Around Town: St. Matthew Passion, CBC interviews, Inhabit, Wrongs to Rights . . .

stmatthewpassioninsideEaster approaches, and with it much beautiful music. This year, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion must surely be the most eagerly awaited by those who appreciate sacred/classical music. The Vancouver Bach Choir, with help from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, will present the masterwork at the Orpheum this Saturday (March 19).

Writing in The Telegraph a few years ago, critic Damian Thompson said of the work, which was composed for a Good Friday service in 1727:

Bach’s St Matthew Passion is the ultimate depiction of the torture and (attempted) murder of Jesus Christ: the most beautiful, the most harrowing and the most innovative. And, if you are unlucky enough to get trapped in a bad performance, the most boring. Unlike Handel’s Messiah, it doesn’t provide amateur singers with bouncy tunes suited to wobbly voices. . . .

Despite its indisputable greatness, this immense musical diptych of Jesus’s ordeal can be an ordeal in itself – even when the performance is a fine one. It’s a bit like a Wagner opera: you’ve got to be in the mood and you have to do some work.

So it might be tough on the novice listener. One suggestion Thompson makes is to take along a copy of Victor Lederer’s 132-page guide to St. Matthew Passion (one copy of which is available at the Central Library). Pooh-poohing the notion that “you shouldn’t read while listening to a piece of music,” he points out that “one of this book’s many virtues is that it unfolds at roughly the same pace as the St Matthew Passion itself.”

(Another insight from the book is that it “explain[s] Pietism [one of the key streams of evangelicalism]. This largely forgotten theological movement lies at the heart of Bach’s cantatas and Passions.” Former Trinity Western professor Douglas Shantz prefaced his Introduction to German Pietism with this quote by Carl Hinrichs: “Pietism and church music have been characterized as ultimately the two great creations of German Protestantism.”)

JustPotters: Easter crosses

Another sign of the season are JustPotters’ cross-making workshops. They’ve been on for a while already, but according to their website can be booked any time before Easter. JustPotters is a social enterprise business which is part of JustWork.

CBC interviews

I sometimes wonder if CBC radio – the only station I ever listen to – steers away from interviewing Christian ministries (why we don’t hear more from World Vision, given its size . . .). However, this week I heard three good interviews:

cbcfirstbaptist21. Rick Cluff, host of The Early Edition, had a good chat with First Baptist Church’s executive minister Abraham Han about the 56-storey building and seismic upgrades planned for its property at Nelson and Burrard in the downtown core, on the eve of a city-sponsored open house March 10.

In a related article on CBC’s website, Han noted that the church has been active in the neighbourhood for 105 years:

The development, built in partnership by Westbank and Bing Thom Architects, will not only create 300 residential units, but also 66 below-market-rate rental units [in an eight-storey building], community gardens and space for other social services.

“We really want to build a space that is inviting to the community and that is caring for the community,” said Abraham Han, executive minister at First Baptist Church.

“We’re looking at seniors, street community, young families, refugees, people who are coming from different countries so ESL programs. We’re looking at all those things including affordable housing.”

The development will also include a shelter, daycare and kitchens for the homeless.

“We want to provide the ability for people to live in the city and not be pushed out,” said Han.

The seven-plus minute interview is available here.

cbcasylum22. On the 15th, Cluff interviewed James Grunau, executive director of Journey Home Community Association, about its plans to train community and church members to help asylum seekers. Journey Home supports refugee families with transitional housing in the Burnaby / New Westminster area, and late last year sponsored an evening (The Refugee Crisis: Ways to Respond) with Chris Friesen, director of settlement services for Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC), so churches could learn more about how to welcome Syrian refugees.

Asylum seekers are people who apply for refugee status once they are already in Canada. Asked by Cluff why Journey Home is launching a training program for those who would like to help asylum seekers, Grunau said:

Well, we’ve been looking at this actually for probably a number of years. We’re a small organization – we have four core staff – and so we know that we can’t address the need, but as we’ve gone about our work and worked with volunteers, we believe that there are community members and groups that could do what we’re doing.

But they need some training and some coaching and mentoring, and over the last six to eight months as we’ve seen the refugee climate really change in Canada, and the groundswell of support, it has allowed us some extra resources and some opportunities to launch this program.

For the full interview go here.

cbccommunityhousing3. The connection is a little less obvious in the third case, but is still interesting. The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti ran Willow Yamauchi’s documentary The Housing Hack, which started with these words:

My daughter just turned 19. She’s an adult, a millennial, and understandably she’d like to have a place of her own. The problem is, we live in Vancouver.

The 22-minute documentary focused on two homes – Merkaba Collective Community in Vancouver and the Atangard Community Project in Abbotsford, along with comments from Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs.

Yamauchi introduces Atangard with this sentence: “In the City of Abbotsford, 12 millennials sit around a long wooden table illuminated by a large green chandelier. . . . living communally in this old hotel, their experiment is known as the Atangard Community Project. . . . It still looks like a hotel, but what strikes me is how many of the bedroom doors are open. . . .”

She spoke with 32 year old Sophia Suderman, who has been involved with Atangard since before renovations and move-in (2009).

Suderman described the beginnings of the community – which has now been home to at least 100 people – as “kind of happenstance.” She and a group of friends were looking for a place to stay and noticed that the boarded up hotel was available for lease. Before long, though, they were planning an intentional community.

Atangard is open to all kinds of people, but there are Christian roots. In a 2011 article by Jeremy Postal in Converge magazine, she was quoted as saying:

The Atangard Community Project is an experiment that explores living together as a means of integrating our priorities and beliefs into a way of life that works within this society. We aim to create an opportunity which facilitates our ability to love God and love our neighbours in an honest and practical manner.
We have no intention or interest in an exclusive Christian living arrangement. We are building a foundation which bases our love for one another on the example of Christ, and offers acceptance to all who reside among us. People will be treated with respect and compassion, without partiality.

Suderman did a timeline and video of Atangard’s history. To hear the full Housing Hack documentary go here.

Community-building events

A couple of events which highlight the critical state of housing in Vancouver and the strong desire for community are coming up later this week:


David Ley will be with City in Focus at the Vancouver Club March 18.

1. UBC urban geography professor David Ley will lead Make Vancouver Home: But How Do We Afford to Live Here? for City in Focus this Friday morning (March 18) at the Vancouver Club. Ley has authored many publications, including Millionaire Migrants, which explores how wealthy Asians have radically transformed real estate markets in Vancouver and other Pacific Rim cities. He recently said, “The generational issue is huge. So many young people are leaving the city. I’m surprised it’s not a greater public issue in BC.” Well, it is this week, in all the local media.

2. On Saturday (March 19), David Janzen will lead an Intentional Christian Community Workshop at Grandview Calvary Baptist Church. I have heard him speak before, and he is the real deal. He is from Reba Place Fellowship, an intentional Christian community in Chicago and has spent over 40 years living in intentional community and travelling around North America to support and hear from Christian communities new and old. He also wrote The Intentional Christian Community Handbook.


Inhabit1Another upcoming community-building event is the Inhabit Conference, April 15 – 16 in Seattle. Headlined by Shane Claiborne and many other urban/community pioneers, Inhabit will have this focus:

An exciting movement is growing across North America as churches from every background join the ongoing work of God in their neighborhoods – a movement that explores the potential for change in the unique facets of every community.

This year we ask the question: How does this change happen?

For anyone who has appreciated books like The New Parish or Slow Church, Inhabit should be worth the drive; I attended one of their conferences and came away with many new insights and contacts. Check out the link at the top of this page.

Wrongs to Rights

wrongstorights1Wrongs to Rights isn’t a local project, but its message, if taken to heart, could have a major impact on the Metro Vancouver area. Subtitled ‘How Churches can Engage the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,’ the book is a 164-page collection of short articles combined with poetry and visual arts and a study guide.
This is its purpose:
Honouring the call of Indigenous peoples from around the world, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has specifically summoned, not only the state, but all churches to embrace the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But what is the Declaration? And how might it gift and reorient Christian faith and practice?

In Wrongs to Rights, over 40 authors from diverse backgrounds – Indigenous and Settler, Christian and Traditional – wrestle with the meaning of the Declaration for the church. With a firm hold on past and present colonialism, the authors tackle key questions that the Declaration and the TRC’s call to “adopt and comply” raises: What are its potential implications? How does it connect to Scripture? Can it facilitate genuine decolonization, or is “rights talk” another form of imperialism? And what about real life relationships? Can the Declaration be lived out – collectively and personally – on the ground?

Contributors include a couple of well known names (Walter Brueggemann, Ched Myers), but also at least one local person – Laurel Dykstra, who is coordinating the Salal and Cedar Watershed Discipleship Community for the Anglican Church. Editor Steve Heinrichs is a familiar name in this area too; before becoming director of Indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada in Winnipeg, he pastored a church in northern BC. He also edited the widely praised Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry.
In a related vein, Streams of Justice will be looking at the theme Pushed Off the Land during one of their ongoing Faith and Justice roundtables:
On this occasion, we’ll be exploring our relationship to land as it pertains to people migration, unpacking the various ways people are displaced from their homes / lands / communities and forced to settle elsewhere. We’ll be looking at the political, social, economic and personal causes and impacts of displacement and migration, and reflect on these issues in light of the biblical witness.

Streams of Justice will meet at Grandview Calvary Baptist Church next Monday (March 21), 7 pm.

Popular pastor

Glad Tidings pastor Sandro DiSabatino recently won a retreat for his family at Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre in the Fraser Valley. He was nominated for the prize in an ‘appreciate your pastor’ contest sponsored by Faith Today magazine:
In January we invited churches from across the country to submit the names of their pastors for a contest, offered in partnership with spiritual retreat centres from coast to coast. We wanted to invite churches to show their appreciation for the hard and sometimes thankless work done by our pastors.
The person who nominated him wrote:
Pastor Sandro and his wife, Rebecca, lead our congregation in some deep studies of the Word. They not only teach it, they live it. They care about the members of their congregation.

Mar 2016

Erica Grimm: Salt Water Skin Boats – March 17, 2016 at All Day
Numb – March 17, 2016 at All Day
Structuring Your Church and Network for Mission: Webinar Featuring Alan Roxburgh – March 17, 2016 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Death and the Dark Side: A Debate on Assisted Suicide in Canada – March 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Gender Cafe: Human Trafficking – March 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Make Vancouver Home: But How Do We Afford to Live Here? – March 18, 2016 at 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Sacred Space – March 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Building Dynamic Prayer Friendships: Evangelism Training for Prayerful Ministry – March 19, 2016 at 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Intentional Christian Community Workshop with David Janzen – March 19, 2016 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Gene Murphy and Friends – March 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Eisenhauers – March 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Bach Choir: Bach's St. Matthew Passion – March 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
In Concert: Farooq Al-Sajee, Oud – March 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Laura Crema Trio with Bill Coon – March 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Dr. Ashley John Moyse: Book Launch & Public Lecture – March 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Streams of Justice: Faith & Justice Roundtable – Pushed Off the Land – March 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Youth Kosta – March 22, 2016 - March 24, 2016 at All Day
Faith & Reason Lecture Series event: "Strange Bedfellows: Are Individual Freedoms and Group Rights Reconcilable?" – March 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Art & Spirit: Vikram Vij – March 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Geneva Lectures: Dr. Martin deWit - A Christian Spirituality for Hopeful Earthkeeping – March 23, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Daniel Reynolds - Prodigal Son Suite – March 23, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Peacemeal – March 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Good Friday Blues – March 24, 2016 - March 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Good Friday Service Featuring Rutter's Requiem – March 25, 2016 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Gospel Good Friday with Warren Dean Flandez – March 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
The Way of the Cross – March 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Peacemeal – March 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
In His Presence: Good Friday Worship and Celebration – March 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Poetry for Passion Week and Easter – March 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: The Love That Moves the Universe - Bach, Handel & Schafer – March 25, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Building Dynamic Prayer Friendships: 10 Week Intensive Training (Saturdays) – March 26, 2016 at 9:30 am - 11:00 am
Easter Egg Hunt – March 26, 2016 at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Easter Sing-Along Messiah with Eric Homminick – March 26, 2016 at 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm
From Darkness to Light: Holy Saturday Easter Vigil with communion – March 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Kairos Course (Tuesday evenings, two Saturdays) – March 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Maria Gaudin: Life Among the Deadwood - Opening reception – March 30, 2016 at 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Jazz Evensong: Adele Wilding – March 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
EFC Webinar: Worse than we thought: Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide – March 31, 2016 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Festival of Hope: Pastors and Leaders Dinner – March 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Dr. Dennis Venema: Why I Accept Evolution (And Why You Probably Should As Well) – March 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Love, Mercy & Forgiveness: Pope Francis & the Future of the Catholic Church – March 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tenth Avenue North, with Hawk Nelson – March 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Festival of Hope Launch – March 31, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Apr 2016

God's Not Dead 2 – April 1, 2016 at All Day
Vancouver Retrouvaille: A Lifeline for Marriages – April 1, 2016 - April 3, 2016 at All Day
Dr. Barry Pointon: The Human-Haunted Cosmos – April 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Journey Home Community: Annual Celebration Event – April 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Coalmont – April 1, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Paul Taylor: Mount St. Helens – A Message for Today – April 1, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Church Library Association of BC Conference 2016 – April 2, 2016 at All Day
Gather – April 2, 2016 at 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
Paul Taylor: How Old is the Earth? – April 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Paul Taylor: No Compromise – April 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Panic Squad: A Live Comedy Event – April 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
North Shore Chorus: Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle – April 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Faith, Freedom & Liberty Concert – April 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Global Day of Prayer for Climate Action – April 5, 2016 at All Day
Global Day of Prayer for Climate Action: Surrey Meeting – April 5, 2016 at 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Global Day of Prayer for Climate Action: Vancouver Meeting – April 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
OnMission Virtual Conference – April 6, 2016 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Vancouver Pastors Prayer Fellowship – April 6, 2016 at 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Business By the Book: Joey Horvath – April 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Wanda Nowicki – April 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Rick Goossen: Ask the Expert - Advisory Boards – April 7, 2016 at 7:30 am - 9:00 am
Wenona Victor: Reconciliation Through Education – April 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Paul Taylor: Mount St. Helens – A Message for Today – April 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Discerning Truth in a Complex World – April 8, 2016 - April 9, 2016 at All Day
Mining and the Common Good: A Symposium on Mineral Resource Development and Laudato SI’ – April 8, 2016 at 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Empowered to Connect Conference – April 8, 2016 - April 9, 2016 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
RSVP: Celebrate the Light – April 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Women's Abide 2016 Conference – April 8, 2016 - April 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 11:15 pm
Paul Taylor: Mount St. Helens – A Message for Today – April 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
God's Masterpiece: All Day Event for Women – April 9, 2016 at All Day
Journey of Reconciliation: Listening to Indigenous Elders – April 9, 2016 at 9:00 am - 4:15 pm
St. Andrew's United Church Women's Book Sale – April 9, 2016 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Way of Light Morning Retreat, Part 1 – April 9, 2016 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Dr. Ross Hastings: Installation to the Sangwoo Youtong Chee Chair of Theology – April 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Paul Taylor: Mount St. Helens – A Message for Today – April 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Paul Taylor: Creation or Evolution - Who Cares? – April 10, 2016 at 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Jazz Vespers: Andrea Menard Trio – April 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Karin Plato – April 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Kairos Course (Korean) – April 11, 2016 at All Day
Jazz Evensong: Doe Bender – April 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Pastoral Approaches: The Church and Same-Sex Attraction – April 14, 2016 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Dr. Paul Rowe: Ataturk in my Pocket – a journey in religion and politics – April 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm - 2:50 pm
Dr. Paul Brown: Why I Accept Design (and Why It Is a Good Idea) – April 14, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph – April 14, 2016 - April 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Carson Pue: Transitions - Exploring Life Changes as Maturing Adults – April 15, 2016 - April 17, 2016 at All Day
Inhabit Conference – April 15, 2016 - April 16, 2016 at All Day
Transform Conference: Raising Up Gospel-Loving Kids in a Gospel-Hating Culture – April 15, 2016 - April 16, 2016 at All Day
Relationship Seminar with Tina Konkin – April 15, 2016 - April 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 12:00 pm
Dr. Don Bartlette: What Does Reconciliation Look Like? – April 15, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Phillipe Herreweghe & Collegium Vocale Gent: Lagrime di San Pietro – April 15, 2016 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Training for the Thinking Series – April 16, 2016 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Way of Light Morning Retreat, Part 2 – April 16, 2016 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Church of God Vancouver Spring Conference – April 16, 2016 at 11:30 am - 4:30 pm
The Volcano Spring Fundraiser – April 16, 2016 at 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Canadian MK Network: A Dessert Evening & Benefit Concert Featuring Carolyn Arends with Spencer Capier – April 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Dr. Don Bartlette: What Does Reconciliation Look Like? – April 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Stronger Together: MK Benefit Concert with Carolyn Arends & Spencer Capier – April 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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