Around Town: Case for Christ, Honour Drum, MVA, Festival reflections . . .

thecaseforchristmovieinsideSurrey-based film critic Peter Chattaway does an amazing job keeping up with the movies in his FilmChat blog, and he has just posted an exclusive interview with The Case for Christ author Lee Strobel “on facts and feelings, and seeing your life turned into a movie.”

The movie – same name as the book – opens at several local theatres this Friday (April 7).

Here’s how the interview starts out:

They often say that people can’t be argued into the faith, but based on the film and my memories of reading your book many years ago, it seems that you kind of were. Is that fair to say, that you were argued into the faith?

Lee Strobel: I think what the evidence did was give me a rational basis for believing, and I think it sort of knocked down the barriers I had between me and God. In other words, I don’t feel like I was argued into the faith, but I feel like the evidence knocked down a succession of objections and issues and questions and doubts that I had, that sort of cleared the pathway for me to come to the faith.

Okay. So simply demonstrating that the evidence points towards the Resurrection, that itself wouldn’t make somebody a Christian, then.

Strobel: No, I think we can be in intellectual agreement with the faith and subscribe to the apologetic evidence and even recite the Apostles’ Creed, but John 1:12 says that as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name. So I think there’s a faith formula in that verse: believe plus receive equals become.

So I think believing’s important, having intellectual agreement with Christian doctrine is important, but there has to be a time when we receive God’s gift of grace – not that we’ve earned it or merit it or deserve it – but receive this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus purchased on the cross for us. I think the evidence can get us to the point of being in intellectual agreement, but ultimately, coming to faith and being as the Bible refers to it born again requires receiving this gift of grace.

Go here for the rest of the interview.
 
Book launch: The Honour Drum
 
thehonourdrumbook3Keela Keeping of Youth Unlimited recently sent me this write-up about the West coast book launch of The Honour Drum at the Museum of Vancouver this Saturday afternoon (April 8).

“I always had a sense that I was not participating enough in the discussion of First Nations issues,” says Tim Huff, best-selling author and Youth Unlimited Toronto youth worker.

“As a white guy who spent my adult life involved in social justice issues, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission started to establish in Canada, I began to ask myself ‘Okay, Tim, how are you going to step up here?’”

It was that initial tug that brought longtime friends Tim Huff and Cheryl Bear – award-winning singer, songwriter, storyteller and Indigenous advocate – together in an exceptional book-writing partnership, birthing The Honour Drum: Sharing the Beauty of Canada’s Indigenous People with Children, Families and Classrooms.

Not a regular kid’s book, this uniquely crafted tool was created to reach children, families and classrooms across Canada with a message of great beauty and truth. On each page is a discussion with dynamic curriculum that teaches empathy and introduces youth to this challenging part of our nation’s history.

“This book is almost like a call to action to sit up, pay attention and to begin a new relationship, (which) has to be done with mutual respect,” said Bear in an interview with the Toronto Star.

Huff is the creator of the Compassion Series, which offers books in a similar teaching pattern. His first book in the series is the best-seller, The Cardboard Shack Beneath the Bridge: Helping Children Understand Homelessness.

Bear is from the Dumdenyoo (Bear) Clan of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nations in northern BC, and holds a doctorate from the King’s University. She has won three Indigenous People’s Choice awards, two Covenant Awards and a Native American Music Award.

Both writers will speak and Bear will perform at the book launch. Admission is free, but tickets are required

MVA and the provincial election
Hundreds of delegates from faith, union, community and educational groups took part in MVA's Provincial Election Accountability Assembly.

Hundreds of delegates from faith, union, community and educational groups took part in MVA’s Provincial Election Accountability Assembly.

There were a lot of people, and a lot of things going on, at the Metro Vancouver Alliance Provincial Election Accountability Assembly – Tuesday evening (April 4) at the Italian Cultural Centre.

Hundreds of delegates (900?) heard greetings from representatives of the 57 member organizations. There was singing (from the St. James Music Academy), dancing (well, watching the Indangamirwa Traditional Dance Group) and an extended welcome to unceded Coast Salish territory.
 
We heard testimonies from people suffering as a result of inequitable rental arrangements, shortages in HandyDART service and difficulties in accessing health care . . . and then, towards the end, we heard some guided conversations with the visiting politicians. 
 
Some might have felt a little uncertain about what exactly was going on, but the purpose of the evening became increasingly clear. There was much to learn, but two things stuck with me in particular.
All three provincial leaders were invited to the MVA's Provincial Accountability Assembly. Only two came.

All three provincial leaders were invited to the MVA’s Provincial Election Accountability Assembly. Only two came.

1. All were invited; two came

The leaders of the three main provincial parties were invited to the Assembly as far back as last July. John Horgan, leader of the NDP, was there. Andrew Weaver, leader of the Green Party, was there. Premier Christy Clark, leader of the Liberal Party, was not. 
 
Anglican priest Margaret Marquardt, on behalf of MVA, said, “We are grateful to the party leaders who have chosen to be with us.” She noted that Christy Clark had only informed MVA that she wouldn’t be attending that morning, despite many direct and indirect reminders since last summer.
 
Marquardt reminded the audience that MVA events are non-partisan: “We ask that you would refrain from booing or clapping our political leaders.” The atmosphere at both MVA’s Municipal Accountability Assembly in 2014 and this time around was very polite. Admittedly, despite Marquardt’s gentle admonition, there was plenty of applause for various comments by Horgan and Weaver.
Metro Vancouver Alliance focused on four main areas: transit, poverty, housing and health care.

Metro Vancouver Alliance focused on four main areas: transit, poverty, housing and health care.

2. A novel experience; politicians listening

One tweet about the event said:
 
The setup at @MetVanAlliance is simple and powerful. Make politicians sit on stage and hear from the people their policies affect.
 
Not only did individuals give moving testimony about their own trials, but MVA had clearly put serious work into their four areas of focus: poverty, housing, transit and health care (I posted the details of what MVA has committed to and what it is asking of politicians last week).
 
Horgan and Weaver did have brief opportunities to address the crowd, but they spent more time listening to the commitments MVA was asking them to make. Though they were less willing than the municipal politicians had been to agree to every detail, they were responsive. This Storify page gives a good sense of the evening as a whole, and of the politicians’ response to specific requests.
 
Metro Vancouver Alliance represents hundreds of thousands of British Columbians through major unions (Vancouver and District Labour Council, Canadian Labour Congress and others), churches (well over one-third of the member organizations are Christian – mainly Catholic and Anglican, but also Baptist, Lutheran and ecumenical), community groups and educational groups.
 
The Provincial Election Accountability Assembly was an event not to be missed. Two leaders understood that; one did not.
 
Note (April 10): Cliff Caprani wrote a useful reflection on the MVA Assembly for the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.
 
Festival of Hope, Voices Together
Celebrate the Festival was held at Glad Tidings Church April 1.

Celebrate the Festival looked back – but also forward to Voices Together – at Glad Tidings Church April 1.

A crowd gathered at Glad Tidings Church April 1 to Celebrate the Festival. The event was ”a time of thanksgiving for the Festival of Hope [March 3 - 5],” featuring worship, testimonies and other highlights from the Festival.

Giulio Gabeli, executive leader of the Festival (pictured, right), described the Festival in an article in the current issue of The Light magazine as “a defining moment,” saying:

Now consider the practical impact of this event in our city; 34,400 people came to Rogers Arena, 2,774 decisions were made for Christ as a result of this initiative. [Apparently, 65,000 watched online.]

As well, take into account the long-term impact of many coming to Christ as a result of these individuals in the future. When you consider the marriages, the families and the homes that will experience a change because of the light of the Gospel coming into their world resulting in changed lives; this compound effect alone is immeasurable.

Consider the impact of 3,000 believers that took the Christian Life and Witness Classes in preparation for the Festival of Hope who have been inspired to be a bolder witness for Christ; their faithfulness and commitment to the local churches have been strengthened and this will contribute significantly to the very life of the church continuing to bring in the harvest of souls and much more…

He described the controversy over Franklin Graham, but also the leadership team’s determination to carry on with his participation in the Festival. He added:
 
We have clearly stated to those that were in opposition to Franklin Graham these words, ”Events come and go in our city but relationships endure; therefore let’s agree to disagree without sacrificing the unity of the body, for when the smoke clears and the dust settles we will remain comrades and not competitors in the kingdom of God.”
 
voicestogether1The meeting also looked forward to a full house of 12,000 people at Pacific Coliseum July 1 for Voices Together 2017, to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
 
Pastor Dave Carson, a major moving force behind Voices Together, wrote this, also in the current issue of The Light:
 
Here is how it all happened: In the winter of 2007 pastor Yani Lim, full of faith and inspiration, shared her vision to reach the lost of Vancouver through a large demonstration of celebration and proclamation – lifting high the name of Jesus in Rogers Arena. It was a great vision and pastor Giulio Gabeli and myself readily agreed in principle, though cautious of the logistics.
 
“No problem,” Yani said firmly, “I can pay for it and trust the Lord for the money.” And so Voices Together was conceived and the rest is history, with great celebrations on Canada Day in 2008, 2013 and then in 2015 at the Pacific Coliseum. Thousands have gathered in visible displays of unity, passionate worship and prayer for our great city and nation.
 
Leaders at Glad Tidings took up an offering for Voices Together, and collected more than $19,000. Go here for a video of Celebrate the Festival.
Pastor Ken Shigematsu

Pastor Ken Shigematsu

Tenth Church senior pastor Ken Shigematsu also reflected on the Festival, in an April 4 Christianity Today article:

When Franklin Graham came to my hometown of Vancouver last month, it caused a great deal of controversy – and I found myself caught in the middle of it. . . .
 
Those of us who supported an alternative to [Franklin] Graham did not encourage a boycott of the Festival of Hope. We prayed that God would use him and the rally to draw many people to Christ. I was deeply thankful that some 1,900 people came forward to make some kind of profession of faith or recommitment to Christ.
 
Those of us who signed the open letter have also initiated a lunch with the local leaders who sponsored the outreach as a way to affirm our ongoing relationship and desire to continue working together for the cause of Christ. (The lunch, unlike our leaked letter, hasn’t made headlines.)
 
For the full article go here.
 
Pacific Theatre: Testament
 
testament1For years, Pacific Theatre has offered the always-sold-out Christmas Presence, with a rotating series of musical guests celebrating the birth of Christ with song, readings and other merriment. This year, they have initiated what will no doubt become a new tradition, for the Easter season.
 
Here’s how they present it:
 
Like Christmas Presence, but without Christmas! Fact is, Jesus grew up – and during Passion Week, we’re going to dig into those songs and stories. With different guest musicians each night and songs by artists like Woody Guthrie, Patty Griffin, Sam Cooke, Tom Waits and the Bruces (Springsteen and Cockburn)
 
Artistic director Ron Reed points out, “There aren’t a lot of professional theatres who are devoting their stage to Jesus for the week leading up to Easter.”
 
Among the musicians taking part: Lee Aaron, The Kwerks, Tom Pickett, Kathleen Nisbett (of Viper Central), Peter La Grand, Spencer Capier and Nelson Boschman. Also Christmas Presence standbys like Allen Desnoyers, Michael Hart and Garth Bowen.
 
There will be the same kind of wide-ranging readings as in Christmas Presence – from This American Life to Catcher in the Rye, Dorothy L. Sayers and Frederick Buechner, excerpts from The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Cotton Patch Gospel, and writing about Jesus by Leonard Cohen, Shusaku Endo and Bono.
 

April 6, 2017

Lenten Soup n' Bun Series (Thursdays) – April 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Book Launch for 'Keeping Faith in Fundraising' by Rod Wilson and Peter Harris – April 6, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Valley Song by Athol Fugard – April 6, 2017 - April 8, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

April 7, 2017

Our Land Our Rights Our Peace: Philippine Leaders Visit Canada – April 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Cheryl Bear – April 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Time After Time: TWU Concert Band & Orchestra – April 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

April 8, 2017

Iron Sharpens Iron Men's Equipping Conference – April 8, 2017 at 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
The Beauty and Complexity of Marriage, with Randy and Hannah Hamm – April 8, 2017 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Make Time for Life – April 8, 2017 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Book launch: The Honour Drum Book, featuring Cheryl Bear & Tim Huff – April 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Celebrating the Chan Centre at 20: A Song of Joys – April 8, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

April 9, 2017

Silence – April 9, 2017 - April 12, 2017 at All Day
Jazz Vespers: Jennifer Hodge – April 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

April 10, 2017

Poetry for Holy Week and Easter – April 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

April 11, 2017

DVD on Reinhold Niebuhr – April 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

April 12, 2017

Jazz Evensong: Dan Reynolds & Friends – April 12, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

April 13, 2017

Stations – April 13, 2017 - April 15, 2017 at All Day
PeaceMeal: Songs and Story to Feed a Troubled World – April 13, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Testament – April 13, 2017 - April 15, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

April 14, 2017

Meet Me at the Cross & March for Jesus – April 14, 2017 at 8:30 am - 10:00 am
Way of the Cross Walk – April 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm
Good Friday Contemplative Evening of Sung Prayers – April 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
United Voices and Chamber Orchestra presents Mozart’s Requiem – April 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: Aeterna – April 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

April 15, 2017

Easter Bash – April 15, 2017 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Easter Egg Hunt – April 15, 2017 at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
United Voices and Chamber Orchestra presents Mozart’s Requiem – April 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Ecological Stations of the Cross – April 15, 2017 at 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
PeaceMeal: Songs and Story to Feed a Troubled World – April 15, 2017 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

April 19, 2017

Jazz Evensong: Doe Bender & Friends – April 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

April 20, 2017

Karina Svalya: Encountering Darkness, Painting Light – April 20, 2017 - May 4, 2017 at All Day
Journey 101 (Thursdays) – April 20, 2017 - May 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Stone's Throw Productions: The Wolves – April 20, 2017 - April 22, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

April 21, 2017

Open House at the Gardens of Gethsemani – April 21, 2017 - April 22, 2017 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

April 22, 2017

St. Andrew's Celebrates Earth Day – April 22, 2017 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Stronger Together: Bridging the Gaps – April 22, 2017 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
The Way of Light: A Journey Through the Story of Easter, with Catherine M. Kelly – April 22, 2017 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Ratanak International Emerald Gala – April 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
First Nations Cultural Awareness Dinner – April 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Bible in the News Meet-Up Group (Saturday evenings) – April 22, 2017 - August 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

April 23, 2017

Good Seed Sunday, delivered by A Rocha – April 23, 2017 at All Day
Violet Behzadian: Song of My Salvation – April 23, 2017 - April 30, 2017 at All Day
Godspeed: The Sun Run Service – April 23, 2017 at 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Jazz Vespers: Hot Mammas (Arntzens) – April 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

April 25, 2017

Salvation Army Harbour Light Open House – April 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Milleraires Concert for PWRDF – April 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

April 26, 2017

Jazz Evensong: Juhli Conlinn & Friends – April 26, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Stone's Throw Productions: The Shape of a Girl – April 26, 2017 - April 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

April 28, 2017

Graham & Aaron Ord – April 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Next Gen Vision Night – April 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Mirror Year End Dance Show – April 28, 2017 - April 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

April 29, 2017

Marriage Mentoring: Building Healthy Marriages Through Friendship and Community with Randy Hamm – April 29, 2017 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
People's Climate March: Jobs. Justice. Climate – April 29, 2017 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Over 18: A Documentary About Porn – April 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

April 30, 2017

Refuge: Music to Celebrate Vancouver's Refugee Heritage – April 30, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Together: City Church Worship & Prayer Gathering – April 30, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm

May 1, 2017

Mark DeVries: Sustainable Ministry Beyond the Offering Plate? – May 1, 2017 at 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Kevin Burns: In the Memory Palace of Thomas Merton – May 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

May 2, 2017

Carr Lecture: Faith and Society with Dr. Angus Reid – May 2, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 3, 2017

Business By the Book: Tina Konkin – May 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Maya Rae & Friends – May 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

May 6, 2017

Faith and Science in the Franciscan Tradition – May 6, 2017 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
CityFEST 2017 – May 6, 2017 at 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
CityFEST 2017 – May 6, 2017 at 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
CityFEST 2017 – May 6, 2017 at 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
CityFEST 2017 – May 6, 2017 at 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Blackwood Brothers Quartet – May 6, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

May 7, 2017

Jazz Vespers: Jennifer Scott & Rene Worst – May 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Vancouver Oratorio Sociecty: Behold, the Glorious Lamb – May 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

May 9, 2017

John Pentland: What If . . . We Had Good Religion? – May 9, 2017 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

May 10, 2017

Pastors & Leaders Conference 2017: Seek the Peace of the City - Exegeting Your Neighbourhood – May 10, 2017 - May 12, 2017 at All Day
Ray Bakke: The Glorious History of the Syrian Church – From the Time of the Apostles Until Now – May 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Paris Favilla & Friends – May 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

May 11, 2017

March for Life: Centennial Square to the BC Legislature – May 11, 2017 at 1:15 pm - 3:15 pm
Mercy Me – May 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 12, 2017

Ray Bakke Bus Tour: Missiological Landscapes in a City of Villages – City Tour of Historic Downtown Vancouver – May 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Life on the Margins: Weekend Workshop – May 12, 2017 - May 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 5:00 pm
We Make Fraser Valley – May 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Eisenhauers – May 12, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
International Concert Organist Hans Uwe Hielscher – May 12, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

May 13, 2017

Lifted High: Encountering God in Spiritual Formation and Worship with Herbert Tsang – May 13, 2017 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
HOPE International Development Agency 2017 Film Premiere & Dinner – May 13, 2017 at 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Michelle Herrewynen & Friends: Exultate - A Voice Recital – May 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

May 14, 2017

Jazz Vespers: Nancy Newman – May 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

May 15, 2017

Transforming Discipleship: Making Disicples a Few at a Time, with Dr. Greg Ogden – May 15, 2017 - May 17, 2017 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Focus on Life Gala Dinner – May 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Eisenhauers – May 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm

May 17, 2017

Abbotsford Prayer Breakfast: Faith for Future Generations – May 17, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Rod Wilson: Money, Sex and Power – Are Freud and Jesus in Sync? – May 17, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Maria Ho Quartet with Campbell Riga – May 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

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