From the Regional Minister and Wife (aka Larry and Erna)
By Erna Schram
You may wonder what we’ve been up to these last months. Here’s a little insight into our journey so far.
Location, location, location
Our townhouse is a 3 bedroom corner unit, in a complex of 30 units. We are located in northeastern Surrey, an area called Clayton Heights about 2 blocks from the Langley-Surrey border. There are lots of townhouses along with single family homes in the neighbourhood. We especially appreciate the many walking paths that are easily accessible from our location, along with little parks, playgrounds and specialty shops and services. Major shopping of all and sundry is a short drive down the hill. It’s been a little overwhelming to have access to such a range of options, but I’m not complaining!
Larry’s office is located in the basement of a church in Burnaby, near Metrotown. His commute is anywhere from 40 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic. It certainly is a different reality compared to his commute of 5 minutes in Summerland!
My immediate and extended family is sprinkled throughout the Lower Mainland. After living ‘away’ from family for 28 years, it’s a joy to participate more easily in family gatherings and events. Toys, books and games for the grandkids are getting a lot more use these days!
But what does a Regional Minister do?
Larry’s role covers a wide range of responsibilities. At the core, however, his role could be described as a ‘first responder’ within our group of 60 churches and ministries in BC/Yukon. As such, he is called upon when a church/pastor is in crisis, or when they require guidance in any number of sticky situations. He also has the joy of preaching on Sunday mornings, carrying out pastoral ‘inductions’ (commissioning a pastor within a church) and meeting pastors or leaders in both formal and informal settings, connecting and building relationship.
In addition, Larry participates in 5 boards: Keats Camps, Beulah Gardens, Executive Staff, BC Convention Board and Carey Theological Seminary.
Larry at Hillside Baptist, North Vancouver
On the Road Again
Larry’s calendar filled quickly with pressing requests to preach, teach and serve from the start. My privilege is the freedom to tag along, allowing me to sit in on the unique and varied church services that are part of the CBWC, and to meet many wonderful folks.
There are eighteen Sundays from the beginning of September to the end of December. Larry preached or participated in a pastoral commissioning on nine of the eighteen Sundays. Our travels took us to North, West and Central Vancouver, Victoria, Vernon, New Westminster, Burnaby and Point Grey. Travel to the Banff Pastor-Spouse retreat took up one Sunday; we were at SBC for a visit on another; and on Christmas Eve we attended an afternoon service to hear our grandkids sing. If you’re counting, that left six Sundays in which to attend a local church in an unofficial way.
Mosaic of Churches
For my part, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to travel along with Larry as he ministers on Sundays. His sermons are always a good word and an inspiration.
Because I am introverted, I’ve often struggled with unfamiliar places and situations, and can find it to be challenging and emotionally draining. To my surprise, my fears and anxieties have not materialized. I believe it has been God’s particular grace and gift to me at this time and in this place.
It’s with a sense of adventure that we make our way to each new church. We have no idea what to expect, yet so many times we’ve had profound experiences of awe and wonder as we interact and worship with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. When time allows, one of our greatest joys is connecting with pastors and often their families too. Each one has become dear to our hearts, and we count it a privilege to know them and support them in whatever way we can.
As the journey continues, we value your ongoing prayers and support.
Hillside Baptist, North Vancouver
Gateway Baptist, Victoria
West Vancouver Baptist
First Baptist, Vernon
West Point Grey Baptist, Vancouver
Olivet Baptist, New Westminster
Living Hope Fellowship, Burnaby
First Baptist, Victoria