“This is a wonderful opportunity for the city and the church to work together.” So said moderator James Borkowski as he asked Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Roman Catholic Archbishop Michael Miller to address the Climate of Change symposium Wednesday evening (October 21).
They were there to discuss Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s new encyclical addressing the world’s ecological crisis. This summer, Robertson attended a conference at the Vatican on the role of cities in addressing climate change, sustainability and poverty.
Robertson and Miller were joined by representatives from a wide range of environmental, Indigenous, civic and denominational groups, both on the stage and in the crowd. At least three city councillors attended: Geoff Meggs, Tim Stevenson and Andrea Reimer.
The three-hour event, attended by a couple of hundred people at the John Paul II Pastoral Centre, bore out Borkowski’s words.
Miller, first, then Robertson, reflected on Pope Francis and his encyclical Laudato Si’. They also commented on the importance of taking action.
Miller went through Laudato Si’ chapter by chapter, describing it as marking out a “bold and fresh direction in Catholic social teaching on ecology,” though still reliant on earlier Catholic teaching.
Referring to the first chapter – What is Happening to Our Common Home – Miller said Pope Francis “pulls no punches” when he writes “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
In chapter four – Integral Ecology – Miller referred to “a question that animates the whole encyclical, and it’s probably our question”:
What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal. When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values. Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results. But if these issues are courageously faced, we are led inexorably to ask other pointed questions: What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us? It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.
Gregor Robertson was the only Canadian among 60 mayors at the Vatican gathering in July. Describing the invitation as an “honour,” he said:
The time together with Papa Francisco was very powerful. . . . We left as mayors not only with a new commitment . . . he sent us all back to our countries to do our work.
The mayor clearly sees Christians and other faith groups as allies on environmental issues. “There are lots of leaders from faith communities who are stepping up – that partnership has to be strong.”
In fact, both Robertson and Miller stressed the importance of immediate action. Robertson said, “The conversations are very important, but the actions have to be right now.” Miller said, “There is a climate for change; now we just have to do it.”
Three panelists joined Robertson and Miller after they had spoken and all five responded to a series of questions from the audience. The panelists were Rev. Mary Fontaine, executive director of Hummingbird Ministries; Jay Ritchlin, director general for Western Canada of the David Suzuki Foundation; and Fr. Hrant Tahanian, pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in Richmond.
Climate of Change was a rich event; check the diocesan website for a full video. And Douglas Todd, religion reporter for the Vancouver Sun was there, so look at his blog. For a good commentary on Pope Francis’s encyclical by Loren Wilkinson go here.
Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph will help Trinity Western University launch its Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives (IIIP) this Thursday (October 22).
Joseph is a Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation and is Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada. He was formerly executive director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and was an honourary witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He played a major role in involving Ecumenical Advocates in Vancouver’s TRC process and Walk for Reconciliation in the fall of 2013.
A TWU release describes the purpose of the IIIP:
The new Institute will build bridges of conversation and dialogue with other surrounding universities, as well as with the First Nations community. It will also examine what reconciliation means from a Christian and biblical perspective, as well as highlight the importance of spirituality.
“With universities promoting a heavy emphasis on generating new knowledge and progressive scientific notions of education and learning, these institutions sometimes struggle with the spiritual component of the Indigenous people,” [IIIP director Matthew] Etherington said. “I think Trinity, as a Christian university, understands the importance of that aspect.”
For more on the IIIP go here.
President Obama and Marilynne Robinson in NYRB
I’m already looking forward to Marilynne Robinson’s Laing Lectures at Regent College in the spring of 2017, and a recent article in the New York Review of Books article has whetted my appetite even more.
The President: Well, but I want to pick up on the point you made about us coming from everywhere. You’re a novelist but you’re also – can I call you a theologian? Does that sound, like, too stuffy? You care a lot about Christian thought.
Robinson: I do, indeed.
The President: And that’s part of the foundation of your writings, fiction and nonfiction. And one of the points that you’ve made in one of your most recent essays is that there was a time in which at least reformed Christianity in Europe was very much “the other.” And part of our system of government was based on us rejecting an exclusive, inclusive – or an exclusive and tightly controlled sense of who is part of the community and who is not, in favor of a more expansive one.
Tell me a little bit about how your interest in Christianity converges with your concerns about democracy.
Robinson: Well, I believe that people are images of God. There’s no alternative that is theologically respectable to treating people in terms of that understanding. What can I say? It seems to me as if democracy is the logical, the inevitable consequence of this kind of religious humanism at its highest level. And it [applies] to everyone. It’s the human image. It’s not any loyalty or tradition or anything else; it’s being human that enlists the respect, the love of God being implied in it.
There is much more; go here for the full interview and a link to the podcast.
Dan Law: Visions from the Slash
Tofino artist and Regent College grad Dan Law will be featured at Lookout Gallery October 21 – November 19.The theme of his work is ‘scriptural meditations on heaven and hell.’ Here is a portion of his artist’s statement:
The theme of heaven and hell, encompassing life, death, and a distillation of our greatest hopes and fears, is a theme I often work through in my art. Working as an RN for 15 years, death was often a weekly routine. While wrapping bodies I was continually confronted with the eternal questions, “Where did they go?” and (besides drinking coffee), “What happens now?”. Working on ‘Visions from the Slash’ was a revelatory process through which I wrestled with my own concepts of the afterlife.
Sep 2015Speaking My Mind Toastmasters Club – September 28, 2015 - December 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Oct 2015Bright New Day Reconciliation Circle – October 22, 2015 - October 23, 2015 at All Day
The Global Leadership Summit – October 22, 2015 - October 23, 2015 at All Day
Rezoning Application Open House – October 22, 2015 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph: The Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives Launch – October 22, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Joshua Hyslop – October 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Hudson Taylor Legacy Series: Y2Y Night (Youth 2 Young Adults) – October 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm - 9:30 pm
Early Music Vancouver: Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 – October 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Iron Sharpens Iron Men's Conference – October 24, 2015 at 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Building Blocks of Faith-based ESL Ministry – October 24, 2015 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
God: Closer Than We Can Imagine - A Saturday Retreat in the City – October 24, 2015 at 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Hudson Taylor Legacy Series: Heart for Asia Conference – October 24, 2015 at 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Installation of Regent College's Fifth President: Symposium – October 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
M2/W2 Annual Dinner & Silent Auction – October 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Roy & Rosemary in Concert – October 24, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
J.D. Miner – October 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Music at Queen's: Lyric Singers – October 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Vespers: Jaclyn Guillou – October 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
The 5 Love Languages: Gary Chapman (Live) – October 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Public Lecture Series: Competing Paradigms: Christianity and Naturalism – Evidence in Religion – October 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The 5 Love Languages: Gary Chapman (Live) – October 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Complex Communities: Concepts and Tools for Better Communication – October 28, 2015 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Dr. Sargon Donabed: The Middle East, Minorities and the Islamic State: past, present and future – October 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Earth & Spirit: A Speaker Series Exploring the Relationship Between Justice & Faith (Wednesdays) – October 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Ray Levesque – October 28, 2015 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
The Illustrated Alice: Celebrating 150 Years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – October 29, 2015 - October 31, 2015 at All Day
Joel Thiessen: The Meaning of Sunday: The Practice of Belief in a Secular Age – October 29, 2015 at 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Janet Epp Buckingham: Magna Carta, Rule of Law and Religious Freedom – October 29, 2015 at 1:10 pm - 2:30 pm
Creatures of God: Human Nature and Evolution for Evangelicals and Catholics (part one) – October 29, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Keep Anglicans Talking – October 29, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Panel Discussion: How should Canadians Respond to the Problem of Religious Freedom in Iraq and Syria? – October 29, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Smoke on the Mountain by Alan Bailey and Connie Ray – October 29, 2015 - November 1, 2015 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
KAIROS Canada: Forum on Fracking – October 30, 2015 - October 31, 2015 at 6:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Hallelujah Night – October 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Chapel North Shore – October 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Chapel Tri-Cities – October 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Chapel Vancouver – October 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Creatures of God: Human Nature and Evolution for Evangelicals and Catholics (part two) – October 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ignite Worship! – October 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Soulkitchen Fundraising Dinner – October 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Rod's Roots and Rock Gospel Jam – October 30, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Growing In Faith Through Worship: Celebrating and Nurturing Differing Abilities in the Church (Part I) – October 31, 2015 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Dramatic Reading: The Man Born to be King (Dorothy L. Sayers) – October 31, 2015 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
'Red-Black-Yellow' Gospel Night (Cantonese) – October 31, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Nov 2015Tass Saada: Once an Arafat Man – November 1, 2015 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
The Refugee Crisis: Ways to Respond – November 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
David Collins: Digging Deeper (Mondays) – November 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
REconneXion – November 3, 2015 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
The Inklings Institute: Owen Barfield on Idolatry – November 3, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Holly Burke – November 3, 2015 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Leon Bridges in Concert – November 3, 2015 at 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Entrepreneurial Leaders Conference 2015 – November 4, 2015 at All Day
REconneXion – November 4, 2015 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Vancouver Pastors Prayer Fellowship – November 4, 2015 at 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Business By the Book: John Fluevog – November 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Iranian Ministry Conference – November 5, 2015 - November 7, 2015 at All Day
The Diary of Anne Frank – November 5, 2015 - November 7, 2015 at All Day
REconneXion – November 5, 2015 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Fireside Apologetics: Do All Religions Lead to God? – November 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Pius XII and the Jews: Problems of Memory and Moral Judgment in History – November 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
REconneXion – November 6, 2015 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Rob Des Cotes: An Introduction to the Theology and Practice of Contemplative Prayer – November 6, 2015 at 9:15 am - 3:30 pm
Perogy Night in Vancouver – November 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Audible: An Evening with Regent's Artists – November 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Greg Drummond – November 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Songs of Hope: Fundraiser to Sponsor a Refugee Family – November 6, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
The Canadian MK Network presents: Stories Redeemed Conference – November 6, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Leadership Breakfast with Rev. Darrell Johnson: The Heart of Leadership – November 7, 2015 at 7:30 am - 9:30 am
Educator's Conference: Up, Up & Away – November 7, 2015 at 8:00 am - 4:15 pm
SCSBC Leadership Conference: Christianity in the Crosshairs – November 7, 2015 at 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
Darrell Johnson: Making 'Some' Sense of Suffering – November 7, 2015 at 9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Hummingbird Ministries: Peace Through the Arts / Dance Festival – November 7, 2015 at 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
Delight: A weekend of concerts by the SAMC Chamber Singers – November 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Hymn Festival: This is My Father's World – November 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Music at Queen's: Bridge Musicians International – November 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
True North Troubadours – November 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
IDOP Sunday: International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church – November 8, 2015 at All Day
Mozart Requiem – November 8, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Apostolic Weekend: Special Guest John Alley – November 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Public Lecture Series: Competing Paradigms: Christianity and Naturalism – Evidence for a Resurrection – November 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Hans Boersma: Harmonious Reading: Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms – November 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Andrea Menard – November 11, 2015 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Dan Law: Visions from the Slash - Sculptural Meditations on Heaven & Hell – November 12, 2015 - November 19, 2015 at All Day
Eyes & Wings Prophetic Conference 2015 – November 12, 2015 - November 15, 2015 at All Day
African Children's Choir – November 12, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
JustWork: A Taste of Dignity – November 12, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
SPARK Pre-Teen Conference – November 13, 2015 - November 14, 2015 at All Day
City in Focus: Women Lead – November 13, 2015 at 7:00 am - 8:30 am
African Children's Choir – November 13, 2015 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Chelsea Amber – November 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Dialogos Ensemble: Swithun - A Medieval Miracle Play – November 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Youth Unlimited Presents: This is My Story – November 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: New Wave - The Latest in Choral Music – November 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
'War and Peace and the Struggle for Shalom' Symposium and Brian Doerksen Concert – November 14, 2015 at 9:00 am - 9:30 pm
Come Away & Rest Awhile: Sabbath-Keeping & Self-Care Retreat – November 14, 2015 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Keystone with Preston Pouteaux – November 14, 2015 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Pre-Law Student Conference Sponsored by CLF and TWU – November 14, 2015 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Ten Thousand Villages Fair Trade Christmas Market – November 14, 2015 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
VST's Official Grand Opening Ceremony – November 14, 2015 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Spotlight on Taiwan – November 14, 2015 at 10:30 am - 1:00 pm