Millar College Update

We know some of you have been wondering about what’s happening with the proposal from Millar College to lease space in our building. Covid-19 has thrown some wrenches into the plans, but there are some new developments that we’d like to let you know about.

Beginning July 15, Millar College of the Bible will be moving forward with their Winnipeg Campus in some rented space in our building. For the next year, they will be using space in the 3rd floor Studio primarily for classes and a few offices. There won’t be students in residence located here due to Covid-19 realities. This is an option for next year.

This doesn’t mean that the 3rd Floor Studio won’t be available to WCV. Millar College is willing to work together so that the space could be available in the event that we would need it.

Flatlanders Inn – a closing

For the past 13 years, the community called Flatlanders Inn has welcomed over 130 people through its doors. People came for a variety of reasons but nearly all recognized their need for support, care, and help on their journey. We need each other… and we need God. This was a foundational reality on which Flatlanders was built. This was what made it all worthwhile.

As of June 30, 2020, Flatlanders Inn as we have known it is finished. The doors are closed. Since the decision was made to close Flatlanders and proceed with an offer from Millar College of the Bible we have been focussed on helping the last residents of Flatlanders transition into new places. This process is nearly complete. People have been moved, new places found, support offered and given.

This decision to close Flatlanders was a big one and the Leadership Team of WCV felt the weight of it. It was undertaken very carefully, circumspectly and prayerfully. Thank you to everyone who contributed their thoughts and prayers to this process. 

We believe that in the long-run this will be a positive move for WCV. We also recognize that it is a very difficult thing to close a ministry like Flatlanders and that the weight of the decision would be most keenly felt by those who were living there.

There are many factors that brought us to this point. For the past few years we had identified the critical need to get more leaders and support in Flatlanders in order for it to thrive. The difficult events of the past two years had left us in a very precarious situation. While we knew we needed more leaders, crisis management took precedence. Sadly, this meant that we weren’t able to put the time and energy into Flatlanders that it needed and deserved.

Our decision making process seriously considered other options (like getting an outside agency to manage the property, hire a director, and 6 other options). None of the other possibilities had the guarantee of financial stability and each of them would have required significant investment of leadership capital – which frankly, we just didn’t have.

We are incredibly grateful for the work, love and impact of Flatlanders over the past 13 years. There will be more detail to mark this important ministry later this summer. In the meantime, we simply say a big “thank you” to all those involved over the years.

A special Thank You to Jeff and Amanda Leighton

Below is a “thank you” given to Jeff and Amanda on July 2 at WCV’s online gathering.

Jeff moved into the building at 782 Main St. before there was a Flatlanders. But there was a dream – a God-shaped opportunity. Then in Mar 2007 Flatlanders opened and Jeff was right there, in the middle – helping envision and then putting legs and heart to that vision. 

Amanda, was there too, at the beginning – also captivated by the vision. Soon afterwards, they were captivated by each other. 

I think they were Flatlanders Inn’s first romance getting married and moving out for one year to the Bunkhouse at The Farm. They moved back a year later with a conviction that they would build their life here, in this space, with whomever would enter these doors. Over the past 13 years, they have done just that. While they have built their own family (James & Merrick), they’ve followed God into community with over 130 people. Jeff & Amanda, along with others, would welcome, guide, care for, organize and lead these strangers become friends along the way. Building a home.

By home, I mean, of course, the relationships more than the space. It is this way because FL is a God-breathed idea, enfleshed by people like Jeff & Amanda. These timber and brick walls will begin to house a new idea, but Flatlanders will continue in some way shape or form in the way people like Amanda & Jeff live their lives. This happens through the ways they welcome the stranger, those who need a lift, a friend, an ear. It is Rhizomatic in that way… like Kingdom quack grass sending out roots wherever it goes – spread as people come and go. 

This is the work the Jesus commissioned us to do. It is true we all need saving and Jesus provides the way for this to happen. But that salvation is discovered, lived out, activated and multiplied through real lives. Never in a stagnant individualized only save my soul kind of context. Jesus lived a real life in a real place in Palestine 2000 years ago and his life and salvation is walked out in countless followers throughout the millennia, including in faithful followers who are captivated by his mission and what he does in the lives of those who encounter him – lives like those Jeff and Amanda have lived in these 4 walls for the past 13 years or so, and will continue to live in their own place now. 

So, thanks for living a Kingdom life in this place. Thank you for tending the relationships God has sprouted here. Thank you for being good neighbours. Thank you for being faithful witnesses of Christ’s hospitality to the stranger, the wanderer, the lonely. Thanks for modelling a Flatland life. We know there have been tremendous joys and pains along the way. We are really grateful to you both and we know that in some small but important ways the rough has become smooth, the crooked has become straight and the mountains and valleys have become a Flatland on which God’s glory resides because of you and your faithfulness. 

Summer Series: Salt + Light

This summer we’re going to hear from a broad cross-section of people in our community as they explore what it means for them to be salt and light in the places they go. What impact does being a Jesus follower have on their work life? What are the implications of seeking God’s Kingdom in their normal everyday activities? Together we will be encouraged, inspired and challenged to find big and small ways to live out the Jesus way in the places we go and with the people we see on a regular basis.

“You are the salt of the earthYou are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Jesus (quoted in Matthew 5:13-16)

Indigenous People’s Day Prayer

For those who are curious, here is the prayer I prayed on Sunday:

Indegenous Peoples Day Prayer

And today, on this National Indigenous Peoples Day, we give thanks for the First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples of our community and country. We acknowledge the Anishinabe, Cree, Oji-cree, Dakota, Dene and Metis peoples as the original stewards of this land. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty one territory. This treaty allowed settler people to live here and was signed in your name, God. We acknowledge this because we want to honour you, Jesus.

We say today that Indigenous Lives matter – and that all lives do not matter until all lives matter. Lord, we hold up to you the injustices that have been done and continue to be done against our Indigenous brothers and sisters. We look at the disproportionate representation of access to education, health care, clean water and opportunity in our province. We see the misrepresentation in the criminal justice system and Child and Family Welfare agencies. We see the missing and murdered girls and women. We see the child taken and the parent left behind. We see the generational trauma. God would you heal us and heal our society and heal our land? Would you free us from racism in our own hearts and in our institutions that shape us? May we be shaped by you, and by the values of your Kingdom. Let us deeply hear the voices that for too long have not been heard and may we find your Spirit’s whispers amidst the cries of the wounded, the hurting, the traumatized. 

Creator, may our worship and prayers rise like smoke to mingle with your heart and may you breathe on us and fill us with your Spirit. May you walk with us as we navigate these peculiar and perilous times in which you are shaking the heavens and the earth. Guide us as we seek to be reconcilers. Give us eyes to see your hand moving amidst many who claim to be your agents, and ears to hear the whisper of your voice amidst the shouting throngs who claim to speak for you. We ask for discernment, patience and fortitude to walk in the way you have for us.

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Raw Conversation: Racism, Reconciliation & the Church

This is a raw and honest conversation about racism and the church that Sherry, Niels and I (Andy) had recently. It touches on personal experiences of racism, thoughts on the recent events sparked by George Floyd’s murder, perspectives on the Canadian experience, systemic racism as well as opportunities for the church in the midst of it all. ReconciliACTION, racial diversity via the Good Samaritan and the question the Spirit is asking the church through the statement “I can’t breathe” are all featured… and Sherry shares part of an amazing poem she wrote!

The purpose of “Raw Conversations” is to create space for dialogue and a platform to listen. They are by no means conclusive nor comprehensive. Rather, they are intended to spur dialogue, thought, prayer and informed action.

Job Posting Updates

We want you to be updated and in the know regarding the job postings we put early this year…

We had three strong applicants for our Pastoral Resource positions that we posted. A hiring committee was struck and we posted, did interviews, etc, and then Covid-19 hit. Not knowing the impact of this pandemic we decided to put the hiring process on pause for 60 days and reassess at that time. That timeframe has come and gone and not much is clearer so we have decided to put the process on pause indefinitely. This will give us time to properly evaluate and assess the community’s needs when we emerge from the Covid-19 reality. .

Regarding our Administration and Book-keeping positions, we are pleased to report that we have offered both positions to someone within the community who has vast experience in both accounting and systems management. He will be a great asset as we strive to create some structure that can serve the community and better enable us to accomplish our mission as a church. He will begin at the end of August. We can’t say who it is yet, because there are a few details that still need to be worked out on his end… but we will let you know as soon as we are able. Vanessa will continue until August at which time she will be transitioning to her new job at Calvin Christian School.

Dustin and Dynel Davidson have been serving as interim Youth director and interim Kids Ministry director respectively. They stepped into these positions in a very unique and challenging time. Both Dustin and Dynel agreed to serve until the end of this school year (June 30). Both have been working to help maintain a sense of connection to WCV for our younger generations. We will let you know developments in these important areas of church life as they unfold.

Leadership Transitions

We are having some transitions in leadership occurring this year. Lay Elders and BOD members each have a three-year term with the possibilities of extension. We have a few Elders and one BOD member who have completed their terms (most with some extensions along the way).

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to Cliff & Krista Heide, Rod & Elisa Jersak, and Stephen Fligg for their wise and dedicated service to WCV these past number of years. The Heides and Jersaks have served on the Elder team and Stephen has been a BOD member for a number of years.

Meanwhile, Lindsay & Lois Ward, Rick & Luanne Hill, Cornelius & Tania Martens, and Christy Chan (pictures below) are going to be functioning as our Elder Team, recognizing that they are still prospective elders until they are ratified by the membership at our next AGM. This is yet to be scheduled.

CarePortal Training

We are going to be hosting a training for our CarePortal Response Team. If you are part of the Response Team, you’ll want to make sure you get in on this training. If you are interested in CarePortal but don’t know how to get involved, please check out this page for more information. This training event will cover the basics of the platform including how requests come in and how to respond to them.

>>Saturday, June 20, 2020. 10 – 11am.

>>The training will be held via Zoom. Please email Lillian for an invite to the Zoom meeting.

>>More Info on CarePortal.

Get Trained. Get Involved. Make a Difference!

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Nationwide Sunday Gathering on Pentecost (May 31)

Vineyard Canada will be hosting an online gathering on May 31 at 11:00 A.M. CDT. Gather with us to worship together from coast to coast and to hear from voices from across the country.

The live video stream will be available on Vineyard Canada’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Also available are two series of colouring pages and visio divina exercises for kids and adults created by Krista Heide and Stephanie Jayne. You can download them for print from Vineyard Canada’s website.

Participate on Facebook.

Participate on YouTube.

Spiritual Direction Offerings

If you’ve been around WCV for the past five or so years, you’ll probably have heard talk about Spiritual Direction, the Schools of Spiritual Direction, and perhaps have had a conversation or two with one of the number of people who have either participated in receiving Spiritual Direction or have taken the training to become a Spiritual Director (via Sustainable Faith’s School of Spiritual Direction). Pete Scazzero also mentioned Spiritual Direction in the The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course we did last Fall. I believe this is all part of a slow transformative work of the Spirit which continues to bubble just beneath the surface.

I first experienced Spiritual Direction in the context of my studies over 15 years ago and have had a Spiritual Director for the past six years. These monthly meetings have become a major part of my spiritual development. I can’t imagine life without them. Despite the name, the process of sitting with a Spiritual Director has nothing to do with them directing you to do certain activities or assigning various exercises. It is simply and solely the process of sitting with you in order to help you notice what God is doing in your life. It is to direct your attention to God’s presence and activity through thoughtful and gentle questions and observations.

I know there are many who are struggling during this unprecedented time. Perhaps you are discovering that you need something else to anchor you. Maybe the practices that have worked for you in the past just aren’t making the cut anymore. Maybe your rhythms have been thrown off by this virus and you’re not sure what to do. This time of quarantine may be a good opportunity to explore what sitting with a Spiritual Director (online these days) could do for your spiritual life.

There are a number of trained Spiritual Directors in WCV who are willing to consider sitting with people in WCV. They are at all different places in their practice (some may charge a fee, others may not – some have space for just one person, others have more flexible schedules), but each on the list below is willing to explore what sitting with you could look like. If you’re interested, please email the office for their contact information, or if you already know how to contact them, go ahead and do so. If you are interested but would prefer to engage someone outside of WCV, please contact me (Andy) and I’d be happy to forward you some options.

Available Spiritual Directors in WCV:

  • Cliff Heide
  • Luanne Hill
  • Rick Hill
  • Barb Johns
  • Daile Unruh-Peters
  • Beckie Wood
  • Andy Wood

Image Credit: Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash