Community Update: Summer 2019

Dear WCV Community,

We want to take this opportunity, mid-way through summer and mid-way through the year, to update you on a few items of importance pertaining to the life of our community as we evaluate the past six months and look forward to the rest of 2019 and beyond. It’s a fairly extensive note, so sit down somewhere sunny and dig in… 😉

Leadership Team:

The Leadership Team has been meeting monthly to worship, pray, discuss the current issues, make decisions and plan for the future. The Board of Directors, with input from the rest of the team, has begun a number of initiatives. The BOD is ultimately responsible for staffing, financial and governance related issues, among other areas of responsibility. Each of these areas has some momentum which is outlined below. As a whole team, we’re tackling these and other issues in sequence – one step at a time – bathed in prayer. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to follow Jesus, our goal, guide and our source.

The leadership team consists of the Board of Directors and the Pastoral and Lay Elders.

  • Board of Directors: Ben Kelly (Chairperson), Cornelius Martens, Andrew Chan, Paul Ansloos, Marlese Hazeu, Steve Fligg, John Rademaker.
  • Pastoral Elders: Andy (Pastoral Executive) and Beckie (non-staff) Wood, John and Violet Rademaker.
  • Lay Elders: Krista (Elder Point Person) and Cliff Heide, Rod and Elisa Jersak, and Paul and Sherry Ansloos (until Aug 31). We are currently in a new elder process which will see the Lay Elder team expand.

Here is what we’ve been up to:


We have three job postings out there for our Kids and Youth ministries. These portfolios will be filled by one or two people – either one person filling the Director of Kids and Youth ministries role, or one person taking the Kids and someone else taking the Youth. Cornelius, Stephen, Jodi and Andy have been working on this. We value our next generations and want to ensure as little disruption as possible with Jodi’s transition.

Second, we have a clear need to increase our team’s capacity in the area of pastoral care. Over the past year our Pastoral Elder team has been significantly reduced while the needs have increased. We are working on a few ways to address this challenge. 

  • We want to see more House Groups develop. Being a member of a small group like this has many positive benefits – one primary benefit being a space for people to be cared for pastorally. 
  • However, we are still keenly aware of the need for more trained and experienced pastoral help. We are exploring various interim options. Andy and John are working on this.


There are three documents that are influential in our understanding of who we are, and what kind of community we are to be. At our latest Leadership Team meeting we agreed that our own WCV Core Practices, Vineyard Canada’s “Why Vineyard” material, as well as Vineyard USA’s Core Values documents are central to our own understanding of who and what WCV is to be. This decision was unanimous. Vineyard Canada’s “Why Vineyard” is still in draft form but will be ready for distribution soon. Our own Core Practices can be found here, and Vineyard USA’s Core Values can be found here. 

WCV’s Core Practices


Our 6 month actual results indicate that our 2019 budget was accurate and our income is reduced by 14% from 2018. The most significant news is that we have no deficit and a surplus of $2,140! This is a major departure from years past where at this point in the annual cycle we would be carrying a significant deficit. Vanessa and Andrew have administered every expense item to ensure no deficit spending through prioritizing expenditures with the relevant parties.

We know that with this posture and the decrease in the Pastoral staff team that we haven’t been able to accomplish everything that needs to be done. This will continue until we engage new interim staff and have the ability to afford more permanent staff.

Our estimates for the next six months include increasing income with a total annual budget somewhat higher than $360,000. We continue to exercise a posture of prudent stewardship of what we have and trusting in God’s provision. We are grateful.


Having good structure is important, especially in times of crisis and transition. It allows for common understanding, good governance, clear lines of authority and decision-making processes as well as articulating an organization’s purpose. We’ve begun a constitutional revision that will address our structure and mission. This will include a complete rewrite with legal input to address any areas that are unclear or deficient. The BOD has struck a committee for this and has invited a representative from the Elder team as well. Cornelius, Stephen and Beckie will be working on this. There will be input from the membership as appropriate. All changes will be subject to membership ratification.


We are aware of the need to keep everyone in the loop as things develop. We also know that you care deeply about WCV and what’s going on at a leadership level. Thank you for this concern and thank you for the times you’ve reached out to any of the Leadership Team for clarification, suggestions, etc. Please keep doing this! We also recognize that our efforts at communication have been imperfect and have caused pain – we apologize for this and will keep trying to communicate regularly and clearly.


We know we haven’t said much about Nathan recently. This isn’t because it’s a taboo subject but rather because there isn’t much to say. Legally, he is a former employee which does play a factor in what we can say. Emotionally, he is a former pastor – this hits each of us differently. 

We do want to take this opportunity to reiterate a few things we’ve said before. The Pastoral Elders and others continue to walk individuals through the significant challenges they continue to face while dealing with this situation. There are some who have only recently been able to talk about their sense of betrayal. There are others who are well beyond that. From a leadership perspective this highlights the need for grace and sensitivity for each other. Thank you for the ways you’ve shown this to us and to each other. We continue to lean into pursuing healing through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

We also want you to know that we as a Leadership Team forgive Nathan. Forgiveness does not excuse or justify behaviour, nor is it a one time deal. It takes time, effort and intention. Scripture is clear though – we are called to forgive and we want to lean into that.

We also recognize that WCV must be a safe place and we take seriously the mandate to provide care and protection of the vulnerable among us who have been traumatized by this situation and it’s fall-out. For these reasons, like we’ve said previously, Nathan won’t be returning to WCV. Forgiveness and reconciliation don’t mean that things return to the way they were.

A last note on this subject, we’ve reviewed our whole safety protocol, and have solicited outside input. Our Plan to Protect policy, which has been in place for a number of years, is robust and necessary updates are under way. The policy’s purpose is to provide a comprehensive level of safety to all vulnerable people in the church while they are engaged in church ministries. For people working with our kids and youth there has been one Plan to Protect training this past Spring. Everyone involved in volunteering with our Kids and Youth must take this training. There will be another training this Fall for those who need to complete the training. Cornelius Martens and Jeff Leighton have been working on this (alongside Jodi while she was here). Additionally, our Kid Check system and on-the-ground security in the hallway provide other layers of safety for our kids and youth and our leaders and volunteers. 

Channels for reporting any abuse, allegations, disclosures or incidents are to report to the leader of the ministry involved, or to any member of the Leadership team. They would then communicate directly with Andy who takes all concerns to Ben as the BOD chair. Everything is documented. If there is ever any suspected criminal behaviour, the appropriate law enforcement is involved and should be accessed by any party.

Street Parish / Mercy Reset:

“Food and New Friends” BBQ Lunch

We are currently following through on our decisions to act on the recommendations from the Spring meetings we held with the folks from the Street Parish and the Drop-In. Here’s what’s up:

  • In late June we held a “Food and New Friends” Lunch Barbecue in the Greenspace which was attended by about 150 folks from all over. The intention was to interact with those we didn’t have a relationship with and set up a plan to stay connected. There was good focus on this but we decided not to monitor or survey the results. We know of some activity here and want to see it continue informally. Please feel free to share any new stories with the leadership.
  • Every summer we have “Farm Days”. These outings have become a huge blessing for those seeking a chance to flee the city on a hot day with their families and friends. The food is plentiful but the highlight is the lake – swimming, kayaking, canoeing and water-sliding. LBE freely shares their camp with us and it’s become a much better venue than the farm. In July we had 65 people out. It was more of an “only Street Parish focus” which was one of the requests from the community meetings. We got a cheer from all when we underscored this thought at the lunch. We will do it again August 25 and will be ready for even more people. This is a great place to come, help serve the food, and just be with everyone on the sand beach or in the water. 
  • Regarding Drop-in, there have been no further developments for the Fall. The core of our Street Parish are still with us. It’s not as simple as just starting up where we left off. Our creativity will be tested as we seek the Lord’s provision for helpers. If you have any thoughts, please contact John Rademaker. 

The ongoing blending of people from different lifestyles within WCV is about strengthening personal relationships and sharing in each other’s lives. The commitments to regular friendship connections at the moment seems to be a direction that the Lord is pointing us to. As we taught this past Spring, there is a huge opportunity here for mutual strengthening. We all are needy, poor and ready for encouragement from each other. As scripture teaches, seeing Jesus in each other’s needs is a spiritual lifestyle we all need. Perhaps a combination of already happening connections and periodic meetings that target food, spiritual growth (videos), and fun could propel us into a new dimension of community life.


We have come through a difficult time in our history. We see the Lord’s hand evident in both shaking up and building up. Even across the country, there are a number of communities, while not sharing our experience, are going through times of shaking. God is taking seriously Vineyard Canada’s initiative of “Health begets Health” (recognizing when we are in a healthy place it will create more health around us – and the opposite also being true) and leading us with grace in order for our communities to be more healthy and effective for his Kingdom. The Spirit is with us, and in us, and won’t leave us! As a leadership team we hold on to this and will continue to seek and follow Jesus one step at a time. At times it feels slow and imperfect. But we trust Jesus and his plans for WCV as we rebuild and re-envision for the future.

With love and gratitude,

The Leadership Team



Mercy Reset

Mercy Reset & Activities Update

#1 Food & New Friends Dinner: Church Greenspace Chicken Barbecue, Sunday June 23 @ noon

Establishing Environments to Facilitate Relational Connectivity. This “Food & New Friends Dinner” will be a community event with volunteers and all food provided from the church budget and donors. This is our intentional effort for everyone to mix and eat together with those we can help with resources. This will bring opportunities to connect with new people that we don’t really know. We encourage you to eat beside someone you don’t know, and connect with someone you may be able to help in the coming weeks. The promises of Matthew 25:31-40 will become real as we seek new friendships over dinner.

Volunteers Wanted for:

  • Chairs & Tables – set up & removal
  • Food Prep – we need 20 Caesar salads, that can serve 12, donated – UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who is bringing a salad! We have reached our desired quota!
  • Plate Assembly – We want to serve each person with no line ups. The youth team will help serve all the meals, but we need a few more volunteers for plate assembly.

Please direct your volunteer decision to John Rademaker

>>>Coming Sunday June 9 will be a teaching to envision relationship. “We are all are poor; we all can help.” Everyone has something to give.

#2 Camp Days: Hadashville, July 28 & Aug 25

The traditional after church bus ride and cars in Hadashville is a beautiful time to spend a few hours of food and fun with those who have no other chance to go to the lake, a park or place of beauty. It’s an opportunity to love on each other and find out what you can do to see Jesus in  the poor. We will do a brief spiritual focus prior to the swim. The swim time is the high light for most: canoeing, swimming, staying cool and just plain fun.

#3 Drop-In: Status – No Action Yet 

This was identified as a “Top of the needs” of the Street Parish. They want the time alone in a building, perhaps once a week to start, to hang-out with friends, do Bible study, videos, love Jesus, communion, food. They want to just be a family (valid and important!) This, however, is only doable with volunteers. We also don’t have a pastor to lead this yet. We have to line up free food. We have vision but no takers on making it happen. Staff is pursuing options but without a practical plan. This will be revisited it in fall. When we see a groundswell of volunteers we will get off the ground; we are waiting patiently for that to happen.

Meanwhile the personal friendships will have to carry the challenge.

Please plan to attend where you can!

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!

Raymond Kevin Williams (August 13, 1968 – November 9, 2018)

We are grieved to share that Ray passed away on November 9, 2018, at his residence. Ray was born August 13, 1968, and was a part of our drop-in community. He participated in communion and prayer and approached faith with wisdom and sincerity. He enjoyed his musical career, especially playing with his band, JD and the Sunshine Band.

He was predeceased by his parents, Clement and Marnie Guimond; mother of his daughter, Ernestine. He leaves to cherish his memory: his brother, Laurie (Kandis); sister Elaine (Richard); daughter Marnie; numerous aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Wake services will be held on Thursday, November 22 from 7 pm – 12 midnight at Eternal Grace Funerals 1111 Logan Ave at McPhillips St. Reverend David Sinclair officiating. Cremation to follow.

The family would like to thank the staff at H.S.C., the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Siloam Mission for always being there for Raymond.

In Memory of Cherilyn Leveque

To my loving niece Cherilynn Leveque:

I never realized the love you left behind.
How kind and sharing you’d had been.
We all miss you dearly.
We all wish we could have you back
So we can sit and talk to you so dearly.
You left us all a life’s lesson, we commend you so dearly.
Live, Love, Laugh and Hug and give someone a smile.
Friendships and families are important
And cherish them so dearly.
Remember the less fortunate, the impoverished and the low
Because they may have been like you…
A niece we lost long ago.
Who was dealt life’s difficult blows.
Through it all you choose to smile to be that example indeed.
Live, Love, Laugh and Hug and give someone a smile.
Oh how I miss you so
I know you’re in heaven
Because there’s a savior who knows our deepest soul.
I know that you’re with me, I can feel you in my heart!
You’re now in the bosom of Jesus, safely in his arms!
Until we meet again my niece! Oh how I love you so!

~ Susan Henry, Cheri’s aunt

Cheri has managed to wiggle her head through the window of the bus. She’s gazing forward, smiling. It’s the end of farm day; we’ve had barbecued hot dogs and potato chips for lunch, and spent the afternoon swimming. The day is pleasant, filled with sunshine. I am waiting outside the bus, making sure we haven’t missed anyone. People are smiling at me and making faces through the windows. We are laughing at each other. I take out my phone to take pictures. Cheri wants me to take hers.

Of all the things I remember about Cheri, this is most vivid: she loved having her picture taken. She had a gift for recognizing and savouring joy. She was grateful. When she asked for a picture, it was her way of saying that she was delighted and that she was thankful.

I can still hear her laugh and see the way it illuminated her. She had kind eyes. She loved bingo and taco salad. Pictures don’t quite capture all that.

There was pain in her life, too. She was humble and vulnerable about it, unafraid to ask for help and to share when she was struggling. Her body was fragile and there were times we could only lightly lay hands on her as we prayed for her. Once, I remember kneeling down beside her at drop-in when she was having a seizure. She was shaking on the floor, in a fetal position, and couldn’t say a word. A few of us were alongside her, speaking quietly and reassuring her that we were there and that help was on the way.

WCV, and particularly Drop-In, was a home and family for Cheri. During one Celebration Sunday, she was even proposed to in the middle of a contemplative prayer exercise! I have no doubt that she knew that she was wanted here. On another Sunday, she took the microphone and, in front of everyone, gave WCV a framed sign as a gift and then proceeded to share some very personal things about her life with our congregation. It was a holy moment. A few people gathered around to pray for her. Our community was better because of her, and it was a privilege and an honour to be entrusted with her over these years.

Just before Christmas, on our last Drop-In gathering of the year, we took a picture. Amazingly, it wasn’t Cheri’s idea though I’m sure she was in hearty agreement. We all huddled together on stage, trying to fit into the frame. Cheri is front and centre, wearing a bright red Coca-Cola t-shirt, smiling at the camera. Sunlight is radiating through the windows behind us. Before the picture was taken, Cheri went and got the sign that she gave us that particular Sunday – it had been hanging in our sanctuary ever since, on stage. She’s holding the sign with both of her hands. “Friends.” That’s what the sign says. This is our last picture together, with her. In January of this year, Cheri took her own life.

Today, Cheri is with Jesus in paradise. I can only imagine what enduring vision of joy she is beholding now, how illuminated she is, and how amazing it must feel to at last be free of pain. We thank God for her life. And we look forward to gazing upon the beauty of our Lord together one day; the day to which every picture of joy, gratitude, and friendship points.

Healing Story: Mary’s Leg

This morning at drop-in, Mary told me she was looking for a new place to live. Given the lack of promising housing options before her and the uncertainty of the future, she wondered if God might be punishing her. In the same breath she told me that she often felt “warm” when she came to any church. When I asked her what she thought this meant, she said that she felt “welcomed” and – putting her hand on her heart – said that “God was right there.” We talked about how a God of warmth, welcome, and nearness – a God whom she readily sensed – seemed at odds with the God of punishment she feared.

She also told me she had pain in her right leg and toward the end of our conversation, I asked her if I could pray for her – for her housing situation as well as for her leg. Afterwards, I asked her how she felt and she said the pain in her shin was gone but that there was still pain in her ankle. We prayed again and this time it was gone! She wiggled her foot, tried walking (reporting no pain!), and looked at me and said “Are you a magician?” I assured her I was not and said rather, that Jesus had drawn near to her, touched her with the warmth of his Spirit, and healed her; that he cared deeply about her housing situation and her leg, and wasn’t in the slightest interested in punishing her. We both reveled in the joy of a God of lavish grace and mercy, and Mary wanted to share her experience of him today with you.

Healing Story: Brian’s Knee

One of our core practices at WCV is community, and part and parcel of expressing and demonstrating God’s love to one another (as well as inviting his kingdom to come, now) is healing prayer. To see God heal, you have to be attentive to people who need healing, and you have to be willing to respond by taking the risk to pray for them. This action of actually praying for healing, more than a sense of inward mental certainty or emotional enthusiasm about what will happen, is what constitutes faith. As John Wimber used to say, faith is spelt “R-I-S-K.”

Though of course there are many ways through which God heals, he often seems to do it through the laying on of hands (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 4:40, Acts 28:8, James 5:14). For some reason, people often sense the power and presence of the Holy Spirit when prayer is accompanied with the laying on of hands. Though we may not understand the why or how of it, we recognize, welcome, and cherish the supernatural aspect of this practice. In a natural sense, the laying on of hands also communicates care and concern for those for whom we pray. Placing your hands on a person you’re praying for says “I am in this with you and am making time to cry out to God about it for you.” Understandably, it is both comforting and encouraging for those receiving prayer to tangibly feel this sentiment and to be loved in this way; this often helps them discern God’s love for them. All in all, we long for people to both know and experience God through prayer whether it’s by supernatural or natural means, or by a mysterious mingling of the two.

Recently, Brian experienced God at our drop-in. After one particular occasion where we prayed for people who needed healing, Brian came to me to express his gratitude. Something about being in an environment where those who were sick were cared for in this manner moved him. As we were talking, I noticed that he had a cane and asked him what had happened. Afterwards, I asked him if I could pray for him. He heartily agreed, I placed my hand on his knee, and so began a truly wonderful story of God touching and healing him. My wife and I now have his cane hanging off a shelf in our apartment. He wanted us to have it as token of his gratitude to God for restoring him physically and giving him back his life (he’s working again). And, of course, because he has no need of it anymore. Hallelujah!

Ace of Spades, Jesus!

Twice a week we gather together for drop-in, where those of us who are from the neighbourhood fellowship, share a meal, and turn to Jesus together. We’re starting a new series on the words of Jesus, where we’re exploring what he said in the gospel of Luke. Today, Jesus healed a lady who had back pain!

Ace of Spades, Jesus! from WCV on Vimeo.