Summer Update

Dear WCV,

Happy summer to you all. I thought it would be good to give you a heads up on a few items as we head into the summer.

Connecting

Can we be making sure we are caring for each other in this time? For many in our community, these are disconnected times. I’d love for us to take initiative and reach out to one another. A visit in the park. A text or phone call. Any kind of expression of thought and care can go a long way to helping us feel connected and in this together. As Paul says in Galatians (6:9-10), let’s not weary of doing good to all, but especially to those in the community (my own paraphrase, but that is basically what he’s saying!).

I (Andy) will be on vacation for the next few weeks. If there are any pastoral needs that arise during this time please be in touch with your House Group leader (if you’re in a House Group) or anyone from the Leadership team (Elders & BOD) with whom you are familiar. They can initiate a response as needed. Violet is also around and will be available connect people with an appropriate response from one of the Elders should the need arise. If you’re not sure who to contact you can always reach out to the office and Vanessa will forward your message to the appropriate people.

Gathering

Throughout the summer we will continue to meet online on Sunday mornings. Can I encourage you to join and participate in whatever way works for you? Sunday mornings are live on Facebook, but can also be viewed after-the-fact either on Facebook or on our website.

Also there are some House Groups who are beginning to connect in person again. This is great and I’d like to encourage every House Group to be in touch about connecting in some way shape or form.

Praying

We will be meeting every other Wednesday for prayer throughout the summer. The remaining prayer meetings are July 22, Aug 5 & 19. If you want to participate here is the link. Watch your email for a reminder and the password to join before each meeting.

Kids & Youth

Dustin and Dynel Davidson stepped into the Kids and Youth Ministry director roles early this Spring on an interim basis. They have served in the midst of a very turbulent time – in fact Dustin only had one meeting with the Youth in person before Covid hit! Their interim service was completed June 30. We want to express our gratitude to both of them for doing such a great job in the midst of a difficult season! Thanks D&D!

We are working at assessing our needs and determining the best path forward for both our children and youth in the Fall. Will you pray with us for our younger generations? They need mentors, leaders, encouragers and role models. We will be having a few focus groups in August to pray and plan for our next steps. If you have an interest in being part of a possible youth leadership team, please contact the office.

Looking Forward

At this time we are looking to resume some form of in-person gatherings near the end of August. Of course there are many factors that need to come together for this to become a reality, but this is what we are currently aiming for. Even when we begin meeting in person again, we will continue to have an online live-streamed presence for those who are not able or not comfortable attending in-person gatherings.

At our latest Elder’s meeting (we met last Monday) there was a distinct sense of encouragement and leading of the Holy Spirit. We came away with a keen sense that God is leading us into a season of re-planting and renewal. Over the past year there have been some significant prophetic words given to the community which seem to indicate the same. We are excited as we seek to “turn the corner” so to speak. Even in the midst of the new Covid realities God is working and bringing something new to us.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

Enjoy your summer!

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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)

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.

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

Pentecost Sunday – Online Vineyard Gathering

Mark your Calendars for a special Online gatheringOn Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Pentecost Sunday – Vineyard Canada will be hosting a nation-wide Sunday service for all of us to join together! The service will include input from leaders across the nation and will be a great chance to worship together with our big Vineyard Canada family from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

For our timezone here in Winnipeg (CDT) the service will be at 11 am. Please note that we will not be meeting at our regular 10 am timeslot. The service will be streamed live to the Vineyard Canada Facebook page (we will make sure there will be links on WCV’s page) and will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube on the same day for those not on Facebook.

Vineyard Canada Sunday Gathering: May 31, 2020, 11 am (CDT).

CarePortal Heart – by Sara Epp

Here are some thoughts about CarePortal from Sara.

“If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:16

Anyone else ever have that verse just rankle? As much as I’m learning that prayer really can make miracles happen, sometimes it just feels like a cop-out. “Hey, that sucks – but I’ll pray for you!” Sometimes, we need to be the answer to the prayers that are made. Sometimes, we are the hands and feet of Jesus. 

When I started learning about CarePortal, I just knew I had to do it. Here’s how I can be a part of ministering to our community! Now, I haven’t been called to live in the North End. (Total respect and awe for those that have and do!) But CarePortal lets me see the needs of those around our church, and help be a part of the community that we are trying to create. CarePortal allows people like social workers to identify needs in the people and families they see, and share those needs with us – the church. Just like the classic starfish-on-the-beach story (google it if you haven’t read it!), we can’t help all needs – but we can help some. Sometimes we help because we know we just have to. 

Sometimes, we do just pray. Sometimes, we leave this one to God. Sometimes, we help … because we’ve been helped, because we’ve been loved, because we’ve been in a bad spot and because someone helped us, because Jesus asked us to. 

How does it work? CarePortal requests are generally entered by a social worker, and then shared with the nearest churches to that need. Churches can choose to answer a request, and then work together with the social worker to deliver the item(s) to the individual/family. Strollers, tables, mattresses – right now, sometimes it’s an old laptop and printer for schoolwork. The stories are simple, and the stories are beautiful.

All around us, there’s a broken world. The Kingdom hasn’t come yet. But it’s coming! Every act of helping, every act of love, it mends something – it brings us together and it brings the Kingdom a little closer. Every time we choose to reach out to someone else, it builds some community. It fights the darkness around us by lighting one little candle. 

This isn’t the only way – I hope this is happening all around you, large and small. But if you’re looking for a way to connect with some of the needs around us, some of those who just need a little help: strangers in a strange land, single moms and struggling families who could just use a little boost, a little help when the road is rough – CarePortal helps to connect us all. It’s that simple, and that profound. We (the CarePortal team) are really encouraging you to join CarePortal, not because this is the magic solution that will fix everything, but because it’s a really practical way to connect us to each other, and to those around us – to choose acts of kindness, one choice at a time. Building community, building the Kingdom, one piece at a time.

Reach out to Lillian Poetker if you’d like to be a part of the CarePortal team, and help build community and the Kingdom.

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