Our Covenant Family is part of a larger family of Jesus centred churches and ministries. In a world where independance and freedom are valued, this extended family is vital to us. Here are some of why our family is important to us:
Family helps provide us with a stronger identity.
Family gives us places where we can "hang out" with people like us (not exactly like us, but we get each other!).
Family keeps us on track when we might be tempted to wander away from our values...and gives us a place to come home to when we do.
Family gives us a context in which we serve when we are able and be served when we need it.
Family is a place where we can work together on things that are important to us - bringing our diverse gifts together to serve the world.
Family is a community in which we can learn from each other and be shaped to be more like Jesus.
There are many parts to our Be In Christ/Brethren in Christ family around the globe, but there are four branches of family that are especially important to us.
Be In Christ Church of Canada - This is the collection of churches that we belong to. Some of these churches are very large and primarily urban (www.themeetinghouse.com) and some are small and rural (crossingscc.com). Many are fairly traditional (sixthlinechurch.com) while some are seeking to live out the way of Jesus in new ways that reflect our ever changing world (www.wearereunion.com and bluewaterchurch.ca). Regardless of how we look different, we are in this journey of following Jesus together.
BIC Canada Global - This is the global arm of the Be In Christ Church of Canada. Working in cooperation with BIC denominations and groups we have special relationships in three major regions of the world: central and south Africa, southeast Asia and Central America. Through these relationships we partner with a variety of projects. One of the highlight projects is the Nepal Peace Project. It is a child sponsorship and education intitiative initiated by the BIC in Nepal and relies on Be In Christ Church of Canada support. $39 per month allows another child to participate in this program and 100% of the funds given go to the project thanks to Be In Christ Church of Canada covering the administration costs. Visit the Nepal Peace Project website for more information or to get involved.
Camp Kahquah - Many among us are familiar with Camp Kahquah. We can relate to the truth of their motto: "Making memories, changing lives!" Kids' Summer Camp and Family Camp have been Kahquah's lifeblood since it was established in 1962. Unfortunately for the second summer in a row, COVID has forced Kahquah to adapt their summer plans. They will be running two weeks of day camp and youth development in the Niagara region (where 70% of their campers come from) this summer while renting out their cabins and chalets for use from May to July. They are currently planning on being able to run their traditional family camps during August. If you're looking for a place to get away between now and July, Kahquah would be a great place to do it! They may still have space (accommodations or camp sites) available for the weeks of family camp in August (where there is a daily chapel offering for those who are interested, and potentially kids and youth programs). More information about all of this is available on their website.
Mennonite Central Committee - Over 100 years ago a group of anabaptists began to work together for peace and justice in a world ravaged by war. Today, Mennonite Central Committee still "shares God's love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice." To name all of the amazing work MCC does around the world in this message is impossible. Please check out their website for more information about the work we are a part of through them. Because we don't talk about MCC as much as the groups above, I would like to highlight four things from MCC Canada:
New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale - This annual sale, highlighted by the auction of many wonderfully made quilts, raises money for the MCC Ontario. This kind of grassroots fundraising effort is typical of what has helped MCC to thrive and make a difference in our world for over 100 years.
Peaceful at Heart Book Study - What is healthy biblical masculinity? This is a 4-week book club for men who are interested in talking about matters of Anabaptist perspectives of faith and seeking healthy expressions of masculinity. The study will use the book Peaceful at Heart: Anabaptist Reflections on Healthy Masculinity, a book edited by Don Neufeld and Steve Thomas. Even if you aren't able to participate in the study, you can get the book at the Common Word Bookstore or a paper or electronic edition on Amazon.
Training Active Bystanders Event - Have you ever struggled to know how to respond when witnessing abusive, isolating, or stigmatizing behaviour? You hear someone make a racist comment. You see someone physically harrassing or harming another. You watch someone being ignored at a store because of how they look or dress. This training provides participants the opportunity to see themselves as potential Active Bystanders who can intervene when they witness these negative behavours. The training teaches participants about pro-social behaviour, making them more aware of why they may be hesitant to intervene and encourages them to consider taking action in the future. Bystander Intervention Training provides an impetus for personal action and helps potential Active Bystanders to envision how they can be a part of improving our community in an everyday way.
Please note this is an online event and is suitable for individuals over the age of 13.
Finally...a story about how the work of MCC is changing lives and communities around the world.
What you are doing in the spaces and places God has you are a part of this kingdom work. I hope and pray you are encouraged to know that you, that we, are a part of something bigger that God is doing around the world!