Who owns the land?

SusanHockeyCanadian Baptists hosted participants in the Baptist World Alliance‘s Annual Gathering on July 5. The evening was billed as a celebration with Canadian Baptists, and it was that. The evening was chilly, but we began with an outdoor picnic featuring “Canadian barbecue,” which turned out to be largely indistinguishable from the sweet tomato-based sauce common to Texas and the American midwest. Participants were invited to participate in a hockey challenge, hitting slapshots off of asphalt into a net, and happy fellowship was the order of the day.


Fraser Campbell (second from left) and his band, from Victoria.

Worship music featured Fraser Campbell and his band, who brought their rollicking style (not unlike Mumford and Sons) over from Victoria Island.

The greater part of the service, however, was less celebration than apology. Canadians have worked hard over the past few years, through a peace and justice commission, to acknowledge that the indigenous or “First Nation” peoples who first welcomed the settlers and were later displaced did not willingly cede the land.


Deborah Sparrow

FBCWorshipThe service began with a ceremonial gift to Deborah Sparrow, who represented the Musqueam First Nation, which had inhabited the Vancouver area for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. Sparrow spoke of her people’s traditional worship of the Creator, and the belief that humans are stewards and caretakers of the land, which belongs to God.


Cheryl Bear, singing the Lord’s Prayer

Cheryl Bear, of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in British Columbia, spoke at some length of her experience in educating others and building ties among First Nations peoples through singing, storytelling, and dance.

Canadian Baptist leaders welcomed the 300-plus Baptists gathered from many nations. They spoke of how others had planted the good seed of the gospel in Canada, and how Canadians have spread the good seed to others. To commemorate the occasion, Canadian Baptists commissioned a ceramic wall hanging of a samara, the winged seed of a maple tree, as a handmade gift for each participant. In keeping with the theme of the evening, worshipers were encouraged to spread the seed of the gospel and be rooted in good soil, something all seemed eager to do.


Welcome to Vancouver

Coal Harbor, Vancouver

Coal Harbor, Vancouver

A scattering of global Baptists have gathered this week in Vancouver for the Baptist World Alliance’s Annual Gathering. From Europe and Africa they have come, from Asia and Australia, from South America, Latin America, North America, and Canada we have gathered to discuss ways in which Baptists can be more effective in witness and ministry to refugees, to disaster victims, to people who who have little hope. We talk about doctrinal beliefs and ethical demands, about social concerns and religious liberty, about communicating the good news and preparing ministers through theological education.

houseboatsVancouver is a beautiful and multicultural city, socially and environmentally conscious — and in our experience so far, quite hospitable. When Susan and I arrived on Sunday evening after 21 hours of Uber, airports, airplanes, a train, and a long walk, we were hungry. After checking into the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel, we asked a few locals for recommendations and headed for the waterfront, where we’d been told a dockside restaurant called Cordero’s served fresh and amazing seafood.

Cordero's dockside restaurant.

Cordero’s dockside restaurant.

We found the restaurant, which turned out to be so busy that the hostess predicted a 45-minute wait. Hoping for a faster meal, we ventured across the street to a smaller place called Six Degrees, where the owner met us at the door to apologize that the kitchen was closed. He suggested Cordero’s, and when we cited the expected wait, he said — in a delightful British accent — “Well, we’ll see about that, shall we?” He then strode off to the restaurant, leaving us to follow with some embarrassment.

Inside Cordero’s, he talked to at least half a dozen different staff members before getting to the maitre’d, who asked if we’d be willing to sit on bar stools at a small high table in a corner of the outside seating area, beside the water. Of course we would! When we thanked our benefactor and promised to come and eat at his restaurant another night, he brushed it off, and said “Welcome to Vancouver.”

We felt welcome, indeed.

Tuesday morning worship.

Tuesday morning worship.

The work got underway with day-long committee meetings on Monday. Commission meetings extend throughout the week, and the General Council will meet Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. Tonight Canadian Baptists will host us with a special dinner and program at the First Baptist Church of Vancouver. I hope it’s not sinful to be more excited about Canadian cooking than the next committee meeting …

Baptist – Pentecostal Talks Postponed

A meeting that was to take place between major Pentecostal and Baptist denominational groups has been postponed. The reason given was due to conflicts in scheduling for necessary participants.

The talks are the beginning of an effort to reconcile both Pentecostals and Baptists so that they might work closer together. The first round of meetings between the Baptist World Alliance and Pentecostal World Fellowship was to have taken place Aug. 4-11 in Quito, Ecuador. The announcement was made by BWA General Secretary Neville Callam and Cecil Robeck of the Pentecostals.

Read more: http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/organizations/item/7694-baptist-pentecostal-talks-postponed#.UCSFW02PXyg