Representatives and leaders of Bethel’s small groups gathered recently to discuss the big plans for the upcoming church season being hatched by the Small Group Support Team. While the fall may seem a long way off, great things take time to plan, and we think great things are going to happen come September.
Here is what we have to look forward to: starting in the new church year, we will be encouraging the whole church to become involved in a forty-day program of study and fellowship centered on the theme The Spirit-Filled Community. It will kick off with a pot-luck banquet for all participants, followed by a series of six weekly Bible Studies based on the messages preached on Sunday mornings. (Participants will be welcome to study the material with their current small group or join a new group especially for this purpose.)
People with a history at Bethel Church will recall the positive impact other forty-day programs have had on the church. The Forty Days of Purpose and Forty Days of Community initiatives are still positive memories in the minds of many Bethelites.
All the small group leaders and reps have agreed to help raise up new leaders from their current small groups for this special thrust. Our goal is to make room for absolutely everyone who wants to take part in the program—the whole church if possible. We know that the more people who are committed the greater the potential to enrich the whole church, strengthen our current small groups, and create even more small groups. Mark your calendars! --Pastor Tom
God seems to be moving in special way in our church’s neighbourhood in answer to our prayers. Previous Pastor’s Corners have described some wonderful developments in Bannerman and the significant connections we have forged with our community in this past year. Let me tell you about the most recent sign that God is at work.
Wendy, our Administrator, received a phone call from the Bannerman Elementary School in regard to the community Resource Fair to be held on April 24. (This is an annual event in which Bannerman service-providers are invited set up tables at the school to promote their organizations.) The woman on the phone essentially said this to Wendy: “I called a few days ago to invite your Director of Children’s Ministries to set up a table for Willow Wood, as in other years. Now I am calling to ask how many more tables you would like for other ministries in your church.” She explained that she was making the phone call at the recommendation of the Parents’ Association.
We were thrilled to see this new evidence of how Bethel is being viewed as a partner in the Bannerman community, and we took advantage of the opportunity. Our Willow Wood, Taekwondo, ESL, and Bannerman Soccer ministries all arranged for tables for the event. Pastor Ryan ensured that other literature about our church’s ministries was available for the day.
Something else this woman said in her conversation with Wendy gave us reason for praise. She said that in her eight years at the school, this year has been unique for the high level of volunteer involvement they have experienced.
For many years Bethel has prayed for God to move in our neighbourhood, and has quietly sown seeds. Could God now be doing something special? We think so. –Pastor Tom
After our second service this week, we will be hosting an Easter egg hunt in partnership with the Bannerman Community League. All the prospective Easter egg hunters have been invited to come to the 11:00 AM church service and to stay after to enjoy hot cross buns and raisin bread before the hunt begins.
In some people’s minds Easter Eggs are associated with the Easter bunny and other secular seasonal traditions. There is good reason for this. Many people enjoy the fun of Easter eggs without ever thinking about the Easter story. However, the fact is that the church invented the Easter egg, and it gained its popularity in society because of Christianity.
Many hundreds of years ago, the church adopted the egg—long considered a symbol of new life—as a symbol of Easter. One reason for this is that the hard shell of an egg looks somewhat like the rock cave in which Jesus was buried and, emptied of its contents, the egg is reminiscent of the empty tomb. Not only that, but new life springs from an egg, and new life is what Easter is all about. Peter says, God “has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
If you do a little bit of research on the web, you can learn of the many and varied ways Christians have used the Easter egg in their celebration of Easter over the years. However, the really important thing to focus on is the message that the Easter egg tells: The tomb is empty. Jesus is alive. He is with us and in us and His eternal Kingdom is coming soon. May the good news of Easter fill you with joy today and in the weeks to come.--Pastor Tom
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost”
As a church community over the last number of weeks we have looked at the theme of the “Subversive Kingdom” in the book of Mark. In his gospel Mark focused on Jesus' role as the suffering Son of Man sent to “seek and save” all of Creation. Our series comes to its climax next weekend at the Cross.
Paul in Colossians tells us that through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus “all things” have been reconciled to God (Col. 1:20). This next week is an opportunity to prepare our hearts to worship the reconciling King of Creation. In addition to our annual services, we have another way for us to celebrate Easter as a community together.
A few weeks ago I received an email from one of my colleagues on the Bannerman community league team who expressed interest in partnering together for an event at Easter. She suggested we do an easter egg hunt. As a staff, we thought this was a great idea.
After the 11AM service on Easter Sunday we will be inviting the Bannerman community to share some hot crust buns with us, and then join together for an Easter Egg hunt. Everyone is welcome at 12:30pm to enjoy the Easter Egg Hunt with their families. There will be lots of chocolate for Kids 11 and under to enjoy. It is bound to be a fun time for all!
Please pray that this event will be a blessing to many and that the love of Christ will shine through it all. Happy (almost) Easter everyone!
- Pastor Ryan
Last week I talked about what is happening in the new wing of the church. Well, what about the original wing? What are the plans for it? I am happy to say that ministry in the old wing will soon be every bit as exciting as the ministry in the new.
Recently, a meeting of key ministry leaders was held to make a final decision about the future of the old-wing. (The meeting was conducted after a room-needs survey was completed by virtually every ministry leader in the church). An exciting plan emerged. Here are the highlights:
Plans for the first room (the one nearest the mail slots) call for it to be a dedicated prayer room. The middle wall that once separated Val and Wendy’s offices has already been removed. The glass in the front will be artistically frosted. The room will be decorated in a comfortable fashion so that people can stop in at any time to pray—alone, in pairs or in groups. Our aim is to be a “vibrant church of prayer,” and this room will be a strong declaration of this.
The next, small room will remain as a dedicated meeting place. It is already serving this purpose very usefully.
Our aim for the larger room next to it (my former office) is to turn it into the cry room. With a wall-mounted, closed circuit TV in a room comfortably furnished with couches and chairs, it should be an ideal spot for nursing moms to congregate. They will be able to turn the lights on fully (unlike now because of the reflective glass that gives them privacy), they will be even nearer to a bathroom, and they will never again have to worry about people passing through their private space. There are other benefits: the room can be used as a comfortable meeting area for prayer counselling or other counselling sessions. It can serve as an overflow room for large church events when the sanctuary is not adequate, and it will serve as a waiting room for bridal parties, allowing bride or groom to watch what is happening in the sanctuary as they prepare to enter. Equipping ourselves with a closed circuit TV also helps fulfill our dream of using technology to maximize our communication, because it will allow us to live-stream our services to the web if we choose to do so.
Finally, the current cry room with adjoining side rooms will become one large conference room where groups of thirty or more can meet. The full council will certainly meet there, as well as large study groups. A built-in TV monitor will make it easy to show DVD’s or PowerPoint presentations. This will be the room the worship team will meet in just before (and sometimes during) services, so that they can easily slip in to their places in front. Anyone who wishes to do so, will be able to use that side door as an entrance into the sanctuary again without fear of walking in on the nursing mothers.
Any comments or questions? Let Wendy know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Admin Team is eager to go and believes the project could be finished as early as May!
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