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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.

Filling a Deacon Position Together: what are your thoughts?

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Recently a Diaconal Ministries Canada staff person was visiting a number of diaconates. Those visits always provide challenging and thoughtful discussions. Here is one idea that came up:

“Sometimes spouses share some of the responsibilities and functions of a deacon. At one Ontario CRC, deacons raised the idea of electing husband and wife teams to fill a deacon position together.”

What are your thoughts or experiences related to this idea? We want to hear from you! Please comment below.

 

Deacons and Transitions

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It’s that time of the year again. And it may feel like your diaconate is starting all over.

Here are some suggestions to ease the transition for your new deacons and for your diaconate as you move forward together.

10 Important Transitional Issues to Consider:

(follow the links for resources connected to each transitional issue)

  1. What deacons do: Re-read and discuss the “charge” to Deacons.
  2. How to start well: Check our website for devotions.
  3. Build Community and form a strong team: Click here for some suggestions.
  4. Gifts for Ministry: Examine what gifts you have around your “diaconal table.”
  5. Organizing your ministry plans: Develop a Diaconate workplan.
  6. Schedule a Diaconal Ministry Developer (DMD) visit: Who are they?
  7. Develop your ministry: Guidelines for setting an offering schedule, benevolence, etc.
  8. Diaconal Ministry Shares: Why do we pay them?
  9. Diaconal Ministries Canada: Interested in our Annual Report?
  10. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out the FAQs or contact the Diaconal Ministries Canada office (Madeline).

There is something for everyone at the Day of Encouragement!

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How can you become more effective as you volunteer in your church and community?

  • By meeting other people who are passionate for God’s Kingdom and their community.
  • By sharing stories, worship, and experiences with others.
  • By learning from experts in a workshop setting.
  • By asking questions and engaging in dialogue.
  • By enhancing current skills and developing new ones.

This is what the Day of Encouragement is all about!

No matter how and where you serve, come and be encouraged, inspired, and equipped!

After you interact, make connections, listen, learn and praise God, you will leave at the end of the day all fired up to go back to your church and community and serve God where He has placed you.

What to know more?

Click here for the Ancaster (Ontario) Day of Encouragement (October 18, 2014)

Click here for the Edmonton (Alberta) Day of Encouragement (November 8, 2014)

We will see you there!

NEW! Second Devotion for Deacons

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Here is the second devotion for deacons in the latest set from Diaconal Ministries Canada.

In our conversations with deacons across the country, we often summarize the ministry of the deacon into 4 areas: community ministry, compassion, justice, and stewardship. The first 3 devotions focus on deacons and community ministry.

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 hope and pray that you will be blessed by these devotions, and that, together, your deacons will grow and deepen their relationship with each other and the church and community you serve.

Download Devotion #2 with resources

Download Devotion #2 without resources

Visit the web page with the first devotion.

National Aboriginal Day: June 21

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Join with churches across Canada to respond to the call for reconciliation with indigenous peoples. There are many resources available to help you learn about what reconciliation might look like, and there are opportunities  to act, advocate and be involved individually and as a church.

  • For background information on Aboriginal justice in Canada, and more information, opportunities and resources, navigate through the justice pages of the Diaconal Ministries Canada (DMC) website.
  • Learn about the resources available for Aboriginal Sunday from the Canadian Aboriginal Committee of the Christian Reformed Church.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of and response to God’s call to let justice flow like  a river personally and communally through DMC’s partner, The Office of Social Justice.
  • Join the conversation about social justice in the CRC through the do justice blog. Read the recent piece written by Shannon Perez (Canadian Ministries’ Justice and Reconciliation Mobilizer) on the “courageous act of being vulnerable at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

Pray that God will continue to prompt and equip the church to respond in love to our Aboriginal neighbours.

Updated Resources

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Be sure to check out the following resources for deacons, updated and reformatted.

Guidelines for Benevolence sm

 

Guidelines for BenevolenceThis resource offers suggestions to help deacons develop priorities and set boundaries as they reach out in love to their neighbours.

 

 

screen shot sm

 

Growing as a Community of DeaconsThis resource provides practical ideas to help deacons capitalize on opportunities for growth and development in their meetings.