: EXTRAORDINARY PLAN, ORDINARY PEOPLE Donnie Scearce, Lead Pastor
Having just finished up the longest single book series since I arrived at North Park in September 2011, the “Follow Me” series based on the Gospel of Luke, it is time to move on to a new teaching series. The Teaching Planning Team has asked, “What’s next from the Lord for North Park?” Paul, Matt, Jordan and I always begin our planning time with a bit of extended prayer, seeking God’s leading. As we have gathered a couple of times looking at both the spring and summer series, we felt led to move from “Follow Me” to a series on the “so what?” implications for us, and there was little doubt that the Biblical account moved from Jesus’ ascension in Luke to the Holy Spirit’s coming and the church being launched in power. Jesus had hinted to the disciples what was going to happen following his departure when he told Peter: “…I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18) And that is exactly what began to happen following the ascension. In Acts we see this amazing story unfold. The “building project” Jesus was up to, was to bring together communities of believers to be his representatives, to support one another, and to spread his gospel. He had an extraordinary plan for his church. It was to cross ethnic barriers (Rev. 5:9); it was to be unified (John 17); it was to be, in essence, Christ’s body, a living example of his character and purpose wherever it formed. And it is entirely appropriate for us to begin a series entitled “The Building Project” for two other reasons. First, because we are part of “the church” that Christ has been building. North Park Community Church. God has been faithful to this local fellowship of believers for 50 years as of November 15, 2014! Believers here have sought to “proclaim and practice the living Christ” that entire time. The second reason “The Building Project” is an appropriate title for this series is that we are about to roll out a plan that will literally renovate some of the areas of our building as we prepare for and look forward to faithful ministry to Jesus Christ for 50 more years! Perhaps by reminding ourselves of the church’s extraordinary design, we will be reminded that whenever we do work on the physical building, it is a means to the end of Jesus building his church to greater depths of maturity and fruit bearing ministry for his glory alone. Of course, the design is only part of it. The miracle is that he builds his church through ordinary people like us. John Stott makes a stark corporate confession for us when he writes: “It is the painful tension between what the church claims to be and what it seems to be; between the divine ideal and the human reality; between the romantic talk about “bride of Christ” and the very unromantic, ugly, unholy and quarrelsome Christian community we know ourselves to be. It is the tension between our final, glorious destiny in heaven and our present, very inglorious performance on earth.” The series “The Building Project” will reveal both the extraordinary design of God for his Church and the threats in our everyday ordinary lives to living out that design as the body of Christ. Join us each weekend of this exciting series to learn more!
“I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” - Matthew 16:18
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS NURSERY SCHOOL Heather Neufeld, Director of Humble Beginnings Nursery School
It seems like just yesterday new and returning preschool friends were entering the doors in September to begin their year at Humble Beginnings Nursery School. There was anticipation, anxiety, cheers and tears but parents were able to overcome those feelings, let go, and allow their children to explore this new stage in their lives. Some children entered with enthusiasm, others entered with apprehension, and some just did not want to enter at all. It is a big first step in their lives to leave mom and dad behind for a couple of hours and brave a new path. Our desire is always to create experiences and an environment where God’s love for the children is visible, tangible, and constant. We endeavour to structure the physical environment and curriculum in such a way as to bring honour and praise to our Creator. During the school year, our preschool friends have learned about nature in God’s garden in the outdoor area behind the youth theater. They have learned about nutrition by making bread by hand and ice cream in a Ziploc bag with coarse salt and ice cubes. Our friends have learned about friendship by practicing God’s Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. We have watched our little preschool friends develop bonds with fellow classmates through their interactions at the playdoh table, the car corner, and the kitchen/dramatic play area, to name a few. Our own daughter’s dearest friend to this day is a child she met at nursery school when they were 3 years old. They are now 10 and 11 years old. In a couple of months, we will be saying farewell to many of these preschool friends. They will be heading off to “big school” as we like to call it. Our hope is that they have experienced and learned about God’s unending love for them, practiced skills needed for school such as sharing, self control, and empathy for others, and that they have learned at the very least – how to walk in a line. In a couple of months, our faithful custodians will get a two month break from having to peek around the corner at 11:00am in fear of being ambushed by a mob of preschoolers as they head to the gym. It has been another action packed, thought provoking, and heart touching year at Humble Beginnings Nursery School. We wouldn’t want it to be any other way! Humble Beginnings Nursery School is an evangelical Christian faith based nursery school program operating in North Park during the school year Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:15 until 11:45am. We are currently taking a waiting list for September 2014. If you are interested in nursery school for your child, please email us at email@example.com or call us at 519-872-0043.
Jordan Elgie, Director of Worship Arts
We want to say a big “thank you” to all our Worship Arts volunteers who served over Easter weekend - the Good Friday band & worship team, and the Easter Choir & band! Thank you very much for all the hard work you put in! A special thank you goes out to Anita Krause Wiebe and Debbie Grigg for the sectional work and accompaniment that you provided…. and a HUGE thank you to our choir director Emily Elgie! We could not have done it without you! Choirs are something we are hoping to do more of in the future! We have a large congregation
with some very talented people in it and we want to provide more opportunities to use those talents and gifts! In the past we have largely just had choir around Christmas and Easter, however going forward we are hoping that we can add one or two more “choir” Sundays throughout the year. So if choir is something you have been a part of in the past, or something you would be interested in the future, please join us! You can always get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!
THE YELLOW BIN Brenda Doerksen
Have you ever wondered what happens to the groceries left in the yellow bin at church? Let me explain. One Monday each month we have a Food Cupboard Drop-in at North Park. Anyone having a financial struggle is welcome to come and get help with some groceries and at the same time enjoy fellowship, a cup of coffee and homemade muffins. Besides the dried goods from the yellow bin, we also provide fresh fruit & vegetables, milk, eggs, bread and meat (thanks to the generous financial donations from people at North Park). The Bible tells us to serve one another in love and this is one tangible way that we are able to do that. We want to be much more than just a place to pick up a few free groceries. This is also a chance to be an encouragement to people and show God’s love by listening to people’s stories, providing practical help where we can, and generally treating others the way we would want to be treated in such situations. God has blessed North Park and it is wonderful to be able to channel the blessing to others. Here are some of the things people say about the Food Cupboard: they really appreciate the fellowship, they see the food cupboard as an expression of God’s love to them, they appreciate that they are accepted and listened to without judgement. Of course they all appreciate the fresh items. Sometimes people want someone to pray with them, and sometimes they need a friend to talk to (we often have people stay the entire afternoon just to have fellowship with other people). What are some ways you can get involved? We are always happy for donations in the yellow bin of basic grocery items (especially cereal, tuna, toilet paper, canned fruit and lunch box items). If you prefer to donate financially, just write “Food Cupboard” on an offering envelope. If you need help from the Food Cupboard, you can email email@example.com. Galatians 6:2 says to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Thank you to those who donate to this ministry – you are helping to carry those burdens.
MORE THAN A GOOD CUP OF COFFEE
On the fourth Tuesday of every month (excluding June, July & August), a wonderful Ladies’ Coffee Hour takes place in our Fellowship Hall here at North Park. Ladies of all ages, denominations (local churches) and from the community, come together to share, encourage one another, be blessed, chat, pray and listen to amazing speakers from within our own church and elsewhere. Missionaries home on furlough come to share their experiences with us. Agencies within the City of London share their expertise and roles within our community, making it a safer and healthier place to live (London Police Department, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Ark Aid Street Mission). We learn the role of our pastors and volunteer staff from their stories and inspirational testimonies of work at North Park and around the community (Engage, Hope Mission, Life Resource Centre, North Park Food Cupboard, Ladies Bible Studies). We learn how to plant bulbs and make spectacular Christmas arrangements by master gardeners and designers (Heritage Gardens and Jim Anderson Flowers). This year we invited two men to join in our yearly Spring Fashion Show (Marks). Kevin Norcross, Pastor of Sr High, traded in his beloved headgear for a straw fedora. Our Teaching Pastor, Paul McIlwraith, may just have a new modeling career and we expect he will soon be seen on the cover of Vogue Magazine! What a fun time we had at their expense. Laughter really is the best medicine. This ministry has a committee of faithful, dedicated ladies who volunteer their time in planning “together” these monthly events for your enjoyment - a special morning just for you. Every meeting is bathed in prayer prior to everyone’s arrival. That God will be glorified in all that they do. Our final Continental Breakfast will be held on May 27 at 9:45am. Arrive early as Bob Heyward will once again refresh our hearts and tickle our funny bones with his infectious humour, songs and stories. Come fill a chair and bring a friend or two. I promise the morning will prove to be more than just “A Good Cup of Coffee”.
COMMUNITY GROUP JOY! Karen Bird
We began a new Community Group in September with little idea of how it would work and no idea of who would come. To our great delight, expectant faces arrived (and continue to arrive), ready to talk, listen, befriend, and eat!
The joy of our Community Group is found in hot coffee and herbal tea, chocolate covered blueberries and homemade cookies. The joy of our Community Group is in putting on your name tag - sometimes using your first name, sometimes using your last name, and sometimes putting on someone else’s - just to throw a few people off. The joy of our Community Group is sharing chatter about young kids, a new house, work, golf, and grandkids. It’s found in conversations and growing friendships between friends of many ages. The joy of our Community Group is found when we break into small groups within our big group, sit snugly by the fire (it was a long winter!), and read together. We’ve been reading through the gospel of Mark and digging for hidden treasure that we may have ‘seen’ before, but never ‘observed’. Joy is found by enjoying the perspectives of the disciple, the healed, the forgiven, the crowd, the Pharisee, Jesus, and of our friend sitting beside us. It is found in considering what it all means to us: how can our observations change the way we live, the way we know and follow Jesus, and the way we love others? The joy of our Community Group is in serving our larger community together by packing bags for Mission Services. It’s found in sharing a big, loud meal together, bowling in costume, and watching the moonwalk (thanks Wilma)! Our Community Group experiences the pleasure of sharing an increasing portion of ourselves with each other - our time, our personalities, our struggles, and our stories. In all these things, we find joy in making a big church small and we catch a glimpse of what it means to be part of the family of God.
FACILITY STAFF UPDATE Wanda Silvester, Director of Admin & Operations
I am pleased to welcome John Sampson as our Facilities Team Leader. John has been working with us on a part time basis since the fall and has taken on the leadership role during the month of April. Here are some details of John’s faith journey that brought him here to North Park: I was born and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. My years of growing up were difficult. I always knew of God but never knew the amazing power of God until later on in my life’s journey. I had a turning point when I surrendered my life to him and since that time, I have been in awe of his saving grace. I am very thankful to have the opportunity of serving at North Park in my new position as Facilities Team Leader. I have no doubt that God led me here in answer to the many faithful prayers of family and friends. I met my beautiful wife Debora thirteen or so years ago for the first time here at North Park so we are both very happy to be back and a part of the North Park community.
We will be saying farewell to Marg Ollson this month. Marg has faithfully served on our crew for many years and we have been blessed by her dedication to the team and this church. She has supported many ministry events during her time here and she will be greatly missed. Thankfully, we will still see Marg around here a lot as she participates as a volunteer in some of our ministries! Our part time facility crew consists of the following hard working and greatly appreciated individuals: Galia Brown, Eric McGarvey, Keith Reabel, Stephen Stuart, Peter Talbot and Barry Thibodeau. This is an amazing group of people who work behind the scenes to ensure that we have a safe and clean environment where effective ministry can take place. Please continue to pray for this team of people. We are blessed to work with each and every one of them.
INVOLVEMENT: SHIFTING FROM A CONSUMER TO A CONTRIBUTOR Wayne Lem and Xiaojin Zhu
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 Involvement. This is what the North Park Asian Fellowship is encouraging our next generation of leaders to do today – get involved in ministry. Involvement turns a consumer into a contributor; spectating into experiencing. We used to think that we had to entertain our youth and college/ university students to have a successful program. Wrong! We now recognize that our younger generation must experience the work of Christ if they are to grow in their faith. For example, we can never just talk about outreach and expect new Christians to understand. We are now having our new Christians experience outreach first hand by inviting their classmates and neighbors to North Park. This may be considered an easy task for a local-born student, but for a foreign student new to Canada, new to the way of life here and often new to God’s family, it can be a daunting experience.Yet, through God’s providence, we see it happen virtually every week with new students joining us. We teach and practice a sense of community with our younger generation, believing they will stay in the Fellowship because they are drawn into the community by faith. They are socialized into our Fellowship which affects their actions, beliefs, attitudes and values – which are vastly different for a foreign student from China. As our youth integrate into our community, we strive to help them develop a stronger sense of involvement. We are always looking for ways to train and equip our brothers and sisters in Christ as we enable and empower them to do the actual work of the ministry. To date, the results have been evident in their enthusiasm for their faith. Asian Fellowship recently had three of our own Fanshawe College students rise up to the challenge and get involved in our community. These students, Xiaojin, Danyu and Jinxu have used their skills to lead a student club at their school. The objective of this club (called Community Bridging Club) is to help new Asian students settle into Canada. They do this by educating and teaching new students where to shop for groceries, how to find a good student house rental or how to write a proper resume – all simple tasks we often take for granted. With the opportunity to connect with new students in this club, they develop relationships which enable them to invite students to attend North Park’s Sunday service and our Asian Fellowship. It is a blessing to see such an initiative by these students which is a true sign that God is very relevant in their hearts. Another university student named Yongtao has stepped up to become one of our Mandarin translators.Yongtao was born in China and moved to London three years ago. As a Christian with an improving command of the English language, she gives her best to God by providing realtime quality and accurate translation of the pastor’s sermon on Sunday morning to our Mandarin speaking attendees (those wearing the translation headsets). To prepare for this, Yongtao attends the Saturday evening service, listens carefully and takes diligent notes, then reviews her notes (and the speaker’s notes/slides provided) on Saturday night before she takes her position in the translation booth on Sunday morning. We are blessed with Yongtao who has stepped out to serve so that those who come to North Park are able to hear God’s Word in their native Chinese language. As we provide the framework for the next generation to get involved in a safe environment, they are highly encouraged to exercise their gifts. Giving everyone a sense of purpose, identity and community in our Fellowship, we target opportunities for the next generation to meet Jesus through his Word, his people and his Spirit so that they will grow closer to him and become even more of a blessing to their neighbour, their community and the world.
THE FIRST SEVEN MINUTES Ann Wiebe, Director of Welcome Ministries
Next Sunday the Spirit of God will prompt millions of people around the world to visit a church for the first time.The Sunday after that, he will do it again. God is consistently blessing his church with regular guests. Are we doing all we can to accept and honour his blessing? (Nelson Searcy, author of FUSION, turning first-time guests into fully-engaged members of your church) I don’t think a week goes by when I don’t hear of a first-time visitor or ‘guest’ who visited one of our services. I often wonder what their first-impression was and whether or not they will choose to come again. According to Searcy, seven minutes is all we get to make a positive first impression on guests. This means that even before a weekend guest hears the worship or the message, they have already formed an impression of us as a community.
So what impacts this first-impression? What does a first-time weekend guest at North Park experience in their first seven minutes? From the moment a guest drives onto our property, there are all kinds of sensory cues that influence their first-impression. One of these is the condition of our gardens and lawn. Our facilities team does a fantastic job of cutting and trimming the lawn for each weekend. However, the gardens around the church and in the parking lot are maintained only by volunteers. Some volunteers have adopted a specific garden which they take care of at their own convenience. Other volunteers prefer to help a couple of times each season to do a blitz on the gardens with a group. If you want to help create an inviting first-impression for our guests, please consider joining us on Saturday, May 3 and 24 from 8:30am – noon to clean out and plant our gardens. Bring your family, your small group or your friends. The more the merrier and the more we get done in a short time. Let’s make the most of the first seven minutes! One can never underestimate the welcoming message that is sent by beautiful gardens.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH UPDATE Krista Arnold, Admin Assistant for Community Outreach
Huron, Adelaide, and Kipps Lane community members continue to make the activities at the Life Resource Centre thrive with their involvement. The service of our generous volunteers also makes these activities possible, and we are very grateful for each one of them! Below are a few testimonies from activity participants and volunteers: “I like this program of sewing class. I feel very comfortable when I come here. I like every part of this program, like sewing, selling, pinning, ironing, every job. I really like this program because I am alone and a lonely woman. I love everybody who is working here. These people are very friendly and honest. Thank you.” --Karima Aini, World Tailors
“I come to computer class every Friday at the Life Resource Centre to learn computers. Now I can open the computer by myself to talk on Skype with my son and family in Winnipeg. I have to write emails to my friends and my computer teachers. Now I have to learn how to do a Canadian citizenship test on the computer. I am happy with my friends and to learn more other things and to practice my English words with my Karen dictionary.” --Tsait Lah Moo, Computer Class “The World Cooks started four years ago when the Life Resource Centre agreed to sponsor a group of newcomer women who had a passion and desire to cook. These women were not working but they could cook and prepare food from their various countries. Some of these women already had a food-handling certificate but could not find a job. These women came together and cooked food from their various countries that was sold at an event in 2010. Since 2010, the church has been our great supporter. We are really grateful to North Park Community Church for believing in us. Our goal is to get more support so that we can have more newcomer women who cannot get a job to be able to do something for herself.” --Pandora Sayeed, World Cooks
“It’s heartening to know there are others in the same situation. Looking forward to employing the TOOLS that were taught to us in the course.” --Jim and Mary Miller, Living with Chronic Disease Self Management Workshop “Hi my name is Doreen Murphy. I am a regular volunteer with the Life Resource Centre in London, ON. I, along with two others, do sandwiches for Youth for Christ. I enjoy doing this service because I like to help less fortunate individuals. My volunteer time is of great importance to me. The ability to help people is one of my excellent attributes. I feel that in helping others I am greatly rewarded in other ways.” --Doreen Murphy, YFC Subs “My name is Gladys Hurley. I volunteer my available time making sandwiches every third week with the Life Resource Centre. I enjoy helping other people by offering my time to go and purchase all the required food items, as well as prepare the food that is to be distributed. Helping people in need is something that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.” --Gladys Hurley, YFC Subs 2014 LRC Summer Camps: The LRC Day Camps are a time where kids break out of their school routine to celebrate the summer season with games, team cheers, new friends, and a chance to learn about God’s story in the Bible and in their own lives. There is nothing that compares to being given the individual attention and acceptance that they find at camp - a time set aside just to be a kid. As you might remember some key role models in your early years, we ask that you consider volunteering your time to become a leader and role model at the LRC Day Camps. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. This summer our camps will be held June 30-July 4 (Kids Camp) and July 21-25 (Jr.Youth Camp).
Joy Bible Camp 2014: Attending a week-long session at Joy Bible Camp has been a wonderful opportunity for some of the community’s kids and youth over the past few summers. We plan to send more young people to JBC this summer, and we are in need of volunteers to drive campers to the bus station in Guelph on the following Saturdays: August 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30. If you are able to help in this way, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
FAMILIES SERVING GLOBALLY....IN HARD PLACES Ron Burdock, Director of Global Outreach
One of the great gifts that we have at North Park is the way in which our missionary families are making a difference around the world. We have 26 families that are funded by North Park as missionary workers. As has been the custom, we support a percentage of their overall budget; those who are sent from North Park and who are serving in remote challenging places receive the highest amount of funding from us. Those for whom we are not their “home church” and who serve in less challenging or remote places receive the lowest amount of funding from North Park. We have a long tradition of global mission here at North Park and we are very diligent to ensure that your funds are spent wisely and with a view to positive change in the world. Pray for Ray Allen and the Long Term Team here at North Park as they carry this stewardship on your behalf. During 2014 you will have the opportunity to meet two families that are serving in remote places......
The Henderson’s return from Chad Central Africa on this their first official trip home. Phil is a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). MAF flies into places where people are isolated and unable to receive physical and spiritual help. Phil’s day consists mostly of flying relief and emergency health supplies and workers to scorched places in Central Africa; and carrying gifted church leaders to share the news of Jesus in those same regions. This is Phil and Merilee’s first assignment and a challenging one indeed. Chad is one of the most difficult places on earth, with extensive poverty and internal conflict. Their girls, Kaitlyn and Lily are excited about this trip home as they will welcome a little brother or sister to take home to Chad with them as Merilee is expecting. Merilee and the girls arrive in May, with Phil joining them sometime in July. Adam and Nicole Cake are walking closely with Phil and Merilee as Home Team leaders; look for opportunities to get to know them and their work while they are with us. Rarely does a church have a couple with such skill serving in such a remote place; we are looking forward to learning from them during this visit. The Donchai’s will hopefully return in 2014 as well. We say hopefully as TaWee’s twin brother Worn has experienced serious and life threatening health problems recently and so while we are planning for Beth and TaWee to join us, it is truly in God’s hands as they are the primary caregivers for Worn. Beth is the missionary that stirred our hearts for the Shan people in Thailand; it was her passion for them that drew to our attention the issue of citizenship as well. As we researched the people and needs in the region, we realized that IJM was working on behalf of this important citizenship issue and so Beth’s clarion call to us was timely indeed. Beth met TaWee while serving in Thailand with OMF International. TaWee is Northern Thai. Having lost his parents at a young age, TaWee built a resiliency and commitment to serving the marginalized in his home country. TaWee’s work is with an organization called The Sold Project (www.soldproject.com) where children at risk are provided schooling and options designed to reduce their vulnerability. Beth continues her work with the Shan people. Our hope is that Worn’s health will improve enough for Beth and TaWee to be with us beginning in June of 2014 as Beth has much to teach us about the 6 to 7 million Shan people and the mighty work that God is doing in their midst. North Park has begun to support indigenous leaders among the Shan...look for opportunities to learn about their work in 2014 while TaWee and Beth are with us. Poverty Revolution is the name of an important learning opportunity coming on the weekend of June 13/14 as Food for the Hungry (FH) brings their intensive 24 hour learning experience to North Park. Melissa Giles joins us from Vancouver to lead out in this experiential learning weekend designed to provide you with insight on how to make a positive difference in under-resourced places. The Henderson’s and Donchai’s work in remote and under-resourced settings; everything we can learn about poverty helps us strengthen them and their work. Set aside the dates and join us.
COMMUNITY LIFE BIRTHS Maximilian Peter Jadischke (February 18) Parents Marcus & Claudia, sister Julia DEATHS Margaret Luff (April 10) Mother of Ruth Nuss Ted Joyce (April 11) Father of Heather (John) Mackie and Bryan Joyce Marlene McLeod (April 14) Mother of Diane (Roy) Hessel
To our friends at North Park Community Church, I have been made aware by my son, Paul of the way North Park has reached out in prayer and well wishes for myself personally and the McIlwraith family as a whole during my recent surgery. May I extend my appreciation for your prayers and support during this time. I feel that prayers have been answered as I am recovering well and my wife and I look forward to worshipping with you in the near future. There is power in prayer! Psalm 55:22 God Bless, Don McIlwraith
Dear Church Family, Thank you sincerely for sharing our sorrow. Thank you also for your prayers, phone calls & visits, especially Pastor Paul McIlwraith for his kind, healing words at the funeral of our sister. Your thoughtfulness is appreciated. God Bless, Wayne & Helen Fisher