Around Town: Testament, Lenten Vigil, Brian Doerksen, West End preachers . . .

Every year, Pacific Theatre’s Christmas Presence shows sell out. This spring, as the pandemic lingers, they are offering something similar.

Similar, but not the same. Testament is focused on Easter, and the performances will be online:

A celebration of Easter, a lament for what we’ve lost, and a paean to the audacity of hope.

In the tradition of Christmas Presence, Testament brings together musicians, storytellers and singers to weave an evening of meditations on sacrifice and renewal.

Pacific Theatre’s artistic director Kaitlin Williams wrote down some of her thoughts about the production:

Unlike Christmas Presence, which is usually assembled on the fly, this show’s setlist and logistics would have to be well thought out ahead of time. I spent the weeks leading up to filming in conversation with our music director Rick Colhoun, collaborating on what songs the musicians would record.

Then I combed through the collection of Easter readings that Ron [Reed, founder and artistic director emeritus of PT] had generously shared, while also searching out new pieces and writers to add into the mix.

Artistic director Kaitlin Williams found that assembling the elements of Testament settled her spirit.

The show began to take shape around the themes of lament and hope. We planned to release whatever Testament would be on Saturday April 3rd, which is the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday – the in-between-ness of that day matching the tenor of the show, as well as reflecting the in-between-ness of our current pandemic existence.

I scrapbooked the show together in my home office on the felt bulletin board I have up on my wall. Moving songs around, editing things out, pouring over poems and Easter stories while listening to tunes by Sam Cooke, Jon Ochsendorf and Cheryl Bear, among others.

A funny thing happened. Many times this year I have emerged from my office at the end of the day slightly beleaguered from too much zoom and anxiously ruminating on emails I need to respond to.

But after an afternoon spent assembling Testament, I felt something different, and it surprised me. I felt settled, I felt nourished – I would say for the first time in months I felt something akin to peace.

At first, this feeling was so unfamiliar I didn’t know what to attribute it to. But I’ve since realized the very act of assembling the show, along with immersing myself in poetry and music, fed me and settled my spirit.

And then we made the thing! Three days of filming at the theatre, singing gospel tunes, reading poetry, meeting new artists and welcoming them into the PT fold – it was a challenge, and we were stretched and we were filled up. It was not the same performing in the space for empty chairs, but we performed anyway, trusting that the audience will gather, even if it is in a different way.

Testament premieres April 3 at 7 pm – or you can stream the show on your own time through April 11.

Tickets available at or call 604.731.5518.

Lenten Vigil for the Silenced

Barry Morris will be leading a Lenten Vigil March 27 at 1st and Commercial in East Vancouver.

Barry Morris, pastor of the Longhouse Council of Native Ministry in east Vancouver, is again inviting people to a Lenten Vigil for the Silenced, at the corner of 1st and Commercial, this Saturday (March 27):

Our faith tradition calls for us to stand in solidarity with those with whom Jesus identified – the silenced or sinned against as the poor, the homeless, the shunned, the aged, the sick, the foreigners or refugees or migrants, the outcasts, wrongly imprisoned et al.

The season of Lent, over six intentional weeks, prepares us for Easter. We look inward (and, outward) to ask how our lives reflect what we believe as partakers in the life, death and resurrection witness of Jesus the Christ . . .

All faith traditions call us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care meaningfully for our elders, visit the sick and those in prison. And we have typically responded to that call with acts charity such as food banks or homeless shelters or donating money to a social service agency.

Charity may be necessary, at times. But we are pressed to go deeper and wider. In the pursuit of justice we raise confessional / self-critical questions and challenge our institutions that contribute to and cause homelessness, hunger, unemployment – all that leads to misery, anger and the helplessness of feeling expendable and all that results in being silenced.

Not only during this pandemic, all our levels of government should play an important role in the upkeep of a civil society. Our skewed system, however, has suffered a distortion which silences, even imprisons, too many people and ignores, if not imprisons, the wisdom of its prophets. We are summoned to justice.

Easter at the Shining Rose

Brian Doerksen and friends will host a Palm Sunday concert this Sunday (March 28). Easter at the Shining Rose will be held online, recognizing pandemic restrictions:

Although we can’t celebrate with our family and friends like pre-Covid years, songs and story can still bring us together. To help us through this unprecedented season, Brian Doerksen & friends produced a creative and musical special that we can share.

It features songs like ‘Scars on His Hands’ and ‘On that Sunday Morning,’ and re-introduces the classics ‘Light the Fire Again’ and ‘Come Now is the Time to Worship’ in their original style.

You’ll also be treated to three hymns from his new album ‘Hymns for Life,’ including current single ‘I Heard the Voice,’ along with ‘It is Well’ and ‘Morning Has Broken,’ plus meet storytellers Jimmy Yi (star from the stage version of Kim’s Convenience), Joyce Rees and Marika Siewert.

Go here for more information.

Not hate preaching

CBC News reported March 20 that two street preachers who were active in the West End last year did not violate laws against hate speech:

A recent report from the Vancouver Police Department says two preachers accused of blaring offensive, anti-gay messages with the help of a microphone and amplifier in the West End last summer did not violate hate speech laws.

According to the report, published earlier this year, Vancouver police investigated 10 of the 13 calls it received between June and October 2020 related to street preachers Dorre Love and David Lynn, including an assault in August against a man whose leg was broken as he tried to take the preacher’s mic away.

The report says investigators from VPD’s Hate Crimes Unit, Major Crimes Section and the VPD Operations Legal Advisor concluded that “none of the alleged actions by the street preachers constituted a violation of Criminal Code laws concerning hate speech or promoting hate.”

The report says officers did curtail the street preachers’ activities on seven of the 10 complaints they attended, including one arrest for breaching the peace, and another for aggravated assault.

The report quoted West End activists and neighbours who feel the police have been too lax with the preachers, but also noted that Meaghan McDermott, interim policy director with the B.C Civil Liberties Association, doesn’t support hate speech charges:

“Just because you have a noise bylaw that might be tricky to enforce doesn’t then mean that you should develop this very blunt instrument that’s way too vague and which would capture way more people,” McDermott said.

McDermott agrees that Canada’s laws set a high bar for what constitutes hate speech – a bar she says also serves to protect marginalized people and minority groups in a democratic society.

Go here for the full story.

Mar 2021

Alpha Webinar: Run Alpha Q & A – March 25, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
A Conversation with Laura Fabrycki – March 25, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Zaac Pick presents 'Passages — Unplugged' Virtual Show – March 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 – March 25, 2021 - March 27, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Joshua Chestnut: Three Questions for a Pornified Imagination: Finding Hope for Unwanted Sexual Behaviour – March 26, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Songstage Livestream: Host Ivan Boudreau with Chris Ronald & Scott Cook – March 26, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 8:45 pm
A Lenten Vigil for the Silenced – March 27, 2021 at 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm
Easter at the Shining Rose with Brian Doerksen & Friends – March 28, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
A Conversation with Dr. Ross Hastings, hosted by Dr. Jens Zimmermann – March 29, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Beauty & Brokenness: A Journey to Easter – March 31, 2021 at 9:00 am - 9:45 am
CRISPR-Cas9: From Anti-Viral to Going Viral – March 31, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Remembering the Forgotten Level of Government: Christian Engagement in Local Politics – March 31, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Apr 2021

A Conversation with John Inazu – April 1, 2021 at 11:15 am - 1:30 pm
Clark Elliston: Work and Leisure in a Technological World – April 2, 2021 at 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Pacific Theatre: Testament – April 3, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Reading the Bible Right Now with Dr. Mariam Kobalishyn – April 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Michael Mawson: Living in the Midst of Death: Theological Reflections on Aging and Technology – April 9, 2021 at 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Kairos Course (Sunday evenings) – April 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Al Massira Online Training Event (Wednesdays) – April 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Refugee Sponsorship: Building Friendships – April 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Addressing Grief + Loss in Community Programs – April 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Human Flourishing with Jaron Lanier – April 14, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Addressing Grief + Loss in Community Programs – April 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Communication(s) and Mission: Virtual Conference – April 16, 2021 at 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Brent Waters: Remaining Focused: Human Flourishing in the Emergent Techno-Culture – April 16, 2021 at 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Bill C-7 (MAiD): What Will Happen Now? – April 16, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mission Central: Church Leaders Roundtable – Refuge Reimagined with Mark and Luke Glanville – April 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Understanding Our Muslim Neighbors – April 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
George Grant and the Nature (and Loss) of a Moral Tradition – April 23, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Imprisoned for Christ – April 24, 2021 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Good Seed Sunday, Delivered by A Rocha – April 25, 2021 at All Day
John Stott, Pastor, Leader and Friend: Global Overview of Stott’s Influence – April 27, 2021 at 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Reading the Gospels While Black: A Conversation with Esau McCaulley & N.T. Wright – April 28, 2021 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Who Will Determine the Course of Human Genome Editing? – April 28, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Under the Sun: Types and Shadows in a Biblical and Brazilian Perspective – April 29, 2021 - May 3, 2021 at All Day
The Church in a Post-COVID World – April 30, 2021 at 6:00 am - 8:00 am
Himalaya: A Drive-in Film Festival (two shows) – April 30, 2021 at 8:30 pm - 11:50 pm
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