The School of Mercy and Justice

Over the last year, we have spent much time in conversation about our Vineyard School of Justice (VSOJ), and about what God may be inviting us into this next season. In short, we sense his pleasure over the VSOJ these past four years – that it has accomplished what it was intended to – and that God is doing something new.

Today, in partnership with Sustainable Faith (the organization that facilitates the School of Spiritual Direction), we are very excited to announce a new school: The School of Mercy and Justice (SOMJ)! Our first cohorts will be this October in Winnipeg and Montreal.

Below, you’ll find a reflection on the VSOJ, the vision of the SOMJ, an overview of the new school curriculum, and tuition and registration information.

APPLY FOR THE SCHOOL OF MERCY AND JUSTICE


Reflection: The Vineyard School of Justice

The end of March, 2017 marked the completion of our fourth school since rebooting the VSOJ in the fall of 2013. As people have set aside six months to pursue what it means to love God and their neighbour in the contexts of poverty and injustice, God has done remarkable things. Here are a few highlights over the last four years (Video Reviews of Each School):

  • 21 total students
  • 12 women & 9 men
  • 2 students from the Vineyard in Montreal
  • 11 students who were street-involved / at risk of homelessness
  • All 5 students in the 2014-2015 school year were street-involved / at risk of homelessness
  • 7 Indigenous students
  • 18 – 63 years: student age range
  • 2 trips to the Himalayan Region Vineyards in Nepal (including visits to every Vineyard church; 1 Nepali VSOJ; and several gatherings/meetings with leaders)
  • 1 intern (Natalie Hamm) who served for a year, then became a leader the next year
  • 1 practicum student last year (Tara Glowacki)
  • 569 “likes” (and counting!) on Facebook
  • We established an articulation agreement with Vineyard Institute (VI) whereby our students could receive credit towards VI programs and certificates

The SOJ’s exposure has grown over the last years. As director of the school, Suhail has been invited to speak about the program / justice / compassion at various gatherings including:

As a result of CauseCon, 7 people (5 students and 2 leaders) from the Heroic Leadership Institute in Duluth came to spend a week with us.

VSOJ class of 2015.

Vision: The School of Mercy and Justice

The SOMJ involves three main changes from the VSOJ.

  • The school will be modular (5 modules, each 2 days, with a particular theme) as opposed to the format of the VSOJ (which was 5 days a week, for 6 months). Modular learning is more in line with trends in modern education and will also allow those who are working or studying to access the program and participate more easily.
  • The school will more intentionally focus on joining the contemplative and active life. The SOMJ offers participants an immersive, integrated, and robust spiritual formation for those who desire to cultivate a deep life with God and engage in the work of mercy and justice in the world. To use Ignatian language, we envision the school as training for those who desire to live as “contemplatives in action.” We want to facilitate joy, purpose, and wholeness in people and churches as they seek to embody mercy and justice in the manner and Spirit of Jesus; that the beauty and good news of the Kingdom may increasingly come to those our world considers “poor.”
  • The school will be an official Sustainable Faith school; it will not be a WCV ministry as the VSOJ was. Sustainable Faith’s Schools of Spiritual Direction comprise the largest spiritual direction training in North America (26 locations, 23 teachers, around 250 students / year, and around 800 students in the last eight to nine years). The organization is increasingly well-known and trusted. Being connected to and overseen by Sustainable Faith will:
    • give the SOMJ greater exposure and credibility. This will likely encourage greater engagement (more students), which will likely precipitate greater breadth (more schools).
    • allow possibilities for the SOMJ to scale and expand beyond WCV, thereby contributing to the spiritual formation of a broader scope of people and churches.
    • relieve WCV of significant administrative responsibilities. Sustainable Faith will administrate all details related to web presence, student applications, and tuition payments.

Who is Involved?

The Winnipeg cohort will be led by Suhail Stephen and Natalie Hamm; the Montreal cohort will be led by Erin O’Neill and Matte Downey.

From left to right: Natalie, Erin, Suhail

Matte

Natalie grew up in Steinbach, Manitoba. She has been a part of the Vineyard since moving to Winnipeg in 2013 where she lived at Flatlanders Inn (a ministry of Winnipeg Centre Vineyard that is an intentional community and place for those at risk of homelessness to get their feet back under them) for one year while also attending the Vineyard School of Justice. Upon completing the school, she spent nine months working with the Himalayan Region Vineyard churches in Nepal and IndiaSince returning to Winnipeg she has lived and worked at House of Hesed (a transitional community for those living with HIV/AIDS), spent two years interning and leading the Vineyard School of Justice, and completed Sustainable Faith’s School of Spiritual Direction. Natalie loves to run, read, bake, and always has at least one knitting project on the go.

Erin is from Quebec and currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she is part of the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard. She graduated from the Vineyard School of Justice in 2016, and completed her first year of Sustainable Faith’s School of Spiritual Direction in 2017. She resides and has interned at Flatlanders Inn. She has a Master of Occupational Therapy from the Université de Sherbrooke, and presently works with seniors in long-term care.

Suhail is from India, grew up as a missionary kid, and has lived in a total of seven countries. He currently serves on staff at the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard (WCV) as pastor of the Drop-In (street parish ministry), directed the Vineyard School of Justice for four years, and now directs the School of Mercy and Justice. He has been part of the Vineyard since 2001 and prior to WCV, was part of and led worship at Trinity Vineyard Christian Fellowship in St. Charles, Illinois, and at Kowloon City Vineyard in Hong Kong. He has a B.A in English Literature and Philosophy from Wheaton College and an M.A in Community Leadership and Philanthropy Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He recently completed Sustainable Faith’s School of Spiritual Direction. He and his wife, Jennifer, met at WCV, have been married almost three years, and are expecting their first child this September!

Matte lives in Montreal, Quebec where being an English-speaking, Protestant, white female makes her a minority (and she is good with that). She has a B.Th. in Biblical Studies, an M.A. in Theological Studies, and a Ph.D. in Humanities (Theology/Theatre). She has taught in the Theological Studies Department at Concordia University and is currently an adjunct lecturer at Threshold School of Ministry in Saint John, New Brunswick. She co-hosts The Imaginators Podcast which features conversations on creativity and faith and has presented her work (both theological and theatrical) in conferences near and far. She and her husband, Dean, pastor the Vineyard Montreal Church, and you can find her blog at outword.blogspot.ca.


Overview: The School of Mercy and Justice

Through the combined experience of learning together through teaching and discussion, reading superb literature, film, engaging in individual and group activities and reflection, receiving spiritual direction, and practicing spiritual disciplines — all in a communal setting — students will grow in embodying the contemplative, missional life.

Module Themes and Dates

There are five modules, each two days, with a particular theme:

  • Module 1: The Story of Our Life and The Life of Christ
    • Sharing “sacred stories” of personal experiences with mercy and justice; an overview of the life of Jesus through the lens of action and contemplation.
  • Module 2: Compassion and Grief
    • Encountering the God who sees, feels, and responds to our suffering; grieving loss and the power of lament in sustaining a soul’s work in mercy and justice.
  • Module 3: Humility and Power
    • Encountering the God who “empties himself” and welcoming his upside-down Kingdom; invitations to poverty and simplicity.
  • Module 4: Mercy and Justice
    • Responding to people’s immediate needs and addressing systemic/structural issues; discerning vocation in mercy and justice.
  • Module 5: Rhythm and Rule
    • Arranging life for wholeness and spiritual transformation; crafting a rule of life that embodies the rhythms of action and contemplation.

Each module is from 9:00am – 5:00pm, Fridays and Saturdays.   

  • Winnipeg, Canada (location TBD)
    Oct. 27- 28, 2017
    Dec. 8 – 9, 2017
    Feb. 9 – 10, 2018
    Apr. 13 – 14, 2018
    June 8 – 9, 2018
  • Montreal, Canada (location TBD)
    Nov. 3 – 4, 2017
    Dec. 15 – 16, 2017
    Feb. 16 – 17, 2018
    Apr. 20 – 21, 2018
    June 15 – 16, 2018

Requirements

  • Readings (12)
    • Approximately two books per module, with a pace of about a book a month.
  • Activities (8)
    • We are not solely or even primarily thinking beings; much of what actually forms us are the activities with which we engage our bodies. As such, participants will undertake certain activities with a view to more fully encountering God and his heart of mercy and justice in and amongst those who are considered “poor.”
  • Receiving spiritual direction (minimum 6 sessions)
    • Spiritual direction encourages you to rest from doing, and be reflective; to notice, savour, and respond to the presence, voice, and activity of God. This is especially important in mercy and justice work, where needs and issues always seem urgent, ubiquitous, and inexhaustible.
    • Introducing Spiritual Direction [PDF]
  • Practicing spiritual disciplines
    • Each participant selects one to two spiritual disciplines to engage in more deeply over the course of each module.
  • General reports (4)
    • Before each module, you’ll post a one to two page report in which you:
      • share the current circumstances of your own life and spiritual journey
      • reflect on your experience of the readings and activities, receiving direction, and practicing spiritual disciplines
      • answer one or two specific questions related to the module
      • submit any question(s) you’d like to discuss in the upcoming module

Tuition

    • $900 USD (CAD ~ $1,211.40)
    • Note: The above figure does not include books or meals (lunches).
    • A $200 USD (CAD ~ $269.20) deposit secures your place.
    • You can either pay the remaining $700 USD (CAD ~$ 942.20) up front or in monthly instalments throughout the duration of the school.
    • You will be invoiced directly from Sustainable Faith.
    • There is an additional US $40 (CAD ~ $93) fee to cover debit/credit card charges incurred by the school. This charge can be avoided by using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT); tuition invoices will provide details regarding this.
    • Note: Given that Sustainable Faith establishes tuition in US$, all above fees in CAD$ are approximate. Amounts in CAD$ may fluctuate based on currency exchange rates with the US$.

Who is the School for?

You do not have to be part of the Vineyard to be part of the school. The SOMJ is open to pastors, church leaders, and laypeople alike, and is geared to serve not just one denomination or church tradition, but the larger body of Christ. The training is Christocentric and guides people to embrace the entirety of the life of Christ in terms of his priorities of solitude and prayer, and of engagement and ministry.

    • Note: Each school will typically have no more than 12 students.

Application and Deadlines

October 1, 2017: Registration due
October 8, 2017: $200 USD (CAD ~ $269.20) deposit due to secure your place

    • We encourage you to apply as soon as you can as spaces may fill up.
    • Once we receive your application, we will get in touch with you for an interview and provide deposit/payment information.
    • The link below will take you to Sustainable Faith’s website. Please select the appropriate location (Winnipeg or Montreal), and then fill in your personal information.
    • APPLY FOR THE SCHOOL OF MERCY AND JUSTICE

Seven Offerings of Spiritual Direction

From left to right: Suhail, Andy, Barb, Cliff, Amanda, Danny (teacher), Natalie, Jodi.

This past June, seven people – all leaders in WCV – completed Sustainable Faith’s two-year School of Spiritual Direction. Alongside celebrating God’s transformative work in each of them, we are also excited for the ways in which their training will provide a wider expanse of pastoral care in our community and beyond.

Each of these graduates is equipped to offer spiritual direction; to accompany you as you seek to notice and respond to the presence, voice, and activity of God in your life. If you are interested in receiving spiritual direction, feel free to get in touch in person or click a name for contact information.

School of Spiritual Direction (Years 1 & 2)

Year Two Graduates (June, 2017).

In light of our tremendous experience with the School of Spiritual Direction this past year at WCV, we are very pleased to offer along with Sustainable Faith another Year One School and a Year Two School this fall. Below, you can find information about Spiritual Direction, the schools, and register.

  • Note: Year Two is only for those who have completed Year One.

What is Spiritual Direction?  

God is always working (John 5:17) and communicating (Psalm 19:2) yet despite being all around and even within us, we are often so profoundly unaware of his presence, activity, and voice, as well as how we want to respond to these things. Many of us also sense an invitation to learn more deeply how to pray.

Spiritual Direction is an ancient practice intended to facilitate a deeper experience of God in our lives, both in terms of our conversation with God (speaking and listening) and our attention to him (noticing and discerning God’s presence and activity).

Spiritual Direction is a shared, collaborative experience whereby a director and directee “come together for the primary purpose of focusing on the presence and activity of God in the directee’s life. In a word, Spiritual Direction is co-discernment. We learn to ‘see what the Father is doing (John 5:19),’ not just in that moment, but over the months and seasons of a person’s life. The goal is to deepen the relationship with God by growing in attentiveness [Introducing Spiritual Direction, p. 1].”


Why a “School of Spiritual Direction?”

There are two primary purposes of the school, broadly understood in terms of an inward and an outward dynamic. First, inward: the school is designed to promote personal growth in love for and devotion to God, in experiencing him, and in discerning the movement of the Holy Spirit. We believe that you will be enriched significantly in your faith and deepen your intimacy with Christ.

Second, outward: the school is designed to strengthen your ability to be attentive to others, especially in relation to accompanying them well on their own journey with Christ. We believe that you will develop honed listening skills and be equipped to offer Spiritual Direction to others in your own context.

Ultimately, the School of Spiritual Direction is intended “to cultivate excellent pastoral care and deeper spiritual formation within the local church” [Introducing Spiritual Direction, p. 2].

  • Note: Year Two graduates are certified as Spiritual Directors with the Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association, by whom Sustainable Faith’s program is recognized.

Who is Involved?

Sustainable Faith is responsible for running Schools of Spiritual Direction and has been doing so all over the U.S. and the Netherlands since 2007; we hosted Canada’s first school two years ago. We are thrilled to be offering this in the Vineyard and to have Danny Mullins (pictured below) facilitate it once again this year.

Danny Mullins 2 8x12 FO_Copy copy

Danny began full-time vocational ministry in 1979. He has since served as an Associate Pastor in three different congregations in Texas and Arizona, including eight years as a Senior Pastor. He has spent the past fifteen years as Associate Pastor of Vineyard Community Church, Gilbert, Arizona. He has also served as a worship leader for more than forty years. Currently, his primary emphasis in the church is in the area of spiritual formation. He completed a Masters of Ministry Diploma at St. Stephens University and became a certified Spiritual Director through Sustainable Faith’s School of Spiritual Direction. He is now a part of the teaching staff for Sustainable Faith and is actively involved in training others in the ministry of Spiritual Direction. He and his wife Janet have been married for forty-one years and are the proud parents and grandparents of four grown sons and four grandchildren, respectively.


School Information and Dates

The school is comprised of seminar intensives, practicing spiritual disciplines, receiving and offering Spiritual Direction, reading, and written reflections. The syllabi below may be subject to change but will give you an overview of what to expect.

Year One: Five seminar intensives, each two days, 9am-5pm each day.

  • Year One Syllabus (2017-2018) [PDF]
  • Module 1: October 13-14, 2017
  • Module 2: December 1-2, 2017
  • Module 3: February 2-3, 2018
  • Module 4: April 6-7, 2018
  • Module 5: June 1-2, 2018

Year Two: Five seminar intensives, each two days, 9am-5pm the first day; 1pm – 5pm the second.

  • Year Two Syllabus (2017-2018) [PDF]
  • Module 1: October 15-16, 2017
  • Module 2: December 3-4, 2017
  • Module 3: February 4-5, 2018
  • Module 4: April 8-9, 2018
  • Module 5: June 3-4, 2018

Financial Information

  • Year One: US $1,850/person (~ CAD $2,520)
  • Year Two: US $1,850/person (~ CAD $2,520) + CAD$70 for communal meals
  • There is an additional US$40 (~ CAD $51.19) to cover the debit/credit card charges incurred by the school for tuition. This charge can be avoided by using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT); tuition invoices will provide details regarding this.
    • Note: Books (approx. US$120 (~CAD $153.57)), travel, and accommodation are not included in tuition. Meals (lunch) are not included in Year One.
  • After paying an initial US $440 (~ CAD $563.09) deposit to secure your place in the school, you can either pay the remainder of your tuition up front or pay a portion each month for the duration of the school (9 payments of ~ CAD $211.14 for Year One or Year Two, for example).
  • You will be invoiced directly from Sustainable Faith.
    • Note: Given that Sustainable Faith establishes tuition in US$, all above fees (except for Year Two communal meals) in CAD$ are approximate. Amounts in CAD$ may fluctuate based on currency exchange rates with the US$.

Who is the School for?

You do not have to be part of the Vineyard to be part of the school. “The School of Spiritual Direction is open to pastors, church leaders, and laypeople alike, and is geared to serve not just one denomination or church tradition, but the larger body of Christ. The training is Christocentric and guides people to embrace the contemplative life; helps us honour sabbath and observe life-giving rhythms; draws us toward healthy, embodied spiritual practices; nurtures self-awareness and vocational clarity; and ultimately, launches Kingdom enterprises” (Introducing Spiritual Direction).

  • Note: Each school typically has no more than 12 students.



 


Application and Deadlines

September 15, 2017: Registration due
September 22, 2017: US $440 (~ CAD $563.09) deposit due to secure your place

  • We encourage you to apply as soon as you can as spaces may fill up.
  • Once you apply, we will get in touch with you for an interview (for Year One students only) and provide payment information.
  • The link below will take you to Sustainable Faith’s website. Please select the appropriate school (Year One or Two), select Winnipeg Manitoba as the location, and then fill in your personal information.
  • APPLY FOR THE SCHOOL OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION

How Can I Get More Information?

Contact Winnipeg Centre Vineyard.

Project Timothy Coffee House Fundraiser

Hey everyone, our event is around the corner.  This event is to raise money for Project Timothy, a US Vineyard discipleship bootcamp.  It’s a life-changing event for our youth.  God has used this camp to change lives and transform some of our youth.  Come on out and support them!  We have a group of 10 people from WCV going this year!

  • Saturday, April 29, 7pm

  • Flatlanders Studio (3rd Floor) 782 Main.

  • Tickets available at the door for $10 / person.

PS and bring lots of cash for our amazing gift raffle prizes and 50/50!  Dessert, coffee and entertainment…come on out….

Upstairs Gathering Envisioning

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.

Everyone’s welcome.

  • April 30.
  • In the Upstairs Gathering (3rd Floor Flatlanders Studio)

 

Flatlanders Inn 10-Year Anniversary

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.

 

Streams of Living Water: Get the book, follow along

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.

Rhythms of Rest: Andy’s Sabbatical

We all need rest and rest always produces life.  It’s a natural law that applies to us humans as much as any other living thing.  This is especially obvious during this time of year when we see dormant trees slowly waking up after a long period of “rest”.  When we notice the first tulips and prairie crocuses pushing their way through the freshly thawed soil we’re reminded not only of the beauty of new life but also the bulbs and various seeds that were “resting” in the ground before they germinated.  Our Winter rest is over and spring has burst on the scene calling all living things to display their wondrous and varied life.  We humans are the same, and we can surmise from the Genesis narrative, so is God (who rested on the 7th day).  We’re made to live in rhythms of work and relaxation.

With these rhythms in mind we want to let you know we’re sending Andy on a sabbatical.  It’s not that he’s in a desperate need of it.  Rather, this sabbatical is more proactive in nature.  We want to give him time and space for extended rest, refreshment and rejuvenation.  The intertwining of pastoral and personal life is a delicate mix and sabbaticals are a normal part of staying fresh in pastoral life.  His sabbatical will be from April 30 – July 31.

Himalayan Travel Update: Subsidy & Other Details

We’ve got a team of about 13 people interested in going to the Himalayan Region Vineyard Church’s anniversary celebration in Siliguri, India this September!  This is exciting – it’s going to be a great time.  We’ve had to move the travel subsidy deadline to May 1 due to the need to firm up tickets, visas, etc.  If you’ve been holding off letting us know if you’re interested, please hold off no longer.  Contact the office right away.

New Travel Subsidy Deadline:

May 1 is the deadline if you require subsidy (it was previously May 31).  After May 1 we will determine the exact subsidy for each person.  We will also reserve a group of tickets through one travel agent.  If you decide to join later, you may or may not be able to get the same flight path, so it’s best to sign up together so we can travel together.  It’s more fun that way!  The office will organize the flight details through a travel agent, but each individual will be required to contact the travel agent to pay whatever is owing after the subsidy is applied.

 

Possible Itinerary:

  • Sun, Sept 24: Leave Winnipeg
  • Tues, Sept 26: Arrive in Siliguri, India
  • Wed, Sept 27, 3pm – Friday, Sept 29, evening: Conference in Siliguri, India.
  • Sat, Sept 30: Fly to Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Sat, Sept 30 – Tues, Oct 3: Visit Kathmandu Vineyard & Village churches (Kothgaon and/or Chhampi), see the sights of Kathmandu (temples, Thamel district, etc).
  • Wed, Oct 4: Leave Kathmandu
  • Thurs, Oct 5: Arrive in Winnipeg

NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change based on available flights.

Planning Ahead:

  • You need to have a valid Passport that doesn’t expire within 6 months of travel.
  • Canadians need to apply for an Indian Visa ahead of time (you send your passport in to the Indian consulate and they issue a visa – this takes time).  Canadians can apply for a Nepali visa in the airport upon arrival.
  • Check with your physician or the travel health clinic regarding recommended immunizations.
  • India and Nepal are nearly 12 hours ahead of us.  This means that it takes a long time to get there and that jet-lag is a significant factor in recovery.  Plan for a few days of recovery when you return to Winnipeg (don’t go back to work right away).

Approximate Costs:

  • Wpg – KTM – Wpg Flights: $1,500 – $1,900 (fluctuates depending on options and routing)
  • KTM – Siliguri – KTM Flight: $300 – $400 (flights purchased from Nepal)
  • Accommodations & Food: $500
  • Incidentals: $100 (ground transportation, tourist fees, etc)
  • Visas: $200

Approximate Total: $2,600 – $3,100 

NOTE: Total does not include personal gifts, etc.

NOTE: These costs are all approximate.  Fluctuations occur because of changes in flight schedules, exchange rates (some costs are always in USD), changes in itinerary, etc.  We will get more accurate numbers after we purchase tickets.

Activities:

In Siliguri:

  • Visit Metanoia Vineyard.  Visit people living on the Riverbed and distribute hampers.
  • During the conference, there will be amazing cultural worship, international Vineyard leaders will be speaking, and there will be plenty of time to connect and party with people from all across the Himalayan Region.  There will also be great food and rice… lots of rice.

In Kathmandu:

  • Visit Kathmandu Vineyard.
  • Connect with our family there.
  • Visit outlying village churches (Kothgaon & Chhampi).
  • See some of the sights of Kathmandu (Thamel district, Pashupatinath, Durbar Square, etc).
  • See the recovery and rebuilding efforts.

 

Accommodations:

In Siliguri:

  • The conference will be held at a conference centre and hotel.  All accommodations, meals and conference activities will be there.

In Kathmandu:

  • We will stay at a guesthouse (kind of like a cross between a bed and breakfast and hotel – Nepali style!)
  • We would be within walking distance (20 minutes) of Kathmandu Vineyard.

 

>>NOTE: Updated Subsidy application deadline: May 31, 2017. May 1, 2017.

Please contact the Office if you’re interested in this trip.

 

The Joy that is Immense and Good

Suhail has released a ten-song worship album of original songs! The album is called “The Joy that is Immense and Good” and the CD is available for purchase at church for $10. You can hear, read about, and also purchase the album digitally here. All proceeds will go to our WCV poor fund and the Himalayan Region Vineyard Churches.

The Joy that is Immense and Good

01. The Lord’s Prayer
02. Holy are You Lord
03. Immanuel
04. We Praise the Name of the Lord
05. Song for Baptism
06. This I Ask
07. Hallelujah
08. Where Can I Go
09. You are the Rock Beneath Me
10. Yesu Mero Prem (Jesus My Love)

How to Describe an Organism?: Org charts & leadership

It’s been said that the church is more of a living organism than an organization.  Considering that the church is a complex mix of all kinds of people, this observation is a quite apt.  However, it is also necessary for every body to have some amount of organization to keep it from becoming a random collection of cells at best or, at worst, a destructive tumour.  This is true of every physical organism and it’s also true of the body of Christ.

Over the past year we’ve done some work on the organizational end of this spectrum hoping to bring a little more clarity and definition to the “organism” we call WCV.  The aim is simply to help keep us healthy, growing in good ways, and ultimately reproducing – all trademarks of every living thing, whether single-celled organisms, or the body of Christ.

Here are a few diagrams that we hope will help bring clarity to this organizational work, specifically regarding leadership relationships in WCV.  While any two-dimensional diagram of a living entity will fail to represent the organism perfectly, we think this does not a bad job.  Unlike many organizational charts, this one is tipped over.  In other words, while we do have leadership, it’s not a top-down but rather movement oriented.  Leadership is meant to help the body follow Jesus more closely and to become more like him in the process as we are led together by the Holy Spirit.

 

Click on the image to zoom in.

Click on the images to zoom in.

For more specifics on who functions in the various areas, see our About Us page.

 

 

Into the Shadows & Darkness to Light: Easter Experiences

Easter is the number one celebration for followers of Jesus.  In terms of importance it ranks higher than Christmas – a fact that is lost on most of our children, and, let’s face it, many of us adults too.  We just like the cradle more than the cross.  In a similar way, we typically skip over the discomfort and pain of Good Friday preferring to jump straight to Easter Sunday – joyfully imbibing all the excitement and energy of the resurrection.  We are right to be excited and energized by Jesus’ resurrection (and our eventual resurrection too, by the way!).  However, in our excitement for Sunday, we miss the gifts offered in Good Friday and Holy Saturday.  If we resist the urge to short-circuit and if we linger in the way of the cross on Good Friday, and the nothingness of Holy Saturday, our celebration on Sunday will take on a whole other quality.  It will be enriched in a beautiful way.  Light is most brilliant when juxtaposed with darkness.

Good Friday: Into the Shadows

Walk of the Cross, 6pm – 7pm

To that end, we want to invite you to participate in our Good Friday: Into the Shadows experiences.  We will have a Walk of the Cross like we haven’t done before.  We will journey with Jesus as we consider his final supper in Jerusalem, the agony of the knowledge of what was to come in Gethsemane, his betrayal on the Mount of Olives and his Trial in Jerusalem.  As we walk with the physical cross we will stop at various points throughout the neighbourhood to consider our own crosses – find our own ways to connect with Jesus on this guided journey.  Wear appropriate attire and walking shoes.

Up “The Hill of the Skull”: A Good Friday service, 7pm – 8pm

Then we’ll come back to the church for our Good Friday Service (first one ever) and consider and experience his journey to what they called Golgotha, the “place of the skull”, where he was crucified.  We will also be with him as they laid his body in the tomb.  This service will employ all the senses.  It will be a  visceral experience.  We encourage everyone to participate in both the Walk of the Cross and this service, however if you can’t make it on the walk, you’re still welcome to join this Good Friday service.  Children are welcome (we will talk about death and the crucification and will nail our own stuff to the cross, literally, but it won’t be gratuitous).

Fasting: Friday – Sunday

Our Fasting will begin on Friday continue through Saturday – a day of apparent nothingness, and be broken on Sunday.  The seed placed in the ground.  Waiting.  Our fasting echoes this “giving up” that Jesus did.  You can fast for the whole weekend, or part of it.  You can choose to fast from food, or anything else you feel God may be inviting you to give up.  Ask him.  This small sacrifice isn’t to earn favour, nor is it some attempt to somehow twist God’s arm into getting something you want.  Rather, it’s a physical act of solidarity with Jesus.  It’s a discipline and it’s a pain.  Every time your stomach reminds you that you’re hungry (or every time you go to check your phone – if you’re fasting from social media), etc, you can recall what Jesus did and is doing and you can offer a prayer of solidarity to Jesus.  When we break the fast on Sunday morning, we are rising with him – emerging from darkness to the glorious light of his resurrection – feasting on the new life he has for us and the whole world!

Resurrection Celebration: Sunday, 10am

Of course, this brings us to Easter Sunday.  We will party, worship and celebrate his accomplishment all morning – all of us (Downstairs & Upstairs, children and youth all together).  Emerging from the shadows of the weekend, and blinking from the dazzling, blinding light of the resurrection, we will celebrate the first glimmers of the new creation – and we’ll invite more (and he’ll show up)!

Good Friday: Into the Shadows (April 14)

  • 6pm, Walk of the Cross (NOTE THE DIFFERENT TIME FROM PREVIOUS YEARS)
  • 7pm, Up “The Hill of the Skull”: a Good Friday Service
  • Fasting Begins

Sunday: Darkness to Light (April 16)

  • 10am, Resurrection Celebration
  • Fasting Ends

A Few Shifts In Leadership

We’re excited about a few changes in leadership in the Vineyard.  Some of these shifts are just a normal part of the ebb and flow in the community.  Others have been worked on by the Pastoral and Lay elders for quite some time now.  In either case our heart is to respond to what the Holy Spirit is inviting us to right now.  At our Community Meeting (Annual General Meeting) on March 18, we affirmed these shifts.  We can really say, like they did in the book of Acts, “it seems good to us and the Holy Spirit.”

These changes will serve to describe and clarify what is already happening, as well as posture the church for future growth as we engage in Jesus’ mission as he builds his church.

Pastoral Executive:

In the early days of WCV, it was very clear that we had a Lead Pastor.  This language and reality was reflected in many practical ways.  It is still written in our Bylaws.  Since those days, we’ve had a variety of teams which have had their strengths and weaknesses.  Our current pastoral team (including Pastoral Elders and Ministry Staff) works very well together.  However, we’ve encountered a few areas in which we need more focus and delineation of roles.  While we recognize that titles don’t mean much if they don’t match function, clear roles are important for any organization or organism to thrive.  Giving someone a title won’t really do much if they’re not already functioning in some way in that position – that’s just not how the Spirit usually works.  However, clarifying roles and expectations is a very healthy endeavour.

>>On March 18 we changed the language in our Bylaws to reflect what is currently happening.  Specifically, we changed from Lead Pastor to Pastoral Executive, and affirmed Nathan and Andy in that role.

 

The title “Pastoral Executive” brings with it some expectations of what it means, but also remains flexible enough that we can fill it with our own meaning.  Ideally, it will preserve our current strengths as a pastoral team and create room for future growth.  It does not eliminate the possible future role of having one lead person, but creates room for other scenarios, like the one we have now with Andy and Nathan.

Partially, this is clarifying what is already happening – just not everyone knows it because it’s primarily behind-the-scenes.  However, it does address the gaps left in the absence of one commissioned Lead Pastor.

>>Why this shift?:

1) To Update the Bylaws

Our Bylaws have never been updated from the days of “Lead Pastor”. How we have been operating, is not what’s reflected in the Bylaws.

2) To Provide Clarification

It is a time of leadership clarification in general for WCV.  This work is mostly behind the scenes, but it will result in more adhesion to the vision, particularly amongst the various teams and leaders.

Specifically, this means clarifying where authority rests, how decisions are made, and the scope of the various groups of leaders.

3) To Posture WCV for Growth

When more / future people are added to the staff team and/or invited into other areas of leadership, there needs to be clarity regarding roles and decision making responsibilities.  It will help delineate limits of authority, responsibility and clarity of focus for all leaders.

It will free the Pastoral Executive to care for the health and growth of staff team members and the leadership team as a whole.  This is one part of the “Lead Pastor” role that has been functioning on an ad-hoc basis.  This will lead to healthier teams and a healthier church.

4) To Increase Efficiency & Effectiveness

In order to be effective as a staff team, we need better division of labour.  If the whole team is charged with caring for the “big picture”, it disempowers individual members of the team to lead in their respective areas.  This does not mean that we cease to function as a team and stop casting vision for the church together.  Nor does it mean that the Pastoral Executive comes up with all the vision and direction.  Rather, the Pastoral Executive is responsible for attending to, and articulating vision via a collaborative process.  The Spirit will speak and vision will come from a wide variety of sources.  Vision is discerned in a communal process with the whole leadership team.  It is one of the responsibilities of the Pastoral Executive to attend to this process.

>>What will the Pastoral Executive do?

Well, a lot of what Nathan and Andy are already doing – it’s organic.  However, there are a few areas that are not being done as well as they should be in the absence of someone commissioned to do them.  The Pastoral Executive will attend to each of these roles:

1) Vision Keepers

Overseeing and coordinating the collaborative development and implementation of vision.  This includes taking time to be inspired and tending to key relationships within and outside of WCV (Vineyard Canada, International Vineyard, etc.).

2) Team Leaders

Leading, caring for, and providing accountability to the leadership team (Pastoral & Lay Elders, Ministry Staff & Coordinators).  Tending relationships with all core leaders in WCV (eg. BOD, coordinators).  They will not function as “bosses”.  In the context of the staff team they will maintain our posture of mutual respect and challenge of one to the other, including mutual accountability.

3) Focused on Growth & Equipping

Training and mentoring others to reproduce themselves. Development of discipleship and leadership strategies and tracks.

 

Pastoral Staff Changes:

Some of the other ebbs and flows of leadership are:

Jodi: from Children’s Pastor to Generations Pastor

Mike was brought on the team over 12 years ago as the “Children’s Pastor”.  Jodi assumed this role over 7 years ago.  At that time it was a half-time position.  As our children have grown in numbers (yes, we’re quite the prolific crew!) her position has also increased incrementally to the point where last year (in 2016) Jodi was working ¾ time for WCV.

During the same time period, our needs have increased in other areas as well.  Jodi has been key in helping us think through what it means to disciple the next generations in a good way.  In particular, she’s paid attention to those key transition times in a young person’s life: from being child to a pre-teen, a pre-teen into the teen-aged years, etc.  Club 56, the various incarnations of Jr. and Sr. Youth groups, as well as activities like Project Timothy have all contributed positively to the overall growth of this important and growing area in WCV.  We are also thinking about other key transitions – like how do our youth find a place in the church when they become young adults?

Jodi is no longer overseeing only our Children’s ministries, but has become what we’re calling a “Generations Pastor”.  We think this will more clearly reflect what we need in this season and will mean she oversees and will think through how to create a community that welcomes and empowers our next generations through their various transitions.

Suhail

Suhail has grown into a key Ministry Staff person.  He is present at all staff meetings and contributes in a variety of wise and helpful ways.  His two primary areas of direct leadership are as the Drop-in Pastor and the Director of the School of Justice (see below for reports on both these areas).  Additionally, he coordinates the worship bands (see below) contributes to preaching and teaching, is on the Prayer Oversight team, and administers the School of Spiritual Direction (see below).  There are some exciting new developments for Suhail which are outlined in his reports below.

John & Violet

John has been phasing out of micro management for the last few years.  Today we he has been able to hand off some key areas to younger leaders, while remaining present for support, mentoring and advice.  John’s continuing responsibilities are macro financial oversight and resource for BOD and staff as well as HRV Financial and asset management including KTM Rebuild Project.

Violet remains involved as she is able.  Currently this means actively mentoring the Prayer Oversight Leadership team.

 

New Board of Director Members:

The Board of Directors is responsible for all financial and asset related matters in WCV.  The current Board of Directors members are: Ben Kelly (chairperson), Stephen Fligg, Andrew Chan, Paul Ansloos and John Rademaker (ex-officio).

We are excited to announce that Marlese Hazeu and Cornelius Martens were ratified as members of the Board of Directors on March 18.  Both Marlese and Cornelius bring passion, expertise, unique perspectives and, above all, a love for the church that is contagious.  Board Members have a 3-year term, which is renewable.

 

WCV Leadership in a Picture:

Here’s what WCV looks like from an organizational perspective.  This diagram is a tipped over pyramid.  Unlike normal org charts this one is not top-down.  We choose to be moving forward, following Jesus who is our centre, our goal and our guide.

(Click on the graphic to expand it)