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Urban Ministry Lectures

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CRC Campus Ministries (U of T) is partnering with Trinity College Faculty of Divinity, Wycliffe College, Young Street Mission and St. James Cathedral Centre to sponsor a lecture series led by Dr. Mark Gornik in Toronto on March 13 and 14, 2017.

Gornik is the author of a number of books including “To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City”; he is also founder and director of City Seminary of New York.

Click here for the poster detailing the events or visit this website.

Christmas Reflection from DMC’s National Director

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I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making His home with men and women! They’re His people, He’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”  (Revelation 21:3-5 The Message)

poemPastor Phil Reinders once wrote that Advent is a season of expectant waiting, tapping into the sense we have that all is not well, the longing for the world to be made right again.  It’s a season for restless hearts and people weary of a broken world who want, with all our being, to know there’s more than this.  (Seeking God’s Face.  p.23)  As deacons that’s where our hearts are at – longing to see the world made right – and doing all we can to join God where He’s already working in our neighborhoods – and around the world.

As we move to within a few days of Christmas – of incarnation day – of the day The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood (John 1:14 The Message), it’s my prayer that you will experience the Incarnation in a fresh and energizing way.  That no matter how busy you are – and no matter how many good works you’re involved with (Ephesians 2:10), and no matter how quickly the time flies by – you’ll sense God with you.  I pray that this Christmas you’ll pause long enough to experience the Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love that His presence in our world is supposed to bring.  And I pray that experiencing Jesus in this way will give you renewed energy – and hope – to carry on in 2017 knowing that there’s more than this!

-ron vanden brink

“Caring for our Community”: an Operation Manna update from Chilliwack, BC

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Last May, Canadian CRC congregations were blessed, through the Operation Manna (OM) campaign, to hear the story of how Heartland Fellowship CRC in Chilliwack, BC was getting to know its neighbours and blessing its community through trailbuilding. By giving to OM through the offering, churches across Canada became partners in this exciting project.  Recently, Diaconal Ministries Canada asked Heartland and the Chilliwack Park Society to update the churches on what has been happening. Marc Greidanus of the Chilliwack Park Society sent the following update.

We wish to extend a heartfelt thankyou to all the churches that have supported Operation Manna!
In partnership with Heartland Community Fellowship, the Chilliwack Park Society has enjoyed a fun and productive season.  Our Community Forest park project with the City of Chilliwack has been a great success.  trailbuilding2The park is open and seeing lots of use, especially from young families.  Unity Christian School’s woodworking class built a beautiful bridge and viewdeck out of donated cedar.  The kids from the Ed Centre, Chilliwack’s alternative high school, have provided hundreds of volunteer hours, gotten their exercise and put their passion into the trails.

quiettimeKylie Greidanus, working with the local school district, has created a full day forest field trip curriculum for local elementary schools and has taken many classes into the forest, from kindergarten to grade 3.  In addition to hiking, learning about forest succession and the local flora and fauna, the kids most enjoyed their quiet time in the forest, where they are encouraged to draw what they see, hear and smell.

(left): Holly Vermette from Heartland, enjoying her quiet time.

Finally, our society was able to mobilize community volunteers and clear and repair most of Chilliwack’s most popular local hiking trails for everyone to enjoy.  A fantastic season!  Thank you Operation Manna and the CRC for supporting us in caring for our community!

3 Ways a Partnership with Operation Manna can help your church in local ministry.

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How might a partnership with Operation Manna help your church in local ministry?

Do you and your fellow church members have a desire to walk with your neighbours? Did you know that Operation Manna has been helping churches establish important and impactful local ministries for more than 45 years?

In 2016 alone, Diaconal Ministries Canada worked with more than 30 churches and ministry partners to help them establish and grow. Heartland Fellowship CRC, in Chilliwack, BC, is just one of those churches. They partnered with their community to build trails through a local forest, which has opened up exciting connections within the community. They’re the feature of a video that we just posted to tell the Operation Manna story. You can watch it here.

But first, here are three ways that Operation Manna can help your church in local ministry:

1. Diaconal Ministries Canada has experienced staff dedicated to the Operation Manna program.

  • We provide support to your ministry through prayer, encouragement and consultation (planning, organizing, training, or even providing a “sounding board” for your ideas and vision).
  • We connect you to other ministries and churches across Canada involved in similar ministries for learning and sharing.
  • We provide excellent tools to help you develop your ministry.

2. Diaconal Ministries Canada makes grant money available to churches for their ministries.

  • These grants might be needed to help to start a program or ministry.
  • They might also help a church or ministry with limited financial resources be able to partner with others in the community.
  • They might help your church develop a current ministry further or to move it in a new direction.

3. As part of our network, your ministry will be given more exposure and promotion in your Classis and across the country.

Looking for more information? You can find it here.

(above photo: Good News Fellowship CRC walks with their neighbours through the ministry of the Indigenous Family Centre in Winnipeg, MB)

Developing Spiritual Gifts: mentoring deacons and more

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“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The Taskforce report on Elders and Deacons roles in ministry has presented opportunities for teaching and unpacking how leaders in the church can integrate word and deed ministry practically. DMC staff has spent time reflecting and building on our Ephesians 4 vision for diaconal leadership. These insights have sparked innovative development of resources for churches to identify spiritual gifts in members of the congregations and how to mentor others in developing those gifts.

To this end, DMC staff has designed new resources and a workshop to support churches in discovering the gifts within the Body of Christ. Please consider if these resources would interest your local church:

  1. Discovering Spiritual Gifts – this workshop includes a personal gifts questionnaire, teaching surrounding spiritual gifts in general, the specific gifts and how to implement them. It concludes with a component called “Releasing Ourselves and Others for Ministry” that teaches engagement and interdependence within the community of believers.
  1. Asset Mapping in the Congregation – this resource uses the principles of ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) to discover the gifts of a faith community and its resources. This tool works well in conjunction with the Community Opportunity Scan in bringing to light areas where the gifts within a neighbourhood can connect with the gifts of a local church.
  1. Mentoring Planthis resource includes teaching around mentoring – what it is, biblical basis, and what it could look like. We have also developed a general plan for more experienced deacons wishing to mentor new deacons. DMC staff can collaborate with a deacon team to customize a mentoring strategy.

Holding the Ephesians 4 vision for diaconal leadership can transform the way we look at calling people to the offices of elder and deacon. The challenge of equipping and preparing lay leaders in the church is also our opportunity. From there, the task of leadership includes equipping others for works of service. We hope that these further workshop and resource offerings from DMC can assist churches in raising up leaders, mentoring young people in discovering their gifts, and using the assets of a faith community for God’s kingdom work.

Looking for more resources for deacons? Click here!

NEW! Devotion #7

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Here is the seventh devotion for deacons in the latest set of devotionals from Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC).

In our conversations with deacons across the country, DMC often summarizes the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship. This devotion is the first of 3 to focus on deacons and justice.

Each devotion is available in a package with additional resources and discussion questions.

We pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your diaconate may grow and deepen its relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download devotion 7.

Visit the devotion webpage for the earlier devotions in this set, as well as the complete first set of devotions.

Refugee Sunday

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Have you seen a robin yet? There has certainly been extremely cold and stormy weather in many parts of Canada this winter!  Some areas have had excess snow whereas other areas have had incredibly cold temperatures. In Ontario, we experienced the coldest February on record! I find great comfort knowing this weather is in His hands. Thanks be to God that He is in control!

With the arrival of spring this month, we anticipate with gratefulness the warmer temperatures and new life that comes with this season. Let us also give thanks for essentials such as clothing and food as World Renew walks alongside disaster survivors and refugees who may not have access to these daily needs.

Today there are more than 50 million people who have been forced from their country because of threats to their personal safety. In Canada, private organizations – including churches – have the unique opportunity to sponsor refugee families and help them resettle into a new and safe community. This is a powerful way to demonstrate the love of Christ to those displaced by persecution and war.

April 12 is Refugee Sunday in Canada. We encourage your church to use this day (or set aside another Sunday soon) to pray for refugees and hold an offering in support of World Renew’s refugee ministry, and to consider sponsoring a refugee or refugee family.

For Refugee Sunday this year, World Renew has a new litany and PowerPoint presentation available for your church to use during your service. Another new resource is “Journey with Me: Refugee Stories that Change Lives”, an interactive workshop for churches about refugee justice. To download these materials and find out more about refugee sponsorship, go to the World Renew website or contact Rebecca Walker at rwalker@worldrenew.net.

written by Peter Bulthuis (World Renew Church Relations)

“Sharing many passions”

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Diaconal Ministries Canada provides many resources for deacons in the Christian Reformed Church. At the very top of the resource list are the Diaconal Ministry Developers (DMDs). These passionate and creative individuals are encouragers and coaches for deacons. They are experienced in diaconal work and are available to help deacons understand their role and work out their calling in the church and its community.

But even equippers need equipping. And encouragers need encouraging. So Diaconal Ministries Canada gathers the DMDs together for a time of mutual encouragement, sharing, learning, and equipping. Recently, the gathering was held in Abbotsford, British Columbia, and what follows are some of the highlights of that gathering.

opening worship

We began our mornings with worship, praising our Father, giving thanks to Jesus and praying the power and presence of the Spirit in our gathering and in our work. One DMD wrote that there was a “great feeling of the presence of God at our gathering.”

 

creative ways to learnWe spent time sharing, learning and discussing (in sometimes new and interesting ways). Our conversations touched on justice in the CRC, the office of deacon, and many other experiences and ideas.  One DMD wrote that  “it was good….to participate in discussions with people whom I admire and trust, and who share many of my passions.”

 

listening to Dave

We drove into Vancouver to learn about poverty, homelessness and addiction from staff of Union Gospel Mission and a former resident (Dave, centre of photo, left). One DMD wrote that “Dave’s testimony was a highlight for me. Just shows what can happen when God’s grace invades a life.”

OM partner visit

 

 

We also visited Studio Works, an Operation Manna partner in Vancouver. We met Shelimar, the potter in residence, and learned about how artists together “explore artistic expression and entrepreneurship as a pathway to lasting change.” (from the Studio Works website)  

 

 

Saturday morning with WilmaOn Saturday morning, Pastor Wilma Van Der Leek (of the BC Leadership Development Network) led us through the book of Timothy as a pattern for  diaconal leadership. One DMD wrote that “Wilma did an excellent job of making the Bible practical for deacons. This was a highlight for me.”

 

 

 

 

NEW! Devotions for Deacons #5

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Here is the fifth devotion for deacons in the latest set of devotionals from Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC).

In our conversations with deacons across the country, DMC often summarizes the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship. This devotion is the second of 3 to focus on deacons and compassion.

Each devotion is available in a package with additional resources and discussion questions.

We pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your diaconate may grow and deepen its relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download devotion #5

Visit the devotion webpage for the earlier devotions inthis set, as well as the complete first set of devotions.

NEW! Devotion for Deacons #4

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Here is the fourth devotion for deacons in the latest set of devotionals from Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC).

In our conversations with deacons across the country, DMC often summarizes the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship. This devotion is the first of 3 to focus on deacons and compassion.

Each devotion is available in a package with additional resources and discussion questions. Alternatively, you may choose to simply download the devotion without the accompanying material.

We pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your diaconate may grow and deepen its relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download devotion 4

Download devotion 4 without resources

Visit the devotion webpage for the first 2 devotions in the second set, as well as the complete first set of devotions.