For we are God’s servants, working together.
1 Corinthians 3:9
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Stories of Mission is a compilation of stories and reports from people
participating in the missions and ministries supported by The
Presbyterian Church in Canada. The accounts come from extracts of
the 2010 reports to General Assembly, blended with accounts from
blogs and letters from the field.
In these reports you will find stories – from across Canada and around
the world – of people sharing God’s love, hope, peace, and justice with
those around them. Through your prayers and gifts to Presbyterians
Sharing, Presbyterian World Service & Development, the Women’s
Missionary Society and Atlantic Mission Society you are helping
support the mission and ministry work featured in these stories.
This resource and the photos within are available for download from
www.presbyterian.ca. Congregations have permission to copy all or any
part of this document for their mission education needs. Please feel
free to be creative in the use of this material.
Thank you to everyone who provided photographs for this resource.
All photos used with permission.
For more information check out www.presbyterian.ca/sharing.
Reports edited by: Karen Plater, Heather Chappell
Studies compiled by: Karen Plater
Design by: Tim Faller Design Inc.
Stories of Mission 2011 1
Table of Contents
Get involved in mission! 4
How are the ministries supported? 5
Using Stories of Mission 6
CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Denise Van Wissen, Guatemala 10
Mike Birks, Nicaragua 12
The Reverend Jim and Ann Young, Grenada 13
Dr. Richard Allen, Kenya 14
Margaret Evans, Kenya 15
The Reverend Edward and Jackie Hoekstra, Malawi 15
The Reverend Glenn and Linda Inglis, Malawi 17
Stephanie McDonald, Malawi 18
Sean and Lezlie Allison, Cameroon 20
Michelle Verwey, India 20
Louise Gamble, Taiwan 21
The Reverend Murray Garvin, Taiwan 22
The Reverend Dr. Paul McLean, Taiwan 23
The Reverend Dr. Michael Tai, Taiwan 25
Sam and Linda L, Central Asia 26
Dr. Bill and Sheila McKelvie, Pakistan 27
Brian Johnston, Romania 28
Dr. David Pándy-Szekeres, Ukraine 29
Mary Gorombey, Hungary 31
SHORT-TERM MISSION EXPERIENCES
Wendy Renault, Chedoke, Hamilton — Guatemala Mission Trip 33
Crawford Sharp, St. Andrew’s Ottawa — India Mission Trip 34
Diana Bond, St. Andrew’s, Ottawa — India Mission Trip 35
Eun Go, St. Andrew’s, St. John’s — “I love Taiwan” Youth in Mission 36
Sarah Smith, Calvin, Abbotsford, BC — Malawi Youth in Mission 37
Carol Gamuti, Blantyre Synod, Malawi 37
Karen Lye, St. Andrew’s, Coldwater — Malawi Mission Trip 38
Canadian Ministries/The Vine
CREATING NEW MINISTRIES
The Upper Room, Rockland, Ontario 40
Almanarah Church, London, Ontario 40
Keswick Presbyterian Church, Keswick, Ontario 41
2 Stories of Mission 2011
Trinity Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba 42
Asian Christ Church, Surrey, British Columbia 43
Burnaby Taiwanese Church, Burnaby, British Columbia 44
Vancouver Younghwa Church, Vancouver, British Columbia 44
Cloverdale Korean Church, Surrey, British Columbia 45
West Shore Church, Victoria, British Columbia 45
Hopedale Church, Oakville, Ontario 46
Knox Church, Neepawa, Manitoba 47
Lakeside Church, Summerland, British Columbia 47
St. Matthew’s Church, Elmsdale
and Hardwood Lands Church, Hardwood Lands, Nova Scotia 48
North Park Church (Spanish Ministry), Toronto, Ontario 48
Presbytery of Temiskaming Regional Ministry, Ontario 49
St. Andrew’s Church, Thompson, Manitoba 50
Knox Church, Wanham, Alberta 51
Cariboo Church, Cariboo Region, British Columbia 51
(South and central Cariboo-Chilcotin region)
Montreal Ghanaian Church, Montreal, Quebec 52
SUPPORTING SPECIALIZED MINISTRIES
Action Réfugiés Montréal, Montreal, Quebec 53
Mission St. Paul, Sherbrooke, Quebec 53
Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre, Montreal, Quebec 54
Boarding Homes Ministry, Toronto, ON 54
Flemingdon Gateway Mission, Toronto, Ontario 55
Evangel Hall Mission, Toronto, Ontario 56
St. David’s Inner City Outreach Ministry, Hamilton, Ontario 56
Anamiewigummig (Kenora Fellowship Centre), Kenora, Ontario 57
Saskatoon Native Circle Ministry, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 58
Edmonton Urban Native Ministry, Edmonton, Alberta 59
Cariboo Church, Cariboo Region, British Columbia 60
(Nazko and Area Dakelh Outreach)
Winnipeg Inner City Missions, Winnipeg, Manitoba 61
Mistawasis Memorial Church, Mistawasis Reserve, Saskatchewan 62
Hummingbird Ministries, Richmond, British Columbia 63
Brock University Ecumenical Chaplaincy, St. Catharines, Ontario 64
Concordia Multi-faith Chaplaincy, Montreal, Quebec 65
McMaster University Ecumenical Chaplaincy, Hamilton, Ontario 66
University of Saskatchewan Ecumenical Chaplaincy, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 66
Ecumenical Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario 67
University of Calgary Multi-Faith Chaplains’ Centre, Calgary, Alberta 68
University of New Brunswick Campus Ministry, Fredericton, New Brunswick 68
Stories of Mission 2011 3
Get involved in mission!
Raise support for Advocate for Justice
Discover the impact that resource extraction is having on
Gifts to Presbyterians Sharing send International Ministries Aboriginal communities in Canada and around the world
staff to work with our international partners and support in KAIROS’ new campaign “The Land, Our Life.” Become
missions and ministries through Canadian Ministries/ a local healing and reconciliation leader and learn how to
The Vine. Find out what your congregation has committed build bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
to raise for Presbyterians Sharing and help them meet or people. Invite a Justice Ministries staff person to preach
exceed it. Gifts to PWS&D, the WMS, AMS and Gifts of or lead a workshop on poverty, ecology or healing and
Change also support our mission partners and complement reconciliation in your congregation.
gifts to Presbyterians Sharing.
Get involved with Presbyterian
Participate in General Assembly World Service & Development
Every year representative elders and ministers make deci- PWS&D is not funded by Presbyterians Sharing, but raises
sions and set priorities at General Assembly. Follow the funds directly from congregations and individuals and
proceedings on the web, read the reports and work on the through government (CIDA) grants. You can help raise
recommended actions. awareness of our relief and development work by becom-
ing a PWS&D advocate. PWS&D will send you all the
latest news and resources so that you can spread the word
Connect with our mission partners of this important work to your congregation. Find out
more at www.presbyterian.ca/pwsd.
Experience mission first hand in Canada or around the
world by visiting our mission partners on a mission trip
or by inviting a mission speaker to come to your church. Join the Women’s Missionary Society
Opportunities for groups and individuals can be found at and the Atlantic Mission Society
www.presbyterian.ca/experiencemission. Check out the
special Youth in Mission programs. The Women’s Missionary Society and Atlantic Mission
Society encourage involvement in local and world mission
through prayer, study, service and fellowship. WMS groups
Develop a new skill, are located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan,
grow your ministries Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec and AMS groups are
located in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward
Contact The Presbyterian Church in Canada (1-800-619- Island and Newfoundland.
7301) for ideas on developing leadership skills, growing
ministries with children and youth, enhancing worship and www.wmspcc.ca
evangelism programs or expanding stewardship efforts. www.ams.pccatlantic.ca
Check out conference opportunities like Stewards by
Design or Teacher-Leader Courses. Connect with regional
staff in your Synod to see how they can help.
4 Stories of Mission 2011
How are the
What is the difference between Presbyterians Sharing,
Presbyterian World Service and Development and Gifts of Change?
Presbyterians Sharing is the national church fund that supports the overall mission and ministry of The Presbyterian
Church in Canada. Presbyterians Sharing supports mission work in Canada through Canadian Ministries/The Vine and
around the world through International Ministries.
Presbyterian World Service & Development, The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s development and relief agency, is not
funded by Presbyterians Sharing, but raises funds directly from congregations and individuals and through government
(CIDA) grants. PWS&D has programs to overcome poverty in Africa, Asia, Central America and Eastern Europe.
PWS&D does not send mission staff, but International Ministries mission personnel, funded through Presbyterians
Sharing, often work with partners who receive grants from PWS&D.
Gifts of Change is a way to provide special gifts to programs supported by both Presbyterians Sharing and PWS&D over
and above your regular giving to these two funds. These gifts help support our partners in different ways. Projects can be
found in the Gifts of Change catalogue or online at www.presbyterian.ca/donate/giftsofchange.
International Ministries Canadian Ministries/The Vine
International Ministries enables The Presbyterian Church The Presbyterian Church in Canada, in partnership with
in Canada to participate in the worldwide mission of Jesus presbyteries and congregations, supports missions and
Christ through the formation, nurturing and strengthening ministries reflecting national mission priorities in Canada.
of partnerships with churches and agencies internationally. Grants are given through four categories: creating new
One way International Ministries supports our mission ministries, renewing ministries, sustaining ministries and
partners is by sending mission personnel to work alongside specialized ministries. Each category has specific require-
them. Mission personnel are sent as regular personnel ments. Funds are limited so every year there is a selection
(a five-year-term is the norm), or volunteers (one to two process to determine which ministries are supported from
years). International Ministries also supports a few special each category. Grants are often made on multi-year agree-
short-term programs that send people to our partners for ments and must be made through a Presbytery.
specific assignments of one to ten months in duration.
Many of the development (education, agriculture, health
care) programs that International Ministries staff (Denise
Van Wissen, Margaret Evans, Glenn Inglis, David Pándy-
Szekeres) work on are funded by PWS&D.
Stories of Mission 2011 5
Using Stories of Mission
Use the following studies for a mission or bible study or WMS group. Choose one study
option or use all three for a mission study series.
Prepare: Each study option requires the leader to choose some of the stories to discuss
and reflect on. Copy the selected stories for each member in the group.
Lead: Open each gathering with the Call to Worship. Invite someone to begin with a
prayer using their own words or the Opening Prayer. Hear God’s word by having
different members read the Scripture and Bible commentary. Then, if your group is large
enough, divide into groups of three or four people for the Connect activity. Assign each
group two different stories (one international, one Canadian) to discuss. At the end each
small group can summarize their discussion with the whole group. If your study group is
less than six people, select two to four stories to discuss together. The questions in the
Commit section will help your group apply what they have learned. Close the study with
the Commissioning & Benediction.
Call to Worship
One: As God sent Christ to us, so Christ sends us into the world.
All: We are here to proclaim Christ in word and deed.
One: Come and listen,
All: And we will tell you what God has done!
based on Living Faith 9.1.1
Holy God, Creator and Lord,
in you we live and move and have our being.
Hear our praise in the words we speak,
the prayers we offer and the songs we sing.
Guide us so our lives and work and ministry speak of the life
we have found in Christ and reflect your love and purpose
for all creation. Amen.
based on Living Faith 2.2.1
Commissioning & Benediction
Go now, into the world to share the good news,
and to live out God’s vision of a new heaven and a new earth.
And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.*
* Romans 15:13 NRSV
6 Stories of Mission 2011
Study One: Living out God’s vision
Read Revelation 21:1-6
This is one of the best known passages of the revelation of John. We often hear it at a
funeral, at the end of a person's life. In a way that makes sense. It is meant to provide hope
and comfort to those grieving; reminding us that death is not the last word.
But John didn’t write these words to speak about death. He wrote them to speak about
life. John wrote these words to encourage people at a time when many were losing their
homes, jobs and even their lives because of their faith. Many were discouraged, ready to
give up. He wanted more than anything else for them to keep going. And the most
powerful way of doing that is through a vision. Not just any vision, but God’s vision for
And what a vision it is: a vision of the brokenness of the world healed; of the
separation between ourselves and God gone; of the creation and Creator as one. Listen
again to the words: “See, I am making all things new.” It’s in the present tense, not the
future. The amazing thing about vision is that it calls us to see the end and decide how we
will live our lives with that vision in sight. That’s why John’s words are meant to be heard
now, so that they can give power and purpose to our lives today.
God’s vision of a new heaven and a new earth is a vision we can’t live without. As we
consider the mission and ministry we do together, we need to remember that the church is
not called to sit around. We are called to live confidently, courageously. Not because we
have figured out some vision of our own, but because we have been graciously invited to
live out God’s vision.
Part of a reflection given by Dr. Dale Woods at Stewards by Design, 2010
Have different members read at least two of the following stories: Margaret Evans (p.15);
Glenn and Linda Inglis (p.17); Sam and Linda L (p.26); Sarah Smith (p.37); St. David’s
Inner City Outreach Ministry (p.56); Saskatoon Native Circle Ministry (p.58); Cariboo
Church (p.60); Winnipeg Inner City Missions (p.61); University of New Brunswick
Campus Ministry (p.68)
Use the following questions to help connect the stories of mission to God’s word.
• How does this passage in John relate to mission and ministry today? Can you think
of places in despair that need the hope of Christ?
• From the stories you have read, how do you see people living out God’s vision
today? What do you find inspiring?
• How are you living out God’s vision in your life? In your church?
• Discuss one way your group might share God’s vision with your wider church and
your community. Decide what you want to say. Make a commitment to follow
through on your plan.
• Sing #489 Help us to help each other, Lord from The Book of Praise.
Stories of Mission 2011 7
Study Two: Acting on Hope
Read Ezekial 37:1-14
Imagine living without hope. That’s exactly where we find the prophet Ezekiel: in a place
of death amongst a people without hope. Israel had been taken into captivity by the
Babylonians. The city of Jerusalem lay in ruins; the temple was destroyed. The people had
been herded off as slaves to Babylon. It was despair upon despair, upon despair. But, as it
is in God’s story, death never has the last word.
For Ezekiel, it starts with a dream, a vision. But even a dream is not enough; you have
to believe that it is possible to achieve the vision. So God asks Ezekiel if it is possible to
choose something besides death: “Son of man can these bones live?” But having a dream
and believing it is possible is not enough. So God calls Ezekiel to get personally invested in
the vision: “prophesy to these bones” and “pray for the Spirit of God.” Lewis Smedes, a
professor at Fuller Seminary, puts it in like this: "Dreams + faith + personal investment =
passion for the possible." He goes on to say, “Hope is the most powerful energy source in
But this passage is not simply about human hoping, about our dreams of changing the
world with our limited resources. It is about God’s dream for his people and this world;
it is about God’s promise to fulfil that dream and God who promises to act. We have hope
in this world because God has hope in this world. Surely God wouldn’t send his son to
die on a cross if there was no hope for this world. Surely Jesus wouldn’t come back to the
disciples who had abandoned him in his greatest time of need, if there wasn’t hope for
them. Surely Jesus wouldn’t commission us to go into the world as his witnesses if there
weren’t people in the world who desperately longed to hear they are loved by God.
So may I encourage you to be open to being the vessel God may use to pass on that hope?
You just never know who may need it. And if we don’t offer it, who will?
Part of a reflection given by Dr. Dale Woods at Stewards by Design, 2010
Have different members read at least two of the following stories: Ed and Jackie Hoekstra
(p.15); Michelle Verwey (p.20); David Pándy-Szekeres (p.29); Knox Presbyterian,
Neepawa (p.47); Presbytery of Temiskaming Regional Ministry (p.49); Cariboo Church
(p.51); Action Réfugiés Montréal (p.53); Flemingdon Gateway Mission (p.55)
Use the following questions to help connect the stories of mission to God’s word.
• What do you see in God’s vision for the world?
• Where do you find hope and see people acting on hope, in the stories of mission you
have read? How do you see new life being breathed into these ministries?
• How is hope shared in your ministries? Do you see places in your ministry and
mission work that need to find hope?
• Sometimes we need others to help us keep hope alive. How can you be the vessel
God may use to pass on hope? What can you do together as a congregation to share
God’s hope in your church and in your community? Make a plan to do something
• Sing Called as partners in Christ’s service, hymn 587 from The Book of Praise.
8 Stories of Mission 2011
Study Three: Sharing the Good News
Read John 12:20-26
Andrew and Philip were the first people to become disciples in John’s gospel. Right from
the start they invited others to come and see. When Jesus calls Andrew, Andrew says ‘I’ll
be back in just a moment’ and rushes out to tell his brother Simon. When Philip is called
he rushes out to tell Nathaniel to ‘come and see’ this Jesus. But when some Greeks ask to
see Jesus, Philip and Andrew aren’t quite as inviting. Why did Philip need to get Andrew’s
views on whether or not some Greeks can see Jesus? And why does Andrew think they
have to take the question right to the very top and ask Jesus?
It begins to make more sense when you put it in its context. The men who come are
Greeks and not Jews. Jesus is the Jewish messiah. He has just made a triumphal entry into
Jerusalem. So Philip and Andrew wonder why the King of the Jews would waste time
talking to some non-Jews, some Greeks. Having been around long enough to know you
can never really be sure what Jesus will do, they decide to ask Jesus directly.
What follows is the strangest answer you could imagine. Jesus begins to talk about a
grain of wheat going into the soil to die so that it might bear fruit. And then he says that
the son of man will be lifted up, and when he is lifted up he will draw not just the Jews,
but all people everywhere to himself. That is Jesus’ answer to Philip and Andrew. Yes,
by all means. Go and invite them in. God’s love will not be reserved only for some. It is
open to all.
“As the Father has sent me,” says Jesus, “so I am sending you.” If Philip and Andrew
can become insular and isolated, wanting to keep Jesus to their own little circle, then
surely it can happen to anyone. But God’s love is open to all – so we need to ask ourselves,
‘do we believe that?’ And even more important, “do those outside of the church know that
we believe that?”
Part of a reflection given by Dr. Dale Woods at Stewards by Design, 2010
Have different members read at least two of the following stories: Sean and Lezlie Allison
(p.20); Paul McLean (p.23); Michael Tai (p.25); Karen Lye (p.38); The Upper Room
(p.40); West Shore Church (p.45); Hopedale Church (p.46); Knox Church (p.46); North
Park Church (p. 48); St. Andrew’s Church (p.50); Montreal Ghanaian Church (p.52);
Boarding Homes Ministry (p.54); Brock University Ecumenical Chaplaincy (p.64)
Use the following questions to help connect the stories of mission to God’s word.
• How are people in the stories reaching out beyond their comfort zones to others?
How are they introducing Christ to people? What inspires you from these stories?
• Do you know people who are hard to share the gospel message with? Why?
How could you introduce Christ to them?
• Brainstorm ways that your group could make your church more welcoming and
ways to take the gospel message out to people. Make a plan to put one of these
ideas into action.
• Sing #635 Lord of light, whose name and splendor from The Book of Praise.
Stories of Mission 2011 9
International Ministries is working with mission partners to share the good news of the
gospel in over 29 countries around the world. Twenty-seven full-time mission staff and
spouses and several short-term volunteers support and accompany mission partners.
Over 50 grants support church partners in Christian education, Bible translation,
evangelism, leadership development and theological education. The reports in this
section are from some of the mission personnel supported in 2010. For more
information contact International Ministries at 1-800-619-7301.
CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Denise Van Wissen, Guatemala
Denise is a nutritionist who has been working more about fair trade coffee. It was the first time I’ve had
to strengthen the Fraternidad de Presbiteriales five ministers in one group! The success of this trip was
evident with the many follow-up presentations and activi-
Mayas’ health programs in Guatemala. Denise is
ties that the participants organized for churches and other
on maternity leave from July 2010 to August groups when they returned home. One woman was so
2011. She will return to work in Nicaragua with inspired that she became the first contact in Canada to sell
SOYNICA after her maternity leave. fair trade goods from a Nicaraguan organization we visited.
After the Fair Trade trip I returned to Guatemala to
2010 began with me in Nicaragua leading The Presbyterian make the final preparations for the Hamilton-Thunder Bay
Church in Canada’s Fair Trade Study Tour. All of the Mission Trip in February. Funds had been raised to con-
participants were very knowledgeable folks, eager to learn struct the much needed addition of an assembly hall to the
10 Stories of Mission 2011
Fraternidad’s offices, so the group spent a few days help- hired a university-educated nutritionist from a neighbour-
ing (and I might add, inadvertently entertaining!) the ing town. When the PCC Moderator, Herb Gale and his
construction crew. wife Shirley visited in August, they enjoyed a session with
In March, I finally got back to my ‘day job’ of coordi- the new nutritionist and the health promoters. We were
nating the Fraternidad of Maya Presbyterials’ Health & honoured to have Herb & Shirley come to Guatemala, and
Nutrition program. My first task was to facilitate the basic it was a delight to catch up with PWS&D’s Barb Summers
nutrition course with the last few of the thirty women’s and Ken Kim again.
groups that are part of the Fraternidad. The nutrition The core staff and hard-working volunteers of the
classes focused on examining the eating habits of families Fraternidad are extremely gracious, warm-hearted women
and encouraging efforts to make improvements. With the and exemplary Christians, and we would do well to follow
Quiché women’s groups, we also work on helping them their examples. Helping women help themselves is difficult
recover their traditional diet (promotion of homemade anywhere, but given the history and context of the country
food items like tortillas and tamales), which have often and the Church, it’s a more than challenging task in the
been lost, and reducing consumption of excess sugar and Guatemalan highlands, and the Fraternidad does valuable
commercialized food products, which have too often been work indeed.
picked up by the communities. Juan Diego arrived July 2nd, sharing his birth month
Since the Mam people live in more isolated villages and with brother Jeremy (July 11th). We’re thankful to God for
for the most part continue their traditional diet, one of the a second beautiful, healthy baby boy and my recovery was
challenges was to determine what to recommend to much easier than after the first c-section, which we’re very
improve the nutritional status of their infants and toddlers. grateful for, too! Jeremy’s thrilled to have a little brother to
I took Jeremy, at 20 months, to a class, and he was a head play with.
taller than a little Mam boy of the same age. In theory, this We enjoyed three months in Canada on deputation and
would be a perfect teaching moment, but I think that the celebrated Diego’s baptism. Our Hopedale PC family in
women take it as a given that a child of a ‘wealthy’ foreign Oakville has now welcomed both of our sons into the
woman would be big and healthy. Still, the Mam health church community (Jeremy was baptized there last year).
promoter helped us discuss the timely introduction of I gave several talks and presentations for churches and
protein foods for good growth. WMS presbytery meetings. Certainly having the whole
By May, I completed my classes and no longer had to family along makes for a very different deputation experi-
travel daily to the rural communities. By then I was in the ence than when I did it on my own. Baby Diego accompa-
last trimester of my second pregnancy so I appreciated not nied me for my hometown presentations. The Ladies’
having to bump over crater-filled roads. I worked out of Morning group at Hopedale was impressed that Diego
the office, finishing the Nutrition Course Manual and slept right through our session, but he did make himself
promoters’ guide I’d been developing since starting at the heard that evening at Knox Oakville!
Throughout the last few cycles of our Nutri-
tion classes, the three health promoters facilitated
many of the sessions themselves, with decreasing
guidance from me. It was encouraging to see that
even though they sometimes struggled with class-
room-learning or reading homework, they blos-
somed at the chance to share their learnings with
others. The promoters were very well received by
the women’s groups, especially in the Mam com-
munities – a local facilitator speaking their own
language made a great difference. I should also
note that the promoters helped me tremendously
to try to understand the eating habits and way of
thinking of the Quiché and Mam women.
At the end of our final session, the health
promoters presented me with hand-woven tapes-
tries, embroidered with the Guatemalan food
groups! I’ll treasure these keepsakes of my Maya
sisters, and look forward to sharing them with my
colleagues in Nicaragua.
In May, months of searching for my replace-
ment as Coordinator of the Health & Nutrition Denise Van Wissen with her husband Nelson
program finally proved fruitful and the Fraternidad and sons Diego and Jeremy.
International Ministries 11
As a family we also experienced apple picking – a first walk from Nelson’s Mom’s place. I’ll help out with a
for both Jeremy & Nelson. I don’t think Nelson could’ve Youth In Mission group in May of 2011 and then officially
imagined that city folks would ever want to spend a day in return to work at SOYNICA in July after the boys’ first
the country harvesting their own fruit! We went to the and third birthdays.
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and made lots of compar- Thank you also for keeping Guatemala, our PCC part-
isons with Central America, starting with the humungous ner organizations and the Maya women in your prayers.
horses and cows! We applauded a paraplegic rider, but We humbly request your prayers:
couldn’t help thinking of how folks missing limbs in • for a smooth-as-possible adjustment back to
Nicaragua somehow manage day-to-day life without Nicaragua
wheelchairs, much less motorized ones. We were fortunate • for Nelson’s return to his old work and mine at
to have a few considerable snowfalls while we were in SOYNICA in July, and that we find balance as
Canada, giving Jeremy and Nelson a satisfactory first working parents
experience of snow! • for us to find reliable and loving childcare
We returned to Nicaragua just in time for New Year • for this election year in Nicaragua, and all of the
celebrations, and to plan our year ahead. We were blessed instability that it entails
to immediately find the perfect house to rent, a five-minute
Mike Birks, Nicaragua
20 days to sell it or start paying the extra cost of storage
Mike is a Young Adult Intern working in
somewhere. The marketing material including a brochure
Nicaragua with CEPAD (The Council of Protestant and power point presentation (my current projects) are
Churches in Nicaragua). CEPAD is a Christian just about ready to be presented to potential buyers.
institution that works to serve poor communities Just a note about the name of the company. It should
and to promote justice, peace and equitable be read as DE.MI.TIERRA, which means “from my land.”
solidarity with the aim of improving quality of
life. This is an extract from his blog at
I don’t generally associate mid-February with harvest but
that’s how it goes in other parts of the world. There are
actually three bean seasons/harvests in a year here; the
first, the second and the apante. We are currently at the
end of the apante season and despite earlier concerns
about the crop due to a shortage of rain, it seems that
things have turned out pretty well. Some losses were
expected and were calculated into the expected results
before the beans were even planted.
Like everything else the harvest is done by hand. Once
the bean plants have reached the end of their life-cycle
they die in the ground and are pulled out, roots and all.
The brittle plants are then placed between two tarps and
shaken, causing the bean pods to come free of the rest of
the plant. The beans are removed from the pods and
packaged up in sacks, ready for the next stage of the
process, the beneficio.
A beneficio is a sort of small factory that specialized in
a specific task. For us this includes the drying and packag-
ing of the beans into the final, official DEMITIERRA
sacks, ready for sale. The beans have to be dried because
it is essential that they contain only 15% humidity before
packaging otherwise their quality will be greatly reduced.
Next week the majority of the harvest should be ready Ernesto, a bean farmer, with his daughter
to take to the beneficio meaning we will only have around and Byron, a government inspector.
12 Stories of Mission 2011
The Reverend Jim and Ann Young, Grenada
Solution (CALS) has made an impact on several children’s
Jim and Ann are ministering with The lives. We started working with eight eleven-year old boys.
Presbyterian Church of Grenada. Jim is working In some cases, their difficulties in reading had spun off
with Belair Presbyterian Church, a small, rural into behavioural problems. They were given little chance
of passing the test they needed to advance to the Second-
church in St. Patrick’s parish and serving as
ary School System. With the help of CALS, Ann and the
chaplain at McDonald College, a Christian youth of Belair P.C., who worked with them one-on-one,
Secondary School of the PCG. Ann is teaching seven of the eight boys successfully passed the exam. What
English and mathematics at McDonald College. a celebration followed! Our next group in November was
a group of seven boys and one girl, all around seven years
Belair Presbyterian Church is a delightful place in which of age. None of the children were familiar with computers,
to worship and serve God. Most Sundays the congregation but after a week all were reasonably comfortable and
numbers between fifty and sixty. Of that number perhaps efficient. Wow! So far two of the boys are still struggling
five are over the age of fifty (including Ann and me!). while the rest of the class is zooming along. One of the
Sadly, only a very few of our families have regular jobs struggling boys, Leonson, is being assigned extra time in a
from which they receive an income. remedial class. The youngest of twelve children and often
With children and youth hungry, he is not able to
making up fifty percent of the concentrate or communicate
congregation, we ran a suc- What was my greatest gift? well and tends to be a loner.
cessful Vacation Bible School It happened when some children came by Please remember Leonson
at the Easter school break in in your prayers.
March. The first week was on the last day of school in some heavy rain MacDonald College was
aimed at children between to say thanks for my help. the centre for some Remedial
the ages of four and eleven; English under the leadership
the second was aimed at of Sandra Smith, a volunteer
youth from twelve to their early twenties. We had around from British Columbia. For three months, Mrs. Smith, a
twenty daily at both VBS’s! We learned a new hymn, sang retired teacher, shared her gift of imagination with the chil-
some old ones, heard a Bible story and prayed together dren and teachers of MacDonald. She showed them how
each day. We ate an enormous amount of good food, imagining can be used as a stimulus for reading, providing
coloured, painted, crafted, played games, went on hikes, a new avenue for the college to explore. I taught from Jan-
played on the beach and enjoyed some of that famous uary to July and found it to be onerous because of the heat
chicken and chips (extra spicy of course!). and high humidity, the structure of the classrooms and the
In early July, Heather Paton, a recent graduate from noise level that erupts from them. Supply teachers are
Knox College, arrived to spend two months on the island. unknown in Grenada. If a teacher is taking a Ministry of
She did some leadership training with the youth and Education approved course or is unwell the class is left
worked with the women of Samaritan Presbyterian Church unattended. This is seldom, if ever, a good thing. In my
to encourage them to form a group like Belair’s Women’s
Circle. Heather joined us at the Annual Youth Camp at La
Poterie, St. Andrew’s for a week in July. Her gift for youth
ministry came into its own there. She was able to teach, be
with and care for the youth of the Presbyterian Church in
Grenada in a way that was lovely to watch. Heather also
ministered to the Belair congregation during our vaca-
tion/study leave in Ontario.
As I write this we are deep within the Season of Advent.
We attended Samaritan P.C.’s Annual Christmas Supper, a
major fund raiser for them, last night; it was supervised by a
local chef who does tasty work. We will attend the Annual
Christmas Party at the Kirk in St. George’s soon. Extra
church services, pageants and special music are also coming
our way. At the heart of these is our youth who simply love
to shine for Jesus. And we love to watch them!
Belair’s outreach to the primary school in their com-
Jim and Ann Young in Grenada.
munity continues. Their Computer Assisted Literacy
International Ministries 13
eyes the greatest resource of this small, poor nation is the they contain and their bright colours light up the manse
children. They are normally eager to learn, healthily com- with their warmth. It would also be appropriate to offer
petitive but held back by an educational system in which our thanks to all the people of the PCG and the staff and
“one size fits all”. Much criticism is levelled at the Ministry students at MacDonald College for the manner in which
of Education for its lack of leadership in the schools. In they supported us.
defence of the Ministry, which is funded largely by the Grenadians are a boisterous, happy people who love to
World Bank, their hands are often tied by people and sing and dance. Most of us whose formative years were
events well beyond their control. This past term, Septem- spent in Scotland were not encouraged to dance. Dancing
ber to December, I have acted as chaplain/counsellor. I was not considered to be a necessary staple of our school-
was successful in building some relationships with second ing or diet. Thus, to this day, when an invitation to dance
year students in particular as the office I use is part of their is given or received we really are not sure what to do with
buildings. What was my most interesting challenge? It was it. Both of us offer humble, grateful thanks for the many
five twelve year old girls experiencing “demonic posses- different ways that we are being taught, with the utmost
sion”. What was my greatest gift? It happened when some grace, to dance! And so we are able to celebrate many
children came by on the last day of school in some heavy more aspects of the culture (the whole way of life of a
rain to say thanks for my help. people) all around us. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 149 we
We would like to express sincere thanks for the way are learning to sing to the Lord a new song while praising
we are supported and prayed over by the people of the his name with dancing. For the Lord takes pleasure in
PCC. The women of the WMS, and the women and men (all) of his people.
of the AMS are to be thanked for the many cards we Please pray that the Lord will continue to lead us,
receive for Christmas, Easter and birthdays. The messages nurture us and make us aware of all of His benefits.
Dr. Richard Allen, Kenya
same for the 16 years that I have lived in the country.
Rick is a community health physician serving the
Electricity outages are common and seem to occur most
Presbyterian Church of East Africa. He oversees the often whenever I am scheduled to work on the computer
PCEA’s HIV and AIDS Control Program and teaches for the day! Roads have numerous potholes although this
in the Presbyterian University of East Africa. year many of the roads around my residence were re-paved
(or as they say in Kenya “re-carpeted”). Security remains a
It is always hard for me to believe that I have been in concern, not unusual in countries with high poverty and
Kenya interacting with the Presbyterian Church of East unemployment levels. With a little prevention and fore-
Africa since 1994. Professionally and personally it has sight, the security concerns can be greatly lessened. All
been, and continues to be, a rewarding experience. these day-to-day problems are nevertheless easily counter-
The centre of my work remains in addressing the health balanced by the many friendly people I interact with
and socio-economic problem of HIV and AIDS. The main during work, within the community and in the church.
tool in doing so has been in offering training programs Many of you will remember that a few years ago Kenya
through the church for pastors and lay people. The one- was on the verge of a civil war. The mediation of Kofi
week HIV course that we offer for pastors is unique in that Annan (the former UN Secretary General) and others,
half the participants come from PCEA and half from other brought that conflict to a halt. Now the International Crim-
denominations. Pastors from the other denominations are inal Court, based in The Hague, will be naming six Kenyan
always somewhat surprised that PCEA should be concerned politicians and businessmen who are alleged to be the chief
in facilitating training for non-PCEA people. instigators of the violence in December 2010. If these six
Since 2008 I have also been teaching at the newly influential individuals go on to appear before the ICC it
opened Presbyterian University of East Africa. (Prior to will be a major milestone in the fight against impunity in
2008 the PCEA only operated a theological college.) In Kenya. One milestone though that the country did achieve
2010 one of the courses that I taught was an introduction in 2010 was the passage of a new constitution in a referen-
to HIV and AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. The dum. In general it is considered to be a good constitution
course also included a component on human sexuality. All that will play a part in preventing future conflict between
university students in Kenya are required to take a course the different communities/tribes making up Kenya.
in HIV and AIDS, which reflects just how important the I look forward to 2011 and am sure it will provide
whole issue is for the nation. many challenges and opportunities in carrying out the
My day to day life in Kenya has remained much the Lord’s work in HIV and AIDS.
14 Stories of Mission 2011
Margaret Evans, Kenya
what he wanted to be when he grew up. He told me that
Margaret spent 2010 working with the Shauri
he wanted to be a surgeon. After a while he began to get
Yako Youth Support Centre in Nyeri as a Youth a bit uncomfortable as if he wanted to ask me something.
Program Coordinator. This is an excerpt from I knew that he would probably ask for either money or
one of her letters home. food. He looked at me and said “Margaret can you help
me?’ Startled by a question I was not expecting, I stood
The music program has really taken off and people seem there for a long time thinking over my options. I remem-
to really be interested. I am teaching a class at a local bered that I had met a man named Francis through a friend
Presbyterian church and I even have one of my first stu- that runs a children’s home outside of town. I called him
dents helping me teach. It is so amazing to see the students up and asked if we could come in for a meeting. After a
as they progress and grow in determination to learn. long conversation about expectations and rules for
I have also started working with a local children’s Mwangi and a quick trip to the market for supplies he
home doing sports and music related programs. The story rested for the first time in over a year inside a house with
of how I got involved with them is a good one and I would a belly full of food.
like to share it with you. On Monday Mwangi began school again in grade 7.
One morning a few months ago I was walking through He is happy and healthy and glue-free. I spoke to Francis
town. It was a particularly cold and miserable day and I yesterday and heard positive things.
was feeling much the same. I walked by a group of street I go back to visit him often and we have created a deep
boys who called out to me and greeted me with the typical bond between us. He now addresses me as his mom.
‘Mzungu nipe kumi!’ which means “White person give me
10 shillings.” I smiled and told them that I could not do
that. My reasons are for my own personal safety. If I give
to one I must give to all and there are just too many of
them if something were to happen. I walked on up the
street but one particular boy felt it was necessary to
continue the conversation with me. He walked up beside
me and we walked silently for a few seconds before he
looked at me and said ‘MZUNGU.’ As I mentioned above
I wasn’t in a humorous mood so I looked at him and said
‘Maafrican’ which means African person. He looked at me
startled and then laughed. After a good laugh together I
explained to him that I have a name and that it is not
mzungu. He and I came to a decision that I would call him
by his name and he would call me by mine. His name is
We got to talking and I asked him how long he had
been on the streets. He told me that he had been beaten
Margaret Evans with her co-worker
by his uncle and his grandmother could not feed him any-
and good friend Agnes.
more so she kicked him out over a year ago. I asked him
The Reverend Edward and Jackie Hoekstra, Malawi
difference. This thought precipitates into an attitude which
Ed is serving as a minister in the Blantyre Synod
is vital to social and economic development. Without such
of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian. a thought, the work being done to improve life can easily
He is accompanied by his wife Jackie and two be viewed as too much effort with very few results. Since
of their five children Jacob and Nico. the point of the work is for real people whose lives matter
beyond measure to God, what activity would be more
In looking into the eyes of each of the children at the important?
orphan care centre, the thought that each one of them is Partnership with our brothers and sisters in Christ is
known by God and is a dearly loved child of God makes a rewarding work. Not only do our brothers and sisters in
International Ministries 15
The work accomplished in 2010
could not have been possible
without the generous support of our
brothers and sisters from the PCC.
The warmth felt from your interest and
contributions to international ministry
is evident to the people in Malawi.
two groups of well wishers from Canada. What a joy for
me to witness this kind of growth and excitement! These
guitars not only make the lives of the prisoners a little
more tolerable inside those walls, but they give them a
practical skill which they can carry with them for the rest
of their lives!
This year has been a time of several transitions in
ministry: First, my good friend and colleague Rev. Thomas
Maseya retired from full time ministry in March. St.
Columba planned and delivered a wonderful retirement
service and associated social events. I was then honoured
to become the main “Abusa” of St. Columba. Secondly, two
months later, The Very Rev. Dr. Felix Chingota became the
moderator of St. Columba. Dr. Chingota was a former
Jackie and Ed Hoekstra enjoy a professor and lecturer in theology. I greatly appreciated his
light-hearted moment in Malawi. experience, wisdom and friendship. Finally, I was trans-
ferred by Blantyre Synod from St. Columba to St. Michael’s
Malawi tell us how we are appreciated, but they show it and All Angels CCAP. St. Columba held a special farewell
with wide smiles and enthusiastic handshakes. When I for my family and me. We felt so appreciated.
preach and practice in Chichewa they tell me they under- Since September I have been associate minister at St.
stand and I think, at the very least, they get the idea. Far Michael’s. My new colleague in ministry, the Rev. Andrew
more important than getting the grammar and pronuncia- Kamponda, and the whole congregation have been very
tion correct is that I try. encouraging and welcoming to my family and me. Since
The weekly Bible Study at Chichiri prison continues to coming to St. Michael’s I have been involved in all areas of
impress me. The insights shared come from a place of ministry. Similar to St. Columba, St. Michael’s is a large
cramped conditions, scarcity and regret. An acknowledge- congregation with many ministries and needs. I know that
ment by the inmates that they are forgiven by Jesus brings God is helping me and guiding me to be a good servant for
a visible freedom to their lives while in the prison. this congregation.
The Chichiri Prison CCAP choir was invited by St. I am also a servant of the synod and have been asked
Columba CCAP to sing at two of their worship services. to serve on a synod committee as well as to provide leader-
This event brought great media attention since it was the ship in terms of worship, teaching, and offering guidance
first time a prison choir was permitted to leave the prison to ministers and others when needed.
and before the big event, the Rev. Chimesya, the Synod The work accomplished in 2010 could not have been
Prison Chaplain, and I were interviewed by TV Malawi. possible without the generous support of our brothers and
The host asked me, “Reverend, when it is time to pray and sisters from the PCC. The warmth felt from your interest
everyone closes their eyes, who is keeping an eye out that and contributions to international ministry is evident to
the inmates do not use this as an opportunity for escape?” the people in Malawi.
The event was such a success that St. Michael’s and All “God is good,” says the worship leader. “All the time,”
Angels CCAP invited the choir to perform in September. responds the congregation. “All the time,” continues the
In addition to choirs, the inmates have been given two worship leader. “God is good,” says the congregation.
acoustic guitars. One of the inmates, Blessings, knew some Most worship services in Malawi are punctuated with
basics and became the teacher. On Tuesday at Bible Study, these statements and the people do not seem to get tired
I was asked by Blessings to bring seven certificates for his of it. Why should they? It’s an important reminder of the
students who finished book one! These guitars came from nature of the loving God we serve.
16 Stories of Mission 2011
The Reverend Glenn and Linda Inglis, Malawi
program whereby we have developed a Synod HIV and
Glenn is serving as the Executive Director of the AIDS policy as well as a Workplace Policy that will be
Blantyre Synod Health and Development rolled out to all Presbyteries and Congregations in 2011.
Commission. Linda is helping the Blantyre Synod The new campaign slogan is that HIV and AIDS is not a
moral issue – it is a virus! Separating HIV and AIDS from
plan programs that will engage short-term
moral debate and seeing it as a public health crisis helps
visitors in the mission work of the Synod. to de-stigmatize the disease and lessen discrimination.
Prevention is still the key.
There is also change going on in the area of Livelihoods
Glenn Inglis – what used to be called rural development. We are mov-
Some people ask why the Church ing away from high input pro-
in Malawi gets involved in health grams that provide seeds and
and development issues when fertilizer for farmers (although
there are so many competent There is no place in Malawi this will not be completely dis-
faith-based and secular agencies where the Church is not. So the continued) and we are emphasiz-
equipped to do such work. First, ing conservation farming and
the early missionaries had a holis-
Church has a unique opportunity climate change adaptation. We
tic understanding of the gospel. to mobilize people in terms of their are helping people make best use
God’s Word was preached but health and development needs. of their land, water resources and
the physical and social needs of woodlots in the face of growing
the people were also attended to. populations and the vagaries of
The Church was responsible for climate change. This is an area of
changing public opinion about slavery; instituted the first intense debate as the decisions we make in the next few
hospitals and schools; introduced new farming methods years will have significant impact on food production and
and seeds and provided opportunities for people to learn the vitality of rural communities.
trades. For people in Malawi, therefore, the Church has Although Malawi has a surplus of maize, drought
always been in the forefront of health, education and reduced the harvest in some areas, and so we are carrying
development and there are broad expectations that this
work will continue.
The Church in Malawi is also the only organization
that has access to every city, town and village. There is no
place in Malawi where the Church is not. So the Church
has a unique opportunity to mobilize people in terms of
their health and development needs. Today, churches can-
not do everything and resources are stretched. But rather
than withdrawing from development issues, we seek to
develop strategic partnerships with compatible agencies to
increase our impact. Finally, there is a powerful interna-
tional faith network through the World Council of
Churches and other denominational and regional associa-
tions that contributes enormously to development as well
as aid and disaster relief.
The Blantyre Synod Health and Development Commis-
sion has five focus areas: Public Health and HIV and
AIDS; Livelihoods; Orphans and Vulnerable Children;
Governance; and Gender. In 2010 we were able to begin
our new Maternal and Reproductive Health Program.
This is not only extremely important for health purposes
(Malawi has one of the highest maternal and infant mortal-
ity rates in the world), but it is a national program in that
it links the three Synods of the CCAP in a pilot phase.
HIV and AIDS continue to be a scourge. In Malawi
everyone is either infected or affected by the pandemic. The
Linda and Glenn Inglis in Malawi.
National AIDS Commission has funded a mainstreaming
International Ministries 17
out three emergency food and recovery programs in the by the group is ‘Tidzalerana’ which means ‘we must help
Balaka district (about 120 km north of Blantyre). One of each other!’ Each week the group meets for fellowship,
these is funded by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank through prayers, music and recreation. They share problems, get
PWS&D. The others are funded by Oxfam and the support such as wheelchairs or appointments to clinics, and,
Norwegian Government. when resources allow, they get some food supplements.
Finally, we still continue the struggle to advance and In 2010 we opened a ‘shelter’ or home for 10 challenged
defend human rights, particularly helping rural people adults who had been living in appalling conditions. This was
develop advocacy skills. We are seeing attitudes move funded by friends in the Netherlands and has been a great
beyond resignation and fatalism as people become blessing to many. Please be aware as well that Tidzalerana is
informed citizens who can claim what is rightfully theirs now a recognized development program through PWS&D
in terms of government services. and can be supported through Gifts of Change.
One of my duties is to work myself out of a job. Plans We had a wonderful break in Canada from August
are underway to name my successor in early 2011, after to October 2010. Our son Luke was married to Carly in
which we will work together through 2011 until the Board Galt-Cambridge. Then our deputation trail took us to
decides BSHDC can be totally managed by Malawian staff. congregations in Southern Ontario as well as a wonderful
exposure tour to the Atlantic Synod where we visited
Linda Inglis several congregations and were guests at the AMS Annual
My work as Visitor Coordinator within the Blantyre Synod Meeting in St. John’s.
seems to get busier each year. Blantyre Synod has formal We want to thank International Ministries and PWS&D
partnership agreements with the Presbyterian/Reformed staff for their support and commitment to our work. Blan-
Churches in Canada, USA, Ireland, Scotland, the Nether- tyre Synod has partners and donors from many countries,
lands and Australia. Each year there are groups who come but none are more supportive or innovative than PWS&D
from all of these partners. There are formal visits with and IM. Please pray for our Malawian friends who struggle
Synod officials, mission tours wanting to learn about the with issues of poverty and poor health facilities. We are
Church in Malawi, and work groups coming to build a making a difference but we can do much more.
classroom or a clinic, paint a church, visit orphan children
and always to share faith stories, food and fellowship.
Together, these things strengthen our commitment to
Christ in mission. Special Gifts
In terms of the PCC, we had a Youth in Mission Group Presbyterian congregations and individuals can
in May and a team from Coldwater PC in July. Early in the support The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s
year we also had official visitors from PWS&D and the partners with special gifts through Gifts of Change.
Canadian Foodgrains Bank. We look forward to planning The items highlighted in Gifts of Change are
itineraries for our PCC friends and sharing the life and
specifically requested by our partners to help
work of Malawian Christians in many different locations
enhance their ministry and mission work in the
I also work with a group established to assist physically best way possible. For more information, go to
and mentally challenged children and adults in Ndirande, www.presbyterian.ca/donate/giftsofchange.
one of the poorest locations in Blantyre. The name chosen
Stephanie McDonald, Malawi
As a project management intern at Blantyre season’s harvest was inadequate, the final months before
Synod Health and Development Commission, the new crop is ready prove difficult. In the Balaka region
of Malawi, two hours north of Blantyre, there was com-
Stephanie is learning about the unique role that
plete crop failure last season. The rains began in a promis-
the Church plays in development activities in ing way, but then abruptly stopped. The maize wilted and
Malawi. This is an extract from her blog at there was no harvest.
http://pccweb.ca/stephaniemcdonald/ To alleviate the hunger that plagued the region, three
emergency food relief programs were funded by foreign
We are in the midst of what can be the ‘hunger season’ in donors late last year. One project is co-funded by Presby-
Malawi. Everyone plants their maize in late November or terian World Service and Development and the Canadian
early December after the rains arrive, and has to wait until Foodgrains Bank, and is being delivered through the
March before it is ready to be harvested. If the previous Blantyre Synod Health and Development Commission
18 Stories of Mission 2011
BSHDC staff and project beneficiaries stand in front of cassava at a distribution point in the Balaka region.
(BSHDC) office. The main components of this project The first distribution took place on December 24. Each
include three distributions of maize, beans, and salt, once of the 1,000 households received a 50kg bag of maize, 5kg
each in December, January and February, and supplying of beans, and a 1.5kg bag of salt. Half of the communities
cassava cuttings, a drought-resistant crop, for planting. received their second distribution on January 13. I spoke
The project targets 1,000 households in 50 villages, so to a few of the people there to collect their food, and all
with an average of five people in each home, approxi- were happy for this timely intervention. They said that
mately 5,000 are benefitting from this one program. they are now eating three meals a day, and are able to
Choosing the program beneficiaries was left to each work in their own fields, rather than going out to work for
community, as they know best which families are most in others. The third and final distribution will take place in
need. Before the first distribution of food I was able to February.
meet two Village Heads who Each of the 1,000 house-
described the need in their holds received a few bundles
communities. Both said that of cassava cuttings. The
most people were eating only They are now eating three meals a day, majority will plant the cas-
one meal a day, and eating and are able to work in their own fields, sava on their own lands, but
mangoes the rest of the time. those without plots have
Community members were
rather than going out to work for others. come together to plant com-
having to go out and do munal gardens. I was able to
piecemeal work for others in attend one training session
the community who could afford to pay for their labour. that a BSHDC Field Officer gave to members of a commu-
They needed the money to buy food, but it was at the nal garden. He started by pointing to the maize field
expense of tending to their own gardens. Children would behind him and said that if rains stopped right now, the
go to school in the morning, but would be home before maize would die but the cassava they were about to plant
noon, unable to concentrate on an empty stomach. Many would grow and they would have a harvest. Panji
of these community members have HIV and are on anti- Mwandira demonstrated how long to make each cutting
retroviral therapy. In order for the drugs to be effective, and how to plant them. The advantages of cassava go
one must have a nutritious diet. beyond the fact that it is drought-resistant. The plants will
On the day we visited, community members were produce tubers and leaves that can be eaten, and will also
scheduled to gather with the committee to decide which grow more shoots that can be saved and planted next year.
families would be chosen as project participants. The final The PWS&D and CFGB project is one of three cur-
decision was left to the committee. It was an unenviable rently being implemented in the Balaka region. It is a cruel
task, choosing those who would benefit, as all were in reality that even with these three interventions, not all
need. those in need will receive aid.
International Ministries 19
Sean and Lezlie Allison, Cameroon
In addition to my work on the dissertation, I continue
Sean and Lezlie work on language analysis to teach undergraduate courses in linguistics at the univer-
and development, literacy and translation sity – mainly an Introduction to Linguistics course for first
with the Kotoko people of the Logone-et-Chari and second year students, and a Morphology and Syntax
department of the Far North Province of course for upper division undergrads. I’m thoroughly
Cameroon, Africa. The Kotoko are one ethnic enjoying the opportunity to teach and look forward to
continuing that along with our translation work at the
group but speak six different languages. Sean
completion of the doctoral program.
and Lezlie are currently in Boulder, Colorado Lezlie and I have been helping run a Middle School
while Sean works on his doctorate in Linguistics, Bible study at the local church we’re attending. Lezlie has
which will help with his translation work. published a book entitled “Hiking Home”, available at
Lulu Press, which shares many of her thoughts and the
2010 kept us busy with life in Colorado. During the year, thoughts of other Christian writers about our journey
I (Sean) completed all the requirements to become a doc- through this life as pilgrims of another land. A number of
toral candidate in Linguistics at the University of Colorado our family’s stories from the mission field are told within
at Boulder. That means that the only remaining assignment the book.
I have is the dissertation – a reference grammar of Makary Our two oldest boys, Josiah (15), and Nate (13) are
Kotoko – the language in which we are doing translation moving into the high school years. They are busy with
work. My days are filled with data analysis as I work on sports and enjoy the social interaction that that provides.
different chapters of the grammar, trying to answer ques- Our two youngest, Drew (6) and Annie (3) are such
tions like: How does Makary Kotoko situate events in precious friends to each other. Lezlie is homeschooling
time? How does the language express that someone Drew for kindergarten while Annie listens in and absorbs
possesses something? What order do words come in the all she can.
sentence and when it varies, what does it mean? How do Looking back, we continue to see God’s faithfulness
you ask questions in the language? What about com- in our lives as He provides for our needs on a daily basis.
mands? What do you do if you want to put special focus Our faith in his trustworthiness is proved right with each
on something you’re talking about? How do you go about day we live for His honour and glory. We appreciate the
expressing that one action is a condition of another one? letters, cards and emails that we receive from Presbyteri-
Answering these types of questions will also help with our ans throughout the year for birthdays and also at Christ-
translation work so that we can accurately and naturally mas time. We are grateful for your ongoing and faithful
express the meaning of the scriptures. support of this work to which the Lord has called us.
Michelle Verwey, India
practical experience; however, 15 hours prior to leaving
Michelle is a registered nurse working at the the Graduate School in Indore, I was told the practicum
MIBE Graduate School for Nurses in Indore, would be 13 days. The schedule was rearranged with
India. Michelle is teaching community health 99% of the activities remaining in the condensed
nursing and supervising and guiding students timeframe.
during their clinical postings. She is also part Monday, our day of orientation, can be likened to a
warm up before a marathon – no, a triathlon. The class
of a team tasked with setting up a health
warmed-up for their practicum by touring the Jobat Com-
professional’s learning center. munity Health Centre, Jobat Christian Hospital, and Isobel
This is an extract from her blog at McConnell Auxiliary Nurse Midwife School. The students
http://pccweb.ca/michelleverwey/ learned about the Community Health Centre’s objectives
to develop community health programs within a 3-5 mile
Monday, January 10, 2011 the rural community health radius, to train workers chosen by the village for public
nursing practicum began in Jobat with my class of health work and to improve the health of the community
22 students. Initially, we planned for 3 weeks of through health teaching, home visits, school health
20 Stories of Mission 2011
programs, under-five-years clinics, nutrition programs,
immunization and family planning.
BANG!! The triathlon’s starting signal might have
been heard on Tuesday if the dholak drum at morning
prayers wasn’t played so enthusiastically. Regardless, the
race began. Following prayers we piled into two vehicles
and began to discover the community health network.
Jobat Community Health Centre is a primary health
care centre that is part of a community health network
covering 100 villages. Primary health centres in Mendha
and two sub-centres in Amkhut and Sardi provide services
to the majority of villages included in the community
Our first destination was the Mendha Community
Health Centre. The energetic community health nurses, Student nurses from the MIBE Graduate School
Mercy-Bhai, Janey-Bhai, and Bella-Bhai, greeted us warmly for nurses conduct a workshop at a government
and sat down with the students to explain the Centre’s school on prevention of tobacco use.
activities. Home visiting, antenatal clinics, minimal curative
care, referral to secondary health services, immunization, with the CHVs (on topics from preeclampsia to anaemia),
school health, kitchen gardens, village health counsels, and the students were marveling at the level of knowledge of
child health clinics are among a few of them. After seeing these people and their importance to the community
the demonstration kitchen garden and the dispensary, we health network.
started out for Sardi Sub-Centre with Mercy-Bhai. According to my students, Indians do not hold nurses
In Sardi, we were greeted by the Community Health in high esteem. Community health nurses are looked at as
Volunteers (CHVs). Each village has one or two CHVs. bottom of the barrel, compared to hospital nurses, in some
These individuals, often traditional birth attendants, are of the under-developed areas these students have come
selected by the community and nurses and are trained to from. The number of students genuinely interested in
serve their community as a link to primary health care becoming a community health nurse after they graduate is
services. A CHV receives on-going training through the few. Most are interested in teaching or working in hospi-
community health centre and the government on a multi- tals as ward managers or nursing educators. In my com-
tude of topics, from basic first aid to disease prevention munity health class I try to enlighten the students about
and health promotion activities. The community health the vast scope and worth of community health nurses.
nurses could not reach as many families without these Practical experiences in the community like this help the
women and men. Many of the CHVs are illiterate, but they nursing students see the real impact a community health
are definitely intelligent. After 5 minutes of discussion nurse can have on people’s lives.
Louise Gamble, Taiwan
school (grades 7-9) and a senior school (grades 10-12).
Louise is teaching English at Tam Kang High Four years ago, an elementary school was started (com-
School in Taipei. One of the earliest educational pletely bilingual – Mandarin and English) and thus our
institutions in Taiwan, Tam Kang is a Christian campus offers a complete comprehensive package of edu-
cation should a child wish to stay with us throughout their
high school seeking to present a strong Christian
total early education! If you were to drop in on us almost
image to all students. Louise teaches English any day of the week, you might get lost in the crowd of
conversation classes to all grades and Biblical 2700 students winding their way to their classrooms.
courses to senior classes. This year I have spent most of my time on a new
project. I have been asked to transcribe all the official
Another year has passed and I am still living in Taiwan. documents of George Leslie MacKay, the first missionary
This amazes me, since I have “retired” twice! But I am to North Formosa (as the area was called at that time).
enjoying my life, and hopefully continue to serve the His book From Far Formosa was published in 1896. He
Taiwan Church in a useful way. volunteered for missionary service in 1868 and when he
I am still living and working at Tamkang Middle viewed the shores of Tamsui in 1872 he immediately
School, which was founded in 1914. “Middle School” is dedicated his life and work to Christian service in Taiwan.
actually a misnomer. Tamkang has a kindergarten, a junior I began the transcription with reports written in 1868,
International Ministries 21
and presently am working on 1895. The MacKay mission- to the south with three other workers in the Presbyterian
ary story is an intriguing one. In some ways he was a man Church of Taiwan: one a long-term national staff person
of his own times, but in other ways he was truly excep- and two missionaries from Japan and Wales respectively.
tional. He was rare in his choosing to marry a Taiwanese During the course of our trip, we discussed the abundance
national. He was unusual in insisting that foreign and in Taiwan of capable leadership in the Church, and I asked
national workers have equal status on a mission council. why it is necessary for Taiwan to have international mis-
And I am more and more curious about mission history sionaries. My good friend on the national staff quickly
and theory! responded with, “We need you here to remind us of the
Because of this new project I did not teach as many solidarity we share as part of the universal Church”. And
classes this year. I continue teachers’ classes for English thus we became aware again that our task here is to bear
Bible Study. In the spring term we focused on some witness to our shared faith. Except for economic purposes
excerpts from Acts, and in the fall our focus was on some Taiwan has been gradually excluded from more and more
of the Epistles. I also helped teach English conversation international involvement, and even some Christian organi-
for teachers. My central plan is to make these classes as zations are being challenged to only relate with China.
enjoyable as possible. So I continue to enjoy being part of the life of the
It was a treat to be invited to the 140th anniversary cel- Church here, even if my life is spent mostly with the past!
ebrations of the Sin-lau Hospital in Tainan. (It was started And what about my own future? This MacKay project will
by the English Presbyterian Church, and through many ups keep me busy until it is completed, and then I am seeing
and downs, now has a beautiful new building). I travelled my retirement (again!) in Canada.
The Reverend Murray Garvin, Taiwan
suyongu Muknana, but he is of the Tsou tribe, a small tribe
Murray first served in Taiwan from 1961-1976, in south central Taiwan. He is our only Tsou, so when the
working as a minister for the churches of the students divide into tribal groups for worship a couple of
Tayal tribe in north Taiwan and as Acting times a week, he joins with the Tayals. I learned why he
chose the Tayals, a group with whom the Tsou have no
Principal at Yu Shan Theological College.
ethnic or historic connection. When Typhoon Marakot
In 2004, when he retired from congregational devastated Taiwan in 2009, many of his Tsou villages were
ministry in Canada, he returned to Taiwan to severely damaged, and there was much suffering. A group
teach English in Yu Shan Seminary. of Tayals, including some of our students, walked for days
in the heavy rain, over rough mountain roads and paths,
I wish you could meet Felix. He is 18 years old, and in his carrying relief supplies to these people, whom they did not
first year at Yu Shan. His bright eyes and radiant smile know. He was so moved that he wanted to associate with
reveal a delightful personality. He has excellent English, the Tayals.
and is already in the third year of our English Programme. And then there is Michael, a Tayal. His aboriginal
You probably can’t pronounce his aboriginal name, Yapa- name is much easier, Yukan. A young man of 20, he is also
in his first year and has excellent English. I feel especially
fond of him, because his grandfather, Piho Wilang, was the
pastor responsible for oversight of the ten Tayal churches
in his valley 38 years ago, and was of great help to me
when I started working with the Tayals. His three sons
have all become ministers. The third is one of our teachers
at Yu Shan. The second, Michael’s father, is rather special
in that he has a lead role in a new movie, Sediq Valai, a
story about the aboriginal resistance to the Japanese rule
here for 50 years. The movie is excellent, and will be
shown around the world this summer. Michael also has
an important role in the movie, and he is very proud of it.
And I am proud of having been able to work with three
generations of this wonderful family.
Here at Yu Shan I’m enjoying the opportunity to teach
students like Felix and Michael. I teach the third level of
College English, and the first year Seminary students. I
have also taught an English Drama class, and Theological
Yuhaw and his nephew Yukan. English (a course now being taught by Sydney Chang.)
22 Stories of Mission 2011
Having been here almost seven years, I have taught almost Things are slowly progressing, and we hope to have
all of our 140 or so students. the building permit issued in the next couple of weeks.
For five of the six summers, I have taken a seminary It would be wonderful to have our 2012 graduation
student back to Canada to do Mission Interpretation. Last in it!
summer Akas and I spoke in 13 churches, including five Personally, I continue to enjoy good health, and hope
in the Cariboo Ministry. This summer there are three to be able to return next September for an eighth year.
planning to go – if the school permits that many! It will be I express to the Life and Mission Agency my gratitude for
an interesting summer. its continued support, allowing me to have a part in this
A major project at Yu Shan is the construction of a exciting ministry, to the school for having me, and to God
new general purpose building including a new chapel. for the health that makes it possible.
The Reverend Dr. Paul McLean, Taiwan
I knew another foreigner who could speak Hakka who
Paul and a Bible translation team are working had visited his home village outside of Chia-yi in southern
their way through the Bible verse-by-verse, Taiwan 15 years ago? It turned out that the foreigner was
book-by-book, to publish a Hakka Bible which me! Mr Chen was a young teenager then. The Hakka Ever-
green (seniors) evangelism team and I had sung Hakka
accurately reflects the meaning of the original
Gospel mountain songs beside his father’s rice paddies.
Hebrew and Greek used in the New and Old It had made a deep impression upon him. His favourite
testaments. high school teacher happened to be an elder in a nearby
Presbyterian church. She invited him to church, and in
In February 2010, we reached an important milestone due course he became a Christian, in spite of his parents’
when we completed our translation of the OT. For the opposition. Mr Chen and I prayed together that day for
remainder of the year, we began our second and final his parents, his wife and his children, and gave thanks for
revision of the New Testament & Psalms, and the book God’s marvellous leading in his life over the years.
of Proverbs. The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) One weekend in early June, I rode the high-speed train
recently designated 2012 as “The Year of Hakka Mission”, to visit four southern Hakka churches. I spoke first in
leading up to the 150th anniversary celebration of the Kaosiung at a gathering of 30-40 Hakka Christians who
arrival of the Gospel in southern Taiwan in 1865. The have moved from the Hakka countryside into the big city.
PCT’s Hakka Mission Committee is warmly encouraging They are gradually trying to plant a Hakka church for fam-
our Bible translation team and the hymnbook translation ilies like them who have moved away from their Hakka vil-
team to do all we can in 2011 to complete our two projects lages. I visited Rev Chhi Yuk-lin, a highly respected Hakka
as soon as possible, so that we can present people with new pastor, who is now retired. Along with several other
Hakka Bibles and hymnbooks at the PCT General Assem- Hakka ministers, he was a member of the very first Hakka
bly meeting in April 2012. That puts lots of pressure on us Bible translation team in Taiwan in the 1950s and 1960s.
to get the job done in a timely yet ever faithful and accurate
fashion. Since this is all God’s work, we pray that the Lord
will help us achieve this very worthy goal.
During my three trips to Taiwan in 2010, I had the
joy of visiting and preaching in 15 Hakka churches and
participating in several special events.
On each visit to Taiwan, I boarded the commuter train
in Chung-lak early on Saturday mornings and traveled one
hour north to Taipei to preach at the Hakka fellowship
which meets in Sung-lien PC. Rev Phang Tet-kui (who is the
gifted chairperson of our Hakka Bible translation commit-
tee) and three other retired Hakka pastors share the preach-
ing and visiting. The fellowship averages 40-50 people. They
love to worship God in Hakka, share a light Hakka lunch
after the service, then go and visit Hakka friends or new
acquaintances Saturday afternoon or evening.
One day during lunch, a visitor to the fellowship,
Mr Chen, sat beside me and cried because it was the sec-
ond time in his life that he had heard a “foreigner” share Paul McLean with members
the Gospel in his mother tongue. He asked me if by chance of the Hakka translation team.
International Ministries 23
They experienced numerous challenges in those pioneering Reformed churches in Wales are closing their doors due
years and only the Gospel of John was ever published. to declining memberships, while the churches they planted
I also preached in Ka-tung PC. Rev Yi Chat-fung was in Mizoram are dynamic and growing. Though poorer in
a member of our translation team for several years, but is economic terms, Reformed churches in Mizoram are
now busy there in pastoral ministry. Elder Chheu Van- sending out gifted missionaries to other parts of India,
chhong is a key leader in this rural Hakka congregation. Taiwan and elsewhere.
He is a 74 year-old retired school teacher and gifted Hakka On the Sunday of the retreat we worshipped at a local
musician and song writer, who rides the train to join our Amis church. I was a consultant with the Amis translation
Bible translation team in Chung-lak two to three days a team from 1993 to 1995 and as I heard the Bible read in
week whenever I am in Taiwan. During those days, he and Amis and joined in singing hymns from the new Amis
I share my apartment as well as meals and uplifting con- hymnbook, I found myself dreaming of the day when
versations. Elder Chheu exudes the joy of the Lord and is Hakka churches will also have their own complete Bible
a tremendous encouragement to our team. and a new hymnbook.
In November I had the pleasure of attending a retreat I thank God for continued support from leaders in the
in Hua-lien for all missionary partners of the PCT. The PCC, PCT and the Bible Society of Taiwan, which enables
event was sponsored by the PCT’s Ecumenical Relations me to share in Bible translation with our partners in Tai-
Committee. I enjoyed visiting in person with PCT-General wan. I also want to thank all the congregations in the PCC,
Assembly staff, as well as Murray Garvin, Louise Gamble plus AMS and WMS groups, who are making it possible
and other friends from overseas partner churches. During for Hakka people in Taiwan to read, proclaim and apply
one conversation I was reminded how God’s global mis- God’s Word in their own language, so they can be effective
sion work has often advanced in unexpected ways. A mis- witnesses for Jesus Christ as they share <Song-ti thung-
sionary to the PCT from Wales was chatting with mutual siak su”-ki^en-ng`in ke fuk-y^im>, the Good News of
friends from Mizoram, one of the eastern states in India. God’s compassion and love for the whole world.
Paul gives some examples of words, phrases or concepts that
challenged him and the translation team over the past year.
• In Zechariah 1:8-17 we had to determine, as best we could, how many
angelic beings are involved in this vision, and also avoid the error of
talking horses seen in some modern translations of 1:11. In fact, the
entire book of Zechariah is full of many challenging translation issues.
• In Haggai 2:4, although modern translations often simplify the verse
to render its overall meaning, we chose to retain the repetition (as in
Hebrew) so that the verse’s message is stronger when read out loud,
i.e. oral performance or rhetorical features are important factors in how
one translates the Bible; however, in the very next verse in Haggai 2:5,
a literal translation would be quite misleading (the first ‘you’ actually
refers to ‘your ancestors’).
• Feedback on the 1st edition of Proverbs, published in 1995, told us that readers often found our translation of couplets too
succinct or too deep to understand. So the challenge for us this time was to seek a happier balance between clarity of mean-
ing while retaining as much of the proverbial form of the sayings as possible. We also refined the style of many proverbial
couplets by adding or subtracting a word or two, so that they appear and sound more like proverbs in Hakka. By consulting
recent commentaries on the Hebrew text, we were able to make more sense of some of the very difficult proverbs in the book,
and thus have a better idea what meaning to translate into Hakka. Growing consensus over the past 15 years among Hakka
linguists and in Hakka dictionaries gave us more confidence in deciding which Hakka Han characters to use in our translation
(this has always been a problem for Hakka words used commonly in speaking, which people are not yet accustomed to writing
down in a standard manner). For some proverbs we were able to choose more attractive or memorable Hakka idioms to repro-
duce the same meaning as in Hebrew. On the whole, we tried to make our translation of Hebrew proverbs into Hakka more
transparent in meaning without sacrificing the beauty of proverbial style.
• For the Psalms, first published in 1993, we tried to improve poetic style in individual psalms, while sticking to our key transla-
tion principles of equivalency in meaning and clarity of expression. We wrestled with finding a way in Hakka to keep the focus
on what in Hebrew is the very first word in Psalm 1:1 and thus the entire book, the word ‘Blessed’. We adopted more colloquial
Hakka terms for ‘the righteous’ and ‘the wicked’. We fixed a spelling mistake in the name <A-sat> by using three different
Han characters for <sat> in order to distinguish three different people in the Bible: ‘Asaph’ (Psalm 50), Jacob’s son ‘Asher’
and King ‘Asa’—no problem in English, but a real headache in Hakka where the three names all sound the same.
24 Stories of Mission 2011
The Reverend Dr. Michael Tai, Taiwan
Jesus Christ as her Saviour, God’s salvation is hers to
Michael is a medical doctor serving as a
claim. Almost a month ago, she happily told me that she
professor at Chungshan Medical University, has been baptized. Though I did not do much, the seed
one of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan’s that I planted years ago when she was attending my class
universities. had grown.
This story may sound strange to many as people
Writing this 2010 mission report reminds me that I have wonder, would such demon-possession ever happen in this
been in Taiwan for fifteen years already. When I turned scientific age? Well, my student’s experience is a vivid
sixty-five two years ago, I told myself that I would extend testimony that it still can. God’s mercy is for everyone who
my ministry in Taiwan for one more year only. But this is comes to Him regardless, in ancient time or the modern
2011 already and I am still in Taiwan. Well, the field is technological age.
wide open and more work needs to be done, so I stay put. My university department has many Christian faculty
Thank God for my good health so that I can still carry on members. We used to gather together for prayer once a
my ministry with students at university. I also preach at week during the lunch break, but stopped meeting for about
different churches on Sundays and take part in social a year. We resumed gathering in September and it has been
movements that aim at bringing social justice to this land. going well. We gather for prayer, Bible reading and testi-
Let me share some highlights from my ministry. mony. We take turns to lead the prayer time each week.
I teach at Chungshan Medical University where most I was thinking perhaps we should invite students to join,
students major in medicine, nursing or medical technolo- but some teachers feel that students already have their own
gies. Although Taiwan is not a Christian country, I often fellowship meeting, so our prayer gathering will remain for
start my class with a reading of the Scriptures or sharing faculty only. The secretary of the department and another
some biblical stories with them. I remind myself that I am professor who are not Christians attend every week.
a servant of the Lord and must share the good news of the One of my Taiwanese-Canadian acquaintances who
gospel with those who do not yet know God. had returned to Taiwan to do some mission work told me
One amazing thing that I must share is the story of a she is returning to Canada after April this year, and asked
former student discovering Christ. Renee X, graduated if I would take over her ministry in a small non-denomina-
several years ago and was working in a hospital as a tional church established by American missionaries years
medical technician. She lost her ago, about 20 miles outside the
mother when young and in the city in which I reside. The found-
fall of 2010 the grandmother who Almost a month ago, she happily ing missionaries left without
brought her up passed away. This finding any successor for the
was a big blow to her and she
told me that she has been baptized. congregation. When I visited this
would often dream of her grand- Though I did not do much, the seed church I felt sad for these people
mother. Eventually she felt that that I planted years ago when she struggling to keep their ministry
her grandmother’s spirit was going. There are about 15 people
haunting her, depriving her of was attending my class had grown. from under-privileged sectors of
sleep at night and chasing her society. I suggested that they join
wherever she went. This student with a Presbyterian church
remembered what I shared, that Jesus is the Lord of Lords nearby but they feel uneasy because the Presbyterians are
and gives peace to whoever calls on Him. She phoned me, rich and the congregation big. They are afraid that most of
and asked if I believed in the invisible ghost. At first I was them will stop going to church, once theirs is closed. I
puzzled by her question and when she later explained I preached there several times and wish to help them find a
realized her trouble was more than she could handle. I solution. Christians are a minority in Taiwan, composing
suggested that she see a psychiatrist which she did, yet only about 5% of the total population. We must not
without much help. The situation got so bad that she had deprive anyone of the opportunity to worship. This church
to ask for a leave of absence from work. Her sister took is not registered nor recognized by the civil authority,
her to a Buddhist temple for healing. The nuns chanted therefore, they cannot have an official receipt to claim
Buddhist sutra for her, intending to cast out the demons. against income tax when making donations. They rent an
When I asked her whether or not she had to pay for the apartment for worship. Although the landlord is not a
service, I was surprised by the large sum of money she had Christian, he just charges a symbolic sum and attends the
to pay. I told her that the gospel is free for anyone and church himself from time to time. I promised to preach
encouraged her to go to church to seek help from the min- there about once a month until someone comes along.
ister and elders. If she would open her heart and accept The Christian Student Fellowships of my university are
International Ministries 25
still going strong. More freshmen have joined the fellow- the deputy chair of the Health Promotion Bureau, the
ship. They meet on Tuesday evening and on Sunday most convener of the general education and medical education
of them go to a Presbyterian church nearby to worship and committees of the Ministry of Education – plus other
sing in the choir. I have been their official advisor for many duties. I am a very busy person who travels often to Taipei
years. They have Bible study, prayer, special topic discus- for meetings.
sion, sharing and video viewing for their activities. Though living a very busy life, my health seems to be
I still teach medical ethics, death and dying, medicine all right. Thank you for all the prayers and greetings I
and society, philosophy of religion and medical humanities. received from the Women’s Missionary Society, Sunday
I also serve on several governmental committees such as Schools and congregations back in Canada. Your support
the Committee of Medical Affairs and the Committee of gives me extra strength to go forward for the glory of God.
New Medical Technologies of the Ministry of Health. I am My heartfelt thanks to you all.
Sam and Linda L, Central Asia
and to pray together for the needs of their country. It was
Sam and Linda L are serving in Central Asia an opportunity to share God’s love in tangible ways, as
jointly through Interserve Canada and The Christians helped in the rebuilding and reconstruction
Presbyterian Church in Canada. For security efforts, and to offer the hope Christ gives us. Although
reasons, their exact location cannot be disclosed, things have settled down, there are still underlying ethnic
tensions. Following the ethnic unrest, the parliamentary
as it is a sensitive area of the world. Through
reform referendum passed peacefully and resulted in new
friendships developed as they live and work in parliamentary elections in October. A lot has happened
Central Asia they find opportunities to share politically and we hope the changes are for the better.
their faith. An important part of our ministry here is the English
club we run at the J* Centre. Since the J* Centre is regis-
First, we want to thank the Presbyterian Church in Canada tered as an education centre, all activities are non-religious
for their generous support which has allowed us to serve to avoid any difficulties with the government authorities
here since 2006. I (Sam) am a computer consultant pro- and to be accepted by the community. However, through
viding computer support for the many foreign Christian the J* Centre God provides us with many opportunities to
volunteers and their ministries. However, our whole family share His love and through our interactions we seek to be a
(which includes Linda and our children Daniel, Aaron, light to the surrounding community. During Christmas and
Peter and Ruth) is here to minister to the people who God Easter, we are also able to share more openly about our
has placed in our lives. “cultural traditions”. This past Christmas at the English
The Central Asia countries are former Soviet republics club, we shared about the Good News the angels pro-
and predominantly Muslim. People have been living here claimed to the shepherds. We want our friends here in Cen-
for thousands of years, but they are still struggling for tral Asia to know that they do not need to be afraid of the
social freedoms and a peaceful life. Since the fall of the strange story of Christmas, to know that it is about Good
Soviet Union in 1991, these countries have been in need of News that will cause great joy for all the people, and that it
international assistance. This has given opportunities for is about the birth of Jesus, the Saviour of the whole world.
Christians to do ministry, even though religious work is We want our friends to search for Jesus and to learn why
quite restricted. the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and
A large problem in Central Asia is corruption, a norm on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests”. At the
at all levels of life. We came to understand this more when English club Christmas celebration, we had about twenty-
I was taken to a police station for questioning. Even five students reading and listening to the Word of God!
though all of my papers were in order, the police were In Central Asia, it often takes a vision or a dream for
looking for some problem so that I would have to pay a someone to become a Christian. We are thankful that
fine. The police only let me go after a local friend arranged miracles do happen, and that people are coming to know
for my release for a fee. Others have experienced much Christ as their Saviour. Five years ago, Az* started coming
more difficult situations. Some foreigners have had to to the English club. Our friendship and the ministry of
leave Central Asia and locals are in a more difficult situa- summer teams exposed Az* to Christianity and he showed
tion, as they are not able to leave the country. some interest. One day, Linda asked if he would like to a
This past year, there were some turbulent times in our have a Bible. Az* said yes, but only if it was in English so
country of service. In March, there was a government he could explain to his Muslim family why he was reading
coup followed by violent ethnic unrest in July. While these it. Later, Az* started coming to church and became a
events were disturbing and often sobering, it gave the Christian. Many in our congregation first came to the
churches an opportunity to rally together to provide aid English club. Often it is through relationships that people
26 Stories of Mission 2011
become open to Christianity, visits and visits by other foreign
despite the many barriers. We We hope the relationships developed groups, some of the children
have been blessed to have this have become Christians. This
happen at the English club.
through the training program year, two of the boys asked for
Our church, the only one in will bring all involved closer to God. Bibles and Linda learned that
its village, was started by the another girl reads her Bible and
founders of the J* Centre. Unfor- prays regularly. At Christmas,
tunately, the congregation has declined to about fifteen Linda shared the Christmas story with the orphans and
people from about forty. This is a reflection of the current spoke of God’s great love for them. We hope they will
state of the church in Central Asia. Growth has declined know that they are special and greatly loved by our Father.
and most church growth is due to migration from one Having four children of our own keeps our family life
church to another. Thankfully, five people were baptised full of excitement and changes. This fall, Daniel, our old-
this summer at our church. We hope to provide support to est, started his second year of college. Aaron, our second
our church and to the many young believers. All but one of son, started his final year of high school. Peter, our third
our congregation come from non-Christian homes, so they son, started high school at the boarding school. Letting
have no family support in their faith. him go was difficult, but at least he is with Aaron. This
We also help our Christian friends through my com- means that Ruth, who started grade seven, is now the only
puter training program, which provides computer support child at home. These changes have been a little difficult,
for foreign Christians and their ministries. This apprentice- but by God’s grace, we are coping.
type training program started in June 2008 and there are We anticipate that changes will continue in 2011. At
currently three trainees. Two of these are church members the start of June, we will go to Aaron’s graduation and
(one of them is Az*). The other trainee is Muslim. We then return to Toronto for a short home assignment.
hope the relationships developed through the training During our home assignment, we will be getting Aaron
program will bring all involved closer to God. into college/university, as well as meeting with churches
For the past four years, Linda has been taking a team and supporters to reconnect and renew partnerships. We
of students to provide consistent love and care for children will then return to Central Asia in August so that Peter
at an orphanage for disabled children. The orphanage and Ruth can return to school and so that we can continue
director and staff have come to know Linda, so the team our ministry, as we believe that our work supporting the
is able to share more openly about Christ. Through these young churches is not yet completed.
Dr. Bill and Sheila McKelvie, Pakistan
published in a journal. Bill preached regularly and co-led
Bill is a physician working in various medical a weekly Bible study. He was able to complete a planned
ministries with the Diocese of Hyderabad, Church congregational survey of a local church to help the elders
of Pakistan, since 1988. Sheila is coordinator for plan for the future.
Sheila continued to work from Canada overseeing
Interserve’s International orientation program
Interserve ‘s international orientation program for new
(E2S). For most of 2010 they were on home long-term workers. This eight day program called
assignment, based out of Newfoundland. Equipped to Serve (E2S) seeks to prepare partners to
work in Asia and the Arab World. Sheila promotes E2S,
In February, Bill went to Pakistan to visit projects and old schedules programs, corresponds with the different send-
friends. He was able to visit a village outreach and devel- ing countries about the program, processes applications,
opments run by SEWA-Pak, a partner of PWS&D, and the organizes the event and acts as one of the trainers at the
Sahara Community Health Association (formerly, the TB event. She has a local coordinator in each country that she
project). The TB project had, to Bill’s delight, managed to works with to help with the on-site logistics. In 2010,
maintain cure rates near 90% even in his absence. The Sheila led three seminars in Malaysia, Egypt, and India.
Community Health Association had also continued twice In September, Sheila’s mandate was expanded to
weekly visits to truck stops to raise HIV awareness and include development of orientation materials for use by
Bill was able to go out with the team one night. Bill was Interserve staff, both those in the national office and mis-
also able to attend the graduation of the first class of sionaries working in the field. In this role, she attended a
trained traditional birth attendants. meeting in Kuala Lumpur in June which discussed the
In Newfoundland, Bill continued to refresh his medical implementation of Interserve’s international priorities. She
training and experience and tried (so far unsuccessfully) also organised and attended a workshop in Amsterdam in
to get his M.Sc. thesis (on detecting malaria epidemics) November. This workshop focused on the orientation of
International Ministries 27
encourage good listening skills, manage
conflict well, manage stress and maintain
margins. It was very well received by both
national and expatriate Christian workers.
At home in St. John’s, Sheila enjoys pro-
viding hospitality to foreign students and
friends. At Christmas, she helped organize
“International Christmas”. At this annual
event, international students from Memorial
University, St. John’s, are invited to attend a
weekend retreat. They learn about Canadian
Christmas traditions, winter activities, and
the Christmas story. This year students from
China, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and
Ukraine attended. Bill organized a Christmas
drama, which prompted a number of ques-
tions and conversations afterwards.
The McKelvies returned to Pakistan in
February 2011. Sheila is continuing her role
as International Orientation Coordinator
Bill McKelvie with a patient. with Interserve as well as serving as Ministry
Coordinator for Interserve Pakistan’s country
Interserve’s European National offices board members. leadership team. She will also be periodically leading SYIS
In February, Sheila acted as one of the facilitators for workshops in Pakistan. Bill hopes to develop training
two SYIS (Strengthening Your Interpersonal Skills) semi- materials for the Sahara Community Health Association
nars held in Lahore and Karachi. These seminars help and work with other Christian organizations to help them
Christian workers better deal with relationship issues, evaluate and improve their health projects.
Brian Johnston, Romania
Brian is working as an English and music teacher well as choir selections. Stefania Barz from the Romanian
Opera sang a selection from Verdi’s La Forza del Destino
at the Theological Seminary of the Hungarian
performing with the male choir. This can be viewed on
Reformed Church in Romania. Besides teaching, YouTube.
Brian directs two choirs made up of students Many parts of Romania suffered from severe flooding
from the seminary. in the early summer. In one village where I was helping a
former student in a children’s camp we witnessed first-
The year always starts off at a slower pace for me as all the hand a major late afternoon downpour. Fortunately all
students have serious exams lasting most of January. So people, livestock and my PCC vehicle survived.
apart from administering my own English exams I have Later in July I taught English in the Hungarian village
more time to visit and witness some of the fine work many of Nagygalombfalva for one week. This village has a large
of my students are doing in various parts of Romania. On number of children, and over fifty elementary and high
March 15, I took a small choir to Buza, a large village con- school students attended the classes. At the same time the
gregation one and a half hours from Cluj. We commemo- pastor had organized a camp for the Roma (gypsy) chil-
rated the Hungarian revolution dren, which more than 200
of 1956, remembering those attended! A pastor and a youth
who gave their lives for the group from Germany were
cause on that date.
This goes to show that two nations involved in the program.
Our annual Opera Gala was with tumultuous pasts can get together In August I was once again
postponed until May when I and celebrate each other’s culture with a involved with an artistic camp
could combine six professional involving many students as well
soloists with my male choir. The bit of understanding and mutual respect. as the invited artists. At the
program included arias, duets as inauguration ceremony I was
28 Stories of Mission 2011
asked to play piano for Vigy
Ibolya, who delighted the
audience with some lively
operetta selections. The
village of Zsobok where the
camp is located has a well
established orphanage whose
children were able to be
exposed to many of the artis-
tic events. I decided then that
starting in September I would
go every two weeks to assist
the orphans in developing
their English and music skills.
Each September I am
Members of the theological choir perform at a church in Buja, Romania.
always excited to meet the
new first year students and
after some difficulties in establishing a suitable timetable I with a bit of understanding and mutual respect.
can say that we have another group of promising young We had another big vocal concert on November 17th
men and women. I can teach them in small groups, provid- combining once again a mixture of Hungarian and Roman-
ing remediation for those who need it and challenging ian artists; four vocalists, two pianists, one flutist and one
those who are gifted enough to reach a high academic level. cellist. I was pleased that the choristers could do “Soon Ah
Already at the end of the first week of classes I was Will be Done” by memory. On December 5th I worked
asked to take an octette to help celebrate an important with Michael and Terry, pastors of the English Church, to
happening in Varkonyi. The event was the unveiling of a produce a special Advent service/concert. The program
reconstructed statue of the Turul, a bird from Hungarian included many well-known carols as well as selections
mythology often used as a national identity symbol. The from Handel’s ‘Messiah’.
statue was destroyed in 1945 and is now “returned” to its I wish to thank all staff members of International Min-
rightful place with the support of the local government istries for their ongoing encouragement of my mission and
officials, the majority being Romanian. to all those who support Presbyterians Sharing. I also thank
This goes to show that two nations with tumultuous groups and individuals who support the “Share the Gift of
pasts can get together and celebrate each other’s culture Music in Romania” project in the Gifts of Change catalogue.
Dr. David Pándy-Szekeres, Ukraine
family budgets, it has also made life challenging for the
institutions operated by the RCCU. To better meet these
David Pándy-Szekeres is serving with the
challenges and carry on with the tasks at hand, emphasis
Reformed Church of Sub-Carpathian Ukraine, and dependence had to be increasingly shifted to human
a church of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine. resources. As in the past, when called upon in the face of
David helps to post and supervise RCCU mounting difficulty, the RCCU Christian community has
missionaries serving communities in Ukraine and been able to draw on an inner strength grounded in its
he coordinates four Christian secondary schools faith. Yet as its numbers decrease in an often inhospitable
home, it requires an untold number of prayers and a
that serve Hungarian students living in Ukraine.
heavenly nod for the RCCU to stay its course.
Although the population of Ukraine harboured a small Roma Mission
hope before this past year’s elections that a new govern- There are sixty-three individuals associated with the
ment could usher in some positive change – however small RCCU that are presently involved with Christian mission
that might be – nothing of this nature has yet materialized. within Roma/Gypsy communities located within the
Unemployment remains at high levels and living costs are RCCU’s historical territory. Of these sixty-three, only one
increasingly outstripping any increases in the wages of person receives a wage directly from the RCCU specifically
those fortunate enough to have employment. The economy for this type of work. Wages for the others and project
is mired in stagnation mode and the government’s antidote costs are covered by contributions from other sources or
to this is “austerity”. This policy has not only been hard on else they work as volunteers.
International Ministries 29
there were no funds and it was not easy
for the staff and work personnel to
weather this stretch. It was not until funds
from the Hungarian government (which
had been delayed for many months) and
other sources arrived at the end of August
that these missed payments could be
The RCCU schools launched the new
2010-11 school year without enough
funds to go beyond the first month. The
RCCU leadership submitted a request to
the new Hungarian government and
although the reception was cordial and
encouraging, it was also conveyed that the
new Hungarian government would have
no money until January 2011 at the earli-
est, the former government having totally
Students at a Roma school in Ukraine hold up their text books. cleaned out the treasury. Nonetheless, the
RCCU leadership and the schools were
Missionary Ferenc Homoki and his wife Dianna con- optimistic about receiving support from this government
tinue to minister to the Roma community in the village of in the months that were to come, not only in the form of
Nagybereg. Ferenc regularly holds worship services and funds but also in political negotiations with the Ukrainian
Bible studies throughout the year and, with Dianna’s assis- government, whose new president had made a pre-election
tance, provides religious classes for the children. They promise and had signed agreements to repeal the
were pleased with the success of the special class they “Ukrainian- only language-use in all schools” legislation,
began for Roma/Gypsy children who were not attending thus allowing ethnic minorities to continue using their
school. The program began in September 2009 and native language as the language of instruction in their
although three children dropped out in the first term, the schools.
nine who persevered to June 2010 proved their compe- Teachers and school personnel were paid for the month
tence in reading, writing and arithmetic through a final of September from money that was sent by the Reformed
examination. These pupils were enrolled in normal classes Church of Hungary. No funds were available to meet
in September 2010. To assist them, and other Roma chil- payments for the months of October to December. In early
dren at the school, a daily afternoon tutoring session was November, the Hungarian government authorities issued
organized and is being supervised by Dianna. It is hoped a positive response to the appeal for financial assistance.
that ground can be broken this spring for the construction The RCCU leadership signed a contract whereby the
of a multifunctional building which will serve as a prayer RCCU schools would receive the funds needed to cover
hall and kindergarten for this Roma community. the total cost of operations until the end of January 2011.
The government has also received an outline of the
Christian education schools’ budget requirements extending to the end of
The four RCCU secondary schools somehow managed to August 2011 and has indicated that it will make a decision
survive the 2009-10 school year, despite problems with regarding this request in the first part of the new year.
funding. At the very beginning of this past school year This then is the good news.
(Sept 2009), three of the schools had been alerted by the But on November 1, 2010, the Ukrainian ministry
state authorities that they would no longer receive an offi- of education issued its official curriculum for secondary
cial state subsidy, about eight percent of the total operating school level education for the 2010-11 academic year.
budget. They also didn’t know where a significant part of Despite the election promises, the “new” curriculum is
the rest of the budget would come from. Nonetheless, they identical to the previous year’s curriculum. There is no
were determined to somehow make it to the end of the mention whatsoever of the right or even possibility of
year, hoping that the new Hungarian government sched- taking the state baccalaureate examination in a language
uled to be elected in the spring of 2010 would be able to other than Ukrainian, and there is no new curriculum
provide assistance. including the use of any minority language in the educa-
With appeals to the then-existing Hungarian govern- tion process. The regional Hungarian Teachers’ Associa-
ment, the Reformed Church of Hungary, the respective tion has appealed to both the Ukrainian and Hungarian
regional authorities in Ukraine and sister church organiza- governments to address this issue as soon as possible.
tions abroad, enough funding was secured to keep the The construction of the new building complex at the
schools open until May 2010. For the next three months Nagybereg school site has progressed and at present is at
30 Stories of Mission 2011
fifty percent completion. This has been achieved with the In the last two weeks of August, a highly enthusiastic
funds provided by the United Reformed Church of Great youth group of eleven from St. Timothy’s in Toronto spent
Britain and by the Hungarian government. As far as I two weeks travelling and participating in different activi-
know, however, the funds needed to achieve the one ties in church communities and mission sites in Hungary,
hundred percent level are yet to be secured. The situation Ukraine, Romania and Croatia. The time and energy it
at the school in Nagydobrony is somewhat different, the takes to guide such groups is worth it, as it is always a
actual construction project underway being on a much rewarding experience. The mission field becomes a class-
smaller scale. Here close to eighty percent of the funds room that regularly inspires at least some – if not all –
required for completion has already been promised. visiting group participants to reflect on how they might
The actual construction is about half-completed. help nourish the seeds of Christian mission in this world.
The farms which are associated with the RCCU schools
in Nagydobrony and in Nagybereg had a very difficult year. Family
The field crops were forced to absorb four times more Perhaps the highlight of this past year was the confirma-
precipitation than what falls in an average year. Excessively tion of faith of our two sons into the fellowship of the
high ground water levels inundated many fields through- Reformed Church community of the town where we
out the region and literally drowned the crops. Among reside. It was a very special day for our family and we
other things, this has resulted in a shortage of feed and marked it accordingly, hosting relatives and friends from
forced the farms to either slaughter a significant number far and near, to share our celebration.
of their livestock or else purchase feed at elevated prices Beyond this, life, duties and responsibilities continued as
on the open market. usual. The children are progressing in school, having once
again passed from one grade to the succeeding one, albeit
Agriculture at times the repeated requests to complete their homework
Progress continues at the Terra Dei Foundation’s model become onerous for us parents. They also continue to
farm. The Terra Dei foundation was established by the pursue their extra-curricular activities: folk dancing, music
Ugocsa county synod in December 2002 to help develop lessons, soccer or gymnastics. These activities sometimes
agricultural practices in the region. The farm gives educa- involve travel. The two boys spent a week last summer at a
tional opportunities to local farmers and students, helping folk festival in Turkey. Anna remains the constant presence
them learn new skills and techniques to increase their in the family home. She works hard on many different
production of fruit and vegetables. Farmers learn how to fronts to ensure the everyday functioning of the family. My
choose the best seeds, what plants will grow well in their work remains basically the same as in the past except that it
area and how to use fertilizers and other techniques to tends to expand as time goes on. In itself this is a good sign,
improve their yields. The farm provides concrete evidence because it means that there is a need and demand for such
of the various types of vegetables and fruit which will initiative, and wherever possible, effort is made to include
grow well in the given environment, whether in the green- more and more dedicated and motivated individuals to deal
house or in the open field. In addition to the field days and with the tasks at hand. Nonetheless, as in many places, here
other instructional activities of the model farm, its evolu- also the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Let us,
tion during this past year included the planting of two therefore, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers
hundred apple trees of varying varieties. into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:38)
Mary Gorombey, Hungary
the Lord early in 2010. She was an important person in
Mary is helping the Hungarian Reformed Church my life and her passing marked my entry into a new phase
reach out to refugees who are building new of life. To have someone who was “always there” suddenly
lives in Hungary. The daughter of refugees who not be there took some time for adjustment.
came to Canada from Hungary, Mary knows Also at the beginning of the year, our project co-
ordinator, boss and friend, left our school integration
what it is like to adjust to life in a new home.
program to pursue her doctoral studies full time. This left
An important part of her work is confronting us with a considerable amount of uncertainty as Eniko
stereotypes and changing attitudes in a climate was a key person in the life of our program. While she
that is not favourable to refugees. handed over her responsibilities to someone who seemed
capable, there was a sense that things would not be the
Despite many blessings in the past year, I would have to same. We soon discovered that management had changed
say that it was characterized by loss. The year began with a and so had the attitude toward refugee youth. Mission
personal loss, with my grandmother going home to be with and ministry became increasingly bureaucratic and
International Ministries 31
impersonal. A sign of chang- and this gave Rev. Ralph
ing times? Fluit and his group a chance
Another sign of changing I hope the church will see the need to meet with the young
times was the national and and step up to help, people I work with and my
municipal elections in 2010. colleagues.
and I pray for God’s leadership
The right-wing FIDESZ party There was more loss in
won a 2/3 majority. Unfortu- and guidance in knowing what to do. late summer when we were
nately their policy toward informed that our 2011
foreigners and refugees is not grant application to the
positive. So we have yet to see European Refugee Fund was
what new laws they will put into place. As a sign, they not successful. We would not have the financial means to
increased the number of detention facilities in Hungary continue our work. This made the latter part of the year
from 7 to 14. One of the reception centres was turned into incredibly stressful, with the indifference of management
a detention facility, so this gives you an indication of the adding to the stress. It was disheartening to listen to empty
refugee policy. reassurances literally until the final hour. It was only in the
On the positive side, several of our students completed middle of December that I suggested we approach the
their studies with us and were able to proceed on to bigger General Synod office to cover part of the wages of our
and better things. Our Nurses’ Aide student was able to colleagues until June 2011. Literally in the final hour, after
find work at Bethesda Children’s Hospital. She is now much lobbying, the synod agreed to provide a small bail
continuing her studies to be eligible to become a registered out. One of our colleagues, an Iraqi Christian was unfortu-
nurse. An Afghan student completed his school-leaving nately let go. The amount of the bail-out was not enough
exam and applied to community college. From January I to cover wages, so I helped out with donations I have
helped him learn four school years of history because this received over the years. Thank you!
is a compulsory school-leaving exam subject. He is an We began the 2010 school year with 30 young people.
excellent student, and was able to do well on the History The majority are from Afghanistan with a few from
exam. Four other students of ours transferred to trade Somalia and Iraq. I worked with some of the Afghan boys
schools where they are learning heating and plumbing who wanted to learn English. I also tutored some Iraqi
repair. children who have been in our program for a few years,
It was a delight to receive a small group from Melville helping them with history, English and whatever else they
Presbyterian Church in late June. We organized a gathering need. The fall is always a time full of challenges. It is a
of our young people to mark the end of the school year challenge to get older students used to going to school
regularly. The laws in Hungary have
become stricter, forcing youth to leave
the refugee reception centre once they
reach 18. These youth often have no
place to go. We tried to assist as many
as we could so that they wouldn’t end
up on the streets. In Hungary, these
young people are eligible to be housed
in school dormitories if they attend
school full time. While this option is
not available for school breaks and
holidays, it is better than nothing.
I look ahead with uncertainty, not
knowing what will happen after June
2011. Refugee numbers have not
declined. With the events in North
Africa and the Middle East, and with
Italy and Greece’s practice of not
registering asylum seekers and allowing
them to move on, more people will
stumble into Hungary seeking asylum.
I hope the church will see the need and
step up to help, and I pray for God’s
leadership and guidance in knowing
what to do.
Mary Gorombey (right) with her colleague Eniko Ferenczy.
32 Stories of Mission 2011
Short-term Mission Experiences
Organized in partnership with
long-term mission partners in
Canada and around the world,
short-term mission experiences
provide an opportunity for
congregations and individuals
to learn about and contribute
to the mission and ministry
supported by Presbyterians
Sharing and Presbyterian World
Service & Development. By
supporting and building on the
ongoing work of committed
long-term mission staff and
partners and inspiring change in
Canadian communities, these
mission experiences can have
a lasting impact on the world.
For more information go to
Wendy Renault, Chedoke, Hamilton — Guatemala Mission Trip
In February 2010 I travelled with seven others from the Francisco Coll School did not need me to teach at the
Hamilton area Presbyterian churches to visit organizations school. The women’s groups we visited did not improve
and people in Guatemala that we support through our their businesses because we visited. But they all wanted
gifts to Presbyterians Sharing and Presbyterian World me to be aware of what they do there – working with
Service & Development. Guatemalan women, teaching in the heart of the
My father was a Presbyterian minister and I’d heard Guatemala City dump community, and improving their
about Presbyterians Sharing and PWS&D all my life – but lives. And they all were encouraged by our presence and
seeing first-hand the depth of commitment to partnership our intention to share with others the work they are doing.
in Guatemala was when I really learned about mission. The trip brought some troubling realities to the surface
The people we met in Guatemala did not need my help for me. Beyond the question of why some people have
in the ways I expected. They didn’t need me to build their more wealth than others, it troubles me more to think of
buildings; the Fraternity of Maya Presbyterials had been people not having basic freedoms and free will. It troubles
able to employ local builders with the support we sent for me to think of people being oppressed because of their
their office extension. The amazing teachers and staff at gender, heritage or beliefs.
International Ministries 33
Now, I am aware that having all of these
wonderful gifts is a big responsibility. Since
returning home I’ve been learning how to be a
good steward of what God has entrusted to me.
I have started asking: will I keep my good
fortune to myself or will I share? Will I share
grudgingly, my leftovers – or will it be my best?
The remarkable women that we met in
Guatemala taught me to celebrate our differ-
ences, to remember one another in our prayers
and to remember we must always act to promote
social justice in our own communities and in the
world. They taught me that mission is about
building relationships and empowering each
Wendy Renault builds relationships
other by creating positive social change.
with women in Guatemala.
Crawford Sharp, St. Andrew’s Ottawa — India Mission Trip
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Sitting there that day,
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” — Isaiah 6: 8
I truly felt that God had been calling me
When the opportunity to go on the mission trip to Amkhut
to go to India.
first arose, my immediate reaction was, “Here am I. Please
send someone else.” I really didn’t want to go. It is a long
trip and I knew that the conditions in India can sometimes the face of persecution and hardship, their beautiful coun-
be difficult. tryside, all contributed to a sense that this was a special
As time went on, Mary and I began to think and talk place, a place where the veil is very thin. On the morning
more about the possibility of going and the opportunities of the Sunday that we left Amkhut to begin our journey
the trip presented, but I always came back to, “Please send home, we attended a worship service in the church.
someone else.” However, as decision time approached, The five of us were seated at the front of the church,
I began to feel that somehow it was important to me that in bare feet, facing the congregation. The floor in front of
I go. We continued to discuss it, we talked to Mary Jane us was filled with children. At the back left corner, the
Armstrong, who has been to Amkhut, and we
talked to our minister, Andrew Johnston. At the
last minute we decided that we would go.
On the day before we left, the Rev. William
Ball preached at St. Andrew’s. He preached about
Jesus calling the disciples and about Jesus telling
Simon to put out into deep water and let down his
nets. Part of the message was that you won’t catch
much if you stand about in the comfortable shal-
low water; you must go out to the deep water.
Don’t be afraid, God has given us the skills and
the opportunity to do what He wants us to do.
Sitting there that day, I truly felt that God had
been calling me to go to India.
Some of you have visited the beautiful, holy
island of Iona on the west coast of Scotland. It is
described as a “thin place”, meaning that on Iona,
the veil between heaven and earth is thin, heaven
seems somehow nearer and God is very close.
I found Amkhut to be a “thin place.” The warm
welcome from our hosts, their enthusiastic and Crawford Sharp, (back row, second from right)
joyous worship, their strong and abiding faith in heard and answered God’s call to go to India.
34 Stories of Mission 2011
women were seated. At the back right corner, the men the ceiling and for a moment I thought I could almost feel
were seated. The entire right side of the church was open. a corner of the thin veil lifting. I don’t know why God
The ceiling was decorated with thousands of multi- called me to go to India. I might never know. I will proba-
coloured prayer flags. Outside, the bougainvillea was in bly spend the rest of my life thinking and wondering about
bloom, the poinsettia trees still had flowers, and in the it and perhaps that is as good a reason as any for Him to
distance a rooster was crowing. Inside, the children were call me. I know only one thing for sure, I am thankful that
singing, the warm breeze was rippling the prayer flags on I heard His call.
Diana Bond, St. Andrew’s, Ottawa — India Mission Trip
Was it life changing? That is what someone here at others who opened their homes to us, offered us chai and
St. Andrew’s asked me when I returned from India. The warm welcome.
only way I can answer that question is to describe to you And, of course, Miss Pauline Brown, our own, now
the indelible imprint India put on me. India, with its wildly retired, Presbyterian missionary. A name familiar to me in
contrasting images: beauty amidst poverty, a world of dust my teens. Pauline, despite her own misgivings of suitabil-
and dirt and chaos. Where women in bright fuchsia and ity, followed an inner voice calling her to missionary work
gold saris walk along dirty garbage-strewn roadways. as a young nurse among the Bhils. Fifty-eight years later,
Where children step out of shanty lean-tos in spotless what an impact she has had. An ‘Auntie’ to many
school uniforms and where wild dogs and cows, camels (Christian, Hindu and Muslim), a story teller and keeper
and elephants share the roads with trucks and buses, rick- of the community: champion of both its past and future.
shaws and bicycles. Honking cars, noise, the intimidating A woman, with whom you can watch the movie, “Pretty
proximity of people: the excitement and the exhaustion. Woman” on TV with the relish of a slumber party, (fingers
And from there, the journey towards a more pastoral crossed that the electricity doesn’t cut out), but when it
place, Amkhut, our partner community. does, hear her own stories, including those of horrific
If I were to go to a place in my mind that embodied personal assaults and her gratitude for the blessings that
peace and being literally held in God’s palm, Amkhut is have come out of them. “Isn’t it marvellous?” I can still
where I would go. Not just for the beautiful terrain; the hear her say. Isn’t it marvellous, the wondrous mysteries
palm and mango interspersed with tropic orange Flame of God unravelling in ways you hadn’t expected. That in
of the Forest trees; not just for the Vindhya-Satpura EVERYTHING God has a plan.
mountains or the tidy village huts, scattered among them; Pauline reminded me of the faithful arrival of boxes of
but for the people. The people of Amkhut embody humble powdered milk sent by my mother’s WMS group to India. I
grace and faithful gratitude. People like Mercy Ravikant, remember packing those boxes! And as a teenager, loathing
a Bhili matriarch and Director of the Community Health the taste of powdered milk, wondering why on earth anyone
unit. A mighty presence in a petite frame, who with her would even want powdered milk?! And here to find myself
high-pitched giggle and expressive pointing finger, tells
us at every turn, “How wonderful is God’s Plan.” Mercy,
who proudly points out to us the health unit’s old metal
rattling storage cabinet as if it were a coveted treasure,
when in truth, the real treasure is what is stored within:
meticulously hand-logged ledgers of community health
work, faithfully recorded by village health workers since
the 1950’s. The Rev. Emmanuel Ariel, who embodies
the power of prayer; who turned an unjust imprisonment
into an opportunity to witness to fellow inmates and
praise God. A minister who tirelessly serves four church
communities, and who incredibly, feels ‘unworthy,’ yet
gratefully welcomes the opportunity to partner with
The quiet life testimony of Mr. Henry Abey, a faithful
teacher who selflessly lives in humble servitude as
guardian and warden of the boys’ hostel in the Mission
compound. The youth, Roby, Deepak, Sonia, and Deepika,
who came to St Andrew’s last summer, and took their
experiences from Canada Youth 2009 to become leaders in
their own churches and communities. These and so many Diana Bond’s experience in India was life-changing.
International Ministries 35
in India, all these years later, among the very recipients of is marvellous is that God still uses David to fulfill his
those boxes – and to realize that the milk that seemed so greatest purposes. We can hopefully conclude that He
inconsequential to me had so much value for them. will also use our efforts, however flawed, to do the same.
One Sunday, while we were in Amkhut, Roby acted We have been invited into a partnership, a friendship
out for the children the story of David and Goliath, a and a reverent relationship with Amkhut church. A privi-
simple shepherd boy, graced by God, who struck a giant lege for all of us. Not only for each of our sakes, but for
dead with a single stone – a story one could equate to what God might marvellously and unexpectedly unravel
Amkhut where a people have been transformed by God’s through us. So, was it life changing? Yes. Because there
grace and freed from the oppressive tyranny of caste and are moments of grace and places where one experiences
superstition. Later that same afternoon, the youth group God’s heartbeat in this world – and for me, Amkhut is
also studied David. But it was an older, less innocent such a place. We left a banner in Amkhut church. It
David and included the filial tragedies of the rape of quoted Psalm 47: “Clap your hands all you nations, shout
David’s daughter Tamar by her half-brother, David’s eldest to God with cries of joy.” It would be marvellous to see
son, Amnon. A tragedy, identified more candidly in India, our hands clapping together: rapid repetitive prayers of
where extended families live in close quarters. Difficult gratitude, and to hear us shouting out to God in joy
Biblical stories that we shy away from, they do not. What together, commending our partnership into His Hands.
Eun Go, St. Andrew’s, St. John’s — “I love Taiwan” Youth in Mission
My name is Eun Go and I am a member of St. Andrew’s participants were divided into different groups, with one
Presbyterian Church in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I had Taiwanese volunteer in each group to assist with various
an opportunity to participate in the I Love Taiwan mission things such as language and culture. For the next ten days
trip this past summer. I was in a group of six people sent to a one-week camp
For 16 days approximately 156 participants aged 16 to held by Shan-chi church in Hsinchu County. My Taiwanese
35, from Canada, U.S.A., Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, partner and I were assigned to teach English, and to teach
Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan, gathered in Taiwan to basketball to pre-school children and teenagers.
do mission alongside Taiwanese young people. During a After the church mission, debriefing was held at
two-day orientation we met and greeted the ILT partici- Hseuh Wei Memorial Retreat Center in Puli, Nantou,
pants as well as the Taiwanese local youths and we were which is located in the central part of Taiwan and about
introduced to the ILT mission program. Then all of the four hours from Taipei. All of the 156 participants gath-
ered once again for two days of debriefing. Here, each
group presented what they did at the church mission.
During these 16 days, I learned and trained in mission.
Both learning and having the hands-on experience of what
mission is, makes me feel in my heart that I have gained
so much and learned about mission more deeply than I did
before. Through the ILT 2010 mission trip, I was able to
experience God’s grace and love, to learn and to live out
my faith, and to challenge myself to devote myself to God
and be willing to construct my life of devotion and growth.
This mission trip is forever in my heart and I hope to serve
the church in Taiwan once again for ILT 2011.
I thank God for providing me with this great opportu-
nity to learn more about mission and gain the greatest joy
in serving others. I would like to take this opportunity to
give thanks to the Atlantic Mission Society for their gener-
ous contribution to this Mission trip. A very special thank
you to St. Andrew’s Atlantic Mission Society who helped
make this trip possible, providing me with some of the
funds and warm encouragement. Thank you also to
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, St. David’s Presby-
terian Church, Rev. Dr. Sutherland, Rev. Dr. Dent, and
I can’t forget about Jennifer Whitfield, who keeps our
Eun Go participates in a foot washing youth going in our church. Thank you for giving me this
ceremony in Taiwan. amazing opportunity.
36 Stories of Mission 2011
Sarah Smith, Calvin, Abbotsford, BC — Malawi Youth in Mission
I spent days researching and learning as much as I could
about Malawi and mission trips. I read countless articles We are all God’s children,
about the dangers that mission trips pose to developing
nations – about how North Americans run amuck preach-
and the act of being there,
ing, offending, and taking away jobs with construction learning from, and partnering with,
projects that could have employed several local workers. is what mission means to me.
Even with this information, I felt called to go to Malawi
on a Youth in Mission trip.
Reflecting now, I see how much more “mission” is. I will never cure HIV or provide a home to every orphan
A mission trip today is a partnership. This was never as or vulnerable child living in Malawi. I cannot end gender
evident as when five Malawian youth joined us for the discrimination or stop crop failure. What I can do is this:
first 10 days of our trip. I learned songs and games and I can act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord.
shared laughter with them, but was changed when they I can pray ardently for the people of Malawi. I can take the
demonstrated their faith. stories I have heard and the experiences I have been a part
During Bible study one night, Madalitso Pangani sang of back to my home congregation and the people around
us a song that he sings to himself when he needs comfort. me and together work for change.
It consisted of three simple phrases: Alleluia, You are Holy,
and You are Worthy, yet they silenced our entire group and
reminded us of God and all that God is.
While helping with some physiotherapy at Tidzalerana
Club, which supports people with disabilities, one young
girl, Maria, became attached to me and another of the
YIM participants, Natalie Brown. After spending our after-
noon with her, I overheard her mother say to Natalie, “You
have made Maria so happy.” I spent that evening wonder-
ing if the happiness Maria experienced even came close to
matching the happiness she gave to me.
I am not sure if our Malawian counterparts learned
and grew as much as I did, but I am certain that in every
situation I learned something from them. Micah 6:8 says,
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and
to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” We are
all God’s children, and the act of being there, learning
from, and partnering with, is what mission means to me. Malawian children greet Canadian youth in Malawi.
Carol Gamuti, Blantyre Synod, Malawi — Malawi Youth in Mission
Carol was one of the Malawian youth who joined Canadian that made my heart sick was when we went to Apatsa
youth on the 2010 Malawi Youth in Mission trip. Private Primary School. There we found children who
were busy dancing; a lot of them are orphans and some
It was on May 5, 2010 that we expected our friends from have HIV. It was just as difficult to bear the sight of those
Canada, but when we got to the airport we didn’t know who were in beds struggling with disease in Mulanje
what to expect. We didn’t know what they would be like. Mission Hospital while we moved freely like birds in the
But now the trip is over, and it has been like an undreamed sky. I find that to be something one has to thank God for.
dream come true. It has changed us spiritually, intellectu- In every story there is the saddest part and the fun part,
ally and physically, and has also given us opportunities to and climbing Mount Mulanje was the most fun. I had not
visit places in Malawi where we couldn’t afford to go. even dreamed of one day climbing the mountain, but now
It is a dream of every Malawian youth to see Likhubula we can say more about it and encourage our fellow youth
House near Mount Mulanje. Here we played games from to do the same.
Canada and also from Malawi that were taught by some of I and my fellow youth are happy with what these
the orphans that came to visit us. Canadian youth have done. We have learned a lot that has
In life there are challenges that one faces, but the part helped our lives; it was really youth in mission.
International Ministries 37
Karen Lye, St. Andrew’s, Coldwater — Malawi Mission Trip
In early July 2010, I had the unique privilege of travelling
to Malawi – the “warm heart of Africa” – with nine others. In these moments of silence
From the moment our feet hit Malawian soil, and for the
14 days that followed, we were bombarded with images I truly felt what it meant to be “present”
and experiences that have challenged and re-shaped our and a feeling of peace washed over me
mindsets. Each experience was a gift that resulted in
like I had never experienced before.
amazement, gratefulness, joy and heartbreak.
Everywhere we went we were greeted by the sounds
of children and women singing, smiling faces and out- example of strength and commitment. I was so grateful
stretched hands. It was often difficult to balance this and humbled by this opportunity to spend time with many
beauty and warmth against the cruel realities that too of the children. At the club the children have access to an
often confront the people. One of these cruel realities is occupational therapy program. I was able to apply the
that children living with disabilities in Malawi tend to be meager and rather rudimentary skills that I learned in a
isolated and stigmatized, even within their own families. It past job experience, and soon realized that any amount of
was inspiring to visit and participate in the PWS&D pro- expertise or skill is greatly appreciated. This club serves as
grams that support children and adults with disabilities. a beacon of hope for better things to come and assures the
Our group spent a day with the members and staff of members that they are all God’s children.
the Tidzalerana (which means “we care for each other”) Another awesome experience happened the day we
Club. This club gives children with disabilities and their visited the village of Sakata. Quite removed from the
caregivers a place to meet once a week to share in times of main roadways, many in this village had never seen an
fun and learning. The majority of the children are unable “Azungu” (white person) before. The entire village came
to walk which means their caregivers (mothers and grand- to see us. Malawians are big on formality and they love to
mothers) bring them on their backs. I will never forget hear people speak. In our opening introductions I said that
watching a grandmother arrive at the club with her grand- I worked in Canada with people who have disabilities.
son on her back. The journey to the club would have taken Later in the day our interpreter told me that a woman
this woman close to an hour on foot. The grandson was whose son was disabled wanted to see me. I eagerly agreed
almost the same height as the grandmother and I watched to speak with her, but was unsure of what I could actually
her as, with great ease and care, she took the boy off of offer her in terms of support, as we didn’t speak the same
her back and placed him on the mats. What an incredible language. As I sat with the woman and began to ask ques-
tions about her son, I soon realized that
she wasn’t really concerned with exchang-
ing a lot of words. What became evident
was that she was content to sit quietly with
a stranger who may have understanding
and empathy for her disabled child. In
these moments of silence I truly felt what
it meant to be “present” and a feeling of
peace washed over me like I had never
experienced before. The song rang in my
ears “Be still for the presence of the Lord
is moving in this place” Being present and
in the moment offered me the opportunity
to experience this human exchange on a
whole new level. In being present I was
aware of the expressions on this woman’s
face, of the quiet tones in her voice and of
the soft skin of her hand touching mine. In
being present, I was given an opportunity
to give this woman what she needed in
that moment. For that moment in time we
were not divided by race, privilege or even
Karen Lye shares an intimate moment religion. I thank God for the change that is
with a mother and child in Malawi. happening in Malawi.
38 Stories of Mission 2011
Canadian Ministries /
In 2011, grants from Canadian Ministries / The Vine are helping create
15 new ministries, renew 4 ministries, sustain 11 ministries and support
32 specialized (inner city, chaplaincy, refugee and native) ministries.
The reports in this section highlight some of the ministries that received grants in 2010.
For more information contact Canadian Ministries /The Vine at 1-800-619-7301.
Canada Ministries / The Vine 39
CREATING NEW MINISTRIES
The Upper Room, Rockland, Ontario
2010 has been an interesting journey from site readiness to team went door to door in Rockland handing out postcards
full-blown ministry at a former bar/dance hall. We began with information about our Christmas Eve Service. Again,
in January on Sunday evenings with a study for the core the Lord went before the team.
group that progressed into a worship/prayer service, which In December we entered a float in the Rockland Christ-
ultimately became an 11:00 morning service in September. mas Parade, featuring Mary, Joseph, an angel, and two live
We also began a “Learn to Quilt” Bible Study on Tuesday goats on a flatbed pulled by a John (Rein) Deere Tractor.
evenings that has enjoyed limited success. We also prepared about 700 business cards with an expla-
We also began a Youth Drop-In program on Friday nation of the gospel by way of an attached candy cane on
evenings. It was initially slow in gaining momentum but one side and information about the church on the other.
now averages 35 kids with a contact list of over 100. We All were given out before we got 1/3 of the way through
have hired a Director for the Drop-In program (10 hours the parade route. Again, we were encouraged by how well
a week), and have been developing relationships with both we were received by the parade watchers and how well
kids and parents since. known the Church is becoming. As a result of our candy
Morning worship in Rockland has also been encourag- cane campaign, we now have one more new family attend-
ing. On our first Sunday in September we had 18 in atten- ing regularly. We were caught off guard by the numbers
dance, all of whom were core families from Grace Church of young families lining the parade route and we saw the
in Orleans, committed to the church plant. Our average enormity of the mission field in which God has placed us.
has been about 20 but there is fluctuation due to some As Christmas Eve approached, we became more and
family’s commitments to youth ministry at Grace on more nervous about our ability to seat everyone coming to
Sunday mornings. What is of greater encouragement is the 11:00 service. We began to make plans to bring chairs
that four new families from Rockland have joined us. from Grace when a family from Westminster Church
Late in November a providential opportunity opened for generously stepped forward and purchased for us 30 new
us with the Discipleship Training School of YWAM (Youth stacking chairs, matching the 35 left over from the bar that
With A Mission) in Dunham, Quebec who facilitated a had occupied the space previously. The chairs arrived on
week of mission outreach in Rockland. We, by God’s grace, December 23rd, and on December 24th during the Christ-
arranged for them to speak in the public elementary and mas Eve Service, we had 44 people in attendance. It was
high schools in Rockland. With such a welcome as only our Christmas Miracle.
God could orchestrate, the mission team represented us at We are extremely grateful to God for His grace to us in
the public school before about 60 students, many of whom this year, to the Presbytery of Ottawa, and to The Presby-
were familiar with the Drop-In program, and to about 20 terian Church in Canada for their commitment to new
from the high school. Gaining entrance into the schools church development and their partnership with us.
was, in our minds, a miracle. On the Monday evening the The Reverend Daniel MacKinnon
Almanarah Church, London, Ontario
Almanarah Presbyterian Church in London is an Arabic The Presbytery of London as a congregation within The
Christian community. Members have come to Canada from Presbyterian Church in Canada on May 24th, 2009. In
Egypt, Iraq, Jordon, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and other June of 2010, the impossible became possible! A miracle
countries. We are a dedicated group of Christians, bringing happened when Almanarah Presbyterian Church moved
Christ’s message of love, hope and salvation to Arabic and into its new home – just 13 months after its constitution.
non-Arabic speaking families and individuals in London, Since that time, we have set out on our Christian Mission
Ontario and beyond. with renewed zeal and optimism. Worship attendance at
Almanarah started as a small group of believers who Almanarah Church is now between 60 and 70 people on
came together to worship in a home. Since then, God has a Sunday afternoon.
had His hands upon us. As we have grown in faith, so we Youth attendance has been growing and we are thank-
have grown in numbers. In November of 2008, when our ful to have a bigger place where we can worship God
house church became too small, St. George Presbyterian together and conduct other mid-week activities. The youth
Church in London became a gracious host to Almanarah. ministry is striving to bring young people closer to God,
Almanarah Presbyterian Church was constituted by to equip Christian youth for the coming years, and to
40 Stories of Mission 2011
reach out to all youth in London, Ontario, both
Arabic and non-Arabic speaking. We are work-
ing on developing a worship team that will go to
other churches and lead worship there.
Almanarah’s youth and teens, together with
adult leaders, have been working to develop a
dramatic arts puppet ministry. Plays and skits are
written, recorded, edited and put on DVD. They
are used in ministry within the church and also
on the web site, making this an international
ministry. This project brings gifted, artistic Chris-
tians together, allowing them to express their
while learning and experiencing more about God
and His plan.
Currently the group is working on improving
the quality of all aspects of the production
process from beginning to end: script writing,
acting, recording of the skits, and editing. Theme
DVD’s of skits are being planned and scripts for Almanarah’s youth ministry strives
those DVD’s are being written. There is much to bring young people closer to God.
excitement for this ministry in the coming year.
Our most important and challenging focus is
our Sunday School children. This is the age when God’s Bible, and to worship Christ through praise and prayers.
words of love and faithfulness must be planted in the We hope these fun and enthusiastic activities will encour-
hearts of children so that they may grow to become great age them to bring their friends along. Through the help
and true servants of Jesus Christ. As the new school year of our Lord, we will be successful in our ministry to the
began, we turned to the very beginning of the Bible. Our Sunday School children.
goal is to teach our Sunday School pupils about significant Adults in our congregation meet weekly for a Bible
Old Testament characters who truly experienced God’s Study led by William Khalil, who is currently studying
message and plan for His people. By doing this, the kids at Knox College. The Rev. Keith McKee, former interim
will see a variety of messages revealed to them by God and moderator of the congregation, now serves as William’s
will seek His special plan for their lives. We use original Theological Field Education Supervisor. In February of
and vivid methods to teach kids, including creative story- 2011 the Presbytery appointed the Reverend Michael Stol
telling, games and crafts with weekly memory verses. as interim moderator. Mr. Stol is from Westmount Presby-
We use a “tally” system in which kids can score points for terian Church in London.
attending, actively cooperating, answering questions, and Almanarah Presbyterian Church is very grateful for the
exhibiting good behaviour. Kids with the most points are support received through Presbyterians Sharing and for
awarded a prize each month which makes them work the prayers and commitment of the Presbytery of London.
harder to keep it up in the next month while others try to Great things are happening in London with those who are
compete for the prize. new to the country but who are deeply rooted in the
It is our responsibility to encourage our children to Church of the Middle East.
start a relationship with our Saviour, to begin to read the William Khalil, Pastor
Keswick Church, Keswick, Ontario
Building continued at Keswick Presbyterian Church in those within our community, and showing the movie
2010. Even in a new building we still found things that “To Save a Life”, in partnership with Life 100.3 (the local
needed to be added, like a new platform and sound booth Christian radio station). In the summer we offered free day
in our sanctuary. Thanks to volunteers, it was completed camps for kids that helped build a relationship between
and truly added to our wonderful homey sanctuary. We God and these special little treasurers.
continued to build relationships in our community by Building also occurred within our own congregation.
opening up our hall to a pancake supper, hosting a parent- We welcomed many new families – some coming with
ing video series called “Have a New Kid By Friday” that little or no church experience, others joining us after a
was attended by both those of our KesPres family and long sabbatical away from the church, and still others
Canada Ministries / The Vine 41
church, for this is often where an ever deepening
and abiding faith is instilled and matures.
And finally, we at Keswick Presbyterian
Church have attempted to not be too inward-
looking, but to build God’s Kingdom here in
Keswick. A new initiative began in Keswick just
before Christmas – along with six other
churches – that we called our “Ask Me About My
Church” campaign. This was an outreach project
where participating church members put lawn
signs in their own yards to show solidarity with
other churches in the community as well as to
spark spiritual conversations between neigh-
bours. We plan to do this again in Keswick over
Easter and are encouraging other churches in
other communities to join us. (For more informa-
tion, go to www.askmeaboutmychurch.com.)
Enjoying a cool treat at Keswick’s summer day camp.
Without the support of Presbyterians Sharing
and the prayers of so many, we believe we would
seeking a church home in Keswick, having moved here not be where we are today. Thanks to God and to everyone
from another community. We attempted to welcome these who has supported this ministry. We pray that we might be
new faces as well as disciple them. Our small group min- faithful in this part of God’s vineyard.
istries continue to be an important “sail” in the life of our The Reverends Kirk and Allyson MacLeod
Trinity Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba
2010 was an exciting and challenging year for Trinity.
We began with a lot of excitement, working with architects
on plans for a new building. During this time we became
aware of an increasing discontent with our current place
of worship – a local movie theatre. While the location was
excellent, we found our worship life was often at odds
with the environment in which we found ourselves. Fixed
stadium-style seating and very limited up-front space
didn’t help with our commitment to participatory worship;
poor acoustics were a constant challenge to embracing a
variety of musical styles. It had served us well, but we
began asking ourselves if it really was best for us. When
an opportunity was presented for us to move to a small
church close to the University of Manitoba, we took it.
Initially, we rented it on Sundays, and later in the year
added three Wednesday nights a month, a small office
and some storage space.
Prior to the move on June 1st, we held a conference
for Young Adults on the topic of discernment and a lecture
for leaders on ministering with youth today. Both events
had participants from several other churches, and all
spoke very highly of their experience.
In the summer, we held three Community Fun Days at
the Community Centre near our new location. These met
with much support and appreciation from our few hun-
dred neighbours who came for hotdogs, entertainment,
crafts, and games.
This is the first time in our four-year history that we Members of Trinity’s praise band
have had access to facilities at times other than Sunday lead the congregation in song.
42 Stories of Mission 2011
mornings, so the fall became a time to experiment with
some new ideas. We put together a number of events on The new space provided us
Sunday nights. The events included prayer nights, movie
with a much better fit
nights, a car rally, collecting in the neighbourhood for the
food bank, a coffee house, and a service of solace. for our worship life,
The new space provided us with a much better fit for which continues to flourish.
our worship life, which continues to flourish. In a young,
small, and still slow-growing congregation, we have been
blessed with exceptional musicians, and some gifted
worship leaders and even preachers! building and property. The hope was to gain some clarity
With such a significant move came some significant about God’s purpose and how He wants to use us, the
re-thinking and reflection. The Session felt we needed building, and the property for His glory. When we got to
some time to think and pray about the next steps in our the end of our four months, we decided that we needed
building process, prior to beginning any major fundraising. to spend even more time and be more intentional in our
We believed that time and space was needed for the con- prayers. Our building plans are still there, but we want to
gregation to adjust to the new location. The session asked continue to listen for God’s leading, and work with the
the congregation in September 2010 to pray for four plans of the Lord and not merely “our” plans.
months about the direction of our church with regard to The Reverend Matthew Brough
Asian Christ Church, Surrey, British Columbia
Asian Christ Church (ACC) is a unique mission within We started the ACC television outreach ministry on
The Presbyterian Church in Canada serving South Asian November 13th, 2010 on a weekly basis. TV ministry is
communities in the province of British Columbia who playing a central and great role in the mission work of
speak Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. There are more than Asian Christ Church. “Jeewan Kee Raah” (The Way of
500,000 South Asians living in the lower mainland of Life) is broadcast twice every week – Saturday’s at 6pm
British Columbia alone! and Tuesday’s at 9:30am.
ACC is working towards establishing the main congre- Evangelizing people of other nations with the Gospel
gation where we receive and accommodate new Chris- of Jesus Christ is not an easy task. It takes a very long time
tians. Pastoral care service requires a lot of time. We spend to bring even one person into the Christian faith. But
at least one to two hours with a family or individual in a through this TV ministry, we are achieving the goal. We
meeting according to the situation. We are always open to receive many phone calls from our viewers for prayer
receive calls for visits and visitors. It gives us an opportu- requests, scriptural questions and invitations to the new
nity to deliver the Good News. family visits. We also receive phone calls from those who
We also deliver the message of the Gospel of Jesus are looking for a Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi Church. Every
Christ door to door. This is a very effective ministry that Sunday we receive new people into the Church. According
provides people with Christian love and care through to the TV station viewership report from the first three
blessings and prayers. We reach out to South Asian months, every week 12,000 TV’s are tuned in to our TV
families and individuals who don’t like to go to any church program. You can watch ACC TV programs online at:
because of their religious and cultural restrictions. We www.asianchristchurch.com.
offer prayers according to their needs. We teach them He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the
about the love of God and salvation through Jesus Christ. gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). We see people from
Through our Home Cell Groups we connect new the entire world, especially from South Asian countries,
Christians with one another. They have an opportunity migrating to BC and Canada every day. A big missionary
for Christian fellowship and to experience spiritual field has come into our backyard, and God is using Asian
strength and confidence. They learn from the Bible Study Christ Church to minister to South Asians in BC. As a
sessions on a regular basis. ACC has established three result of our evangelism, visits, prayers, preaching the
different Home Cell Groups in different areas: Queen Good News and teaching people about faith in Jesus
Mary Park in Surrey, Bear Creek in Surrey, and Yardley Christ, we are successful in bringing many people to
Ave in Vancouver. accept the Lord Jesus as the Saviour of their life. Every
Sunday school is a very important ministry of the Asian Sunday we see new faces and receive new visitors to our
Christ Church. We have regular Sunday school every week. Sunday service. Once they attend our service, most of
Through our Sunday school ministry, we attract families to them commit to being regular members of the Asian
the ACC congregation. Children are taught about Jesus Christ Church.
Christ, God the Father and His Holy Spirit. The Reverend Emmanuel & Bushra Cheema
Canada Ministries / The Vine 43
Burnaby Taiwanese Church, Burnaby, British Columbia
Thank God that Burnaby Taiwanese Presbyterian Church conveners, and four members from the congregation.
(BTPC) is a growing congregation. In 2010 the average Our covenantal relationship with Brentwood congre-
Sunday weekly worship attendance was around 130 gation is a healthy one, though the facilities have become
members including Sunday school students. Last year increasingly limited. The Rev. Dr. Brian Fraser and the
we added two new elders, Shadem Chang for Christian Rev. Dr. Ted Siverns work diligently to explore new
Education and Esther Chiang as Treasurer. venues for us. When Brentwood Church bought a grand
On Sunday, February 13th, 2011 we had our Annual piano at $13,500 last year to expand their outreach min-
Congregational Meeting where we elected four new istry, we gladly shared half of the cost to demonstrate our
deacons to the Deacons’ Board. The congregation also partnership. The two congregations continued to share in
reorganized the Search Committee since the anticipated the spring clean-up and summer BBQ in the parking lot –
candidate withdrew his application at the last minute. to become more inviting and welcoming to our neighbor-
Twelve people made up the Search Committee, repre- hood and communities.
sented by four elders, four deacons and fellowship The Reverend Morgan Wong, Interim Moderator
Vancouver Younghwa Church, Vancouver, British Columbia
Our church ministers to Koreans and international of missionaries there. Our children’s ministry helps those
students in both North and West Vancouver. who have come to Canada at a young age learn what it
Our adult ministry encourages Korean immigrants means to be Korean. For children who have difficulties
to be righteous, true and holy in this secularized world. speaking and writing in Korean, we teach Korean on
Our youth ministry helps equip young people to navigate Saturday mornings. This will help them to communicate
a consumerist and decadent society. It also teaches them better with their parents. Children also attend the Sunday
about the importance of home, marriage and chastity. worship service and worship together as equal members
Youth training includes prayer and devotion so that, of our Christian family.
when they return to Korea, they can handle the role Worship is the most important focus of
our church. We hold services several times
a week – Sunday afternoons, Wednesday
evenings, and early morning services from
Tuesday to Saturday.
Our Sunday School teaches children to
live according to God’s Word as they grow
up. After the Sunday service, young adults
attend a Bible Study to share God’s grace
and faith and to light up their life during
the week. We offer a late lunch consisting
of South Korea’s traditional foods.
Younghwa is a pioneer in the early
stages, so we are trying hard to strengthen
our spiritual foundation; this is our top
priority. We are focusing especially on
prayer and Bible study so that we can learn
to be devoted to the Lord. Young adults
who were trained in our church and who
have returned to their hometowns are
giving a positive influence to other church
members around them. We are truly
experiencing the Holy Spirit working
The Reverend Ki Tae Lee
A family at Younghwa.
44 Stories of Mission 2011
Cloverdale Korean Church, Surrey, British Columbia
Cloverdale Korean Presbyterian Church began in
January of 2010 in the Cloverdale downtown area
of Surrey. This church was started with two main
agendas. The first was to bring together separated
first and second generation Koreans and to encour-
age them to use their talents for the building of the
Korean Christian community. The second was to
help and encourage the Korean Christian commu-
nity to be an important part of the local community
for the building of a healthy society.
During the first phase of its ministry the church
has been focusing on two areas: creating a mission
program and a social outreach program.
Cloverdale offers an ESL program for Korean
people in the area that has been very successful.
Through this program, four brand new families
have joined the church.
During the first phase of its ministry
Doo Je Kim with his wife Clara and their children.
the church has been focusing on two
areas: creating a mission program Our church was naturally getting involved and exposed
and a social outreach program. to the homeless mission because the Cloverdale Commu-
nity Fellowship Church, which is the” landlord” church,
has been deeply involved with the homeless mission for 18
The church also reaches out to homeless people in the years. So it was very natural for Clara and me to be a part
same area. The Rev. Clara Kim has started a small home- of the homeless mission for the local community.
less ministry (Vancouver Shepherd’s House) in the down- For this homeless mission program, we have recruited
town Cloverdale area. It seems to be very natural for her many volunteers from the ESL program as well as
to engage in this kind of mission activity because she has Cloverdale Korean Presbyterian Church and Cloverdale
been volunteering at the “House of Grace” in the Surrey Community Fellowship Church.
area and “Potter’s House” in Vancouver’s downtown area These social outreach mission programs are inspira-
for three years. During this period she completed a spiri- tional and very effective. And it seems that our two
tual care/counseling program at the Vancouver General focuses of ministry have been successful – which means
Hospital. She is learning about various broken people and that we are going to continue these ministries for another
families, and discovering how these broken people can be year or two.
restored within the Christian community. The Reverend Doo Je Kim
West Shore Church, Victoria, British Columbia
West Shore Presbyterian Church is located in the western A great disappointment was when we had to give up
semi-rural suburb of Langford, part of greater Victoria. on our dream of building a campus of care along with a
It began with a Canada Ministries grant in the spring of sanctuary on our present site. The financial crisis of 2008
1998. The national church purchased five acres of land brought that to a screeching halt, but we survived and
where we currently worship in a renovated house, with carry on, looking to God for what we will do with our
a cross fixed to the roof to signal it as a place of worship. legacy from the ‘Live the Vision’ funds.
2010 was the last year in which West Shore received a Our victories come one person at a time. Just the
ministry grant. As of 2011, we are self-supporting, and the other day I was sitting in Tim Horton’s (my other office)
entire congregation offers its great thanks to all who have with a young woman who had accompanied me on a
supported and encouraged us in this transition. pastoral visit to a lady suffering terminal cancer. She had
As with all churches, we have had our ups and downs. approached me after worship to see if she could accompany
Canada Ministries / The Vine 45
me. After the visit we sat across to me. There are other stories
from one another sipping our Our victories come just as touching and almost as
hot coffee. She said to me, dramatic.
“This is really amazing, you one person at a time. At our Christmas Eve serv-
know.” I had an idea what she ice, a young brother and sister
meant but just said, “In what also read a scripture passage
way?” She replied, “Two years ago this would never have and lit the candle of love in our wreath. Their family has
happened. Back then no one would have wanted to be been through its own nightmare, and yet here they stood
around me.” in the safety and love of a small congregation where they
Her journey has been nothing short of miraculous. found sanctuary.
Befriended by a member of session, and invited to West In our short time as a church we can look back over
Shore, she sat weeping through our worship services week the years and see many lives, young and old, who have been
after week. She has not been the first and the congregation touched by God and given the miraculous gift of grace.
gave her love and distance when she needed it. Eventually Most of us in the church believe we too have been gifted.
the tears stopped and she began volunteering to help in We are still small in number and feel a bit vulnerable
our ministry to seniors. Just this past advent, she and a “out on our own”, but God’s grace has been seen in our
very reserved man with Parkinson’s read the call to wor- work together, and we enter the New Year self-supporting
ship and lit one of the advent candles. I scarcely noticed and grateful for both your financial help and your prayers.
the miracle of their participation until it was pointed out The Reverend Harold McNabb
Hopedale Church, Oakville, Ontario
2010 was the first full year of our attempts to build a The Rev. Wan Tae Oh reports about the first full year of
joint English-Korean ministry at Hopedale. The vision his appointment:
for this ministry of one congregation worshipping and I would say that 2010 was the year for Planting
working together in two languages began in September Seeds. I am so thankful to God for giving me the seeds
of 2009. Rev. Wan Tae Oh was appointed to the congre- and soil. Upon the soil God prepared, I planted the seeds
gation in November of 2009 to work with Reverend Sean that He provided me. Even though God worked in me,
Foster on this initiative. The ministry involves working around me, and with me, planting seeds with a new
from within the existing congregation to develop the approach in this new soil was not easy. There were a lot
Korean component of the congregation along with the of challenges and “trial and errors”. I had to be humble
English component. to myself and to God. Along the way, God graciously sent
me many wonderful helpers.
After the steering period, I concluded that
simply visiting and waiting for the people to
turn up does not work well. We needed to
provide programs for them to step into our
church. As more people frequent our church
grounds, eventually there will be more people
in the sanctuary as well. We organized a
Multi-Cultural Bridge Committee in June and
we were able to launch the Hopedale Multi-
Cultural Programs in September. In these
programs there are Argentinian, Indian,
Japanese, Mexican, Chilean, Italian, and
Korean people. We offered programs in Eng-
lish conversation, navigating life in Canada,
Hanji art, table tennis, and started the Hope-
dale Youth Orchestra. Through these pro-
grams, more than 70 people stepped into our
church. The programs are a very important
Children enjoy Sunday School at Hopedale. ministry for those adapting to Canadian life.
46 Stories of Mission 2011
I faced the dilemma regarding worship times, specifi- With the support of the Experimental Fund, we have
cally in choosing the ‘best’ time slot. It could not be solved hired Sunny Choi, a Knox College graduate, to work with
easily. The congregation would like to worship in the our Korean and English-speaking children and youth, and
Sanctuary. Also, we would like to keep our joint spirit, by we are very excited about the potential of this ministry.
having the English and Korean services at the same time. We are grateful to Presbyterians Sharing for its finan-
However, logistically and realistically, it was not possible. cial support. With God’s blessing upon us, and with the
It was especially difficult for me to see people come and continuing support of the Hopedale congregation, the
go simply because they could not be familiarized to our Presbytery of Brampton, and The Presbyterian Church in
visional approach. Now we have an Oversight Team for Canada, we look forward to seeing more of the fruits of
our ministry. With support of the oversight team, our this planting of seeds in 2011 – to realize the vision of the
congregation, and God’s help in 2011, as Paul said in English-Korean ministry in Oakville.
Galatians, “We will reap at harvest time, if we do not give The Reverends Sean Foster and Wan Tae Oh
up.” I plan to plant seeds continually without giving up. (joint ministers)
Knox Church, Neepawa, Manitoba
On behalf of Knox Neepawa, we would
like to thank The Presbyterian Church
in Canada for the support that has
made our church growth possible. We
thank you for Rev. Jeanie Lee and all
the work she has done at Knox.
Our Lord’s Day Worship Service
has about 45 to 50 in attendance every
week. We have a weekly Sunday school,
and our Church is filled with the sound
of children’s laughter once again.
People of completely different back-
grounds have become one at Knox. We
have a Joyful fellowship with lunch after
the service. We are enjoying traditional
Knox’s minister, Jeanie Lee.
Korean food, and our new immigrants
are enjoying traditional Canadian food.
We have started to pair older (experienced) Presbyterians Financially, although we are still operating at a deficit,
with new immigrant Christians, and we are all learning we have reduced the amount of budgeted deficit by 50%,
to understand each other. We have “Young Followers” thanks in part to Presbyterians Sharing. We look forward
youth group for high school and college students, to soon being able to contribute to other missions. We ask
“Dream Makers” discipleship group, “Beautiful Mornings” for The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s prayers, as you
women’s devotions, a Korean Bible Study group, and a have ours.
Friday evening Praise & Worship service. Harold Hunter, Knox elder
Lakeside Church, Summerland, British Columbia
We would like to thank The Presbyterian Church in Canada reputation in the community. The old building, pipe organ,
for their generosity in investing grant funds in the people lack of parking, and poor location are major barriers to
of the Okanagan Valley. 2010 was our final year of grant growth with the iPod generation.
funds, and we are now a self-sustaining congregation. This year we compiled a page-long list of all the
The church now draws from a wide area and not just things the congregation did in the last several years to try
Summerland, but for a variety of reasons our numbers to build bridges into the community. We were amazed
continue to dwindle. We will be starting an investigative and feel good at good efforts made. We await the moving
process with the Presbytery this year towards part-time of the Holy Spirit numerically, but have been encouraged
ministry so as to sustain the work. to see particularly some of the old folks coming alive in
The congregation gives extremely well, the people their faith.
are enthusiastic in their faith, and now we have a good The Reverend James Statham
Canada Ministries / The Vine 47
St. Matthew’s Church, Elmsdale
and Hardwood Lands Church, Hardwood Lands, Nova Scotia
“Gentle is our love, gentle is our life when we walk by the churches the members have willingly taken on some
light of prayer.” additional responsibilities which made 2010 a busy year
As I reflect on a year like no other in my ministry, I ask for them.
myself what one writes to summarize an extended period Six members of the “Forward in Faith Committee”
of illness and subsequent successful surgery. attended the “Emmaus Project” at Camp Geddie in the
I am thankful to Gordon Haynes from The Presbyte- fall. Our committee has been having conversations around
rian Church in Canada for his words of wisdom when he being a missional church and discussed what that meant
came to visit last fall. I voiced my concerns about being and looked like in practice. Amazingly, the “Emmaus
away from the charge. He said, “Many times when the Project” focused on addressing the same concerns.
minister is away, for an extended time, congregations We are excited about the future and the opportunities
surprise us by doing what is needed.” So true! In both that are presented in the challenges we face. We are fully
convinced that, with Jesus walking with us on the road to
Emmaus and opening up the scriptures to us, we as a
Pastoral Charge will find new life in Him and so breathe
new life into others.
In 2010 Bible Studies continued. Mission/Outreach
continued to support at the local, national and interna-
tional levels. Church suppers, teas and our joint congrega-
tional breakfast, as always, were well supported. Vacation
Bible School was a great success as a community outreach
All in all, the year 2010 has been a journey of transi-
tion for us as a Pastoral Charge. In that time I have calmed
and quieted my soul by surrendering and trusting that God
was in our midst.
We are grateful for the continued support of The Pres-
byterian Church in Canada, who continued to give needed
and extremely valuable oversight, leadership and monetary
assistance through Presbyterians Sharing to our congrega-
Friends share a laugh at a bake sale tions. It was a great blessing.
at Hardwood Lands Church. The Reverend Gwen Roberts
North Park Church (Spanish Ministry), Toronto, Ontario
North Park is the only Spanish ministry of our denomina- serve within the immigrant community, mainly refugee
tion in Canada. We are a worshiping community that claimants and vulnerable people. Amongst other services
lives its faith by outreaching and serving. in 2010, we put together four workshops on settlement
We are proud of our “Children in Worship” ministry. issues and two on dealing with stress.
In 2010, the leadership team in our Christian Education People of all ages have participated in three retreats
Program grew, and a greater number of children are now this year. We offer a weekly Bible class for children,
being served. Sunday Bible School, prayer group, and youth and adults, and a Saturday arts program that has
youth programs continue to be a motivation for parents been extended to all ages. During the summer, we had a
to bring their children to church. We are a Leading with summer camp where 32 children participated, and 18
Care community. volunteers helped.
This year, we visited more than 40 new families. Four We continue to share the Gospel within our commu-
are now attending worship services regularly, and two nity, visiting, teaching and praying with them.
have joined leadership classes. We feel a special call to The Reverend Elias Morales
48 Stories of Mission 2011
Presbytery of Temiskaming Regional Ministry, Ontario
In August of 2010 I started working as Regional Minister be involved with the Food Bank, the seniors’ homes, the
in Temiskaming Presbytery to four congregations. Each of hospital, ecumenical services, and community events.
these congregations was once filled with life and members
St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Kapuskasing is still
of all ages, but membership is now decreasing and aging.
active, under the leadership of devoted elders and their
Young people have moved away or become more involved
hard-working lay minister, Debbie Stenabaugh. They have
in other activities and some of the older folk have moved
two Ladies’ Groups and host pot-luck dinners, tea and
into long-term care facilities or to warmer climates. This
bake sales and other activities. They financially support
leaves smaller, older memberships, many of whom have
local mission as well as mission within Canada (Cariboo
spent most of their lives actively involved in their church.
Ministries) and international mission (PWS&D). Debbie
They remember their glory days with longing and frustra-
keeps very busy providing pastoral care for members who
tion. With very few people to take over, members are tired
are sick, hospitalized or have other needs. St. John’s is
and discouraged, and sometimes a few leaders or members
currently exploring the possibilities of shared ministry,
feel the burden of all the preparation and arrangements.
and hosted a workshop with some other denominations
All four of these congregations have had to rethink God’s
to learn more about it. In the meantime, they often share
call to them as a Church.
joint services and events with other churches. They rotate
With the exception of Knox, they all have part-time
hosting events such as a service during the Week of Prayer
lay ministers who work with Elders and lay leaders to take
for Christian Unity, World Day of Prayer service, Bible
care of the day-to-day ministry of the church, including
studies and other activities. They share their facilities with
worship on most Sundays. Part of my job is to provide
a Baptist church, and allow several community groups to
worship leadership (particularly preaching) one Sunday
use their facilities as well.
a month in each of the four congregations, as well as take
care of the sacraments and At Mackay Presbyterian
moderate Session meetings. Church in Timmins, lay minis-
I also provide encouragement, I am very honored ters Norman and Bertha Johns
support and training to the lay to be part of this Regional Ministry, are doing their best to lead the
ministers and congregations congregation to life in Christ.
through phone, email and and challenged by the work before me, A few newcomers over the
Skype. needing to be constantly led by the grace past few months have brought
with them the excitement of
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian and Spirit of God who has called us
new possibilities. The congre-
Church in Kirkland Lake to be Christ’s witnesses in the North. gation realizes that it needs to
decided to sell their building.
be involved with the needs of
They were spending most of
the community, and has started
their energy and finances just to maintain it, with little left
to plan events to address some of these needs. For example,
over to be a church in the community. They held their
after a string of home robberies, Mackay church set up
Building Closing Service on September 26th, 2010. With
a forum where the local police and fire service shared
the spirit of Christ, many of the local denominations had
about ‘Staying Safe in Your Home’. Other interests and
offered them space and the following Sunday they began
events to help meet needs in the community are being
worshiping at Tower Street First Baptist Church in Kirk-
The Porcupine Clergy Association (ministerial) that
St. Andrew’s has suffered the loss of some of its lead-
covers Timmins and Porcupine is very active. Through it,
ers due to health issues and movement. Yet, in spite of
churches support each other’s activities, share in ecumeni-
their small size, they are a family, and are involved in the
cal services and activities, share mission and ministry ideas
community through various ecumenical services and activ-
and pray for each other. Every second Thursday of the
ities. Their lay minister, Harvey Delport, provides pastoral
month some of the members of the Clergy Association
care services for both long-term care facilities and the
offer free donuts and Tim Horton’s coffee to staff and
hospital, and he and the congregation are involved with
students at Northern College in South Porcupine. Their
mission activities at Dorothy Lake Camp each summer.
presence often elicits discussions and inquiries. Christian
Knox Presbyterian Church in Cochrane has also faced loss pamphlets, devotionals and free Bibles are available for
of leadership in the past year, but they, too, are a very close those who would like them.
family who care for each other and for the community in Ecumenically the churches in the north are involved
which they live. The Ministerial Association in Cochrane is with pastoral services in the hospitals, seniors’ residences
very active, encouraging churches in town and beyond to and long-term care facilities. Most communities also lead
Canada Ministries / The Vine 49
worship services in some of these places. In Timmins a congregation together for worship. Alternative worship
new Bereavement Group is in the process of being formed. arrangements will be made within the various ministerials
Presently I am the only ordained Presbyterian minister for members unable to travel on that Sunday.
in the entire Presbytery of Temiskaming. Although the The congregations also share what is happening in
Presbytery continues to function through the very capable their respective areas and learn from things shared by
and commendable work of the lay ministers, elders and others. We are beginning to make a list of resources in
other lay leaders, the Presbytery’s representation in other each congregation that can be shared and used by others.
areas is subsequently scanty. For example, Bible Study material used in one congrega-
The lay ministers for all of these churches are doing tion can later be borrowed for use in another.
wonderful jobs and working very hard. However, it is diffi- I am very honored to be part of this Regional Ministry,
cult for them to confine all they do into a part-time sched- and challenged by the work before me, needing to be con-
ule. Other members of the congregations do take some stantly led by the grace and Spirit of God who has called
leadership roles, but a lot falls on the lay minister. As a us to be Christ’s witnesses in the North. Although initially
result, they often feel burned out and then find it difficult I wondered how I would manage the driving and the cold
to think about doing “another thing” within church. In northern winters, God has given me the grace not only to
some cases it is not the pressure from the congregation, manage them, but to enjoy both. As congregations, we
but the pressure from within that drives the lay minister. continue to pray for God’s guidance and direction. As we
The Regional Ministries Committee has begun to look into consider various possibilities for our ministry, we see that
the contracts and working schedules of the lay ministers to whatever we do – whether we close the doors of our
address the issue of possible burn-out and personal growth. buildings, become part of a shared ministry, or grow as a
In an effort to help the congregations see that they are congregation – we belong to the Lord whom we serve.
part of something bigger, we are having the lay ministers Please pray with us for God’s light to illuminate our path
exchange pulpits one Sunday in March and holding a joint in the next few years.
Regional Ministry Worship Service in April, bringing each The Reverend Arlene Onuoha, Regional Minister
St. Andrew’s Church, Thompson, Manitoba
In 2010, we started two major new ministries designed to students from several classes and a teacher came and
reach out and invite people in. enjoyed lunch at the church.
We held a student BBQ in the spring, around the time Our first ever Friendship Sunday was celebrated on
of Trinity Sunday. Right across the street from the church Reformation Sunday in October. The invitation was sim-
building is R. D. Parker Collegiate. Every day, hundreds ple, “Come my friends, a nice feast is ready for you!” Over
of students go back and forth for lunch. With this BBQ, seventy-five people, including twenty-five invited friends
we wanted to let the students know that we are here and neighbours, shared our worship service with a special
whenever they need God’s help or our help. Invitation message and music. Then we all enjoyed a wonderful hot
cards were delivered to the school office a week in meal prepared by the congregation. There were fancy
advance. The members of the congregation were excited cakes in the shape of a cross and a pumpkin pie for
to prepare the food for the students. About thirty-five dessert. The tables were beautifully decorated, and our
guests enjoyed it very much.
The building was full of laughter,
joy and excitement.
In the coming year, the elders
will continue these ministries
and endeavour to care for adher-
ents and members by dividing
the congregation into several
families. Each elder will have a
group of people under his or her
care. We also want to extend this
personal focus to any new visi-
tors. We have been successful in
attracting eleven new people this
year, and are eager to continue to
build this in the year 2011.
St. Andrew’s is growing as it reaches out and invites people in to worship. The Reverend Sean Kim
50 Stories of Mission 2011
Knox Church, Wanham, Alberta
The most exciting event this year has been the sense of integrated Christmas Hamper program to the community.
calling by our former clerk of session, Joyce Yanishewski, It seems to be a very successful program; more families
to studies leading to Ordination to Word and Sacrament. have applied, and we have reached a couple of families
Of course, that also has its downside as it means Joyce who may have fallen between the cracks.
and her husband have moved to Toronto for her to attend Several people in the congregation share worship
Knox College. Joyce and Ken have been an integral part leadership roles, as I have the joy of being Interim
of our congregation for over two decades, so their loss is Moderator at Strang Presbyterian Church in Dixonville.
keenly felt. I travel there every fourth Sunday of the month to lead
The congregation remains fairly small but stable. A worship and Session. We have also held a couple of
new young family has joined through membership classes workshops with The Rev. Dianne Ollerenshaw, focusing
and had their infant daughter baptized. The Mom was on the future of ministry in Knox.
baptized as a baby at Knox and moved back to the area In area news, the farms around the northwestern
last year. We are delighted that they wanted to make this Peace River Country suffered from a severe lack of rain
their church family. over the summer. Several counties declared and applied
We continue to host our Community Spring and Fall for disaster relief. Then early fall rain delayed the harvest
Suppers; the women also cater for community events and by about three weeks. Many farmers harvested only 30%
funerals as needed. Our Sunday school doubled this fall to 50% of the normal yield from their crops. But we give
and the children presented a Christmas Nativity – the thanks it was not a total loss and farmers always seem to
first in about eight years – much to the delight of the have a positive outlook for “next year”.
congregation. Country life has its ups and downs, but our Lord
Last Christmas Knox teamed with the Birch Hills remains faithful and we are certainly blessed.
Family and Community Support Services to bring a more The Reverend Shirley Cochrane
Cariboo Church, Cariboo Region, British Columbia
(South and central Cariboo-Chilcotin region)
“But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more couldn’t wrestle to the ground. Then round about my
in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire 60th birthday in March, my partner in the South-Central
shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; Cariboo-Chilcotin, Charles McNeil, came bouncing
indeed, I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:9, NIV) through my office door saying he was going to preach for
a call to a cluster ministry over Lloydminster way. The
It’s been an interesting year. Linda and I had planned on news exploded in my lap like a cluster bomb, particularly
retiring when I turned 60, or at the very least to seriously since Charles made it plain that he was planning on taking
slow down in our work. Well, early in 2010 I turned 60, his spouse Shannon Finley with him if he got the call.
and I can quite honestly understate that 2010 has been the Shannon was the envelope secretary, treasurer and admin-
busiest and hardest year for both of us in our working lives. istrator for the Cariboo Presbyterian Church. As the next
It has caused us to search the Scriptures for answers. We few weeks unfolded, it became clear that, by the sheer
could find nowhere in Scripture where it says, “and he blessing of geography, demography and experience, much
retired.” The closest thing we could find was “and he was of what Charles and Shannon did was going to fall squarely
gathered to his ancestors.” So whatever else 2010 has been in Linda’s and my lap. And it did with a vengeance.
for us, it appears to have been at least biblical as we have There have been two amazing things in all this. First,
yet to be gathered to our ancestors (although of late the idea we somehow managed to cope with the extra work and
has become a lot more appealing). stress, as have others who also
The year 2010 started out saw their ministries increase with
pretty normally for us, just the These folks are doing mission and the transition we are going
usual five or six house church through. Second, the mission and
gatherings per week along with ministry all over the place. ministry have seemed to flourish,
the usual 15 hours of driving, a And all over the place if not dramatically increase. The
monthly coffeehouse, pastoral reason is that the folks doing most
visiting, writing, meetings,
is a big patch of ground in of the work have been inspired
administration and such; nothing the Cariboo-Chilcotin region of BC. and empowered by the Holy Spirit
that a normal 60 or 70 hour-week to pick up the pace. So, instead of
Canada Ministries / The Vine 51
Our two chapel type churches at Lac La Hache and
Carefree Manor continue to be strong, and one of our
members now leads a women’s midweek program at
McLeese Lake. Linda and I get around to five worship
services a week, and provide encouragement and oversight
to all the rest, as well as doing some special services at Mill
Site Lodge in 100 Mile House. Much of the financial stuff
has fallen squarely in our laps, especially Linda’s. Linda
has always been game to take on more than her share of
ministry for Christ. It appears that, as she gets older, she
just gets gamier (or is it gamer, or is it more game?).
The truth is, though, we stand in the midst of a whole
team of game people: leaders like Bruce Wilcox & Ginny
Alexander (Carefree Manor), Elaine and Bill Adams
(Kids Space), Gordon Kellett (Forest Grove Padre),
Reg Steward (Springhouse and Williams Lake house
David Webber baptizes Jody Malm churches), Cynthia and Mary Noble (VBS everywhere,
in Sheridan Lake, BC. Kids Club and Women’s Bible study at McLeese Lake),
not to mention all of our faithful Elders. These folks are
two or three summer programs for kids, we supported doing mission and ministry all over the place. And all over
seven in 2010. Instead of one through-the-year kids the place is a big patch of ground in the Cariboo-Chilcotin
program, we now have three. From what were five house region of BC, about a fifth of the province. Linda and I are
churches under our care, we now have expanded to running to keep up!
seven – with what looks like an eighth in the works. The Reverend David Webber
Montreal Ghanaian Church, Montreal, Quebec
2010 was a year full of blessings for our congregation. mobilize Ghanaians living in and around Ottawa to come
After a very challenging one-and-a-half-year period with- together to worship the Lord. As a result of these efforts,
out a full-time minister, the congregation was blessed with there is presently a fellowship of about 8-12 Ghanaians
the biggest Christmas gift of all time – the arrival from that meets every Sunday evening at St. Paul’s to study the
Ghana of Rev. Sowah Ablorh and his family on December Word of God. We are aware that there is a huge number of
19th, 2009. The church has since been revitalized – Ghanaian Presbyterians living in that area and not attend-
our Sunday services are vibrant and full of praise for the ing church regularly or at all. Our ultimate hope is that a
Lord whom we serve. Prior to this, attendance at Sunday Ghanaian Presbyterian congregation will be established in
services had fallen to an average of about 30 adults and Ottawa to bring all such people into the fold.
20 children as a result of the numerous challenges we In 2009-2010, we finalized arrangements for the
faced. In 2010, however, average attendance increased purchase of a four-bedroom split-level house in Dollard-
dramatically to about 80 adults and 50 children. We are Des-Ormeaux for use as our manse. We continue to face
extremely grateful for the sustaining power of the several (mostly financial) challenges, but we are deter-
Holy Spirit. mined to focus on our mission of evangelism. Our nearly
As an immigrant congregation, our mission is to spread 60 year-old church building, located in Ville St. Laurent,
the gospel of Christ to the entire immigrant (particularly is in need of very expensive repairs. However, so long as
Ghanaian) community in Montreal and beyond. Accord- it remains habitable, we will use it to worship the Lord.
ingly, in 2010, we organized and hosted a number of We are exceedingly thankful to The Presbyterian
widely publicized spiritual revivals and other programs Church in Canada for facilitating the appointment and
that were well attended by Ghanaians living in and around arrival in Montreal of Rev. Sowah Ablorh, and also for
Montreal. Passion Week, for instance, was observed with providing us with a yearly grant over the last six years to
weekday evening services at which particular emphasis support payment of our minister’s stipend. We are also
was placed upon the significance of the death and resur- grateful to the Presbytery of Montreal for the help and
rection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many people who did not support they have provided to us throughout the years, in
attend church were introduced to the comforting Word of particular towards the acquisition of our church building.
God and gave their lives to Christ. We look forward to achieving greater things for the Lord
In all, 18 baptisms (including both infants and adults) in 2011 with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
took place in 2010. We also took numerous steps to Yaw Nyampong, assistant Clerk of Session
52 Stories of Mission 2011
SUPPORTING SPECIALIZED MINISTRIES
Action Réfugiés Montréal, Quebec
The courage and strength that refugees
demonstrate, in spite of their difficult experi-
ences of persecution, is humbling. Often we
hear people say that they want to help others
in the same position, once they feel safe them-
selves. There is no doubt, working with
refugees is inspiring!
For refugee advocates, one response to
injustice is to seek justice for each person and
to show respect and kindness in our relation-
ship with them.
Farrah is one such inspiration to us at Action
Réfugiés. This poised and gentle young woman
had such a compelling story of injustice that,
after completing her testimony at the tribunal,
she was immediately accepted by the refugee
board member. This is rare indeed – usually a
letter of acceptance or refusal arrives weeks
later. So we were overjoyed for Farrah and for
all of us who supported her! After 20 months
Action Réfugiés helps refugees integrate into life in Canada
of uncertainty and anxiety, Farrah was now safe.
through its matching/twinning program.
But this story is even better. Farrah knew
no-one in Canada, and had been referred to us
by her lawyer. Through our matching program, she was Supported by Action Réfugiés staff, a caring volunteer
matched with Lora, an International Development student and her lawyer, she exclaimed “Aren’t I lucky? Thank you!
at McGill University. They This experience makes me
immediately clicked, and Far- want to study human rights
rah was accepted into Lora’s law because I really want to
There is no doubt,
family, providing her with a give back to society”.
circle of belonging. Farrah’s working with refugees is inspiring! The prophet Micah had
lawyer had been a law stu- some wisdom for dealing
dent on field placement with with injustice. He challenged
Action Réfugiés in 2006 and knew Farrah would benefit us to do justice, to show kindness and to walk humbly
from this program of friendship. His commitment to with God (6:8). At Action Réfugiés, we attempt to live out
human rights and his concern for his client led him to these sacred words. On behalf of Farrah, Lora, her lawyer
approach us to get involved. and the many others who are part of the Action Réfugiés
Farrah’s story of injustice will forever be part of her team, we thank you for your faithful support!
life story. But it need not define her entire experience. The Reverend Glynis Williams, Director
Mission St. Paul, Sherbrooke, Quebec
2010 has been, for us, a year of reflection and soul- We have been involved, as well, in ecumenical activi-
searching. ties with the United Church, and shared the difficulties
Weekly services and bi-weekly Bible studies continue of French ministry in an extremely secularized province.
and a number of connections have been made with the It has been a difficult year but we are still here and
surrounding community, especially within the nearby well determined to continue to witness the historical faith
Bishop’s University. of the Church.
The Reverend Giancarlo Fantechi
Canada Ministries / The Vine 53
Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre, Montreal, Quebec
The past year at Tyndale has included many new develop- without the benefit of a good nutritious start to the day,
ments. One of these was the creation of the Brainy Break- and so the Brainy Breakfast Club was intended to provide
fast Club – to provide a nutritious and very affordable this while promoting good nutritional choices and new
breakfast ($1.00 a day) for children attending the Summer food discoveries.
Day Camp Program. We had noticed that children were This project dovetailed very nicely with another
often arriving for a long day of physical outdoor activities initiative underway, the Creating Space to Take Our Place
project. This initiative aims to better recruit, welcome,
support and validate senior volunteers at our Centre.
So many seniors in the community have so much talent
and a real desire to give back to their community, and
Tyndale has set out to support them in that desire. The
Brainy Breakfast Club was a perfect opportunity for
seniors to get involved in a hands-on way and to make
a very positive contribution.
We also found that, through the breakfast club, we
reached many church people also looking for a way to
make a meaningful contribution at Tyndale. We enjoyed
the involvement of two Presbyterian churches, Montreal
West and St. Andrew’s and St. Paul’s, who sent volunteers
and contributions of nutritious food to ensure this pro-
The breakfast club is one of many activities at Tyndale
that bring together the children we serve, our staff, volun-
teers, churches and community members – in a positive
initiative of cooperation and service. We are very blessed
by the presence of all.
Volunteers at Tyndale’s Breakfast Club. Patricia Murphy, Executive Director
Boarding Homes Ministry, Toronto, ON
Boarding Homes Ministry builds Christian community in the face of serious illness. They have much wisdom to
by linking teams of church visitors with the residents of offer our churches and they will enrich us as we share with
boarding homes. Relationships grow as people share their them life in Christ. In grace, our God dwells in these
lives in Christ. In the homes we socialize, pray, worship, homes.
laugh, lament the great hurts of the human condition and The volunteers also are gifted; they listen well and love.
break down the barriers of isolation. As they help build community the volunteers develop their
Across the country, in our towns and cities, there are pastoral skills and learn to express their faith. They grow
countless boarding and lodging homes. The homes we link in confidence, and in their communion with God and
with are privately operated and we visit only at the invita- neighbour.
tion of residents and owners. Boarding Homes Ministry was pleased to be named as
Most of the people in these homes bear the weight of the 2011 recipient of the Dr. E.H. Johnson Award for min-
severe mental or physical illness. The homes are often istry at the cutting edge of mission. Our home communi-
cramped, and there can be seven or eight to a bedroom. ties are being recognized for their contribution to spiritual
There is poverty. Many have been rejected by families, and social life.
employers and their church. The houses are places of over- The need for ministry is urgent. People in boarding
crowding and loneliness. And yet, the residents of these homes are waiting to be truly met.
homes are gifted, gracious people and a source of blessing. For more information, please visit our website at
Their wit, courage and spiritual insight are a source of www.boardinghomesministry.ca.
renewal. They are hospitable to visitors, and courageous The Reverend Rodger Hunter, chaplain
54 Stories of Mission 2011
Flemingdon Gateway Mission, Toronto, Ontario
Three girls in grades 3 and 4 gather in the basement to For most of them Canada is the ‘best’ place in the world.
discuss an encounter one girl had with her teacher the day When life in the ‘best’ place on earth is interrupted by
before. The girl is crying, and the others are comforting experiences of unfairness, racism and other forms of
her. She feels that her teacher has done her wrong. After discrimination, it becomes a crisis. It is as if our children
a long conversation about the track record of this teacher are slapped in the face by the very hands that extended
who has displayed negative attitudes to children who are welcome to them.
not white, one girl puts her arms akimbo and trumps up, Our basement offers the space where these conflicting
“You have to fight back! You did not do anything wrong!” stories can be safely told and children can be affirmed and
Then another girl says, “Yes, you have to fight back. supported to negotiate their way in Canada. The psalmist
Remember what Martin Luther King Jr. said to the black in Psalm 91 speaks of finding a place in God where no
people in the States! He said use words! Words! Don’t pursuer can enter and where no trap or snare can work.
fight with your fists. Ms. Presbyterians Sharing and
Brown can help you to use Gifts of Change have helped
words!” to ensure that this basement
The basement of the
Our successes are not written continues to be a place of
church is where the Fleming- on grant applications safety for our children. In
don Gateway Mission (FGM) or on evaluation reports. this secret place in the base-
carries out most of its pro- ment, we are constantly chal-
gram activities from Septem- They are written on the hearts lenged to discover new ways
ber to June each year. During of our children, to be passed on of enabling our children to
the summer months of July walk tall and be resilient
and August, FGM runs the to a generation not yet born. architects of justice. Our
“Vision of Hope” summer successes are not written
camp at a nearby public on grant applications or on
school. Not only is the basement a kind of hub of commu- evaluation reports. They are written on the hearts of our
nity partnership – with the YWCA, Parks and Recreation children, to be passed on to a generation not yet born.
Ontario, and the Ministry of Public Health Five Alive all Undeniably, they are also written on the hearts of all who
working to deliver workshops to equip our youth with encounter the FGM – whether through direct hands-on
skills for social development and employability – it is also experiences or through the many prayers, support and
a place of safety. contributions made by those far away.
Our children come to us from all parts of the world, The Reverend Paulette Brown
many with stories of a world gone mad with violence.
Students gather at Flemingdon Gateway Mission’s after school program.
Canada Ministries / The Vine 55
Evangel Hall Mission, Toronto, Ontario
For almost 100 years Evangel Hall Mission (EHM) has
been providing material, emotional and spiritual suste-
nance to men and women who come for guidance and
support, food and clothing, counselling and assistance.
More than a helping hand, EHM is a supportive com-
munity that breaks the bonds of loneliness, isolation and
despair. Everyone is welcomed with a warm smile and
kind heart. Among the many supports offered, you will
find a daily drop-in program, women’s group, men’s
group, Out of the Cold program, community dinners,
Sunday worship service, youth programs, a medical and
dental clinic, and the Evangel Hall Residence which
houses approximately 120 adults and children.
Your gifts to Presbyterians Sharing support Rev.
Katherine McCloskey as she ministers to homeless and
street people at Evangel Hall Mission. Through programs
such as the Spirit Circle (in partnership with the Native
Canadian Centre of Toronto), the Messy Spirituality Bible
Study, the “Stepping Into Freedom” Christ-Centered 12-
Step Program, and the Sunday worship service, people at
EHM are connecting to the God of their understanding
and learning how the Spirit is working in their lives.
Katherine supports individuals through transitions and
difficulties in life, helping them understand that God is
with them and loves them. These programs are well
attended, and people gain insight, healing and reconcilia-
tion with themselves and others. Rev. Katherine represents
A Spirit Circle participant. a witness to the gospel in action and evangelization
through compassion and love.
Jo Ann Hislop, Director of Programs
St. David’s Inner City Outreach Ministry, Hamilton, Ontario
The Inner City Outreach Ministry at St. David’s Church is The other part of our calling is to help work towards
a ministry that strives to meet the needs of the families in prevention, not just alleviation of poverty, by addressing
Hamilton’s inner city. Working predominately in the north education, housing, health care, recreation and basic
end, the outreach provides programs such as weekly after- necessities of life (food, clothing, furniture). Our goal is to
school and evening clubs for children and teens. We have help develop a safe and healthy community for children,
adult and senior’s programs, a basketball club, teen mom youth and families. In order to do this, we partner with
support group, community Christmas dinner and hamper the community and other service providers such as the
program, overnight summer and winter camps and emer- Eva Rothwell Resource Centre.
gency food services. Every weekly program includes food, As a result of the grant we receive from The Presby-
fun and devotions. Other outreach activities such as terian Church in Canada, we have been able to establish
Christmas dinners include the gospel message for the three new programs this past fall and winter – a group
entire community. Just recently we had a gospel choir of for young moms, a junior high program, and a group for
60 teenagers come and present the message through song seniors. We have also been able to hire a part-time pro-
and skits. It was a wonderful evening. gram assistant to help us develop our new programs and
God has called us to this area for many reasons, but maintain our existing ones.
the most important reason is to bring the gospel message. Our Young Moms group is Christian-based but inclu-
We count it a privilege to serve the Lord and tell our sive to all. Our goal is to provide support through guest
friends in the community how much God loves them. speakers such as nurses and social workers, and to teach
56 Stories of Mission 2011
life skills through cooking & nutrition, financial planning
& budgets, and health & safety. The moms gather together
and bring their babies to the program where we provide
free child care. Bus tickets and grocery gift certificates are
offered each week as well as snacks or sometimes a full
meal. We spend a lot of time building friendships. A spa
night was planned a few weeks back and the girls really
enjoyed being pampered. Bowling and other “girls’ night-
out” events are also being planned.
We have re-established our Junior High program,
which is now led by a divinity student from McMaster
University. This is a challenging age – too old for chil-
dren’s programs and not yet old enough for the teen pro-
grams. The group meets for weekly adventures, including
scavenger hunts in the church, Scripture presentations
and small group discussions. Once a month, a local
church comes by to cook a full meal for the children.
A recent bowling outing was a huge success, and more
Hanging out after school.
events are being planned.
The third program causing our ministry to grow is
the Club 50 seniors group. There was a need in our numbers have grown to over 20 senior folks. They enjoy
community to engage older adults who had little money the fellowship of their peers and also a story about Jesus.
and nowhere to go locally. The turnout at our first soup We are grateful for the leadership and support of Rev.
and sandwich event was limited to a couple of people. Beals and St. David’s Church. Again, our thanks to The
Now that we are promoting the event with bus tickets, Presbyterian Church in Canada for their generous support.
picking people up and offering grocery gift certificates, Carole & Don MacVicar, directors
Anamiewigummig (Kenora Fellowship Centre), Kenora, Ontario
The Kenora Fellowship Centre (KFC) has been a meeting director. Funding is an ongoing challenge; we no longer
place between First Nations peoples and newcomers in the receive government job-creation funding. Yet other fund-
Treaty #3 area in North-Western Ontario since 1964. ing has become available through special grants, per diems
Throughout the years, the Fellowship Centre has func- and room and board arrangements, foundations, local
tioned as a day-time drop-in for those living on the street donations, and various other kinds of funding. Through a
and those who are homeless. In 1994, after four years as special government grant, we have been able to employ the
a storefront ministry KFC moved back to its original services of Michelle Queen, our “Sustainability Funding
location at 208 Water St. and received its alternative and Public Relations Intern”, for one year. She is engaged
Ojibway name, Anamiewigummig (House of Prayer). in fundraising activities and in establishing public aware-
It was after 1994 that the Centre gradually began to ness of our work in the community and beyond.
expand its scope of activities. With the help of government The Fellowship Centre continues to be a hub of activity
job creation funding, we operated a five-month winter day and night, a place of refuge and hospitality for the poor
shelter for about ten years. However, for the last two years and marginalized. There are difficult days. Sometimes rela-
our overnight shelter has been kept open 365 days a year. tionships between staff need to be resolved. At other times
An average of 14-15 people stay in the shelter every night. behavioural problems with our regular patrons need to be
As we begin our third year of keeping our overnight shel- dealt with. One program that has taken root is a Wednesday
ter open year-round, we face many challenges. We run a morning Arts & Crafts therapy group where people come
soup kitchen in conjunction with two other soup kitchens, together to do beadwork, drawing, etc. An important facet
so that a meal is available in Kenora seven days a week. of the week is our Sunday afternoon worship in the chapel
We serve about 55-65 people at each meal. at 2pm. This normally includes a sharing time by passing
To keep the day-time drop-in, soup kitchen, and around the “talking rock”. From time to time our elder,
overnight shelter functioning we employ nine shelter Nancy Morrison, hosts a traditional sharing circle which
workers, two front-line supervisors, and an executive includes drumming and the eating of traditional foods.
Canada Ministries / The Vine 57
With the help of Michelle Queen, who wrote a proposal, We had two visits by Ann McAfee, an elder from St.
we received a grant from the Healing and Reconciliation Andrew’s in Barrie. Getting to know some of our workers
Committee (Justice Ministries) to do at least ten sessions of and patrons at the Fellowship Centre and attending some
healing with residential school survivors. This program will community feasts were quite inspiring for Ann. We are
begin in the near future, and we plan to draw upon the exploring a possible partnership with St. Andrew’s as well
resources of elders, mental health workers, and others to as one with a congregation in Ottawa. One of our local
see us through difficult issues. Baptist congregations is also considering a partnership.
One special highlight of 2010 was the Truth and Rec- Colin Wasacase, the Chair of our Board, attended the
onciliation Commission (TRC) event, a four-day event that Emmaus Event with other delegates from the Presbytery
was held at the Forks in Winnipeg last June. One of my of Winnipeg, to help discern the future direction of the
responsibilities was to invite former residential school stu- PCC. During October’s municipal election the Fellowship
dents from our area to this event. About 20 people came, Centre hosted an All Candidates’ Debate on homelessness.
some who travelled by charter bus and a few who came by Our staff – with the help of others – did an excellent job of
car. Since I travelled on the charter bus and stayed with organizing this unusual event.
the people at the same place of lodging, this was a signifi- Although I have been involved in Native Ministry for
cant experience for me. There were a multitude of activi- almost 30 years, I do not consider myself an expert. The
ties including an inter-faith tent where I gave an account longer the involvement, the more one comes to realize
of my years of work in Native Ministry. The Presbytery of what one does not know. But one thing I do know is that
Winnipeg hosted a lunch in honour of former students at truth and reconciliation are needed in our relationships
Cecelia Jeffrey Residential School, a Presbyterian residen- with First Nations peoples. For church people the Gospel
tial school that was first started at Mission/School Point of Jesus Christ is about God turning and changing people
near Shoal Lake in 1902, and then moved to Round Lake from enemies into friends. First Nations peoples have
in Kenora in 1929. There was some good interaction at taught us about the importance of turning to tradition to
this lunch. A photo display of CJ School especially drew recover one’s self-worth and identity. As church people we
considerable interest. A need was expressed by some for a need to recover the depths and riches of our tradition. And
more local TRC event in Kenora to enable more people to part of that is discovering that the good news is not the
participate. There is also a need to bring together former power of empire and colonization, but the power and the
students and staff of CJ in a non-threatening atmosphere wisdom of the love of God revealed in the weakness and
so that the legacy of residential schools can truly become foolishness of the cross of Christ.
a shared history in all its negative and positive depths. The Reverend Henry Hildebrandt, Executive Director
Saskatoon Native Circle Ministry, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
It is difficult to know what can be done about the growing about families who live outdoors in sub-zero weather.
homeless situation in Saskatoon. During the winter Some of them try to keep moving, to keep walking so that
months, the homeless shelters are filled to capacity and they don’t freeze to death. During the day, these folks
people are turned away into the cold night. We hear stories come to our missions to eat a sandwich and take a nap.
They often sleep while sitting in our dining area. One
fellow who drops in on a regular basis has been homeless
for several years now. He says that it is almost useless to
try to help him with handouts of blankets and clothing
because other homeless people steal his things when he
leaves them behind in his tent along the river for any
length of time. How cruel can life be when society steals
from a homeless man!
And so, at SNCM we try to do the best we can to pro-
vide a clean, safe place where the marginalized can drop in
for a coffee, a sandwich, some fruit and vegetables and
even a hot meal every Friday. We serve sandwiches twice a
day on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and leftovers
after church on Sundays.
We have made a lot of changes this past year. We put
in new flooring in the dining area, black lights in our
A family enjoys lunch at washrooms, a new water cooler that is hooked up to the
Saskatoon Native Circle Ministry. main plumbing, a new gas stove, a new cooler, and a new
58 Stories of Mission 2011
serving counter that has its own fewer conflicts, and fewer concerns
warming trays. Our goal is to make people feel about sanitation.
We also hired a second full-time
staff person, Shelley Thiessen (social
concern now is
welcome, well-cared for, and loved. thatOur greatest and a more nutri-
worker) who is our Mission Support tional menu is more expensive to
Worker, and one part-time staff person, Chantal Dupuis maintain. We need more funding to maintain the extra
(social work student). Shelley organized our volunteer staff and to provide a fuller and healthier diet for the
staff so that we could add pharmacy students, nursing people. But I think, in the end, we see good results. Our
students, and med students to our list of people who goal is to make people feel welcome, well-cared for, and
volunteer to prepare and serve food at our mission. loved. And our main goal is to establish a relationship of
At the beginning of the year, we were still serving trust and care with the street people so that we can invite
food by cutting up the sandwich meat and putting the them to a church service which does not look so institu-
bread and condiments on the counter so that people tional, but more Native, a place they can call home and a
could make their own sandwiches. You can imagine how people they can call family.
unsanitary and unattractive the food was, especially with So, thank you for all your support. I hope you keep us in
peanut butter and jam sandwiches. It was also a very mind, especially when you give to Presbyterians Sharing,
slow and frustrating process that resulted in a lot of con- and know that The Presbyterian Church in Canada supports
flict. Today, the staff and volunteers make the sandwiches mission and work in Christ like ours. All my relations.
and fruit cups ahead of time, and we have less waste, The Reverend Stewart Folster
Edmonton Urban Native Ministry, Edmonton, Alberta
Edmonton Urban Native Ministry (EUNM) serves in the opportunity to share information on current relevant
inner city and focuses on First Nation peoples. Over the issues and a safe time for sharing, prayer, and worship.
past year, we have faced many challenges but continued We encourage individuals to share our native languages
our outreach social programming. Our programs are and to discuss community connections which many have
community-driven, and opportunities are kept within our lost. As some First Nation people do not trust the
immediate community, thus supporting community devel- churches, we continue to reach out to offer emotional
opment. A high priority for the ministry is to provide prac- and spiritual support in non-judgmental ways.
tical supports to help meet people’s social and spiritual First Nation women continue to face negative stigmas
needs. Other areas of high importance are creating aware- in Canada. We support the Murdered and Missing Women
ness, inclusion of inner city residents, education, and campaigns, are involved with awareness marches and
promoting healing initiatives. We have collaborated with strive to create awareness of the sexually exploited women
various churches to provide children’s Ministry programs, and men we work with. We facilitate a monthly women’s
Vacation Bible school, and summer camp opportunities. gathering which provides a nurturing environment to dis-
We continue to implement our “Walking Together, cuss health and women’s issues. In 2010 we coordinated a
Moving Forward” Healing and Reconciliation project.
Our focus is on awareness and development of healing
resources and creating resource development opportuni-
ties for patrons to participate in various leadership posi-
tions within the ministry. Arts, music, and crafts programs
were initiated in efforts of promoting creativity, healing,
and developing supportive relationships. Local community
members facilitated the programs, sharing their creative
gifts, stories and strengths. EUNM mentors, trains and
supervises the programs, ensuring effective meaningful
opportunities for participants. Serving on the frontline, we
have witnessed our patrons dealing with complex issues of
addiction, sexual exploitation, violence including gangs,
homelessness and poverty.
As many of our patrons are of First Nation descent and
have been impacted by the Residential School era, we have
created opportunities for First Nation church leaders,
residential school survivors and individuals to share their
personal healing journeys. Our daily devotion time is an Art class participants show off their creations.
Canada Ministries / The Vine 59
women’s conference “Sharing our Experiences, Building hot meal daily to 75-100 patrons and provide free comput-
on our Strengths” which promoted women in leadership, ers and computer lessons, a fax service, and free bread.
awareness of local Aboriginal programs and healing initia- We celebrate special holidays with community feasts and
tives, creativity, and, most of all, acknowledging women on summer barbecues. It is a privilege and an honour for
their life journeys and honouring those ways. EUNM to serve our First Nation brothers and sisters.
We operate a weekly Drop In Center where we serve a Yvonne Bearbull, acting director
Cariboo Church, Cariboo Region, British Columbia
(Nazko and Area Dakelh Outreach)
“For [Christ] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both house church was welcomed to lead a worship service at the
groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, Nazko First Nation’s annual culture camp. Praise and wor-
that is, the hostility between us.” (Ephesians 2:14) ship were sung in the traditional language and played on
traditional instruments, and Christ’s message of love and
So if Christ is our peace, if he has destroyed the divisions
reconciliation was shared. Late in the fall we had the privi-
of hostility between people and with God, how do we live
lege of hosting Ivan Wells of the Tsimshian Nation who led
out that peace in the world? Especially since the church
workshops on recovery from residential school abuse. He
has at times been a part of the problem rather than the
was also invited to speak at the Nazko Band’s annual sobri-
solution? We certainly don’t know all of the answers.
ety supper. In the fall we began taking courses in Carrier
We can only tell you how we are trying.
language and culture that will continue through 2011.
Throughout 2010, regular mission work continued
2010 also brought difficulties to the people of our
in the northern part of the Cariboo. House churches
communities. A massive month-long forest fire threatened
in Nazko (Ndazkoh), north of Nazko, Quesnel and
many homes and forced several evacuations. Many
Punchaw met for worship and Bible study. Regular visits
hectares of forest were burned, but fortunately no perma-
to the remote First Nations communities like Kluskus
nent dwellings were destroyed. It sure came close though!
(Lhoosk’uz) and Trout Lake continued. A weekly chil-
Grief hit us hard with several tragic deaths: one elderly
dren’s program at the Nazko Community Centre carried
woman died of exposure after being lost in the forest, a
on. We also hosted an extra measure of special visitors
man was killed in a freak tractor accident, another woman
throughout the year.
was lost to liver failure after a life-long struggle with alco-
Several special mission opportunities also came our way
hol addiction and another man died as a result of a bad
in 2010. A Korean Love Corps youth team joined us again
reaction to tainted street drugs. The pain resulting from
for a week of Vacation Bible School and other mission
these tragedies simply cannot be measured and will be felt
work. Several of them even joined the local team in a Nazko
for years to come.
Baseball Tournament. Later in the summer our Nazko
Witnessing such suffering, we continued to
explore the possibility of developing a more
extensive healing ministry in the Nazko com-
munity. We visited a mission with a similar
vision and were, in turn, visited by one of their
staff for some guidance and help. We will
continue to seek God’s leadership about this
These are clearly humble efforts to share
Christ’s peace. We are painfully aware of that.
Sometimes we have made mistakes. Some-
times we have been misunderstood. Often we
feel completely inadequate and incapable. Yet,
with the enabling power of Christ and the gen-
erous support of his church, we trust Jesus will
use these meager efforts to destroy divisions
and bring peace. May His peace be with us all!
All of us in the mission team wish our
friends a 2011 filled with a busy and faithful
Doreen Patrick (left) at a house church in Quesnel The Reverends Jon Wyminga
with her granddaughter and Rev. Shannon Bell-Wyminga. and Shannon Bell-Wyminga
60 Stories of Mission 2011
Winnipeg Inner City Missions, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg has once again been declared the murder capitol have friends who commit suicide or cut themselves. They
of Canada. What most of you read about or watch on risk being recruited into gangs or prostitution, and drugs
the news is real-life trauma for many of the people that and alcohol are freely available to them. Many are virtually
Winnipeg Inner City Missions serves. One 13 year-old girl illiterate despite the fact they have been in school for
shot in a series of random shootings this year was a friend 8 years. It takes courage and spiritual strength for these
of one of our Sunday school teens. Our teen was outside young people to ‘live right’ in their homes and in their
at the time and stared right into the eyes of the gunman. neighbourhoods.
A man shot in the same series of random shootings, maybe At Anishinabe Fellowship Centre the local community
20 minutes later, was a friend of one of our staff members. has access to a clothing bank, free phone, and updated job
Poverty begets desperation, desperation begets violence, and housing registries. Free coffee and a chance to stop
and violence begets fear. and visit with our Outreach Nurse leads to many opportu-
And, yet many good things happen in Central Winnipeg nities to assist with the complex personal, family and
and the North End of Winnipeg where we minister. The social ills accompanying poverty. Our Parish Social
resiliency and the spirit of the people who participate in Worker and one other social work staff person provide
the programs and services we offer never cease to amaze free counselling, advocacy, and referral services.
me. As people become spiritually stronger over time, I At Anishinabe Place of Hope (APOH) – Endaayaang,
begin to see happiness in their eyes. I also see them stand single adults 30-50 years of age participate in an employ-
taller and walk more confidently which is only possible by ment readiness project. Safer, affordable housing is pro-
the transforming power of the Spirit of God: “You will not vided for 19 participants at a time. Each participant charts
succeed by power or might but by my spirit, says the their own path to successful employment with the help of
Lord.” Zech. 4:6. our social work and nursing staff, minister and Aboriginal
Your gifts to Presbyterians Sharing are invested in the Elder. The very ‘First Step’ towards employment success is
lives of the people we meet every day. Your prayers posi- to promote physical, emotional, intellectual and Spiritual
tively affect their lives and strengthen us for
the task at hand. Through your generosity,
you are giving people hope for the future;
you have helped many families in crisis; and
you have been there for many children,
youth and adults in desperate human need.
At Flora House and Anishinabe Fellow-
ship Centre, children between the ages of
one and five participate with their principle
caregivers in a weekly program aimed at
teaching the adults to play with their chil-
dren in ways that will promote early devel-
opment and learning. Flora House also
offers a daily after-school skills-based pro-
gram for children between the ages of six
and ten. This program includes tutoring in
math, English, science and computer skills.
Fine arts, organized sports, recreational
activities, Christian growth and develop-
ment, and Aboriginal Cultural and Sacred
traditions are all included.
Every evening from Monday to Friday,
Flora House provides a safe haven for
youth between the ages of 11 and 14. It
provides a loving atmosphere that promotes
learning, skill development, and spiritual
growth. These youth face many challenges.
Some witness abuse at home, or are abused
themselves. They face threats on the street,
and fear being robbed at gunpoint. They A volunteer reads with a participant in WICM’s literacy program.
Canada Ministries / The Vine 61
health. Then positive living skills social work staff, or our nurse.
and education or training levels The resiliency and the spirit Huge social challenges face
need to be addressed. We work us and they will be addressed,
one-on-one with each individual of the people who participate one day and one step at a time.
participant and refer them to in the programs and services In the meantime, we can be there
appropriate community services for the people who seek our help.
and other agencies as they are
we offer never cease to amaze me. There are many reasons for
ready. poverty in Canada and poverty
Anishinabe Presbyterian brings with it extremely complex
Fellowship meets for a church service and Sunday school social ills. We are called by Christ; we are guided by
classes every Sunday afternoon. We are limited by the Creator, to address that need. We do what we can do only
space we have but 60 or more worship and share in a because of caring people like you providing the resources
fellowship time after church each week. Volunteers from we need.
local congregations and some of APOH’s residents who I know it sounds kind of corny, but I think it is impor-
have driver’s licences help transport our families to and tant in this ministry to never give up, no matter what.
from church. None of our families owns a vehicle and There will be setbacks and there will be people telling you
bus fare is prohibitive on their meagre budgets. that your ideas will not happen in your lifetime; that’s
Winnipeg Inner City Missions’ Elder, Audrey Bone, when you dig in and pursue them even more. With God
provides Elder services to staff, program participants, anything is possible!
and community members referred to her by myself, our The Reverend Margaret Mullin, Executive Director
Mistawasis Memorial Church, Mistawasis Reserve, Saskatchewan
May 1st, 2010 was the beginning of my appointment to In June, I spent three weeks driving to the Vancouver
ministry at Mistawasis Memorial Presbyterian Church in area for a week long summer course called “Starting
Saskatchewan. Shortly after my arrival I travelled to Well,” and visiting family along the way. The summer
British Columbia for two weeks of orientation – one week course dealt with ministers in their early years of ministry
with Mary Fontaine in Richmond, and just less than one which also proved to be valuable. As part of my work with
week with Shannon Bell Wyminga and Jon Wyminga in the the Presbytery I served as Chaplain/Bible Study Leader for
Cariboo. The orientation time in B.C. was valuable for the Jr. Camp held during the first week of August.
introduction to ways of working in aboriginal ministries, At first, my responsibilities included preparing and
training which I have transferred to the reserve in preaching services each Sunday, leading Session meetings,
Saskatchewan. attending Presbytery meetings, and acting as Interim Mod-
erator for the Presbyterian churches in Melfort and Tisdale.
I also officiated at three funerals and three weddings.
Some highlights added spice to the year. We hosted a
Vacation Bible School with the leadership of five Youth
in Mission participants from Ontario and the Maritimes:
Lindsay McVicar, Cody Mitchell, Chantal Keshwah, Mandy
Woods and Katie Hubley. The children, numbering around
30 over the week, enjoyed games, stories, drama, songs,
crafts and snacks as they related to the leaders.
Ordaining three new elders to the Session was an
exciting event. The ruling elders are studying the booklet
‘Eldership in Today’s Church’ to explore the role of elders.
Several members have been meeting in different individu-
als’ homes for Bible studies, and looking at the booklet
Before Christmas we invited the community to a Christ-
mas Dinner fundraiser. Church and community members
enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner and a wonderful time of
A blessed partnership has been established between the
church at Mistawasis and St. Giles Presbyterian Church in
YIM participant Cody Mitchell
Ontario. During the months of September to December,
hangs out with kids at Mistawasis.
62 Stories of Mission 2011
St. Giles learned about Mistawasis, and donated money to becomes totally drifted in during the snowy, windy
purchase pew Bibles and hymn books. Their gifts will con- weather.
tinue during 2011 and 2012 for which we are truly grateful. The wonderful aspect of my ministry is the caring
A challenge for Mistawasis is dealing with the dirt community of Christians in Mistawasis.
road which turns into mud during the rainy weather and The Reverend Beverley Shepansky
Hummingbird Ministries, Richmond, British Columbia
By far the biggest and most exciting event for Humming- for non-Aboriginal people it was an educational experience.
bird Ministries (HM) in 2010 was the ‘Peace through the Cree Elder Dorothy Visser from Saddle Lake Alberta led
Arts Festival’ held on November 5th and 6th at the South this project. She is a member of the First Nations Catholic
Delta Baptist Church in Delta. A local television station Council, loves Jesus and is a guitarist and a singer with the
arrived to cover the opening address and ceremonies. New Creations. The dance group gathered on Saturday
The festival began with an official welcome to the tra- afternoons to feast together, share in a circle and to learn
ditional territory of the Tsawwassen First Nation by Elders the dances. The choreographers were William Visser and
Helen & Terry Splockto. The festival featured Cheryl Bear, Leslee Picton, both well known and well respected dancers
an Aboriginal Award-winning musician and performer, of the Pow Wow community in the lower Mainland.
and her family who touched many hearts through heart- Both choreographers were also involved in several regalia-
breaking stories of Aboriginal experiences and healing making work bees, to make the regalia for the dancers
songs of hope in ‘Jesus Christ as our healer’. who danced at the Grand Entry.
A Celtic group, the ‘Doghouse Band’, brought much The Symphony of Sounds Project was led by volunteer
laughter to the festival and inspired dancing in the aisles musician/composer Marcia Meyer and hosted by Ruth
of the church. Motivated by the cause and efforts of HM’s Adams of Tsawwassen First Nation and Rennie Nahanee
festival, the group agreed to participate in the festival for of the Squamish Nation (Director of the First Nations
only a small honorarium. Many other performers from a Catholic Council). ‘The Grace Notes’, an acapella group of
wide variety of cultural backgrounds and First Nations Caucasian women, also hosted the project and graciously
participated in the festival. gave of their time and musical expertise, adding to the
Performances included the ‘Pow Wow Grand Entry’ cultural mix of the group.
and ‘The Song and Dance of Four Eagles” play. The Grand At the annual Christmas Circle at the Tsawwassen First
entry of pow wow dancers was a healing experience for Nation in 2010, HM was blessed by a surprise attendance
both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who felt God and performance by Cree comedian musician Winston
moving in this act of grace, where the
Aboriginal art of dance had never before
been witnessed within the walls of a
Church. The play brought the First Nations
and Jewish communities together through
the sharing stories – the stories of a residen-
tial school survivor (who wrote the play)
and a Jewish teen (who directed the play).
The play was about resilience in spite of
suffering. After the play, Aboriginal and
Jewish people danced together in celebra-
tion of survival on the stage to the tune of
Boney M’s ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’.
The ‘Peace through the Arts Festival’ was
the culmination of HM’s ‘Peace through the
Arts Program’ which began in 2009. Several
arts projects brought people together with
First Nations throughout the year. These
included the Pow Wow Dance Project and
the Symphony of Sounds Project.
The Pow Wow Dance Project provided
healing for Aboriginal people as they
Mary Fontaine leads worship in
learned the dances and their meanings;
one of Hummingbird Ministries’ sharing circles.
Canada Ministries / The Vine 63
Wuttunnee who accompanied his sister Amy, a faithful This year, the workshops for the ‘Healing Path Work-
friend and participant in the Symphony of Sounds project. shop Series Program’ included a drum-making workshop,
Later during a talking circle, Aboriginal people praised a finance workshop and two contextual Bible studies
HM for the way we do ministry through Aboriginal leader- according to requests made by the people at the various
ship and respect for Aboriginal people. Hummingbird Circles.
The theme of ‘Peace’ for the festival was inspired by It was a very busy year for HM. The number of Circles
the late Chief Dan George in his book, ‘The Best of Chief increased to 65 from about two to three circles per month.
Dan George’ and by the author Seton in ‘The Gospel of This has increased HM’s contacts with Aboriginal people
the Red Man’. Chief Dan George said, “Everybody likes and partners from various church groups and people from
to give as well as receive. We have taken much from your other faiths.
culture [Western], we wish you had taken something from Hummingbird mourns the loss of Carol Joe, leader
ours for there are some beautiful things in it.” Humming- of the Sechelt First Nation Circle, who passed away in
bird’s Director hopes that, through the rediscovery and September. We also mourn the loss of William Turner
reclaiming of an Indigenous knowledge of peace, Aborigi- who passed away in December. He was Mary Fontaine’s
nal people can take a leadership role in peace and reconcil- Mosoom (grandfather) who taught her how to be a
iation and in this way, give something back to Western peacemaker in the Cree way.
society. The idea of an Indigenous knowledge of peace Mary Fontaine, HM’s Director, was elected as a mem-
came from ‘The Gospel of the Redman’, where the authors ber of Executive Committee of the newly formed World
observed that all “Indian tribes” had this gift of a great will Communion of Reformed Churches in June at the Uniting
to peace. The authors referred to the great diplomacy of General Council meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
the Iroquois Confederacy as an example, but observed that Mary is the first Indigenous person on the Committee
all of the Indian tribes had this gift of the science of rela- and will attend the first annual meeting of the WCRC
tionships. This great will to peace may be one of those in Geneva in May of 2011.
beautiful things about Aboriginal cultures which the late The Rev. Mary Fontaine, director
Chief Dan George referred to.
Brock University Ecumenical Chaplaincy, St. Catharines, Ontario
Students cultivate friendships through Brock’s ecumenical chaplaincy.
64 Stories of Mission 2011
A new name and a few new providing safe environments
initiatives mark the life and with smaller-scaled pro-
times of our ministry at grams that allow for honest
It’s all about connection:
Brock University in St. conversation, the cultivation
Catharines. First, the new providing safe environments of friendships, and positive
name. My colleagues and I with smaller-scaled programs group dynamics. Put these
have found over the past three together with a pro-
several years that “Campus that allow for honest conversation, gram like the Toonie Supper
Ministries” has become a the cultivation of friendships, (a Wednesday evening,
peculiar and awkward title home-cooked style meal that
for students to grasp. It
and positive group dynamics. serves a maximum of 20
seems abstract, administra- students) and there are great
tive, and somewhat opportunities for connection
removed from their daily and spiritual growth.
concerns. So, we changed our name to the Faith and The Toonie Supper, a program called the Open Café,
Life Centre, then added a few new programs. some outings, and the provision of study space during
In the Chaplain’s office, there is lots of student exam time all define a group of activities called ‘Connected
mentoring, various administrative tasks, and involvement Life @ Brock’. These programs – and others – help
on University committees like the Justice at Brock com- enhance the presence of the Presbyterian Church on
mittee. But the intention of the ministry in relation to campus and its place in student life.
students has a new focus. It’s all about connection: The Reverend Dr. David Galston
Concordia Multi-faith Chaplaincy, Montreal, Quebec
Last December, the Loyola Chapel of Concordia Univer- a Zoroastrian ceremony and will soon attend a Quaker
sity was buzzing with activity. At one table, students worship. We have explored mountains and water and a
learned about the story of Hanukkah. At another, pagans peace garden attached to a Presbyterian church as sacred
explained the traditions of Yule. Muslim students shared spaces, which allow room for prayer and centering. We
their faith and their daily devotions. Other students have also held sacred dialogues, where we explored vari-
looked at crèches and children’s books about Christmas. ous topics from a faith perspective and learned about
Buddhists and Baha’i shared their winter traditions and each other and ourselves.
another student group explained the values and symbols All of these events are wonderful opportunities to talk
of Kwanza. As people were milling about, they enjoyed about faith and spirituality on campus, something that
food from different parts of the world, and watched and people often shy away from. They are also opportunities
listened to different kinds of to talk about our own values,
entertainment: drumming from beliefs and dreams. Creating safe
Iran, Jewish songs, traditional spaces for these kinds of conver-
Christmas carols, an Aboriginal sations is an important part of my
hoop dancer and others.
Creating safe spaces ministry here. I find that many
It was a feast for the eyes and for these kinds of conversations Concordia students are very inter-
ears. It was a time to build com- is an important part ested in world religions, though
munity and celebrate the rich tra- they often know very little about
ditions that are alive at Concordia of my ministry here. their own traditions or the stories
University and in Montreal. It behind them. By exploring other
was a time to learn about our own traditions and holy days, they
holy days and recognize the many often ask questions about their
others commemorated during the month of December. own identity and values. In some ways, it is a back door
It was also a moment to recognize the common values to their own house of faith; faith which can grow, mature
we share. and blossom.
As Chaplain at Concordia, I host many interfaith I pray that my ministry at Concordia University may
events together with my colleagues. We have taken contribute to this growth! I also pray in thanksgiving for
students to various sacred sites around Montreal. the support that you have given me throughout the years.
We have visited a Jewish community centre, witnessed The Reverend Ellie Hummel, ecumenical chaplain
Canada Ministries / The Vine 65
McMaster University Ecumenical Chaplaincy, Hamilton, Ontario
I looked around the table at the 12 students watching a Many were surprised at the bland, high-carb food, and the
DVD about homeless youth, and thought about the fact lack of protein. Part of the rationale for this experiential
that there were only12 disciples. Suddenly, the Social education was to have students talk about the issue with
Justice Group seemed much larger! their family and friends, and to contact their local MPP
Since September, the group has been learning about about the need to increase social assistance rates.
poverty, food security and homelessness. Three group For the students and myself, the challenge was doable
members joined approximately 60 other McMaster stu- for a week, but the thought of trying to sustain oneself on
dents for a “Do the Math” challenge during Thanksgiving this kind of diet would foster a sense of hopelessness, not
week. The campaign was initiated by “The Stop” Food- to mention high blood pressure! Yet, this sense of hope-
bank in Toronto. The challenge was to eat a typical food lessness is what many who receive social assistance face
basket from an Ontario food bank. With a grant from the every week. $585 won’t even cover rent and utilities,
Faculty of Social Sciences, the McMaster Community much less food.
Poverty Initiative (a group co-chaired by the Ecumenical Reflecting on this social inequality led the students to
Chaplain), purchased food baskets for about 60 students. organize a “Jamming for Hunger” food drive and coffee
house. A variety of gifts were contributed, including
music, baked goods and promotion of the event. The stu-
dents had fun and managed to raise $100 for St. Matthews
House, and 140 pounds of food for Living Rock Youth
These students know that food banks are not the
answer to poverty, but it was one practical thing that they
could do. They are also continuing to study more about
the challenges for a welfare state, and our responsibility
as Christian citizens. Watching documentaries like,
“Food, Inc.” and YouTube clips like the Advent Conspiracy
prompts not only rich discussion, but a greater awareness
about how our individual choices of what we buy, where
we shop and who we elect to represent us make a differ-
Students participate in McMaster ence locally and globally.
Community Poverty Initiative. The Reverend Carol Wood, ecumenical chaplain
University of Saskatchewan Ecumenical Chaplaincy, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Sometimes as chaplain, I am privileged to journey with a Ursula asked if wanted to join a new group of Peer Minis-
student over several years. Here’s Alexia’s story. ters. At the time I didn’t quite know what I was getting
“My first introduction to campus ministry was over myself into, but I knew that I felt comfortable there and
3 years ago at a Chaplaincy Carol Service in which a friend that it sounded like a great group to get involved with.
was playing guitar. There I met Ursula Wiig, the chaplain, The next fall the Peer Ministry Program began. Four of
who told my friends and me about the Chaplaincy and us met weekly with Ursula and started working on projects
invited us to pop in anytime for and talking about our faith. I
a chat. Shortly afterwards, have always been pretty vocal
I noticed a poster announcing As a future educator, about my religious beliefs, but it
a Meet and Greet at the Chap- was through meeting others at
laincy office, so I decided to I believe that the experiences the Chaplaincy that I began to
check it out and play some ping I have had with the Chaplaincy identify exactly what I stood for
pong. That’s when I realized that religiously. We also took part in
the Chaplaincy was a welcoming have not only shaped how I see Peer Minister training and once
place where I could hang out and understand myself, but also again I questioned and solidified
and talk with people who would my beliefs. One of the most
listen. Following that initial visit
how I see and understand others powerful training exercises was
I stopped by occasionally and — including my future students. taking the Myers-Briggs personal-
towards the end of the year, ity quiz, for through that exercise
66 Stories of Mission 2011
I began to see myself more clearly and recognized what Circle Ministry. Without my campus ministry involvement,
gifts I could offer, not only to the team but also to those I would not have had the opportunity to experience these
who visited the Chaplaincy. amazing organizations that offer support to people who
That was two years ago, and since then I have partici- daily face tremendous challenges in order to survive. As a
pated in on-campus activities, public awareness events, future educator, I believe that the experiences I have had
and community programs. Some of the most meaningful with the Chaplaincy have not only shaped how I see and
and empowering experiences have been in working with understand myself, but also how I see and understand
the Saskatoon inner city community. In 2009, we held a others – including my future students.”
large and very successful clothing drive for GAIN (Girls The assistance we receive from Presbyterians Sharing
Action and Information Network), which provides a safe ensures that the Ecumenical Chaplaincy at the University
place for women and girls during the day and offers pro- of Saskatchewan is there for students like Alexia. Thank
grams for advancement and learning. In 2010, we had the you for your ongoing support. It is much appreciated.
opportunity to do a Plunge into the inner city and visited The Reverend Ursula Wiig, university chaplain
agencies such as Friendship Inn and the Saskatoon Native
Ecumenical Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
The Ecumenical Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto ECUT feels the great need and challenge to extend our
(ECUT) continues to live out a ministry of friendship in ministry of “friendship in Jesus’ name” to the suburban
Jesus’ name by creating opportunities for students of faith campuses, U of T Mississauga and U of T Scarborough.
to meet around diverse topics and concerns. While ECUT has a mandate that covers all U of T, our
There were many highlights in 2010. For October’s resources are inadequate to offer meaningful programs
“Mental Health Month”, ECUT hosted a workshop – with and pastoral care to all three campuses. We are thinking
three expert panelists – for members of the U of T commu- creatively about fulfilling our ministry vision for a gen-
nity on the intersections between spirituality and mental uinely tri-campus Ecumenical Chaplaincy in the future.
health. What are the relationships between spiritual prac- The Reverend Ralph Wushke, chaplain
tices, religious traditions and mental health? Funding for
this project came from a Special Projects Grant from the
Presbyterian Church in Canada.
When an international student and her friend died in
a car accident, ECUT was asked to respond. Among all
chaplaincies at U of T, ECUT is known for its leadership
and expertise in grief support. We co-sponsor an ongoing
bereavement group with the Faculty of Social Work and
organize grief support dinners every semester.
ECUT’S Qu(e)erying Religion program – now in its
sixth year – is very well-known at U of T and draws about
two dozen people for a weekly dinner. The interfaith group
supports learning and conversation on the intersection of
gender, sexuality, faith and religion. Other partners include
Campus Ministry at St. Michael’s University (Roman
Catholic), Hillel of Greater Toronto (Jewish) and the
Student Christian Movement.
A new group launched this year by ECUT, with the
support of the university’s Multi-Faith Centre, focuses on
ecological and environmental issues in a faith perspective.
A keen group of students and staff meet regularly to
plan events and activities that focus on our relationship
with the earth in an eco-spiritual and eco-theological
Supporting and promoting the Student Christian
Movement in its theological study, community building
and social justice activities is an ongoing priority for
ECUT. Students spend time together
at U of T’s Ecumenical Chaplaincy.
Canada Ministries / The Vine 67
University of Calgary Multi-Faith Chaplains’ Centre, Calgary, Alberta
Every day, thousands of students pour out of the LRT The Multi-Faith Chaplains’ Centre is a hothouse of
station and parking lots at the University of Calgary and ideas, customs, beliefs, feelings, ethnicities and, of course,
spread out across the campus. If they stop for coffee or religions. Religious leaders from six Christian traditions
something to eat, if they go to access student services like and eight world religions are in close contact at the
counseling or dentistry, they are liable to find themselves Chaplains Centre: debating, consoling, questioning and
in sight of the Multi-Faith Chaplains Centre where our celebrating with one another.
office is located. What The Presbyterian Church in Canada contributes
Students also pour through the Chaplains Centre. to this melee is worship in our own tradition and outreach
Approximately 13,000 of these students will use the in the form of Spiritual Wellness Programs. Our drum
chaplains’ services in one way or circle alone involves hundreds
another in a given week during of students each semester and
the regular semester. They are
looking for friends. They are
Approximately 13,000 of these students is one of theon Campus.
doing homework while waiting will use the chaplains’ services The Campus Ministry
for a worship service to start. in one way or another in a given week Committee which oversees the
They are hoping to chat with a chaplain’s work is a small and
chaplain. They are needing to during the regular semester. very competent team that, over
consult with their religious the last several years, has got the
leader about a point of teaching organization running like a top.
in their tradition. They are looking for pastoral care or Our fundraising and ministry efforts are in good hands.
something to eat. Once again, I simply wish to thank the churches for
They may find a seat on a couch, or around a table, continuing to entrust this ministry to me.
or find their way into the office of a chaplain of a religion The Reverend Tim Nethercott, chaplain
they have never encountered before.
University of New Brunswick Campus Ministry, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Greetings from Campus Ministry at the University of
New Brunswick! This past year has been another exciting
year for our ministry. In addition to our regular presence
on campus through participation in the university’s official
ceremonies, student groups, clubs, and activities, perhaps
our most successful venture has been in reaching out to
meet the physical needs of our students. Responding to
the abundance of stress that can often be found in the lives
of university students, we have begun a regular exam-time
stress buster social. Smack in the middle of the dense
exam schedule we offer our students free food and the
chance to step away from the business of stress and study.
These events have been attended by throngs of students
and have proven to be wonderfully positive experiences for
both the students and the chaplains. We will continue to
offer these “socials” as often as our means will allow.
Here’s hoping we can continue to find creative ways to
meet with our students and continue to offer them tangible
expressions of the love of God in their lives! Kevin Bourque, campus ministry chaplain.
The Reverend Kevin Bourque,
Protestant ecumenical chaplain
68 Stories of Mission 2011
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
50 Wynford Drive, Toronto ON M3C 1J7
416-441-1111 or 1-800-619-7301
We are God’s servants,
1 Corinthians 3:9