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

Community Input for Fall Planning

Dear WCV Community,

At a recent Elder’s meeting there was a keen sense that WCV is about to turn a corner out of the turbulent waters of the past few years. “A new thing springing up” (Isaiah43:19) is a word for us in this season. This is super encouraging, but we still need to lead well, especially given the current Covid realities. So we need to know where you are at and how you are feeling regarding a few of the key elements of our regular community rhythms: specifically House Groups and Sunday Gatherings. 

The writer of Hebrews encourages “don’t give up gathering together.” (Hebrews 10:25). How do we not give up gathering given the corporate restrictions in place? What should we do given the broad spectrum of needs, requirements and experiences in our community? What should we do with our kids? These are all questions we’re wrestling with. This season requires us to be nimble, flexible and creative as we seek to follow Jesus as best we can. 

Would you take a moment to answer 5 survey questions (they can be as simple as yes or no answers)? Your responses will inform plans for the Fall. One thing we know for sure is that House Groups will be vital in order to continue to grow and pursue what Jesus has for us. Also, we are looking at starting up physical in-person gatherings again soon while both adhering to all the current protocols as well as continuing our online live-feed broadcasts. 

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

>>Complete the survey here (opens in a new tab)

“I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands.”

Isaiah 43:19 (CEV)

Photos by Alexandre Grégoire on Unsplash, Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Street BBQ Report & Thanks

At noon last Thursday, we prepped and distributed 120 hamburgers, chips, drinks, and granola bars in a large Ziploc bag to Main Street. Thinking we’d see everyone at the door was a naive dream. So we went to the street and distributed all the bagged lunches in an hour to the groups in front of the New West Hotel, the Northern Hotel, the 817 Main St High-Rise, and our pocket park. Reconnecting in the future will be us going to the street, not the reverse.

Thanks to all those who helped, Margaret, Lindsay Ward, Elisha, Violet, Kirby, Ramona, Gilbert, Manfred, Andy Wood, and Jeff Cox who all pitched in bagging and distributing.

The spirit of the Lord was on the effort and some recipients even responded to our invitation to reconnect for a hamper. It will be a long journey to normality but we will keep at it.

Next up will be 50 bags to Love Lives Here. Stay tuned for more opportunities to see Jesus in the needy, to bless them with love, and hear His thank-you.

CarePortal Vision

CarePortal is an online platform specifically designed to connect real-time needs of children and families with local partnering churches. Congregation members & community are promptly able to respond relationally to local needs through the local church.

God is using the church to have a direct impact on Child Welfare! Please take a look at the 2-minute testimonial video about CarePortal and the impact they are having on lives in our community.

We will be launching CarePortal in our own church very soon! We will host an interest lunch after Sunday morning service in the coming weeks. Please stay posted for more details!

CarePortal Launch @ WCV

CarePortal is an online platform specifically designed to connect real-time needs of children and families (identified by partnering child serving organizations, such as SafeFamilies & CFS) with local partnering churches. Congregation members & community are promptly able to respond relationally to local needs through the local church.

CarePortal started piloting in Winnipeg May 2019 and officially launched November 2019. So far, they have 12 churches working together to serve the needs of 2 referring agencies. They have seen 51 children’s needs met through CarePortal and are looking forward to being a part of the greater number of over 50,000 children served through CarePortal Internationally.

God is using the church to have a direct impact on Child Welfare and they are answering the call by saying yes to caring for the vulnerable children and families in our communities.

>>>Please note: WCV is postponing its launch date and interest lunch that was scheduled for this Sunday, March 22nd.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course Kick-off

We had a great beginning to the EHS Course on Wednesday night. We are super encouraged by the response – 71 people are taking this ground-breaking course! Over the run of 8 sessions, we’ll be exploring the themes of:

  • The Problem of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality
  • Know Yourself that you may Know God
  • Going Back in Order to Go Forward
  • Journey through the Wall
  • Enlarge Your Soul through Grief and Loss
  • Discover the Rhythms of the Daily Office and Sabbath
  • Grow into an Emotionally Mature Adult
  • Go the Next Step to Develop a “Rule of Life”

If you’re taking this course, we’ll be exploring these topics in depth. If you’re not in the course, you can always sign up the next time (if this first round goes well). Also, we’ll be exploring the same themes throughout the Fall on Sunday mornings. The past two Sundays we’ve explored the first two topics and this coming Sunday I’ll be sharing on “Going Back in Order to Go Forward”. We will look at Joseph’s life in Genesis 50 as a template for this important idea.

There sure seems to be a lot of life on this course – let’s pray that God deeply meets each person involved and that we, as a community, will become more grounded, healthy and alive in Jesus as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in us this season.

Community Update: June 2019

We want to give you an update on a few developments that are underway in the community. We know that many of you have been praying. Thanks for the prayers! We also know that some of you have been wondering what is going on regarding Jodi’s position. We hope this communication will answer some of what you may be wondering!

As you know, Jodi has resigned from her position as Generations Pastor. Her last day with us will be July 27, after which she’ll be moving to Kelowna with Mike and a few of their kids. Obviously this is a major transition both for the Labun family and for WCV. Jodi has faithfully and tenaciously served as our Generations pastor overseeing our Children, Youth and Family ministries, for the past number of years. Thanks Jodi!

Any time of transition is also an opportunity to evaluate and restructure as needed. To this end we are doing an extensive review along with Jodi of everything she has carried as our Generations Pastor. Some of what she has done is quite quantifiable – Children’s activities via Kid’s church, as well as overseeing the various youth groups is a lot of work, but also fairly straightforward. What isn’t as easy to quantify, but no less important, is the amount of pastoral care she has carried. We are prayerfully and carefully considering what kind of situation would best serve WCV in this next season, as well as what scenario we can afford. We don’t know what the complete picture will look like yet, but there are a few pieces already coming into place.

Jodi, along with a few members of the Leadership Team, are working hard to secure teams and individual volunteers to be in place so our children and youth ministries can continue with as little disruption as possible as we head into the Fall. This is applies to both Youth and Children’s ministries. So many people are involved in this effort – it really does take a village to raise a child. We want to see these teams confirmed and equipped in whatever ways they need in order to see our Children and Youth thrive into the future.

We are also carefully evaluating the pastoral load that the reduced pastoral team will be carrying. This past season has seen tremendous upheaval in this regard, and we are considering possibilities for help. These include looking for a part-time interim pastor and / or other coordinator level roles. If you have a desire to volunteer in any capacity, please let us know.

We will continue to keep you informed as opportunities and information is available. Thank you for your faithful support and prayers. Good things are in store for our community!



Community Survey

One of the follow-up actions from our recent AGM Community Meeting was to initiate a survey as one more avenue for discussion and providing input. This survey will provide the leadership team with insight into how the church is doing and help us as we plan for the next season. We want to lead with integrity and humility, following Jesus and listening honestly to each other. This doesn’t mean that everything that is shared will become action. However, it will mean that everything that is shared will be heard and deeply considered.

As we continue to deal with the fall-out of the past season, and as we look to the future, we know God is with us. We also know that we want to move forward together in a good way. This venue, among others, is meant to facilitate that.

Thanks so much for taking the time to prayerfully consider these questions!

We will leave this survey open until April 9.

Please Note: due to technical difficulties the Survey was closed on April 11. If you didn’t get a chance to fill it out yet, please pick up a paper version at the church on Sunday and bring it to the office by Sunday April 14. Thanks!


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Talking Circles

Sundays, in the Comfy Couch Room, 12 -1:30pm. Bring a bag lunch (check in about childcare).

>>What is a Talking Circle and what are we going to do?

In the first Talking Circle this past Sunday, we identified the topics those present felt are of greatest importance for healing and moving forward together as a church. These will be categorized and used as topics at subsequent circles. These Talking Circles are not decision making times. Rather their purpose is towards healing and moving forward together.

We will form separate talking circles for each topic – one per Sunday. We will assign different topics to different dates so that people are free to participate in the discussions that are of importance to them. For example, if there is a group who is concerned about the type of coffee we are brewing, they will meet on a different Sunday than the group who feels we should sing more hymns (silly examples but you get the idea!). In short, anyone is welcome to participate in the group/s that interest them. Our desire is that people will participate not just to be heard and validated, but to hear and validate others, even those whose questions and concerns may look and feel different from our own.

Each Talking Circle will have its own group facilitator whose interests will be in maintaining safety and a respectful discussion. We plan to continually rotate topics and allow each group to determine its own timeline, so there is no rush. We believe that listening to each other will be an antidote for the isolation and shame some people are experiencing not knowing who else (if anyone) feels the same. We believe that even if our wounds have different shapes and sizes, there will be a collective “me too”, which will be an opportunity to experience compassion and grow in empathy towards each other. This process is a way of getting unstuck, pursuing healing, and continuing to move forward together as a group. We know that there are people who are feeling fragmented and disconnected from each other. Our hope is that this experience will naturally rebuild a sense of community.

Brent and Stephanie Woelke
Jeff and Amanda Leighton

Follow-up to our AGM / Community Meeting

Dear WCV,

Thank you to everyone who came and participated in our AGM / community meeting on Monday evening. It was our most well attended and passionate AGM in years. This is wonderful, primarily because it indicates that you care – deeply. Thank you as well, for everyone who shared their thoughtful questions, insights, emotion, confessions and suggestions. It was very helpful for the leadership team as we continue to navigate this season… and we believe God was honoured by the whole evening.

We ran out of time, but thankfully, there will be more opportunities to be together, ask questions, ratify the budget, and share together. We want to outline those opportunities here as well as let you know of a few actions that are a direct result of hearing from you on Monday.


We so appreciated hearing the heart and dismay behind the loss of Suhail’s position and the suspension of Drop-in. This sentiment was very clear. We’ve resolved to not just pause Drop-in until we can re-envision it, but rather to work at getting it going again as soon as possible, and then engage a re-visioning process with all the stake-holders. Like was stated on Monday, none of these decisions were easy to make. The BOD and Lay Elders agonized over the salary decisions (Andy, Jodi & Suhail weren’t involved in these specific discussions). We knew that these reductions would have a direct impact on various ministries as the staff worked out the implications on reduced time. At this point we can see that we should have kept Drop-in going. We will work to make it right. If you’re interested in volunteering in any capacity, please contact the office.

Input and Care:

Like we mentioned at the meeting, we have a number of initiatives planned. None of these will be perfect nor will any one initiative work for everybody. For example, not everyone will have the time or the personality to speak up at a community meeting. We hope, however, that cumulatively we will reach as many of you as possible. While these initiatives are not necessarily decision making times we do want to listen deeply, and lead carefully, all towards healing and moving forward together. To that end:

1) Survey

Watch for a simple survey that will be an opportunity to input into the life of the church. We need to know where you’re at, what you’re feeling, what you view as the greatest challenges, as well as our unique opportunities right now.

2) Talking Circles

We’ve had one, we’re going to have more. This Sunday (March 17), 12pm. Bring a bag lunch – childcare will be provided onwards from April 7th till May 12th (excluding Easter). These are opportunities to share where you’re at, unto healing. There will be a number of them planned around curated topics.

3) Next Community Meeting

At this point our next window for a meeting is the end of April. Spring break, the Imaginarium, the Men’s Retreat, and Easter are all factors in this timing. Watch for the date.

4) Reach out

We are open to hearing perspectives, concerns, prophetic nudges, etc. Please reach out to the Elders, who represent you in leadership. Both the pastoral and lay elders are available.

We encourage you to read the AGM booklet – physical copies are available at the info table, or you can email the office to ask for a digital copy. Unfortunately, there is no audio recording available of the meeting. There were some technical difficulties.

Lastly, a huge thank you for hanging in there during a difficult season. Thank you, too, for your prayers, support and encouragement. We are in this together, and God is with us. This, of course, is our great hope! Good things are in store for us as a community as we press in. Let’s keep it real, keep it focused on Jesus, and keep leaning into God as we do the work of loving God and each other. Let the Kingdom come!

Women’s Night

Calling all women… here is an invitation to you from Elisa Jersak:
It has been awhile my friends. My heart is longing to connect and offer a space to be – whatever we may carry.
This is a night to gather…to worship, to pray and eat pies. Hope you can make it.
January 24, 2019
Comfy couch room
Watch the calendar for more Women’s night events (they’re scheduled monthly).

Help Needed in the New Year

As we plan for the new year we can see that we are in need of a few new volunteers for our Sunday morning gatherings. If you would like to give to the community in this way we’d love to have some new faces join our serving rotation in 2019!

Please prayerfully consider the following roles:

(*Orientation will be provided for all roles, some will have additional training.)

Sound Board Technicians: 1 volunteer needed-This job requires an niche for music and an early morning (8:15am) arrival. *Additional training will be provided.

Ushers: 2 volunteers needed – A simple but important responsibility on a Sunday morning. The lead usher coordinates passing the offering baskets, fills out our Sunday morning tally (head count), receives newcomer registrations and locks up the offering after it has been collected. *Women are welcome!

Projectionists: 1 volunteer needed – The projectionist should arrive by 9:15am to make sure all music, power points & slides are in order. *Additional training will be provided.

Communion: 1 volunteer needed- Communion preparation requires a 9:15am arrival to fill the cups and break the bread. There is space for creativity in this role with how the table is set & prepared. Post service clean up takes approximately 15 minutes.

Creative Healing Talking Circle

In August our body was rocked and many of us have been reeling as we attempt to deal with the impact of that news. We recognize that there is a wide range of reaction to this, and we know that for many of us there is a need to continue to process all that has happened. We have had a few times of gathering together to lament, to worship, to talk and to pray. We know that many have continued to process in house groups, in triads, with close friends, with counsellors and in a variety of other ways. Here is another way of continuing the healing dialogue for those who feel they need it.

As a part of an ongoing process of recovery and healing we’re hosting a talking circle, looking at the August news through creative process. Anyone who identifies as creative or has been since August (1st time creatives are welcome) is invited to gather with us. It’s good to be together and to know what state we’re in. (1Cor 12:26)

“The talking circle platform provides a safe space for everyone to share and for every person’s voice to be heard.”

A Word on the Process:

The talking circle platform provides a safe space for everyone to share and for every person’s voice to be heard. The format will be quite simple. We will open in prayer. We will each be given an opportunity to share our creative processing or our inability to process the August news. (Sharing is not required.) During this time there will be no questions asked or feedback given to the person sharing – the rest of us will be listening. The person sharing is welcome to share as much or as little as they like. After everyone who wants to has shared once, we’ll go around the circle once more and reflect on how we’ve been impacted by what we’ve heard. The focus will centre on personal reaction, feelings evoked, your new perspective, etc., to what we’ve heard; not critique, disagreement or engagement with the details of what others have shared.

A Word on the Vision:

Why would we do this? Deep listening is important. Safe spaces need to be made for people to be real with each other. With the recent news many of us have been isolated in and because of our feelings.  Just as a community is made of individuals, so too individuals make the community. Each person connected to our community and who is impacted by this news needs space to process and heal as an individual who is a part of a complex web of relational ties. This is one way to seek healing: by being open about how we’ve been doing and to be moved by the pain (and potentially hope) of others. Paul suggests that “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” He also suggests that “if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” We’re in this together. Let’s listen and honour each other.

-Jeff Leighton

The Talking Circle will take place on Tuesday, December 4th at 7pm at Winnipeg Centre Vineyard.