We are saddened to learn of the passing of Annette van Enns on January 10, 2016, after a long battle with cancer. Arlyn and Annette van Enns have served under Northern Canada Evangelical Mission as Associate Missionaries with EMC for almost 30 years. They were based in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. Please be in prayer for Arlyn and the people in Fort Chipewyan, who will miss her deeply. The funeral is set for January 18 in Fort Chipewyan.
We are in the midst of a significant national conversation about the duty of care we owe one another at the end of life, the legalization of euthanasia and the protection of religious freedom and conscience.
Last fall EMC signed a Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Thus far close to 2,000 other church leaders and lay people have signed the Declaration, a document drafted by the EFC and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
We want to encourage more to sign, from all walks of life. The goal is to have 10,000 signatures by February 6, the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that opened the door to physician-assisted suicide.
As the issue moves to Parliament Hill, we want to use the Declaration publically and in meetings with Parliamentarians as a statement of support for the protection of life, the promotion of palliative care and the defense of conscience.
Please consider helping by encouraging your pastor and church members to sign the Declaration by going to www.euthanasiadeclaration.ca.Tweet
When I look back over my 20 years serving in the EMC—four years in Mexico and 16 years at the national office—I’m more in love with the Church now than ever before. Why? Because I’ve witnessed the Church do an amazing job of inviting, encouraging and discipling each successive generation to embrace a full identity as Christ followers, and as equal participants in the sacred beauty that is the church, the bride of Christ.
Take youth ministry as an example—increasingly more of our churches run youth ministries with growing numbers of non-church-attending students participating in their weekly gatherings. They study God’s Word, do service projects, and shine the light of Christ from the basketball court to the Movie Theatre, right on down to the basement of a friend’s house playing video games. And yes, many are also involved on Sunday mornings serving on worship teams, teaching Sunday School, or running the PowerPoint.
While lack of loyalty may be the accusation from many, what I see in this younger generation is a truckload of devotion when the “product” is genuine and marked with integrity. They are loyal to their friends, to their sports team, and to their favourite coffee shop. But if the customer service at a particular store is deemed inauthentic, they have no problems voting with their feet.
The same goes for the Church. Contrary to a growing opinion, I think that many students do have a good understanding of how the Church is the bride of Christ and that it should uphold biblical moral standards, sincere love, and unapologetic integrity. However, when that trust is broken, they move on looking for a congregation that practices what it preaches.
In response, I have sometimes thought about saying to them, “Of course the Church makes mistakes, so put your eyes on Jesus, not on sinful human beings.” And they may well respond by saying, “We need the Church to model Jesus to us so that we too know how to represent Christ in our world.”
By all accounts Mary was just a teenager when she gave birth to the Christ child. The script from the Master included a remarkably young couple raising the Saviour of the world in their home. Do we trust Jesus in the hands of our youth? Our Heavenly Father did.
Do we truly believe that they know the value of the treasure they have in Christ? Are we willing to let them experience the Lord, and, dare I say, be responsible enough to serve the Lord in their way, with their lives, in the Church, for His glory?
I have seen from personal experience that the Spirit of God works in the lives of people of all ages, from the little pre-schoolers right on through to the seniors in our midst. Let’s continue to be the Church where all generations experience relevance and truth wrapped in the swaddling clothes of love.
- Gerald Reimer, Conference Youth Minister/Missions Mobilizer
Wondering about a good investment for your donation dollars? Here are five good reasons to support EMC ministries with your donations:
We encourage everyone to make their church support a first priority. Your local church relies on each person to fund its ministries. The church, in turn, supports efforts of the EMC nationally and internationally.
Many people also make donations beyond their home church. We invite you to make a donation in support of EMC’s national and international ministries. Choose a method of donation: call our office to make a payment over the phone, donate through our website, or mail a cheque to our office, to the order of EMC. Your contribution makes a difference.
The combined effort of EMC churches, individuals, and estates makes it possible to carry out our ministries. As of the end of November we still need to raise $550,000 before the end of the calendar year. Thank you for your support!
Photo Credit: Gord Penner
On Dec. 2, 2015, pastoral students from SBC visited the EMC’s national office. It allowed them to familiarize themselves with the office, meet national staff persons, enjoy some pizza, ask questions about ministry and church-conference relationships—and even snag some free pens and books. Gord Penner, a professor and an EMC minister, is the bridge personality for this event.
- Terry M. Smith
Chancellor Ben Eidse and missions Professor Carl Loewen pose during the launch of Eidse’s book at SBC on Sept. 15.
How do we respond to the violent acts of terrorism that occurred in Paris this past week? Do we secretly feel that a violent response is justified?
We, like many other Christians, are shocked by the violence and we grieve with the mourning families and the country of France. As EMCers, we believe that Jesus calls us to respond with love, to pray for wisdom for national leaders, and not give in to an escalated cycle of violence. Let us pray for those who grieve and let us pray for those who perpetrate further violence.
An EMC missionary family living in Paris reports that they are safe, but that the mood of people in Paris is somber—they are in mourning. Our hope and prayer is that despite this violence, God’s love and grace will overshadow these despicable acts and the light of Jesus will shine even brighter.
- Tim Dyck, General Secretary, on behalf of the EMC General Board
The Church has always had two types of Christians and they might as well be good to each other. On the one hand, we have the hot ’n readys, the Spirit-fired chasers of Jesus who are ready to turn their lives and their village upside down.
These are the apostles, the St. Francises, the George Blaurocks, the John Wesleys and the Shane Claibournes. Most revivals, revolutions, or reforms have come from these people. Their sins tend to be impatience, spiritual arrogance, emotionalism, and heresy.
On the other hand, we have the slow ’n steadys. These are disciples too, but they mostly want to live decent lives and then go to church on Sunday. They have their careers, families, and routines that they pray are pleasing to God, but have little interest in selling everything and giving to the poor. They are more interested in the long-term stability of the Church than in electrifying the town tonight.
They do not make rash promises about what they will conquer for Jesus, but they do show up. Because of these people the Church has lasted 2,000 years and is still inching forward. The sins of the slow ’n steady tend to be compromise, lethargy, and “Nicodemism,” which is avoiding persecution by blending in.
Different churches have leaned one way or the other. In the Early Church the apostles left everything to ply the seas and put the boots to the devil. But not many other people did. Most heard the Message, were baptized, and then went home to do the milking. Jesus honoured them both.
The Medieval Church had “the religious” who were the monks and nuns, and “the secular” who were the common lay people. Anabaptism began in Switzerland when some hot ’n readys got fed up with Zwingli’s slow, incremental reform. Anabaptists tried to be a church of only hot ’n readys, but eventually you ended up with Mennonites.
Eighteenth century Evangelicalism and 20th century Pentecostalism tried the same. All of these resulted in genuine renewal of the Church, but in no case a Church of only Apostle Peters.
These two groups have their unique ways of afflicting each other. The hot ’n readys harangue the “luke-warm” who do not “really” believe, hoping to set them on fire. They are often willing to split the Church to make their point. The slow ’n steadys will simply institutionalize the “freaks” out the church door, consigning them to the monastery or a parachurch organization. The slow ’n steadys generally hold the power and money of the Church, while the hot ’n readys claim the moral high ground.
The Church needs both the fire of sold-out passion and the steady hand of people whose faith is submerged in daily routines. We should stop trying to convert each other. Churches can provide places within the congregation for people called to live extreme faith. Perhaps we need monastic-type communities within the congregation with people committed in an extraordinary way to prayer or service. They should not need to leave or split the Church to live super-charged lives.
We also need to stop implying that all slow ’n steadys are compromised slackers. It’s okay that some people don’t want to talk about their faith all the time, or attend all-night prayer meetings, or move to Calcutta to live on love. There are steady disciples and there are radical disciples. It’s all good.
For more, read Ivan J. Kaufman’s book Follow Me: A History of Christian Intentionality (Cascade, 2009).
- Layton Friesen