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The Call to Christian Unity:
Canadian Style

If you are confident that you belong to Christ, remind yourself of this, that just as you belong to Christ, so also do we. 2 Corinthians 10:7

Canadians are a funny bunch.

We know instinctually who we, that we are different than our neighbours to the south in some ways, the same in others. We laugh at our eccentricities and have a common-sense understanding about what makes this country great, and its people unique in the world. But rarely do we really understand what makes us so special. Rarely have we ever talked about why Canadians do what they do, say what they say, and live the way we live.

At the heart of Canadian culture is our climate. We are a “northern people” (even though some of us live south of the border!). We are also spread out across a vast expanse of land, the majority clustered around waterways or our southern-most border. Our ancestors opened up this land, not because of “manifest destiny” but along trade routes, aided by Original Peoples who taught us about the land and influenced our politics and social structures (ie, our shared value, equity, comes not from our European ancestors, but from Original Peoples). Because we were so stretched out across the landscape, we learned to “garrison” ourselves, protect our colonies with walls and weapons. These walls kept out “enemies” or those who would threaten our way of life.

We still “garrison.” Canadians are known for it…we hunker down in small communities, share our lives together, protect one another, and are fiercely loyal to those inside our “walls”. It’s how we learned to survive. It’s become part of our DNA. (continued)
June Prayer Partners
June 12 - Wyndholme Christian Church, Dartmouth, NS
Wyndholme Christian Church is a senior group who gather to worship Sunday mornings in the Avery Room, Fairbanks Centre, in Shubenacadie Park, Dartmouth.  Since selling their church building about a year ago they are adjusting to new surroundings and a new beginning.

June 19 - Guelph Christian Church, Guelph, ON

June 26 – Eglise Evangelique Baptiste Manahaim, Laval, PQ
(Pastor Danial Francois)

Upcoming Events:

All Canada Convention
August 11-14, Milton, NS

Youth Encounter
August 8-14, JCP/Milton, NS
Have you registered yet? Register online for both events:

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

Regional Office:
Ben Kidd, Administrator:

PDF Version available here
Christian Unity continued.... 
While we are not unique in the world in this kind of mentality, we cannot deny that in fact it is true to our nature. It was true to the nature of those early Christians too who gathered in small communities in a hostile land. Little communities of Christ-followers sprung up along trade routes all though the Middle East and southern Europe. Paul, one of the most prolific church-planters for whom we have records, travelled with whatever means of transport he could arrange, bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to new lands and new people all over the then known-world. But he was not the only one. 

We know from the New Testament and Paul’s letters in particular that there were others who taught about the Way of Jesus and birthed new communities all over the map. But they were not instantly accepted by the people and culture around them.  They too had to “garrison,” stick together, guard themselves from those outside their communities who sought at best to break them up, at worst, to do them harm.

So Paul spends a lot of time writing to these communities to remind them that although they are working hard to protect the integrity of their community and fighting hard to live a radical message of love, compassion, and acceptance in a land that is not so loving, compassionate or accepting, there are others who are likewise working hard. But these others may be living the Gospel in different ways. Just like no two garrisons along the long, desolate roads of the Canadian frontier were the same, so too were the new churches of Paul’s time. Some chose to cling to the traditional Jewish teachings requiring that customs were strictly adhered to. Some did not. Some subscribed only to the teachings of some leaders who came to them and not others. Some embraced more or all. In Christianity’s early days, like the early days of Canada, fear abounded. And there was much to be afraid of, many false teachers, many who were looking to take advantage of fragile communities.

But Paul’s message is simple: remember that just as you see Christ in yourselves and believe that you are doing the work of Jesus, so too are others.  They may not do it the same way, but have faith that Spirit is working in you AND in them. Don’t be afraid of what seems different. Have faith that God is at work here…you can tell by the fruit: lives are being transformed, people are finding new life, God is being lifted up, more peace, joy, love, compassion, and wholeness are coming into the world!

We are all part of the Body of Christ and have different jobs, purposes, and ways of being. But we are all in Christ. This is critical to the work of the church today in Canada because there is so much brokenness around us. I hope that we will be part of the solution, a beacon of hope that things can be different. As we move into the hard work of planning, dreaming, and visioning our future, the call to Christian unity will be even more vital. Disciples have said for almost 20 years now, “1,000 different churches, 1,000 different ways.” That means that as we attend to our mandate to spread the Gospel, some areas of the vineyard may choose to do some unique things and employ unorthodox means to reach out to people in their communities. Although this may challenge us, I hope that we have ears to hear Christ’s call to be neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, but all one in God.

We are Canadian Disciples! Unique and beautiful, privileged and blessed, called to bring light and love into our communities, our neighbourhoods and our world. We do it not for our own glory, but for and with the one who went before us. May his love shine in your lives and in your ministries!  Peace, Jen <>
Our Prayer Partner this week is Wyndholme Christian Church
in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Pictured here is the Christian Women’s Fellowship (photo courtesy their Facebook page). Wyndholme is moving through a time of transition as a faith community and looking ahead to the future with hope and faith. They have built on some ideas and look forward to hosting part of their worship out in the Shubie Park near the centre where they now worship. They want to focus on mission and vision in the next whole and building congregational relationships while also getting to know the wider community. Dr Darlene Brewer, Rev Neil Bergman, and Rev Judithe Adam Murphy make up the pastoral leadership team. Wyndholme made the difficult decision to sell their building over a year ago and have been meeting in a community centre. It takes a long time to grieve the loss of “home” so please keep our brothers and sisters in prayer as they carry on, finding new life and a new vision in a new part of the vineyard. Our prayers are with you coast-to-coast-to-coast! May God’s strength, courage, and faithfulness be yours always. And may the Spirit’s breath of renewal fan the flames of your ministry from your doorsteps to the ends of the Earth!
Encounter is a biennial youth & young adult gathering of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada. At Encounter, youth & young adults come together to learn more about God, our faith, and the world. We talk about what’s happening in our churches, schools, and our lives. Encounter God & one another through exploring Mi’qmaw culture, the Truth & Reconciliation findings, the campgrounds at Johnson Christian Park, Earth stewardship, & taking part in all kinds of amazing activities with youth & young adults from across our country. Register today!

An Invitation to Congregations & Areas: 
Equipping for Mission – Next Steps in Discerning & Dreaming Our Future

At the 2014 All Canada Convention in Ridgetown, On, we took a bold step to revision the way we staff our Region. We weighed the pros & cons and looked at what would equip us best as Christ’s church for this time and place. After a heart-felt and thorough discussion, we decided to take a bold step and staff our Region with a full-time Regional Minister and a half-time Regional Administrator, to help us get focused & ready to face the challenges of our time. It has taken us 2 years to implement our dream, but it’s beginning to take shape.

Now that we have acted upon our vision for the national Church, it's now time to continue the discussion by focusing attention on the ministries of our three Areas.  How can we best equip ourselves for the call to have a heart for mission in each of our Areas? Are things working as well as they can? Are there other ways we could envision ourselves? What options do we have to ensure that we are using our resources wisely, empowering our volunteers, building up new leaders, and engaging the call to mission?

The Regional Board would like to invite all congregations in each of our three Areas as well as our Area Boards to a discussion that both celebrates the work God is doing through us all and dreams big dreams for our future. We hope that you will join in at our upcoming Regional Assembly in Milton, Nova Scotia. Disciples of Christ are uniquely poised to do great things here in Canada in the future as we have in the past. Let us take the time to equip ourselves well for the task at hand!

Looking forward to seeing you there.


Jen Garbin                Janet Anstead       Deborah Weatherhead

Regional Minister        Moderator            Vice Moderator

Unable to Attend the All Canada Convention / Regional Assembly?

The local arrangements committee for the All Canada Convention in Milton, Nova Scotia, has been hard at work over the past two years getting ready to welcome Canadian Disciples from across our great land as well as guests from General Ministries and others. A fantastic website has been developed to share information and photos and help with registrations. (

We hope to be able to post updates about the Convention for folks to check on during the event (maybe even a video or two so those who are unable to attend can still take part).

We would like to invite you as well to consider assisting a youth or young adult to attend if you are unable to come yourself. We have youth and young adults from across the country but as you well know, lack of financial resources are often the number one reason these folks are unable to attend. If you would like to help them get there, please speak to your local church treasurer about making a donation towards their expenses.

Alternatively, you can send support for all youth to the Canadian office and we will make sure it is put to good use with the Encounter program. Please keep our Canadian Youth and Young Adults in your prayers as they travel to Nova Scotia this August. THANK YOU! (photo from June/July 1951 edition of The Canadian Disciple)


General Announcements & Invitations

Condolences: It is with sad hearts that we join our prayers for the Dizon family this day. Rev. Aurora Abesamis Dizon, the mother of Pastor Fred Dizon of Hillcrest Christian Church (Toronto), passed away yesterday afternoon in the Philippines. Fred will be travelling to spend time w the family. Our prayers of love, support, and comfort go with him and his family. May God's love and comfort cover them all.

Congratulations: To happy new parents Rev Lane and Chantelle Scruggs of Hillcrest. Elise Nicole Scruggs was born on Tuesday, June 7. Weight 8 lbs. Big brother, Hudson and big sister, Cadence are very excited. Mother and baby are both doing well.

Job Posting: Sugarbush Christian Church (DoC) is searching for a part-time Associate Pastor. Please see their website for job description and congregational profile: .

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Copyright © 2016 Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada, All rights reserved.
Published June 10, 2016 (Guelph, Ontario)

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