By Dana Barber, Communications and Member Care
Sunday worship services, house group meetings, hospital visits, in-person conferences, and feasts are things that make the short list of what we have given up, to stay apart and stay safe for over a year. Some would argue we are not able to be the church with current restrictions. If we are “better together” than what is left when we are distanced by a pandemic. Does our denomination really believe we are better together? What are ‘they’ doing about it?
While we are all CBOQ; and I cannot speak for you, I can tell you what some of your church leaders and your CBOQ staff have been busy doing; together. Since January 2021, there has been no sitting and waiting for this to end. Grants have been awarded to continue the work of the local church. Pastors and staff continue to come together to pray for and support one another, weekly. Church planting is being discerned and leaders are being trained. They even have a book club. 15 churches are walking with coaches through Revitalization. Next Generation leaders have met on Monthly Zoom to explore topics like mental health, digital discipleship, missions and more. We continue to engage on social media. The Accreditation and Ordination process continues to move ahead. Children and Family Ministry leaders are connecting for “I Wonder” Wednesday. Churches are receiving assistance with the application process and paperwork for sponsoring refugees. The Kwasind Centre moves forward and plans for greater leadership training are being forged. CBOQ Now has explored Redefining the Church, Evangelism Today, and Effective Communication. Individuals have been led in Discerning Your Call, a deeper look at whether, or not your call is your vocation. We have been striving to Journey Together, through conversations regarding racism and the church. The last 3 conversations have encouraged us to continue to have these discussions at a local level. The fourth, Journey Together conversation happens this Wednesday, May 12. (See our website for more details and to sign up.)
If you have been isolated long enough, let me encourage you to join in with how the presence of God is blessing this family of churches.
For over 130 years, we, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, have gathered, in one accord, to declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This has been daily, weekly, or annually at Assembly. And so, we pivot again to be together. CBOQ Assembly will be entirely virtual. This year we are back to a 3-day event including a chance to make decisions, to learn, and to worship with one voice. We will not be sharing a hug this year, but we are not alone. Acts reminds us that the early church was not always in the same place either. They had work to do and things to sort out right where God had placed them. We do too. But just like the church of Acts, aren’t we blessed when we are together to pray, learn, praise, read, journey, and sing!? Maybe things in this world are not functioning the way they once did, but let’s keep going, together, in one accord.