Missions Fest 2017: New mini-conferences reflect justice theme

'Fruitful Friendship with Muslims' is the topic of one of five mini-conferences at Missions Fest this year. Others deal with residential schools, poverty, the environment and missionary care.

‘Fruitful Friendship with Muslims’ is the topic of one of five mini-conferences at Missions Fest this year. Others deal with residential schools, poverty, the environment and missionary care.

For the first time in its 34-year history, Missions Fest Vancouver will incorporate several mini-conferences, which organizers describe as “opportunities for you to learn from experts who are collaborating together to help you go deeper into a subject than can be done in a seminar.”

The theme of the three-day event (January 27 – 29 at the Vancouver Convention Centre) is Justice and the Gospel; the five mini-conferences (all on the first day) will focus on these issues:

  • Fruitful Friendships with Muslims
  • Residential Schools: Responding to Our Shared History
  • Earthkeeping as Mission: Caring for People and Creation through Small Scale Sustainable Agriculture, Locally and Internationally
  • Ending Poverty Together Boot Camp: Rethinking Causes and Solutions
  • No Lone Rangers: A Collaborative Approach to Missionary Care

Following are descriptions of the mini-conferences, closely based on Missions Fest materials.

1. Fruitful Friendships with Muslims

In 2016, 25,000 Syrian refugees arrived in Canada. They joined with many others who are arriving as refugees or immigrants from countries where they have never had a chance to understand the good news of redemption found through Jesus Christ.

As Canada becomes more ethnically diverse, we will need to grow in our understanding of the worldview of others, and to build relationships that allow conversations to become meaningful.

Sessions:

  1. Understanding the Muslim presence in Canada (religious, worldview and cultural make-up)
  2. Discover who is ministering to Muslims in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
  3. Exploring bridges in faith
  4. Roundtable discussion on ways to build friendship and open dialogue with Muslims

Co-presented by:

  • Art Klassen, Pioneers
  • Lorna Johnston, Outreach Canada
  • Roland Muller, WEC International
  • Guests from CNMM, Journey Home, Middle Eastern Friendship Centre, Wycliffe and General Conference Baptist

2. Residential Schools: Responding to Our Shared History

trccallstoaction1Residential schools are impacting people today and the solutions cannot be quick fixes. It may take generations to change, but we need to start today.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada states that reconciliation is “about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country.”

In the Calls to Action developed by the TRC, the church can learn about its role in colonization; the history of residential schools; and why apologies to the victims and families were necessary. In 2 Corinthians 5:19, “He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” What will the ministry of reconciliation look like in your life?

Co-presented by:

  • Temera Millar, North America Indigenous Ministries
  • Terry LeBlanc, Indigenous Pathways
  • Randy Barnetson, Street Church and First Nations Bible College
  • Byron Grant, New Beginnings Church

3. Earthkeeping as Mission: Caring for People and Creation Through Small Scale Sustainable Agriculture, Locally and Internationally

Caring for creation is a gospel issue and it is also a matter of justice. Being in right relationship with God leads us to a right relationship with self, others and creation.

This mini-conference explores what “shalom” looks like on the ground for people and places. You can take the mandate of caring for creation right into your church and discover very practically what you can do through community gardens locally, as well as supporting small-scale farmers in the Global South.

See also A Rocha’s event page

Sessions:

  1. An introduction to creation care
  2. Caring for creation is a justice issue
  3. How can your church care for creation?
  4. Community gardens and food security
  5. Unbend the trend: supporting small-scale farmers in the Global South

Co-presented by:

  • Markku Kostamo, A Rocha Canada
  • Gord King, Canadian Baptist Ministries
  • Paul Hagerman, Canadian Foodgrains Bank
  • Jasmine Kwon, OMF

4. Ending Poverty Together Boot Camp: Rethinking Causes and Solutions

An interactive workshop from a biblical worldview has been designed to help redefine our understanding of poverty – both causes and solutions – in Canada and abroad. There will be opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals while gaining a healthy, hope-filled approach to engaging in poverty alleviation.

Sessions:

  1. Impoverished thinking: a need to redefine poverty
  2. We’re all in this together: our work is relational
  3. Our understanding of poverty is holistic
  4. Beyond the band-aid: changes that last

Co-presented by:

  • Wendy Toews and Eric Strom, Food for the Hungry

5. No Lone Rangers: A Collaborative Approach to Missionary Care

Missionary care seminars have been a feature at Missions Fest over the past three years; the desire to go deeper into exactly how to care to missionaries has been expressed.  

Live testimonies and case studies on the partnership between church, agency and missionary, will help communities to support missionaries.

Sessions:

  1. Why care for missionaries is needed
  2. Bridging gaps in care through collaboration and partnership between a sending church, agency and missionary
  3. Live testimonials and perspectives on real issues missionaries face
  4. Small group breakout discussion over case studies
  5. Practical advice on coordinating, co-developing and cooperating in care

Co-presented by:

  • John Best, Willingdon Church
  • Lori Nickel, MB Mission
  • Gilbert & Lydia Nigh, SIM

All five mini-conferences will take place on Friday, January 27, from 1 – 5 pm. Tickets are $10 each, and include a coffee break. Pre-register here or purchase tickets on-site in the Vancouver Convention Centre lobby. There are other ticketed events this year: Youth / Young Adults Rally, Club 67 and Film Festival. There is no charge to visit the booths or attend seminars at Missions Fest.

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