2015/16 saw SBC plan and implement a second year of Practical Skills Workshops. These workshops utilize the life skills and passions of some of our folks, that have been developed over a lifetime, and passes them on to others so that they too can enjoy these skills.
The Practical Skills Workshops were broken into Fall, Winter and Spring time frames according to the appropriate season for each skill to be taught. This year we offered 15 topics which included: Canning, RV Winterization, Motorcycle Winterization, Basic Family First Aid, Will & Estate Planning, Tree Pruning & Maintenance, An Easy Guide to Scrapbooking, Basic Electrical, Basic Sewing, Hair Cutting, Artistic Painting, Fly Fishing, Dog Behaviour Training and Photography.
The response has been amazing… both from the perspective of the Instructors as well as the participants. “Teaching this workshop has enriched my life”, commented one instructor. “Church was a scary place, but after meeting some people at the practical skills workshops, it isn’t so scary anymore and so we have begun to attend”, stated one participant.
To build on the success of the past 2 years of Practical Skills Workshops, we are planning to offer 3 sets of 8 seasonal workshops in Fall 2016, Winter and Spring 2017. The 2016/17 catalogue of available workshops will be sent out to the greater Summerland Community as SBC welcomes all interested individuals to our door to be enriched by our fabulous and growing list of willing instructors. The workshop topics are expanding as well as this concept grabs the imagination and creativity of our people. Whittling a Walking Stick, Rose Bush Planting, Pruning and Maintenance, Taking the ‘Ugh’ out of Hospital visitation, among several others will be added to our list.
I want to thank SBC for the amazing support and partnership in offering these workshops and look forward to what the Lord will do in the months to come as we embrace Summerland with the passions we have received from the Lord!
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24
Please note: we are looking for a volunteer to help with some of the organizational aspects of this ministry. If you would be interested, please contact Pastor Del. Thank you!
Over the last several weeks, we have spent a few minutes in our Sunday morning services celebrating what has taken place over the past ministry year at SBC. On July 10, a report was given by the Missions Board which included a video that highlighted several of the missions that SBC partners with and ended with Eunice Duncan sharing what has been taking place in our Divorce Care ministry. However, what Eunice shared with us is so much more than just a report. We encourage you to take a moment to read through it, as it is extremely profound and holds a challenge for us all.
(If you prefer, you can listen to it by clicking here and selecting 'listen to full service'.)
Hello. I’ll begin by giving you some information about what has been happening.
For the past five years, we as a church have been involved with a ministry to families dealing with the effects of separation or divorce.
I would like to read you some comments written by a few DC participants:
"I personally was stuck in a place that I could not get past. Divorce Care changed my life . . . It has brought me closer to God in so many ways. I learned to trust and rely on him again in ways that I couldn’t before."
"Divorce Care is hugely helpful, it helped me feel not so alone amidst the complete chaos of my separation and Divorce. When your marriage falls apart and you find yourself in completely uncharted territory, lost, alone and very confused it was very comforting to attend a group that provided some framework for this experience . . . The course helped me decide how to handle situations from a God focused, compassionate and forgiving place . . . I am incredibly thankful that there is a place for us."
A third wrote:
"This program has been a life-line to me & others. I wish to Thank the Summerland Baptist Church & its members and leadership for faithfully supporting this ministry. Nowhere in my active church life have I witnessed such outpouring of love, forgiveness and complete trust. The group is a place of support, encouragement and place where "Jesus" is among us. We have seen some participants return to the faith of their youth, and others who don't have a Christian faith come to hear God's word shared in a gentle & powerful way. And for us believers who feel like "broken vessels" and feel shunned (by the church), God has restored our faith to a place where we see our shortcomings becoming places of strength in our relationship with Jesus."
I’m so thankful to all of you who had any part in the running of these courses - your gifts, your passion, your compassion and your eager willingness to help were absolutely inspiring. I am also aware that some of you felt inadequate in your roles – at times you questioned your own capability or your credibility as you stepped outside of your comfort zone. Knowing this makes me even more grateful.
I am also thankful to those of you who were participants. Although you came with an acute awareness of your own need, you shared with the others in the group your incredible wisdom and insight, courage, compassion and, in some cases, your deep love for God. I must also mention your refreshing and life-giving humor.
It was a great privilege for me to get to know such inspirational people. In both groups people shared their hearts.
Some time ago, I read an article about Christian calling. I was challenged by an interview response given by a man named Andy Crouch. He said:
“To start at the broadest frame, I think there’s a bias for Christians to seek the flourishing of the vulnerable – whether that’s the economically vulnerable, the relationally vulnerable, or the psychologically vulnerable. You want to ask (yourself), of the range of options available to me, which is the one that in the deepest and most extensive way, creates places for the vulnerable to flourish?"
It is the phrase, ‘to seek the flourishing of the vulnerable’ that has impacted me.
Many groups quickly come to our minds as being vulnerable, and those who have recently experienced separation or divorce definitely fit into this category. But my involvement with this ministry has clarified for me that we are all among ‘the strong’ and we are all among ‘the vulnerable.’ Alongside our strengths, we experience the struggles and angst caused by our weaknesses, and at times the circumstances in our lives shake us.
I saw that it is not so much that we reach down to help when we are strong, or that we reach up for help when we are weak, but we reach out in our strength and in our weakness.
In both the giving and the receiving we experience blessing and healing.
Jesus described the flourishing of the vulnerable when he explained his mission in Luke 4, and his mission is now our mission. I would like to read a few verses from the Isaiah passage from which he was quoting:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and
restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
As we choose to reach out to the more-vulnerable person in every situation and look for ways to help them flourish,
the new person in any group we are in or a new person coming in through our foyer will be immediately welcomed and made to feel at home,
the exhausted and exasperated mother of the grumpy toddler in the grocery store will be encouraged and assisted,
the financially-stressed will find relief,
the needs of the elderly will be met,
children, and even childishness, will be accommodated and welcomed.
We will continue to find that the opportunities are unlimited and the results are significant.
We've also included the video that was presented for those who missed it:
It is a tremendous opportunity when we can be engaged in ministry and I don’t think anyone involved in ministry regrets their time. The Men’s Breakfast (also known as What? ) is one of those ministries. Many men, under the capable leadership of Ken Kunka, have participated in the bi-monthly men’s breakfasts over the last year. Numbers have ranged from 20 – 50 men meeting together, eating and listening to the life stories of men from our church family. These men have given us a glimpse of how God has impacted their life and the life of their families and how they anticipate that God will continue to work in their life. We have appreciated their candor and wisdom.
Ken Kunka has been able to organize men to cook amazing breakfasts and do the work needed to set up and clean up. Over this last year, we have had the opportunity to listen to life stories of Hugh Lines, Andy Wouda, Ryan Mitchell, Ken Kunka, Bob Isaak, and watch NFL Super Bowl player testimonies.
What is in store for the fall? We are not sure at this point but we trust that there will be opportunities again for men to speak into each other’s lives. And, a great breakfast or BBQ is always an added bonus.
I was mesmerized.
Waves of people were walking by to see the main attraction: Michelangelo's David. That masterpiece was impressive and the story behind it was astonishing, but instead of joining the crowds, I sat and stared at a half finished marble sculpture. A face, arm and leg appeared to be breaking free of a slab of marble while the rest of the body remained trapped in the stone. Feeling the prompting of the Spirit I prayed. Then I saw the title given to the half-finished marble blocks that lined the hallway and I knew why I was drawn here like a moth to a flame.
This was a Holy Spirit directed object lesson. This statue was the story of so many people I have loved and prayed for. This was my story. Starting the journey to freedom because of Jesus and then getting stuck. Struggling to break free from the heaviness of a difficult past. Fighting to be free from the habits, addictions, chemical imbalances and patterns of thought that have left many of us feeling as if we were trapped in a block of marble. This was our collective story: moving toward the freedom Jesus offers and yet still struggling.
Then the Spirit whispered: What would I choose to see? The beauty of the freedom already found or the ongoing struggle to be completely free?
I looked again and I saw beauty, astonishing grace, life giving hope. These half completed statues were more free than ever before. That was the point. Freedom had been found and would complete its work. Being trapped in despair was not the final word. The statues were telling our faith story and it is the story of freedom found.