A Message from our Executive Minister

To all of you who have supported the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada for the past year, I want to say thank you for your faithfulness. It was a wonderful year of growth.

In May, your support helped fundraise over $119,000 to send support to Fort McMurray after the forest fires. During the summer, your support connected hundreds of children to Christian camps throughout Western Canada, and helped many more teens experience SERVE, a week-long ministry experience. Women in Focus was able to continue equipping and empowering women from each of our regions, offering renewal retreats, workshops, and Bible Studies.

Thank you for playing a part—whether you participated in person, helped financially or prayed for hearts to be touched. We are so grateful for the family of Christ, and that through the CBWC, we can call each other brothers and sisters. May God bless the year ahead as we continue seeking His will.

In Christ,

Jeremy Bell
Executive Minister

Housing the Homeless with Co:Here

Homelessness in Canada is a complex and difficult problem, especially in regions experiencing a housing crisis, such as Vancouver. With no national housing program in place in Canada since 1994, the crisis is left up to individuals and private organizations to address. The CBWC is doing its part by establishing networks of churches that are already serving the homeless, and providing resource information and material for further efforts. In particular, CBWC’s Justice and Mercy Network seeks to inspire and equip churches in the work they do to provide affordable housing for those experiencing poverty, as well as refugees and uprooted peoples.

One CBWC church in Vancouver has been working especially hard to reach out to their community and find new ways to make room for people who have less. Tim Dickau, pastor of Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, is heading up the latest project through the Co:Here Foundation. For years, Grandview Calvary has been providing homes and shelter space to those in need and this newest project will make space for more than 26 individuals and families to live in community. The church donated the land, and the goal is to foster living in community. “We’ll have a staff member who will help connect folks to the resources they need, such as social and employment services,” says Tim.

Tim has been involved in community housing projects for more than 20 years and believes that this model can be used by other faith organizations with land assets, encouraging them to help out in a similar way.

“One of the characteristics of Jesus was that he welcomed people—and especially people who were on the edges and vulnerable and poor. It’s been part of the church’s mandate throughout history.”

Although this building is itself a new project, the Co:Here Foundation and Grandview Calvary have long histories welcoming vulnerable people into community. “It’s been a long, 20 year journey,” says Tim, speaking about Grandview Calvary. “A lot of it started with welcoming folks to a meal on Thursday nights in our church building, then becoming friends and developing relationship together.”

From there, they developed a number of community houses using the same model as the Co:Here Foundation, and the experience has been mutually transformative for the people who have lived in the houses.

“One of the characteristics of Jesus was that he welcomed people—and especially people who were on the edges and vulnerable and poor,” says Tim. “It’s been part of the church’s mandate throughout history.”

With this newest project, a major criteria for the tenant selection committee is that tenants have some connection to Grandview neighbourhood. In the same vein, although the church itself donated the land, the Co:Here Foundation is funded by a variety of community sources, including individuals, foundations, the city, the province. We are so grateful to everyone whose heart is to build healthy community and reach out to those with less.

An Exciting Year Ahead

We’d like to highlight one of our most anticipated events in the upcoming year: The Gathering! This year it will be held in Calgary from May 25 to 27 and all CBWC church members and visitors are welcome. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. You’ll leave rejuvenated after three days of celebrating, sharing stories and developing our identity as a family of churches.

“I look forward to the times of connecting with CBWC folks in 2017. The Leadership Forums, the Heartland Pastor’s Retreat, the New Minister’s Orientation, and the Assembly, to name a few.” —Mark Doerksen, Regional Minister for the Heartland

Please visit our website for more information on this, as well as other upcoming events in 2017.