Around Town: Assessing John Horgan, Covenant Awards, Christian Calendar

Premier John Horgan at the Legislature, shortly before he stepped down. Photo: Government of BC Flickr.

John Horgan received quite a bit of positive comment last week, when he officially stepped down as Premier of British Columbia November 17.

Horgan remained personally popular during his time in power. The bulk of the commentary I heard about him was at least respectful and often quite positive.

One Christian group begs to differ, however. Levi Minderhoud, BC Manager for ARPA Canada, gave Horgan a failing grade for his five years as leader of the provincial government

The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada “is a grassroots Christian political advocacy organization. The mission of ARPA Canada is to educate, equip and encourage Reformed Christians to political action, and to bring a biblical perspective to our civil authorities.”

Minderhoud created a report card of sorts, giving two marks on each of eight issues that ARPA engages in:
The first goes to Horgan and analyzes whether his action (or inaction) helped align the province’s policies with God’s Word or continued our society’s rejection of God’s standards. In other words, in what direction has British Columbia moved as a result of Horgan’s policies?
The second grade goes to British Columbia as a whole and looks at the cumulative policies created by Horgan and every other premier. In other words, based on the grand scale of history, how is British Columbia faring?
Here is the conclusion, following assessment of the eight issues:

Horgan’s Overall Grade: D

The bottom line is that Horgan’s government did very little to steer British Columbia in a more God-honouring direction across the issues covered above. Our culture continues to slide further down the road of secularism, relativism and an odd combination of excessive government intervention intertwined with excessive individual autonomy.

If we were to sum up Horgan’s administration like the authors of Chronicles or Kings did for the kings of Israel and Judah, we might say that he did “evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done.” Few of Horgan’s policy decisions are unique to him. Many previous premiers had set the province on its current path. Horgan simply kept a steady course . . . in the wrong direction.

However, Horgan in some ways exceeded expectations. The NDP across Canada but especially at the federal level have prioritized access to abortion and euthanasia, public promotion of LGBTQ2S+ identities, a centralized education sector and greatly expanded government services. Their ideology drives their actions.

Premier John Horgan and Premier-Designate David Eby met with the BC Government Caucus, October 24. Photo: Government of BC Flickr.

For Horgan, electability was a greater driver of his government. His administration was surprisingly inactive on many of the issues that Christians had concerns about.

Instead, his energies were focused on other policy areas outside ARPA’s expertise but still of significance to citizens of British Columbia: reducing the cost of living, changing ICBC, trying to make housing affordable, advancing Indigenous reconciliation and combatting climate change.

His administration also managed the province’s finances fairly well, better than the tax-and-spend expectations that many people had.

British Columbia’s Overall Grade: C

British Columbia gets a passing score. Provincial policy is completely opposed to God’s standards on the topics of abortion, euthanasia, gender and sexuality. In some cases, British Columbia is the worst offender out of the Canadian provinces on these issues.

However, British Columbia is in middle-of-the-road shape in the areas of family and child care. We also still have a strong respect for fundamental freedoms, the lowest level of debt among the provinces and arguably the best system of independent education in the country.

So, while we should earnestly continue to pray for God to change the hearts of our provincial leaders and of British Columbians in general, continue to bring a biblical perspective to our existing civil authorities, and do our best to elect God-fearing rulers, we can still be thankful that God, in his mercy, continues to restrain evil in our society.

Let us give thanks and pray that this might continue to be the case for the sake of His people here and that He would continue to use us as salt and light to advance His Kingdom until He comes in glory to set all things right.

Go here for the full comment.

An October 3 Angus Reid poll assessed Horgan’s popularity, and that of the BC NDP, though not based on the same criteria as ARPA Canada:

The latest data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds 43 percent of British Columbians overall say Horgan will be remembered as an outstanding or above average premier – even earning the respect of three-in-ten past BC Liberal voters (29 percent). . . .

That’s not to say he – and his government – have been immune to criticism over significant issues facing the province.

Inflation, health care and housing affordability, continue to dominate as top issues. And on all three, the BCNDP is viewed as performing poorly by at least 73 percent.

The jury was out on David Eby, who has succeeded Horgan as premier. Respondents were divided three ways – 34 percent didn’t know him, 30 percent found him appealing and 35 percent found him unappealing.

Covenant Awards in BC

Brian Doerksen and Marika Siewert co-hosted Covenant Awards online, from TWU, this year.

Two local artists hosted the 42nd annual Covenant Awards November 19. Songwriter / recording artist Brian Doerksen (‘Refiner’s Fire,’ ‘Come Now is the Time to Worship’ . . . ) teamed up with recording artist / actor Marika Siewert from the studio of Trinity Western University.

The award ceremony, which took place on Zoom this year, is sponsored by GMA Canada, which has three main focuses: creative artistry, Christian community and Canadian uniqueness.
Local winners included:
* Carolyn Arends: Adult Contemporary Song of the Year (‘To Cry for You’) and Folk Song of the Year (‘Without Music’)
* Brian Doerksen (with Jaylene Johnston): Seasonal Song of the Year (‘Just Before the Silent Night’)
* Rosemary Siemens and Eli Bennett: Instrumental Artist of the Year (‘Sax&Violin’)
Probably the biggest winners of the evening were Prairie artist Jordan St. Cyr and Brooke Nicholls from Toronto, who each won in several categories.
Doerksen lives in Abbotsford, while Siewert shares her time between Vancouver and Los Angeles. They released a new song together – ‘Every Dream (God Who Sees)’ in October.

Christian Seasons Calendar

University Hill Congregation on the UBC campus continues to produce Salt of the Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar each year. The 2022/2023 version would make a great Christmas gift.

They state:

The Christian year began in the festivals held in the early centuries of the Church’s life. These festivals gradually grew into the annual marking of time that many Protestant and Roman Catholic churches share today.

 The Christian year divides first into the seasons that lead us through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus, including:

    • Advent 

    • Christmas

    • Epiphany

    • Lent and Holy Week (a part of Lent)

    • and Easter, which ends on the Day of Pentecost

This is followed by the long Season After Pentecost, when – baptized by God’s fiery Spirit – the focus is on our being sent out to serve in the world God so loves, in light of the story of Jesus we have just lived through once again in the first part of the year. The Christian year ends after Reign of Christ Sunday.

Michelle Vandyk

Though artists come from all over North America, and beyond, at least three of them have Vancouver connections. One even pastors the church which oversees the calendar project:

Michelle Vandyk, It is Well With My Soul

Michelle is passionate about light, shadows, colours, and the relationships between God and God’s creation. Her mixed-media art reflects her belief that life is layered, textured, and meaningful. She works as an artist, teacher, and art therapist in Chilliwack.

Nicola Twa, How Rich a Tapestry

Nicola studied art and design at the University of Alberta. She recently moved back to Canada after teaching overseas for seven years, and currently lives in Vancouver. Much of the inspiration for her work comes from her international experiences, and encounters with systems of order and pattern in the everyday.

Aaron Miller, Broken for You

Aaron is the congregational minister at University Hill Congregation in Vancouver, and the United Church of Canada campus minister for the University of British Columbia. He and his family live on the traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.

Go here to order.

Advent / Christmas events

There are so many good Advent and Christmas events coming up over the next couple of weeks, starting this very evening with The Messiah (Pacific Theatre). I remain impressed by the Anglican domination of craft fairs, bazaars and bake sales!. Scroll down or check out the Events pages in the top bar.

November 24, 2022

Courage Now – November 24, 2022 - December 4, 2022 at All Day
The Messiah – November 24, 2022 - December 17, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

November 26, 2022

English Conversation Group for Ukrainian Women (Saturday Afternoons) – November 26, 2022 - December 10, 2022 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

November 28, 2022

An Invitation to Conversation and Dialogue – November 28, 2022 at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

November 29, 2022

Church Earthkeepers Meet-Up – November 29, 2022 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

November 30, 2022

Paul Spilsbury: Chasing the Light – November 30, 2022 - January 25, 2023 at All Day
Paul Spilsbury: Chasing the Light – Opening Reception – November 30, 2022 at 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
CPC³ Lecture: 'The Church and Human Flourishing' by Dr. Andrew Kaethler – November 30, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: The Bruce James Orchestra – November 30, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 1, 2022

Dream Centre Society: The Christmas Project – December 1, 2022 - December 12, 2022 at All Day
EFC Advent Prayer for MAiD – December 1, 2022 at 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Lament and Hope: The Vital Role of Creation Care in 21st Century Discipleship – December 1, 2022 at 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
'Sacred Cyberspaces: Catholicism, New Media, and the Religious Experience' – CSSR Webinar – December 1, 2022 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
The 2022 Mission Possible Gala – December 1, 2022 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
2022 Mission Central Fundraiser – December 1, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
BEZ Open Mic, with Russ Rosen (Thursday evenings) – December 1, 2022 - December 15, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sanctuary's Christmas Gala: Good for the Soul (Sole) – December 1, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

December 2, 2022

Sing a New Noel (three shows) – December 2, 2022 - December 3, 2022 at All Day
Singing Christmas Tree: Once Upon a Manger (10 shows) – December 2, 2022 - December 11, 2022 at All Day
Hark! Hear the Bells – December 2, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 3, 2022

Christmas Bazaar at St. Thomas', Vancouver – December 3, 2022 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
St. Alban's Christmas Craft Fair – December 3, 2022 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
St. George's ACW Christmas Bazaar and Lunch – December 3, 2022 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
St. Philip's Christmas Fair – December 3, 2022 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
St. Stephen's Christmas Market – December 3, 2022 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Christmas Fair 2022 – December 3, 2022 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Christmas Carnival – December 3, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
A Coastal Christmas: Peace & Goodwill – December 3, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Adveniat: Live Concert – December 3, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Christmas Art Exhibit Opening Night – December 3, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vivaldi Chamber Choir – Noël: noir et blanc – December 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 4, 2022

EDUPAVI Craft Fair – December 4, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Christmas at the Chan – December 4, 2022 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Christmas Concert – December 4, 2022 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
The Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir presents Holly Jolly Christmas with Winter Harp – December 4, 2022 at 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
VOS 2022 Christmas Concert: Sing Joy to All The World – December 4, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 7, 2022

Hope in the City Breakfast – December 7, 2022 at 7:30 am - 9:30 am
Christmas Artisan Fair – December 7, 2022 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Conrad Good & Friends – December 7, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 9, 2022

Treasures: Rediscover the Gift of Christmas – December 9, 2022 - December 11, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Amabilis Singers: Voces Angelorum – December 9, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Blues Hoodoo – December 9, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 10, 2022

Boxes of Love – December 10, 2022 - December 17, 2022 at All Day
Amabilis Singers: Voces Angelorum – December 10, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Carols and Bells: A Concert – December 10, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Outdoor Christmas Market – December 10, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Winter's Night – December 10, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Belle Voci: Messiah in the Valley – December 10, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 11, 2022

Laudate Singers: Family Christmas – December 11, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Chantez Noël: The Chamber Choir of Pacific Spirit United Church Choir – December 11, 2022 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley with Simon Millerd and friends – December 11, 2022 at 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Laudate Singers: Family Christmas – December 11, 2022 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Abendmusik Vesper Choir: Advent 2022 Vespers – December 11, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Belle Voci: Messiah in the Valley – December 11, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Christmas Presence (six shows) – December 11, 2022 - December 22, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 12, 2022

Spiritual Authority Cohorts (monthly, Monday evenings) – December 12, 2022 - February 13, 2023 at 6:45 pm - 9:15 pm

December 14, 2022

Christmas Open House – December 14, 2022 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: We Three Queens – December 14, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 15, 2022

Winter Harp – December 15, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:45 pm

December 16, 2022

Christmas With Chor Leoni (six shows) – December 16, 2022 - December 19, 2022 at All Day
Vancouver Chamber Choir: Christmas by Candlelight – December 16, 2022 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: Christmas by Candlelight – December 16, 2022 at 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 17, 2022

Christmas Reprise XIX at Holy Rosary Cathedral – December 17, 2022 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Jubilate Vocal Ensemble: A Festive Offering – December 17, 2022 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 17, 2022 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Brian Doerksen presents 'The Heart of Christmas' – December 17, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas Reprise XIX at Queens Avenue United Church – December 17, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Festive Cantatas: J.B. Bach Magnificat – December 17, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 17, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

December 18, 2022

Festive Cantatas: J.B. Bach Magnificat – December 18, 2022 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Brian Doerksen presents 'The Heart of Christmas' – December 18, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 20, 2022

Christmas Tales – December 20, 2022 - December 21, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 21, 2022

Blue Christmas Service – December 21, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Premiere Screening of Story Guild Documentary Film , The Great Power with Christmas After Party – December 21, 2022 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Winter Harp – December 21, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Ilhan Saferali & Friends do Charlie Brown's Christmas – December 21, 2022 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 23, 2022

Christmas in Versailles – December 23, 2022 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 31, 2022

Worship Invasion New Years Eve Praise Party! – December 31, 2022 at 9:00 pm - 11:45 pm
Share this story

2 comments for “Around Town: Assessing John Horgan, Covenant Awards, Christian Calendar

  1. As far as ARPA’s grading of Horgan goes, I find it laughable that they would give him a grade at all, never mind a failing grade. Their criteria, which is based on Reformed Christian standards, is inherently the wrong basis to judge him on. It amounts to judging a rabbit for failing as a mushroom.

    Our provincial government is a secular institution, for better or worse, and should not be held to the same standards as a clergyman or church elders board would. While I am in no wise offering a critique of John Horgan’s tenure, if I did, it would be from a decidedly different perspective. I wish him well in his coming battle, and hope he gets to enjoy many years of retirement.

    • Thank you, Jon Ochsendorf. My conclusion exactly. I am happy that the kind of ‘Dominionist’ theology espoused by this organization is not popular in Canada. It is unfortunately causing damage in the American political arena.

      As a clergy person, I have worked with government on various positive initiatives to strengthen the social safety network for B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens, appreciate the government’s support for such things as restorative justice initiatives, and it efforts – albeit to slow in actualizing – for improved medical care, housing and the rights of seniors in our province.

      That is our role as Christians working with people of faith and people of no faith. The criteria this organization uses has nothing to do with good government in a diverse and multicultural society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *