Category Archives: Webinars

Tips and treasures: Sharing what churches have learned sponsoring refugees

Privately sponsoring refugees is a wonderfully rewarding adventure. It’s a great thing to do. But it is hard. The paperwork is onerous, the fundraising can be a slog, the details are daunting. Then the family arrives and the real work begins. Some things go wrong. Even your translation app might let you down! And lots of things go right. There are multitudes of surprises, both good and bad, along the way.

Some members of the Port Perry Refugee Support group celebrating a fundraising milestone. Our upcoming webinar will gather some of the vast knowledge out there on how to sponsor and help settle refugees well.

Now that so many Canadian churches are well underway in their refugee sponsorship journey, we believe there is a huge body of knowledge out there to be shared. The next EFC webinar, on Thursday, Nov. 16 is on that exact topic.

  • What have we learned about apartments and lessons and kids and school and translation apps?
  • What have we learned that can save other groups some trouble or problems?
  • What have we learned that can make life even easier for families settling into their new life in Canada?

Our three guests have worked at all levels of refugee sponsorship in Canada.  Brian Dyck has been the migration and resettlement program coordinator at Mennonite Central Committee Canada since February 2015.  Kathy Mercer is the coordinator of welcome and settlement for the Port Perry Refugee Support Group, a consortium of churches and individuals in the Port Perry, Ont., area who have welcomed four Syrian refugee families in the last 18 months. Jacqueline Derrah has been involved with refugee sponsorship with the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada since 2015.

We are very excited to have the opportunity to have a conversation focussed on the practical side of this refugee journey. And if you have ideas, we want to hear them too. Be ready to send them in live during the webinar. You can register for free here. 

The awful legacy of Hugh Hefner

by Sheila Wray-Gregoire

Yesterday I was Skyping with Ashley Easter, who is doing great work helping survivors of abuse within the church, and promoting healing. And we were talking about how being married to someone with a porn addiction can give a wife PTSD, and can be abusive, in and of itself, especially if he’s dehumanizing her and asking her to act out things that he sees. He’s not treating her like a person; he’s treating her like an object. That’s what abuse does, too. They have that in common. They say: You are a body to use.

So I’d just like to write today about some of the thoughts that have been running through my head about the recently deceased Hugh Hefner’s influence on our society.

Sheila Wray-Gregoire is an author and speaker. In this blog she considers the awful legacy left by Hugh Hefner, and the impact of pornography use.

When I was about 8, my best friend Christine showed me a stack of Playboys in her shed that her dad had stashed there. I’m thankful that we didn’t look too hard at them, but I know she and her older brother looked at them a bunch.
Continue reading The awful legacy of Hugh Hefner

How I wound up on 100 Huntley St with my golden doodle

It was actually a Faith Today article and webinar that indirectly led to my dog Dewey and I embarking on a journey to become a therapy dog team visiting seniors in a residence.

Dewey the Dog visiting while people talk about him in the background for 100 Huntley St.

While researching and interviewing for a piece about palliative care and euthanasia — of all things — I started to hear a clear message, especially from Bruce Clemenger, president of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. He talked about the need for Canadian Christians to embrace our seniors and make sure we are being the hands and feet of Christ to a portion of our population who are often  lonely and sometimes neglected by their families, friends, and perhaps even by an overloaded medical care system.

At the same time, I was feeling a clear call to volunteer my time outside of the church circles in which I normally served. Plus, I have a great big, fluffy, lovable golden doodle who loves nothing more than going from person to person in a room, being cuddled and loved and talked to in warm, adoring voices by whomever is willing and available.

So, Dewey and I applied to become a therapy dog team through St. John Ambulance. We went through the process of evaluation and training, and then a four week mentoring period with an experienced therapy dog volunteer.

Each week me, my mentor, and Dewey of course, would meet outside the doors of the Port Perry Villa, and have a conversation about things like what side of a wheel chair to approach, how to handle barking if dogs meet up in this otherwise very human environment, and the most important tip for me: to not get in the way. In my nervousness, I had been kneeling down to be eye level with Dewey, so I could reassure him in this unfamiliar setting. My mentor asked me not to do this, to just trust Dewey to do his job.
Continue reading How I wound up on 100 Huntley St with my golden doodle

Why it’s good to show up with a pie, and other ways to help hurting people

The other day I interviewed Doug Koop, a spiritual health practitioner, and David Guretzki, a theology professor and seminary dean at Briercrest College & Seminary, about how to best help those who are suffering. It was our latest EFC webinar, based on the cover story of our Sep/Oct Faith Today, which Koop wrote.

Did you like our cover story? Then you will really enjoy the webinar we did based on it.
Did you like our cover story? Then you will really enjoy the webinar we did based on it.

We wanted to go deeper and really practical, and find out ways we can do better with those who are ill, or just going through the horrible times that we all do as inhabitants of a broken world.  Both men have spouses who live with chronic conditions that require sometimes intense and special care. And they both think and teach and write on this subject.
Continue reading Why it’s good to show up with a pie, and other ways to help hurting people

How do we help those who are suffering? Join us for our next webinar

The other day I walked through our family room, spotted a book on grief, and flipped it over so I didn’t have to see the cover. It was part of my husband’s pile of books and materials in transit. These books live on the side table no-man’s land until they take up permanent residency in his office or in our  home.

I flipped over the book because, in that moment, I was tired of hearing about grief and other sad things.

Grief and other sad things are all a big part of his life in ministry, and my life by connection. And part of my life — and I’m sure yours — by just being human and caring about other people.

Join us for a webinar on how to help those who are suffering.
Join us for a webinar on how to help those who are suffering.

We will explore how best to care for those who are suffering, and also how best to care for ourselves while we do it, in an upcoming EFC webinar on Wed. Sept. 28.

I will be interviewing two Canadians intimately familiar with suffering and caring for those who are in pain or times of deep challenge. Doug Koop is the author of Faith Today‘s Sep/Oct cover story on how to help the suffering and will be joining us from Winnipeg where he is a spiritual health practitioner.  David Guretzki, a theology professor and seminary dean at Briercrest College & Seminary in Caronport, Sask., will also join us. Guretzki teaches, among other topics, “In Sickness and in Health: Biblical Perspectives on Marriage and Chronic Illness.”

I’m looking forward to this time to ask questions like: How do we best help someone going through a terrible time? What can we learn? What can we give? What doesn’t help? And…how do you help when what you really want to do is flip over the book and walk away?

I really hope you will join us. Sign up here.

Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today. Take advantage of our great 3-for-1 subscription deal to this award-winning magazine.


Are youth still leaving the Church? Join us for our webinar on Hemorrhaging Faith

by Karen Stiller

Even now, years later in order to spell it correctly, I have to look up the the word hemorrhaging each and every time I write it.

It's been a few years since Hemorrhaging Faith was released. What has changed?
It’s been a few years since Hemorrhaging Faith was released. What has changed?

But that was the least of the worries around “Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and When Canadian Young Adults Are Leaving, Staying and Returning to Church,”  a report commissioned by The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Roundtable and sponsored by the EFC, Great Commission Foundation, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada, Stronger Together 2011 and Youth for Christ Canada.

In September, 2012, I wrote the Faith Today cover story on the report that helped us understand youth in relationship to the Church as engagers, fence sitters, wanderers or rejecters.
Continue reading Are youth still leaving the Church? Join us for our webinar on Hemorrhaging Faith

Why Are We Doing a Webinar on Clergy Wellness?

By Karen Stiller

“No sabbatical. No help with counseling. No clear picture of what’s expected.”

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Those are the three main reasons given by hundreds of former senior pastors for why they left their pastorates, in a recently released report by American firm LifeWay Research.

Meanwhile, we hear fairly often that the depression rate found within the clergy community is twice as high as that of the general population. You can even buy a Pastor Burnout Workbook to “burnout proof your ministry.” It’s probably a great resource, but toiling  alone through a workbook on burnout sounds a bit depressing in itself.

So, what can we do in the Church to help clergy — who seem to face huge and unique job challenges — remain well and healthy? What can clergy and church leaders do themselves to stay well and put in place the protective boundaries they need for their own health and the health of the Church? Not to mention their family at home.

Those are the kinds of questions we will be exploring in the next EFC Webinar, on clergy wellness. We’ve invited Wanda Malcolm and Mark Vander Vennen to be our guests. Malcolm is professor of pastoral psychology at Wycliffe College and lead researcher of the Wycliffe Wellness Project, investigating what brings wellness to clergy and others engaged in ministry.

Vander Vennen is a marriage and family therapist and executive director of the Shalem Mental Health Network. His concern for the mental well-being of clergy led Shalem to create the Clergy Care Program, a counselling service designed specifically for pastors and their families.

This webinar happens at the same time Faith Today is running a national contest to send hard working pastors away on a short, restorative retreat.

I am really looking forward to our conversation with Wanda and Mark next Wednesday. As a clergy spouse I know well some of the struggles — and of course the multiple joys — of people in the ministry life. If even half of the statistics are true, we need to take better care of clergy, and clergy need to take better care of themselves. Join us!

Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today. Remember our contest.