First News

First News | May 12, 2021

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GET TO KNOW BEN EWERT

Ben Ewert will be joining the pastoral team in June and we have asked him a few questions to help us to get know him better!

What is your role on staff at First Baptist Church?

I will be moving into the role of Minister of Worship at FBC.

What excites you about this work?

First off, I’m excited to meet, in person, all of the people I’ve spoken to over Zoom over the past few months. I’ve heard wonderful things and have seen the talent and heart for worship that is present in Sunday morning services. Leading and developing a ministry of worship is close to my heart. I believe that worship is central to who we are as human beings created in the image of God. Either our focus is on the One who fashioned us, in all of our many foibles and weaknesses, to create, work and live in light of His glory and kingdom, or we turn our attention elsewhere and become less than our Christ-given calling should inspire us to be. Through joy and sorrow, we pray with the psalmist, ‘O Lord, open our lips,’ and in that cry we make the promise that, ‘our mouths shall show forth Thy praise.’ The Church is redeemed and set free to worship without fear. The proper response is to proclaim God’s holiness, love and mercy to the world. This is why worship is so desperately important. It is my privilege to work with the people in the worship ministry of FBC, there now and yet to come, to help foster a practice of worship out of which musical styles, service patterns and community outreach can continue to spring.

Tell us about your family

I am married to Krista and have 3 children and an irrepressible (bordering on manic) dog named Byron. Krista is a woman of many vocations: a mother, a communicator and a creative, an academic and advocate. She is of dual-heritage and was born and raised in the greater Vancouver area. Audrey (6) likes to play with her dolls, loves making crafts and drawing pictures, and cuddling with her dog, Byron. Ella (11) is the sporty one. She loves playing basketball and soccer, reading and spending time playing her Nintendo Switch. Jakob (13) is creative, artistic and has a love for architecture. He plays the violin, sometimes likes it, and spends much of his time crafting new worlds with his friends on Minecraft.

What three words best describe you?

Bearded, good-humoured, and introspective.

What in your life brings you the most joy?

One of the things that brings me great joy is conducting and performing as a musician. I have spent many years conducting choirs and instrumental ensembles and know that choral music has so much to offer to the Church and the community at large. To me, it seems to be a poignant image of the individuality and unity at play in the body of Christ. The vast repertoire of sacred music is a bridge from Church to World and speaks to people, creating common ground where the Gospel does resonate when presented with care and diligence.

What is your favourite movie?

One of my favourite movies is called Babette’s Feast, a 1987 Danish film depicting the arrival of a Parisian refugee into the home of two daughters of a deceased Lutheran minister. The village in which they live is remote, austere and very strict in their religious observances. It’s not exactly a barn-burner but rather a delightful slow-burn of a narrative that reveals how an act of abundant blessing can melt a cold asceticism into love and kindness. I think it has a lot to say to the artistic temperament.

What sort of music do you enjoy listening to?

I enjoy a wide variety music and would be hard pressed to pick just one kind. With that in mind I will name a few artists and albums to which I keep returning.

  • Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philhamonic)
  • Ēriks Ešenvald’s Te Deum, Psalm 67 and O Emmanuel (Stephen Layton and Trinity College Choir, Cambridge)
  • Mandolin Orange Blindfaller and Tides of a Teardrop
  • Snarky Puppy Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  • James MacMillan’s Miserere (Harry Christophers and the Sixteen) and The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (James MacMillan and the BBC Philharmonic)

How can we pray for you?

  • We would greatly appreciate prayer for safe travels and an ease to navigating the quarantine process first in Toronto and then Vancouver.
  • Please pray for the children as they move away from friends and known communities to a new city for them, new schools and new communities.
  • Please pray for Krista and I as we will both be starting new jobs in June. Krista has accepted a role as Marketing and Communications Lead with Alpha Canada.
  • Thank you so much for all of your support! It has meant a lot to us already and we have felt a warm welcome from all the way across the Pond. 

Ben Ewert

Ekklesia Sermon Series

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Dear friends, 

Starting from this coming Sunday, we will spend the next 2 months in the book of Ephesians. 

As some of you are aware, I’ve been immersed in the book of Ephesians for more than 7 years! For some reason, the Holy Spirit kept drawing me back to it—over and over again—throughout my entire pastorate at FBC. Moreover, at the outset of the pandemic, our staff team huddled around the book of Ephesians every Tuesday morning—studying, reflecting, sharing, and praying—for around four months. It has kept us grounded in Christ amid an ever-evolving world that was significantly affected by the pandemic. 

For some of you who have been part of our church for over a decade, you might recollect that, in 2011, Darrell Johnson led us through a 10-month long sermon series on the book of Ephesians entitled “Navigating an Alternative Reading of Reality.” The main thrust of the series was that the book of Ephesians helps us to see reality, more clearly, with lenses that are saturated by the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jan Porcino, who at that time served as our Minister of Discipleship, produced a wonderful study guide that complemented the sermon series. 

And, now ten years later, as we begin our displacement, I sense that the Holy Spirit is prompting us to renew our lenses as we look to all that is ahead—not necessarily in preparation for the new building, but for far greater things, namely the fresh and surprising ways that He will be at work in us and through us to renew our church, our city, and our world. 

In the book of Ephesians, we are drawn to the breathtakingly expansive work of our Triune God—creation, redemption, the new humanity, and the renewal of all things. All of these initiated in Jesus Christ. And at the heart of that expansive work is the Church, a reconciled and reconciling community led by Jesus and empowered by the His Spirit, described in colourful images like body, building, temple, bride, marriage, and family. 

 The pandemic has raised many questions for us: What does it mean to be church when you can’t go to church? What does it mean to be a worshipping community when it seems like we are tenuously and strangely “connected” virtually? Can the Lord’s Supper be truly communal when we are taking the elements in the confines of our homes? How are we to care for one another when we aren’t able to meet in-person? How can we share the Good News when are “socially distanced”? In addition to these significant questions, we have now entered a long period of displacement. 24 months to be more specific. 

 In the face of all of these challenges, my prayer is that we will be reminded of whose we are, what we are, and how we are to live as the Church through this sermon series. My prayer is that we, as a church, will be further rooted “in Christ” though we may be physically displaced and distanced. My prayer that we, as a church, will be set afire by His Spirit to be reminded of our first love, Jesus Christ, who is on the move. He is on the move to renewal all things. Will we join Him? 

 I want to express my deepest gratitude to the host of guest preachers who will be part of our Ekklesia sermon series. Elita Friesen (The Way Church) will open up our series, followed by Dawn Humphreys (Strathcona Vineyard), Darrell Johnson, Jenna Fabiano (Willoughby Church), and Chris Price (The Way Church). Thank you for your friendship and your love for the Church! 

Our sermon series will be coupled with our Weekly Reflections by our Pastoral Team—exploring and expounding on the implications of the preached texts. Additionally, Rebecca Thornber, our Minister of Discipleship and Community, will complement the series with a Connection Group study guide. 

Jesus will build His Church. His will build His Ekklesia. 

In Christ, 
Justin Kim
Executive Minister 

P.S. For a better understanding of the word “ekklesia”, please be sure to listen to the sermon that Darrell Johnson preached two Sundays ago. Here is the link

Street Ministries Update

Last week we moved out of our building for the next two years.

You don’t need me to tell you that every area of church life is impacted by this move. And yet, I thought it was important to address the congregation about the Shelter Ministry because it has such a public presence in our city and because in the months that I have been serving as the director, I have come to understand how much love, resources and effort this church has poured into the shelter ministry over the years.

Our Shelter Ministry has become Street Ministries; this change is not merely a result fo circumstances. Instead, it wants to signal our response to Jesus’s calling to be a blessing to the city. This is the invitation I want to extend: During the next two years, let us not simply look forward to returning to upgraded and newly built sacred spaces. Rather, let’s seek Jesus in the city, among the poor, among the lonely, among the new comers, and among those who are serving the poor in the city.

During this time, we won’t simply set our own table with our own initiatives, our own strengths and resources. Rather, we let us learn to collaborate with others in service. Let First Baptist model a way of being in the city that resembles Jesus, the supreme guest.

To do this well, we need to pause for a few weeks to deepen relationships and partnerships with others in the city. During these weeks, if our Lord is moving you to contribute and participate in Street Ministries with the poor and marginalized in our city, please contact me. I would love to converse with you. My email: .

David Nacho
Director of Street Ministries

Posted by David Nacho

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