Here’s an update and a reflection from our National Team Leaders, David and Anita Ruis:
Over the last several months there has been significant dialogue across our movement, in local, regional and virtual settings. We have a great deal to ponder and to pray through as we all re-imagine what we should look like heading into 2015. The interaction has been vibrant and the resulting input invaluable. Our future is ripe with challenge, but anticipation about where we are heading is palpable as we see a fresh sense of collaboration, community and common vision spring up from coast to coast.
Something is up – for real.
Advent has been defined as “the coming or arrival,
Gordie Lagore and David recently attended he Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s National Leaders gathering in Toronto. Geoff Tunnicliffe, the head of the World Evangelical Association and fellow Canadian, gave a fascinating presentation about what is trending from a global vantage point within communities of faith across the world.
Three of the key things that he identified shaping the current trajectory of where the Spirit is working among followers of Jesus are:
- a growing integration of faith with business, media and government – seeing the kingdom beyond the walls of the church in entrepreneurial innovation
- changing dynamics within “inter-christian” relationships – most particularly between Protestants and Catholics
- engagement in “peace building” and (social) justice initiatives in not just project based efforts, but in addressing systemic issues through policy engagement
We were thrilled to hear this articulated, for many within our Vineyard family have already been engaged in exploring these types of initiatives.
Fresh innovation and a ground swell of people engaging entrepreneurially, thinking about “business as mission” has been developing across our tribe. From our Christ Church crew in Vancouver, under Naomi Lippett’s oversight, to the Epic Community in Calgary with Merlin Bartel and our ice-cream shack in Halifax, the last years have seen many Canadian Vineyardites exploring the integration of faith and business. Terry Black’s cutting edge work in film of the Cambridge Vineyard, and the Berry’s in Annapolis, NS cultivation of art and music, are just a couple of examples of the VTribe exploring faith and culture beyond the walls of the institution. The last years of posturing ourselves for “out of the box” thinking and seeing the community of faith as much more than a Sunday meeting has given us a good head start in some of things the Lord is doing in this time.
Over the last several months, many within our family have experienced a fresh measure of God’s restoration and healing. remarkable! Right across denominational lines, our Vineyard community has been experiencing a re-connect with the church at large, people returning to our local expressions of faith and a general sense of relational healing. Many have expressed their excitement about our national Vineyard’s growing comradery again with the US Vineyard and the Global Vineyard Community. John and Eleanor Mumford being with us in Kitchener, as well as at our BC Regional gathering has had a significant impact. David has participated with John and Carol Arnott in several initiatives this past year as well, which has been so kingdom, so right and so healing on many levels given our Canadian Vineyard’s unique story with renewal. Next August the Ruis’ and the Arnott’s will be involved together in a gathering in Ottawa with the Catholic church – who would’ve thought? Such is the mysterious workings of the Spirit as He glorifies Christ in His church. As Wimber once said, “love the whole church”, a call that seems to be re-awakened in this time.
Justice. Enough said. One thing deep in our Canadian Vineyard’s dna has been peace keeping and social justice. From our earliest years of the Langley Vineyard serving Jackie Pullinger’s emerging work in Hong Kong, to the Jacob’s Well and Strathcona crew in Vancouver, to East Van’s work in Lower Post, to the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard’s moving into the North End of Winnipeg and the current School of Justice, to the Esser’s and the Sarnia Vineyard fighting for justice within the civic nightmare of by-laws and zoning that marginalize the poor, to Beth Wood’s engagement within NAIIT and labour on behalf of our First Nations and her work in Brazil – far too many more initiatives than we can mention here – we have been faithful. But we’ve only begun, and there is a fresh surge of faith to see us engage with the margins in even more and better ways.
So – Merry Christmas! Walk into this Advent Season and the New Year with anticipation for what is coming in ’15. Here’s to a fresh encounter with Jesus as He calls us into the next chapter of the story He is writing with us as we continue to discover how to live out our common language, common liturgy and common call together. Let the kingdom come.
Here’s to the journey,
David and Anita Ruis
National Team Leaders