Around Town: Christian Seasons, Pacific Spirit, Heart for the City, VST/St. Mark’s

This oil painting by Patrick Foster illustrates the Advent page of the Christian Seasons Calendar.

December 2 is the first Sunday in Advent, and thus marks the beginning of the Christian year. And this is the 20th anniversary of the Christian Seasons Calendar, which opens with Advent.

The ‘Salt of the Earth 2018-19’ Calendar is created by University Hill Congregation at UBC, but commendations from the likes of Eugene Peterson, Stanley Hauerwas, Walter Brueggemann and William Willimon have ensured that its influence extends far beyond Vancouver.

Here is how the creators describe it:

This unique calendar opens with the season of Advent and turns not with the 12 months but with the rhythm of the Christian seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and the Season after Pentecost. You can view sample pages and order online.

The Christian Seasons Calendar includes:

  • Contemporary art from 12 artists depicting the gospel story
  • Scripture readings for Sundays and special days from the common lectionary
  • Descriptions of the Christian Seasons
  • Liturgical colours for each season

Here is the vision:

[The calendar] tells the story of the Christian year through scripture, liturgical colour and artwork. The Christian year has its origins in the festivals held in the early centuries of the church’s life. These gradually grew into the annual marking of time that Protestant and Roman Catholic churches share today.

By focusing on the seasons of the Christian year, this calendar offers an alternate way of remembering, and living in, the story of Jesus Christ.

The annual re-telling and re-living of the narrative of the gospel is a powerful training resource for churches and disciples who live in cultures that have forgotten, or have never heard, the Christian story.

The artists come from a variety of Christian backgrounds and from all over the world. Jeanne Krabbendam (Pentecost 4) is local though. From her site:

Jeanne is a mixed media painter, living in Vancouver, Canada.

With formal art training in Europe (The Netherlands and France), she lived in Tunisia and Holland before immigrating to Canada in 1999. Jeanne is an artist with broad exhibit-experience, both in North America and Europe.

Her colourful paintings in a wide variety of subjects are mostly inspired by nature, traveling and people. Her style of work is between representational and abstract

Five years ago I posted a comment by former University Hill Congregation pastor Ed Searcy about how and why the calendar came to be.

Pacific Spirit project halted

Artistic rendering of the Dunbar Ryerson United Church redevelopment. (Dunbar Ryerson United Church / Wall Financial Group / Endall Elliot Associates)

Members of Pacific Spirit United Church, located on 45th Avenue in Kerrisdale, are disappointed with a recent announcement that redevelopment of their property will not be proceeding.

A November 11 message on their website from property development chair Gordon Esau stated:

Our development partner, Wall Financial Corporation, has advised us that it is not prepared to proceed with the development project at this time. They advise that this is because of the current uncertain sales market for residential properties and higher construction costs. Wall Financial’s CEO, Bruno Wall, has been working with us on this project for 7 years. Together we developed the vision as to what was possible for this site.

We submitted an application for rezoning in December of 2016. Our application was approved in principle by a unanimous vote of Council of the City of Vancouver, including votes in favour by the two re-elected Council members, one from the NPA and one from the Green party. We remain confident as to the worth of the project. Under this plan we will deliver considerable value in benefits to the Church and the Community at large.

We are disappointed by the decision by Wall Financial. We need to take time to carefully consider the options available and to make a recommendation to the Church.

Council chair Merilee Thompson added:

I am personally disappointed by this news, and I expect most of us are. The redevelopment of our 45th site has long been a goal of the congregation. We believe that the redevelopment of our church hall and the refurbishment of our sanctuary are important steps in continuing to serve our community and our world. It is disappointing to have come this far with the project and now be left wondering – what’s next?  We are left feeling sad and discouraged. And I think it’s okay to say that we are sad and discouraged.

However, while our physical redevelopment has been dealt a crushing blow, we, the people of Pacific Spirit, have not. There is an Ignatian spiritual practice referred to as desolation / consolation. Where do we feel God’s absence and presence in our lives? My desolation is this setback in our plan. But my consolation, where my soul feels consoled is that we have already redeveloped – a community, a congregation – and we are stronger for having done that. We have each other to lean on, we have a strong community to lean into, and we have the right people on our property development committee to look at possibilities and next steps.

For earlier stories on Church for Vancouver about the redevelopment of the church property (which was formerly known as Dunbar Ryerson United Church) go here, here and here.

Heart for the City update

Plans for the redevelopment of First Baptist Church property were accepted by Vancouver City Council July 27.

The news is more positive downtown. First Baptist Church has been releasing regular updates about its Heart for the City project, which focuses on a major redevelopment of its property.

Last summer Vancouver City Council voted to allow rezoning of First Baptist’s property. That allowed for construction of The Butterfly, a 57-storey residential tower comprising 331 market strata units which Westbank Corporation will own. Also part of the project will be the much-needed expansion and seismic upgrade of First’s 108 year old heritage building.

Slated for construction as well will be a seven-storey building with 61 rental units of social housing which the church will own and operate. Connecting the tower and the church would be a glass-enclosed galleria, multi-purpose rooms, a daycare, a garden, a gymnasium and a swimming pool – all of which will be available for use by their West End neighbours.

The most recent Heart for the City video update was delivered by Broek Bosma, chair of the oversight committee, November 25. He stated, to cheers, that:

The city has finally, after all of these years, granted our development permit. So thanks be to God on that. We now have a number of other permits to get through, including a demolition permit and a building permit. We expect them to happen really within the next two to four to six weeks. So what that means is a few big things are going to happen and you’re going to notice a few major [demolition] changes. . . .

Referring to the big picture, he said:

Right now we’re in the process of finalizing our permits with the city. By January we expect to be in demolition, by summer into excavation and by next December, a year from right now, we expect the building in a major pit beside us here to start actually coming out of the ground. What that means is that two years from right now, we expect this building will start the renovation and restoration.

Bosma then revealed an encouraging partnership that is developing with their neighbour across Nelson Street, St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church. A written statement accompanying the video described it:

In the course of planning for our temporary displacement, we discovered that our neighbour across the street, St. Andrew’s-Wesley, is set to undergo a similar seismic upgrade of their historic church building. It is anticipated that their displacement will last around 18 months – starting from the second week of February 2019.

As a way to extend the hospitality of Jesus Christ, we will open up our place for our displaced neighbour. This space sharing is defined by an Agreement to License Facilities which specifies that St. Andrew’s-Wesley will have the non-exclusive right to reasonably use our facilities on Sundays only for their Jazz Vesper Service from 3 pm and until 6 pm. The Agreement to License Facilities also specifies that St. Andrew’s-Wesley will make best efforts to license similar facilities to FBC, on similar terms as set out in this agreement, should FBC require such facilities in the future.

We are grateful that a respectful, appreciative partnership has developed out of this agreement. We are blessed to be able to extend the hospitality of Jesus Christ to our displaced neighbour.

For earlier reports about First Baptist’s redevelopment on Church for Vancouver go here, here and here.

VST & St. Mark’s offer joint BA

From left: Gabriel Pillay, executive director, strategy and planning, St. Mark’s College; Anita Fast, VST registrar; Dr. Peter Meehan, principal, St. Mark’s College, president, Corpus Christi College; Rev. Dr. Richard Topping, principal, VST.

Vancouver School of Theology and St. Mark’s College announced November 20 that they are launching a joint BA in Theology and Culture which will allow direct entry into a masters’ program at VST.

Here is some of their statement:

St. Mark’s College and the Vancouver School of Theology, affiliated theological colleges of the University of British Columbia, are pleased to announce the signing of an agreement to increase educational offerings for domestic and international students aspiring to pursue graduate studies . . .  effective immediately.

St. Mark’s College is the Roman Catholic theological college affiliated with UBC. Founded in 1956 by the Congregation of St. Basil, St. Mark’s College engages students in the integration of faith and reason, so they can think rigorously, act justly and serve faithfully.

The Community of St. Mark’s at UBC – comprised of St. Mark’s College, Corpus Christi College and St. Mark’s Parish – offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. In the past five years, the colleges have experienced a 100 percent growth in enrolment and continue to expand programs that provide teaching excellence and leadership development.

St. Mark’s principal, Dr. Peter Meehan remarks:

This ecumenical partnership is a joyous moment for the Community of St. Mark’s at UBC and the Vancouver School of Theology. It reflects our shared interest in engagement and encounter, and our belief that there is more that unites us than divides us.

VST’s primary mandate is the education and formation of thoughtful, engaged and generous Christian leaders for the church in the 21st century. Among theological schools, VST is viewed as a change agent and an innovator for the church. As an affiliated college of UBC, VST is now ranked 39th globally and in the top 10 of most improved theological schools.

Vancouver School of Theology welcomes students from many Christian communions, other faith traditions and Indigenous communities, while celebrating its core relationships with the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada and United Church of Canada.

VST principal Richard Topping says,

Our new partnership with St. Mark’s College gives us the ability to ready students for masters’ level study at VST in the neighbourhood. Because VST professors teach in the last year of this undergraduate program through St. Mark’s, we extend the period of student formation and provide direct entry to our masters’ level programs. This agreement reflects our ecumenical commitments and gives a profound witness to our common faith and commitment to excellent education.

November 29, 2018

Book Launch Celebration – November 29, 2018 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Purpose & Victory Conference – November 29, 2018 - December 2, 2018 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Upside-Down Christmas – November 29, 2018 - December 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

November 30, 2018

Withdraw, Be Silent, Be at Peace: A Day Retreat for Frontline Workers – November 30, 2018 at 9:00 am - 2:45 pm
Journey Home Community Christmas Celebration – November 30, 2018 at 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Darin Martin: Songs & Stories – November 30, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Handel's Messiah & Saint-Saen's Oratorio de Noel (day 1) – November 30, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 1, 2018

Lighthouse Harbour Ministries Advent Breakfast – December 1, 2018 at 8:30 am - 10:30 am
Faith Work Seminar – December 1, 2018 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Christmas Craft Fair – December 1, 2018 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Holly Berry Fair – December 1, 2018 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
St. Anselm's Christmas Fair – December 1, 2018 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Surviving the Holidays – December 1, 2018 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Christmas Fair – December 1, 2018 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Christmas Tea & Bake Sale – December 1, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Handel's Messiah & Saint-Saen's Oratorio de Noel (day 2) – December 1, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Christmas Tales & Banquet – December 1, 2018 at 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Firs Noel, with Greg Otterholt – December 1, 2018 at 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Sounds of Christmas, with Miss Lillie Knauls & more – December 1, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Handel's Messiah – December 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 2, 2018

24-7 Vancouver Prayer Week – December 2, 2018 - December 8, 2018 at 12:00 am
Christmas with the Bach Choir – December 2, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Sing-Along Messiah – December 2, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Trinity Western's Christmas at the Chan Concert – December 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Entering Advent – December 2, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Casting Crowns: It's Finally Christmas Tour – December 2, 2018 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas Tales – December 2, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
7th Annual Christmas Jazz Concert – December 2, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Abendmusik Advent Vespers – December 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

December 3, 2018

Christmas Tales – December 3, 2018 at 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

December 5, 2018

Hope in the City Breakfast – December 5, 2018 at 7:30 am - 9:00 am
Christmas Artisan Fair – December 5, 2018 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Business By the Book presents Belief – December 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
10th Annual Mission Possible Gala – December 5, 2018 at 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Hanukkah and Christmas – December 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
David Hogan – December 5, 2018 - December 6, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Denis & Tatiana Music School presents Christmas Concert – December 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 6, 2018

Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil: a call for papers – December 6, 2018 - March 1, 2019 at All Day
Mending Time – December 6, 2018 - December 19, 2018 at All Day
Yule Duel – December 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
West Coast Family Gathering: We Welcome You King of Glory – December 6, 2018 - December 8, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm
The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by Ron Reed – December 6, 2018 - December 29, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 7, 2018

Musicking at Brentwood Presbyterian: Fall 2018 (several dates) – December 7, 2018 - December 24, 2018 at All Day
Singing Christmas Tree – December 7, 2018 - December 16, 2018 at All Day
Two Sides of Christmas – December 7, 2018 at 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Duncan Africa Open House – December 7, 2018 - December 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
North Shore Worship Choir: Never Alone (two nights) – December 7, 2018 - December 9, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Handel's Messiah: Jon Washburn Conducts – December 7, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 8, 2018

Christmas Fair – December 8, 2018 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
musica intima: A Christmas Story – December 8, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
This is Christmas: Women's Event – December 8, 2018 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Handel's Messiah – December 8, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
German Baroque Christmas – December 8, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 9, 2018

St. Faith's Christmas & Bake Sale – December 9, 2018 at 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Jazz Vespers: The Mighty Fraser Big Band – December 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Magic of Yule – December 9, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas Presence – December 9, 2018 - December 16, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 10, 2018

Eye of the Beholder: Luci Shaw Poetry Reading – December 10, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

December 11, 2018

VSO Brass Quintet Concert – December 11, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 12, 2018

Jazz Evensong (Wednesday evenings) – December 12, 2018 - December 19, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

December 13, 2018

musica intima: Ding Dong! in East Vancouver – December 13, 2018 at 8:00 am - 10:00 am
A Classical & Inspiring Christmas – December 13, 2018 at 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Film Screening: For the Love of God – December 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

December 14, 2018

Divine Radiance: Annual Christmas Concert – December 14, 2018 - December 16, 2018 at All Day
Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 14, 2018 at All Day
Music in the Morning: Pedja Muzijevic – December 14, 2018 at 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Music in the Morning: Pedja Muzijevic – December 14, 2018 at 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
A Joyful Christmas, presenting Nicol Matt from Germany – December 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 15, 2018

Dundarave Festival of Lights: World Christmas – December 15, 2018 at All Day
Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 15, 2018 at All Day
Singable Saturdays: Messiah Edition – December 15, 2018 at 10:00 am - 12:30 pm
North Shore Community Christmas Dinner – December 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Christmas Dinner Theatre – December 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Coastal Church: Christmas Grand Services – December 15, 2018 - December 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Messiah in the Valley – December 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 16, 2018

Chantez Noel – December 16, 2018 at 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
musica intima: A Christmas Story – December 16, 2018 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Blue Christmas Service – December 16, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Christmas Tales – December 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Dude, You Hear What I Hear? – December 16, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

December 17, 2018

Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas – December 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 18, 2018

Christmas Tales 'Let's Give Them Hope' Fundraiser – December 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
musica intima: A Christmas Story – December 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 19, 2018

Christmas Tales – December 19, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Blue Christmas – December 19, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

December 20, 2018

musica intima: Ding Dong! on the West Side – December 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
musica intima: Ding Dong! on the West Side – December 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
musica intima: Ding Dong! on the West Side – December 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
musica intima: Ding Dong! on the West Side – December 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 21, 2018

Two from Galilee – December 21, 2018 - December 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
musica intima: A Christmas Story – December 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 22, 2018

Sing-along Messiah – December 22, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Vancouver Canata Singers: Christmas Reprise XVI – December 22, 2018 at 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Ember – December 22, 2018 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vancouver Cantata Singers: Christmas Reprise XVI (New West) – December 22, 2018 at 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm

December 25, 2018

Hope & Love 4 U: December 25th Christmas Edition – December 25, 2018 at 10:30 am - 2:30 pm

December 31, 2018

Celebrate New Years Eve 2019 with Worship Invasion. – December 31, 2018 - January 1, 2019 at 9:30 pm - 12:30 am

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