Around Town: Missions Fest, Common Grace, Eagle Rock, Worship (x2) . . .

missionsfestlogoinside1Some people find the hustle and bustle of Missions Fest a little overwhelming. Here’s a perfect solution – the Prayer Room is open throughout the conference weekend, which runs from Friday noon to Sunday, 5 pm (January 29 – 31), at the Vancouver.

The point is, there’s something for everyone at Missions Fest. Vancouver is so blessed to have had this focal point for ministry over the past few decades. I urge every member of the Christian community to get down there over the weekend, to meet old friends and to learn about some good work you didn’t know about.
 
The theme this year is ‘Mission: Being or Doing,’ so some of the talks and workshops will be focused not so much on how you can get active as on how you can participate creatively in missions.
 
Keynote speaker Richard Cunningham, director of UCCF (the Christian Unions) in the UK, wrote ‘The Search for Identity’ for the Missions Fest magazine. In it he asked:

Who are you? Are you what you do or is what you do an overflow of a deeper identity? . . .
 
We know who we once were, God’s unfallen image bearers, and who we have become in Jesus, who is the image of God. We are increasingly becoming, more and more like Christ. We are therefore integrated, whole people who must live lives that are true to who we are, once were and are becoming. This is where we will derive joy and energy for mission.
 
As followers of Jesus, we are not acting or playing a part (which is always exhausting and deeply unsatisfying), but we are being and doing what we were made for. If this does not lead to active, committed and devoted mission then I have simply missed seeing who I am in Christ and the need to find others from all the nations who are to be part of that magnificent and glorious day (Col 3:4).
 
Among the highlights of Missions Fest this year:
 
* Four excellent keynote speakers: Danielle Strickland (see accompanying article); Richard Cunningham (referred to above); Jamie Taylor who works for OMF International, which was started by his great-great grandfather James Hudson Taylor, and has a wealth of first-hand knowledge about the church in Asia; and Michael Oh, who as a young Korean man became a missionary to Japan and is now executive director / CEO of the Lausanne Movement.
 
* There are a couple of hundred exhibitors, covering a wide range of activities. Some represent fairly traditional missionary work overseas, while others are active in justice ministries, and others again work with local camps, schools and street ministries.
 
* Dozens of seminars also cover a very wide range, from how to share your faith with a Muslim and working in northeast Thailand to how to avoid burnout and how to be authentic before doing anything.
 
* The Film Festival is now in its seventh year and is always very popular. There is an arts cafe, live music, youth events . . . the list goes on.
 
Common Grace

The full cast of Common Grace: Julie Lynn Mortensen (left), Kerri Norris, Shauna Johannesen and Cara Cunningham. Photo by Emily Cooper.

The cast of Common Grace: Julie Lynn Mortensen (left), Kerri Norris, Shauna Johannesen and Cara Cunningham. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Common Grace by Shauna Johannesen opens January 29. Pacific Theatre describes it this way:

After spending six months running from her past, Colleen is forced to return home for her father’s funeral. Between the flowered cards, casseroles, over-priced caskets and hidden bottles of wine, she must decide if she can fit into the world she left behind. A provocative and relatable family drama.
 
Dana Gee interviewed Johannesen in The Province January 25. Here is a portion:

The whole play takes place in an actual functional kitchen (real food is made) with only three other characters showing up to interact with the mother and her daughters.

“You just end up in the kitchen,” said Johannesen, who also plays the key role of Colleen (one of the daughters) in the play.

“That’s where everything happens. Somebody’s cooking or they are getting stuff ready. You just gather there. It’s the informal place and to me it is the heart of the house.”

It’s here, in the kitchen, that all manner of topics are covered and emotional guards are let down. Dealing with their grief the family begins to reveal themselves as they try to understand and learn more about each other and how they have ended up where they are.

Mark Robins of Vancouver Presents spoke to Cara Cunningham; Common Grace is her first professional role:

She isn’t too nervous though, as she has been involved in the development of Common Grace from the beginning. As part of Pacific Theatre’s “Working With” play development program, a handful of select playwrights have met every couple of weeks for the last two years to read and provide feedback on each other’s work. Like the upcoming production of Common Grace, the end result is a staged production at Vancouver’s faith-based theatre company.

“It really has helped to have been part of the play development process,” she says. “The great thing about being in it from the beginning is how you feel like you’ve come to know the people.”

Common Grace runs until February 14.

Eagle Rock Gospel Singers

The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers will be at the Media Club this weekend.

The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers will be at the Media Club this weekend.

I’d never heard of the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, but when I checked out three songs on their website I became convinced they’ll put on a great show at the Media Club this Saturday (January 30). They would complement a day at Missions Fest nicely. 

LA Weekly had this to say about them last summer:

“We were covering stuff by artists who were doing it in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s,” says drummer-singer Will Wadsworth. “The stuff that resonated with us was coming from people who were singing out of a place of desperation, sometimes heartache, sometimes complete joy. . . .

The band’s debut album, Heavenly Fire . . . is a rip-roaring, soaring batch of rootsy-flavored originals written by the band’s individual members, who took their songwriting cues from the greatest and most venerable of American trad musical genres. . . .

“Gospel music for a lot of people is defined by the content,” Wadsworth says, “and that’s usually traditional stories that are based in what we have known as the Bible of Judeo-Christian beliefs. These orations wove themselves into music that was very white bluegrass music, very white folk and country music and very African-American blues gospel.”

Worship (x2)

The good news is that there are a couple of good worship events coming up next week. The bad news is that they’re taking place at exactly the same time, on the morning of February 6.

Richard Leggett

Richard Leggett

Richard Leggett will lead What is Christian Worship? at Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Leggett, rector of St. Faith’s Anglican Church and professor emeritus of liturgical studies at Vancouver School of Theology, “will discuss Anglican liturgy to inform and explain the ways in which we worship.” While the presentation will be aimed at one stream of the church, most churches in Canada have been influenced by that stream.

A few blocks to the east, at Tenth Church, Worship Central is offering a Worship Leaders Hub: “The first hub of 2016 in BC will be a joint one! Come worship, pray, dialogue with other worship and church leaders, and dream together about how we will shape this ministry in 2016 for our own regions.”

Maybe a few people will want to take in part of each; or possibly even attend the one that they wouldn’t normally go to.

Hastings and Gore

First United is on the southeast corner of Hastings and Gore.

First United is on the southeast corner of Hastings and Gore.

There will be all kinds of change at the corner of Hastings and Gore in the Downtown Eastside over the next few years, most of it relating to current or former church buildings.

The Straight reported January 25 that ‘Downtown Eastside’s First United Church plans lengthy closure for redevelopment,’ beginning in 2019:

The redevelopment will include the construction of a large building with new housing units, [spokesperson Heather] Forbes revealed. But she quickly emphasized that any structure built at 320 East Hastings Street will be “low-rise” and designed for the low-income people the church caters to today.

That’s the southeast corner.
 
Directly across the street, according to a January 26 article in The Vancouver Sun, the “former Salvation Army Temple may be torn down for social housing”:
 
The elegant building . . . has been a local landmark since it opened in 1950. Built by the Salvation Army as its Vancouver headquarters and temple, it boasted an auditorium for 700 people, a basement gymnasium, a kitchen and offices. . . .
 
In 1984, the Salvation Army sold the building to the Gold Buddha Monastery for $900,000. The Monastery sold it in 2001, when it moved to a new building in Mount Pleasant.
 
That’s the northeast corner.
 
And a January 26 article in Vancity Buzz reported: ‘New building with 104 social housing units approved for Downtown Eastside.’
 
According to city documents, the 120-foot-high, 12-storey building will be outfitted with retail on the ground floor and 172 residential units on the upper floors, including 104 units of social housing, 68 units of market housing, and six units of handicap housing. As well, 35 units of the social housing stock will be rented at income assistance rates of $375 per month.
 
That’s the southwest corner. The Downtown Eastside is changing quickly.
 

January 28, 2016

Go! Conference – January 28, 2016 - January 31, 2016 at All Day
Missions Fest Fundraising Banquet – January 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

January 29, 2016

Missions Fest Film Festival 2016 – January 29, 2016 - January 31, 2016 at All Day
Missions Fest Vancouver – January 29, 2016 - January 31, 2016 at All Day
Lori-Anne Boutin-Crawford: 'Psalms for a Hopeful Heart' CD Release Concert – January 29, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

January 30, 2016

UBC Alzheimer Update – January 30, 2016 at 12:00 am
Open Mind Eyes Heart: Premier Screening (at Missions Fest Film Festival) – January 30, 2016 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
True Compassion: A Workshop on How to Respond to Physician Assisted Suicide in Canada – January 30, 2016 at 12:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Matt Maher: The Saints & Sinners Tour, with Chris McClarney – January 30, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Eagle Rock Gospel Singers with guests Lovecoast – January 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

February 2, 2016

Open House – February 2, 2016 at All Day
Open House – February 2, 2016 at All Day
Ying Kai: Disciple Multiplying Movement – Leaders Meeting – February 2, 2016 at 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Brentwood Concert Series: The Borealis String Quartet – February 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

February 3, 2016

Open House 2015 – February 3, 2016 at All Day
Open House 2015 – February 3, 2016 at All Day
Ying Kai: Disciple Multiplying Movement – Leaders Meeting – February 3, 2016 at 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Vancouver Pastors Prayer Fellowship – February 3, 2016 at 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Business By the Book: How Love Works, with special guest speaker Jenny Konkin – February 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Augustine for Beginners – February 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Early Music Vancouver / Pacific Baroque Orchestra: Death and Devotion with Soprano Dorothee Mields – February 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: The Rossi Gang – February 3, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

February 4, 2016

WL Hibberd: Winter Aesthetic – February 4, 2016 at All Day
City in Focus: Navigating for Non Profits – February 4, 2016 at 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Hans Boersma: Scripture, Sacrament and Metaphysics - Origen, Hobbes and Spinoza – February 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

February 5, 2016

Disciple Multiplying Small Group Training with Ying Kai – February 5, 2016 - February 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Life in the Margins Weekend Workshop – February 5, 2016 - February 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Dr. Dave Currie: i-Parent Seminar – February 5, 2016 - February 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 3:00 pm

February 6, 2016

Just Life: A Biblical Framework for Practicing Justice in Everyday Life – February 6, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
What is Christian Worship? – February 6, 2016 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Worship Central: Worship Leaders Hub – February 6, 2016 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm

February 8, 2016

Family Day at the Mennonite Heritage Museum – February 8, 2016 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Metro Vancouver Alliance: Affordable Housing Assembly – February 8, 2016 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

February 10, 2016

Regent Redux: Beyond Black and White – Truth, Paradox and the Substance of Faith – February 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Trinity Worship Night – February 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Leora Cashe – February 10, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

February 11, 2016

Cantonese Kairos Course – February 11, 2016 at All Day
Whale Dreams – February 11, 2016 - February 14, 2016 at All Day
Perspectives Course (Thursday evenings) – February 11, 2016 at 6:45 pm - 9:45 pm
Common Grace by Shauna Johannesen – February 11, 2016 - February 14, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

February 12, 2016

Do Nice People Always Finish Last? – February 12, 2016 at 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Weekend Series with Dr. Caroline Leaf – February 12, 2016 - February 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 12:00 pm
Wes Howard-Brook: Come Out, My People! God's Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond – February 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: The Source of Song - Gregory's Gift of Chant – February 12, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

February 13, 2016

Growing In Faith Through Worship: Celebrating and Nurturing Differing Abilities in the Church (Part II) – February 13, 2016 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Max Oliva SJ: Beatitudes for the Workplace – February 13, 2016 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

February 14, 2016

Celtic Music: Marco Del Rio – February 14, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Glenda Rae Trio – February 14, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 6:15 pm

February 15, 2016

Red Light/Green Light Film Screening – February 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

February 16, 2016

Dr. Robert Keller: Environmental Law, Ethics & History – Two Perspectives – February 16, 2016 at 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Dementia Awareness Workshop: Remembering to Eat Well – February 16, 2016 at 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Faith & Reason Lecture Series: Academic Freedom – February 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Hope for the Middle East with Wayne Hilden, F.I.R.M. – February 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

February 17, 2016

EFC Webinar: Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in Canada – What Canadian Christians need to know – February 17, 2016 at 9:00 am - 9:45 am
Living Well Forum with Dr. Jim Houston – February 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Erica Grimm: Salt Water Skin Boats – Opening Reception – February 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Gender Cafe: Pornography and the Death of Love and Beauty – February 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Lenten Study 2016 (Diarmaid MacCulloch: BBC History of Christianity, Wednesday evenings) – February 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Eli Bennett – February 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

February 18, 2016

Risen (opening night) – February 18, 2016 at All Day

February 19, 2016

Cascadia Worship & Arts Conference – February 19, 2016 - February 20, 2016 at All Day
Wab Kinew: Reflections on Reconciliation – February 19, 2016 - February 20, 2016 at All Day

February 20, 2016

Coldest Night of the Year – February 20, 2016 at All Day
Transitions of Life: Healthy Aging, Retirement & the Spiritual Journey – February 20, 2016 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Matters of the Heart – February 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

February 21, 2016

SAMC Faculty and Friends Recital Series: Calvin Dyck (violin) & Carmen Hollett (piano) – February 21, 2016 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

February 23, 2016

Community Open House: Oakridge Lutheran Church – February 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Updating the Scriptural Past in the Dead Sea Scrolls – February 23, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

February 24, 2016

Trace Elements: Artist Talk and Opening Reception – February 24, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dr. Agnes de Dreuzy: The Church That Goes Forth – Justice and Mercy in the European Migrant Crisis – February 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Bill Weeds – February 24, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

February 25, 2016

Soulcare at Work: Cultivating Good Ground For Spiritual Health – February 25, 2016 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Peacemeal Preview – February 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Angela Konrad: Confessions of a Drama Queen – How Theatre Can Change the World – February 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

February 26, 2016

A.J. Swoboda: Green Jesus – Creation Care, Sabbath and the First Earth Day – February 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Tourist Company – February 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

February 27, 2016

Wholehearted Men – February 27, 2016 at 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Good Noise: The Best of Hallelujah Praise, with Crystal Hicks – February 27, 2016 at 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Death, Dying & Dessert – February 27, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Tak Maeda’s 60th Birthday Bash Concert – February 27, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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