Features Musings: On Baptism and Community
Departments SGC Discipleship Ministries Resource Centre
Information Contact Information Community Corner Calendar
16 18 19
Cover:Gene Tempelmeyer Design: Clement Lee Contributors: Karen Cassel Greg Kay Sam Lee Gene Tempelmeyer Copy Editors: Karen Cassel Greg Kay Michelle Li Gene Tempelmeyer
Delve submissions are due on the LAST MONDAY of each month. To submit for the next issue of Delve, please email: email@example.com
Musings: On Baptism and Community by Gene Tempelmeyer
changes. It is not enough to simply wash off the stains of today’s sins. We must, John said, be willing to present fruit from a desire to live a new way of life. John pointed the way to a new baptiser: “I baptise with water, but One who is coming will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Not only would this new baptiser call us to a changed way of life, he would fill us with God’s own Spirit empowering that life, and give us a flaming passion to live God’s life in the world. When He had completed his time on earth Jesus instructed His followers to continue this practise as people heard about Jesus and began to follow Him. Jesus never addressed most of the questions Christians have since debated about these dividing waters. He simply urged us to do it.
ne of my favorite photographs of myself is an image of a younger me with a fuller head of hair standing in the Duck River with Terry Williams, the Southern Baptist evangelist who baptised me. I had been baptised as a baby, but when I began to follow Jesus at the age of 16 my reading of the Gospels led to a strong desire to be baptised on the basis of my own decision. This felt like a way of embracing the life changes bubbling up from within me. When I made the decision to be immersed in the Duck River I had little understanding of the history, meaning, and debates this old ritual carried into the river with me. Later I learned that baptism is not a Christian innovation, it began with a Jewish ritual of daily purification. For many Jews in Jesus’ time, it was a devotional exercise to cleanse the temptations and corruptions accumulated by another day of living in the world. Then Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, added another layer of meaning. He came preaching a baptism of “repentance.” That is just a fancy word for change. John told the people if they really wanted a more pure life they needed to commit themselves to necessary 4
It seems to me that, in the early years of the church, baptism was practised as a rite of inclusion in the Body of Christ, or the Church. A rather important question for us is: does one become part of the church by being baptised or is one baptised because they have already become part of the church? Reading through The Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s letters, it seems to me that the baptism joining us to the Body of Christ is a baptism of Spirit. But this does not negate in any way the power and importance of being baptised by the church in water. Baptism is a gift to us, a gift to God, and a gift to each other. Through the water we are given the promise and hope of the Holy Spirit for ourselves, our children, and those who are “far off.” Meanwhile, in baptism we give God our act of obedience and the promise of a continuing obedience. In baptism we give each other the gift of the church: a community of people who have identified themselves as followers of Jesus. Finally, we give the world around us a tangible display of God’s renewing activity in the world. For these last two reasons, a “private baptism” is an oxymoron. (Yes, I know the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch! A point I’ll come to later is the desire to institutionalize the personal meaning out of the act by 5
making rules that don’t take differing people and circumstances into account.) My opinion is that the ideal form of baptism is complete immersion under water. To begin with, this is simply what the Greek word, baptizma means. It is how the original Jewish ritual took place, and continues to take place in many synagogues around the world. Most importantly, to me, it delivers the fullest symbolic impact of the death and resurrection of Jesus being re-enacted in a believer embracing new life in Christ. What is more important to me than the amount of water applied to the baptismal candidate is the state of their faith. It is not baptism that saves us and joins us to the church. That work belongs to the Trinity God: the Father who loves and forgives us, the Son who offered perfect obedience as He sought our forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit who draws us and fills us with the real presence and fullness of God. Baptism is a way we say, “Yes!” to this, and in saying, “Yes!” experience it more fully. After baptising me and a few of my friends, Terry Williams was in hot water with the deacons at the small Baptist Church where he was a part-time pastor. They felt our baptism violated the community aspect of baptism: it did not take place in a church, nor did we become members of his church following baptism. (It was, however, a very public baptism. Not only were we surrounded with family and friends, but we were baptised on a Saturday afternoon in a popular “swimming hole.” Out of respect, several families pulled their children out of their play in the water for a few minutes to watch us being baptised and hear our testimonies.) In retrospect, I think Terry understood something about baptism that neither we nor his deacons understood. Baptism is at its most powerful when it is a freely chosen act of commitment to Jesus Christ and His way. That, by the way, is a very Baptist idea. The Baptist movement did not begin with a baptismal theology. It began as a fresh understanding of faith and the church. It began as 6
a reaction to civil and religious authorities assuming the right and responsibility to make important spiritual decisions for the individual. Baptism was merely one of the spiritual matters early Baptists said did not belong to state churches, or even to one’s own parents. It was a logical outcome of this approach that baptism would be viewed as the free act of an individual pledging allegiance to God. Even Baptists, who have defined themselves by the idea of being free to follow their own conscience, have a tendency to revert to telling other people what they have to do. I will quickly acknowledge that the Baptist Movement and other Christian movements arising at the same time in history placed far too much emphasis on the individual and far too little on the community. We need to recover a greater sense of communion as more than a time for personal devotion and baptism as more than personal expression. Both are gifts shared between ourselves, God, and the community. I believe that Baptism (and communion) are gifts that anyone who follows Jesus should both give to and receive from the community of God. In other words, if you or I are trying to follow Jesus but haven’t been baptised as a free act of obedience to God, I think we should be. I think we’re missing out on something good we should experience. That’s what I think. But it’s not what I think that matters to you, is it? It’s what you think. It’s not my choice. I already made my choice and have a fading photograph I enjoy immensely. It is up to you to decide. If you see it differently than I do, I respect that. Truthfully, I kind of hope you agree with me! That’s how humans are. We think we’re right. But I’m not going to make your agreement with my baptismal theology a condition for sharing life with you in the church. You may believe in infant baptism. You may not believe in baptism at all. But if you want to follow Jesus and believe in Him, I want to meet you at the Communion Table and rejoice that we are part of the same church. 7
Partnering with Families
SGC Discipleship Ministries
there. March 4th: Serve Sunday - We will be joining the upstairs worship this day as the youth band leads the musical portions of worship. Youth are encouraged to serve through the different opportunities available. Life Groups: Life Groups will be on March 9th and 23rd this month. For more information please contact either Sam or Jeremy for boys life groups, or Kaitlyn (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Diana (diana.boisvert@sgbc. ca) for the girls.
Here is an overview of what we will be talking about on Sundays for Spring Kids. Pre-K – JK/SK: Pray In this series, children will learn that God wants to spend time with us and one way we can do that is to pray every day. We can pray every day, anywhere, and any way. Prayer is how we talk to God, how we listen to God, and how God transforms our hearts. “Never stop praying.” | 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Grades 1-5 • God Leads • God Forgives • God is Help • Remember & Celebrate!
SGC Youth Here is what's happening in March! Sunday Morning Worship Gatherings: March 11th 18th and 25th, - We will be having regular worship gatherings for youth in grades 6-12. Following the children’s blessing, youth will move to the youth lounge to continue worship
Youth Events: March 3rd - Service Event: We will be helping out parents by watching kids during Spring Garden’s date night event. For more information, please email Sam Time:5:00pm - 9:00pm Cost: Free (Dinner is included) March 13th - March Break Event: We will be hanging out in the afternoon during the March break. Plans include Korean BBQ, games and potentially a movie! Time: 11:00am-4:00pm Cost: $15 Easter Season: We would like to invite you and your family to join us this Easter season. We will be having worship gatherings on March 25th (Palm Sunday), 30th (Good Friday) and April 1st (Easter Sunday) all at 10am. For more information on what we are doing for Easter, please see our website Springgardenchurch.ca Staying Updated: To stay up to date on what is happening for your youth, please visit our google calendar which has all our planned events. http://tinyurl.com/SGCYouth
SGC Community Garden Information and Kickoff Meeting—Sunday March 18
his coming spring and summer will be our second year of running our community garden! On Sunday March 18th after morning worship we will have a meeting for anyone who is interested or thinks they might be interested in being involved— whether it be in planning, planting, harvesting, watering, delivering food to a neighbourhood Drop-in, or meeting with neighbours.
Garden Liaisons – work with gardening team (church and neighbours) to establish the planting, education of team and harvest. It is a shared role so each person can take off some time as needed. Coordinator/Community Liaison – works with Willowdale community members and the Drop Inn program. Assists with team concerns and administration that is outside the scope of the Garden Liaison. Victoria will work with this volunteer(s) to develop the role. These roles will be active from March to September and will require no more than an average of 2 hours a week with time off for vacations. You do not have to be a gardener as the role is to equip the gardeners in the roles they like to do and to ensure they have the support they need. If you have any questions but are not able to attend the meeting, please email email@example.com
With the garden we are interested in growing food but getting the biggest crop is not our motivation. Instead we want to give people a chance to see how a few small plants provide the food we are used to seeing in the grocery store. Some people have never seen tomatoes on the vine or how fast beans can grow and may not have thought too much about the basic things of life that only God can create. It is also a way for us to meet our neighbours and provide a chance for them to do a bit of gardening. As a church it gives us a chance to learn how to equip and encourage each other in a group project, as well as an opportunity to join together in caring for God’s creation and caring for the marginalized in our neighbourhood. We also have two new leadership opportunities on the team: 10
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
Recomendations From The Resource Centre
Daring to hope: finding God’s goodness in the broken and the beautiful, By Katie Davis Majors
My name is Mahtob, by Mahtob
(Biography) (Sequel to Kisses from Katie)
Two decades ago, millions of readers worldwide thrilled to the story told in the international bestseller Not Without My Daughter, that told of an American mother and her six-year- old child’s daring escape from an abusive and tyrannical Iranian husband and father. Now the daughter returns to tell the whole story, not only of that imprisonment and escape but of life after fleeing Tehran: living in fear of re-abduction, enduring recurring nightmares and panic attacks, attending school under a false name, battling life-threatening illness—all under the menacing shadow of her father. This is the story of an extraordinary young woman’s triumph over life-crushing trauma to build a life of peace and forgiveness. Taking readers from Michigan to Iran and from Ankara, Turkey, to Paris, France, My Name Is Mahtob depicts the profound resilience of a wounded soul healed by faith in God’s goodness and in his care and love. And Mahmoody reveals the secret of how she liberated herself from a life of fear, learning to forgive the father who had shattered her life and discovering joy and peace that comes from doing so.
When Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became the mother of thirteen girls through the miracle of adoption, she determined to weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But joy often gave way to sorrow as she invested her heart fully in walking alongside people in the grip of poverty, addiction, desperation, and disease. After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? When she turned to Him with her questions, God spoke truth to her heart and drew her even deeper into relationship with Him. Daring to Hope is an invitation to cling to the God of the impossible—the God who whispers His love to us in the quiet, in the mundane, when our prayers are not answered the way we want or the miracle doesn’t come. It’s about a mother discovering the extraordinary strength it takes to be ordinary. It’s about choosing faith no matter the circumstance and about encountering God’s goodness in the least expected places.
The Masterpiece, by Francine Rivers
A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison. Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.
2K 4 2MORROW
RUN WITH YU SUNDAY, MAY 6, 12:30PM Join us for the Mississauga Marathon 2k family fun run and raise funds for the work of Youth Unlimited throughout the GTA! More ambitious? You can also do a marathon, 1/2 marathon, 10k or more...
Learn more about the run at: mississaugamarathon.com
Interested in joining our YU team? Email Scott at: email@example.com
Leadership at Spring Garden
Pastoral Team Gene Tempelmeyer, Pastor 416-223-4593 firstname.lastname@example.org Greg Kay, Worship and Mission Pastor email@example.com Margaret Sutton, Pastoral Care/Seniors firstname.lastname@example.org Sam Lee, Pastor of Discipleship, email@example.com Michelle Li, Church Office and Communications Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Ranasinghe, Discipleship Ministries Assistant email@example.com
Ext. 222 Ext. 224 Ext. 226 Ext. 227 Ext. 221 Ext. 223
Deacons Sam Chaise firstname.lastname@example.org Adora Chui email@example.com Lesley Daniels firstname.lastname@example.org Joanne Laing email@example.com Gonzalo Librado firstname.lastname@example.org Shannon Loewen email@example.com Peggy Moore firstname.lastname@example.org Esther Penner email@example.com Doug Willson firstname.lastname@example.org 16
Garth Barron email@example.com Darlene Boyd firstname.lastname@example.org Cindie Chaise email@example.com Cheryl Chapman firstname.lastname@example.org Joanna James email@example.com Barrie Porter firstname.lastname@example.org Brad Sider email@example.com Corinne Sutton-Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
416-724-9329 416.385.2483 416.738.0530 416.222.6963 647.928.0862 416.829.4210 647.200.6853 647.704.7710
647-968-5065 905.962.3897 416.806.5373 416-617-6582 416.229.2695 647-202-0701 416.225.2406 416.227.1840 416.221.0450
Discipleship Ministry Interns Sarah Lander - Children’s Intern email@example.com Diana Boisvert - Youth Intern firstname.lastname@example.org Calvin Pais - Parent and Family Engagement Intern email@example.com
Spring Garden Church T 416.223.4593 112 Spring Garden Ave. F 416.223.6126 Toronto ON M2N3G3 www.springgardenchurch.ca firstname.lastname@example.org Prayer Line 416.223.4038 17
Life around Spring Garden
EASTER POTLUCK LUNCH Join us after the Easter worship gathering on April 1st for a simple potluck meal. We are asking everyone to bring one of the following to share: - fruit - yogurt - bagels - pastries We will provide the rest! See you there!
Easter Meals for Ex-offenders Sunday March 25th Once again we will be Showing God's Care by making meal care packages for ex-offenders. There are three main ways you can be involved. 1) Join us Sunday March 25th following our morning worship as we prepare lasagnas, brownies and Easter cards to be delivered in time for Easter weekend. Please bring a bag lunch as we will eat together before getting to work @12. 2) Sign up to bring food! We have sign up lists of what items we need for the care packages to be delivered to the church building by Wed Mar 21. You may also email email@example.com to sign up (please be specific about which items and what quantity). 3) Prayer: The men we are caring for face many challenges as they work to remain healthy members of society and need our prayer as well as our care. 18
Whatâ€™s Happening Life in Spring Garden
Weekly Tuesdays 1:00 pm - Pastoral Team Meeting - in Meeting Room Wednesdays 10:00 am -11:30 am - Refresh Women's Group - in West Lounge (childcare provided) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm - ESL cafe - Wednesday in East Lounge Thursdays 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm - The Thursday Bunch - in East lounge Sundays 9:00 am - 10:00 am - ESL Bible Class - Sunday in Basement Hallway 9:00 am -10:00 am - Sunday Morning Bible Study - in Meeting Room 10:00 am - 11:30 am - Sunday Morning Worship (communion on the first Sunday of the month) If you would like to receive a weekly email update on whatâ€™s happening in Spring Garden, please visit the SGC website (www.springgardenchurch.ca) and add your email address at the bottom of our home page to subscribe to our weekly update
Sunday Mar 18 - 11:30am - Community Garden Information meeting (pg 10)
Easter Celebration Dates
Sunday Mar 25 - 12pm: Community Care Project- Easter Meals for Ex-offenders (pg 18) Friday Mar 30 - 10am: Good Friday Worship with Communion (childcare for nursery to grade 5 available) Sunday April 1 - 6:30 am: Easter Sunrise Liturgy with Communion -10:00 am: Easter Sunday Worship Celebration -11:30 am: Easter Community Continental Lunch (pg 18) 19
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.