Around Town: Stand With Asians, poetry with mom, Giulio Gabeli: allow services

Doris Mah says the response to the Stand With Asians Coalition has been impressive.

Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey joined with Toronto and Ottawa – more than 30 cities across Canada altogether – in proclaiming May 10 a ‘Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism.’

The idea began with Burnaby resident Doris Mah and took off over the past month.

Local rallies also took place outside SkyTrain stations across Metro Vancouver on the 10th. Mah has been featured in a number of media outlets.

CBC News posted a profile, which included this portion:

Doris Mah founded the Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC) in late April in Burnaby after sitting at her kitchen table and hearing on the news that there was a 350 percent increase of incidents of anti-Asian racism in Burnaby related to the pandemic.

“I had to do something about it,” she said.

She heard of people being harassed at her local grocery store and saw videos online of people suffering. Her mother, who wore a mask out in public before Canada promoted the measure, said she felt uncomfortable with people staring at her.

Mah decided to take action by founding the coalition with members of her community. She then reached out to her city asking for a proclamation naming May 10 as a day of action against Asian racism. . . .

“I never knew the cities would come on so fast,” said Mah.

“I’m not a politician, I’m just a mom who is concerned about my Safeway five blocks away, where I go weekly, where a woman was harassed because she is Asian. It could have been me.”

Mah told me she has “tons of volunteers.” whom she credits with the quick growth of the initiative. But she does have some political savvy, not least from her role as chief of staff for New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian.

For six months, she coordinated an NDP campaign for universal healthcare (Private Members Bill C-213 was sponsored by Julian).

She was sorry to see the bill voted down by the Liberals and Conservatives in February, but said the silver lining was that she has been freed up to foster the Stand With Asians Coalition.

Mah said she has also derived considerable benefit from Regent College’s MALTS (Master of Arts in Leadership, Theology & Society) program, from which she graduated last year.

Vancouver issued a proclamation; Mayor Kennedy Stewart tweeted his support, with a short video, for the campaign May 10.

Mah suggested several points for action:

  • The first thing to “stop the bleeding,” especially in Vancouver, is to create a comprehensive, multilingual reporting system, both online and with a hotline, to report incidents.
  • Data must be collected; governments will not act or put money towards resources and education otherwise.
  • A lot of the awareness is being driven by second and third generation Asian-Canadians. She particularly appreciates the way they are fighting on behalf of their parents and grandparents.
  • Educating newcomers is important as they are often afraid to voice any concerns.

She said on CKNW’s Mike Smyth Show May 11 that she would like the Stand With Asians Coalition to increasingly work with like-minded groups:

What I would like to see is that organizations would come alongside with us. Different organizations are doing things; we’re all working toward the same goal. We need to work together against this. We actually have the Canadian Labour Congress, 3.3 million workers, backing us on this movement. . . .

She told me she would like to see churches take action as well.

We have to put what we believe into action. We preach a lot about equality and denying racism, but each church needs to look at its equity policy. I’m not saying we have to be perfect, but there’s a lot of posturing. Do we even have an equity policy?

Communicate by verse

CBC Radio’s On the Coast celebrated Mother’s Day, and recognized Covid hardships, by featuring Melinda Dewsbury and her mother, whose bonds have been sustained through poetry.

Here is a portion of the story:

March of 2020 won’t soon be forgotten – the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic marked a new way of life for people around the world as they dealt with loss, loneliness and processing a virus that was global in scale.

Melinda Dewsbury, a literature professor at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., describes that time as “discombobulating.” When she feels that way, she said, she often turns to poetry to process her surroundings.

But she was also missing her family, in particular, her mother, and wanted to include her in her poetic practice.

“Deep down, the person that I’m drawn to the most when I’m looking for comfort is my mom,” she told On the Coast guest host Margaret Gallagher.

Her mother, Diana Coldwell, lives in Owen Sound, Ont. When Dewsbury suggested they exchange poetry, she was thrilled.

“I thought this is a really great way to leave a record of this unprecedented time in our history, so I was really anticipating sharing our poems and getting feedback, and I just thought that was a great way to connect,” she said.

Since their exchange began, they’ve written 115 poems between the two of them.

Go here for the full story, including some of their poetry, and to hear the interview.

Permit indoor services

Pastor Giulio Gabeli in the parking lot of Westwood Community Church. CTV News photo

Pastor Giulio Gabeli was featured on CTV News May 9, asking the provincial government to allow churches to meet in person again. Here is a portion of the accompanying story:

A Coquitlam pastor is calling on the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health to amend COVID-19 restrictions so clergy and parishioners can once again gather indoors for worship.

Westwood Community Church has been holding drive-in services since March and several dozen people attended one Sunday morning.

“It’s been exciting to see many people that are thirsting and really desire to come together. I think there’s what we call Zoom fatigue,” said Giulio Gabeli, the church’s lead pastor.

The Johnson Street church has a large parking lot which can accommodate drive-in services, and an FM transmitter so people who wish to remain in their cars can still hear the music, prayers and sermons.

Gabeli said the church has remained in compliance with public health orders throughout the pandemic, but he finds it frustrating that places of worship are not considered essential.

“We’re asking for our provincial government to allow us to be considered essential services because we can help British Columbians and Canadians in general through this pandemic crisis,” Gabeli said.

Go here for the full story and video.

May 2021

March for Life in Your Neighbourhood – May 13, 2021 at All Day
Identity: Film Screening & Conversation Around Faith, Race, Art & Mental Health – May 13, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Beyond the Conversation: A Gift of Presence – May 15, 2021 at 12:00 am - 11:55 pm
AC Literary Expedition: Discussing Critical Race Theory – May 16, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Elizabeth Sung: Rethinking the Kingdom of God, Christ's Ministry & Christians' Transformation – May 17, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
What Would Jesus Tweet? – May 18, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Virtual Book Club: Not Done Yet by Beth Seversen – May 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Carmen Joy Imes: The Mission of the Church to Bear God's Name – May 19, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Cardus Coffeehouse: Welcoming Refugees – May 20, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
BAM Vancouver Transforming Business Series – May 20, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Woven Together: Partnerships in Community Programs – May 20, 2021 at 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Historymaker – May 21, 2021 at All Day
Mark Glanville: 'Where are Your Roots?!': Biblical Ethics & Jazz (a Jazz-Talk from the Piano and a Bar Stool) – May 24, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Religion & Thoughtful Activism Conference – May 25, 2021 at 12:00 am
The Common Good Collective: Words for Good – May 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Susan Phillips: Tethered by Prayer – the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola – May 26, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Alpha Webinar: Reviving Evangelism in Gen Z – May 27, 2021 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Earthkeepers: Prayer Night for Bold Climate Action – May 27, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
What's the Best Luxury Album? A panel discussion – May 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Day of Prayer for Camp – May 30, 2021 at All Day
John Behr: What is Life? – May 31, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Jun 2021

Finding Jesus in the Storm: The Spiritual Lives of Christians With Mental Health Challenges – June 1, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Building Trust in an Age of Division: A Timely Conversation with David Brooks & Rev. Jennifer Bailey – June 2, 2021 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Johanna Harris: The Puritan Literary Imagination – June 2, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Discovering God at Work in Your Neighbourhood: An Introduction – June 3, 2021 at 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Germinating Conversations Book Launch – June 3, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – June 5, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Sahara Challenge / Crescent Project – June 8, 2021 - June 10, 2021 at 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Living Well After the Pandemic – June 8, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Healing in Colour: Stories of Race, Faith & Mental Health – June 9, 2021 - June 11, 2021 at All Day
A Conversation with Ed Stetzer: Evangelism Through Small Group Ministry – June 9, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Stephen Leacock: Canadian Christian Humanist, High Tory and Public Intellectual: – June 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
New Roots Festival – June 10, 2021 - June 13, 2021 at All Day
Turning Points: A Conversation with Mark Noll – June 10, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
"You Want to Go Where??!!": How to Honour Your Parents – June 10, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
'Round the Kitchen Table, hosted by Journey Home – June 10, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
MORE HOPE: Finding Strength Through Connection – June 10, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
ACMI@40: Celebration, Transformation, Innovation – June 11, 2021 - June 13, 2021 at All Day
Discovering God at Work in Your Neighbourhood: An Introduction – June 17, 2021 at 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Places That Matter Plaque Presentation: Mennonite Maids – June 17, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
George Guthrie: Hearing Hebrews – Fresh Thoughts for Critical Times – June 21, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Running Alpha in Small Groups – June 22, 2021 at 9:00 am - 9:45 am
FaithTech Global Community Meetup: Future Tech and the Gospel – June 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Youth Leader Gathering: Summer Session – June 23, 2021 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Marion Taylor: 'Restore Thou Me That Am Lost' – Our Foremothers of Faith – June 23, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Run Alpha Q & A – June 24, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Hinge Point: Learning to Navigate a Racialized Society, Together – June 24, 2021 at 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Pointing to Things Unseen: A Gestural Approach to Religious Signs – June 24, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
A Conversation: Acting Together in Canadian Churches to Observe International Decade for People of African Descent – June 24, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
What Do Missionaries Do and Why? – June 24, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Three Ways Your Church Can Prepare to Welcome Refugee Claimants in the Post-Pandemic World – June 24, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Regent College 50th Anniversary Online Reunion (two events) – June 25, 2021 - June 26, 2021 at All Day
Indian Horse: Film Screening – June 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
One With Them: A Day for Christian Captives – June 27, 2021 at All Day
World Refugee Sunday – June 27, 2021 at All Day
AC Literary Expedition: Discussing Progressive Christianity – June 27, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Past, Present and Future: Reconciliation as an Everyday Reality – June 28, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Mark Roberts: Lifelong Flourishing – Surprising Wisdom from Scripture & Science – June 28, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Gospels: A New Translation – a Conversation with Sarah Ruden – June 29, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
David deSilva: The Indispensable Circularity of Grace – June 30, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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