In the spirit of keeping our regular updates both extensive and, well, regular, we hope you’ll find this both encouraging and informative. As always we value your prayers and feedback regarding any of the topics covered in this update.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course & Series
We are super encouraged by the response to the EHS course we are piloting for eight weeks this Fall. Not only was it great to see over 70 of you sign up, the reports about the content and what God is gently doing in us are the reasons we’re doing it in the first place. Currently we are a little over 1/2 way through and are starting to get to the good stuff. As is the way with the Kingdom, the “good stuff” is often the hard stuff, but always leads to life! Our prayer is that God will continue to confront unhealthy patterns in us and that we would submit to the slow, beautiful and transformative power of emotional health and contemplative spirituality that this course is built on. Emotional health is important because it is intimately linked with spiritual maturity. Contemplative spirituality is important because it is what walking with Jesus is all about – being aware of his presence with us at any given moment in any given day. It is about “practicing the presence of God” as Brother Lawrence has said. Let’s pray that those who are taking the course would collaborate with God in the deep beneath-the-surface transformation and that we would emerge a much more robust and healthier community as a result.
If all goes well, we will be offering the EHS course on a regular basis, so if you’ve missed out on this round, there likely will be another chance in the future. Also, the EHS course is Part 1 of what is called the Emotionally Healthy Discipleship courses. Part 2 is entitled “Emotionally Healthy Relationships”. Where EHS grows our ability to love God, the Emotionally Healthy Relationships course grows our ability to love others in very practical and powerful ways. We’re exploring this as another option in the future. We’d love feedback and thoughts on any of this.
Gifts 4 God
November and December is always an exciting time for our children because it’s Gifts 4 God season! This year we’re going to be having four classes – Cooking, Art, Sports & Dance. We have volunteers and youth helpers lined up to create spaces for our children to discover their gifts, learn new skills and how these can all be used as worship of the One who gave them these gifts.
Christmas & Advent
We’re going to be exploring what we’re calling “The Invitation” which is centred on the theme of opening God’s invitation to us through practicing hope, peace, joy and love. Each moment in our lives is pregnant with opportunity from God – each moment contains an invitation, if you will. We can let the moment pass without awareness of what that invitation entails, or we can say “yes” to the Holy Spirit and discover what God is up to – and then join in – much like Jesus when he said he only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19). However, each of these moments meet a certain resistance within each of us. Part of opening the Invitation is understanding our own resistances to the Holy Spirit.
If you haven’t noticed, we always try to have an inviting and clear theme for the Advent season. This is partly so that you could feel comfortable inviting someone to our gatherings who isn’t normally part of a church community. This season is a good opportunity for people to come to know Jesus in a personal and deeper way. We think “The Invitation” is can really facilitate this.
As always we’re going to be having our annual Kid’s Service and Community Feast. This will be on December 15. Watch for details about this action packed Sunday – including how you can contribute to the Community Feast.
The whole leadership team (Pastors, Elders and BOD) continue to meet regularly as well as separately. We seem to be getting into a good rhythm of togetherness and separateness – coming together to hold the whole community, and separating into each team’s unique responsibilities and purposes.
Among other items, the BOD is working on the constitution review. The team that has been struck is Stephen Fligg, Cornelius Martens and Beckie Wood (as a rep from the Elder team). They are working to develop a proposal that can be presented at our next AGM in 2020. This will be a full review and update of our governance and decision making structures as a church. Additionally, the BOD is looking toward 2020 to determine funding priorities and budgets.
The Lay Elders are working on expanding the team. The New Elder process that was initiated in the Spring is underway and we hope to have a few names to offer the community in the near future. This would initiate a time of new people being prospective elders. If this prospective time seems right to us (meaning both the prospective elders and the current team) and the Holy Spirit (this whole process is a process of discernment), these prospective elders would then be brought to the membership for a ratification vote at the next AGM in 2020.
The Pastoral Elder / Staff team is working diligently on managing and providing leadership where necessary to all areas of life in WCV. The most significant news here is that John Rademaker has recently completed a personal discernment process that has led him to step away from his pastoral responsibilities in WCV. We’re still digesting the implications of this. We will be having a special time to honour John and Violet for their contributions to WCV over the past 24 years (note that it’s only John who has stepped down). They’ll still be around and involved in various capacities, but this does mark a significant transition for John, and we want to honour this. Another item of note is that Andy is back to Full-time. His position was moved to 75% at the beginning of the year. In September the BOD moved him back to 100%.
In our previous Community Update, we mentioned that we were exploring interim pastoral help. At this point there have not been any significant developments in this regard. However, we are very pleased that we’ve seen a major uptick in people stepping forward to help in pastoral ways. The team leading the EHS course, is a great example of people contributing to the overall health of the community. While this does not completely fill the pastoral gaps, especially after John steps down at the beginning of 2020, it is encouraging. We will continue to work on developing more House Groups. Once the EHS course is complete, we will see a few more begin. These are all positive developments.
Why Vineyard? & Orientation
Vineyard Canada has recently produced a great document that outlines the history, theology, posture and practice of the Vineyard in Canada. For now you can access this on WCV’s website but we hope to have printed versions available for you in the New Year. This resource will be the basis for our new Orientation Class which will be for anyone who wants to know more about what it means to be part of WCV and the Vineyard in general. Watch for details.
Vineyard Canada Metanoia & Roundtables
Eight people from WCV went to participate in the Metanoia event held in Calgary over the last weekend in September. Metanoia events occur regularly across the country, and are designed to help us think deeply about different theological themes. This one was meant to provide some theological teaching and reflection on the concept of Human Flourishing – providing a rubric for exploring human sexuality and spiritual formation. Rooting us firmly in the story of God’s redemptive purposes in creation, scholar Matt Croasmun shared many key insights that provide the backdrop for a conversation about sensitive subjects like sexuality and gender.
This Metanoia event kicked off a series of 10 Roundtable discussions that are happening online in closed groups of Vineyard pastors and leaders throughout October and November, that are delving deeper into examining themes of the Christ shaped kingdom of God, theological discernment and interpretation, purpose of creation and humanity, theology of unity and diversity, and pastoral concerns around issues of human flourishing and sexuality. This online forum is meant to foster safe places for deep discussion and learning, and has been formed in a way to support communal discernment with leaders across the country.
The Metanoia event and the round tables are part of the roadmap that Vineyard Canada has laid out which will move towards the eventual discernment process in January 2020 of whether or not Vineyard Canada will modify in any way it’s current position on LGBTQ people in leadership and same-sex marriages. Please continue to pray for this process of communal learning, prayer and discernment.
There really isn’t any news. But every once in awhile rumours are circulated that he will be released on this or that date. Please know that we will give you notice as soon as we know anything that is solid – like a release date. When Nathan is released we know this will raise all kinds of questions and there is a good possibility that it may stir up various emotions in many of us. We are deeply aware of this reality, and will be attending to the community in the best way possible, seeking advice from others, including our Vineyard Canada national and regional leaders.
There has been some intentional activity with the Street Parish folks over the last months. In the absence of an official start up on Drop-In we have been meeting for Pizza Lunches for discussions and connection. The next Sunday date is Nov 17 at which time we will focus on hamper assembly and distribution by the core group to their friends on the Bell Hotel strip. The theme is “one hand out and one hand in” which means everyone would focus on giving away before receiving. There is a lot of excitement on this. Then the Christmas feast will follow in December and an opportunity for the church to give hampers to those who would benefit from them.
Additionally, we are also considering being involved in the Care Portal. Care Portal is administered in Winnipeg by Forever Families and is a tool that connects churches with needs of families and children in care of CFS. This seems to have a lot of life on it in WCV and we think the Spirit may be highlighting it for us. This will develop into 2020 as the logistics firm up.
A last serious option starting now and into 2020 will be food distribution from our own resources (not a food bank). More details to come.
Finally, we want to encourage EVERYONE to keep a relationship active with someone in need. This is a mutually beneficial initiative for all and really is a non-negotiable option if we want to follow the invitation of scripture to “remember the poor” (Gal 2:10).
Please watch for more info on all these initiatives as well as a process for pursuing reconciliation in our relationships with those who have been disconnected or wounded in some way this past season.
Thanks for reading this and for your continued presence and contributions to the community. If you have any questions or would like to have a conversation about anything in this update, please reach out to anyone on the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team