Xenophile God 3 Angel Tree 8 Pursuing God’s Will 16 My Questionable Eulogy 21
In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, in verse 9 of chapter 7 we read this (NIV): After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from Photo from Parade of Nations Global Worship Gathering 2015 every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Departments Financial Update 6 Resource Centre 10 Discipleship Ministries 14
Information Contact Information 22 Community Corner 24 Calendar 27 Cover: Zane Janzen Design: Clement Lee Contributors: Karen Cassel Mary Ellen Hopkins Greg Kay Suzanna Lai Sam Lee Victoria Shipmaker George Spear
Delve submissions are due on the LAST MONDAY of each month. To submit for the next issue of Delve, please email: email@example.com 2
Copy Editors: Greg Kay Suzanna Lai
This picture of people from every nation, tribe, people and language praising God on His throne and the Lamb (Jesus) is one of the most beautiful and most anticipated events for me. I am what you can call a “monoglot”—that means I can only speak and understand one language. Quite frankly, I’m terrible with other languages and 9 times out of 10, even with coaching, I will pronounce non-English words wrong. This is one reason I’m so excited about this moment in Revelation 7 when people of EVERY nation, tribe, people and language are worshiping the living God together—because our differences of where we were born, raised, of how we were taught to think and speak, will no longer separate us from one another! We will worship as one, singing in a unified loud voice together! Perhaps it will be everyone singing in their own language yet we all can understand one another (without the need for Star Trek’s (or Google’s) “universal translator”). Or perhaps it will be one unified language that somehow encapsulates all the nuances and beauty of every human language (I’m guessing it’s not going to be English…). 3
Either way, it’s something I look forward to in its fullness in the future. I also believe it’s something we should be working towards in the present. I think a significant part of the work of God in the world, and the character of His Kingdom inaugurated and expanding through Jesus Christ, is breaking down the barriers between people; uniting people together. This is not an act of “making us the same”, but of unifying us with all of our differences—diverse AND unified. As we enter into relationship with one another, and into the particularities and nuances of one another’s cultures, languages, people groups, tribal and national identities, we discover that God is so much larger and so much more beautiful than we ever imagined. We come to see characteristics of God in his infinite beauty, love, and grace that we couldn’t see on our own. God is not able to be fully contained by one culture; nor fully described in one language; nor fully painted through the lens of one world view or social construct. And so, for God’s glory in the world, and for our own spiritual growth and maturity as individuals and communities, I think we are wise to be working towards Revelation 7 in our world today. At the end of January we are going to be releasing a CD of new songs for Spring Garden. One of the songs on that CD is called ‘Xenophile God’. Perhaps you have become familiar with the term “xenophobic” (being afraid of things that are foreign to you) over the past few months as many of us around the world wrestle with fears of religious extremist terrorism. Sadly, some of us have allowed fear to drive love out from our midst (which, as far as I see it, is sinful), breading ignorance and judgement about ‘the other’—those we do not know. Conversely, a “xenophile” is one who loves and sees value and beauty in foreign cultures, people and languages. The song ‘Xenophile God’ comes mostly from my reflections on Revelation 7, about how God is working in and revealing himself through different cultures, people and languages, and about how God loves (and commands us to love) those who are “different” or 4
foreign to us. The song is also an attempt to give us opportunity to practice Revelation 7, singing in unified voices in different languages. The bridge is beautifully translated from Revelation 7:12 and sung by Nida Gider Zappacosta and James Lee in Turkish and Korean respectively. There is also a refrain in Arabic which I recognize will be a challenge for some of us, but I personally feel convicted this is a place where we need to replace fear with love, and ignorance with understanding. The phrase in the song is “Allah mahaba”. The ignorance that I think we need to replace with understanding is that the word “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “god”. The word itself pre-dates Islam, and is used by Christian Arabs all the time whenever they say “God”. Based on my communications with Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) and their Lebanese Christian field staff, the phrase “Allah mahaba” is the way that Arab Christians say “God is love”. In the song, when “Allah mahaba” is sung, it is sung in worship of the God who reveals himself through Jesus as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We sing it in solidarity and support of our Christian Arab brothers and sisters, many who face very real and life-threatening persecution. We may also sing it in opposition to any person, ideology, or spirit (e.g. Satan) that seeks to cultivate hate or fear of “the other” in us, our society and the Church; We sing it as an expression of an unwillingness to allow ignorance and judgmentalism to pull us away from a God of love as he reveals himself through Jesus Christ. Or simply, we wing “Allah mahaba” as an enactment of and prelude to the events of Revelation 7— to the praise and glory of a God of love who is working throughout the world to draw people from every culture, nation, tribe, people and language to himself through Jesus Christ our Lord. “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:12) Greg Kay 5
January 1, 2016
Summary of 2016 Spring Garden Church Budget
During the past few weeks the Budget Committee has been diligently at work bringing the 2015 year to a close and preparing the Financial Budget for the year 2016.
Church Ministries, Salaries, Office, Property, Administration, Misc. $ 465,147
A hand out of the details for the year ended 2015 and the 2016 Budget will be available to the congregation on Sunday, January 10, 2016 in preparation for the Church Business Meeting scheduled for Sunday, February 7, 2016. Below is a brief glance of the 2015 results as of this date and the 2016 budget: 2015 Budget
Although we were short by $14,200 on what we budgeted for offerings, the expenses were $ 29,905 less than anticipated â€“ overall a successful year.
Missions $ 84,300 Property Fund (Taxes, Maintenance, Capital Expenses Net of Rental Income) ($ 19,447) Total proposed budget for 2016
Fifteen people were involved in submitting budgets for the various categories to the Budget Committee. The Budget Committee this year was comprised of Marion Cameron, Mary Ellen Hopkins, Geoff Moore, Derek Prinsloo, Gene Tempelmeyer and George Vanderwerf. Respectfully submitted, Mary Ellen Hopkins on behalf of the Budget Committee
The Budget Committee prepared and the Deaconâ€™s Board passed a motion for a budget of $530,000 for the year 2016. Again, details will be available on January 10, 2016.
and received by everyone involved.
The Spring Garden family added the Angel Tree project to our choices to participate in extending the joy of Christmas to others. The project seemed simple enough. A family, small group or individual would be assigned a child to buy a gift for on behalf of someone in prison. The prisoner had filled out a form indicating the child’s name and the type of gift that would be appropriate and the volunteer was to contact the child’s care giver and arrange delivery of the gift. We sent out a short survey to get an idea of how things went. One resounding positive experience was the opportunity for parents and grandparents to talk to their children about what it means to be in prison not just for the prisoner but for their family and why we would help a prisoner give a gift. One child felt some misgivings as to the truthfulness of the act since the parent didn’t actually buy the gift and wrap it. That is quite perceptive and a good opportunity for discussion! We also had feedback about the disappointments and challenges. I’m actually thankful for these because it made me and other participants think about the act of receiving gifts. We found that the caregiver of the child in some cases was torn between the relationship of the child to the prisoner and their own feelings. Many no longer had a relationship with the prisoner and yet wanted to do what was best for their children. Rather than having a chance to meet families, we had cases where getting to meet the family wasn’t possible. It can be hard to receive a gift from a stranger in complicated circumstances. We realized it took as much courage to receive the gift as it did to deliver it! We had good stories too where the joy of Christmas was expressed 8
As the point person for the Angel Tree I do have a few regrets. I wish I had had more time to do some of the leg work for the congregation before assigning them someone to care for. Some of the prisoners gave us contact names that we could not connect with and it was worrying for us as to whether they were afraid to answer our calls or had moved. We wanted to ensure that the children did not miss out. This too was a learning experience for everyone. I also wished I had more time to arrange for purposeful prayer for everyone involved. With prayer we “see” God at work more clearly - not only in situations that arise but also in our own hearts as we examine our expectations of ourselves and others. In all we connected with 19 children from 20 families. We had 3 children from two families that we could not reach. Those 20 families were supported by at least 12 groups of people in our church who sponsored, donated and delivered the gifts. It is hard to measure what those numbers represent. Through the Angel Tree we experienced joy, disappointment in missed expectations, the sacrifice of time, experiencing new parts of the city, participating with our children learn as we all learn about gift giving. The story of the ten lepers comes to me from Luke 17:11-19. Ten lepers cry out for Jesus to heal them. He heals them and tells them to go to the priests. The priests would see that they are healed and allow them to rejoin the community. One of the ten one comes back to Jesus praising God. Jesus points out that only this one foreigner, a Samaritan, has come back with praise. Is the glory of God lessened by the fact that nine did not come back? Surely the lepers rejoining their communities spread the glory of God to untold numbers! If you have feedback about the Angel Tree you would like to give it would be very helpful as we review what went well and what were barriers to participation. Victoria Shipmaker 9
Recomendations From The Resource Centre
Spring Garden’s online library catalog can be accessed at springgardenchurch.ca/library
If you know of books or DVDs that you’d like to recommend to the resource centre, please contact Karen Cassel firstname.lastname@example.org
DVD’s Books How to Hear from God: Learn to Know His Voice and Make Right Decisions, by Joyce Meyer In the hustle and bustle of todays’ busy world, sometimes it’s hard enough to hear yourself think, much less to take a minute to stop and listen for the voice of God. But learning to recognize God’s voice and the many ways in which he delivers his message is vital toward following his plan. In How to Hear from God, Joyce Meyer reveals how listeners can develop a more tender conscience and attentive ear when it comes to really hearing what God is saying.
What if our small group made a difference in our lives? Does being in a small group really change anything in my life? We all long to be connected with friends. We long to know and be known by God. We long to make a difference. How does being in a small group Bible study impact those things?
Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples, by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving In Matthew 28:19, Jesus told his disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” This commission includes believers today. The task may seem large, but it doesn’t have to be an intimidating mandate, rather a way of living that invites people into what God is doing in their lives. However, somewhere along the line, disciple-making moved from being a part of everyday life to the sole responsibility of pastors and evangelists. The result is that we no longer 11
feel equipped to share the life-giving gospel of Jesus with our friends and neighbors. This isn’t how things are supposed to be, and in Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples, Francis Chan and Mark Beuving show you how the joy of living your life with Christ in front of others can be restored. You’ll discover the confidence and encouragement you need to step out in faith and make disciples out of the people that God has placed in your life. Multiply offers 24 sessions of discipleship mentoring material designed for small-group use.
A Climate for Change: Paris and Beyond with Katharine Hayhoe
Recently named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist who studies climate change. She may be best known for the way she is bridging the gap between scientists and Christians. Her efforts have been featured on Showtime’s Emmy award-winning documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously.”
FOR YOUNG READERS
Katharine’s presentation will explore a Christian response to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
A Girl’s Guide to Making Really Good Choices, by Elizabeth George
Panel Response Lorna Dueck of Context will host the evening and facilitate a lively panel discussion with: John McKay, Liberal MP Terry Leblanc, CEO and Director of My People International and NAIITS David Wells, general superintendent of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada When: Saturday - January 16, 2016 at 6:00PM Where: Tyndale Chapel (3377 Bayview Avenue - Toronto, ON)
Today’s girls are bombarded by conflicting messages about the meaning of womanhood. The media says one thing, boys say another, and friends go for whatever is “coolest.” Who’s right? With wisdom and gentleness, Elizabeth George addresses challenging topics - including attitude, friendships, crushes, parents, and school - to help girls ages 8 to 12 let God, not the world, define who they are. 12
Tickets: $15 13
Discipleship Ministries - Partnering with Families Sponge Bob, Captain Underpants, Star Wars and the Goat Simulator. These are a few of the search words that I looked up on a site called www.commonsensemedia.org in the past few months. This is a great website that gives you an overview, rating and the age appropriateness of all the different types of media your child or teen will consume. Anything from video games to movies, the website will help you and your child (including your teenager) make wiser choices in terms of what to consume and not to consume. There’s even a section called “Families can talk about…” where parents can engage their child or teen with what they are already in to.
Spring Kids Summer Day Camp - Save the Date! July 18-22, 9am-12pm
Spring Youth January 15-17 - Avalanche Winter Retreat - We will be heading up to Muskoka woods to join other churches all over Ontario and Quebec for a big youth retreat. This will be the 16th year CBOQ Youth has done this retreat and they are expecting over 400 youth to attend. Spring Garden has a limited number of spots for this retreat available so if your youth would like to attend or you would like more information please email me back. Cost: $135 - Includes rides to and from the venue, food for the weekend, and heated cabins. January 22nd - TBM Youth Party- Following the hype of Avalanche, we will be partnering with other Baptist churches around the GTA in having a Youth Party here at Spring Garden. There will be lots of food, games, and worship. This will be a great time for youth as they connect and meet other people their age in a fun and safe environment. Please speak with Sam or Jeremy for more information.
Pursuing God’s Will What follows is a condensed summary of the process of discernment Spring Garden leadership has committed to use which comes from Ruth Haley Barton’s Pursuing God’s Will Together. This process helps to hear from God collectively so that we can have wise discernment, not simply making logical decisions. We as a leadership team in Spring Garden are committed to pursuing God’s will together using this process to guide us by the Spirit. Although it is designed for discerning collectively and can be used as teams, groups, families, couples, friends and support networks, the principles can also be adapted for individual use (though we would encourage you to discern with a spiritual friend whenever possible!). Although we are giving you this summary as a resource, we strongly encourage you to read the whole book and would be happy to get a copy for you. 1. Preparation a. Clarify the question that needs to be discerned b. Gather together c. Review and affirm relevant values
2. Putting ourselves in a position to be led a. Prayer for indifference to all but the will of Christ. (We inevitably come into the conversation with opinions and objectives. Here we pray for grace to put those aside until we are able to say “I want the collective sense of God’s leading more than I want my opinions to prevail.”) b. Test for indifference. (We each indicate if we are at a place we can set our agenda aside. If not, we continue to pray.) c. Prayer for wisdom and quiet trust 3. Discerning God’s will together a. Listen to each other. (Each person is given opportunity to speak bringing whatever information or insight they have to question at hand. It is important that we listen carefully and share information that will lead to a decision rather than trying to sell a decision.) b. Listen to God in silence. (If possible, everyone move to a place of physical solitude.) c. Reconvene and listen again. (Three important rules are set for this stage. (1) We describe what we sense we have heard from God during the time of silence; (2) Each person may only speak once until all have spoken; (3) As each person speaks they speak without any interruption, if there are clarifying questions they may be asked after the person has finished what they have to say.) d. Identify and work with options. e. Agree together. (Each person must be able to say at the end of this stage; (1) I agree that this is what we should do; (2) This is not what I would decide but I will without qualification support this because I trust the judgment of the group; (3) I cannot support this we need to keep talking or perhaps return for a time of silent listening to God.) f. Seek inner confirmation in prayer. g. Each affirm a sense of God’s guidance. h. Go out and enact what you have discerned in unity and mutual edification.
To our family at Spring Garden Church, As 2016 begins, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your ongoing generosity towards and exemplary partnership with Youth Unlimited. The above ‘stats’ are but a glimpse of the impact you are having among the young people of our city through your shared ministry with Youth Unlimited. Thank you!! Your generous support of Jesse James, Clem Lee, Monica Kay, Kathy Webb, John Wilkinson and Scott Moore goes such a long way in helping meet the needs of each of these staff members as they raise the funds required for their salary, training and expenses. We are truly blessed to call Spring Garden Church ‘home’! Gratefully, Scott Moore | Executive Director | email@example.com
Summer Clothing for Manila’s Urban Poor
MY QUESTIONABLE EULOGY What would they say about me? Do I matter? Or am I a piece of dust that travels in the air? I wonder how that dust affected my family, friends and acquaintances and people generally? Did I gather dirt around their feet or in their pockets? Or in their clothing? Did I become a collection as a mound that blocked their path to grow? Or their time to move? Or was it easy to flick or plow through that mound and ignore it? Would they say he was a giver and loved people? Did he serve without complaining? Was his job to serve and be served or was it a façade?
This December a major fire in Welfareville, the poorest part of Manila (the capital city of Philippines) left hundreds with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Jen Chrystman, one of Spring Garden’s vocational missionaries working in the Philippines with OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship), made an appeal to us to donate “gently used” summer clothing for those who lost everything in the fire. For the final weeks of December and up until January 10th, we have been collecting clothing to send to Welfareville, to be delivered by Jeff and Phyllis McGee (members of Spring Garden) when they go to visit Jen mid-January.
Was his talk the same as his walk? Did he trip over his feet and fall often? Did his fall bring guilt or deception and later become the picture or was that an image on a mirror that faded? If God had a say on him, what would utter from his voice? Was he pleased, disappointed, laughed at him or commented, what!!? Could he say, he loved others truly or was he just following the crowd? Did he take him seriously and was his journey peaceful or hectic? Does it matter what others think? Does it matter what others say?, because the only judge is the Master. The Master’s say is the most important due to his perfect perception and Grace.
Thanks to all of you who donated clothing to help care for the poor in Manila! And thanks Jeff and Phyllis for taking the clothing! 20
George Spear 21
Leadership at Spring Garden Elders
Pastoral Team Gene Tempelmeyer, Pastor Ext. 222 firstname.lastname@example.org Greg Kay, Worship and Mission Pastor Ext. 224 email@example.com Margaret Sutton, Pastoral Care/Seniors Ext. 226 firstname.lastname@example.org Sam Lee, Pastor of Discipleship, Ext. 227 email@example.com Suzanna Lai, Church Office and Communications Manager Ext. 221 firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Ranasinghe, Discpleship Ministries Assistant email@example.com
Deacons Anne Barron - Missions and Worship firstname.lastname@example.org Marion Cameron - Membership and Board Secretary email@example.com Mary Ellen Hopkins - Finance firstname.lastname@example.org Koon Wah Leung - Discipleship Ministries email@example.com Gonzalo Librado - Adult Ministries firstname.lastname@example.org Darren Moore - Community Life email@example.com Derek Prinsloo - Chair firstname.lastname@example.org Judy Tranter - Pastoral Care email@example.com Jim Turner - Property firstname.lastname@example.org 22
416.724.9329 416.491.8542 905.731.0492
Garth Barron email@example.com Darlene Boyd firstname.lastname@example.org Jennifer Moore email@example.com Barrie Porter firstname.lastname@example.org Corinne Sutton-Smith email@example.com
416.724.9329 416.385.2483 416.786.8727 416.829.4210 416.615.1763
Spring Garden Church 112 Spring Garden Ave. Toronto ON M2N3G3
T 416.223.4593 F 416.223.6126 www.springgardenchurch.ca firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Line 416.223.4038
Life around Spring Garden
416.225.7092 416.229.2695 416.786.8727 647.349.4610 416.229.0494
Life Groups We have Life Groups meeting in many areas of the city. Most groups meet every two weeks, but some follow other schedules. If you would like to join a Life Group please contact Jin Lee at Jin.Lee@rogers.com or talk to Pastor Gene during Coffee Time after worship if you would like to be introduced to Jin.
2016 Ministry Fair and Budget Meeting Sunday February 7, 2016 We will be having a Ministry Fair after worship on Sunday February 7. All ministry/program leaders are invited to participate in the fair. Booths will be set up to exhibit the various ministries/ programs happening in SGC and how you can get plugged in. We will have a finger food potluck while we spend time participating in the fair. Please bring some appetizers, hors doeuvres, fruits, veggie sticks, snacks, cookies (basically anything that can be consumed without having to use a fork or spoon) to share. We will then have a brief ministry presentation followed by a Budget Meeting. The meeting is to pass the 2016 budget for SGC and to formally accepted the audited statements from 2014. All ministry/program leaders please start planning for this event. It will be a fun and engaging way for the Spring Garden family to get to know what our church budget goes into supporting! Mark the date down on your calendar and join us!
2016 Parking Pass Sticker NOW AVAILABLE The 2016 Annual Parking Pass sticker is now available. Please bring your 2015 parking pass to the church office to receive a 2016 sticker and update your vehicle’s information if required. Your pass number will remain the same. If you are a church ministry worker, member, or ministry partner who wish to obtain an annual parking pass, please also visit the church office. Thank you.
First Time Visitors If you are a first time visitor to Spring Garden Church, “welcome”. Visit the “Welcome and Information Centre” located at the top of the parking lot stairs, for information about the church and receive a small welcome gift.
The Church Needs Your Help to Stay in the Toronto Waste Diversion Rate Waiver Program We are currently participating in the Toronto Waste Diversion Rate Waiver Program in which we have our solid waste management fee waived because we are a registered charity. However, being in the program subjects us to spot inspections by the city to ensure our set out practices are appropriate and we have demonstrated our ongoing commitment to proper recycling/garbage disposal. Failing the spot inspections will result in us having to pay commercial solid waste management rate. Therefore, we need your diligence in adhering to City of Toronto waste diversion practices when disposing waste in the church building. Waste disposal literature is posted. Please pay attention to them when you choose which bin to place your waste in.
Some Common Mistakes Are: 1. Putting paper coffee cups in the Blue Recycling Bin - Correction: paper coffee/hot drink cups from all major coffee shops are GARBAGE 2. Putting foam take out food containers in the Garbage Bin - Correction: Foam food and protective packaging are RECYCLABLE and need to be rinsed. Black foam items are GARBAGE. 3. Putting soiled paper plates in the Blue Recycling Bin - Correction: Soiled papers/paper plates are ORGANIC WASTE 4. Putting plastic chips/cookie food packaging in the Blue Recycling Bin - Correction: Plastic snack food packaging are GARBAGE. 25
However, plastic bags such as grocery bags and milk bags are RECYCLABLE. Please refer to the bin chart when disposing plastics. 5. Putting tissue papers in the Blue Recycling Bin - Correction: Tissue papers are ORGANIC WASTE 6. Putting batteries and light bulbs in the Garbage Bin - Correction: Batteries and light bulbs are hazardous waste and need to be disposed at a location that takes them. Since the spot inspections are random and unannounced, everyone’s effort will count and will have an impact! We need your attentiveness to pass the yearly inspections (and of course being a creation care advocate is a part of who we are as a church body). Thank you!
Life in Spring Garden
Weekly Tuesdays 2:00 pm - Pastoral Team meeting 7:00 pm - Groove Dance Group Wednesdays 10:00 am - Refresh Women’s Bible Study Thursdays 12:00 pm - Adult Bible Class Sundays 9:00 am - Morning Bible Study: meeting room - ESL Bible study: basement at the southwest entrance 10:00 am - Sunday Morning Worship (communion on the first Sunday of the month) If you would like to receive a weekly email update on what’s happening in Spring Garden, please visit the SGC website (www.springgardenchurch.ca) and add your email at the bottom of our home page to subscribe to our weekly update
Sunday Feb 7: 2016 Ministry Fair and Budget Meeting
Our Values We believe in a humble God who came not to be served, but to serve. Therefore we engage in sacrificial and active service to those around us. We strive to be good stewards of God’s gifts and talents by serving one another in humility. We aspire to regard others as higher than ourselves, which liberates us to creatively take risks in serving others for God’s glory. We believe in a God of grace who came to save the world, not to condemn it. Therefore, as we are continuously receiving the gift of God’s grace, we seek to grow in that grace and extend it to others. We strive to define ourselves by what we are for, not what we are against. We believe in a God who knows us, and who desires to be known. Therefore we embrace a journey of faith that requires us to constantly strive for a personal, intimate and transformative knowledge of God. We strive to be led by God’s Spirit in supporting and encouraging one another in working out our faith. We believe in a creative God. Therefore we are open to expressing our faith in new and creative ways that reflect the beauty and complexity of our creator. We are called to use our creative gifts in worship and service as we engage with our world. We take joy in the diversity of gifts that allow us to delight God and participate in His ongoing story. We believe in a triune, relational God who calls us to come together as a diverse community of believers. Therefore, we want to walk together, supporting one another physically, emotionally and spiritually. We strive to be a welcoming, inclusive family that goes through the joys and the trials of life together, acknowledging that God uses this community to deepen and mature our faith. We believe in a God who loves this broken world and wants to reconcile us to Himself. Therefore we are commissioned by Christ to go out into the world, meeting the holistic needs of the local and global community. God calls us to participate in a redemptive work that he has already initiated; in humility, we will partner with others to work alongside and chase after Him. We believe in a God who is our center. Therefore where we are on the journey is less important than that we are moving towards a deeper relationship with Christ. We believe and participate in God’s redemptive work in all people, which gives us the freedom to come as we are, and to accept others as they are. We each are on a unique journey to become who God has created us to be. 28