The church body in Metro Vancouver is coming together, with all its uniquely beautiful parts. Like an intricate mosaic, the colourful pieces of the church are falling into place, creating one wonderful piece of worship art, celebrating and lifting high the name of Jesus.
Voices Together is a multi-church worship event, taking place Canada Day, July 1, at the Pacific Coliseum.
The gathering is an outward expression of a city-wide church unity movement that has been quietly and steadily gaining steam since around the time of the first Voices Together, on Canada Day back in 2008. That was when one lady – a powerhouse of prayer, pastor Yani Lim of Bethesda Ministry of Love – heard from the Lord to bring his people together to sing and lift his name high, at GM Place (now Rogers Arena).
That event – which brought together about 6,500 Christians from throughout Metro Vancouver – was followed up on Canada Day 2013, when almost 10,000 folks came to sing and praise Jesus, again in Rogers Arena.
July 1 at Pacific Coliseum
Fast forward two years and Lower Mainland pastors, ministry leaders and organizations have been planning and praying for a multi-denominational, multi-cultural and multi-generational event at the Pacific Coliseum July 1.
Giulio Gabeli, who chairs the core leadership team of Voices Together, emphasizes the importance of the church coming together to celebrate Jesus and bring lasting change to Metro Vancouver.
“It’s wonderful to see how different spheres, networks, organizations and ministries are beginning to really walk together and interact together because we acknowledge that no one ministry or organization or network is really able to make a lasting impact on this city,” says Gabeli, who is also executive director of HopeVancouver Network and pastor of Westwood Community Church in Coquitlam. “It takes all of us together to make an impact on this city.”
This year, Voices Together will welcome renowned pastor, speaker and author Francis Chan to address the gathering (his best-selling books include Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, 2009, and You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, 2014).
The three key elements to this year’s event acknowledge the many denominations, the generations and the diverse cultures that make up the city-wide Church of Jesus Christ.
Long-lasting relationships of trust are being built among the denominations. Not only will many evangelical churches be represented at Voices Together, but there will also be participation from the Roman Catholic Church – as there was in 2013 when Vancouver’s Archbishop Michael Miller took to the stage – and quite likely also the Orthodox church.
“What we’re after is a sustainable unity,” says Gabeli. “That is built on the infrastructure of relationships. Events come and go, but what unites us is relationships, and that will endure the test of time.” About 30 pastors and ministry leaders currently make up the core planning team for Voices Together.
One of the most dynamic parts of this year’s Voices Together program will be the “next generation movement.” An estimated 100 youth pastors and leaders from Metro Vancouver will come together on the stage July 1.
“There will be a time of highlighting the young, emerging leaders,” Gabeli says. “From a visual perspective, we will see the old and the young walking together.”
Youth leaders will come alongside Chapel Vancouver, a Spirit-filled movement of young people from three key areas across the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, Tri-Cities and North Vancouver). It exploded in praise out of a small church in South Vancouver, when a few youth got together to worship God in music; from these small beginnings, Chapel is raising up youth leaders and satellite campuses for worship.
This move of God will be recognized at Voices Together when the Chapel Band come together to provide engaging, God-honouring music to touch our city. Voices Together vice chair Dave Carson says: “There will be a strong emphasis on the Chapel Movement. There are hundreds of young people from three communities who came and maxed out Missions Fest. This is the next generation moment.”
Celebrating our culturally rich country, believers of many ethnic backgrounds will join together in lifting high the name of Jesus and celebrating Canada’s birthday. Highlighting Vancouver’s robust Chinese culture, a Chinese choir will gather and sing on the Voices Together 2015 stage.
“They come from the Chinese evangelical ministerial, [which represents] about 150 churches,” explains Gabeli. “Let’s face it, Chinese are the largest visible ethnic community in the Lower Mainland.”
Voices Together begins at 5 pm, July 1 at the Coliseum (PNE Fairgrounds) Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 online or $10 through the local church (ask at your home church), or invite your friends to the Facebook page. There could be as many as 12,000 in attendance July 1.
Those wanting to pray for the Voices Together gathering in advance can meet next Wednesday (June 24), 7 pm, at the site of the Coliseum (at Gate 6 – enter from Renfrew Street, across from Cambridge) or June 28, 6:30 pm, at Glad Tidings Church on Fraser Street for a Prayer Rally.