Around Town: Mission Fest: today!, The Witness Blanket, Henry Blackaby . . .

Mission Fest 2024 is upon us this week – from Thursday evening (February 15, 5 pm) until Saturday (February 17, 10 pm).

The gathering carries on in downtown Vancouver, but in a new location. Rather than being held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, as it had been for decades, Mission Fest will be held at The Centre (home to Westside Church) right across from the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

We nearly missed out on the 40th anniversary of Mission Fest. The team felt that the end had come last year, but due to a rather miraculous turn-around, the Mission Fest has gained new life.

A couple of key things to remember as you head down to The Centre. Entrance to Mission Fest is free, but organizers are asking everyone to register online before going.

Key elements this year are:

  • Exhibitors: more than 50 mission agencies, with both local and international focus
  • Speakers: Mission Central Lead James Bonney said: “This year, we were led to invite keynote speakers who are our friends. They all have an affection for one another and carry the conviction that Jesus is a person who, when we give Him space to move, can do more than we could imagine, here and around the world.
  • Seminars: Four choices at two time-slots Friday and Saturday. Each topic begins with “Jesus is looking for friends who will . . .”
  • Youth Encounter Friday, hosted and led by Jonathan Mitchell and the 604 Network.

Go here for the schedule.

James Bonney and Steve Schroeder are leading Mission Fest.

James Bonney and fellow leader Steve Schroeder are keen on ‘co-mission.’ They wrote:

In Mark’s Gospel, we read, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen,” Mark 16:20.

Our desire this year is that you would be inspired by the reality of how close Jesus is. When that happens, the Great Commission becomes about being on a co-mission, a co-partnership with a real person.

It sounds simple, but often missions and ministry can quickly be focused on our strategies and plans rather than yielding to a person, waiting on a person and going with a person who is working with us.

We hear amazing stories of missionaries who encounter Jesus and feel inspired, but inwardly, we are left tired. We believe all of that can be transformed through one encounter with Him.

This year’s theme isn’t just a ‘conference theme’ to hear great sermons. It’s our conviction that we are to model and practice together at the conference the reality that we follow a person; He doesn’t follow us. We can meet Jesus in the messages preached, in the prayer times, while browsing through the exhibit areas – and Jesus Himself will touch us, call us, renew us and save us.

Our prayer for all those who come is that they would go home and be able to say as the early disciples did in Acts 15:4, “And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.”

Go here for more information on Mission Fest.

The Witness Blanket

West Vancouver Memorial Library is hosting The Witness Blanket, created by Carey Newman.

This is the description of the exhibit:

Inspired by a universal symbol of protection – a woven blanket – the Witness Blanket comprises items collected from residential schools, Survivors, churches, governments and other cultural sites across Canada. 

Each of the 889 objects collected for the Witness Blanket tells a personal and harrowing story of loss, strength, resilience and pride from Survivors. These items include braids of hair, a Métis sash, a weather-beaten shoe, the door to the infirmary of St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay and objects from across BC, including photographs of young girls in front of St. Paul’s School in North Vancouver

The effects of the residential schools live on. They can be seen in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, relationships, attitudes and behaviours. By bearing witness to these stories, you carry their truth forward into a future that takes responsibility for the injustices of the past.

Newman, whose traditional name is Hayalthkin’geme, is a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist, master carver, filmmaker, author and public speaker. Through his father he is Kwakwak’awakw from the Kukwekum, Giiksam and WaWalaby’ie clans of northern Vancouver Island, and Coast Salish from Cheam of the Sto:lo Nation along the upper Fraser Valley. Through his mother his ancestors are Settlers of English, Irish and Scottish heritage.

Newman’s father was taken from his family in Alert Bay and moved to a residential school in Sechelt, then to St. Mary’s Residential School in Mission.

The exhibit runs until March 10. There are three related events at the library as well
  • February 17: Movie Matinee: Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket
  • February 23: An Evening with Helen Knott and Katłįà hosted by Michelle Cyca
  • February 27: Music Talks: Indigenous Music with Brian Wright-McLeod

At least three other takes on Catholic / residential schools have also come to my attention recently:

1. Seeking punitive damages: ‘John Doe’ – his real name is protected by a publication ban – claims he was abused by a physical education teacher and a priest during his time at Holy Trinity Elementary School In North Vancouver and is seeking punitive damages in a case being heard at the B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. The CBC News article states the Catholic Church “has admitted that the abuse happened and accepted vicarious liability. . . . But the church denies that it was negligent.” The trial is expected to last about a month. Go here for the article. [Note: A February 16 article in The B.C. Catholic reported that John Doe and the Archdiocese have reached a settlement.]

2. A book about St. Mary’s Residential School has been featured in The B.C. Catholic. A January 11 article begins:

In the story of residential schools, “Catholics are victims too,” says author Terry Glavin.“The people who suffered in residential schools were Catholics.”

Glavin spoke those words during an interview about the republishing of his 2002 book St. Mary’s: The Legacy of an Indian Residential School, which recounts the history of the former St. Mary’s Residential School in Mission. . . .

Glavin thinks people will be surprised by the counter-cultural narrative about the Oblates of Mary Immaculate presented in the book.

Go here for the full article.

3. St. Mark’s College will host ‘Papal Visit 2022: The Catholic Church and the Four Steps of Reconciliation,’ February 29:

Pope Francis’ historic visit in July of 2022 to apologize for the church’s role in residential schools and answer the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action was rich in symbols, stories and steps. Every night of the visit, Dr. Niigaan Sinclair was a voice on national and international media documenting the visit and the four steps the Pope modeled to evoke reconciliation in the Catholic church in Canada.

Go here to register for the free event.

Henry Blackaby 1935 – 2024

Henry Blackaby was born in BC, attended UBC and

Local Baptists are joining Christians around the world in mourning the passing of Henry Blackaby, the pastor/author best known for his book Experiencing God, which sold some eight million copies worldwide.

An article on the Christianity Today site said:

Considered a spiritual statesman by many, the quiet pastor from Canada had a ministry that reached from pastors, missionaries and lay people, to CEOs, US presidents and world leaders.

CNBC WestCoast (WestCoast Baptist Association in partnership with the Canadian National Baptist Convention) posted this on their Facebook page February 10, the day he died.

Today, we join in prayer for the Blackaby family and give thanks to God for a legacy through a man born in British Columbia, served in our family of churches now called CNBC WestCoast, and eventually impacted the world.

They quoted from Lifeway’s memorial:

Blackaby’s famous summary of how to know and do the will of God – “watch to see where God is working and join Him” – has guided numerous people, churches and ministries to join God’s work. Blackaby’s teaching and influence crossed denominational lines as well as cultural and geographic boundaries.

Lifeway Christian Resources is part of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is where the Canadian National Baptist Convention has its roots.

The denomination has grown quickly in BC, beginning with five churches in the mid-1950s. Blackaby said of his time here during the mid-1980s:

After serving 22 years as a pastor [initially in California, then for 12 years in Saskatoon], I became the director of missions for an association of 11 churches and mission churches in the greater Vancouver area of Brit­ish Columbia, Canada.

Guiding a church to walk with Christ as the Head of His body is one matter. Guiding an association of 11 congregations to walk together with God with one heart and one mind is quite different. I came to this new assignment with the conviction that “the God we serve is able . . . and he will” (Daniel 3:17).

There are now 80 CNBC churches in the province, many of them strongly multicultural. And the denomination is active across the nation – Send Canada Network (“Churches planting churches across Canada, in partnership with Canadian National Baptist Convention & North American Mission Board”) tweeted shortly before Blackaby died: “Celebrating 10 new church plants across Canada in the first 24 days of 2024!”

Blackaby influenced millions of people as a speaker in some 115 nations and through his books. In particular, Experiencing God had tremendous significance, not least on one very high profile woman leader.

Richard Blackaby, his son, and now leaders of Blackaby Ministries International, wrote:

The response to the book exceeded the publisher’s wildest expectations. Countless readers claimed they had attended church all their life, but, for the first time, they were experiencing God personally. The publisher could not print the workbooks fast enough. At its peak, it was selling more than 500,000 copies a year. It has now sold more than eight million copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

Blackaby has received hundreds of letters thanking him for the life-changing material. One woman told Henry that  Experiencing God transformed her life. She wondered if he ever thought about writing a workbook focused on women, as women desperately needed one. Henry replied that he did not feel God’s leading personally, but perhaps God wanted her to write one. Her name was Beth Moore. Countless ministries, churches and books have been inspired by Experiencing God.

The Blackaby family is still represented in this area. Peter Blackaby is part of the CNBC WestCoast team as a Vancouver-focused missionary, and Henry’s oldest grandson, Mike Blackaby, is now lead pastor at Canvas Church in Oak Bay on Vancouver Island.

Jobs & Events

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Feb 2024

Mission Fest Vancouver 2024 – February 15, 2024 - February 17, 2024 at All Day
Discern: Recognizing God's Presence – February 15, 2024 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
UMODJABLACK: Art Exhibition Opening – February 15, 2024 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Black History Month Festival of Praise – February 16, 2024 at 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
TobyMac Hits Deep Tour – February 16, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Loreto Aramendi : The Virtuoso Organist Returns – February 16, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
God & Sex: Gospel Conversations on Gender, Identity & Sexuality – February 17, 2024 - February 18, 2024 at All Day
Bible Saturday: Jesse Nickel: A Revolutionary Jesus – Violence and Peacemaking in the Kingdom of God – February 17, 2024 at 9:30 am - 11:45 am
Workshop with Loreto Aramendi In collaboration with the Vancouver Centre of the Royal Canadian College of Organists – February 17, 2024 at 10:30 am - 11:45 am
Loreto Aramendi : The Virtuoso Organist – February 17, 2024 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Empowered to Influence: Lunch and Learn (4 Sundays) – February 18, 2024 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Vocational Discernment Mini-Course (4 Sunday afternoons) – February 18, 2024 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Taizé Contemplative Service – February 18, 2024 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Advance Summit – February 20, 2024 - February 22, 2024 at 5:00 pm - 12:00 pm
Reading the Psalms: a Lenten series (4 events) – February 20, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Why Catholics Need Literature – February 20, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Alpha Canada: Come & See – February 21, 2024 at 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Phyllis Adelyne & Don Hardy – February 21, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Marketplace Mornings: Everything You Want Is Not Enough with Jeff Mayhew – February 22, 2024 at 7:00 am - 8:30 am
Prayer Ministry and the Weekend – February 22, 2024 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Serve Our Schools Network – February 22, 2024 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Prayer & Fasting Gathering: Loving Muslims Together Network – February 23, 2024 at All Day
North Shore Night of Worship – February 23, 2024 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: A Tribute to Nina Simone – February 23, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Suzie Ungerleider & Veda Hille – February 23, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Coldest Night of the Year 2024 – February 24, 2024 at All Day
The Long, Long Night of Hope – February 24, 2024 at All Day
iParent | Navigating the World Our Kids Live In with Dr. Dave Currie – February 24, 2024 at 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
GO 2024 Missions Conference – February 24, 2024 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
The Prophetic Vision of Bishop Remi De Roo: A Symposium – February 24, 2024 at 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Tomorrowland: How to Understand and Navigate Artificial Intelligence from a Biblical Perspective – February 24, 2024 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Inspired Arts Missions Fundraiser Gala | Photographic Journey Through Israel – February 24, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
My Cousin's Wedding – February 24, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Black History Month Service – February 25, 2024 at 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Jazz Vespers with Joelle Lush – February 25, 2024 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Colin Linden – February 25, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jonathan Anderson: The (In)visibility of Theology in Contemporary Art – February 26, 2024 at 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Let's Talk About: Women in Ministry – February 26, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ron Dart: Reading George MacDonald’s Lilith with Dante – February 26, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Contemplative Ecology with Dr. Jason M. Brown – February 27, 2024 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Film Viewing: Picking Up the Pieces – February 27, 2024 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Black History Month Richmond Social – February 28, 2024 at 4:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Dr. Hans Boersma: Love – Why God's Most Appropriate Name is Creation's Deepest Ground – February 28, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Dutch Robinson & the Marcus Flo Group – February 28, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
CHILD-ish – February 29, 2024 - March 9, 2024 at All Day
The Chosen: Season 4 – February 29, 2024 - March 10, 2024 at 12:00 am
Business as Mission Leadership Lunch – February 29, 2024 at 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Vulnerable & Fierce Fundraising Dinner – February 29, 2024 at 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Papal Visit 2022: The Catholic Church and the Four Steps of Reconciliation – February 29, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Paul Nedelisky: Can Science Show Us the Good? – February 29, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Speed Dating: Christian Singles (Ages 27-47) – February 29, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
All of Life Interview with Dr. Arnold Sikkema – February 29, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Mar 2024

Apologetics Canada Conference 2024: Can I Trust the Bible? – March 1, 2024 - March 2, 2024 at All Day
Business As Mission Vancouver Conference 2024 – March 1, 2024 at 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
March Art & Prayer Retreat – March 1, 2024 at 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Black History Month Closing Celebration Concert – March 1, 2024 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
G. Peter Kaye Lectures: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Rosa: The Listening Society: Religion, Music & Democracy in Resonance (2 events) – March 1, 2024 - March 2, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Re-imaging the Church Choir – March 2, 2024 at 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Books & Bistro – March 2, 2024 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Spring Small Business Fair – March 2, 2024 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Trace Bundy's Acoustic Spring – March 2, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:45 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley with The Ruby Lane Organ Trio – March 3, 2024 at 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
The Laing Lectures: George Yancey – Christian Racial Reconciliation – March 5, 2024 - March 7, 2024 at 12:00 am
Kentro Webinar: Applying Violence and Harassment Legislation in a Practical Way? – March 5, 2024 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Imagination Retreat – March 6, 2024 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Kairos BC-Yukon Spring Conversation Toolkit Launch – March 6, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: Shruti Ramani & Friends – March 6, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Black History Month: Ghislain Brown-Kossi’s new exhibition UMOJABLACK – March 7, 2024 - March 26, 2024 at 12:00 am
MCC Vulnerable & Fierce Fundraising Dinner – March 7, 2024 at 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
March Art & Prayer Retreat – March 8, 2024 at 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Understanding Abuse Training – March 8, 2024 - March 10, 2024 at 1:00 pm - 12:30 pm
A Music Night with Jon Bryant: Fundraiser for Jacob's Well – March 8, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Canadian L'Abri Lecture Series (Friday evenings) – March 8, 2024 - March 22, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
North Lonsdale United Church: Worship Concert Fundraiser – March 8, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
ReFrame Dance Production – March 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Root Dwellers x WIRTH Present: Jordan Klassen, Zaac Pick, Cassidy Waring – March 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Business As Mission Breakfast – March 9, 2024 at 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Co-creating Plausible Futures for the Canadian Church – March 9, 2024 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Abendmusik Vesper Choir: Lent 2024 Vespers – March 10, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
My Little Plastic Jesus – March 10, 2024 - March 15, 2024 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Lisa Sung: The Doctrine of the Trinity: Eliciting Insights for Life and Ministry – March 11, 2024 at 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Colonialism, Reconciliation and the First Nations Bible – March 11, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – March 12, 2024 - March 23, 2024 at All Day
Church Redevelopment and Reconciliation: An Indigenous and Settler Perspective – March 12, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Philippians with George Guthrie: Lecture & Book Launch – March 12, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Reimagining Church, Land & Community – March 12, 2024 - March 13, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Jazz Evensong @ Brentwood: The Benders & Friends – March 13, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Kentro Webinar: Anti-Racism From a Jesus-Centred Perspective Part 1 – Terminology 101 – March 14, 2024 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Brandon Lake: Tear the Roof Off Tour – March 14, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Speed Dating: Christian Singles (Ages 34-55) – March 14, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Opening to Compassion Ignatian Retreat – March 15, 2024 - March 17, 2024 at All Day
River Spring Conference (with Marc Dupont) – March 15, 2024 - March 17, 2024 at All Day
Climate change, eco-dread & Christian wisdom: a crisis in search of a hope-filled perspective – March 16, 2024 at 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Bible Saturday: Darrell Johnson – Resting in Jesus's Intercession (John 17) – March 16, 2024 at 9:30 am - 11:45 am
MAID Seminar – March 16, 2024 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Neil Osborne – March 16, 2024 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley with Nick Apivor & Friends – March 17, 2024 at 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Say Yes: a Liturgy of Not Giving Up on Yourself – March 17, 2024 - March 18, 2024 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Premiere: Blessed is the Spot: The Wounding and Healing of the Garry Oak Ecocultural Landscape – March 18, 2024 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
What is Prayer? – March 20, 2024 at 12:45 pm - 1:45 pm
  

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