The Holy Spirit arrived at the festival of Pentecost 50 days after Passover. Since that tremendous day, followers of Jesus have been working to keep in step with the Spirit as He works his way in the world around us.
As fellow travelers, we are still trying to figure out what it means to keep in step with the Spirit. That is to listen, to follow, to learn where God is calling us.
In 2002, Canadian Christian Reformed Church members gathered in Edmonton for The Canadian Ministry Forum in the first official ever National Gathering when the Canadian side of the CRC sought to understand God’s direction in our national context. In May 2016, the churches in Canada will gather once again to connect and inspire the local church, regional missions, and denominational ministries at the Canadian National Gathering in Waterloo, Ontario. During our gathering we will share our mission and ministry stories. We will share our priorities for keeping in step. Individually and communally we will imagine a shared future of ongoing work together in Canada as the Christian Reformed church.
The Gathering will be held at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON from May 6-8, 2016. Invitations will be arriving at every church very soon. Information, FAQ, and more details will be posted on the Canadian Gathering site.
Wondering how much this will cost? $150. That’s it. But we are hoping your local church will help you cover that cost if needed. Travel, meals, and accommodations for the weekend will be covered through Canadian Ministries, donations, and each classis.
Classes will connect with the local churches to help send 12 representatives (from each classis) who are engaged in and passionate about what ministry in a Canadian context looks like as we all seek to keep in step with the Spirit. In total, the Gathering is expected to have about 200 attendees from across the CRC spectrum.
Three guest speakers will share local and regional stories, as well as the biblical story. Dr. Glenn Smith is the Executive Director of Christian Direction in Montreal and board member for Mission Montreal, a Christian Reformed Home Missions initiative. Ms. Michele Visser-Wikkerink is executive director of the Indigenous Family Centre in Winnipeg. Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat is an adjunct professor of biblical studies at Toronto School of Theology and the Institute for Christian Studies.
There will be various local and regional ministry people who will share their stories. Together we will hear how the Spirit has and is moving this collective group as we help to imagine a shared future of ministry where you are at.
The National Gathering will end with a Sunday morning commissioning and communion service that I have the privilege of leading. Each time of worship will be led by Jeremy Zeyl and The Body and Soul Collective, while Sylvia Keesmaat will share a biblical story.
If you are a deacon, elder, pastor, GEMS and Cadet counselor, youth leader, musician, nursery attendant, usher and greeter, young adult, senior, or anyone else in between who is passionate about local, regional, and denominational ministries in Canada, then the Canadian National Gathering is for you. Speak to your council clerk, check out the website, and speak up to indicate that you want to be in Waterloo at the Canadian National Gathering in May 2016!