Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Prayer changes things. It changes the world around us, and it changes us. Various kinds of prayer are part of our regular practices here at the Vineyard. Prayer Ministry, Intercession and Prophecy are three of our Core Practices that relate to prayer. Like we often say, “can I pray for you?” and “will you pray for me?” are two questions we want to hear often in our community.
Pre-Service Prayer is a meeting before our gatherings for our gatherings. It is an intentional time of prayer that we all benefit from. The prayers that are prayed and the things Gods speaks in that prayer time directly impact our gathered times together. Prayer really makes a difference.
Pre-service prayer is a time we all benefit from.
We’re going to change this time up a bit to make it a more accessible, visible and focussed – we invite you to participate!
Every Sunday morning, at 9:45am a group will gather on the stage to pray for everything related to the gatherings that morning. This will be led by the Prayer Captain for the morning who will ensure the meeting starts on time and stays focussed. It’s ok to request prayer for something unrelated to the service that morning… just not at the Pre-service prayer. We’re going to keep it focussed on our gatherings. We pray – which means both speaking and listening. Often God gives nuggets that have significant impact on the ministry times during the service. It is one simple way we can devote ourselves to prayer that we will all benefit from!
>> Pre-Service Prayer – Every Sunday, 9:45am on the stage.
For those people who are part of WCV and who were not able to attend our Hot Button evening on Feb 11, we want you to know you missed a beautiful thing. People deeply listening to each other from opposing perspectives is a sacred thing. If you missed, no problem – you can still listen in. However, due to the sensitive nature of the material, and to protect those who shared, we won’t be posting the audio in a public forum (like this website). If you would like to access the recording, please contact Vanessa and request a link to the audio file. We only ask that you use this for your own personal use and do not share or post it anywhere else. If you’re not part of WCV we’re sure you’ll understand that this is part of a long process we’ve been on as a community – this was kind of like very personal family business that we’re only sharing with other WCVers. Thanks for understanding!
Make your plans! The quadrennial Vineyard Canada National Gathering is this summer in Montréal. July 23-26. We’re calling this time together “Portage – When the Church seeks first the Kingdom”. In this video, National Director David Ruis unpacks this for us. Register here.
Thank you for all your participation in our series thus far. Many of you have voiced appreciation, apprehension, curiosity, concern and a whole host of other feelings and related thoughts. We deeply appreciate this. These are all signs of engagement. We also deeply appreciate your prayers. They are critical. However, we’re also aware that we haven’t heard everybody. We know that there may be some who are waiting silently in the wings – waiting to see what we’ll say, how we’ll act, waiting for courage…
We know that there may be some who are waiting silently in the wings
There is a small piece of graffiti on the wall in the church sanctuary. It’s on stage left and is obviously from another era. Well before our time in the building. It reads “Don’t go away mad. Just go away.” Can I encourage us all not to do that! Part of our vision statement is to “build a safe community”. Can we try to be that for everyone in these conversations? Can I encourage you, if you’re one of those waiting in the wings, who haven’t voiced your thoughts or feelings to anyone in leadership – when you’re ready, we’re ready. For real. Even if you’re not in the wings, so to speak, if you need to chat with someone in leadership, please know that we’re all ready for that – we welcome it. The pastoral and lay elders are here to hear.
Also, we are keenly aware that we’re being watched. Not in a creepy way, but there haven’t been too many churches in our circles who have attempted to do what we’re doing. There are some and we’ve learned from their mistakes and successes. However, this also means that we want to be careful about the audio we post – especially the audio from our Hot Button evenings. For the first Hot Button evening we posted a recording of the two people doing GYVE together as well as the commentary by the facilitator. However, we did not post any of the discussion afterwards. If you came you’ll know that the discussion was rich. If you missed it, you can request a link to the audio, but we will not be sharing it with anyone outside of WCV.
For the 2nd Hot Button evening on Feb 11, we will not be posting any of the audio. However, if you’re part of WCV, you can certainly request a link to the audio.
We’d like to remind you – and invite you – to join the conversations around the Hot Button topics. We know that many of you are having conversations among yourselves. This is great! Please keep having them.
Also, please make sure you participate in our two Hot Button evenings. We’ve intentionally tried to keep the next two months free of any major community events in the evenings (postponed the Outer Circle for example) in order to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to participate in these. It would be best if you came to both. One of the primary purposes of these evenings is to model how to do GYVE well. You’ll recall that GYVE is a tool for how to love well in diversity – it’s about listening deeply to someone from another position and uncovering some of the underlying values and stories that formed their values, which has led to their position. It’s a wonderful model, and often amazing things happen as people submit to the Holy Spirit in this process.
On Sunday I showed a short clip from a CNN report about the unlikely friendship between Daryl Davis and a KKK leader. I also referred to a Tedx talk Daryl Davis gave which provides more of the background to this amazing story. Here it is:
This winter marks the return to our “Fixed on Jesus” series. We’re going to be exploring three Hot Button topics that you think the church should be talking about (thanks for participating in the survey).
The point is to hear each other – to listen deeply – to love well, especially those we may disagree with
As mentioned previously, the point of this series is not to nail down where we stand (as a church or as individuals) on these nor any other hot button issues we may encounter. For this series, the point is to hear each other – to listen deeply – to love well, especially those we may disagree with. Our model for this is Jesus, and our tool is GYVE. We explored this in November and have provided a resource booklet for your use.
The Hot Button topics we’ll be addressing (and we may address more as time goes on… there are many) are:
Creationism & Evolution (our origins and how we came to be)
Affirming & Traditional (human sexuality / LGBT2SQ+)
Poverty & Prosperity (our relationship with money)
There are a few other topics that were also high on the list, and some of your suggestions didn’t really fit into a neat and tidy category. We tried our best to accurately categorize the various topics. We are going to tackle them in a very systematic manner.
Each of the topics will have a Sunday morning devoted to sharing the various perspectives of the issue, zoning in on how each perspective is represented or interpreted in scripture. We will then have two Sunday evenings devoted to hearing two people do GYVE together for the first two Hot Button Topics. We encourage you to come to both evenings (Jan 21 & Feb 11) – they will be special and it will be helpful to have a witnessed the model in action before we get to the hottest button (Affirming & Traditional / LGBT2SQ+)!
In between these Sundays, we will be exploring how the church has either nailed or failed dealing with diversity in the past. There are many examples, some quite humorous to our sensibilities. Of course we will also be digging into scripture, as is our habit. All along we will be engaging in ways to “double down on our centre” – we also have a Celebration Service scheduled which will help keep us focussed on Jesus as we tackle some of these “non-essentials.”
Here’s the schedule:
January 14: Introduction & Call to Prayer
January 21: Creationism & Evolution
January 21 Evening: Doing GYVE with Creationism & Evolution.
January 28: Nailed it, Failed it
February 4: Affirming & Traditional
February 11: Nailed it, Failed it
February 11 Evening: Doing GYVE with Affirming & Traditional
Now that we’re in the New Year we’re going to be entering the third part of our series “Fixed on Jesus: how to hold the centre in an age of diversity”. Having rooted ourselves firmly in the centre (part 1), and having explored a model for how to love well, GYVE (part 2), we are now going to practice what we’ve been talking about. In order to do that, we invited your input. As you might imagine, we gathered a whole list of “Hot Button” issues of diversity that you felt the church needs to address. For those of you who participated in this survey, thanks! We had a lot of thoughtful responses! We have done some categorizing and have come up with what we feel will be good issues for us to explore in the next two months. We did exercise some editorial control (for example, “unkempt hipster beards” will not be discussed! – thanks for that – you know who you are even if nobody else does!).
For each of the Hot Button topics we will have one Sunday morning in which we will explore the various perspectives on the subject. These will not be times to take a position as a church – that’s not the point. Rather, the point is to learn.
Then we have scheduled a few Sunday evenings to demonstrate what doing GYVE looks like with each of these Hot Button topics. We will have a few brave people model the process for us. Again, the point isn’t to argue positions. Rather, we are attempting to create a safe place to hear each other, and hear the stories, values and experiences underneath the various perspectives. This is a sacred and holy event.
If you haven’t already gotten a handle on GYVE, we highly encourage you to do so. Also, please continue to pray for the church in this season. It will bring up many emotions. God will meet us – the Holy Spirit has been guiding us and will continue to do so. Still we say, “Lord have mercy!”
On Sunday, Dec 31 at 10am we will have a Celebration Service. We will look back at 2017 and take it all in. The good, the bad, the ugly – and give it all to God with gratitude. We will look forward to 2018 with anticipation. We will come together to encounter the living God! Emmanuel – Jesus – the very representation of the Father made present to us by the Holy Spirit. Living in us – active amongst us. Healing, restoring, reconciling, renewing.
We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a merry Christmas and a joyful New Year. In this season of busy-ness, may you encounter the Prince of Peace. In this season of gift-giving, may you experience the Giver of Life. In this darkest time of the year, may you be guided by the Light of the World. In a time that for some is painful, may you know the care of the Comforter. In these days of celebration, may the Lord of the Dance rejoice over you and fill you with joy and strength.
We love you and are grateful that God has brought us together.
~The Pastoral Staff
A Few Notes:
Christmas Eve Service will be 10am – 11:15am (no evening service). You’ll want to arrive on time… I hear there’s a special surprise…
New Year’s Eve Service will be an all-out celebration! Starts at 10am.
The Office will be closed between Christmas and New Years. It reopens Jan 2.
Drop-ins will resume Jan 9.
Year-end gifts need to be received by December 31. If they’re mailed they need to be postmarked (stamped by Canada Post) in 2017. If you can’t make sure your gift will arrive in Dec 31, please email Lillian regarding your intention.
We are in the process of evaluating the Outer Circle process. We do this each year, often adapting based on suggestions we’ve received or in response to other concerns we foresee. This year we’ve developed a short survey (less than 3 minutes to complete) that we hope will help us plan for the future.
We want to keep the main goal of the Outer Circle clearly in focus:
To foster a culture of intentional balanced growth and encouragement that spills out beyond the Outer Circle to influence everyone in WCV and our lives.
In other words – we want everyone who is part of WCV to become more like Jesus in the ways God is inviting them to! The Outer Circle is like a trellis which provides support for plants to grow. It’s a structure that is designed to support growth in us. Sometimes structures need to be renewed, re-worked or dismantled altogether if they are to achieve the goal of growth.
Your voice and input is important in this evaluation effort and we deeply appreciate you taking the time to complete the survey (3 minutes).
>>If you don’t know what the Outer Circle is, or need a refresher, go here.
Being involved in the Outer Circle and, more specifically, being in a Triad is one of the primary ways membership in WCV is determined.
>>For more on Membership in the Vineyard, go here.