Around Town: Easter, community care (refugees, UGM + TSA), The Light online . . .

In front of St. Jude’s Catholic Church in east Vancouver.

Last week I posted a powerful comment by Darrell Johnson: Praying Boldly: coronavirus 2020.

I will repeat a portion of his conclusion, as it leads into the Easter weekend so well:

So, where do we go?

I can only speak for myself. I think we acknowledge any or all of the above [seven reasons for our reluctance to pray boldly for deliverance from this pandemic], and still, pray!

We go back to the basics of the Gospel of Jesus: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” Why? So that the world might know His life, eternal life. God loves the world. This world. A rebel world. An ignoring-the-ways-of-God world. A broken-because-of-the-ignoring-and-rebelling world. In incomprehensible mercy, God loves this world!

And so we – I – ask this God to do a miracle. Not in an arrogant way. Not in any entitled way. Not in a flamboyant way. But in humility and repentance. Coming with nothing to claim, throwing ourselves on the mercy manifested on Good Friday – ”Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Crying out: “Oh God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Oh God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Your great mercy, please stop the spread of this virus. In the name of Him Who died for the life of the world.”

And as I rise from my knees, I pray that He would get the credit for the miracle.


In front of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in east Vancouver.

May Johnson’s prayer be echoed in many churches throughout Metro Vancouver this weekend, both on Friday and Sunday.

Services will be held online, of course, but it is encouraging to know that some churches will carry on the tradition of meeting together. For example:

* Langley churches will participate in a Good Friday service which will be live streamed from Christian Life Assembly.

* Several English-speaking congregations of Chinese churches – Pacific Grace MB Church in Vancouver, for example – will not meet together this year. But they will take part in the Global Good Friday service of Mennonite Brethren churches.

* Four Burnaby churches – New Life Community Church, Nelson Avenue Community Church, New Westminster Christian Reformed Church and Westminster Bible Chapel – will meet together on Easter Sunday.

I’m sure many other churches will be joining in similar kinds of groups.

Inglewood Care Centre

Baptist Housing is now looking after Inglewood Care Centre.

North Shore News reported April 6 that:

One of the five seniors’ care homes on the North Shore where a case of COVID-19 was previously reported has now been given the all clear by health authorities.

Inglewood Care Centre in West Vancouver is no longer considered to have an outbreak of the virus.

I posted a story a couple of months ago which noted that a major Christian housing ministry had just taken over Inglewood Care Centre: Provincial government partners with Baptist Housing in West Vancouver.

Baptist Housing offered an Easter message on its COVID-19 page; here is a portion:

The story of Easter is a good news story, filled with hope, and it will be remembered and celebrated many different ways this weekend! Social distancing and isolation will see many churches empty over Easter, but the real meaning is focused on people, people like your loved ones, and not on buildings.

Some of our residents have expressed concern that they will be disappointing family by declining invitations to Easter dinners and parties. We trust that you will continue to support our safety efforts by not inviting your loved one to leave their residence.

We will celebrate Easter with our residents, but only in ways that allow us to honour the social distancing that keeps everyone safe. It may be in small groups, outdoors where people can have plenty of individual space, or music in a courtyard where our Residents are able to join in by opening their windows.

Caring continues

As I said last week, let’s join the chorus of admiration and support for all frontline workers during this time. It is good to know that churches, ministries and individual Christians are doing their part; here are just a few examples:

Kits Cares Café 

Redemption Church reports:

Kits Café has asked Redemption Church to donate 10 grocery bags of store cupboard items for them to distribute outside Kits House this Thursday, April 9.

The church then lists what would be useful. I wouldn’t be surprised if the other churches supporting Kits Cares Café are doing something similar. (I have posted a couple of stories about the café, here and here.)

Remember refugees

Refugees are, by definition, not well established in our community. They have been forced to leave their homes and the coronavirus pandemic is hindering their integration here. Groups like Kinbrace, Journey Home and New Hope are still working hard with and for them, under challenging circumstances. And each one of them is seeking help with their work.

Journey Home

Journey Home will be hosting ‘Round the Kitchen Table online May 7.

Journey Home, which operates homes in New Westminster and east Vancouver, has had to postpone its 15th Anniversary Celebration and a Welcome Table Gala, but it is going ahead with ‘Round the Kitchen Table:

Have you missed visits with friends around the table? We have too.

That’s why we’re inviting you to (virtually) join us and hear from refugees and aid workers who have lived through crisis before. You will be inspired by their amazing stories of resilience, and will get the opportunity to ask questions.

We will also talk about what you can do to provide immediate support for a refugee family in crisis. These families have already been through so much.

Go here to donate.


Kinbrace, based in east Vancouver, recently posted this:

Your help is needed.

Many of the families and their kids supported through Kinbrace need online-capable technology during this time of sheltering in place, both for education and to stay connected with friends and family around the world. If you’ve any of the following you are willing to donate,  we are specifically in need of:

    • laptop computers / chrome books in working condition
    • flat screen TVs 20-26 inch
    • all appropriate cables (HDMI, power-cords, etc).

Also needed: adult bikes (women’s and men’s) for independent travel, including locks and helmets.

Go here to donate.

New Hope

New Hope hosted a ‘balcony bubble party’ at their apartment block April 8.

New Hope provides housing and support for newly arrived refugee families, particularly at the 13-apartment building it owns in Surrey.

They posted this on their Facebook page April 6:

Last week we had to cancel our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. But we want to publicly shout, “NEW HOPE VOLUNTEERS, WE APPRECIATE YOU!!!” In 2019, volunteers invested over 1,000 hours into serving our families, helping with everything from events and dinners, to custodial work and painting. We had 20 volunteer English tutors and 130+ hours of children’s programming.

New Hope’s community wouldn’t exist without the dedication and compassion of our volunteers – thank you for all you have done, and for the ways you continue to support us.

Go here to donate.

UGM + TSA = $2 million

The Salvation Army (TSA) and Union Gospel Mission (UGM) have teamed up to raise $2 million in two weeks for emergency relief:

[They are] creating the COVID Relief Together initiative to assist individuals and families in need of emergency relief and basic necessities. We’re all in this together, and we need your help to raise $2 million in two weeks to care for our neighbours impacted by COVID-19 during these difficult times.

You’ll provide everything from meals and care packages to counselling and shelter services to people most affected by this crisis. Your gift will offer essential relief to fellow British Columbians during and after the pandemic.

Go here to donate.

The list of caring congregations and ministries could be extended endlessly; that’s good news in the midst of a pandemic, heading toward Good Friday.

The Light online

If you’ve been looking for your copy of The Light Magazine, check online. Normally delivered to hundreds of local churches each month, the April issue is available in a digital format.

Publisher Steve Almond has been producing The Light for nine years and recently expanded into Alberta. (Steve and I worked together for years at BC Christian News.)

The vision of the magazine is:

Engaging readers with everyday life issues such as health, stress, marriage, family, managing finances, being single, growing older, faith & culture and more.

Connecting Christians to local & global communities featuring stories and testimonies presenting the gospel at work. Highlighting arts, news and events.

Encouraging readers in their personal Christian faith and encouraging participation in the life and mission of the local church.

The link for the digital version of the April issue is

Apr 2020

Postponed: Love / Sick by John Cariani – April 9, 2020 at All Day
Postponed: Sole Matters: John Fluevog – April 9, 2020 at All Day
Now Full: Tax Clinic (by appointment) – April 9, 2020 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Cancelled: Vancouver Chamber Choir: St. John Passion – April 10, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Full: Webinar: Missional Commons – Where are We Now? – April 14, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Webinar: Living Wisely and Loving Well in the Current Crisis – April 14, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Webinar: COVID-19 and migrant/undocumented worker – April 14, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Cancelled: FaithCARE: Growing Restorative Congregations – April 15, 2020 at All Day
Webinar: How to Launch Alpha Online – April 16, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Full: Webinar: Missional Commons – Where are We Now? – April 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Cancelled: Overdose National Book Tour with Benjamin Perrin – April 16, 2020 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Cancelled: Almost Silent Retreat – April 16, 2020 - April 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Postponed: Betty Spackman: A Creature Comfort – April 17, 2020 at All Day
Webinar: COVID-19 and the Majority World – April 17, 2020 at 6:00 am - 7:30 am
Canadian Youth Worker Prayer Call (every Friday) – April 17, 2020 - April 24, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Charter Day Webinar: Celebrating Canada's Fundamental (and Sometimes Forgetten) Freedoms – April 17, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Webinar: SOGI 123 – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity – April 17, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Webinar with Derek Sloan, Candidate for Leader of Conservative Party of Canada – April 17, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Cancelled: New Eyes for Reading the Old Testament – April 17, 2020 - April 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Postponed: Gospel Boom: The Astounding Growth of Worldwide Christianity – April 17, 2020 - April 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Postponed: Tim & the Glory Boys: The Buffalo Road Show – April 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Postponed: Journey Home Refugee Support: Volunteer Training – April 18, 2020 at 8:45 am - 3:00 pm
Postponed: Brave Love Ladner – April 18, 2020 at 1:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Postponed: Alzheimer Café – April 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Postponed: Tim & the Glory Boys: The Buffalo Roadshow – April 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Postponed: Jazz Vespers in the Valley: Greta Matassa Quartet – April 19, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Postponed: Tim & the Glory Boys: The Buffalo Roadshow – April 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Webinar: Prayer in a Time of COVID-19 with Brian Heasely, International Prayer Director for Prayer 24-7 – April 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Postponed: Roddan Jubilee Lectures: Stephanie Allen – April 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Postponed: Pallay: Andean Weaving of Liturgy & Design by Daniela Amestegui – April 22, 2020 at All Day
Webinar: John Lennox on "The Corona Crisis: How Should Christians Think, Act & Lead?" – April 22, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
EarthDay 2020: Towards a Green and Healthy Recovery – April 22, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Postponed: Pallay: Andean Weaving of Liturgy & Design by Daniela Amestegui – April 22, 2020 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Postponed: Spiritual Care Series: Caring for Aging Seniors (Thursday mornings) – April 23, 2020 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Webinar: Social Isolation & Political Tribalism – Reversed Now, or Intensified? – April 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Webinar: Moral & Ethical Choice in Video Games – Are My Games Corrupting Me While I Shelter at Home? – April 23, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Virtual Cafe A Rocha – April 24, 2020 at 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Global Prayer for Tech – April 24, 2020 at 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Cancelled: Loreto Aramendi Concert – April 24, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Postponed: Everyday Theology Seminar: Share a Meal, – April 25, 2020 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Virtual Earth Day 2020: Uniting from Home, with Katharine Hayhoe – April 25, 2020 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Cancelled: Spirit(us): The Baroque Mentorship Orchestra – April 25, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Good Seed Sunday – April 26, 2020 at All Day
Coronavirus and the book of Job with John Walton – April 27, 2020 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Missional Commons Webinar: God and Neighbour – April 28, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Virtual Event: Business as Calling – Speaker Donna Cheung – April 30, 2020 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Missional Commons Webinar: God and Neighbour – April 30, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Reaching Your World: How to Share Hope During Social Distancing – April 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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