Anyone who is interested in being involved in worship at WCV is invited to join us for three successive evenings on February 15th, 22nd, and March 1st, 2018 at the Ansloos’ home from 7-9 pm. We will worship together, share an overview of Vineyard values in worship, and give information about our worship teams & opportunities at church. Youth and those already serving in worship at church are also welcome!
The Vineyard School of Justice 2016-2017 has begun! We are excited about the five students God has brought us this year: Karen Merkel-Kopp, Doreen Daniels, Eric Robertson, Dominic Mwaura, and Ray Sanford. Dominic and Ray will be with us for the fall semester as they completed the spring semester last year; the other three will be with us for the entire school year.
We are also thrilled to have Natalie Hamm and Tara Glowacki involved this year. Natalie will be serving as a leader in the school after being a leadership intern last year. And as part of her theological studies, Tara will spend some of her time as a practicum student in WCV with the school.
The Vineyard School of Justice is a unique, six month program designed to foster a passion for loving God and loving your neighbour (especially those society deems “least”). The school facilitates a unique environment where those who are street-involved and those who are not, come together, learn side by side, and encounter Jesus and his kingdom of justice.
Please pray for our school and especially our students in their journey over the next few months.
Here’s a poem by Blair Barkley. He read it at Celebration Sunday a few weeks ago.
It Whistles Through:
It whistles through the willows of a borough,
and floats on the water of a pond,
and roars down the falls of a river,
inverted in a glassy refection of a sea,
foaming on the shores of a beach,
and crackling in the clouds of a storm,
the likes of which we haven’t seen before.
It soars on the strings of a past,
and flutters through memories too far to grasp,
catching a tide of a sorrow retreating,
and flutters the feathers of a bird fleeting,
falling from a kingdom of a king,
to mere mortals made of a clay,
crafted by the Father, in a race made of colourful hues.
It speaks through the voice of a mute,
and brings justice from the heart of a widow,
and wells up strength in the quiet and meek,
bubbling up the blood in the veins of a martyr,
crashing on the rocks of a stoney shore,
illuminating the ocean with a crystal lining,
stretching over a never-ending horizon,
resides a sacred space,
idling in the hearts of everyone
Unshakable Amidst Earthquakes
The spiritual vitality in the HRV defies the logic of the earthquakes and their aftermath. During our time, everywhere we went, we witnessed and experienced resilient, radical trust in God’s faithful presence, love, and power. There are some features of faith which are only discovered with experience, and the people in the HRV know what it means to place their hope fully in Jesus. Our time with these precious people reminds me of the Psalmist’s words in Psalm 46, words which the Holy Spirit – in some mysterious way amidst the shaking of the earth – has written indelibly on the hearts of the people in the HRV.
1 God is our refuge and strength
an ever-present help in trouble
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God
the holy place where the Most High dwells
5 God is within her, she will not fall
God will help her at break of day
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall
he lifts his voice, the earth melts
7 The Lord Almighty is with us
the God of Jacob is our fortress
Video and Photographs
Below, Pastor Uddav Thapa of Chhampi Vineyard describes his experience in the earthquake. Beneath the video, there are several photographs highlighting some of the earthquake realities we witnessed first hand.
Unlike Gatlang, Nessing is a mountain village without road access. With Pastor Prem’s brother as our guide, we trekked for two hours through the mountains to get to Nessing from Gatlang.
Serving in Nessing
Pastor Raju and Suresh Tolange (worship leader and intern) from Kathmandu Vineyard had spent several weeks in Nessing prior to our arrival. They had been rebuilding homes, befriending villagers and learning their language (Tamang), and facilitating gatherings at the Vineyard to encourage people in Jesus. Of the approximately 70 homes in Nessing, around 50 of them are believers, with a few people getting baptized just days before we arrived. It was a joy to see Pastor Raju, Suresh, and Pastor Kunni (pastor of Nessing Vineyard).
Pastor Raju took us for a brief walk around Nessing and we especially enjoyed hanging out at the far end of the village, with its stunning mountain views. That evening, the Vineyard was screening “The Passion of the Christ” and many people came to watch. We had supper and eventually went to bed, sleeping on the floor of Nessing Vineyard.
The next morning was a gorgeous Saturday morning, with clear views of the Himalayas. People began trickling into the Vineyard in their very best traditional clothing and eventually the Vineyard was packed with people for the morning service. Suresh led worship and the people poured themselves into it, filling the room with singing. Nessing Vineyard was commissioning several new leaders and I had the great privilege of praying for and blessing them.
I preached on the story of Jesus’ interaction with Bartimaeus, how Jesus asked “What do you want me to do for you?” At one point, I asked everyone how many of them had experienced Jesus healing them – nearly everyone raised their hand. People seemed to engage deeply in ministry time and several people expressed a desire to take the gospel outside the village and share Jesus beyond Nessing. It was so very inspiring; Nessing Vineyard is alive and on fire.
After the service, we took a group photograph and then trekked down two hours or so with Pastor Raju and Suresh to Syabrubesi, the normal point of origin for treks in the Langtang Valley. We met Sonam (who drove us everywhere during our time in Nepal) and our vehicle there and eventually arrived in Kathmandu late in the evening.
Pastor Raju is from Gorkha and we travelled with him there for an overnight stay. Gorkha was the epicentre region of the earthquake; it’s about a six hour drive north-west of Kathmandu, south of the China border. Though many homes (including Pastor Raju’s parents’) were destroyed in the earthquake, thankfully the Vineyard building remained intact.
We stayed at the Gorkha Vineyard (some of us sleeping on the floor of the church and others in a tent outside) and Pastor Paul and Subadra (pastors of Gorkha Vineyard) took excellent care of us, providing us with great meals and gracious hospitality. Gorkha has a lot of fertile land and the food is all fresh, home grown, and organic.
Teaching and Training
Pastor Paul had invited people (as well as pastors from other churches) to come the next day for some teaching and training. I did three hours of teaching from the third and fourth chapters of Luke – on Jesus’ baptism, temptation, and the inauguration of his mission. Afterwards, everyone ate lunch together care of Gorkha Vineyard. We spent the evening relaxing and finished with another great meal at Pastor Paul and Subadra’s home. The next day, after lunch at Pastor Raju’s parents’, we drove back to Kathmandu.
Words don’t do justice to all that we witnessed, experienced, and felt during our time in Nepal. Nonetheless, there were a few recurring themes our team discerned throughout the course of our activities.
First, the HRV excels in hospitality. One cannot possibly enumerate the cups of tea and snacks shared, the meals provided, the homes in which we were invited, and the plentiful ways we were not only welcomed but honoured. Right from the leadership to the very poorest of church members, the Vineyard in Nepal is an exemplary model of gracious, abundant hospitality. We were treated like close family everywhere we went, and it was overwhelming.
Second, there is a strong coherence of vision within the HRV. All of the Vineyard communities are deeply committed to worship, prayer, and outreach – these things are entirely non-negotiable. Worship and prayer were regular features of virtually every gathering or encounter in which we participated, regardless of whether we were in church services or at a farewell dinner. Jesus is welcomed, adored, and sought in every sphere of life.
Outreach is also part and parcel of the way the gospel is lived out, regardless of the size or resources of the Vineyard church in question. Though Chhampi Vineyard, for example, takes in a weekly offering of around 250-400 rupees (around CAD$3-5), the church still reserves money for food hampers for Lugandol and visits the village faithfully every week. It is no wonder there is such growth in the HRV; the Vineyard churches go, and the sheer numbers of people who have experienced healing, deliverance, have come to faith, been baptized, and become part of the Vineyard is a testimony to this commitment.
Third, there is high degree of strength and unity amongst the leadership. Pastors and leaders from various Vineyard churches, regardless of geographic distance, seem deeply connected in friendship. Leaders enjoy one another and there is a high degree of understanding, camaraderie, and teamwork amongst them. Perhaps this is in part a result of the earthquake, which required a uniquely concerted, unified effort on the part of the HRV leadership. Regardless of the exact reasons, it is obvious that the leadership is thriving.
Finally, there is a radical, obvious, and palpable passion for and faith in Jesus. You can sense this vitality in how people give their money during offerings and especially in times of worship, prayer, and ministry. Young children, youth, adults, and elders worship alike with abandon. During every occasion of prayer, people pray together in unison, with scarcely a bystander. There is significant engagement with and participation in ministry time, with people often streaming forward for prayer. There is real, prevalent belief that Jesus not only exists, but cares and acts in the here and now. And there is a beautiful sense of people being unashamed of Jesus, of people not being self-conscious in pursuing Jesus with everything they have. The Vineyard communities are alive and flourishing with faith.
Chhampi is another village on the outskirts of Kathmandu, within an hour’s drive of the city. We visited the village twice – once for a two-day stay and another time just for the day.
Shortly after our first visit, we hopped into our trusty vehicle and visited a few Vineyard people’s homes in the afternoon. Two years ago, we met a lady named Thuli Amma; she’s since become a leader in the Vineyard. Her house was completely destroyed by the earthquake. Her new home is beside her old one, and we drank tea together and listened to her tell her story of coming to believe in Jesus. After praying for her, we went to visit David Tamang, who was the first believer in the village and whose home used to serve as the meeting place for the Vineyard. The next day we visited Maila Dai and his wife in their home. We had a good time visiting and praying for people.
Accommodations and Service
Pastor Uddav and Puja are the leaders of Chhampi Vineyard. Their home was also completely destroyed by the earthquake. A Hindu family gave them and many others shelter – 40 people lived together in close quarters as they were waiting for their new homes to be built. Pastor Uddav says this was a blessing as it enabled him to really get to know the people of his village. Now, Pastor Uddav, Puja, and their baby girl Ulani, live in a tin structure that shares a wall with the Chhampi Vineyard. I stayed with them and Erin, Natalie, and Laura slept in the Chhampi Vineyard building.
On our first evening in Chhampi, we had a great time worshipping together. There are several ladies who love to dance during worship and inevitably they pulled a few of us into worship. At one point, there were several of us dancing together before the Lord, and it was absolutely delightful. The four of us from the School of Justice shared on loving God and loving your neighbour. Once again, ministry time was remarkable, with a sweet sense of the Spirit touching and filling people with the love of God.
Afterwards, several of us went to the shop at the junction of the village to enjoy some tea with truly fresh milk. It was heavenly! We then went back to Pastor Uddav and Puja’s home for dinner and, eventually, bedtime.
The next morning, after a great breakfast with Pastor Uddav and Puja, a group of people from Chhampi Vineyard gathered for prayer before outreach to a nearby village called Lugandol. Lugandol is about a thirty minute walk from Chhampi and, as of now, currently has no believers – it’s an entirely Hindu village. The Vineyard has been reaching out with food hampers, relationship, and prayer and we were excited to participate.
We saw wonderful things in Lugandol. After handing out food hampers the first time we visited, we met an elderly lady whose knees had been troublesome for quite some time. We prayed for her and when we asked her to try walking, she did a little jig and said that the pain was gone – she was completely healed.
We also heard that there was a man who was paralyzed on one side of his body, and were eager to pray for him. People told us not to waste our time as they believed he was going to die. His wife was fatigued from having to take care of him. When we saw him, he looked like a ghost of a person – totally weak and lifeless. Apparently he had not moved from his house in 30 days. As we greeted him, he had to lift one of his hands with the other to greet us back. We prayed for him and after the first round of prayer, asked how he was feeling. He was responding and talking to us, and we came to find out that since his paralysis he hadn’t been able to hear. Yet now, somehow, Jesus had opened his ears and he was hearing and talking!
This of course gave us more faith to pray that he’d be able to walk. We prayed for him again and afterwards, asked if we could help him up. He agreed and as we helped him, his legs were strong enough to walk to the other side of his home! After this episode, and before we visited the man a second time a week or so later, Pastor Uddav told us that the man was walking around the village. When we finally saw him for the second time, he was lying down in his home. Entirely on his own strength, he sat up, greeted us (this time with both hands functioning) and then proceeded to pick up the mat he was sitting on, walk outside with it, and sit down and visit with us. It was incredible to see him so filled with life. We saw Jesus heal a deaf, paralyzed man!
The second time we visited Lugandol, we prayed for a woman whose right eye was totally blind and had been for years. She had visited doctors, who had told her there was nothing they could do for her. As we prayed for her, she said she could see flickers of light and said that she now had confidence that she would be able to completely see. God’s presence was strong upon this lady as we prayed for her. We also prayed for a woman who described feeling “thorns” all over her body. Pastor Ramesh felt that this was a result of all the spiritual practices going on in her home – the lady’s husband is a witch doctor. We prayed for her and as we did, her husband joined us, so we asked him if we could pray for him too and he agreed! He said he had pain “from the gods” on his head and legs on occasion, so we laid hands on him and prayed. As we were doing so, he said the pain was moving from one leg to the other. We prayed that Jesus would reveal himself to the witch doctor as the one, true God. Afterward, the man looked brighter and more joyful. Lugandol was a special place for us indeed.
From Kathmandu, we drove around eight hours to Gatlang, a traditional mountain village in Rasuwa district which is near the Tibet border. The drive through the mountains is at once beautiful and treacherous, requiring some death-defying driving which Sonam (on staff at Kathmandu Vineyard, and our driver) handled expertly.
Our small, wooden guest house had quite a view of Lantang Lirung, the highest mountain in the Langtang Himal range. Even though Nepal is full of hills and mountains, seeing the Himalayas is always uniquely breathtaking. We met Pastor Prem and two other leaders from Gatlang Vineyard, enjoyed some tea together, and then turned in for the night after finding (and killing) around eight spiders in our rooms!
The next morning Pastor Prem met us for breakfast at the guest house, after which he took us to visit various people from the Vineyard. We sat in their homes and prayed for them. The devastation and discouragement wrought by the earthquake was the most obvious here of all the places we visited. The rubble of stone houses is ubiquitous and though no one from the Vineyard here (or anywhere in the HRV for that matter) died during the earthquake, virtually everyone’s home in Gatlang was destroyed. This includes Pastor Prem’s home, his family’s, and the youth leader’s. In fact, all that remains of the old Vineyard building is one isolated, mint-green wall. The Vineyard is now meeting in a make-shift wood and tin structure. We felt for Pastor Prem and the congregation.
Perhaps one of our most special interactions was with a man named Lemba. Lemba is unable to speak and has trouble seeing through one eye. His parents passed away and their graves are side by side on his property; he lives alone. He is part of the Gatlang Vineyard and Pastor Prem told us that he is one of their strongest believers, regularly praying for people for healing. He radiated the joy and light of Jesus. He was thrilled to welcome us into his home and seemed so pleased that we had visited. We prayed for him and afterwards, he excitedly showed us various fruit trees on his property. Pastor Prem told us that he wanted us to return to eat the fruit in season.
We finished our time in Gatlang at Pastor Prem’s home, having tea, talking, and praying with the family.
In May 2016, a little over a year after the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, four of us (Laura Dahl, Erin O’Neill, myself, Natalie Hamm, pictured above) from the Vineyard School of Justice travelled to Nepal to be with the Himalayan Region Vineyard churches there. This is the first installment of what will be a four part report.
There are currently six established Vineyard churches in Nepal – in Kathmandu, Kotgaon, Chhampi, Gatlang, Nessing, and Gorkha. Our team visited all six churches, which is a particularly special feat given geographic considerations – it takes an eight hour drive from Kathmandu followed by a two hour trek in the mountains to get to the Vineyard in Nessing, for example.
“The Mother Church”
One of the first things you notice when you arrive at Kathmandu Vineyard is that it’s a complex. There’s a large sanctuary where the Saturday service (Sunday is a work day in Nepal) and other meetings take place, a spacious courtyard in the centre of the premises, and an assortment of rooms surrounding the courtyard.
Children who live in outlying Nepali villages frequently have insufficient access to education; some also experience unstable family situations. As a result, the Vineyard has faithfully taken in children over the years, providing them with a place to live and a healthy family environment, and facilitating their education. One of the joys of staying at Kathmandu Vineyard is being able to live and interact with these children. Though people refer to Kathmandu Vineyard as “the mother church” because it’s the biggest, oldest Vineyard in the HRV and serves as hub, the phrase is also an apt description of practical ways the community promotes the wellbeing of children.
Wednesday Prayer Meeting
Wednesday is a day of prayer and fasting and since our first full day was a Wednesday, we joined the prayer meeting. It began to rain as we started. During worship, a woman began to manifest a demon – engaging with these sorts of realities is a common occurrence in the HRV. The leaders told us that they’d been praying for this woman to be free. Several of us gathered around and prayed for her, rebuking the evil spirit in the name of Jesus and hearing it retort (in Nepali) things like “I’m not going to leave!” and “She belongs to me!” Eventually, the woman reported some respite and peace, though she sensed that she needed more prayer to be completely free. A few weeks later, one leader told me that she had since been totally freed.
Moments such as these are good reminders – especially for those of us entrenched in a Western cultural mindset – that we struggle against “powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). Being a kingdom people committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and to bringing his rule and reign everywhere inevitably puts us in conflict with the enemy’s schemes. Few things so poignantly illustrate the reality of this conflict (and ultimately the supremacy of Jesus and his kingdom) like deliverance from demonic oppression.
Saturday Services, Youth, House Fellowship
We attended two services at Kathmandu Vineyard. The first was “combined” – every first Saturday of the month, Kathmandu Vineyard hosts the Vineyard communities from Kotgaon and Chhampi (both villages are within an hour’s drive). The second service was a normal gathering with just the Kathmandu Vineyard community.
Though the former was more packed with people, both were equally electric. I have been with the HRV several times, and I am always undone by the sheer vitality of the worship and prayer. The passion and zeal with which people pursue Jesus is almost palpable. This is no doubt a testimony to the fact that so many have come to faith because of personal experiences of healing or deliverance. Such experiences render Jesus as real and as far as I can tell, the earthquake has in no way diminished people’s passion and zeal.
I preached at the two services: first on the story of Jesus raising Lazarus in John 11 and second on the story of Jesus healing a man with leprosy in Luke 5. On both occasions, many people came forward for ministry – it was awesome, to say the least. After the combined service, four people got baptized, which was a wonderful way to end our gathering together.
After the services, everyone mingles in the courtyard and enjoys juice or tea together. Several smaller gatherings follow – for fathers, mothers, youth etc. Natalie and Erin shared at the youth fellowship on the first and last Saturday we were in Nepal, respectively.
We also attended a house fellowship one evening. The host family has the farthest commute to Kathmandu Vineyard of anyone in the congregation. Natalie, Erin, and Laura shared spectacularly on women and the importance of women in ministry. As we were about to close in prayer, the family asked that we would pray for their son. He was traveling home from India and the family had not heard from him in a week. As we began to pray, the mother burst into tears – how unimaginable the torment of not knowing your own child’s whereabouts. Amazingly, the son got in touch two days later!
The exciting, beautiful things that happen within the walls of Kathmandu Vineyard are but one facet of the community’s life. A great deal happens outside, as a result of the leaders’ faithful commitment to go and share the love of Jesus with those on the margins.
Once a week, a group from Kathmandu Vineyard visits the so-called “riverbed” – a crowded slum alongside the highly polluted Bagmati River. There is quite a long, beautiful history of connection. Recently, the Vineyard began visiting a different part of the riverbed where people haven’t heard the gospel. The Vineyard provided a water tank so that those living in the area could access clean water.
We went to the riverbed one Monday afternoon, handed out food hampers, met with people in their make-shift shelters, and prayed for whatever needs arose as a result.
Afterwards, we visited several single mothers who are part of Kathmandu Vineyard. Single mothers are often heavily stigmatized in Nepali culture, not to mention impoverished, so it’s entirely fitting for the church to make a bee-line for them and surround them with compassion and support. The Vineyard has provided seed money to many of these women so that they can start small businesses (managing a little snack or vegetable cart, for example) with a view to becoming self-sufficient.
We visited one woman (Sushila Didi, a leader in Kathmandu Vineyard who was in our School of Justice two years ago) in her home. She lives in tiny quarters with her children, three floors up in a precarious building that is especially so after the earthquake. As we prayed for her, she felt the tangible warmth of God’s presence on her head. Afterwards, she brought out Sprite and snacks that she had especially bought to share with us.
During our time in Kathmandu, we also visited two men who were sick: one in hospital and one resting at home. Though the latter is a believer, he’s not part of the Vineyard. Both men are friends of leaders from the Vineyard, which is why we visited them. It was yet another great example of how the people in the Vineyard care for those outside their own walls and circles.
Raju and Amit
Kotgaon is a 200-year old village, about an hour’s drive from Kathmandu, and situated in the hills above the Kathmandu Valley. Two years ago, our Nepali School of Justice went to Kotgaon and prayed for a man, Raju, who hadn’t left his bed in weeks due to depression and physical ailments. That evening as we prayed, we saw Raju walk to the other side of his home and by the end of our time in Nepal, he was sitting in Kathmandu Vineyard during a combined service.
I have often thought of Raju and the experience as it was a profound window into the compassion and power of God. As our team drove towards Kotgaon this time, I asked about Raju and was told that he was doing well. Even more exciting, we were going to visit him.
Raju’s family home was entirely destroyed by the earthquake. His new home is replete with light and colour, as is his countenance, which is a stark contrast to the way he appeared that evening when we first met him two years ago. We sat and talked with him and his father, Amit, who loves praying for healing and has acquired quite a reputation in the village. Hindu neighbours bring him their sick animals (goats etc.) and as Amit lays hands on them and prays, they get healed! We prayed for and blessed his passion for healing and he had a tangible sense of God’s presence touching his body. A few of us received prayer from Amit and Raju afterwards. Interestingly, just as with the Kathmandu Vineyard prayer meeting, every time we started to pray, it began to rain! By the third or fourth time, we felt delighted at the realization that the natural was somehow speaking of the invisible.
We stayed for two days and one night in Kotgaon, at a guesthouse with a spectacular view of the Kathmandu Valley. During the days, Pastor Madan (pastor of Kotgaon Vineyard) took us around the village. Given its location, Kotgaon is in desperate need of water; Pastor Madan is involved with a drilling project and drilling was to commence the day after our arrival. He took us to the prospective drilling site and we prayed that water would be found and that somehow, even as the rains had come whenever we prayed earlier, that God would provide water for the village. We later found out that the project had successfully found water 300 feet deep into the mountain! The village is still in need of financing for all the associated costs of the water project.
Pastor Madan arranged two special mid-week services at Kotgaon Vineyard for us to do some teaching and ministry. At one service, I shared on the story of Jesus forgiving and healing the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof. At another service, Natalie shared on the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well; how Jesus gives and is living water. On both occasions, many people came forward for ministry and we had a chance to lay hands on and pray for lots of people. The Spirit was moving deeply, and it was particularly humbling to see people – some very elderly and hardly able to walk – respond to the invitation to receive forgiveness by coming forward and falling to their knees. These people then prayed for others who were responding to the invitation to receive healing. What a touching glimpse of the kingdom.
We were shown such remarkable hospitality in Kotgaon. A Vineyard family prepared a wonderful dinner for us in their home, we were invited to breakfast at another lady’s home (the first believer in the village, in fact!), and had a fantastic lunch at Pastor Madan’s house on our last day.
Ang Falk and Christy Chan recently made the icy trek to Edmonton to participate in the annual Vineyard Prayer Summit and Worship Symposiums. These are some of Ang’s reflections:
I enjoyed the Summit thoroughly. It was the first time for me to travel without my boys, or be away from them for longer than 3 days. I found getting ready, scheduling boys school pick up and drop offs, and events etc. took A LOT more work than I had anticipated. By the time Christy and I pulled away on the Wednesday morning I was exhausted. Excited, but exhausted.
- Abandonment to God – be a People of His presence
- Blessed by the dancers, the joy, the exuberance. Had thoughts of the throne room filled with dancers.
- Beauty of Rik Berry’s paintings. Woman-Vine and the branches John 15
- Creativity all around Freedom
- Intercession. Sweet incense of intercession. Prayer bowls being filled.
- Blessed by the number of men present at the summit.
- Blessed by the trumpet player, a man wondering around during worship and prayer playing his trumpet. It was beautiful.
- Felt like a family gathering. A coming together. Being woven together in prayer and spirit.
- Felt connected to our roots. Vineyard roots.
World Vision Canada and Vineyard Worship Canada have just collaborated on an amazing new worship CD called “Other Side”. It was recorded in Kathmandu last September using local talent and Nepali instruments. It features David Ruis, Noel Isaacs, Andy Park, Ryan McAllister, and many other amazing Nepali and Canadian talent. It’s a fundraising CD sales being split 50-50 between World Vision and the Nepal Disaster Earthquake Fund.
You can hear and purchase it here. It’s currently available on iTunes and Google Play.
The Prayer & Worship Summit is a four-day event IN EDMONTON, that provides an opportunity for you to experience the presence of God in a way that will change your life! It’s a time of abandonment, devotion and consecration as we come together in His presence.
This event is open to everyone, including families with children of all ages. The Edmonton Vineyard churches are also welcoming the country-wide church body, as they see the church as an inter-denominational creative expression of God’s love.
It is on Feb 26th – 27th.
Pre-summit symposiums are February 24th – 25th.
There are three options for symposiums:
- Prophetic Symposium ~ Gary Best, former National Director of Vineyard Canada, will share his insight and wisdom for practical training for every believer to operate in the prophetic.
- Confluence of the Arts Symposium ~ Dr. Rik Berry, professional artist and lead pastor of Valley Gate Vineyard, will share his excitement and creativity in a worship experience of Confluence of the Arts.
- Worship Symposium ~ Vineyard Worship Canada (VWC) and Marc Pusch, managing director for VWC seek to encourage, envision, and equip the worship communities.
For more details and updates, visit the Vineyard Summit website. Registration details can also be found with the link provided.
Location: Harvest Vineyard, Lawton Junior High School, 11602-40 Street, Edmonton AB.
We are thrilled about the release of our brand new worship album “Within and Without!” The album features 12 original songs from our community and is digitally released and distributed worldwide by Vineyard Worship Canada.
CDs are $15 and payment can be made by cash, cheque, or credit card. You can purchase the album at any of our Sunday services or by visiting our church office during office hours (Tuesday 9am – 5pm, Wednesday 9am – 3pm, Thursday 9am – 5pm). You can also download a digital copy via iTunes.
01. Glorious One (written by Sherry Ansloos)
02. On and On (written by Sherry Ansloos)
03. Needing You (written by Jocelyn Armbruster)
04. Come Alive (written by Sonya Braun)
05. You Are With Us (written by Suhail Stephen)
06. Let Worship and Justice Kiss (written by Suhail Stephen)
07. We Dare to Believe (written by Krista Heide)
08. One Heart, One Mind (written by Nathan Rieger)
09. Prodigal Son (written by Nathan Rieger)
10. You’re Right Here (written by Stephanie Woelke)
11. Worthy is the Lamb (written by Sherry Ansloos)
12. Christ as a Light (written by Brian James)
The phrase “within and without” is part of a Celtic prayer that we have used frequently at WCV and Flatlanders (the prayer also comprises the words of one of the songs on the album). The Celtic prayer is itself adapted from another famous prayer written around 430 A.D called St. Patrick’s Breastplate.
In the Celtic prayer, the old English phrase “within and without” refers to a cry for Christ to immerse and surround the entirety of life – what’s going on inside and what’s going on outside. This inside/outside dynamic embodies the core values of worship and justice at WCV and how we long for both these values to “kiss” and have equal expression in the life of our community.
We long to love Jesus with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and we long to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. The two are entirely inseparable. We care about following, adoring, and cultivating intimacy with Jesus, and we care about mercy, compassion, and justice relative to those Jesus identifies with – those considered “least” in our world. We want Christ and his kingdom to permeate every aspect of our lives; to be a people who are always seeking to love God and others, within and without. The songs on the album reflect these defining impulses of our community.
WCV is about to release a worship cd! We have been working on it over the last two years and we expect to release it at our 20th Anniversary Fest (September 25-27, 2015). The album has 12 original songs, features 8 songwriters from our community, and sounds fantastic!
The album title we have chosen is “Within and Without.” This phrase is part of a Celtic prayer that we have used frequently at WCV and Flatlanders (the prayer also comprises the words of one of the songs on the album). The Celtic prayer is itself adapted from another famous prayer written around 430 A.D called St. Patrick’s Breastplate.
In the Celtic prayer, the old English phrase “within and without” refers to a cry for Christ to surround the entirety of life – what’s going on inside and what’s going on outside. This inside/outside dynamic embodies the core values of worship and justice at WCV and how we long for both these values to “kiss” and have equal expression in the life of our community.
We long to love Jesus with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and we long to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. We care about following, adoring, and cultivating intimacy with Jesus, and we care about mercy, compassion, and justice relative to those Jesus identifies with – those considered “least” in our world. We want Christ and his kingdom to permeate every aspect of our lives; to be a people who are always seeking to love God and others, within and without. The songs on the album reflect these defining impulses of our community.
We would like to invite you to submit original artwork for consideration for the album cover based on the theme “Within and Without.” Submissions are due by 10am, Sunday, August 23. You are welcome to submit an actual painting, design, etc., or a digital photo of it. If you submit a digital photo, please email Blair Barkley at email@example.com and ensure that the photo meets these specifications:
Dimensions: At least 8″ x 7.75″
Once we review all the submissions, we will make a decision about the cover and you will be notified about your piece. If you have any questions, please contact Blair Barkley, Krista Heide, or Suhail Stephen via the means below:
During the week of July 6 -10, three of us from Winnipeg Centre Vineyard, along with our dear friend Noel Isaacs from the Himalayan Region Vineyard churches, attended the Vineyard USA National Conference in Columbus, Ohio. This was no ordinary national conference, however, as Vineyard people from around the world were invited to participate in a “rich, intentional ‘family reunion’ [to] celebrate our roots, calling, and destiny together.”
The conference was hosted at the immense premises of Vineyard Columbus and within minutes of arriving I met a person from Turkey, another from Kenya, and (as if that beggars belief) still another from Ohio. Our movement is comprised of over 2,400 churches in 75 countries worldwide; amazingly, around 60 countries were represented at the conference.
It’s easy to focus on what God is doing within our local faith communities, but amidst a palette of people from many tribes, tongues, and nations, I was again reminded that we are part of something far greater that God is doing across the earth. It is humbling when the limitlessness of his kingdom becomes visible and it is particularly inspiring to realize that we have Vineyard brothers and sisters – propelled with similar vision – from so vast an expanse. We are far from alone. Even more, despite our geographic and cultural diversity, there was a palpable sense of togetherness and camaraderie amongst us throughout the conference. It really felt as if we had known each other for ages. We are a closely knit family, growing closer still and, as was said frequently during the week, we are “better together.”
Each session began with worship and the first time we sang together, we sang in Swahili! Every worship time featured a pair of different worship leaders as well as an additional language to English. This was a wonderful testimony to the diversity of our movement. Add to this our gifted worship leaders, the sound of thousands of us singing our hearts out to God, and a lovely sense of Jesus’ presence as he inhabited our praises and it’s little wonder that our times of worship were so spectacular. Worship is such a hallmark of the Vineyard and at our gatherings it was both obvious and encouraging to see (and hear!) how deeply it characterizes us.
There were several meetings alongside the main sessions, one of which was a worship leader lunch. Several hundred worship leaders gathered in the gymnasium and after lunch, David Ruis shared a few reflections on simple devotion to Jesus. He asked us to open our hands and invited the Spirit to come and as we did, it began to rain outside. There was something refreshing, even magical, about the room being silent except for the sound of rain. Somehow, it feels as if a new spring of worship is upon us! We so desperately need God’s life and presence to rejuvenate us, to fill us with new creativity and artistry, and to sustain our hearts as we go on to lead others in worship. May we always remember that we are first worshippers and lovers of Jesus whom, by some grace, he’s invited and entrusted to serve in worship in our communities.
The Kingdom of God
We are also a kingdom people – bristling with an expectancy that the glory of God’s kingdom can break into the present at any moment and all the while steadied by the notion that its fullness – when all things are made new – is yet to come. In the midst of worship one evening we laid hands on and prayed for all those who needed healing. In the midst of worship on the last evening, David Ruis and Noel Isaacs led us in a very powerful time of crying out and interceding for our family in the Himalayan region devastated by the earthquake. We celebrate healing and empathize with suffering, and our worship rightly featured both. May we continue to faithfully hold this important kingdom tension.
“Come, Holy Spirit” and Everyone Can Play
I was overjoyed with the many ministry time opportunities throughout the week as we gave space and time for the Holy Spirit to do what only he can do. It was especially encouraging to see hundreds upon hundreds of people receiving prayer, and hundreds upon hundreds of people praying for them. There was no sense of elite ministry personnel; rather in true Vineyard fashion, we were all invited to participate. Without doubt, the Spirit was gracious in his power, presence, and gifts during these times and I believe God touched many people in deep and significant ways.
The teaching was superb and featured a variety of speakers from around the world (Brazil, Zambia, and South Africa to name a few). John and Eleanor Mumford – National Directors of the UK and Ireland – began the first session, with the latter giving an articulate and impassioned portrait of our distinctive Vineyard values. If anyone was on the fence about whether they’d like to be part of this thing or not, her talk would’ve surely tipped the balance! The next morning, Rich Nathan – pastor of Vineyard Columbus – provided a truly fantastic outline of Jesus-centred leadership and its expression in the Vineyard.
An especially poignant talk was by Rev. Dr. Charles A. Montgomery, who shared brilliantly about the kingdom being a place where dividing walls of hostility come down. Against the backdrop of recent incidences in Charleston and Ferguson highlighting racial division in America, and coming from an African-American preacher who vulnerably shared his own journey in racial reconciliation, it was incredible to hear such a clear, prophetic call towards being people who prioritize following Jesus above mere cultural allegiance.
It was a stirring talk, understandably received with a standing ovation. Martin Buehlmann – who along with his wife serve as National Directors in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – had both the sensitivity and maturity to forego his planned talk (scheduled immediately afterward) in place of facilitating a time of reconciliation, saying “We have to respond.”
There was a sober call for any who felt particularly convicted of racism to come forward for prayer. People trickled forward and as they did, they too received a standing ovation. After this, several people groups – African Americans, Africans, and Indigenous people from around the world – were called forward as others – on behalf of their own groups – asked for forgiveness for being disrespectful, judgmental, and exclusive. Words do not do justice to the weight of the moment, which is perhaps why Phil Strout – National Director of the USA – described what was happening as a “kairos moment.” Suffice to say it was a sweet, profoundly moving kingdom moment in the conference – perhaps even a watershed one.
Nathan and I attended a Vineyard Justice Network (VJN) breakfast, where around 130 people who are either interested or involved in justice-related work in their churches gathered to fellowship and network. I was one of two peopled asked to briefly share about the personal meaningfulness of the VJN summit two years ago in Chicago. I spoke about how the summit helped enlarge vision for drop-in – not that we would simply have a more efficient, effective ministry, but that we would also have an eye on what it would take to eventually close down. In other words, what would we need to do to end poverty in our neighbourhood?
I also attended a Vineyard Educators and Trainers forum where, in light of our recent articulation agreement with Vineyard Institute, I shared about the vision of the Vineyard School of Justice. I met with other leaders of Vineyard discipleship schools including Heroic Leadership Institute and School of Kingdom Ministry and it was fun to brainstorm about what collaboration might look like.
Both these gatherings were helpful in terms of connecting with and learning from other people involved in justice and education, as well as enhancing exposure about what we do at WCV and in the SOJ.
At the very least, a family reunion ought to evoke joy for those who participate – joy in actually gathering together and a kind of rejuvenated, subsequent joy in being associated with one another.
The Vineyard is not the only movement in the world. It is not even the coolest or best. Nonetheless, it is a movement of God’s making. I loved being with our people during the conference and couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of the Vineyard Global Family. May we continue to be a people of joy, loving each other well and bringing delight to our Father.
To hear audio from the sessions as well as to order DVDs of the conference, visit Vineyard Resources.