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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weekly Wire for December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

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Year End Donations

If you’re planning to make a donation to your Congregation, World Church, or the Mission Centre before the end of 2010, this is a reminder to get it in soon. Contact Greg Goheen at and mail your cheque to:

Canada West Mission Centre
Attn: Greg Goheen 
PO Box 10248, Airdrie, AB, T4A 0H5


“A Night in Bethlehem”  (actually happened in Vancouver)

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The Kaslo Street Players created a “night market in Bethlehem” in the chapel of the Vancouver Church.

This was an interactive play where audience members  came to experience what might have taken place in Bethlehem on the eve of Christ’s birth.




The audience mingled with vendors at the night market in Bethlehem selling scarves, jewelry, fruit and local delicacies.

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They met the people of the town … street musicians, a lunatic prophet, the innkeeper and his family and the town beggar.

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…some who were in town for the census

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…and others who were following the star

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Almost the entire Vancouver Congregation worked on this play is some capacity.  We had a team of seamstresses bring their sewing machines to church week after week, we built sets and we decorated and designed. Not to mention the singing and acting rehearsals!  The cast was made up of 33 people aged 6 to 86.  We had 120 people out to church that day!

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Some of our fabulous audience…. 

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 Ranchland’s Christmas Project

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“Last weekend we  in our congregation volunteered to cook and host at our church a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings for those in the community of Ranchlands who were identified by the local agencies as being disadvantaged and having needs.

The families were invited by the social workers to come to the free dinner  at our church.


The Catholic church, City of Calgary, Ranchlands Community Resource Center and the Moutainview Lions Club joined together  with us to feed over 160 people (most had young children) We sang Christmas carols, had a magician perform, the kids got Candy and a teddy bear from Santa (our own Don McLeod) and the Catholic youth group took the kids into our fellowship hall where they did crafts.


Our facility and kitchen was seen as ideal for the event as no other place in the Ranchlands area has an adequate place or people willing to hold and cook for the event. The Catholic priest showed up and enjoyed the event and had a good visit with Ted about how our priesthood functioned. He seemed to believe this would be good for the Catholic church to look at.IMG_5047a

We did this with the same groups as last year and they all want to do it again. We put it on for about $2000.00.The funding was donated by many sources. Next year we were told that we may get sponsored and supported by the Bank of Nova Scotia and have more money for gifts and hampers as needed.

The Spirit was there with us as an ecumenical group and it looks like we will do it again next year.”

Shirley Smith Navey



After-School Program in Calgary

This December marked the 2nd year that the Calgary, Alberta, Canada Congregation of the Church has hosted a weekly "After-School Program" at the Church facility.  In partnership with the City of Calgary, two volunteers from the Calgary Church work with the city's three Youth Leaders to run a special recreation program from 3:30 to 5:30 pm each Tuesday.

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The volunteers from the Calgary Congregation that take turns each week are Marilyn & Ron Richea, Ted & Shirley Navey, Nina Katz, Whitney Ball and Mary Jean Belrose.  Each volunteer assists the Youth Leaders in craft and recreational activities for up to 14 children from grades two to five from the local elementary school.

IMG_4900aThe Ranchlands Recreation program is one of a number of such programs that the City of Calgary runs in what are called the "critical hours" time period for children who have no one at home between after-school and supper time.  The availability of our Church's gymnasium and our willing volunteers have made this program a huge success.




Click here to read the December Youth Newsletter


December 2010

Canada West Mission

Work as a family to conquer materialism and greed

’Tis the season to be bombarded by advertising and make wish lists of “must have” items. For many teenagers, providing relatives with Christmas ideas can be a challenge because they already own so much stuff. In a culture glutted with images of the “good life,” many kids have a collective case of luxury gout. According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of young adults say getting rich is their first or second most-important life goal.

clip_image004C.S. Lewis knew the dangers of money and wealth when he warned, “Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.” Youth-culture expert Walt Mueller says the nonstop marketing barrage teenagers face is actually shaping their lives. They define themselves by their possessions, are vulnerable to impulse buying, work more in order to have more, understand life primarily in economic terms, are competitive rather than compassionate, get locked into consumer debt at earlier ages than ever before, and have become more and more spiritually hungry. Materialism steers us away from the one true God and toward worldly idols, leaving us empty.

The good news, Mueller says, is that when emptiness grows, kids’ hunger longs to be fed even more. The Christmas season is the ideal time to show teenagers that God’s gift of Jesus, not material things, gives them purpose, meaning, and hope. Read on for ways you can share this important message with your kids this holiday season.

Has Christmas become too commercial in your family? If so, try celebrating an old-fashioned holiday. These ideas, adapted from A Simple Christmas by Lori Salkin and Rob Sperry (Andrews McMeel Publishing), can help your family keep Jesus’ birth festive, fun, and meaningful.

  • Lavish your kids with time, not money. During Christmas break, take each of them on a surprise adventure.
  • Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with a fun, free family activity or outing each day.
  • Devote a day to making or baking gifts for one another.
  • Simplify your Christmas decorations to stay focused on Jesus.
  • Make a cookbook of favorite recipes for family members and friends.
  • Make a CD or tape of your family’s favorite Christmas music.
  • Give relatives “family gifts” instead of individual gifts.
  • Collect prayers from family and friends for a Christmas prayer book.
  • Recycle gifts or, for maximum laughter, exchange low-cost white elephant gifts.
  • Volunteer together, donating your time to help people in need.


Many of today’s young people have dollar signs in their eyes:

· When senior highers were asked what makes them happy, 74% said money.

(Harris Interactive)

· 61% of all teenagers say they love to shop at pricey stores. That’s up 10 percentage points in just four years.

(Harrison Group/VNU Teen Trend Report)

· clip_image008Researchers found that teenagers who have supportive, accepting parents and peers in their lives are less materialistic.


· Some research suggests that the negative effects of rampant materialism can be tempered by teaching kids to appreciate what they have. Teens who are both highly materialistic and highly thankful tend to say they like to spend their time helping other people. (Harris Interactive)

Great Questions

to Ask Your Kids

Begin a conversation about materialism by asking these questions:

1. What’s on your wish list this Christmas, and why? Which items are “needs,” and which are “wants”? Explain.

2. What do your possessions say about you? How would you life—or status—change if you suddenly lost them all?

3. How does materialism affect your relationship with God? How does it affect your celebration of Christmas?

4. How can our family have a meaningful “nonmaterialistic” Christmas this year?



1. Your teenagers will realize that their spiritual blessings from God are more valuable than any earthly possessions they could acquire.

2. Your teenagers are protected from the influence of advertisements and peer pressure to relentlessly buy and consume.

3. Your family can stay focused on God’s precious gift of his Son, Jesus, this Christmas.

Verse of the Month

“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (Luke 12:15)

Almost half of Jesus’ parables are about money and wealth. In Luke 12, Jesus describes a rich fool who planned to build bigger barns for all he owned. But the man died that night, and everything he’d worked for went to other people. Verse 21 says, “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Going Deeper

On, Walt Mueller, founder of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, offers these insights to help parents evaluate their attitudes about materialism:

The fact that we often define ourselves by our work and worldly possessions hasn’t been lost on our kids. Our job as parents is to help our teenagers redefine their idea of success by equipping them to understand and live out God’s definition of success. Of course, this requires that we understand and live out his definition ourselves. Here are some questions to ponder as you examine your life and lifestyle. Take the time to answer them seriously. You might even want to ask your children for their impression of what you’re teaching.

• What do you want to pass on to your children?

• How much does your lifestyle reflect and conform to the values prevalent in our consumer society?

• If your kids were to write out a definition of success based on how you define it through your lifestyle, what would they write?

• How competitive are you, financially? Are you jealous when someone acquires something you don’t have?

• Do you mope about what you don’t have rather than express joy about those things you do have?

• When will you know you’ve “made it”?

• Do you possess your possessions, or do they possess you?

• Are you a cheerful, generous, and joyful giver?

• Do your faith and security rest in God or in your things?

clip_image014One of the most important lessons to teach teenagers is that God owns everything that we have and are. As a result, every spending or lifestyle decision we make is a spiritual decision. My parents taught me that everything is God’s and should be used according to his rules of stewardship and for his glory. They modeled thrifty living and generous giving, without becoming boastful about either. And they taught me that living hand-to-mouth isn’t such a bad way to live when the hand feeding my mouth belongs to God.

This page is designed to inform and educate parents and isn’t meant to endorse any music or movie.
Our prayer is that you will make informed decisions on what your kids listen to and watch.



Mainstream Artist

Background: Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., or Lil Wayne, has been writing songs and singing since grade school. He was an honor student until dropping out of school at age 14 to pursue a music career. Lil Wayne, 28, has been very prolific, and his albums consistently reach the top of the charts.

Albums: I Am Not a Human Being (2010), Rebirth (2010), Tha Carter III (2008)

What Parents Should Know: Lil Wayne’s albums contain parental advisories for vulgar lyrics. The rapper has been arrested for possessing drugs, including cocaine. He recently served a prison sentence for weapons charges. Lil Wayne, who’s fathered children with four different women, was just hit with a new paternity suit.

What Lil Wayne Says: “I’m not an example for how people should live their lives. Never in my life would I ever set out to be an example for people.”

Discussion Questions: Are celebrities obligated to live a certain way? If so, explain. Read aloud Titus 2:1-8. As a Christian, do you feel like people are watching how you live extra closely? Why or why not? Do you ever get the feeling they hope you’ll mess up? Explain. How can we encourage one another to live Christlike lives?


Christian Artist

Background: The hip-hop band GRITS, which stands for Grammatical Revolution in the Spirit, consists of Stacy “Coffee” Jones and Teron “Bonafide” Carter. Both were dancers for Christian hip-hop pioneers dcTalk. During the past 15 years, GRITS’ songs have been used in movies, TV shows, and video games.

Albums: Quarantine (2010), Redemption (2006), The Art of Translation (2002)

What Parents Should Know: These talented singers go out of their way to stay true to their Christian faith. They also reach out to people they disagree with. GRITS is involved in community-building programs, including efforts to raise awareness about racism.

What GRITS Says: “Our goal was to be ‘special ops’ to go into the world of hip-hop and seek and save. It was a push to tell our genre to step it up… never for money but to really be beacons of light.”

Discussion Questions: What types of people have influenced you, and what made them so influential? Read aloud Matthew 16:5-12. Why did Jesus describe dangerous teachings as yeast? How can you guard against worldly influences? In what ways can you positively influence others for God?


Movie: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (releases Dec. 10)

Genre: Adventure, fantasy

Rating: PG (for some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action)

Synopsis: Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, as well as their annoying cousin Eustace, are sucked into a painting and back to Narnia. They embark on a voyage across the seas to save Narnia and the magical beasts.

clip_image020Discussion Questions: How do you cope with people when they start to annoy you? How did Jesus deal with difficult people? Read aloud Ephesians 1:3-6. What do these verses say to you about interpersonal relationships? How can we show love to others in God’s “adopted” family? How might that change them—and you?














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The End of a Year.

As one year draws to a close I pause to reflect on the changes that have occurred in our mission centre and on a World level and the changes yet to come.

The need to focus our energies on “What matters most” comes to us in a time in our mission when we are becoming more focused on discerning the will of God for our denomination, congregations and individual spiritual lives. My personal spiritual discernment is leading me to focus on the building of the beloved community. This is a theme that crosses all of the three areas of which we are called to determine “what matters most”. Certainly this can be broadly interpreted but it does tie in nicely with the direction that our Apostle Susan Skoor has worked with the Canadian staff to focus on. In our Canadian Field meetings Apostle Skoor shared with us the three themes that she has felt drawn in for her field. She identified Building of the Kingdom, Resurrection and Hope. With Darrell’s position transitioning to that of MCMC we look forward to the positive blessings this will bring to the Mission Centre. We have recognized a downturn in the number of kids coming out to camps and retreats and have looked to determine the best way to stimulate growth in this area and enable the different geographic areas to increase their ministry in this area. One way has been to seek out youth reps to provide programming in SK, AB and B.C. Resources are available to offset these programming costs from the Mission and provide to offset expenses incurred to the provincial reps. My role will be transitory in light of this initiative to focus more on outreach ministry and ministry to Young Adults. Ultimately a goal of building the pool of people that we can draw on to work with our youth can be achieved by focusing our efforts in the area of missionary ministry.

We are encouraging congregations to engage in a visioning process such as the ones that Victoria, Saskatoon and Edmonton have begun. This is a process intended to provide focus and build on the strengths of the congregation. I would encourage your congregations to speak to Greg Goheen, Mission President, to determine the best course of action for your congregation.

Please continue to seek out ways to minister to our youth, think outside of the box and provide the youth of your communities with the example of the beloved community, of Zion, to the best of your abilities. Consider volunteering at our many youth camps at Hills of Peace and the camps in the GPNW at Samish. The youth of today need to feel the peace of Jesus Christ amongst the competing voice of our culture these days.

Thank you for your efforts in the name of Jesus Christ.

Your brother in Christ,

Dan Woynarski

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