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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
As part of my NADC role, I sit on a committee to help continue the circulation of Kisemanito Pakitinasuwin – The Creator’s Sacrifice prints, that were purchased by Classis Alberta North. It was one of the reconciliation commitments by our denomination to fulfill the TRC’s calls to action, to ensure that our respective congregations learn about the church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities are necessary. The artistic expression of our savior, Jesus Christ, dying on the cross and rising again, done by late artist Ovide Bighetty in the Woodlands Cree style, is vividly moving. Many churches in our Classis (along with 4 educational institutions) have been blessed, educated and challenged by the experience of having the prints displayed and viewed in their communities. Recently, for the first time, we have been able to share them with a church from our sister denomination, the RCA. Please read and praise God for the response below,
At our last General Synod (2018), our two denominations made further commitments to work more closely together and to share resources wherever possible. We at Emmanuel Community Church (of the Reformed Church in America) were recently blessed by this decision when we had the opportunity to be loaned prints of the “Creators Sacrifice” from Classis Alberta North, of the CRCNA, for our Multicultural Arts Festival held in June. We were privileged to have Chief Bruneau of the Pappachase First Nation open our festival and it was honoring to him and the rest of the Indigenous People present to feature this display as part of our festival. It was also wonderful to see many of our immigrant communities hear their stories. Thank you for partnering with us, your contribution made our festival richer and helped us to positively include our indigenous people!
Pastor Doug Smith - Emmanuel Community Church, RCA
Super Early Bird registration for the DOE (Day of Encouragement) is back! For the month of August, the first 40 people to register for the 2018 DOE will be able to register at the discounted rate of $40.
The presenters list can be found on an earlier post about the DOE and because it is early, you do have the option of registering without picking your workshops by selecting the undecided tab.
Two features that have been added since the last post, are a new full day workshop tract for church administrators. This option will be brought to you by Bryan Haley from the CRC's ReFrame Media group called Church Juice. It will include a morning and afternoon workshop that will be focused on a variety of church administrative work.
The other new item will be a mid day musical interlude featuring an emerging Edmonton artist named Clinton Richardson. Check him out on youtube or at www.clintonrichardson.ca. See the link below to start your registration now... www.regonline.ca/doe2018edmonton
Full presenter bios, workshop descriptions and posters will follow as developed. Questions can be directed to email@example.com and we are still looking for local CRC artists and photographers from our churches who would like to display their work on that day. Please contact me! Remember November! Saturday November 3, 2018.
Jesse Edgington - NADC consultant
My son has a spy pen that does the work of writing things down but the words are not visible unless illuminated by a special light. I think that can be the case in church life too, with the work of diakonia in our churches taken for granted or going somewhat unnoticed. For certain, faith communities have made and are making significant contributions to the well being of their communities. But do you ever wondering if others see what good things you are doing? Is all your work done in the background? Do deacons receive a thank-you for the connection and service they make?
Three times a year, deacons, representative from Classis Alberta North diaconates and partner ministries meet for learning, mutual encouragement and sharing. We hear about each other’s joys, challenges and current events. We often have a guest presenter share about a ministry for churches and deacons to learn more about and be able to consider for supporting or accessing resources. There are many common ministries happening across the Classis and we have even witnessed the formation of new ministries in diaconates that have heard and learned from others.
An example of this has been community gardens. A couple of churches had lead the way and reported to the group how excited they were about them and about the overwhelming support they received from the community around them. A couple of churches that then started up new community garden initiatives said they were so much in demand the first year that they had to double the capacity the next year. Talk about planting seeds!
We always have a time of sharing and caring to have the deacons talk about what is happing in their church and I am always blown away by the stories and responses. We have heard a diverse array of ministry with everything from senior tea’s or dessert nights, to children’s VBS or summer sport camps (with a lot in between). Last time, instead of making a mental note of it, I decided to see if I could catalogue it and see what it looked like on paper… in no particular order… ministries and activities supported by CAN diaconates…
Wow, what a list and with not all diaconates represented I know there is more that I have not captured here. Now, I want to say outright that this is not to pat ourselves on the back and display what we are doing to gain the praise of others. Really, this is to show the faithful service of deacons in our communities and how they can encourage and support congregations to make a difference in others lives to the honor and Glory of God.
Have you ever heard of the Halo Effect? It has long been known in Canada that churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples have social, spiritual, and communal value. But what if we could measure the value of what they contribute to the common good in their neighborhoods and communities? The Halo Project began to examine and measure how religious congregations fare as economic catalysts and they have found that for every dollar in a religious congregation's annual budget, a city gets an estimated $4.77 worth of common good services. (www.haloproject.ca)
Check out some of the links to see tangible research to support what our churches our doing. Not that we need to see stats, we know by our hearts and the work of the Holy Spirit, that God is working in the lives people everywhere!
Also check out this local CBC interview for an explanation of the project…
I am so encouraged to know that our brothers and sisters are living out the call to be the hands and feet of Jesus and that it is making a difference in the Kindom of God. God bless and keep on serving and giving. - Jesse Edgington - NADC Consultant
“When one does not know how to make room for the Lord and the poor, one is not a master of his wealth but its slave.” - Daniel Groody
It is good to intentionally think about money, finances, stewardship and generosity from time to time. Churches periodically have times of teaching and talking about money, pastors will preach on the heart of giving, charity, generosity and financial justice. Some churches even host courses about money management, budgeting, investing and estate planning. I have heard the question asked, “Are you even Spiritually ready to receive a million dollars?”
Part of the role of the deacon is to deal with church finances, benevolence cases and to encourage the congregation in matters of resource management, including time, talents and money... (Continue to full article from file attachment, as well as accompanying ppt).
Jesse Edgington – NADC Consultant
November 3, 2018 is still a ways off but we wanted to introduce our theme and some presenters that will be joining us for the Day of Encouragement. More info will follow as the time gets closer but for now, to get the interested started, take note of who is coming and look into how they could be a blessing to interact with.
Keynote presenter: Dr. William McAlpine - Theologian from Ambrose University and author of "Sacred Space for the missional church."
Bernadette Arthur - Race Relations Coordinator for the Office of Race Relations in Canada
Tom Baird - Lead pastor at Bethel Community CRC in Edmonton
Peter Bulthuis - Associate Director for Church relations with World Renew
Ben Bentum - Counsellor with Mercy Counselling, ministry of Catholic Social Services in Edmonton
Debbie Fawcett - Women's Reintegration Chaplain at The Mustard Seed
Faith Nostbakken - Spiritual Director at Providence Renewal Centre and Diaconal Minister of ELCIC
Danielle Rowaan - Justice Communications Team Coordinator for the CRC, working for the Centre for Public Dialogue, Office of Social Justice and more
Cindy Stover - Justice Mobilizer for the Christian Reformed Church in Canada
Gerald Van Smeerdyk - Military Chaplain with the CRC, stationed at CFB Edmonton
Arlette Zinck - Associate Professor of English and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at King's University
Call for submissions: for DOE 2018
We would like to invite any congregational members who are avid photographers, poets or spoken word artists to contact the NADC consultant about submitting their work to be used and/or displayed for that day. We are looking to display art from our own members in the atrium at the King's University, much like we did last year with the Mustard Seed art. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jesse at 780-819-7488 to inquire.
Conflict has been a part of our world from as early as Adam and Eve being expelled from the garden of Eden. Since then, it has manifest itself in many ways, including war, and there have also been many different voices speaking out about this justice issue. I spent some time this winter researching one aspect of it, that I think is an important one, and I want to share my research with you. Here is an excerpt of the attached paper for your interest or use with a small group to learn more. There is also a CRC denominational link added to find further resources there too,
"As we launch billions of people around the world closer and closer to the year 2020, a huge question remains to be seen if a vision of peace and sustainability can be seen on larger global scale. As we look through the glasses of faith, economics, politics, trade and global human rights, will we see a world moving in a stronger direction of achieving Global Sustainability Goals by 2030? As I examine the impact, influence and effects of the global arms trade, I would like to explain how I think we cannot do so without a drastic reduction in arms manufacturing, trade, sales and research." - Arms Trade and Trafficking - NADC - Jesse Edgington (full paper below).