To download the June 2020 BECD District Dispatch, click here:
Greetings in the name of our Risen Lord. What changes we’ve experienced over these past three months! Our growing awareness of impending societal change has morphed to our emerging knowledge of the consequences and real change this Pandemic is having upon our world.
Our felt and shared anxiety about ‘what will be’ has two sides to it. What will be our future? Our collective questioning leads to uncertainty about what was once confidently stated. ‘I don’t know’ is more often our response to many questions about our future. Especially ones that position us as a decision maker. Our ‘authority’ has been replaced by a focus on our shared greater good; shared health and public safety.
The other side of ‘what will be’ is our faith statement. Questions about our closer walk with God are statements: rest in Me – the great I AM. By the fruit of the Holy Spirit we are called to ‘be’ in our world; to uphold one another in love as we are loved by God. And so, our present challenge is to remain ‘present’ and love one another. Rest in God’s presence.
Your District is working with a sub-group to engage leaders of our congregations and related entities to consider what ‘re-opening’ will look like. We know that restrictions on our past ways will highlight differences from ‘what was’ to ‘what it will be’. Public Health Orders and Guidance documents must be followed and reflect best practice that our insurance companies confirm will keep in force our liability insurance. Negligence is acting in ways contrary to that of a reasonable person.
Governance Task Force
From our 2016 District Synod came a recommendation “to review and take appropriate actions of governance and financial relationships between BECD Moravian entities”. Members of the Task Force have recommended that BECD accept the report of professional consultants who provided findings and recommendations of the Task Force’s scope of work. From that work with Moravian Entities there is an action plan that responds to governance and financial responsibilities. More information will be provided as we approach our upcoming District Synod in May 2021.
Canadian District Synod
Our upcoming Synod will be Friday to Sunday on the May 21 – 23, 2021 long weekend. There will be further information about our planned gathering in the fall.
INFORMATION FOR CHURCHES
Regarding masks for the churches from the Government of Canada
The Government of Canada has created a hub for organizations looking to find resources on buying and supplying personal protective equipment.
The Government of Canada is working closely with partners to ensure Canadians have access to the information, resources and supplies they need to stay safe and healthy in response to COVID-19.
Meet Calgary’s Newest Clergy: The Rev. Matthew Gillard
Matt was born in Bethlehem Pennsylvania in 1983, and has lived in Pennsylvania, California, Pennsylvania, Sweden, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Alberta (Edmonton and now Calgary). He greatly prefers living in the northern part of North America and Matt and his family are looking forward to exploring the mountains in the years to come.
Beth and Matt were married in October of 2011 and added to their family first with a dog Maggie, then their daughter Rachel was born in 2016, and added a son Rhys in 2019. Beth has been a teacher for the past 7 years, and they hoping that some upcoming interviews will land her a job in the very near future. She sings and plays guitar and is proficient in French language, which her loving husband enjoys teasing her about.
Matt really enjoys working with the Sr. High students at Van Es and has been working with that camp specifically since 2009, but has spent time with each and every camp grade over the past decade. Matt can juggle 3 objects at a time but has never bothered to learn how to juggle 4. His least favourite chore is washing dishes by hand, but putting them into the dishwasher isn’t so bad. Matt wears sandals (without socks) year round, and he is happy to challenge anyone to a barefoot contest outside in the middle of winter.
Matt enjoys watching baseball, a good beer, and going to the park with his kids. Their new neighbourhood in Calgary has nearly a dozen small playgrounds, so they have lots of places to go and see any given day. Matt collects crosses and has a collection of nearly 75 as of this newsletter.
CMMS Review Committee: 2021 will be mark the 25th anniversary of the beginnings of the Canadian Moravian Mission Society through a resolution at the 1996 Canadian District Synod. Since then, many changes have occurred within the Canadian District of the Moravian Church, and the grants available to the CMMS have evolved. It is now time to take a closer look at the identity, purpose and organization of the CMMS to determine the best path forward into the next decade. If you are interested in joining a committee to help form the future of the CMMS, please contact CMMS Chair, Donna Gordon, at [email protected].
Board of World Mission News:
COVID–19 Impacts Around the Moravian World: Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler, Director of Mission Engagement for the BWM, has prepared a video to provide information on how the current pandemic has affected our Moravian mission partners in Cuba, Peru, Labrador, Sierra Leone, Western Tanzania, South Africa, Honduras, Nicaragua and Alaska (as of May 28, 2020). View this presentation at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyxPcZFKmKw&t=6s
Watch the BWM Worship Service: Members of the Board of World Mission will be leading the online Moravian Church Without Walls worship service that will take place on Sunday, July 26, 2020, at 11:00 am, Eastern. During this worship service, we will hear from our Mission partners around the world as to how they are doing during these difficult days. We will pray together, sing together, and collectively reflect on God’s Word for us all. You may join the worship experience live or view it later when it is posted online. For information about the worship service, please go to www.moravian.org and follow the links for online worship.
Rt. Rev. Samuel J. Gray Concludes Ministry with BWM. The following announcement was made by the BWM on May 17, 2020:
“With a deep sense of gratitude for the ministry of Bishop Sam Gray, we share the news that he has accepted the call to serve as the Pastor of the New Philadelphia Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC. Bishop Sam will conclude his ministry with the BWM on Friday, June 12th, and be installed at New Philadelphia Moravian Church on Sunday, June 28th. In his work as Director of Mission Outreach for the BWM, Bishop Sam worked to further the Great Commission and live out the Great Commandment alongside many global partners. In the most recent years, his work has helped grow churches in the “new work” areas of the BWM, Peru, Cuba, and Sierra Leone. We wish Bishop Sam the best in the next step in his ministry, and know his heart for mission work will continue to shine through in all he does.”
Congregations are encouraged to share their outreach and mission stories in the Distract Dispatch. If you have a story to tell about how your congregation serves the Lord and God’s people in your community, and beyond, contact Holly Heffernan at [email protected].
Mission Story: Feeding the Hungry During Covid-19
The community immediately north of Christ Church in Calgary has been flagged by the City of Calgary as one that contains a large number of vulnerable residents. Recognizing that food insecurity is a real issue for its neighbours, Christ Church was instrumental in forming a neighbourhood food pantry in April 2019. Working alongside two other churches in the area, United and Lutheran, as well as local residents and community services providers, Christ Church has been a major supporter of this pantry through both volunteers and funding.
When COVID-19 concerns became an issue mid-March, we questioned whether or not the pantry would be able to continue, with many of its regular volunteers being at risk and needing to step away. But the need for food in our community only intensified as job loss became a reality and government subsidies were slow in coming.
In faith it was decided to move ahead, and God provided. Volunteers from the community who were furloughed from their work stepped forward to help. Instead of the usual monthly self-serve process, the pantry moved to providing prepacked hampers twice a month. Self-distancing and sanitation measures were put in place. One of the churches ran a special fund-raising campaign allowing for the purchase of extra food items to meet increased demand. Christ Church applied for and received a grant of $9,500 in Real Canadian Superstore gift cards to pass out to patrons, $100 for families of 3 or more and $50 for couples and singles.
On June 16, the pantry provided free food for 41 households consisting of 50 children, 6 seniors and 64 adults.
It is truly blessed to be a blessing.
There will be no overnight camps at Van-Es Camp and Conference Centre this summer.
At the moment, they are planning some Day Camp and Zoom Camp opportunities for our youth, details TBD.
However, we will be having a “Family Camp” at Van-Es on July 24-26. Households and cohorts can rent a cabin, bring an RV, stay in Unity Lodge, or pitch a tent. Each household/cohort will have their own designated washroom with shower. In lieu of registration fees, participants are asked to make a donation to the Chapel-Retreat House capital campaign. Households are responsible for their own food; however, they may order a “Meal Plan” from Camp, and household portions of hot food and snacks will be made available during mealtimes – this is $75/adult, or $40/kid for the whole weekend.
There will be intentional programming for youth and adults, an arts and crafts station, as well as ample free time, access to nearby hiking and biking trails, and evening campfires.
Common Ground Community Café
On June 8, 2020 the Members of Common Ground (Alberta) Community Café met to welcome Christenson Equities, parent company of Christenson Communities, as the new member of the Café by way of a special resolution of the Corporation. Included in this process to transfer operations and control of the Café to Christenson was the resignation of current Members (BECD) and Directors leaving the current Member (Christenson) to appoint new Directors, which was also completed last evening. The Café remains as a Not-For-Profit Corporation registered in Alberta but will not carry on any business operations. The food service is being contracted to another local company. This emerging ministry of the Moravian Church, conceived and implemented by a faithful group of leaders and followers, has taken on its new form to continue its journey being a gathering place to nurture people in the community of Strathcona County and Sherwood Park, Alberta.
It was encouraging to hear and see the eagerness of the new member, directors, and operators. Their acceptance of the vision of Common Ground as a volunteer based community hub, present to serve the needs of others was encouraging. Newly appointed directors have experience in Sherwood Park businesses and community engagement and communications. They are energized to begin their journey to build upon the legacy of Common Ground in this new location following the Covid 19 pandemic business interruption.
Equally impressive is the commitment of past directors who’ve formed a Leadership Committee that will support the new Directors and Members and provide guidance about Café matters.
Blessings to the new leaders of Common Ground Café.
Black Lives Matter
From Elizabeth (Betsy) Miller, President of the Northern Province
“Thus says the Lord…I have called you by name, you are mine.” These words from Isaiah 43 speak of God’s everlasting love and embrace for each human being. The promise of God’s presence – through waters, fire, flame,– remind us that every life is precious to God. God names us, claims us, saves us, loves us.
To some, every life does not seem to matter. In the midst of mourning 100,000 dead, from Covid we mourn the death of George Floyd, a black man killed at the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. George Floyd’s life mattered to his family, to his children, his loved ones, his friends. George Floyd’s life matters to God. George Floyd’s life must matter to us. “I have called you by name, you are precious in my sight. You are mine.” George Floyd belongs to our human family. To kneel on the neck of any human being until they can no longer breathe is criminal. To kneel on the neck of any human being because of the color of his skin is racist. To stand by and watch without intervening is complicit. Justice must be served. Individuals must be held accountable for their actions. Too often, we have all stood by and watched, without intervening.
In 2018, the Provincial Synod called “…upon all members to be strengthened by faith in Jesus Christ to overcome fear and become informed about racism and its impact on all human lives; confess the sin of racism; speak and act in love for all people; and work in every aspect of life to eliminate institutional, systemic, and personal racism.” At the same synod, we also affirmed the Unity-wide statement, “In the very core of Moravian understanding of humanity, the God-given equality of all people is fundamental” and “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms racism and discrimination in all its forms.”
We may not be on the streets of Minneapolis. We may not be listening to sirens in our neighborhoods. But we can do something to protest a senseless death – we can acknowledge our own complicity in the racism that permeates every facet of our culture. We can learn more about the roots of racism in our own lives, in the Moravian Church, and in our society today. And we can start the long, long journey toward the healing that only comes through confession, education, and coming together toward a common goal.