Register at www.regonline.ca/doeedmonton2019
Brochure as downloadable file below.
Email me your name and I can register you to pay at the door... firstname.lastname@example.org
This does not work as effectively on a blog post, so I have made it available below to download and print off. If you want to read it first and let it sit with you, consider what follows.
Let’s read the following passages in the artist method. Draw the picture of a heart beside what speaks to your heart. Draw a light bulb beside what new thought or idea comes to you. Draw a hand beside the action you want to take. Then take a moment to reread the passages and consider what you want to share with someone else.
The first passage is from Joel chapter 3, which takes place in the backdrop of disastrous plagues and God’s judgment and punishment at the hands of invading foreign nations. (800-900’s BC)
Joel 3:9-11 New International Version:
9 Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare for war!
Rouse the warriors!
Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks into spears.
Let the weakling say,
“I am strong!”
11 Come quickly, all you nations from every side,
and assemble there.
Bring down your warriors, Lord!
The second passage is from Micah chapter 4, where the prophet is speaking to people who are under attack. He is speaking of a messianic time of judgment and justice to come. (700’s BC)
Micah 4:2-5 New International Version:
2 Many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
4 Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the Lord Almighty has spoken.
5 All the nations may walk
in the name of their gods,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord
our God for ever and ever.
The third and final passage that we will read, from Romans chapter 5, is Paul’s letter to those living in Rome. (50’s AD)
Romans 5:1-5 New International Version:
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
End with: A Prayer Seeking God:
teach us to seek you,
and reveal yourself to us
when we seek you.
For we cannot seek you unless
you first teach us,
nor find you unless
you first reveal yourself to us.
Let us seek you in longing,
and long for you in seeking.
Let us find you in love,
and love you in finding. O Jesus Christ our Lord.
-Saint Ambrose of Milan, (340 – 397 AD)
Announcing workshop details and presenters! Please check out the following brochure to find out more details, lecture topics, workshop titles and descriptions and presenter information. This day is going to be full of amazing stories, diverse experiences and will truly leave you feeling encouraged about the things that have happened over the past 40 years. It will give you the energy and hope for what is going to happen in the next 40! Feel free to share this post, download and share the brochure and make sure to register for the DOE today... www.regonline.ca/doeedmonton2019
Hot off the press, your one stop spot for some of the upcoming fall events happening in our churches and communities. Some thoughts and themes are included, one of my summer reading books, as well as my latest pick for NADC feature artists. If there is an event happening in your church, diaconate or community that you would like me to know about and share, please let me know and I can pass it along. Also see the downloadable files for reading and sharing below, including an in-depth book review of the feature book in the newsletter. Enjoy - Jesse.
Remember November!? Have you seen, in your emails or bulletins, that the registration for the Day of Encouragement is open and registering at the super early bird price? The DOE will take place on Saturday November 2nd, but if you register early you will save the date, save having to remember to do it later and save money! Up until September 9th you can register for $40. September 9 - October 16th will be $50 and after that is the regular pricing of $60. Cost for the day goes towards paying for the facility, refreshments, lunch, and many great speakers. This day is for everyone in the congregation, not only council members and ministry leaders, so if cost is a hurdle for you please ask about it with your church staff or contact Jesse at email@example.com. Follow this link to register now... www.regonline.ca/doeedmonton2019
If you are having any problems with the registration process, email the above address or call 780-819-7488 at anytime and the NADC consultant will help or reserve your spot.
This years DOE will feature stories, teaching and sharing about how Canada has been a welcoming nation, from the time of the first europeans coming to Turtle Island, to the 40 most recent years of church involvement in partnership with World Renew and the Canadian government. The intent, spirit and practise of hospitality has been shaped, moulded and reformed for more than 300 years in Western Canada and this day will give us an opportunity to examine, celebrate and look at how it can be continued strong into the future. Lewis Cardinal will start off the day by telling stories of how the Indigenous Peoples were the first to welcome anyone to Canada and touch on topics like wampum belts, treaty agreements, gift giving and circle of stones. We will also hear about the current situation facing refugees and the work being done to support them, from the director and refugee coordinator of World Renew, Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo and Rebecca Walker. Jennifer Henry, the director of Kairos Canada, will wrap up the day with a theological reflection about the elements of hospitality; welcoming the other and will encourage us all on the path ahead together.
Workshops will include: 1. A panel of people working for local service provider agencies who have "feet on the ground" experience navigating the systems in our area. 2. A panel of refugees and committee members with lived experience. 3. A panel of faith based agencies and advocates who work to promote policy and participation. 4. A workshop examining unconscious biases and what we can do to learn about them and turn that into practical involvement.
Please share this info on social media, with your friends, congregations and anyone who is participating or interested in hospitality, welcoming and refugee sponsorship. The poster is available now to download and share in two different file versions below. A full brochure with details of workshop descriptions and presenter biographies will be made available when ready. You will receive schedule details upon confirmation of registration or later in the full brochure.
Again, that website to register is... www.regonline.ca/doeedmonton2019
I just finished a whirl wind weekend of music at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. There are some pretty obvious reasons why I love it; great music, being outdoors, the food and the community. Above and beyond that though, I love the EFMF because folk artists are often concerned about justice issues and are not afraid to speak about them through their message of music. We know music connects us on a different, deeper level, that is why music is such a large part of worship in our faith communities. These amazing singer/song writers know how to craft a message that rings true, makes us think and can move us to action. This weekend I heard messages about our biases, the harm we do to others and the harm we do to our world. Some of these songs are new and speak to the dangers of ruining our environment (www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYOkYoPXvOw&list=PL7yLbVS3ud7jR9sq0xMU0kWHlBggT7cam&index=9) and causing suffering for the poorest among us now. But some of the songs have been around for a long time and as one artist put it, "we need to keep singing them until something changes." This artist was referring to Bob Dylan's song "Blowing in the Wind."
This year for Sunday morning "folk church" I took in a show with The War & Treaty, The Hamiltones, The California Honeydrops and Don Bryant. Wow was it dynamic, full of energy, clapping, dancing and praise to God. Variety is also another great spice of folk music and I was sure happy to enjoy some blue grass, southern gospel and big band flair all in one worship service that spoke about the name and person of Jesus Christ. I'll give an AMEN shout out to that! I will also leave you with one last song, performed on the Main Stage in front of thousands of people, by Bruce Cockburn. His career is long filled with sharp critic for societal ills and injustice. Apparently he is somewhat of an evangelist as well; enjoy.
The Edmonton Public Library has a summer reading club that is popular with my family. The boys get reading and library challenges and I love it because the adults can participate too. I love sitting down with a good book and this one, written by author Kent Nerburn, definitely fits that description. It is filled with an engaging story of adventure, educational excerpts of history and many chunks of wisdom that make you sit back and consider deep issues.
The author tells the story of immersing himself in relationship with an Indigenous elder and how that experience shaped and informed his work and life. The elder, named Dan to keep his real identity anonymous, tells stories about his life, his people, his culture and is often starkly blunt about how he sees the realties of Native culture and how they are misconstrued by current stereotypes.
Hearing stories from another perspective can challenge and move us and I was certainly inspired to join in the adventures of Kent, Dan, Grover and "Fatback." There were many things that stood out for me and some of them even enlightened my own questions and stereotypes. For example, there is a discussion about why Indigenous Peoples properties or reservations are often perceived as junky with discarded items strewn about. I am not going to go into detail about the discussions and views of the characters but I will say it is only one example of something that opened my heat and mind to a new level of awareness. That narrative is just one example of why I would encourage anyone to take the time to read Neither Wolf Nor Dog.
Cultural connection and interaction are one of the major themes in the book. Our Canadian history and recent moves towards reconciliation are part of the ongoing story. I really liked one great discussion about words and communication. "You don’t convince anyone by arguing. People make decisions in their heart, not their ears and mind. Words should be like seeds; you plant them and let them grow in silence... We use words to make things what we want. We can use words in deceptive ways and should be careful with them. We should use words like beautiful stones, lift each one and look at it from all sides before using it. If we throw them out without thinking, they can hurt someone."
"The enemy is not each other, it is blindness to each others ways." - Dan
There are difficult parts of the book, discussion about spirituality and stories of how Dan believed many Indigenous People were Christ followers. They believed in Jesus before European settlers even arrived. He talks about aspects of culture, ceremony and a way of life that is bathed in prayer, hope and anticipation of a Messiah. In his opinion, the Ghost Dance of the Lakota people, is all about Jesus. One particular Dan story, coincidentally (or not) on page 316, was one that could make for a lengthy exploration and discussion all on its own. Dan talking to Kent...
“Your people must learn to give up your arrogance. They are not the only ones placed on this earth. Theirs is not the only way. People have worshipped the Creator and loved their families in many ways in all places. You people must learn to honor this… I am sad that the Creator saw it fit to destroy us to give you life. But maybe that is not so bad, for is that not what your religion teaches you that he did with Jesus? Maybe it was the power of our spirit that made us able to accept our physical death. Maybe it was the power of our spirit that made the Creator see that we, alone, could save you, who cared so much about things that should not matter. Maybe it is we who are the true sons and daughters of God, who had to die on the cross of your fears and greed, so that you could be saved from yourselves.” – page 316.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16.
Even though our summer has started out rainy and cool, I hold out hope that the sun will shine and we can enjoy warm temperatures soon. I am grateful for our summer season, to be outside, in the garden, taking in festivals and all the other activities we can do with friends and family. Another thing that I have been thinking about lately and am EXTREMELY grateful for are the global relief and development agencies at work in our denomination. Our world is a complex one, there are so many factors at play and groups like World Renew, Resonate Global Mission and Partners Worldwide have a lot of valuable experience from years of being involved (in many different ways). The people serve, evaluate, learn and adapt with each passing experience. I have recently been pointed towards a couple of videos that I would guess these two groups have wrestled with and are ones that we too have to be aware of and consider when we move from a posture of thinking, evaluating and then acting. Take a look...
This past June saw the NADC meetings experiment with two regional gatherings and experience a NADC first. As you can see in the pictures above, we had deacons of all varieties, including pelicans, deer and Homo sapiens!
Our central/south meeting was held at Sonrise CRC in Ponoka, on the heals of one of the walking segments for the Walk for Common Ground (pictured above with Wampum Belt). It featured a guest presentation by Tarence Barg from the Canadian Food Grains Bank.
The next evening was the North/Central meeting, held at the Lady Flower Gardens in Edmonton, where we experienced a walk and talk with our hosts and were joined by the other deacons you see in the pictures. Muriel Hogarth toured us around the property and our meeting was comfortably hosted in the yurt, arranged by a gracious invitation from Doug Visser and Kelly Mills.
See the attached files below, of the draft minutes of those meetings, for details as well as web links for mentioned features and presentations.
Walking for Common Ground - www.treatytalks.com
The Canadian Foodgrains Bank - www.foodgrainsbank.ca
Lady Flower Gardens - www.ladyflowergardens.com
A posture that has been growing in missions work is that of recognizing the fact that God is already present in places we are headed to, even if we may not realize it. We have a difficult time not falling into the temptation of making assumptions and judgments about people and cultures we do know a lot about. We can be forgiven for that, and God gives us grace, because even Old Testament fathers like Abraham, who closely communed with God, made the same mistake. We know Abraham was a great man of God, and God appeared to him multiple times, so clearly he knew God’s voice.
In Genesis 20 verses 1-6 we see that Abraham may have been making some assumptions without listening or looking for God’s presence. "20: Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. 3 But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” 4 Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.”
God then tells the King to return Sarah, so he did asking Abraham in verse 10 and 11, “10 Whatever possessed you to do such a thing?” 11 Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘this is a godless place. They will want my wife and will kill me to get her.”
Author David Smith, in his book Learning from the Stranger, highlights the incorrect assumption of Abraham. “I thought, this is a godless place.” How wrong he was because clearly God was there, God has the power to be everywhere and talk to everyone, even people who may not outwardly appear to be walking with him. He spoke to the King directly through a dream. This is both a challenge and a reminder for us, God goes before us and is present, even when we may not see or understand it. We would do well, as we go into situations in mission’s fields near and far, to listen for the Holy Spirit and listen to others in our presence, watching for signs of God and His love.
On my learning trip to Mexico, we had the opportunity to share an afternoon with an Indigenous leader named Nacho Torres. It was a unique time of listening and learning because of their cultural practice of oral teaching. He held a deep historical knowledge about his people, the land and the connectedness of them with the Creator. I was intrigued by how he used and defined terms like dualism and syncretism because they were different than how I have heard people in our culture defining them. This raised questions for me but is something that I would have to learn more about from the different contexts and would not be something I would feel comfortable drawing a conclusion about God’s presence and workings in that place. It would take deeper engagement, stronger relationship connection and listening to the Holy Spirit, as we were formed in community together.