Festival of Praise Coming to Springdale CRC

FESTIVAL OF PRAISE

Coming up soon: Saturday, April 16, 7:30 PM at Springdale Christian Reformed Church, 1466 Fifth Sideroad, Bradford, an evening of song hosted by the Crusaders of Simcoe/York Region. Presented by the Ontario Christian Male Chorus Association, this evening features male choirs from the Hamilton and Niagara regions, with the York Regional Police Chorus as invited guests. Each choir will present individual selections, with all choirs joining together, a total of approximately 60 voices. Tickets of $12 are available from choir members or at the door, with children under 12 admitted free of charge. This event is hosted once every three years in our region, so you don’t want to miss this inspiring evening.

Denominational Announcements for March 30

ATTENTION CADETS, JR. COUNSELORS AND COUNSELORS! – ALL ONTARIO CAMPOREE – August 1-6, 2016 at Algonquin Park – The All Ontario Camporee registration is now open! Check out www.allontariocamporee.com for information, requirements and to register online. Early bird registration fees of $235 have to be postmarked by May 15; after that date the fee is $275. If you have any other questions please talk to your Cadet Counselors! CAMPOREE PATCH CONTEST Every cadet who has registered for the 2016 All Ontario Camporee is eligible to enter the Camporee Patch Contest. You must submit your drawing before April 30, 2016. If your design is selected, your camp registration fee will be reimbursed to you. Check the website for pictures of the patches from previous years.
LIBERTAS MALE CHOIR – under the direction of Martin Mans and accompanied by Andre Knevel, will present a Spring concert on April 9, 7:30 p.m. at Rehoboth Canadian Reformed Church, 1225 Dundas Street, Burlington, Ont. L7R 3X4. Tickets online at libertasvoices.com, or at the door. Adult $20, Youth (14 and under) $10. Children under 10, free. For more information, emailinfo@libertasvoices.com or call 905-522-0001.
Join Online Study with World Renew this Spring – Are you looking for an in-depth study about following Jesus more closely in your everyday life? Live Justly is a 6-week web-based curriculum that includes honest discussions about justice in our lives and our world. Study begins April 13 and concludes the week of May 18, 2016. The course is FREE, and study guides are available for purchase at worldrenew.net/order. To find out more and to register, contact ckritikos@intern.crcna.org.
Southern Africa Ministry Team Leader – World Renew, an agency of the CRCNA, is seeking a Team Leader for Southern Africa based in Lilongwe, Malawi. The Team Leader will provide leadership in a region seeking to improve food security, build sustainable livelihoods and increase the use of household resources to improve maternal and child health. The position will be responsible for building collaborative regional and country teams under a unified vision of community transformation in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on programming in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. Please visit our website at www.worldrenew.net/careers for more information.

Photo-directory Update Coming Soon

download (1)This is just to advise you that we will be updating Covenant CRC’s photo directory this Spring.  We will be posting reminders and schedules in the upcoming bulletins.

Church Photo Directory Update – It is that time again for updating our Church Photo Directory.

We will be starting to take pictures of our church members beginning on Sunday, April 10th after the morning service in Classroom D.  Please try and make the date assigned to you.  We will, however, be posting makeup dates at the end of schedule.

We will begin the process by asking the following members to have their picture taken on April 10

Armstrong, Aukema, Brands, Brennan, Bulloch, Carroll, Charters, Companion, Depueter,

The next group that will have their pictures taken on April 17:

Drake, Dupain, Dykstra, Dykxhoorn, Eisses, Frielink, Geerlings (Bert & Carolyn, Kerry, Brent & Tanya), Haan,

If you are not able to make this time slot please speak to Jan or Kathrin Veenstra.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders call on new Government to focus on palliative care instead of euthanasia and assisted suicide

“Assisted suicide and euthanasia raise profound social, moral, legal, theological and philosophical questions—questions that go to the very core of our understanding of who we are, the meaning of life, and the duty of care we owe to each other.” Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders call on new Government to focus on palliative care instead of euthanasia and assisted suicide

OTTAWA – At a news conference today on Parliament Hill, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) released a joint statement on euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide has been endorsed by over 30 Christian denominations together with over 20 Jewish and Muslim leaders from across Canada.

In light of the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in R. v. Carter, the joint statement advocates for palliative care, respect for the dignity of the human person, human solidarity and psychological, spiritual and emotional support as the ethical and moral response in end-of-life care.

The Declaration states that “The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision has brought this issue to the forefront of public discussion and compels each of us as Canadians to reflect upon our personal and societal response to those who need our compassion and care.”

Addressing the underlying importance of human dignity, the signatories affirm that “the sanctity of all human life, and the equal and inviolable dignity of every human being … is not exclusively a religious belief, although for us it has a significant religious meaning.”

The signatories emphasize that “reverence for human life must be “the basis and reason for our compassion, responsibility and commitment in caring for all humans, our brothers and sisters, when they are suffering and in pain … to work to alleviate human suffering in every form but never by intentionally eliminating those who suffer.”

The joint statement insists that Canada’s “health care systems must maintain a life-affirming ethos. Medical professionals are trained to restore and enhance life,” as “any action intended to end human life is morally and ethically wrong.”

The signatories to the Declaration urge “federal, provincial and territorial legislators to enact and uphold laws that enhance human solidarity by promoting the rights to life and security for all people; to make good-quality home care and palliative care accessible in all jurisdictions; and to implement regulations and policies that ensure respect for the freedom of conscience of all health-care workers and administrators who will not and cannot accept suicide or euthanasia as a medical solution to pain and suffering.”

The speakers at the news conference included the following representatives: Ms. Julia Beazley, Policy Analyst, EFC; Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka, C.M., Congregation Machzikei Hadas, Ottawa; Dr. Aileen Van Ginkel, Vice President, Ministry Services, EFC; Sister Nuala Kenny, SC, OC, MD, FRCP, a pediatrician and former Deputy Minister of Health in the province of Nova Scotia, also speaking on behalf of the CCCB; Imam Samy Metwally Ottawa Main Mosque/Ottawa Muslim Association; and the Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa and CCCB representative.

For more information:

Rick Hiemstra
Director, Research and Media Relations
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
613-233-9868, ext. 332
Mobile: 613-618-3020

Deacon René Laprise
Director, Media relations
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
613-241-9461, ext. 225
Mobile: 613-323-0895

The Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide is the result of efforts of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) to collaborate on a response to legislative efforts and legal action that seek to revise Canada’s Criminal Code to allow the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Declaration demonstrates that commitment to the sanctity of human life and the importance of upholding human dignity leads also to a strong call for renewed efforts in relation to palliative care.

Signing the Declaration will indicate broad support for its stated principles. It will also witness to the desire held by many in Canada to promote palliative care, home care and long-term care, and to ensure compassionate responses at all levels to those who are near death, as well those who are disabled, depressed, elderly or who feel burdened by physical or mental suffering and illness.

If you support the Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide and would like to add your signature, please fill in the form below and click “Sign Now”. NOTE:  Canadian citizens only please. Thank you.

One signature per email, please.
Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Missions Update

Processed with MOLDIV

G’s EXCITING UPDATE FROM A MISSION FRONTIER :

Dear Friends,

First of all I would like to thank everyone who prayed for our mission trip. It is joy to see when God’s people come together for His work and pray.  This trip was very exciting and filled with much fruits. We visited several households and shared good news with those families. My colleagues Shik described current situation   “There are ears to hear”. I agree with him I have not seen in my last couple of year’s work when the door open like this.

Anyway we stayed with clan leader M. and his family for 3 days and nights the rest of days we stayed with K. one of young believer.   In total we shred good news with 10 families. Our plan was to teach 7 families but God multiplied. I have so many stories for you, the first day of our stay with my uncle M. family one of his wife, his son and wife and 2 of his sons were learned about J. (I Have attached their picture) The clan leader M said “I am not sure what I can do to share a Gospel after this because of my old age and can’t walk to see many people but I will encourage my own family to follow His way and I will keep J. in my heart forever”

 

  1. is one of believers and might be the next clan leader. His two brothers and wives joined the teaching at K’s house. K‘s wife also very interested on the word of God and the entire family including children were attended the teaching sessions.  On the last day K. shared with us the dream he saw few months ago and that dream led us to talk about J. very clearly. The dream K’ had was like this” 2 month ago in the dream the person with light skin appeared to him and asked him his name (K’s name) .  Than K told us he gave his name and the man began writing his name on the large book.  And the man said to K. I assure you your name is written in this book and left him .But K says he was very shocked and when he wake up he found his belly was full of air and couldn’t speak or walk. He though may be the man he saw was the Angele of death. However he was talking with his wife for the help but suddenly this man again appeared to him and touched his belly and completely healed within one second.  Now K wondering who this man is? It’s so amazing to see God Himself dealing with individual and groups of people even though while no workers available.

So, my colleagues and I explained very well about the dream he had and specially telling him the largest book he saw was assurance of salvation. It is also clear that the man was J. K’ said “I want to know more about him” Please pray for K and his family and his two brothers and wives and children too.

Another story an old man his name is Ali he is in his 60th. His son is following J in secret and his son Ab sponsored by Into All the World (IATW) by Desert Child sponsorship program in district town learning at secondary school. Anyway we visited the father of this young man and we had a great time with him. Every time we shared a word of God with him he says” Malab xaqale yaaba!” mean  “This word tastes like honey” colleagues and   I read to him from the scripture exactly what he said was it is in Bible. He was really amazed!  Finally we asked him to repent his sin and he lifted his both hands confessed his sin. It was very exciting day for us to see all of that. After we finished the prayer Ali says “My wife is not home right now she took goats for the grazing but if you around please come at evening and share the same word with my wife too” Please pray for Ali and his family to grow in their faith.

3rd story my  colleagues and I walking in village visiting some of families that we wanted to teach and suddenly  met the village Muslim teacher on the street . He is the Imam overseeing the entire village and his name is Jacob. Whenever I visited the village I have never stopped at his house because I was afraid I assumed he might not happy with what I am doing?  But the truth is completely different.  Jacob when he met us on the street he said to us  I know you guys visiting people’s house but why not you come in to my house. That was big surprise! Well my friend and I said sure we can come and went the same day to see him at his house? . Wow!  He continued his speaking to us and said “G you don’t know how much I supported you on what you doing? Even during a trial 2 years ago I was protecting you in many ways. The local government and radical’s wanted my signature to say that you are converting people into Christianity but I refused. In several ways some people wanted my approval to kill you and put you in prison but I have not seen any bad things from you and said no. But he says you never visited me ones even, I know you sharing about J with our people and I am OK with it.  I will never stand against you regarding this he says.

Suddenly I start weeping, I didn’t know all this stories. I didn’t know this man was protecting me in this way and always skipping his house because of fear. I apologized for that and told him got good lesson for the future. Anyway directly he asked us to tell him about what we teach and without any fear my colleague and I told him about Saviour. It was incredible to see him happy to hear about J. We still don’t know what happened to him but totally unbelievable to see him trusty for the word. We even asked him to teach us something he know from Koran just to show respect but he said No…No today I want to hear what you teach me. Especially my colleague with his Koran knowledge thought him so many things and Jacob asked us to teach him more. You can see our stay was very exciting!!

Hard to tell all stories by email but my last story, we found another young man who knows J from before and leading small mosques in the village . His name is M. we are very excited to meet this fellow and we will disciple him and send him back to the village. The good thing is he can read and write very well, Also have some Koran knowledge and people in the village the recognize him as a “Rabbi” We are thinking after we disciple him we will send him as “village proclaimer” for that area.

I have no word to describe what God is doing. He always amazes me and do unexpected things. Thanks for praying and supporting for A. ministry now we are seeing God is moving among our people.  We expect from God big things. The fire is there, please pray the Holy Spirit to move in all dark areas and hearts.

Every Blessings – G

 

Pastor’s Corner January 2016 –

Pastor’s Corner:  He Gathers & Carries His Lambs:  Dignity in Life & Comfort Through Death!

Our society is facing the question of life with suffering is worth it on two fronts: 1) our government introducing new laws that permit doctors to assist in suicides of patients who either have long-term diseases or who are near to death; 2) new and less invasive blood tests for pregnant women to see whether their child has any genetic disorders.  Although these tests can alert us to needed help for these children, sadly, 90% of those who discover their child has Down Syndrome, terminate that child’s life with an abortion.

What do these two changes in our society mean?  While technology introduces difficult moral questions, the even more important questions are about the place of suffering in our lives.  I am well aware that suffering at both the beginning and end of life can be so intense that death is a release.  But the question is whether we have the right to say: “Life shouldn’t involve suffering, therefore I chose to actively take life away!”  Are we entitled to life without suffering?  When it gets intense can we hit the escape button?

The Scriptures teach us that both sickness and death remain a part of the curse that all, even Christians after receiving salvation, must bear with in this broken world until the Kingdom comes in fullness.  Suffering during this age is not meaningless and pointless, but as hard as it may get – suffering is the place we most often meet the sustaining grace of Jesus that is sufficient.  Suffering is the place we most often truly live by the strengthening hope of the gospel.  A society that eliminates suffering because it conflicts with its vision of a life of painless comfort is really saying that earthly creature-comforts are what matters most; not the grace and hope that God works in the midst of suffering!

In my dozen years of pastoral ministry, I’ve sat in my hospital rooms as families wrestled with suffering, living in the reality of this grace and hope.  In that wrestling they experienced beautiful things!  I’ve walked with those who have chosen to refuse treatments and extraordinary technologies to keep them alive – recognizing and accepting their dying and death.  This is the kind of suffering and dying we should be trying to uphold in these days.  As Karen Stiller puts it:  “Palliative care, done well, leaves no need for doctor assisted suicide.”

Stiller tells the story of Lucetta Howard of Uxbridge, ON.  Perched on a wrought iron chair carried by two hardy-looking grandsons, they go through wedding photographs of her granddaughter.  Her life was about to end.  She was facing bone-cancer at the age of 92, and six weeks after the wedding she died.  She had decided to stop all her meds, and not to go to the hospital.  She decided to be surrounded by family, as well as the care of doctors, community care workers, and nurses.  Her daughter’s prayer was answered:  “My prayer had been that she would go gently into the arms of Jesus.”  (www.faithtoday.ca Jan/Feb 2016)

The stories don’t all end that way –diseases of the mind and body can so violently and bitterly rob a family member of their dignity.  I have helplessly sat by and watched this too.  Death for a Christian is a welcome ending of all our suffering.  But it must be remembered that neither the suffering in this world, nor death itself, is the worst thing that can happen to us.  Some will be sadly mistaken to find that the comfort of this world wasn’t the greatest good to be sought, nor the pain of this world the supreme suffering to be avoided!  Suffering and death are earthly realities that should serve as reminders that the supreme pain to be avoided is separation from God, and the supreme comfort to be sought is to be with the Lord, even in and through our suffering.  To hold on to Jesus in suffering is to believe in our only comfort in life and in death!  I am not certain of all the grey areas that remain with end-of-life issues, nor of beginning-of-life issues – but I am certain that we can face them valuing the life that God gifts to us even when it is life with suffering.  And I am even more certain of His promise in Isaiah 40:

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”  Isaiah 40:11

The first funeral I attended was that of my cousin Ruth. After a stroke in her twenties that caused her accident, she lived the rest of her life paralyzed, often in a hospital or nursing home.  I still treasure a booklet of the poetry she wrote.  Her suffering became a testimony of God’s grace in our family’s life.  Her life shapes us to this day.

The first funeral I officiated was of a blind, physically and mentally challenged daughter of a friend, whom Marianne and I taught with.  Though Andrea’s family, church family, and community only got two dozen years to live with her, still through her suffering and through her joy, she beautifully shaped them in ways no one else, and nothing else could.  God’s grace in Christ Jesus was through the suffering.

This past week, we celebrated a decade of life with our son Reuben who has Down Syndrome.  I can’t say I understand God’s sovereign ways with suffering – but I can trust His wisdom and goodness with us in it.

Let us not be fooled.  Tough questions and tough decisions about the beginning and end of life must be faced, but let us neither under-estimate the value of our lives even with suffering, nor the presence of the Lord in intense suffering.  Caring for people in their suffering as death or diseases do their worst, doing what we can to alleviate that suffering, is one thing.  But to actively terminate their lives along with their suffering is quite another.      Let our presence in such times be one that trusts and indeed pleads:  Jesus, gather your lambs!  Until then, Jesus, carry us in your bosom.  Jesus, gently lead us!  Come Lord, Jesus.

Shalom,

Pastor Harry