First News

Celebrating Phyllis Metcalfe's 100th Birthday

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This past Monday, I had the great privilege of visiting with Phyllis Metcalfe. My dear friend, Nancy Scambler, who initiated the idea of a visit, made sure to run it by Phyllis and her family and planned a safe visit. 

For a month, I waited and waited for the visit as I had not seen Phyllis in-person for well over two years. I missed her warmth, humour, and reminders that she has been praying for our church. I missed hearing her constant refrain: “God is good!”

Our Lord has been good to Phyllis. Did you know that she has never been hospitalized? 

Our Lord has been good to us through Phyllis. After arriving from Winnipeg in May 1957, she became a member of FBC in June 1957. Phyllis and I share one commonality. We became members of FBC when we were just about to turn 36 years old. In her 64 years at FBC, she taught young children in Sunday School (picking up children in her 1962 Ford Falcon!), served as a deacon, took part in the Muriel Harrington and Vimala Mission Circles, showed remarkable hospitality to newcomers and visitors at Pinder Hall, and participated in several weekly prayer groups for many years. Moreover, she worked as the Church Clerk for 24 years (1962 to 1986). After her retirement, she volunteered as a church receptionist for three mornings a week for 20 years! 

During the visit, I noticed several things. Her energy. Her floral apron. Her creased, leather-bound Bible. Her devotional titled “God’s Promises for Your Every Need.” 

As a person of prayer, Phyllis has and continues to rely on God’s promises. I’ve seen it in the ways that she continues to pray for our church. I’ve experienced it in the ways that she has kept my family in her prayers.

On September 22nd, Phyllis will be celebrating her 100th birthday. If you are able to, please be sure to let her know that she is loved and appreciated. 

As Phyllis would often remind me, God is good. 

All the time. He is good. 

With joy, 
Justin Kim
Executive Minister 

P.S. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Nancy Scambler for providing the details of Phyllis’s active service at FBC. 

Posted by Justin Kim

Hope

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Grey skies and orange leaves give evidence of the season change.  The weather is cooler, kids are back at school and FBC is gathering at Saint Andrews.  In these endings and beginnings, we tread with uncertainty into a future that is unknown.  Uncertainty when some of what we do know is disappointing. 

During all these challenges I have been reflecting on what is the hope that sustain us. Hope, it is what we wait for… our expectation…what we trust in. Like a light at the end of the tunnel, hope is what leads us forward in the dark.  Although rarely something we can possess, hope guides us on. 

These years we have experienced many attacks on hope and we each have experienced something like what the Bible calls a broken spirit.  One Proverb says even sickness can be endured, but a broken spirit is crushing (Pro 18:14).  What would the writer of Proverbs say to us today when sickness and hopelessness crash over us like waves on the shore.  We know that even over time the rocks turn to sand by the beating of the surf.  Maintaining hope is not easy.

 First of all it is hard to hope when the finish line keeps moving.  My family and I were living in Costa Rica when the pandemic hit one month after the school year had begun in February.  My biggest disappointment came after 2 ½ months of lockdown struggling to teach homeschool-online to my children. I was crushed when we received the news that the kids would not go back to school that year and our lockdown would continue.  I felt like I had used all my strength to get to that point.  My husband David got us out of town for a few days.   Although I couldn’t see how anything could help, changing surroundings allowed me to rest and get a fresh perspective. I couldn’t alter our circumstances, but I could choose my response and acknowledge the goodness that my family was together.  My focus changed from the finish line to running well with my loved ones beside me.

Second, it is hard to hope when we finish the race, and we are not where we want to be.  When I lived in El Salvador I became friends with a woman who had started fighting with the liberation army when she was just a teen.  Being from a poor farming village fighting in the army was the only possibility she saw for a better future.  When I met her it was14 years after the Peace Accords had been signed and El Salvador was overrun with gang violence and the same government she had fought against during the war was still in power.  Nonetheless in her struggle and disappointment, she was a woman with hope demonstrated through simple moments of sharing her story and helping her children do homework in the evenings.  These daily acts of resistance were powerful statement of hope in the future.

We discover that what we hope for can be reimagined. Chilean theologian Segundo Galilea writes,

“Successes and failures are two sides of the same temptation against hope.”

Galilea reminds us, we often seek assurances in momentary outcomes. As Christians the hope we look for must go deeper.   The psalmist explores this when he asks,

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
And why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God: for I shall again praise him,
My salvation.
Psalm 42:5

The psalmist is disappointed and yearns for God’s presences and action. His desire will only be satisfied by the unchanging, faithful character of God.  Like the psalmist, in this time of moving timelines and adverse destinations our hope is found in Christ alone. We hope in his salvation and promise to form us in his likeness. We are not alone but run as a community encouraging one another. Our hope is that God is good, and he has a purpose in all things. 

This autumn as we continue to face challenges, we know God will grow us and strengthen us a community sojourning together with Christ as our guide.

Suzannah Nacho
Interim Director of Children’s Ministries

Posted by Suzannah Nacho

Belonging Course

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How can I picture God’s kingdom for you? What kind of story can I use? It’s like an acorn that a man plants in his front yard. It grows into a huge oak tree with thick branches, and eagles build nests in it.” 

“How can I picture God’s kingdom? It’s like yeast that a woman works into enough dough for three loaves of bread—and waits while the dough rises. (Luke 13:18-22, The Message)

As Jesus announced the good news of his Kingdom, he depended on the hospitality and generosity of others to do his work, to eat, and even to rest. Did his experience have an impact on his message? Curiously, in our times, the themes of mission, discipleship and hospitality are often seen as separate areas of our lives.

We would like for this course  to serve as a space of connection, integration and the deepening of the sense of discipleship in the different areas of our lives. Each session will help us embrace God’s call to hospitality through the study of Scripture, the sharing of our stories and the communal motivation to serve others in practical ways.

As we embark in this study about discipleship, mission and hospitality, we will combine a bird’s eye view of God’s grand narrative with specific encounters between Jesus and his followers (including ourselves) in order to imagine and engage in (new) ways of being the church in a city in need such as ours.

 Artwork: Anselmo Swan, Home No. 2, 2018.


BELONGING COURSE

Wednesday, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: Renfew Park Community Centre, 2929 E 22nd Ave, Vancouver, BC CA V5M 2Y3

COURSE OUTLINE

  • Sep 22: Life Together in the City
  • Sep 29: Loving the City
  • Oct 6: Finding Each Other in God’s Story
  • October 13: Eternal Life and Belonging
  • October 23 (Sat) - At Table with Jesus: Visit to A Rocha

REGISTRATION

REGISTER HERE

Deadline: September 19

QUESTIONS


If you have any questions about the course, please contact David Nacho / Rebecca Thornber

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