Sometimes I come across things in my reading that interest me and I just jot them down to let them percolate in my mind. This was the case when I read the above title of this post and had never come across this term before. It was used in a Banner article written by the young adult essay contest winner, Rylan Brue, and it lead me down a thought path that I wanted to share with you. So what is a creational reclamation project? Well in the context of Brue's essay, it was referencing God's transformation work of "making everything new" (Revelation 21: 5) It is an article well worth reading and can be found in the November 2018 edition of the Banner.
The most google relevant searches of the title phrase were not theological but came up as an industrial, man made construct. First on the list of google images for this search was the Netherlands and the image above. Now, I am not of Dutch ancestry, but being married to someone who is and being a member of a Christian denomination with such roots, I do love the culture and heritage the CRC derives from. I have a slight bias to love anything Dutch and what the Netherlands has done in the picture above, to reclaim land from the ocean, is truly a marvel of science, industry and application of knowledge about creation. Cities like Singapore, Jakarta and Dubai have copied their example in even more elaborate and artistic ways (as pictured below).
When I moved from there to searching the scriptures, I was pleasantly overwhelmed with hundreds of scriptures referencing or pertaining to renewal and reclamation. I love how the reformed faith puts such a strong emphasis on every square inch of creation belonging to God (Abraham Kuyper). The story, our story, His story, is one that traverses the entirety of the Bible, from the creation in Genesis, to the final re-creation in Revelation. As I read further into what a creational reclamation project was, I realized ... we are such a project ... we are the living embodiment of such a project ... and our being, our culture, our community and our world are the grand narrative of God's story; this project.
All of these thoughts culminated into one of my favourite characteristics about God; diversity. Diversity is reflected in the scriptures at the beginning of the Bible, the end and throughout. God created diversity and found that it was good. God is reclaiming and renewing all things, in their own beauty and diversity. He exists and shows us the ultimate example of diversity in the Trinity where we see the perfection of unity in diversity. Unity does not have to mean uniformity and in seeing this, I think we are challenged to ask ourselves if we can embrace the mystery of diversity and complexity?
The other thing I love about the dutch rooted CRC is that we are seeing an increased reality of diversity infusing into our denomination and churches. It is a beautiful thing that gives us the opportunity to take that question of whether or not we can embrace diversity and to start wrestling with it and start living it out. There are churches in our Classis that have been planted on the foundations of that diversity, planted into communities that reflect that diversity and we should all be open and excited to be hospitable in welcoming those who represent such diversity.
In Canada we sometimes rest on the principles that we are a multicultural nation and we think all people uphold those values of inclusion, but it is unfortunately not a universal reality. Racism does exist in Canada, questions come up around immigration and refugee resettlement and not just in our culture, but in our churches too. We struggle with our role as colonizers and how to better live as true treaty people with our Indigenous neighbours. These thoughts have applications in many of the ministries in our churches and in the lives of deacons. When we as deacons are forming relationships with people in our churches and communities, we have to consciously ask ourselves how we are seeing the image of God in those who are different? How can we be empathetic to their situation and context in order to feel enough to care and love them?
This is where the work of our denominations Race Relations can come along side and help us. There are many great resources, practical steps and ideas to get us talking and walking along that path of reclamation. Bernadette Arthur was recently at our Day of Encouragement to talk about some of this stuff and she would be happy to connect again with you or a group in your church. She passed on some excellent references to us, from her workshop at the DOE, and I would be happy to forward those to you. I have attached a file of a couple of references and notes from my thoughts here, but if you are interested in more or want the powerpoint slides from Bernadette's presentation, please let me know at email@example.com. The link below also offers a number of great steps or initiatives that you and a group in your diaconate can look at or explore.
Giving Tuesday is one day that reminds us that we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ in our churches, neighbourhoods and around the world. Deacons are a vital part of that relief, development and transforming missional call as they join in the work of God our creator. As Christians, we can partner with God and other ministries such as Global Mission Possible to make an impact on our world, specifically in this case, in Kenya.www.globalmissionpossible.com Please read the story below, the files provided as attachments at the end and their website for more information. Agriculture is a huge industry in our area and a passion for many in our Classis. This is a way to connect and be involved with those passions in mind.
One of our CRC members, Hillie deJong, from Faith Fellowship CRC in Fairview, AB, has been leading teams in Kenya ministry for many years with the group called Global Mission Possible. NADC too has had partnerships in the country of Kenya in years past and while we may not be currently engaged in any one project, the memory and gratitude of past service can still inform our giving, sharing and commitments today. Consider how you might be moved to action, or support our dear sister in Christ, as you read these words from Hillie.
On December 29th, 2018 till the 28th of March 2019 we plan on going back to Kenya (our two daughters, Jorden age 19 as a teacher and Shilo age 15, and our two sons Nico age 14, Christopher age 13.)
We, as Global Mission Possible, have been in contact with World Renew and they have helped us with the community development plan. Stephan Lutz got Patrick to give us a tour, and he taught us a great deal on how to get a project in this Kenyan community off the ground, to be a success and a value to the community as we build and work with them. After preparing, we are going to begin in January 2019 to build the Agribusiness Training Centre near Kisumu. We hope that people of the CRC churches will be willing to donate towards this project. Anyone who would like to be apart can also come to Kenya.
We know from past experience, many people in our Classis have a heart for Kenya and the people there, so we wanted to make sure people know about the work that is ongoing from our area and have the opportunity to share a gift. Who ever can’t give may know a friend or a neighbour who would love to do so, it is tax deductible. Most important is prayer. We would be so grateful if people keep us in their prayers. For travelling safety and wisdom through out the project.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
If the information you need is not found here or on one of the files, please be in touch and I will happily connect you with Hillie. Jesse Edgington, NADC consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the latest newsletter, hot off the press... If you prefer to download and read it in a different format, or to print and post it, see the downloadable files below. I have also included a downloadable poster for the Helping Without Harming event coming up in January, so please share these both around. Watch for more details to come later, on the March event referenced as well.
Margo DeMoor and Jesse Edgington were excited to present to the Classis AB North representatives, on behalf of Elco Vandergrift and the CRCNA's CWP. There are four churches in our Classis who are formally, actively involved in various climate care initiatives and we know there are others doing their part too! Margo and Jesse shared stories of church projects, community projects and doing things as varied as talking to government officials, to growing and sharing food, to exploring book and Bible studies with church members. The powerpoint and hand out are here for you to view and share, or use in your church, if you want to explore more. Elco is available as a resource and point person to help connect you and your church so check out his contact info on the handout and be in touch, he would love to hear from you. Watch for more connecting points and opportunities in the near future...
Managing the distribution of food assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Overseeing the construction of earthquake-resistant homes in Nepal. Do these experiences interest you? Are you interested in learning more about how you can volunteer with World Renew’s International Disaster Response team? Do you want to use your project management skills to serve God? You have the opportunity to learn about what an I.R.M is (International Relief Manager).
Are you moved to help those affected by disasters around the world, but unsure how? You’ll learn about how you can use your project management experience and volunteer with World Renew to help families in dozens of countries around the world as they recover from disasters! World Renew’s International Disaster Response team lead, Jonathan Self was in our area, sharing and teaching about what this role involves. He has shared his powerpoint with us and would love for you to be in touch with him to talk further. Check it out! And email him at email@example.com
Remember November! I hope this warm turn in weather has been cherished and productive for everyone and that it continues right through the coming week to lead us to the Nov. 3rd, Day of Encouragement. If you are looking for details of the day, here they are, top of the posting list and broken up into smaller file size options for easier downloading and viewing. There will be printed copies the morning of and if you register at www.regonline.ca/doe2018edmonton you will get your own personalized schedule and swag bag. Be in touch by phone or email if there are any further needs or questions; firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-819-7488.
Jesse - NADC Consultant
Advocacy matters! When you speak out, you reflect the Biblical call to work towards a just world in which structures and institutions give all of creation the opportunity to thrive. Contacting elected officials may be daunting, but sharing your opinion can make a real difference with the justice issues that you care about, and can bring about long-term changes to unjust systems.
Cindy Stover, our denomination’s Justice Mobilizer, will facilitate a workshop that will help you learn how to navigate the political system, to have your voice heard by local, provincial, and national leaders. Activities will walk you through research methods, key messaging, letter writing, planning and role-playing your talking points, and setting up in-person meetings.
When: Saturday, October 27 from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Where: West End Christian Reformed Church
10015 149 St. Edmonton
Registration: $10.00 includes lunch. Please let us know if you have any dietary needs.
Contact: Margo DeMoor at email@example.com or,
call 780-634-5193 for more information and to register.
You may have had a chance to read the above report in the Classis agenda documents, but in case you have not, here it is for you to download and read. Below is the latest NADC newsletter, let me know if you have any questions or comments about any of the content.
If you would rather view it out of your web browser, you can download it from the file link below.
You have seen the theme, you have seen the names, now here it is, the full brochure of presenter bios, workshop descriptions, musical guest, sponsors, time schedule and more. Early bird registration runs through September, so take a look and register now! www.regonline.ca/doe2018edmonton
Four years ago my second son was born and we named him Vincent, partially inspired by the sunflowers of the season and a love for colour and art so beautifully portrayed by Vincent Van Gogh. I am not sure I have met anyone who does not like sunflowers and that really does not surprise me. Sunflowers hold the beauty, mystery and majesty that the best of God's creation offers. If you do a search of the history and meaning of sunflowers, you will find them described as bright and cheery, and as warm and inviting as the summer sun. Sunflowers symbolize adoration, hope, happiness, strength, loyalty and longevity. Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun itself. I was feeling many of these things all over again experiencing new birth.
I was reminded and inspired by God's creation once again this sunflower season as I watched an improbable but resilient seed grow into maturity in the back yard along side the garage. Many gardeners will know that sunflowers are proliferate multipliers and once they are present in your garden, they will come back year after year in droves as they self seed and spread. The unusual thing about this one though, as you can see in the picture above, is that it somehow started in the tiny crack in-between the garage and the sidewalk.
For a while, at first, I don't know how many times I was tempted to just pull it out, but then I became amazed at how persistent it was and how good it was growing. As you can see from the final picture, it did very well, gave our yard a sense of amazement and beauty and in the end, we were able to roast and eat the seeds. Reaping the harvest of a single tiny seed planted in the most unexpected place.
These two stories bring me to a place that maybe you have seen coming, or maybe you haven't, but it is a place that I have grown to love as a gardener and someone who sees God in so many ways in nature. I love how God shows us, through a small seed growing into a beautiful flower, or a huge zucchini, or big round orange pumpkin, that He is the creator, He is the provider, He loves diversity and beauty, and He wants us to enjoy and be a part of it too.
As the gardening season winds down and a new ministry season begins in our churches, I hope and pray that our churches, ministries and relationships can be like this little sunflower. Even if it finds itself between a sidewalk and a cement wall, with God's care and the nurturing of Christ in us, guided by the power of the Spirit, it ... we ... will see growth and fruit.