We’re quickly coming up to the last Outer Circle gathering of 2017 on October 28. If you’re in the OC this year, we trust your Triads have been meeting, sharing, supporting and praying for each other. This is, after all, the whole point of the Outer Circle process – relationship and growth.
None of us can study our way to become more like Jesus – rather we obey our way to become more like Jesus.
If there is one lesson I’ve learned the past few years, it’s that I can’t make myself more like Jesus. There’s nothing I can do to make growth happen inside me. I can set up the conditions, I can learn, I can posture myself for growth, but in the end it is a work of the Holy Spirit. None of us can study our way to become more like Jesus – rather we obey our way to become more like Jesus. In other words, the habits and practices we form in response to the teaching and leading of Jesus will create favourable conditions for becoming more like him. This is the whole point of Triads and the Outer Circle process. It’s simply a track – a way of opening yourself up to God’s leading in the midst of small pockets of community that will encourage, promote and stimulate growth. That work doesn’t happen in meetings (usually). Rather it happens in the coffee shops, pubs, living rooms and wherever else you meet up with your Triad to share areas of strength and growth and the actions (habits) you’ve formed in order to encourage growth and share strength.
If you’re not part of the Outer Circle this year, you’re still welcome to join. Each year begins a new cycle. Being an active participant in the Outer Circle process (not just the meetings but engaging in the process with your Triad) is also one concrete way Membership is expressed in WCV. We always eat together, share with each other and end by celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.
We live in a time of immense diversity. Every subject imaginable has a myriad of opposing viewpoints – from politics, economics and science, to arts, religion, sports and more. As if that weren’t enough, adherents to virtually any opinion can find facts and figures to back up their position, adding emotional horsepower to whatever position they hold. Of course, the church isn’t immune from this. Theology can be politicized to the point where it manifests itself in people doing ugly things in the name of truth. How should the church hold to what is true in times like this? What are we to believe? How are we to behave toward each other and toward those who are not yet following Jesus? What are we to do with diversity within the church?
Thankfully, the church has always lived in diverse times. It is true that today we may face some new challenges, but ever since the birth of the church there have been controversies they’ve had to work through. In fact, much of the New Testament contains stories, advice and even warnings to the early church regarding how to conduct themselves in the mist of differing ideas. Furthermore, the New Testament church didn’t figure it all out and usher in a period of unity and uniformity (those aren’t the same, by the way!). The past 2,000 years of the church is full of all kinds of controversy. At times, this diversity has led to divisiveness – in the extreme it’s even become violent. In other instances, the church has managed to stay true to what its called to do: to love God and love each other like we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31) and to make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son
and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all Jesus commanded (Matt 28:19). But how does one actually do this in such turbulence? What are the keys that the early church held that can help us through our times? What mistakes have been made that we can avoid? And, what authority does the Bible have in all of this?
This Fall we’ll be exploring how to hold the centre in the midst of tremendous diversity – we’ll be attempting to speak to these and other important questions for our time.
In the 17th century a German Lutheran pastor named Peter Meiderlin lived during incredibly difficult times. The infamous 30-Year War was raging and all of Europe (almost literally) was fighting (literally) over theology. Doctrine had become politicized to the point that Christians were killing each other over points that might seem ridiculous to us today. In the midst of this, and with the help of a God-dream, Meiderlin coined a catchy little phrase (well, it’s catchy in Latin) which reads: “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” In other words, keep the main thing the main thing – everything else that is not essential to salvation, even though it’s important, should not be given central priority – and love each other through it all. While this rubric didn’t put an end to the fighting of his time, it has become helpful to many Christians since.
We’re going to use Medeirlin’s phrase (although mix up the original order) as an outline for this series.
What are the “essentials” that we must hold on to? Far from nailing down a set of theological ideas, our centre is a Person – Jesus – who is both fully God and fully human. We must always keep him at the centre, and anything or anyone who begins to displace him must be named and put back in its proper place. This means that good ideas, moral ideas, holy ideas, even good theology is not our centre. They are all good, but we are not to anchor ourselves in them. Like the writer of Hebrews says, we are to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 11:1-2). Next we’ll explore how to have charity in “all things”. In other words, how do we listen well to those we may disagree with over non-essentials? How do we love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ amidst diverse opinions, theologies, experiences and values? Lastly, in the new year, we will begin to explore some of the many ways our community is diverse – the “non-essentials” – which may still be important, but just not our centre – not what defines us. At our annual retreat in the Spring, the elders identified 12 issues (and there are likely more) in our church that people will deeply disagree with others about. However, before we get there, we must keep the centre in view and always posture ourselves in love.
We will be compiling some additional resources for those who want to go deeper. For now, here is an article by Gary Best (former director of Vineyard Canada) called “Unity and Truth – A Historical Reflection”. We’ve found Gary to be very helpful in setting the tone for this conversation. In this article, he articulates how one should be concerned with taking a good posture before taking a position on any given topic. Check it out and let us know what you think either in the comments below, or by contacting any of the pastors or elders.
>> This series may bring up some anxiety in some of you. If this is the case, please, please, please find a healthy place to process. The Pastoral and Lay Elders have been praying for this process for some time now and are all prepared to provide support and care where needed.
>> Both the Upstairs Gatherings and Downstairs Gatherings will be exploring the same topics throughout this series.
“…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”
We are hosting a party in our parking lot again this year!
Saturday, Sept 30, 6pm – 9:30pm.
BBQ, musicians, arts and crafts, and artists working on a live collaborative graffiti piece – all at 782 Main St Parking Lot.
It’s the culmination of the Wall-to-Wall festival that has seen five new contemporary street art pieces emerge in the neighbourhood. It’s also part of the North End Arts week and Nuit Blanche Winnipeg festivities. And, as if that weren’t enough, our parking lot is the rendezvous point for the Rainbow Trout Music Festival Bike Jam.
Wall-to-Wall 2017 is a collaboration by Synonym Art Consultation, North End Community Renewal Corporation and Graffiti Art Programming (the same people who organized the murals on our building). The purpose of the Wall-to-Wall project is, in their own words, “to transform an under-utilized warehouse district and to provide platforms for under-represented voices to be heard.” We’re expecting 1,800 people this year.
Also, the Flatlanders Studio will be open all evening as an official venue of Nuit Blanche. It will be showcasing a show called “Selcouth: a look into the upbringing of Winnipeg’s metal musicians.” The Bear Clan will be onsite for security in the Parking Lot.
6pm – Free Hotdog BBQ
6:30pm – Faouzia
7:30pm – Super Duty Tough Work X Studio 393
8:30pm – DJ Srub
9:30pm – Rainbow Trout Music Festival Bike Jam Departs
The Upstairs Gathering rebooted this past week. Until Advent it will be in a season of experimenting with a more liturgical flavour. In the past few years there has been quite a bit of community jam for exploring the gifts of the contemplative life – good things have been happening. The Men’s retreat and the Schools of Spiritual Direction are prime examples of people connecting with God in deeper and more intentional ways. This focus for the Upstairs Gathering is another way we can continue to explore this as a community. While liturgy and contemplation are not the same, they can mutually reinforce each other. What we pray, the words we sing, the importance we place on certain elements of our gatherings – these all form us
whether we realize it or not.
In this experiment, we want to intentionally and carefully infuse our gathering with elements that are rooted in scripture, part of the historical understanding of what it means to follow Jesus, and central to Christian worship. It’s not that downstairs is devoid of any of these elements – it’s not! We just want to use the Upstairs Gathering as a venue to intentionally explore these things with a little more attention to detail than we may be used to. For example, each week we will have a specific prayer to lead us through a process of affirming what we believe and a specific prayer of confession in order to ready ourselves to receive communion. This central act of Christian worship has a sacramental power that is very rich if given time and space to do what it should in us. Ultimately, we want to place ourselves in the best possible position to both worship God and be formed, transformed and renewed by him.
The prayers that are used upstairs have been compiled from a wide variety of sources (scripture, Book of Common Prayer, early Christian creeds, ancient prayers, etc). and have been modified to suit modern sensibilities… in other words, they’ve been “Vineyardized”. We will tweak them as we go along. There will still be a condensed sermon on the same topic as the Downstairs Gathering, and we’ll always make room for discussion, interaction and group dialogue. Also, there is always coffee served right after the kid’s are released!
In the end, we’re one church with two gatherings. Feel free to try it out – and then let us know what you think. Bear in mind we don’t really want to know whether you like it or not – as if church were some kind of product to be consumed. Rather, let us know if it helps you to encounter Jesus – enhances your worship – opens up space for God to do something in you. In the end it’s all about worshiping God regardless of form and irrespective of our preferences!
We’re excited to be all together again this Fall. We have a sense that as we attend to each other, our neighbours and Jesus, that God will be present to us in many special ways. We’ve been called to worship, develop a safe community, and work to see his Kingdom of justice established. Below are a few dates and opportunities you’ll want to make note of as we go about these amazing tasks.
Sept 8-10: Men’s Lake Getaway
Sept 10: Kid’s Church starts
Sept 21: Women’s Event
Sept 24: Upstairs Gathering reboots
Sept 24: Welcome Party
Oct 8: Celebration Service
Oct 15: Community Life Sunday
Oct 28: Outer Circle gathering
Here are a few other opportunities that will be rebooting this Fall.
House Groups – rebooting
Jr and Sr High Youth groups
Schools of Spiritual Direction
School of Mercy and Justice
Core Class – exploring WCV essentials
Triads – get together before our last Outer Circle gathering of the year
Here are a few National gatherings that you may want to participate in this Fall. We hosted the first Metanoia gathering a few years back and they are wonderful times of engagement, worship and encouragement in a unique format (they’re not typical conferences). Jared Boyd (our friend who taught in the first School of Spiritual Direction we hosted) will be a special guest leading us through a series of experiences (and the first 50 people to register get a free copy of his new book).
If you’re interested in going to the Metanoia West, let Andy know (he’s going).
We experience an overdose of activity because of all the things expected of us. Life is often characterized by doing and busyness. It’s difficult to dial down into quietness; to rest, reflect, and simply be. This kind of contemplative life seems to evade us. This year we want to consider the benefits of cultivating an inner life that we may know God and ourselves more deeply. We will hear from those who live this well. It will be a time of listening, sharing, and deciding what might click for us going forward.
Of course, we will enjoy all the fun things at the lake while we hang loose and relax. Food by Peter the Great will exceed our expectations and appetites. We want this to be a watershed time for us all that enriches our lives for days to come. Don’t miss it!
Due to demolition of a cabin, the number of beds is reduced this year and we expect a need for a lot more mats and tents. We recommend that your registration is completed and the fee be paid by August 15th for your best chance for a bed.
Where & When:
September 8 – 10. Starts Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and ends at noon on Sunday.
Rademaker Cabins on Lindsay Rd., Clearwater Bay, Ontario
20 minutes (30 km) East of Ontario-Manitoba border just 2 kms East of Clearwater Bay. Right on Lindsay Rd., drive straight into Fire Rd. 5 or 6.
Cost $50 (partial subsidy available if needed). Payment due with registration.
Cash or cheque to church office or Cornelius, or via e-transfer (email Lillian for instructions). Make cheques payable to WCV and indicate “Men’s Getaway” in the memo line.
Bring sleeping bag /bedding /tent if required
We have limited inside beds (first registered basis) but lots of decks for tenting or mats!
This short report will bring you the latest update on WCV’s financial situation.
As we enjoy the summer we are seeing our deficit increase to a level that needs attention. At July 31, we had an operating deficit of $35,699 which is at the maximum level that we can manage our cash flow comfortably. The operations effect of this amount is somewhat reduced by the $18,646 surplus that we carried forward from previous years. But the reality is that we must replace that amount before year-end.
We want to bring this situation to everyone’s attention so that all are aware. Our income must now increase significantly to make up this deficit and carry us through to the end of the year.
We are thankful for all the generous support from many in the community, and continue to pray for God’s provision for all our needs.
As many of you may already be aware, the Himalayan Region Vineyard’s AVC release party and conference which was planned for this Fall has been postponed due to political unrest.
There have been ongoing strikes in the Darjeeling area of the Himalayan Region of India. The massive movement of people, foreigners and locals alike, would have attracted undue attention and likely would have had negative consequences. So, the HRV leadership team decided it best to postpone the conference. In the meantime we will pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and that our brothers and sisters would be safe and be able to access all the supplies they need during this indefinite shutdown. The aim of the protests is to secure statehood for “Gorkhaland” – so far eight people have been shot dead and the economic repercussions of the strike threatens many with hunger and violence.
The leadership team says:
“We ask the Global Vineyard Family to stand with us in prayer for a peaceful resolve of the conflict and the safety of all peoples on the region. We need your ongoing support for all the opportunities that God has given us to reach the lost for the Kingdom.”
Hebrew 2:8,9 God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus Our passion for Jesus remains.
On Sunday, April 30 we’re going to be spending the morning in evaluation and envisioning mode for the Upstairs Gathering. This time is for anyone who has a stake in the UG as well as anyone would love to see something different happen – even if you’ve never been to there. It’s time to do some renovations. We are sensing that we need to make some tweaks and changes – to ask some good questions, and perhaps take it in some new directions. We want to discuss together what these renovations could be.
In the Upstairs Gathering (3rd Floor Flatlanders Studio)
On May 28 we will be celebrating a decade of open doors and opening hearts in Flatlanders Inn. The Flatlanders will be hosting the morning service and afterwards, inviting everyone upstairs for an open house, a light lunch, music and some other surprises. Make sure you mark your calendars and plan to join us on this special day. Also, watch for our 10-year anniversary edition Newsletter coming out soon.
This Spring and Summer we’re going to be embarking on a new series called “Streams of Living Water: exploring unity and diversity in the church”. We’re going to be exploring the wondrous and varied expressions of the body of Christ – streams, if you will. There are many streams that comprise the whole body of Christ. We hope to place ourselves in a position in which we can be challenged by and learn from other streams and, ultimately, come to love Jesus more through the beautiful expressions of his Bride. In John 4, Jesus offered the Samaritan woman a drink from a stream of “living water” that he promised if we drank from we’d never thirst again. In John 7:37-38 Jesus said, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.” This is what we want for each of us and we believe that this will happen through the exploration of these streams of the church.
This series will be based on a classic book by Richard Foster called “Streams of Living Water”. Perhaps you want to grab a copy and follow along. We’ve heard from many of you that this would be a good idea – so let’s make it happen! We’ll be starting June 4.