First News

First News | February 3, 2021

main image


Lent is the 40 day season that precedes Good Friday and Easter. Since the 4th century, Christians have marked this period to spiritually prepare for Jesus’ journey to the cross, the Passion week, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Resurrection Sunday. As Jesus kept His focus on the cross, we reflect on His teaching to us, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)  

In response to this, the season of Lent is traditionally marked by a spirit of penitence, discipline, fasting, and renewal. Many will choose to ‘fast’ or refrain from something to remind themselves of the need to remove the unnecessary things of our lives in order to focus more deeply on God. However, this year, I’m with many liturgists in that this has been an unprecedented year of restrictions already. It is as if Lent was imposed on the world! So instead of refraining from another thing in your life, for this season, we are encouraging you to focus on the ancient practice of almsgiving. Almsgiving essentially are acts of kindness to those who are in need. Whereas fasting refrains from something; almsgiving gives generously to others. May I invite you to be particularly attentive to the needs of those in your network of relationships - your friends, your family, your co-workers, your neighbours, and the neighbours of our church in the West-End and to serve them in some tangible ways.  Contact your area pastor to see if there are any families or individuals that could use a meal. Surprise your neighbour with a little something. Call a senior whom you know is somewhat isolated. Send a card of encouragement to someone once a week. Be intentional and creative and do this as often as you can through Lent.    

 On Ash Wednesday, Feb 17th, we will release a special Ash Wednesday service shaped around the well-loved Psalm 23 for you to enter into this season worshipfully. 

Lenten Prayer

God of the everlasting covenant,
in the glory of the cross
your Son embraced physical bodily death
and broke its hold over your people.
In this time of Lent,
draw us to yourself,
that we who confess Jesus as Lord
may take peace in facing our own mortality,
and live out our lives fully for your kingdom. Amen.

John Tsang
Minister of Congregational Care

First News | January 27, 2021


What is your role on staff at First Baptist Church?

I am the new Director of Street Ministries.

What excites you about this work?

So many things! The sincere commitment of the volunteers that have served in this ministry over the years, the challenge of figuring out and discerning how to be fully present in the downtown even if don’t have a building (we always say that the church is not the building, right? This is our chance to live that out!); and the possibility of partnering with other churches/ministries/agencies/individuals/businesses to plant Kingdom seeds in our city.

Tell us about your family

Suzannah and I have been married for almost 15 years (our anniversary is in March). We raising two girls and a boy who are very distinct from each other: One loves art, another one loves science and yet another one loves sports.

What three words best describe you?

I’ve been told I am thoughtful, that I have a dry humour, and that I am a good listener.

What in your life brings you the most joy?

Seeing people find meaning to Scripture and to life

What is your favourite movie?

The Martian

What sort of music do you enjoy listening to?

Cuban AfroJazz, Bolivian folk music, Classical, and The Beatles

How can we pray for you?

There is a big learning curve ahead of me, and a considerable transition to life in Canada for my family. Pray for good friends at school for our children.



The last few months have been a time for contemplation and celebration in our family "bubble"! Barry has been able to rest and read. (Even the 706 pages of Obama's memoir, A Promised Land) I have been taking care of our grandchildren: Eita (age 3), Molly (age 4) and Zoe (age 6) while their Mom is teaching Grade 3 in North Vancouver. My New Year's resolution is to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude" for all God has given us! So here are a few things I am thankful for:

  • Good health and vaccines coming soon! (I will be 70 in June)
  • Time to watch little changes as the grandchildren grow...(Zoe lost both her front teeth last week!)
  • Season of doing crafts and decorations for the Christmas tree while singing carols and listening to Evie Loewen's harp music!
  • Helping Eita learn to read his name and build with blocks while watching "Paw Patrol"
  • Playing games, creating with lego and doing jigsaw puzzles 
  • Reading books and stories with Zoe and Molly 
  • Taking nature walks to feed the winter birds with Jasmine (Eita's dog) who loves tummy rubs, treats and hugs!
  • Celebrating 3 birthdays in 3 weeks. Our son, Chris turned 43, 
  • Barry turned 64! and our daughter, Kelly turned 40! (where has the time gone?)
  • Taking little trips to the West Van beach and breathing in the salt air and sunshine in December!
  • Knowing that God is with us, watching over us..."Emmanuel"!  
  •  Especially thankful for the wonderful promises in God's Word! I have had to cling to many of them over this past year!

"But God is faithful to all His promises and loving to all he has made!" Psalm 145:13b 
"The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made."


Just like everyone else, we too had to stay at home at the beginning of lockdown in March, 2020. We had no idea at that time how long this will last. However, without fully realizing it, we started to form a beautiful habit in the evening just before we go to bed: we count our blessings! As we started that habit and continue to do that until now, we started to realize how uncountable God's blessings for us actually are. Some of those blessings are:  

  • We have now become more mindful and/or intentional in recognizing God's blessings, His goodness, and His kindness (e.g. good health, quality time with each other, surprise gifts/cards from some elderly members at First, and the opportunity to get to know some of the elderly in UBC, West Point Grey and Kits areas) and be quick to say THANK YOU for that! 
  • "Count Our Blessings" time every night has formed us with a proper sensitivity towards others' needs as well. I remembered when Fall arrived we realized that we experienced some Covid-related gain in our weight *smile* thus, we had some clothes that didn't fit us anymore. So we collected those clothes and gave them to others in need. The joy on their faces when they received our gifts warm our hearts.
  • The times we mostly spent at home have helped us to manifest hobbies; Ben with his drawing skills, Selly with her cooking skills, and me with my writing skills. 

 As newcomers to Canada, we thought 2020 would be the year we got everything we wanted, now we know 2020 was the year we appreciated everything we have.

So, will you, too, count your blessings? You might be surprised! 

First News | January 20, 2021

main image


In the fall of 2020, the Caring Ministry conducted three in-person classes - End of Life Care (2x) and Sanctuary Mental Health. Those were very meaningful times of learning and interaction with one another. 

For Jan to Apr of 2021, we have put together a combination of zoom seminars and in-person classes. In addition to our regular offerings (Care Friends, End of Life Care, Sanctuary Mental Health), we have developed a few new ones which will be offered through zoom: Journey through Infertility and MiscarriageSingle Again (When My Spouse Passes Away), and Primer on Memory Loss and Dementia. For dates, times, descriptions, and how to register, please click here. Come and join us if you are able to.  

In the area of prayer, we continue to put together a weekly guide to pray for the world, our country, our city, for our church, and for one another. On the 4th Sunday of the month, we hold church-wide prayer times on zoom and this has become a wonderful way to fellowship with others. Finally, if you would like someone to pray with, we have a number of prayer companions who are available. For any of the above, please email 

 John Tsang
Minister of Congregational Care


Church-wide Prayer Meeting
Sunday, January 24 | 2:00-3:30pm | Zoom
Register Here

12...6789101112131415 ... 4445