Advent & Christmas

Wait a minute… We’re talking about Advent and Christmas already?! Wasn’t it just yesterday we were walking around in sandals? In this year of incredible disruptions, we now find ourselves at the front end of the season of Advent. Of all the things we don’t know, one thing we know for sure is that this season won’t be like any of the other Christmases we’ve experienced. Yet, the core reason we celebrate remains unchanged. The challenge is to find ways to root ourselves in the beauty of the CHRISTmas season while living in the times we do.

What does it mean for us to wait for the Messiah in this season with many of our regular traditions stripped back? There will be no huge parties, no group celebrations or traditional fanfare and, most likely, no large extended family gatherings. That’s a lot of “no”s! What does it look like for us to say “yes” to Jesus and still prepare to celebrate his coming in a time like this? This year our guiding idea for Advent is “Getting Ready to Celebrate”.

Each Sunday there will be a theme leading us in progression to Christmas Eve – all aimed at helping us get ready to celebrate Jesus’ coming and presence among us: Invitation > Preparation > Waiting > Arrival. Along with each Sunday’s theme there will be an “engagement activity”. These will be fun and simple opportunities to explore the topic in a practical and creative way. Advent packages explaining these activities will be delivered before advent to every household with a child or youth – but this does’t preclude others from participating. As everyone does participate in the activity, we’re encouraging us all to take pictures and post to our Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag: #WCVadvent2020. Instructions will be given online every Sunday morning.

A Ham for everyone: Sadly, we’re not going to be able to gather together as we have in years past to enjoy each other’s company at our annual feast. However… we have purchased a whole hog-load of hams (say that fast 10 times!) and we’d like everyone in WCV to get one. The idea is simple: to bless everyone in the community and provide opportunities for connection. We are going to package up the hams along with some extra supplies for our Christmas Eve service this year. You can watch for these deliveries mid December.

Speaking of Christmas Eve, we’re working on plans and will update you as they are firmed up.

Lastly, if find yourself struggling this season, please don’t do so alone… reach out to your Home Group leader, a member of the Leadership Team, Andy at the office, or a trusted friend. If you know of someone who could use some extra groceries, please contact the office and we can make arrangements to share some food (we will give you an extra ham and you can add to it to make a meal). We are here to help.

Cover Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash

Advent Package Deliveries

Good Thursday WCV,

In the next two days (Nov 27-28) someone will be delivering an Advent Engagement Package to your door! So glad that deliveries are A-okay during Covid! We hope that this will be a fun way for our whole community to engage in Advent activities as we prepare together, while we’re apart.

The theme for this year is ‘Getting Ready for a Party’. We want to engage in all the activities that you normally do as you anticipate gathering together, except that our focus is preparing for Jesus’ arrival. You can expect to engage in some party planning activities throughout the season. 

We hope that you’ll enter into the spirit of the season and enjoy the activities that we’ve put together for you. Please post your pictures on FB or Insta with the hashtag #WCVadvent2020

– Lani (Kids & Youth Ministries Director)

Cover Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Prospective Leadership Team members

At our upcoming AGM (Nov 30 at 7pm) we will be recommending the following people for the Leadership Team as either Lay Elders or members of the Board. We asked each of them to share (in 3-4 mins) a little about themselves, what they love about WCV and why they’re excited to serve in this position.

Cornelius & Tania Martens – Lay Elders
Christy Chan – Lay Elder
Lois & Lindsay Ward – Lay Elders
Sara Epp – BOD

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Kids & Youth Ministries Director

We are excited to announce that we have hired a new Kids and Youth Ministries Director. After receiving quite a number of applications and conducting interviews with a few very strong candidates, the hiring team felt a strong sense that Lani Wiens was the right choice for us. She brings with her a wealth of experience in both kids and youth ministry, is creative and is ready to go! We are excited to welcome her to the team, and to the community. You’ll be hearing more from her in the coming weeks but in the meantime below is a little bio.

Welcome Lani!

Lani Weins

Hi, I’m Lani Wiens. Kelly and I left our organic farm in Saskatchewan and moved to Winnipeg on my birthday, Aug 24 of this year (we still own the farm but that’s another story). We’re following God’s invitation to start a new ministry called Firerunner under the supervision and in partnership with Multiply through the Trek program, so we’ve been ‘upstairs’ every day for the last two months. The building feels very much like home. One of our fellow Trek participants posted your ad in our group chat and I felt like it might just be for me. I’ve been involved with children and youth ministry for close to 30 years in one way or another.

Kelly and I have six kids (4 boys and 2 girls), our oldest is married and presented us with our first grandbaby earlier this year. The two youngest (and our dog) are with us and the other three are in Saskatoon, Montreal and Hepburn. We are looking forward to getting to know you and serve you. We like swimming in the creative stream through music, writing, storytelling, fabric, paint, renovating things, decorating things and general mayhem. We’re always up for a good board game, too.

Image Credit: Photo by SHOT on Unsplash

Sunday In-Person Gatherings Suspended, Effective Immediately

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin has announced that churches across Manitoba will not be permitted to have in-person services starting on Thursday November 12. This provincial order is in effect at least for the next 2 weeks but would likely be extended.

WCV will continue to stream on Facebook Live every Sunday at 10am.

We will have measures in place to connect with our community folks who drop in on Sundays and are without technological means.

We encourage all House Groups to meet online. Please contact Andrew if you need assistance setting up a virtual meeting.

The office will remain open – please make appointments in advance if there is a need to physically drop by. All worship teams, speakers, and volunteers involved in creating virtual services are still permitted to use the building.

Stay connected (but safe) and see you online Sunday!

Flatlanders Inn: from beginning to end

You all know that a few months ago we closed Flatlanders Inn. This ministry had just celebrated 13 years of being officially open – you can add a few more years if you count the dreaming and couch surfing stages. So much life, support and goodness happened in those walls for the over 130 people who called Flatlanders home over the years.

Once the decision to close Flatlanders was made, we determined to ensure the heart and vision would remain in some fashion. In one sense, this isn’t ours to make happen. We know that the good work that was wrought into many who called Flatlanders home won’t quickly fade. However, for those who never had the privilege to live in or be part of the community in some way, we wanted to make a way for you to share in the goodness of the work of God that occurred over the past 13+ years. To that end, a book has been created – pictures and recipes gathered, stories collected and values shared all to help mark what was. The result is “Flatlanders Inn: from beginning to end”, produced by Amanda Leighton. It is anchored in the values that guided the community along with various reflections and stories.

Grab a warm drink and settle in for a good read – and celebrate a good work of God (click on the link below).

Photo by Federico Lancellotti on Unsplash

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting will be Monday November 30, 7pm at 782 Main St and online. Please note the date change.

Our purpose here is to bring you up to speed on some important developments in WCV. A few of these changes have been in the works for a few years, other reports are simply what we do on a yearly basis. Our main purpose isn’t so much to inform you with reports, but rather to inspire you about our future together. There are a few shifts in leadership that more accurately reflect the season we are in.

For those who wish to attend remotely, an online meeting invitation will be sent to all current members on our mailing list. Please note that you must register by acquiring a ticket via the emailed invitation as we must have a proper record of attendance. You can watch for this email as we get closer to Nov 30.

You’ll notice that we postponed the date of the AGM from Oct 19 to Nov 30. This was for a few reasons:

  • Because of the need to have a robust forum for remote participation we needed a little more time to fine-tune our new audio and video set-up.
  • We want to ensure maximum participation. Even though we originally published the date on Sept 24 it has become clear to us that we need to do a better job at promoting it.
  • We want to synchronize our Prayer and Fasting with our AGM. We are praying this will be a time of God imparting his guidance and vision to us. We’ll explore this and more at our AGM. Here is more info on our time of Fasting and Prayer.

Prayer & Fasting: an Invitation

The Leadership team (Pastoral & Lay Elders & BOD) have been praying and fasting for a few weeks now and we’d like to invite you to join us.

We have a sense that God will give us some keys in this season and we want to be diligent and faithful to seek God’s heart in this way. One of the benefits of fasting is that it is a spiritual exercise that forms us. In other words, as we fast, we are changed. This is in addition to whatever developments come about that drew us to fast in the first place!

Isaiah 58 has come up a few times in prayer recently… but not necessarily the part of the passage that is normally looked at for advice on fasting (which is all still good and relevant). The part of the chapter that seems to be highlighted to us is a promise of guidance, rebuilding and new life. This is what we’re bringing before God.

“I will always show you where to go…” “you’ll use the old rubble of past lives for something new… restore old ruins… rebuild the foundations…” Isaiah 58

We are fasting every Monday until Advent. If you can, please join us in some way. There are many ways to fast. See the link below for a booklet that gives some practical advice.

This time of Fasting and Prayer will lead to our AGM which is November 30.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Overcoming Anxiety – 5 ideas

With so much to worry about these days, here are 5 simple ideas from our friends at Vineyard Digital Resources:

5 Ideas For Overcoming Anxiety During The COVID-19 Pandemic

As human-made constructs begin to crumble around us, it’s easy to get caught up in fearful thinking that spreads faster than any virus. We can find ourselves stressing out about issues and details that we truly have no control over.

Yet most of the things we think we can control are out of our hands anyway. However, we can control our response to what’s happening around us.

Choosing a path of faith in the midst of tumultuous times helps keep our focus where it should be, fixed on Jesus. And here are a few actions we can take to maintain a perspective that’s grounded in God’s Word.

1. Pray. 

As simple and cliché as it sounds, prayer is how we connect to God. And when we’re anxious, there’s nothing more calming than speaking with the one who holds the universe in his hands.

Throughout the ages, God has had plenty of practice dealing with fearful people. And Paul wasn’t blind to that tendency in people either, even passionate followers of Jesus.

He reminds Timothy, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (1 Timothy 1:7, ESV). That is a truth God wants us to remember, which is especially important in times like these.

2. Limit the news. 

In desperate search for a ray of hope, we can fall into a habit of scouring the internet or flipping through the news channels in search of something positive. But in this era of bitter partisan divide, we get more titillating content than uplifting stories.

While dwelling on things to strengthen our minds in Christ might be more challenging, we must be vigilant to do so. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the people there were experiencing a difficult time as well.

After urging them not to be anxious about anything, he concludes the passage by exhorting them to consider more carefully what they think about:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8, ESV).

We should heed Paul’s words as much as we ever have right now in an effort to sideline fear.

3. Start a thankfulness journal. 

Negativity can create a downward spiral that isn’t easy to pull out of if we aren’t careful. The snowball effect of such thought patterns, one rooted in ungratefulness, places us on a path to bitterness.

But cultivating gratitude can utterly redirect your course.

David presses this point in Psalms: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 9:1).

Each morning when you wake up, write down three things you’re thankful for—and different things than the day before. As you create a new habit of dwelling on all the blessings in your life, your day will start on an uplifting note.

And you’ll likely start to see just how much you have to be thankful for.

4. Connect with encouraging people. 

More than ever, we need people in our lives who will help us cast off fear and boldly don courage. And that won’t be easy to do if we’re continuing to engage with fear mongers intent on dragging us in the mire with them.

Solomon’s godly wisdom shines through in Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity.”

Seek out — through phone calls and video chats, of course — friends who breathe life into you and lift you up when you’re down. Linking arms with fellow believers will enable us to stay strong even when we feel like crumbling.

5. Read through Psalms. 

David’s life was a rollercoaster ride unlike any other in the Old Testament. He went from being anointed at a young age to become the next king of Israel and slaying Giants to being hunted by Saul and his army.

After David assumed the throne, he expanded the kingdom of Israel to its largest point before experiencing a series of setbacks and missteps that destroyed the lives of many of his descendants.

But no matter the situation, David never stopped seeking the Lord. In Psalm 69, David gets brutally honest about his situation in life: “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.”

And for all the moments of despair David expresses, we also find him praising God in the midst of his dark circumstances. This book serves as a poignant reminder that what we are experiencing might be unique to this day and age, but it’s not novel.

Many generations before us have been through similar situations—and oftentimes, much worse—yet still held fast to their faith. That’s one powerful lesson we can take away from the life of David and his writings.

As we navigate through these times together in isolation, let’s remember that we’re not alone. God is with us no matter what. May His peace be with us as seek Him.

Photos by Mario Dobelmann on UnsplashBrett Jordan on UnsplashNijwam Swargiary on UnsplashAaron Burden on Unsplash.

We’re Sorry… and We’re Fixing It

Dear WCV community – we’ve heard you and we get it. Participating in our Sunday Gatherings remotely is difficult enough. Technical glitches and difficulties amplify the challenge of being connected to the community. It is very difficult to participate in meaningful ways on Sunday mornings when you can’t hear or see very well… or at all. The past two Sundays have had their challenges in this regard.

We are so sorry this has happened and that many of you have felt more disconnected as a result… precisely the opposite of what technology promises and what we’re trying to do.

Lest this be an empty apology, allow me to outline what we’re doing to ensure a more seamless live-streaming experience. Here’s how we’re fixing the problems:

  1. We’ve purchased a new camera to upgrade the video quality (no more fuzzy-from-the-back-of-the-sanctuary-view)
  2. We’ve purchased other new gear that will improve the overall quality of the experience and will increase the capacity of the system to do things like overlay lyrics onto video, show slides and the speaker at the same time, have multiple camera angles, etc.
  3. We’ve upgraded the computing power to run new production software and have ensured we have max available internet speed (and that nobody else clogging the wifi network on Sunday mornings).
  4. We are making plans to upgrade the lighting on the stage so that the video quality is more clear, and are looking at further equipment to improve the audiostream for those who broadcast from home.

Our production team is working hard and will have several components of the new system installed for this coming Sunday. This will allow us to test and become familiar with the foundational essentials before bringing in further enhancements for the subsequent Sundays. The aim all along was to come up with a system that delivers consistent quality for those viewing, as well as simplicity and reliability for those running it. We don’t foresee a future without a video component to our Sunday Gatherings so we want to make sure the system is solid and teachable for our video production volunteers.

If you are interested or available to join the production team, please let Andrew in the office know.

Thank you for your patience and long-suffering.

We’ll see you Sunday morning at 10am!

Photos by Jesus Loves Austin on Unsplash and Andre Hunter on Unsplash.

Belong Symposium (CarePortal)

This year there is an online symposium designed to connect, equip and mobilize churches to effectively care for their communities. This symposium is fantastic training for all involved in CarePortal. It is hosted by Forever Families of Canada (the organizers of CarePortal in Canada). There are four workshops planned, and an evening celebration. You can sign up for one workshop, or choose them all.

Workshop topics include racism and the church, ending poverty, trauma care and more.

If you’d like more information, please contact Lillian.

Prayer Ministry

Exciting news, WCV!

We’ve set up a way for Prayer Ministry to happen while you’re at home or in our Sunday Gatherings while maintaining all relevant protocols. Below are all the details regarding Personal Prayer Ministry and our Prayer Line:

Personal Prayer Ministry

This is for those who have a specific request and you want someone to pray with you directly. Think of it like what happens during Prayer Ministry time on our Sunday Gatherings when one or two people pray for someone. These are shorter (10 mins max) times of prayer.

  • If you request prayer on a Sunday morning, someone from the Prayer ministry team will respond that same Sunday morning via a phone call. 
  • If you request prayer any other time during the week (other than Sunday mornings), someone from the Prayer Ministry Team will respond within two days to set up a time for a phone call.
  • Click on the button above or email to request personal prayer ministry.
  • Make sure to provide a phone number so the Prayer Ministry team can reach you. 

Prayer Line

The Prayer Line is for those requests which need a lot of people praying quickly for a given need. It is a moderated email subscription list that goes out to over 50 people who pray for whatever requests are sent. The Prayer Line is moderated by a Prayer Oversight Team member.  

Please keep in mind that highly personal or inappropriate details may be edited or deleted. Also, please note that the Prayer Line is meant to be primarily for the WCV community or those connected in some way. 

If you want to be added to the Prayer Line in order to be part of the team who prays for request as they come in, sign up here.

  • Click on the button above or email to submit a prayer request.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash