Around town: Welcome Centre, TWU – Pray for Freedom, God’s Word Written

This picture was posted on the ISSofBC Facebook page May 31, saying, "Thank you neighbour for the warm welcome!"

This picture was posted on the ISSofBC Facebook page May 31, saying, “Thank you neighbour for the warm welcome!”

The Welcome Centre is open, and it in turn has been welcomed by its closest neighbour, First Christian Reformed Church of Vancouver, on Victoria Drive at 10th Avenue, near the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station.

Operated by Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC), the six-storey, $24.5 million facility will be the first stop for many refugees arriving in Vancouver.

After touring the Welcome Centre with Chris Friesen – ISSofBC’s director of settlement services – Vancouver Courier’s Mike Howell wrote (June 3):

Inside is Friesen’s dream realized. He proudly states there is no other facility in the world for newcomers – refugees, refugee claimants and immigrants – that offers such variety of services under one roof.

He lists them off: 18 self-contained apartments (with shared laundry) that can house 130 people, a health clinic, a pre-school, a playground, a drop-in centre for young people, English language programs, mental health counselling, support programs for victims of trauma, services for refugee claimants, government services related to social assistance and a bank. . . .

“It really takes the whole issue of social cohesion, immigrant integration – all of this – to a new height,” he said. “To find one centre where people so new to the country don’t have to navigate all over the place and deal with all the complexities that comes with starting out in a new country, is great.”

Friesen welcomes church support. Last fall, for example, he escorted several Christian Reformed pastors through the partially built Welcome Centre, and also addressed a large gathering from various churches at Royal Oak Community Church.

Following a phone conversation with him after that gathering, I wrote:

Friesen said there are plenty of ways for anyone “driven by mission” to help out. While some church groups will undertake the serious commitment of sponsoring refugees, others can help in ways which require less commitment, from being “settlement mentors” to taking families out on weekend outings and offering “welcoming packages” with items like calling cards (to phone home) and various staples.

He also said it would be nice if a few churches near the new Welcome House could “come together for a community evening or a shared meal.”

When asked how churches have been doing with refugees, Friesen said, “We’re doing a better job of articulating the need” – which I took as a polite way of saying there is room for improvement.

Dena Nicolai

Dena Nicolai

Christian Reformed Churches in the Metro Vancouver / Fraser Valley region have been quick off the mark. Earlier this year, they hired Dena Nicolai as a chaplain and refugee support mobilizer.

Nicolai hopes to establish a multi-faith chaplaincy to be accessed by Government-Assisted Refugees and potentially ISSofBC staff at the Welcome Centre. She would work as a Christian chaplain. She will also act as a liaison with congregations (not just Christian Reformed) throughout BC that are interested in supporting refugees as they transition to life in Canada.

She has been working with refugees already, but says families have not yet moved into Welcome House. The exact date of move-in is still a bit up in the air, though certain programs – language classes and the accompanying day care – are already running.

Nicolai encourages anyone interested in the Welcome Centre to attend its grand opening, which will take place June 25, 1 – 4:30 pm, in the First CRC parking lot.

Pray for Freedom with TWU

Trinity Western is hoping to open its law school in 2018.

Trinity Western is hoping to open its law school in 2018.

Trinity Western University (TWU) has just been through a couple of challenging weeks as it works towards establishing a law school on its campus, with hearings in the BC Court of Appeal (June 1 – 3) and the Ontario Court of Appeal (June 6 – 8).

For a complete recap of the two court experiences go here. Check out the June 7 recorded interview of TWU spokesperson Amy Robertson’s by Rick Cluff on CBC Radio’s Early Edition while you’re there. She was very clear and convincing – I’m sure she will have earned a few converts for the school.

The FAQ page is also worth a visit; it answers 20 common questions, from ‘Why does TWU want a law school?’ to ‘Why should Canadians care about the TWU School of Law debate?’

TWU recognizes that it can’t win this crucial struggle for freedom of religion alone – and is asking 100,000 Canadians to join them in prayer:

We at Trinity Western University have found ourselves at the centre of a controversy – one we never hoped to be part of. Our calling is to educate tomorrow’s finest leaders, and yet in trying to follow this calling, we’ve faced unprecedented opposition from governing bodies who don’t like what we believe.

Law societies in BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia have announced they won’t call graduates from TWU’s proposed School of Law to the bar. Not because they won’t be qualified – but because the societies don’t like our Community Covenant, which all students and staff agree to before joining the TWU community. 

These three law societies have said they’ll accept our graduates only if we change or eliminate the Community Covenant, which defines our community as distinctly Christian by laying out standards calling everyone in the community to live in a Christlike manner. At issue is our traditional Christian definition of marriage, which we maintain is between one man and one woman. 

“We’ll accredit your graduates – if you change the way your faith community defines itself.”

This is a clear violation of our freedom, which Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects. There are serious implications here not just for us, but for all Canadians, who are profoundly privileged to believe as they choose and practice accordingly. What happens if government agencies begin to dictate religious practice? If we’re required to conform to popular opinion? Will our children be fired for requesting Sundays off? Will our Muslim sisters be required to unveil in public? Will our Sikh brothers be barred from construction jobs because a turban interferes with a hard hat? Will Christian schools as we know them cease to exist?

Canadian diversity includes people of faith, and yet our freedom is at risk. Will you stand and pray with us as we ask the courts to honour our freedom?

Go here “to receive up-to-date, detailed prayer requests for TWU’s pursuit of freedom.”

God’s Word Written

johnneufeldfront

John Neufeld, former senior pastor of Willingdon Church, will be a key speaker at God’s Word Written.

Two of Vancouver’s best known Bible expositors will lead the way at God’s Word Written (GWW), June 14 – 16 at Westside Church. Regent College professor J.I. Packer and former Willingdon Church senior pastor (and now Bible teacher at Back to the Bible Canada) John Neufeld will join four well known apologists: Dan Wallace, Mike Licona, David Lyle Jeffrey and Greg Monette. (Go here for their bios.)

GWW organizers describe the ‘Biblical Apologetics & Preaching Conference’ in this way:

God’s Word Written is a two-in-one conference designed to grow in us a deep confidence in the Bible and a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about itself as God’s word written.

They add that “This conference is for – Preachers, Bible Teachers, Small Group Leaders, Youth Ministers, Children Ministers, Pastoral Care Workers and anyone interested in understanding why we can be confident in God’s Word Written.”

Vietnamese priests

Bishop-elect Joseph Nguyen fled Vietnam as a young man.

Bishop-elect Joseph Nguyen escaped Vietnam as a young man.

Doug Todd wrote a moving Vancouver Sun article about Catholic leader Joseph Nguyen June 7:

Bishop-elect Joseph Nguyen still has nightmares about being in prison in Vietnam.

Dreams about the prison’s cramped conditions and malnutrition tend to strike when he’s tired and stressed, said Nguyen, who was named last week by Pope Francis as bishop-elect for the geographically vast Roman Catholic diocese of Kamloops.

“When I wake up from the nightmares, I know they’re already past. And I don’t have to worry anymore. So I’m relieved. But it’s left me with a mental stigma,” Nguyen, 59, said in an interview Friday at his office in the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. . . .

Nguyen’s story is well worth reading for its own sake, but what I found particularly interesting is that “Ten other active Catholic priests in Metro Vancouver are Vietnamese. All were refugees.” For the full article go here.

June 9, 2016

Wit by Margaret Edison – June 9, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

June 10, 2016

Pause for Perspective: Silent Retreat with Father Richard Soo SJ – June 10, 2016 at 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
A Rocha: Stories & Song, with Peter & Miranda Harris, Sandra McCracken – June 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Duncan Africa Benefit Concert – June 10, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

June 11, 2016

DRIME Fundraiser: Run for the Nations – June 11, 2016 at All Day
Gordon Smith: Cultivating Institutions that Thrive – June 11, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
The Mission of God and Your Church – June 11, 2016 at All Day
Mental Health Workshops: Mental Health, Faith & Community – June 11, 2016 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Gospel Music Festival – June 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Saint Eugene de Mazenod Play – June 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Reconcile This!: Uniting Struggles Against Colonial Dispossession & Capitalist Displacement – June 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jesus Loves Me Hymn Festival – June 11, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

June 12, 2016

Watoto Children's Choir – June 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 14, 2016

GWW: God's Word Written – Biblical Apologetics & Preaching Conference – June 14, 2016 - June 16, 2016 at All Day
Watoto Children's Choir – June 14, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 15, 2016

British Columbia Christian Ashram – June 15, 2016 at All Day
Kairos Course (Cantonese) – June 15, 2016 at All Day
Clergy Abuse: Finding Ways to Heal – June 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Watoto Children's Choir – June 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Miles Wong – June 15, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

June 16, 2016

EFC Webinar: Youth and Church – Five Years Since the Hemorrhaging Faith Study – June 16, 2016 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Seaside Social: A Fundraising Evening for Creative Life – June 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Watoto Children's Choir – June 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 17, 2016

Pink Impact 2016 Women's Conference – June 17, 2016 - June 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Watoto Children's Choir: Oh, What Love – June 17, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

June 18, 2016

Refugee Hope Walk – June 18, 2016 at 9:00 am - 11:30 am
Combating Modern Day Slavery – June 18, 2016 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Watoto Children's Choir – June 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Angus Stuart: Word of Light – The Gospel of John in the Flesh – June 18, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

June 19, 2016

World Refugee Sunday – June 19, 2016 at All Day
Ecumenical Worship in the Park – June 19, 2016 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Watoto Children's Choir – June 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

June 20, 2016

TRC Challenge Event & National Aboriginal Day – June 20, 2016 at 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

June 22, 2016

CSSA Golf Tournament for Mission Possible – June 22, 2016 at 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Kelita Haverland – June 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

June 23, 2016

Pilar Mehlis: I Belong Here . . . – June 23, 2016 at All Day
Kairos Blanket Exercise – June 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Fr. Jacques Philippe: Series of talks on Mercy – June 23, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 24, 2016

Men for God Conference – June 24, 2016 - June 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Chapel: School's Out 2016 - Trilogy – June 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 11:55 pm
Tamara Kleinsasser in Concert – June 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Watoto Children's Choir – June 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 25, 2016

Birthright International Walk/Run Day – June 25, 2016 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Welcome Centre Opening – June 25, 2016 at 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Vancouver Oratorio Society: The Path of Composition – June 25, 2016 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Watoto Children's Choir – June 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Aboriginal Day Electronica Liturgy – June 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Cathy AJ Hardy Album Release Party: 'And I Heard the Sound of Laughter' – June 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

June 26, 2016

World Refugee Sunday – June 26, 2016 at All Day
St. Jude's Open House – June 26, 2016 at 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Kairos Course (Cantonese) – June 26, 2016 at 3:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Watoto Children's Choir – June 26, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mixed Multitude Music Album Release / Listening Party – June 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Vancouver Oratorio Society: Silver Jubilee Celebration Concert – June 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

June 27, 2016

Richard Mouw: Why Evangelicals Need Sacred Spaces – June 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

June 28, 2016

Regent Redux: A Good Death? Mercy, Mortality & Medically Assisted Dying – June 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Boundaries – June 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

June 29, 2016

The Colour Collective: The View from Here - Opening Reception – June 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Philip Ryken: Becoming Like Jesus in His Death – Lessons for Ministry from Shusaku Endo's 'Silence' – June 29, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Tord Gustavsen Hymns and Visions with Simin Tander and Jarle Vespestad – June 29, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Original Blend – June 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

July 1, 2016

Canada Day Prayer for Greater Vancouver – July 1, 2016 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
With One Voice – July 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

July 2, 2016

A Rocha: Restoration Saturday – July 2, 2016 at 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

July 3, 2016

Night of Power Prayer – July 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

July 4, 2016

Summit Ministries Canada: Worldview Summer Course - “NO Compromise" Defending TRUTH in a Culture of Deception – July 4, 2016 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tsawwassen Alliance Church Soccer Camp – July 4, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Dr. Daniel Boyarin: Jesus Kept Kosher: a New Interpretation of Mark 7 – July 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Night of Power Prayer – July 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Susan Phillips: Paying Attention - Taking the Time to Discover Our Stories – July 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

July 5, 2016

One Night Screening of 'Numb' – July 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

July 6, 2016

Business By the Book: Annie Li – July 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Regen: Jen Ennis / Regen Band – July 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ralph Wood: Flannery O'Connor, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Christ Pantocrator – July 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Hip Pocket Trio – July 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

July 7, 2016

Memorial for Iraq – July 7, 2016 at 7:30 am - 9:00 am
Dr. Christine Bochen: Thomas Merton’s Witness and Challenge: “Mercy, always, in everything, mercy” – July 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Gospel in Vancouver: Imagining Mission in Cascadia – July 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

July 8, 2016

Pacific Grace Soccer Camp – July 8, 2016 - July 12, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
White Rock Baptist Church Soccer Camp – July 8, 2016 - July 12, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
CBC Musical Nooners: The Tourist Company with special guest Jordan Klassen – July 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

July 9, 2016

Harrison Gospel Chapel Art Exhibit – July 9, 2016 - July 10, 2016 at All Day
David Ley: Postmodern Urban Spaces - a City Tour – July 9, 2016 at 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Vancouver Whitecaps Faith and Family Night – July 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

July 10, 2016

RZIM Summer School – July 10, 2016 at All Day
The River Fellowship Presents Dan Mohler – July 10, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Real Life Young Professionals Fellowship – July 10, 2016 at 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Kathaumixw Concert to support Syrian Refugee Project – July 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

July 11, 2016

Minho Song: From an Inward-looking Congregation to an Outward People of God – July 11, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

July 12, 2016

Dr. Paul Martens: Neo-Anabaptism is Dead; Long Live Neo-Anabaptism – July 12, 2016 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Kathy Dawson: The Secret to Long Lasting Success in Child and Youth Ministry – July 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
George Marsden: The Genius of C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity – July 12, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

July 13, 2016

Northview Community Church Soccer Camp – July 13, 2016 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Ravi Zacharias: When Answers Assume a Contrary Worldview – July 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Regen: Ben Hilson / Village Church Band – July 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Malcolm Guite: An Unexpected Music - Poetry and the Experience of Grace – July 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: The Six Degree Band – July 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

July 14, 2016

[R]Evolutionary Theology Conference: Re-Imagining God and the World – July 14, 2016 - July 17, 2016 at All Day
Jeff Greenman: Screening of 'Between a Shoe and the Roof' – July 14, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

July 15, 2016

BC Christian Ashram Retreat – July 15, 2016 - July 17, 2016 at All Day

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