Our Colouring days are almost over

And now for something a little bit different…The Sep/Oct Faith Today
has been packed up and shipped off  to the printers, to so speak, even while the ink still dries on the colour-me cover of the Jul/Aug issue. Many of you sent in your coloured versions of our unique cover. Thank you! (You can still send us in a picture (editor@faithtoday.ca) of your hand-coloured cover by Aug.31, as well as subscribe and receive a free copy of Restore My Soul: a colouring book devotional journey).

In the Sep/Oct issue we dive into the deep waters of suffering. Doug Koop writes that cover story. He knows the nuances of trying to comfort the suffering. Doug is a veteran writer and editor who stepped away from journalism, enrolled in seminary and became a spiritual health practicioner in Winnipeg. There he visits with the sick, sometimes with the dying, and their loved ones. He listens, he speaks, he prays, and he is simply there as a comforting presence.

Koop writes that pain of “any sort is difficult to be around, even when it’s not your own. The anguish of any individual stirs something awkward in others. Suffering is something most of us would rather avoid. That’s why many people aim to stay clear of hospitals.”

He goes on to offer us insight and guidance into how we can be good company to those in need.

In Sep/Oct you’ll also read about what churches are learning as they sponsor refugees for the very first time. (Spoiler: they are learning a lot). Maybe you are part of a congregation who also sponsored Syrian refugees this year. We’d love to hear from you. Stop by www. Facebook.com/FaithToday and post what you and your sponsorship group are learning.

As always, the Sep/Oct Faith Today is full of other wonderful, rich stories to inspire, equip and challenge all of us. The summer Olympics have provided many great moments to be proud to be Canadian. We’ve loved it. And in matters of the heart and the mind, each issue of Faith Today, Canada’s Christian magazine makes us glad to be part of our vital and diverse Christian community in Canada.

Christians are a peculiar bunch to a whole lot of people

by Karen Stiller

I’ve just returned from an intense two weeks of high level diplomacy work. Sort of. I’m enrolled in a writing degree program in a secular university. I wanted to go to a Christian-based program in an American school but I couldn’t afford it. So, I packed up my trepidation and nerves along with my laptop and a pile of books and took off.

Inter-planetary bridges are built over coffee, Karen Stiller discovered.
Inter-planetary bridges are built over coffee.

And I’m really, really glad I did.

As a writer who has been somewhat cocooned in the Canadian Church Press world for years, writing for Christian publications and editing Faith Today, Canada’s Christian magazine, I was nervous about how my writing would stand beside some truly great writers from across Canada. And, I admit it,  I was worried how I’d be perceived. The  inner grade 3 me (nerd with thick glasses) still cares a little bit what people think of me now (older nerd with frames that are now, finally in style).
Continue reading Christians are a peculiar bunch to a whole lot of people

Visit a gallery, read a story, listen to music and be moved by the arts this summer

by Karen Stiller

We have a painting in our living room that moves me. It’s of a horse, which sounds funny. But it’s a horse emerging out of nowhere, thundering from the background off to one side, clearly racing forward. It is inspired by the famous racehorse Secretariat.

Be sure to read this issue of Faith Today to appreciate anew the role of the arts in our lives.
Be sure to read this issue of Faith Today to appreciate anew the role of the arts in our lives.

And, the painting is inspired by Job 39: 19-24. “Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?” asks God of Job. The artist, Patty Kingsley, is one of so many artists whose work is inspired by their faith, and whose work inspires our faith.

In “Artful Discipleship,” the Faith Today summer story by Carolyn Arends (a Faith Today columnist, author and musical artist) she considers how the arts can help in spiritual formation, and encourages us all to embrace the arts a little bit more this summer. Arends discusses how the arts can help train us to pay attention; to train us in longing, to train for the renewing of our minds; and finally, to train us to appreciate things and people for more than their “usefulness.”
Continue reading Visit a gallery, read a story, listen to music and be moved by the arts this summer

Montreal Church Serves Pokémon GO Crowds

by Patti Miller

We never saw it coming.

Saturday, July 16, we held an outdoor concert to celebrate our church’s 100th anniversary. The concert was in the park across the street, with free desserts and coffee for all who stopped by. Our banners waved in the breeze: “#InsideOutChurch: Do Good. Love Each Other. Reveal Jesus.”

Evangel Church in Montreal is reaching out to players of the Pokemon Go craze.
Evangel Church in Montreal is reaching out to players of the Pokémon GO craze.

We noticed we had a good crowd – better than expected.

And then we noticed that a significant number of them were looking at their phones. What on earth…?

Pokémon GO had launched, and as it turned out, the hottest Pokéstop in Montreal was right in front of our church. Hundreds of people were suddenly there, at all hours of the day, an oddly silent crowd, staring at their phones, moving en masse from time to time as an elusive rare find cropped up.

Right. In Front. Of Our Church.

Monday, we looked out the window and mused, “We should maybe do something.”

Tuesday, we made a plan.

Wednesday, we went shopping and made signs. By Wednesday evening, our entire front glass was painted and backlit, visible from a block away, and we were offering free water, granola bars and charging stations for the hundreds of Pokémon players that were already there, on our own property.

In just over 48 hours, we had served over 2,000. By Sunday, we had served 4,384. At last count, in nine days spread over less than two weeks, we’ve served 7,604 people, and have been spotlighted repeatedly by several news media and social media sources as a church that cares about its community.

Evangel Church is serving the Pokémon GO crowds gathering near their church.
Evangel Church is serving the Pokémon GO crowds gathering near their church.

We’ve never seen such a positive response. Over and over, we’ve been asked, “Who are you? Why are you doing this?” When we answer that Jesus said to love our neighbours (and we suddenly have a lot of neighbours!) we hear over and over, “I’ve never seen a church that cared about its neighbours like this.”

Continue reading Montreal Church Serves Pokémon GO Crowds

To Colour is to Grow, especially when you don’t know what you are doing

by Karen Stiller

Last week I experienced spiritual growth by colouring the cover of the Jul/Aug issue of Faith Today. 

To colour is to grow, discovered Karen Stiller
To colour is to grow, discovered Karen Stiller

It wasn’t so much in the realm of theological insights, but more, I would say, in the area of sober self-examination and humility. I realized, and yes, I am thankful for this insight thank you very much, that I am still rather impatient and messy with an impaired sense of how colours work together (red and pink together, bring it on!)

As I whittled away with a paring knife at the kitchen sink (rather feverishly now that I reflect), trying to sharpen one of those coloured pencils with no actual sharpener within 100 miles, I dealt with existential questions like: Why am I here?

In time, back aching, I forced myself to relax a bit and began more of a loose, looping scribbling, a “get ‘er done,” kind of colouring, much like my boys did so many years ago. Then, I came face to face with my own inflated pride (enough growth already!) as I took a slightly far-off picture of my colouring, so that people couldn’t really see it close up.

But then, squinting, I actually started to grow fond of my creation and tell myself I was quite something after all. Thus began the phase where I left it on the coffee table, hoping for compliments.

So, as you can see, it was actually a marathon of spiritual growth. A veritable triathlon of insight leading me to the conclusion that perhaps I really am best to colour mostly, or only, with words. Certainly not with a deadline. And definitely not with a desire to impress. And clearly with a pencil sharpener on hand.

Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today. It’s not too late for you to send in your own version of our Jul/Aug cover! Email us at editor@faithtoday.ca. Check out the subscription deal this month which will put a wonderful cololuring book into your hands. 

La lutte de l’Université Trinity Western pour la liberté de religion s’intensifie

anglais/English

Les experts disent que c’est une cause importante − pour tout le monde

Par Allison Barron

Jessie Legaree est diplômée de la Trinity Western University (TWU),  avec un baccalauréat et une maîtrise. Ayant fréquenté la faculté de droit à l’Université de Toronto, elle fait présentement un stage à Abbotsford, Colombie-Britannique.

Et elle voit son alma mater traverser une série d’appels et de contre-appels pour obtenir le droit d’avoir sa propre faculté de droit.

Legaree dit que ses études à TWU ont favorisé sa croissance académique et spirituelle, en plus d’améliorer ses futures compétences d’avocate en instillant en elle un amour pour toutes les personnes et un désir de servir autrui. Elle appuie l’idée d’une faculté de droit reconnue à travers le Canada.

« Une éducation juridique chrétienne supporte un plus grand appel qui enracine la défense dans le service, et je ne peux imaginer meilleures assises pour les futurs avocats, » explique-t-elle.

Mais cet avenir pourrait ne pas être possible avec l’action en justice sans précédent que TWU doit subir dans quelques provinces.

Continue reading La lutte de l’Université Trinity Western pour la liberté de religion s’intensifie

“This is where the light went on for me…” Videographer Shares Experience in Aftermath of Fort McMurray Fires

by Kurtis Kristianson

In June and July I was asked to travel to Fort McMurray for three days at a time to connect with survivors of the wildfires and document their stories for Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada.  Imagine you and 40 other people on your street have returned from an evacuation order a month earlier, and your homes are a pile of ash that could fit into the bed of a pickup truck. That is the situation I entered into with my camera this summer.

One of the shots captured by our blog writer this summer in Fort McMurray. One big lesson he learned? How to listen.
One of the shots captured by our blog writer this summer in Fort McMurray. One big lesson he learned? It’s important to listen.

As excited as I was for such an amazing opportunity, I soon experienced the reality of the situation and the level of destruction the people of Fort Mac faced. Even with 20 years experience in disaster response, fire fighting and highway rescue, I was not prepared for what I saw. And that is a large part of why it can be difficult working in disaster response: every new disaster brings with it a new set of challenges, and you can bet that the next one will be different again. Being in the response zone in a new communications role, I had to be flexible, open to learning as I went, and most importantly, rely on God to lead me in my task.
Continue reading “This is where the light went on for me…” Videographer Shares Experience in Aftermath of Fort McMurray Fires

Church Planting Report Reveals Differences Between Canadian and American Plants

by James Watson

Studying church plants is a bit like the “whack-a-mole” game at the local carnival. While you are getting a good look at the one that has just popped up in front of you, two more have popped up in different places and one has suddenly disappeared.

The “Pray, Equip, Share Jesus: 2015 Canadian Church Planting Survey” report is ground breaking in that it has collected information from 141 leaders involved in planting across Canada between 2005 and 2015.

This new study of Canadian church plants offers fascinating insights.
This new study of Canadian church plants offers fascinating insights.

While there are a number of different factors they examine, of particular interest for those of us who have been reading, listening and contributing to the ongoing drama of planting in Canada are comparisons made with the U.S.

The Canadian analysis parallels a 2015 American study also conducted by LifeWay Research. As a Canadian church planting catalyzer, it is refreshing to read in print that U.S. plants grow more quickly, have more first-time confessions of faith in early development and reach self-sufficiency more quickly. Not necessarily encouraging, but refreshing. It affirms some of the angst I feel when reading stories of American plants that seem suspiciously successful compared to what I experience as I work alongside Canadian planters.
Continue reading Church Planting Report Reveals Differences Between Canadian and American Plants

Why Colouring Matters

By Ann-Margret Hovsepian

Scrolling through my Facebook news feed one day, I saw a cartoon with the caption: “Colouring page for lazy people.” It featured a zebra, a panda and a penguin sitting together on a snow bank. I didn’t laugh out loud, but I couldn’t help grinning as I thought of certain friends who have not joined the adult colouring craze of the last year or so.

Subscribe to Faith Today in July/August to receive a free copy of Restore My Soul.
Subscribe to Faith Today in July/August to receive a free copy of Restore My Soul.

The cartoon also reminded me that, without colour, this world would probably be a stark black and white or grayscale landscape. When you stop to think about it, colour plays a crucial role in our lives. It has both practical and esthetic purposes. We constantly distinguish between colours—when we get dressed or apply make-up, when we cook, in our gardens, while driving. Colour choices have great impact in fashion, décor and marketing because colour affects our mood.

The two rooms I spend the most time in at home—my studio and my bedroom—both feature wood furniture and a homey, cottage-y look, but they have completely different colour schemes. My studio is bright with mostly red accents and splashes of yellow and green. My bedroom walls are vintage blue and the décor accents are white or beige. The colours in my studio stimulate and inspire me, which is perfect for the creative work I do. My bedroom colours help me feel restful.

What we sometimes forget, when we get caught up in our colour choices, is that God created colour! He made it an intricate part of our lives, not only in the natural world around us—think of the brilliant foliage we enjoy every fall in Canada or a bowl of ripe fruit—but also in everything we touch. Our books, furniture, bedding, cars, shoes and toothbrushes all had colours chosen for them before they were manufactured.
Continue reading Why Colouring Matters

Please do scribble on the cover of this Faith Today

This is not an exaggeration: When we dreamed up the idea of a Faith Today cover that readers could colour, one of us leaped out of their chair in excitement. And one of us looked wary. Which is closer to your reaction?

Please color your Jul/Aug cover of Faith Today and submit a pic of your creation to us for our first, and likely only, coloring contest!
Please color your Jul/Aug cover of Faith Today and submit a pic of your creation to us for our first, and likely only, colouring contest!

Perhaps you’re not quite as excited as we both eventually became, but we hope you’ll take this opportunity to try your hand at adult colouring to see why so many Canadians have become so enthusiastic about it.

(Then, snap a pic of your creation and email it to editor@faithtoday.ca or post it on our Facebook page. You could win a colouring book!)

Whatever our opinions about colouring as a form of creativity, we all agree people are made in the image of our Creator God. God creates, and surely our desire to create comes from Him and can honour Him.

Admittedly, practising the creative arts is often low on our priority list, maybe in part because we feel intimidated by the thought of being artistic. So we invited Carolyn Arends to help us consider if art might be worth our time. See if you aren’t entirely convinced by her claim that we can be discipled through art!

Her essay suggests some simple ways to exercise our creativity this summer, and you’ll also find several other creativity-related articles throughout this issue.

Another highlight for us was interviewing the provocative Sarah Bessey. This Canadian writer, blogger and speaker is a fresh and emerging voice on the evangelical landscape. We thought it would be fun to speak to her, and it was. Here’s a peek. “I don’t know when in the history of the Church anyone would have cared what some happy-clappy mom from the Prairies would say.”

More and more people do care, actually, and that’s a good thing.

The ideas for these articles emerged from creative editorial brainstorming, but we also get many others pitched to us from trusted writers. That was the case with the profile of Marina Glogovac, CEO of CanadaHelps. We knew almost nothing about this Christian leader until writer Alex Newman heard her make a speech and saw the fit. Thanks for that, Alex.

Excellent writers who know how to write to the style and interests of Faith Today readers – and are available to do so – are rare. This spring we lost one of the best, Debra Fieguth of Kingston, Ont., who died suddenly from a stroke. Please join us in praying for her husband, parents and the many, many others who knew and loved her. We posted a tribute to her at www.faithtoday.ca/Debra.

May God bless all of us this summer with His creativity and His peace.

If you don’t subscribe to Faith Today, now is the perfect time. You will receive a free copy of Restore my Soul: A Coloring Book Devotional Journey by Ann-Margret Hovsepian.

Canada's Christian Magazine