First News

First News | December 30, 2020

CONNECTION GROUP STORIES

Christmas pot luck dinner 2019, anticipating the same in 2021

Our group has existed for decades—some have attended for over 15 years—comprising mixed ages and those from Africa, Europe, Asia, the US and across Canada. Now from the North Shore, in the past some members would drive across the bridge to spend time studying God’s word and celebrating the Biblical seasons. Some would even camp, walk—as we regularly gathered to study, laugh, cry, hug and pray.

We are not a typical “connection group” in the way FBC intends it, as our study focus varies — a few times we cover the sermon series, other times we use Biblical study guides (Regent bookstore), even REFRAME (Regent’s excellent video series), and last summer open-ended discussions on such as ‘what is grace?’ 

This autumn we had deep discussions on 1 Samuel (before the Sunday sermon…‘why didn’t we do this before?’). We have a very special sense of trust, confidentiality and social interaction, into which our 2 new members “slid” comfortably.  

We have been having very rich times on Zoom…now waiting to return to face-to-face, and our Christmas pot luck dinners.  

Co-leaders: John & Rose-Marie Goodwin


Downtown Connection Group

Zoom. Is this even a word? Yet our connection group has only known Zoom as our meeting forum. We can imagine how it is both a bane and a blessing. Even in our group it is both. But we thank God for it. What would our world be like during a severe pandemic if not for Zoom, and other video platforms?

We are seven members studying God’s word each Friday night at 7 in preparation for the Sunday sermon. Yet, it is so much more. We see each other. We connect visually, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Each week we ask each other how we’re doing. If we can help tangibly, we will. Often we only need someone to hear us, to feel for us and to understand. We bring our prayers before our Lord and sense the comfort He brings. This is what it is like for us to meet in the middle of a severe pandemic. Praise God for Zoom.

Leader: Ian Bulloch


GIVING UPDATE

We thank the Lord for His faithful provision! Despite the challenges of the pandemic, you continued to live out a value that is central to who we are as Christ's followers--outrageous generosity. I want to recognize our staff team, particularly Soniya Mathew, Teck-Ngee Ch'ng, and Mary Cramond, with managing the reduction of our expenses. We budgeted $1,732,771 in expenses for this year. Our 2020 estimate expenses will be at around $1,500,000. It is also worth noting that $241,313 of our YTD revenue is from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

With a grateful heart,
Justin Kim

2020 Estimate Expenses: $1,500,000
Year to Date Revenue: $1,642,000

Year-end donation deadlines:

  • If made in person, gifts must be dropped off in the mailbox beside the entrance at 969 Burrard St. and must be received by noon on Dec 31.  
  • Cheques must be dated on or before Dec 31.
  • If cheques are mailed, envelopes must be post-marked on or before Dec 31.  It would be appreciated if you could mail your gifts earlier in December.
  • For online gifts, only payments reported by your bank as occurring on or before midnight Dec 31 2020 will be recorded as 2020 gifts.

CARE MINISTRY SEMINAR

Saturday, January 23 | 9:30-11am | Zoom

Facilitators and Presenters: John Tsang and Daniel Surya (Pastoral Care Intern)

1 in 6 couples experience issues of infertility, and sometimes, miscarriage is part of the whole struggle and experience.  What are the emotions that come with infertility and/or miscarriage? What are some of the questions of my identity, my role as husband or wife, and of God through this? Throughout scripture, we see this theme of infertility or inability to conceive in our 'heroes' of faith. What lessons of faith might arise from this journey? Come and join us for this Caring Ministry seminar. Hear some couples share their real life journey of infertility and miscarriage and know that you are not alone. As well, learn ways that we can skilfully care for our friends and family who may be going through this. 

Register Here

A Christmas Message

main image

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree
that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
Luke 2:1

The Roman census called just before Jesus’ birth was an ominous event. Censuses were taken for one of only two purposes: either Caesar Augustus was going to raise soldiers for his armies, or he was going to raise taxes. Along with men from all over Palestine, Joseph was forced to return to his family’s town of origin, the town of Bethlehem, to register under the weight of these oppressive circumstances. Fear loomed over the entire Roman world, with no one exempt and everyone anxious about what was coming next.

Joseph had the further anxiety of family problems. Mary had been away staying with Elizabeth, but her return, several months pregnant, had provoked all sorts of misunderstandings, accusations and threats. Nevertheless, in faith, Joseph had taken her into his home. While it was not strictly necessary for Mary to accompany him, perhaps it was a relief for the couple to leave Nazareth and go together to Bethlehem; even worth travelling in Mary’s condition. 

Once in Bethlehem, they were unable to find space in their relatives’ home. So, despite Mary’s condition, they were only offered space among the animals. No close family or friends were there to help with the birth. And yet, despite having no home and no work, the thought of returning to Nazareth must have been so bleak that they chose not to do so after Jesus’ birth.

_______

When we look at nativity scenes and pictures on Christmas cards it’s all too easy to forget the true hardships faced by Mary and Joseph at the time of Jesus’ birth. The cozy scene we picture was, in reality, fraught with anxiety.

 This Christmas, as we celebrate in smaller ways, with a different worldwide threat looming over us, I wonder whether we might take the opportunity to think about this scene again, and to recognize a little more deeply the faith that Mary and Joseph exercised in the midst of fear, and the sacrifices they were willing to make in order to be obedient to God on that first Christmas?

My prayer is that you will be able to put aside the sorrows and fears that so many will experience this unusual Christmas season and remember instead that however small and fragile and misunderstood the love of God may appear to be, the coming of Jesus will prove to be the ultimate antidote to all of the world’s ills.

 Merry Christmas,
Anthony

Posted by Anthony Brown

First News | December 23, 2020

WEEKLY REFLECTION


A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree
that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
Luke 2:1

The Roman census called just before Jesus’ birth was an ominous event. Censuses were taken for one of only two purposes: either Caesar Augustus was going to raise soldiers for his armies, or he was going to raise taxes. Along with men from all over Palestine, Joseph was forced to return to his family’s town of origin, the town of Bethlehem, to register under the weight of these oppressive circumstances. Fear loomed over the entire Roman world, with no one exempt and everyone anxious about what was coming next.

Joseph had the further anxiety of family problems. Mary had been away staying with Elizabeth, but her return, several months pregnant, had provoked all sorts of misunderstandings, accusations and threats. Nevertheless, in faith, Joseph had taken her into his home. While it was not strictly necessary for Mary to accompany him, perhaps it was a relief for the couple to leave Nazareth and go together to Bethlehem; even worth travelling in Mary’s condition. 

Once in Bethlehem, they were unable to find space in their relatives’ home. So, despite Mary’s condition, they were only offered space among the animals. No close family or friends were there to help with the birth. And yet, despite having no home and no work, the thought of returning to Nazareth must have been so bleak that they chose not to do so after Jesus’ birth.

_______

When we look at nativity scenes and pictures on Christmas cards it’s all too easy to forget the true hardships faced by Mary and Joseph at the time of Jesus’ birth. The cozy scene we picture was, in reality, fraught with anxiety.

 This Christmas, as we celebrate in smaller ways, with a different worldwide threat looming over us, I wonder whether we might take the opportunity to think about this scene again, and to recognize a little more deeply the faith that Mary and Joseph exercised in the midst of fear, and the sacrifices they were willing to make in order to be obedient to God on that first Christmas?

My prayer is that you will be able to put aside the sorrows and fears that so many will experience this unusual Christmas season and remember instead that however small and fragile and misunderstood the love of God may appear to be, the coming of Jesus will prove to be the ultimate antidote to all of the world’s ills.

 Merry Christmas,
Anthony


CHRISTMAS EVE READINGS & CAROLS

Join us on Christmas Eve as we celebrate the birth of Christ with a beautiful readings and carols online service which follows the form of the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols held in King's College Chapel since 1918. The Christmas message is given in Bible readings, carols and pieces sung by soloist and a quartet.

The video will be sent out via First News at 9am on Christmas Eve. Click below to watch a trailer:


CHRISTMAS COMMUNITY PROJECTS

Christmas Love for our Elders and Seniors

A society is measured by how it cares for its elderly citizens.  (World Health Organization)

On Sun Dec 13th, a number of us were enjoying an afternoon of games and carols on zoom but on that same afternoon, a group of hard working elves were cooking, baking, packing and delivering a hot meal and/or package to over 25 seniors from FBC all over town. It has been a hard year for everyone but perhaps even more so for our elders and seniors who live alone or must isolate to protect themselves.  Susan Ritchie coordinated a team of over 20 volunteers to make sure our seniors weren't forgotten during this time of year! Everyone received cards, chocolates, baked goods, and for those who wanted one - a five star homemade hot turkey meal!  As well, in our different area pastorates, Connection Group members put together packages for seniors in their respective neighbourhoods. Some areas played the classic game of Secret Santa (or Secret St. Nicholas) as individuals dropped off cards and a little something for seniors in their neighbourhood. Great big thank you to our army of volunteers. May we be known as a church that cares for and loves our elders and seniors!

-John Tsang


Heads, Hands & Feet

For the past few years, our preteens and youth have joined together to help assemble kits that were given to our shelter ministry guests. This year due to the pandemic we decided to make Heads, Hands & Feet a church-wide project. Together we were able to assemble 114 kits, and last Tuesday, Dec 8 a small group of us also helped to serve the meal at Shelter and hand out these kits! Since we made so many, Shelter will be able to distribute them throughout the month of December. It was a blessing to see so many people participate this year. Thank you all for your generosity and care!

Merry Christmas, 
Danny


Chocolate Snowman for NewGen

Some of you may know that chocolate is my favourite snack! Chocolate Snowman? Favourite Level 100! This Christmas season, a team of Christmas elves hand-delivered around 70 Chocolate Snowmen to our FBC children! It's a strange Christmas season with everyone being apart, but we hope that these small little gifts will remind our children and families that you all are in our prayers and we love you all very much. Seeing the big smiles and excitement on our children's faces is the greatest reward! Big thanks for Maureen Jones for making the gifts and our team of volunteers who delivered them to the families.

Merry Christmas!
Jojo (Joseph)


NEW YEAR ZOOM PRAYER MEETING

Sunday, December 27 | 2-3:30pm
Come and join us for our church wide prayer time as we reflect on 2020 and look forward to a New Year!
Register Here


CHRISTMAS SPECIAL OFFERING

Each year, during Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, FBC collects a special offering that is used to support various causes and organizations. 

This Christmas, the special offering will go towards supporting the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) in Beirut, Lebanon. The explosion that happened on August 4, 2020 has caused 202 deaths, 6,500 injuries, USD 15 billion in property damage, and an estimated 300,000 people have become homeless. ABTS has sheltered over 70 people who have lost their homes and is helping with clean-up and food distribution for workers who are deployed to the explosion site.  Watch a video update from the Canadian Baptist Ministries:

If you would like to contribute to this offering, there are two ways to give. You can give online by clicking here. Please make sure that you select “Christmas Special Offering” under the Fund category. You can also give by mailing in a cheque. Please indicate that it is towards the “Christmas Special Offering” on the memo section of the cheque. Donation deadline: December 31, 2020.

Designated Gifts: It is FBC's policy that designated gifts will be used solely for the stipulated purpose of the designated fund. However, when the purpose or project has been completed, or the special restricted fund has been closed, or the purpose of the special restricted fund cannot be completed as originally planned, the remaining capital will be distributed at the discretion of the CLT.

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