First News

FIRST NEWS | APRIL 29, 2020

PASTORAL REFLECTION

Click the video below to watch this week's pastoral reflection "Contemplative Prayer" by Filipe Balieiro.


COMMUNITY STORY

Shelter Update

The Covid-19 chaos has changed our Shelter operations. We are no longer having guests sleep overnight in our Shelter. Our setup, and the fact that we have only one bathroom in the gym, makes spacing and safety almost impossible.

We are now having 8 to 10 volunteers come in every Tuesday night to help package the food that the cooks have prepared. The meals include a main course with rice or potato, cooked vegetables, raw carrots, small tomatoes, fruit and cookies. We try to maintain proper distancing and we now have enough masks for all involved. We purchase appropriate food trays and serve the clients at the door on Burrard Street. The people are also served drinks of milk and juice.

We are serving between 130-200 people each Tuesday night and they express their deep gratitude that we have kept up serving the meals. I thank God for the cooks and the volunteers who have been so faithful in making this happen. We would all appreciate your prayers for health and safety as we serve those in need on our streets.

With thankfulness and gratitude for all your support,
Bob Swann


LORD'S SUPPER PREPARATION

We, as a church, will continue to partake in the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of every month. Each Lord’s Supper will be administered by a pastor as part of our First Worship. We encourage you to prepare the elements prior to the service. If bread and/or grape products are unavailable, you may use other food and drink. 

Our very first one via First Worship will be on May 3rd (this Sunday).


RESOURCES

Check out the "Ways to Help" section on our website home page to learn more about the ways you can be involved.

Click here for a list of government aids and benefits available for individuals due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Updated on April 29, 2020)

Click here for a list of communication apps for group video calls and messaging.

FIRST NEWS | APRIL 22, 2020

PASTORAL REFLECTION

Click the video below to watch this week's pastoral reflection "Exploring Different Ways to Pray" by John Tsang.

Here are the links to the prayer resources John mentioned in his reflection:
 

COMMUNITY STORY

This week, we would like to share a six-week Bible study on Romans 11:33-12:3 written by Carolyn Watts. Carolyn serves as one of the lay leaders of the Prayer and Care Ministry Area Team.

"Shortly after I returned home from Afghanistan, too sick to continue my medical work among the people I loved, a mentor asked me to pray through Romans 12:1-2, offering my body again to God as a living sacrifice. I found that before I could do so, I had to soak in the preceding verses which helped me remember why I could trust this God who asks for all of me. That personal search became a six-week Bible study on Romans 11:33-12:2 for groups and individuals. A year ago I retitled it,  When Life Falls Apart: Relearning Trust in the God of Mercy.  Only God knew then that it would be ready to offer during a pandemic when for so many life feels like it’s falling apart! What I pray for my website, I also pray for this study: that those who read would find it a gentle, grace-filled space in which to listen together to God’s heartbeat and settle a little more deeply into God’s love." - Carolyn Watts.

Read more from Carolyn at hearingtheheartbeat.com , and download the study here . Free until May 15 th  with coupon code FBC2020 .


NEW SERMON SERIES

The story of Samson is an enigma to most of us. An Old Testament account full of sex and violence, which most of us know best from Children's Bibles and from Sunday School. A story about a man driven by his fleshly desires, who is never censured in the Old Testament and who is listed among the heroes of faith in the New Testament. 

Set in a desperate period in Israel's history, the Bible’s account of Samson’s life has remarkable things to say to us about the ways in which we view God and the ways in which God chooses to act in the world. 

Since each of the sermons over the coming four weeks will deal with a whole chapter of the book of Judges, please take the opportunity to prepare by reading the relevant chapter each week in advance of our weekly worship services. 

April 26    Judges 13   Four Views of God
May 3     Judges 14   Secrets
May 10    Judges 15   The Kingdom is Coming
May 17    Judges 16   The Absent Presence of God


RESOURCES

We've updated our website to reflect our Covid-19 response. Check out the "Ways to Help" section in the home page to learn more about the ways you can be involved. We are in this together!

Click here   for a list of government aids and benefits available for individuals due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here  for a list of communication apps for group video calls and messaging.

 

FIRST NEWS | APRIL 15, 2020

LIBERIA UPDATE PART II

Bob continued his Liberia stories this week in a livestream session with Kurtis. If you missed the live session, click the player below to watch the recorded video of the update.


AREA PASTORATE

For most of us, it's been 5 Sundays since we last met together for worship because of the Covid19 pandemic restrictions. One of the things that we quickly shifted over to, in terms of pastoral ministry, was to divide up the city into areas and assign a Pastoral Team member to oversee the care and connection of members and adherents for that particular area. See the Area Pastor list here.

So far, the area Pastorate system has been working out very well! Some Pastors have enlisted the help of CG leaders, and/or one or two other lay leaders to help with calls for the people in their areas. All of us on the Pastoral team have been so blessed by the opportunities to get to know individuals that otherwise we may never have on a typical Sunday morning. It's heartbreaking to hear from individuals who can no longer physically visit their spouse or parent(s) living in a care home. Even though everything seems to be focused on Covid19, there are many who still need procedures done or ongoing treatments and they must go at it alone, without the usual company of a family member because of the restrictions at hospitals. But in the midst of all of this, there is also 'beauty in the ashes'. There are stories of God's grace where the Lord provided the perfect timing for things that needed to be done. Many are taking the personal initiative to keep in touch with a few that the Lord brings to their minds. And the kindness of individuals offering to help others who may have lost their work during this time. We continue to be the church, the body of Christ, even without the use of a physical building.  If you would like pastoral care, or know of someone who needs pastoral care, please send us an email at  . I will pass that along to the Area Pastor for follow up.

John Tsang
Minister of Congregational Care


FACE MASK DONATION

The Shelter Ministry volunteers are preparing and distributing meals every Tuesday and they are running low on face masks. If you have spare unopened boxes of face masks or cloth masks, the Shelter Ministry would love to accept your donation. Please contact if you would like to help.


RESOURCES

Click here for a list of government aids and benefits available for individuals due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here for a list of communication apps for group video calls and messaging.


BLOOD DRIVE

There is always a need for blood donations—and this is especially true during COVID-19. Giving blood is a tangible way the Church can serve our community in this time—so we’re doing a Blood Drive along with other churches in the Lower Mainland. We want to encourage those who are able to book an appointment to give blood in April or May.

Note that you MUST book an appointment to give blood—you can do this at blood.ca or by calling 1-888-236-6283.

Read about what Canadian Blood Services is doing to help those giving blood do this as safely as possible at blood.ca/covid19.

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