Around Town: Courageous Christianity, CPJ, Anglicans’ 160th, BC’s independents

Michael Brown is the keynote speaker for the Courageous Christianity Conference.

Social conservatives are not getting much of a look-in during this federal election – with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer reasserting his party’s determination not to re-open abortion or gay marriage issues – so I expect the Courageous Christianity Conference to include some lively discussions about what options are available these days.

Here is how organizers describe the day-long September 21 event, which will be held at Glad Tidings Church:
A one-day conference to stir up a passion for God’s glory in the Greater Vancouver Area by encouraging Christ-followers to become Courageous Christians in our culture and equipping believers to bring a credible gospel witness to their areas of influence in society. Through topic-driven workshops you will hear from experienced change-makers sharing ways you can have greater impact in standing for truth with uncompromising love.
Keynote speaker Michael Brown . . .

. . . is the founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina, director of the Coalition of Conscience, and host of the daily nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, as well as the host of the apologetics TV show, Answering Your Toughest Questions. He became a believer in Jesus in 1971 as a 16 year old, heroin-shooting, LSD-using Jewish rock drummer. Since then, he has preached throughout America and around the world, bringing a message of repentance, revival, reformation and cultural revolution.

He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a visiting or adjunct professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Fuller Theological Seminary, Denver Theological Seminary, the King’s Seminary and Regent University School of Divinity. He has contributed numerous articles to scholarly publications, including the Oxford Dictionary of Jewish Religion and the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament.

A prominent local pro-life leader will also take part:

Stephanie Gray is a seasoned pro-life speaker and author.

Stephanie Gray is a seasoned international speaker who has given over 900 pro-life presentations across the world, spoken at many post-secondary institutions such as Yale University and Berkeley and was a presenter for Talks at Google.

Stephanie has debated abortion advocates such as the medical director for International Planned Parenthood Federation. She is the author of Love Unleashes Life: Abortion & the Art of Communicating Truth.

Other speakers are

  • Vancouver business and immigration lawyer Jeffrey Lowe
  • controversial Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld
  • actor/producer Jamie Rauch
  • missionary turned diaspora / global worker Harold Minor
  • business development associate encouraging Christian involvement in civic affairs Marc Vella
  • pastor / business leader Tom Chin

Go here for more information about the speakers.

It is worth adding that while the Courageous Christianity Conference does not bill itself as being for social conservatives – and no doubt will welcome all comers – it does fit the profile pretty well. Ray Pennings, co-founder and executive vice president of Cardus, wrote a very useful comment (September 4) on the awkward position of social conservatives in the current cultural moment: Election news has outdated ideas about social conservatives.

Here is a portion:

Given trends during the last two decades, so-cons feel more ostracized and marginalized than ever. Whether it’s on abortion (Morgentaler 1988), LGBTQ issues (same-sex reference 2004Trinity Western 2018), prostitution (Bedford 2013), or euthanasia (Carter 2015), Supreme Court of Canada decisions have catalyzed significant socially liberal turns.

Few so-cons, therefore, expect politics to answer their concerns. Most political appeals for their votes contribute to a cynical mood at best. They also feel profoundly misunderstood.

The so-con label is one that, for the most part, is imposed, not chosen. The small percentage who embrace the label are divided between purists and incrementalists. Most voters who fit the so-con profile are silent observers. For them, “so-con” is a reluctant identity, disowned because it is most frequently heard as an epithet or insult. The coverage of so-con issues in politics and media tells a story in which they do not recognize themselves.

I do expect that themes raised by Pennings will emerge at the conference.

CPJ Tour

One Christian advocacy group that is on quite good terms with Canadian culture is CPJ (Citizens for Public Justice). Their non-partisan approach fits well on the liberal/left side of the political spectrum. They are sponsoring the CPJ Tour, which will touch down in Surrey next Tuesday (September 10) at Fleetwood Christian Reformed Church.

Here is their invitation:

The public is invited to attend CPJ’s fall pre-election tour.

CPJ is a faithful voice for social justice in Canadian public policy focused primarily on poverty in Canada, ecological justice and refugee rights. CPJ’s fall tour will provide a non-partisan look at major issues leading up the fall federal election.

As citizens prepare to cast their votes, CPJ will equip the electorate to engage in the political process in a meaningful way, with information to better understand policy positions, proposed questions to ask federal candidates and resources that direct voters to additional helpful tools.

The fall tour will also provide an opportunity to meet CPJ’s new executive director, Willard Metzger, and will include participation from engaged local community members.

CPJ invites all members of the public to participate in the democratic process and to join our citizens’ movement as we aim to shape a just Canada for all!

CPJ has a strong record of commitment and achievement in both the secular/political realm and with the church; their voice is well worth heeding in this political season.

Founders’ Day

Rev. John Sheepshanks led the first Anglican service in New Westminster 160 years ago. Photograph courtesy BC Archives; call number F-05146.

Anglicans have a long history in New Westminster. The Venerable Richard Leggett, vicar of Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral has sent out this invitation to celebrate Founders’ Day:

On the 2nd of September in 1859, the Rev’d John Sheepshanks sounded a gong and called the people of New Westminster to prayer. Eight men showed up and the ministry of Holy Trinity began.

This year we celebrate the 160th anniversary of that first service with a dinner on Saturday, 7 September 2019, with a silent auction and entertainment. Tickets are $75 with a portion eligible for a tax receipt.

Sunday we will celebrate the eucharist at 8 am using the Book of Common Prayer 1662 to remember our past and a contemporary eucharist at 10 am to celebrate our present and to look forward to our future.

Back in 2015 Church for Vancouver posted a related story: St. Mary the Virgin, Sapperton celebrates 150 years. St. Mary’s also traces its beginnings to the arrival of Sheepshanks in 1859. (If memory serves, there is a certain amount of good-natured contention between Holy Trinity and St. Mary’s as to which is older.)
Current attendance in diocese
Another recent story on the Anglican diocesan site discussed the current state of the Anglican church locally, asking, ‘What story do the numbers tell?’ Here is a portion of the report:
  • No parish church has closed in the last five years. We’re stable at 66 parishes.
  • The number of parishes with attendance between 50 and 100 has grown (from 29 in 2017 to 32 in 2018) while the number of parishes with over 100 average Sunday attendance has remained the same (10).
  • Just over a third of our parishes are very small (under 50 average Sunday attendance).
  • Good news: just over half our parishes are stable or growing (55%), which is up from last year (48%). . . .

Added notes state: “Total members of diocese of New Westminster parishes for 2018 was 11,683 [and] average Sunday attendance for 2018 was 4,778. Go here for the full article.

Independent schools thriving
A new report by Cardus finds that 13 percent of BC students attend an independent school, up dramatically from the 1970s. Here is part of the report:
BC independent school enrolment has increased annually for over 40 consecutive years, tripling in volume from 23,691 in 1977/78 to 85,696 in 2018/19. At 13 percent of the province’s total K-12 student population, BC has the highest share of independent school enrolment in Canada, nearly double the national average. However, given lengthy waitlists at most BC independent schools, enrolment could be higher. . . .

In BC, independent school enrolment has grown every year since 1977, when access to partial government funding for qualifying independent schools began. From 1977/78 to 2018/19, enrolment more than tripled from 23,691 to 85,696.2 Concurrently, the number of BC public school students has remained relatively unchanged across this period, with a decline in the past two decade. As a share of total enrolment, public school enrolment has declined nine percentage points, from 95.7 percent in 1977/78 to 86.7 percent in 2018/19.

Just over half of independent schools and two-thirds of the students in independent schools are religious (primarily Christian, though there are a number of Islamic, Jewish, Sikh and others schools).

Go here for the full report (‘Who Chooses Independent Schools and Why?’), which provides considerable detail on a range of issues.

September 6, 2019

MovieNight Presents 'The Thinking Garden' – September 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Hook(ed): Tackling a Moving Culture – September 6, 2019 - September 8, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Emily Chambers – September 6, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
The Mountain Goats – September 6, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

September 7, 2019

A Rocha End of Summer BBQ – September 7, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Founders' Day: 160th Anniversary of First Anglican Service in New Westminster – September 7, 2019 - September 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 11:30 am
Benefit Concert for Hummingbird Ministries – September 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Coastal Church: 25th Anniversary Services – September 7, 2019 - September 8, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 12:00 pm
Evening of Worship Hosted by Hungry Collective – September 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

September 8, 2019

Pray for Hong Kong – September 8, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

September 10, 2019

CPJ Fall Tour – September 10, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

September 11, 2019

Intersection: A Networking Opportunity for Mission Agency Leaders – September 11, 2019 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Karina Svalia: On the Sixth Day – Opening Reception – September 11, 2019 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm

September 13, 2019

MCC Festival for World Relief – September 13, 2019 - September 14, 2019 at 5:00 pm - 2:00 pm
An Evening With Malcolm Guite (An Inklings Institute of Canada Coffee House Event) – September 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Norm Strauss – September 13, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

September 14, 2019

Alzheimer Café – September 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Celtic Lasses Concert – September 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Faces of Dignity: Vancouver Art Showcase – September 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Peter La Grand EP Release Show – September 14, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm

September 15, 2019

World Day of Migrants and Refugees Mass and Celebration – September 15, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Steve Bell Solo Concert – September 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

September 17, 2019

Deborah Stephan: Shellseekers Art & Soul Life Writing (4 evenings) – September 17, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

September 19, 2019

DivorceCare (ongoing, several locations) – September 19, 2019 - January 7, 2020 at All Day
Freedom Session (series beginning at many local churches) – September 19, 2019 - October 3, 2019 at All Day
Karina Svalia: On the Sixth Day – September 19, 2019 - October 9, 2019 at All Day
Mother of the Maid by Jane Anderson – September 19, 2019 - October 5, 2019 at All Day
Integrating Business, Life and Faith – September 19, 2019 at 6:30 am - 8:00 am
Bringing the Gospel to Mongolia, Tanzania & Ukraine – September 19, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

September 20, 2019

John Weston, former MP: General Voter Issues – What to Look For – September 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Modern Prophetic Tour with Shawn Bolz – September 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Matthew Bates: Book Launch & Three Public Lectures – September 20, 2019 - September 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 1:00 pm

September 21, 2019

GCMM Golf Tournament – September 21, 2019 at 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Courageous Christianity Conference – September 21, 2019 at 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
60th Annual Country Fair – September 21, 2019 at 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Reformed: Confessions of a Preacher's Kid – September 21, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Songstage with Ivan Boudreau – September 21, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

September 22, 2019

Taizé Contemplative Service – September 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Human Sexuality Series (Sunday Evenings) – September 22, 2019 - October 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

September 23, 2019

"C.S. Lewis and the Jewish Imagination": An Inklings Institute Coffee House Event – September 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
ARPA Canada's Fall Tour: Politically Engaged Christians – Reclaiming Progress – September 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

September 25, 2019

VST Chancellor's Dinner: Keynote Speaker Ray Aldred – September 25, 2019 at 5:15 pm - 8:00 pm
Alpha @ Fairview (Wednesday evenings) – September 25, 2019 - November 28, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

September 26, 2019

Journey with God Prayer Retreat – September 26, 2019 - September 28, 2019 at All Day
Deborah Stephan: Shellseekers Art & Soul – Spiritual Disciplines Workshop (Thursday mornings) – September 26, 2019 - November 28, 2019 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Webinar: How to be a more politically engaged, active citizen – September 26, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Modern Technology and the Diminishment of the Human – September 26, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Does Immigration Matter?: Douglas Todd – Is Unity Possible in a Metropolis of Enclaves? – September 26, 2019 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

September 27, 2019

Multiplying Authentic Disciples (video transmission) – September 27, 2019 - September 28, 2019 at All Day
Jim Byrnes – September 27, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

September 28, 2019

Rummage Sale – September 28, 2019 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
By the Grace of God (VIFF) – September 28, 2019 at 12:15 pm - 2:15 pm
DVD Meeting: Egyptian Chronology and the Bible – September 28, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Early Music Vancouver: Le Concert Spirituel – Baroque Orchestra Suites featuring Jeanne Lamon – September 28, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Fort Night Comedy Presents Saturday Night Improv (two shows) – September 28, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Happy 22 Years Worship Invasion! – September 28, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Joan of Arc (VIFF) – September 28, 2019 at 9:00 pm - 11:15 pm

September 29, 2019

Walk the Wall Vancouver – September 29, 2019 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Casting Crowns: Only Jesus Tour – September 29, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
A Hidden Life (VIFF) – September 29, 2019 at 8:45 pm - 11:30 pm

October 1, 2019

Church Renewal Round Table – October 1, 2019 at 9:30 am - 11:30 am
By the Grace of God (VIFF) – October 1, 2019 at 8:15 pm - 11:30 pm

October 2, 2019

Joan of Arc (VIFF) – October 2, 2019 at 1:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Water for Life Initiative – October 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm

October 3, 2019

Water for Life Initiative – October 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

October 4, 2019

Marcus Mosely Ensemble – October 4, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

October 5, 2019

Ride for Refuge – October 5, 2019 at 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Blanket Exercise – October 5, 2019 at 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Of Games and God: Thinking Critically About God, Faith, Video Games & Gaming Culture – October 5, 2019 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Connecting with God: A Half-Day Retreat – October 5, 2019 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Harriet (VIFF) – October 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Taste of Cambodia: a Film and Food Experience – October 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

October 6, 2019

The Two Popes (VIFF) – October 6, 2019 at 2:30 am - 4:30 am
Vancouver Life Chain – October 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

October 7, 2019

The Two Popes (VIFF) – October 7, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Memorial Service for those who have died recently in Hong Kong – October 7, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

October 8, 2019

Frankenstein Lost in Darkness, adapted by Peter Church – October 8, 2019 - November 2, 2019 at All Day

October 11, 2019

True Girl: Pajama Party Tour 2019 – October 11, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Eisenhauers – October 11, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

October 12, 2019

Alzheimer Café – October 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Rend Collective: The Revival Anthem Tour – October 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

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