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Living a Generous Life (A reflection on Mark 12:38-44)

Take a few minutes to read the story in Mark about the widow who gives her last penny to the temple. Imagine,Jesus sitting in the temple people watching.  He watches people come inand out of the temple. All kinds of people making offerings of all kinds,dropping by the treasury to pay their tithe which was mandatory at the time.He has some words to say about those who come in in fancy dress, making a big show of their wealth.  But his focus is on an inconspicuous woman…a woman with no resources who comes quietly and without drawing any attention to herself…to give two small coins. One penny. All she has.

Sitting with his disciples, Jesus draws their attention to her action…not to shame anyone, not to criticize the amounts being deposited with the treasury…but to point out a difference in the way life is being lived. Where many have skimmed off the top of what they have to give to God, this woman, required by law to bring her money, gives not out of her excess but out of what she has.  And although the law requires that she gives it all…she doesn’t balk, doesn’t fight it…but does just that.  She gives her whole life.
Now this is not a reflection about giving more money, or even giving to the church.  This is a lesson about a way of living. This is a lesson about changing the way we look at the world and how we as human beings, children of God, followers of the living Christ move and act within it.  This is a lesson about moving from our normal way of living out of scarcity versus living out of abundance.
Too often w live our lives in scarcity – ruled by fear that we won’t have enough.  The fear of want causes us to be stingy not only with our money but with all of our resources, especially our time and our attention. When we are afraid we hunker down and close ourselves off from others…afraid of being taken advantage of, afraid of being hurt, afraid of any number of things. We accept the message of fear and hate we hear on the news, on social media, and on the internet. (Continued on page 2)
January Prayer / February Partners

Feb 26 Église Chrétienne de la Pentécôte Missionnaire des Prières (Disciples du Christ)
Pastor: Lucien Mezidor

Q1 & 2 Community, Calgary, AB
Pastor: Jennifer Watts

Brush with the Spirit, Calgary, AB     Planter: Danah Cox

Summerville CC, Summerville, NS     Pastor: Russell Prime

Westlock Community Church, Westlock, AB
Special prayer requests:
  • Upcoming General Board meeting in Indianapolis (Feb 25-28)
  • Shirley Ramey Bergman, wife of Rev Neil Bergman: Rev Tom Rutherford; Pastor Guilana Paucar; all of whom are struggling w health issues
  • Students who are on Reading Week and finishing up mid-terms

 Contact information for
Rev Dr Jen Garbin: Phone: 519-826-5767
Text: 519 751-4629

PDF Version available here

Living a Generous Life (continued)

In our fear we believe the hype that there is an “us” and a “them” and we have to protect ourselves from what we don’t know or understand. We give away only the bits of ourselves that we think we can spare, that won’t cut into what we have stockpiled to keep ourselves safe and secure.  And in the end, we miss out on some golden opportunities to be love and light in the world.

What Jesus points to when he brings to the attention of the disciples, the woman who gives her whole life, is this – being a child of God, a follower of Christ, demands (not asks for, demands), that we give over not just the little bits of our lives that are convenient for us…but our whole lives.  That means not only giving up Sunday mornings, but other prime times of the week to serve.  It means giving up the habits we have that alienate others or keep us from having good solid relationships with them.  It means looking at the people around us not as if they are enemies but as if they are Jesus.  It means allowing ourselves to really get to know others, and to allow others to know us.  It means hearing that little small voice when it tells us someone has a need, or we should call, or write, or go…and actually doing it instead of thinking, I will do it later.

The action of the woman, giving her whole life, foreshadows what Jesus will do, actually what he has already done.  He gives over his whole life – which is why we look to him as our north star, the compass point we all follow. He doesn’t skimp on his time with the disciples or with anyone who wants or needs him.  He dedicates his life to living the love of God every day.  He gives over his whole life to God.  Not just to his friends. Not just to those of his own faith or nationality. Not just on the cross, but every day before and after it.

This is the call to each of us.  This is life we have chosen…but it’s not just a portion of our life…it’s the whole thing. We are called to be like Jesus as you well know…but we are also called to be like this woman: to give our entire lives to God.  What does it mean? Well, I encourage you to take some time this week to think about it.  To look at your own life and see where there is fear lurking that keeps you from giving over all who you are.  I know that there are parts of myself that I haven’t fully surrendered…we all have them.  And it is fear of the unknown, fear of scarcity, fear of want or hurt that keeps us from full surrender.  So take some time to think about where you might be carrying fear…write it down if you have to…and then ask for the courage and grace to put that fear aside.  Push it away from you, give it over to God so that you might come whole and complete to the Saviour’s side, and move into his world full and whole, living God’s gift…a generous life with everything you’ve got. – Jen Garbin

Welcome to Rev Tom Beecroft, New Pastor for St Thomas CC

After a long search St Thomas Christian Church is pleased to announce that they have found a pastor!  We welcome to our Canadian Region, Rev Tom Beecroft and his wife, Maureen to St Thomas and wish every blessing to you both and the congregation as you start this new ministry together.

Rev Tom Beecroftis a graduate ofRidgetown College of Agricultural Technology, has a Licentiate in Theology from Emmanuel College and was ordained in 2000 by the United Church of Canada. His background in farming and general insurance with a rural mutual insurance company has given him extensive experiences to draw upon for his ministry. Tom has written two books of “Children’s Time” stories to be used in worship and believes that children should be welcomed and celebrated in the church. For Tom, music and worship are permanently linked, impossible to have one without the other.He enjoys sharing his faith with his guitar and in song during worship and at nursing and retirement homes. Tom retired from full time ministry in the United Church in June 2016 and has accepted a part time position with St Thomas Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. His is married for forty six years to Maureen, they have three children and seven grandchildren.. <>

Disciples Women Leadership Council 2017 

January 26-29, 2017, Phoenix, Arizona | 2017 Canadian Representatives: Awit Marcelino representing Western Ontario – Winnipeg, Sarah Himaya, representing Central Ontario – Toronto and Janet Fountain, representing East Maritimes.

The Disciples Women’s Leadership Council (DWLC) is a group of women made up of regional and constituency leadership representatives who coordinate programs, share ideas, knowledge and information with the goal of spreading it to their respective churches and communities, all while engaging in women advocacy, spiritual growth, education and creative ministries. The goal is to encourage fellowship, enrichment and support as leaders, where each person develops a sense of personal responsibility for the whole mission of the church of Jesus Christ.

The Theme for 2017 was :HER FREEDOM “The spirit of the Lord is on ‘Her’, because he has anointed ‘Her’ to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent ‘Her’ to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”Luke 4:18 (NIV)

This year, I was given the opportunity to serve on the DWLC planning team alongside some phenomenal Disciples Women: Pastor Christal Williams, Teresa Olberding and Gloria Gilliard.  Together we planned our four-day gathering for 58 women which included bible study and leadership workshops, constituency reports, fellowship, devotions, worship, crafts, ice breakers and team building activities. Most importantly, it was an enriching time to openup difficult conversations that affect our societies today which include issues of injustice reflected through racism, privilege, and human trafficking.

DWLC’s goal is to provide a safe environment in which women can share and encourage the flow of ideas and strategies between regions so that we can figure out the answer to the ultimate question “How can we SERVE our brothers and sisters through Christ.” 

In solidarity, we put our faith in God, that with the tools and wisdom that we gain from these prayers and conversations, we may attain the dreams we have for the Disciples of Christ church and its future.

To find out more about Disciples Women’s Ministries please visit:  and #DWConnect.

Love & Blessings, Sarah Himaya, Hillcrest Christian Church (DoC), Toronto

2017 at the Disciples Conference Grounds in a nutshell!

Wow, the 2017 camping season is quickly approaching!  I would like to extend an invitation to everyone to attend the many exciting events planned for the Disciples Conference Grounds in Ontario.  If you can spare some time, volunteer at Camp Clean up – April 21 & 22, Camp Opening – May 5 & 6, and/or Project Weekend – May 19 & 20. For the Project Weekend, accommodations will be provided, please RSVP.  If you are a high school student looking for volunteer hours, any of these dates are a great opportunity to collect some! 

The whole family (kids, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - if you consider them family bring them!) can attend Family Camp – June 9-11. Fellowship Sunday immediately follows on June 11th with a potluck meal followed by Sunday Worship Service.  Plan to attend our Open House and Volunteer Appreciation Day on June 24th from 2:00-6:00pm, there will be tours, food and drinks available.  For the younger kids among you, Discovery Camp for ages 7-13 directed by Rev. Janet Anstead is always a hit.  They will be making ‘a joyful noise unto the Lord’ during the week of July 16-22.  Counsellor in Training camp directed by Rev. Dr. Jen Garbin, July 23-29, will give young people ages 13-15 the opportunity to become amazing camp leaders.  Rev. Jen will be back August 20-26 for OCYF camp for young people ages 13-18.  Fall is considered one of the best times to visit the Disciples Conference Grounds, so if you are over 18, come to camp September 15-17 for the Adult Fall Weekend. The OCYF young people will be having their Fall FiestsaWeekend October 6-9 to finish off our Disciples camping season.  The last volunteer opportunity of the season will be in October after the OCYF weekend (date TBA). 

To register for camps, visit  If you have questions about the camp or to RSVP to a volunteer event, please email at  Visit to view pictures and videos of the campground and get updates about events.  DCG is also available for your group to reserve, get more details at .

With so many different opportunities to visit the Disciples Conference Grounds at 1899 Lakeshore Road, Haldimand, Ontario, make a plan to visit during our 65th year!

Camp Clean Up                                 April 21 & 22  

Camp Opening                                        May 5 & 6

Project Weekend                                May 19 & 20  

Family Camp                                            June 9-11   Adults $50/person; Children 12& under $15/child

Open House                                                 June 24

Discovery Camp (ages 7-13)                   July 16-22               $280/camper

CIT Camp (ages 13-15)                           July 23-29               $280/camper

OCYF Camp (ages 13-18)                 August 20-26               $280/camper

Adult Fall Weekend                                        TBA               $40/camper

OCYF Fall Weekend                            October 6-9               $40/camper

Yours in camping,  Sarah Leitch, OACC Disciples Conference Grounds Camp Manager

From Your Week of Compassion Staff

Dear Church,

It is a common, perhaps daily, experience for many of us, as we live in our technology driven age: a pin drops on a GPS map, marking a current location or indicating a destination, orienting us in space. These map pins represent where we are and where we hope to go. The scriptures for the special offering this year provide a similar point of reference, an orientation for our lives-- God is near; love one another in truth and action; feed those who are hungry, clothe those who are naked, welcome those who are strangers. These texts help us position ourselves in relation to God and to one another by reminding us of our call to be here for one another, loving one another as God has loved us. Our destination, where our map pin sits, is near to the heart of God, is alongside our neighbours who are suffering. This offering season, our theme is “You are here.” By this simple statement, we glorify God’s faithful presence, affirm that Christ is uniquely present in those whom we serve, and celebrate how you are here for your neighbours in their times of need. For over seven decades, Week of Compassion has been able to be present for people near and far in moments of crisis because of your partnership and generosity. We have been present, so you also have been present.

You are here—in Rowlett, TX, where tornado survivors have been able to return to their homes, because volunteer teams were present to help rebuild and repair houses.

You are here—in Tanzania, where lower income women are taking proactive steps for their reproductive health with screenings and treatment for cervical cancer provided by our partners.

You are here—in Morocco, Jordan, Serbia, the United States, and elsewhere around the world, where refugees are receiving food, water, and medicine with dignity, as our partners offer aid and accompaniment.

Often we receive notes from those who have experienced disasters, expressing thanks because “Week of Compassion was here.” In times of loss or struggle, after a fire or flood, when a child is unable to attend school because she has to search for clean water, or when a mother has fled home to keep her children safe, the church is present through the work of Week of Compassion.

Through your gifts, you are here. In grateful partnership, we offer again our thanks and rejoice in the good work of the gospel. As we continue to walk in mutuality, seeking wholeness and healing for all, let us be strengthened by the Spirit of God, here with us. <>

(Editor’s note: WoC has generously made a grant to support the relief efforts in the wake of the Quebec mosque shooting. Thank you ,WoC!)

(pictured above L-R: Pastor Fritz-Gerald Joseph, Pastor Oscar Wakenge, Pastor Lucien Mezidor, Pastors Guiliana and Juan Carlos Rodriguez. Missing: Pastor Jean Daniel Francois)

In a recent trip to meet with the Quebec pastors, we began to work on getting organized in the province to support one another in prayer, relationship, and encouraging each other’s ministries. To that end, we will be working on setting up Quebec as a sub-area of the OACC (of which it is already a part). In the coming months, we will have an acting “Area Minister” to assist our Regional Minister in keeping connected to the Quebec congregations.  We also came up with a name and created a logo!  Please keep our sisters & brothers in Quebec in your prayers as they work to spread the gospel among very diverse communities. Please also keep in prayer Pastor Guiliana Paucar-Rodriguez who is recovering from a serious illness but is still a strong witness to the love of God & an enthusiastic supporter of the DoC in Canada.

Ringtone Sounds during Worship Service, Leads to Church Revival

Fort Wayne, IN – The previous ban on unsilenced cellphones during worship services was lifted at Peace Community Church.  “Previously, we thought cellphones were a distraction to corporate worship and super annoying,” said Alex Bell, Senior Pastor.  “Now, we know they are a conduit to God and His messages to us.  They are the means to revival.”

The policy shift was the result of Sally Fell’s phone sounding off one Sunday a few months ago.  Bell was preaching about God’s seeming silence in the tough times, and suddenly the congregants heard, “Hello, it’s me.  I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.”

Fell explained, “You couldn’t hear any of the Adele song after that.  People erupted in shouts of joy and tears.  It’s been a tough year.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them the rest of the lyrics, but I am glad I don’t have to endure the deathly stares when my phone goes off anymore.  I always hated the policy.”

The new policy has apparently born additional fruits from Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” blaring during a sermon on Matthew 10:14:  “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

Not everyone is happy about the new policy.  Fell’s husband, Jack, is worried if his friend Bill ever calls during the service:  “His ringtone is Sir Mix A Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back.’”

(This work of satire and more is written by Justin Schwartz of Hillcrest CC, and can be found at . Reprinted with permission)

In the Family: Special News from the Region

Wyndolme Christian Church, Dartmouth,  had a wonderful guest for Feb 12th worship: Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Marjorie is here doing an Advanced Unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at the hospital.  Marjorie gave a very challenging and inspirational message: We are sisters and fellow workers with God! Ken MacDougall (left) and Gerry Clarke on the right. Gerry and Ken were both part of a mission trip to Jamaica some years ago.

Sugarbush Christian Church participates in a Building Beloved Community workshop led by Intern, Roni Beharry & Drew Gillette. This workshop is designed to help participants
understand dominant culture, institutional racism, privilege, and the call to all Christ followers to build Christ’s community that has no tolerance for poverty, hate, & violence. The course runs for 6 weeks and will provide the starting point for a renewed anti-racist, pro-reconciling, intercultural emphasis in the church plant over the coming year.

Our newest church plant, Brush With the Spirit, led by Rev Danah Cox and supported by Campbell Stone United Church and the Region, has this banner (below) hanging over a highway in Calgary. Awesome, creative, and straight to the point!! So excited to see this new work ramping up.Our newest church plant, Brush With the Spirit, led by Rev Danah Cox and supported by Campbell Stone United Church and the Region, has this banner hanging over a highway in Calgary. Awesome, creative, and straight to the point!! So excited to see this new work ramping up.

General Announcements & Invitations

·  Wyndolmhe Christian Church (DoC) in Dartmouth, NS has officially launched its search for a full-time pastor. Interested applicants are asked to submit their profile through SEARCH AND CALL. It is a breach of Disciples ethics to contact a congregation directly to apply to a position. If you have any questions, please direct them to the Regional Office at .

·  Don’t forget to register for General Assembly! It’s an important year with the election of a new General Minister and President. Great opportunity for learning, fellowship, getting to know our General Ministries, youth events, and so much more!  EARLY BIRD DEADLINE is APRIL 1. The Region can send three voting delegates. Details to follow soon.

Copyright © 2017 Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada, All rights reserved.
Published February 17, 2017 (Guelph, Ontario)

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Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada · 86 Glasgow Street North · Guelph, Ontario N1H4W2 · Canada

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