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Greetings, Sisters & Brothers in Christ!

It seems a strange & wonderful thing to be writing an article in our almost century old publication The Canadian Disciple as Regional Minister. I am truly humbled & honoured to have been chosen to work with our Board, Pastors, & congregations, in arguably the most interesting times in Canadian religious history. We are not the same church we were 20, 40, or 50 years ago. But I hope that is something that we come to celebrate in the months & years to come. Gone are the halcyon days of bursting-at-the-seams buildings. The church no longer holds sway in government halls or in society at large. That doesn't mean we don't have purpose or an urgent call to which we are to respond. Indeed, the need for true community, deep spirituality, unconditional love, & a passion for justice, are exactly what the world aches for. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news to the marginalized, lonely, hurting, hungry, & dying. It is our task to live that Good News in real and tangible ways to heal & restore our broken world. 
     The beauty of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is that we are all unique. Our variety of views, theologies, methods, cultures, & contexts enable us to reach out to different kinds of people with different kinds of needs. We are a beacon of hope to many because we are honestly trying to be together intentionally, embracing our differences. We are tied together in the knowledge that the love of God through Jesus Christ can & does heal the world. 
    Friends, I look forward to what the future will bring. I have a deep & abiding love for Christ's church & a profound appreciation for the breadth, depth & width of Disciples' identity here in Canada. I trust that we will keep one another in prayer as we work together locally & nationally. Thank you for your letters, cards, and phone calls. I appreciate your thinking of me & covet your prayers. Looking forward to seeing you all in person in the months to come. Peace, Jen
June Prayer Partners
June 5 - New Church
Please keep in prayer this week all of our new church plants & congregations in formation. Also pray for those who are dreaming of starting a new ministry but have deep questions & concerns. Disciples of Christ have begun over 800 new congregations over the past 16 years all over North America! Your prayers bolster the spirits of those doing the hard work of starting new works.
June 12 - Wyndholme Christian Church, Dartmouth, NS
(Pastoral vacancy)
June 19 - Guelph Christian Church, Guelph, ON
June 26 - Eglise  Evangelique Baptiste Manahaim, Laval, PQ

(Pastor Daniel Francois)


Upcoming Events
All Canada Convention
August 11-14, Milton, NS
Youth Encounter Aug 8-14

Bulletin Insert PDF available here
Have you registered yet? See our website for online registration.

Reminder: Nominations for George H. Steward Award due June 10, 2016. Send in nominations to Ben Kidd at mail@canadadisciples.org

Contact information for
Rev Dr Jen Garbin: rm@canadadisciples.org Phone: 519-826-5767
Text: 519 751-4629

PDF Version available here
Our thanks for his five years of service to the Canadian Region goes out to Rev Rick Hamilton who finished his time with us as Interim Regional Minister on May 31, 2016. We wish him every blessing in whatever the future holds for him and his family.  To read Rick's farewell letter to the Canadian church, click here. Welcome also to our new Regional Staff members: Rev Dr Jen Garbin, Regional Minister, and Ben Kidd, Regional Administrator. Learn more about your team on our website.

A Letter of Farewell from Rev Rick Hamilton

Today is 31 May 2016. It marks the end of my almost five year term of service as your Interim Regional Minister. Tonight at Midnight, Rev. Dr. Jennifer Garbin officially "takes the reigns" as your Regional Minister.

Sometimes it seems such a short journey. Yet I look back today at all which took place, all the ways our lives have intersected, and I know it was a fairly long period of time.  I am thankful to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada, its members and friends for the love, kindness, and support shown to me these last five years. I am grateful for the ways my leadership has been accepted. I ask forgiveness for any mistakes I have made. As I leave, I carry with me all that I have learned here. Because of you, I am forever changed. Because of you, even though I can never alter the location of my birth, nor would I choose to deny the nation of my life, I am forever "AmeriCanadian". Thank you all for the many treasured moments. For the joys. For the challenges. For being uniquely you and uniquely church. You have broadened my world view and my perspectives. Thank you.

I am immensely proud of the team you have called to cover my ministry responsibilities. They bring immeasurable gifts and graces to their ministry. Treat them well and love them deeply, as I know you will. I am eternally thankful for all of those who shared in leadership over the years, whether on boards, committees, or task groups (I don't dare try names); I believe the ministry we shared together was good for the Christian Church in Canada.

Stay together at the table. Reach out in love. Serve those who are not yet members of your body. Honor the scriptures. Do not neglect to worship. Pray for me, and I will pray for you. Thankful in all of my remembrances of you and the ministry we shared. Finally, once in a while, think of "Deep Southeast Manitoba" and chuckle. I would count it a fitting tribute to our time together.

Grace and Peace, Rick

At our upcoming All Canada Convention we will be taking part in a MISSION GATHERING as part of the MISSIONFIRST! initiative.  You may be asking...what is MISSIONFIRST? Here is a little bit of detail and invitation to explore. 
It’s likely your faith community has done some visioning in the last few years. The general expression of the Church is doing the same. As the year 2020 nears, it is time to listen for God’s continuing call and to seek together where God is calling Disciples next in our shared mission and ministry.

Addressing the 2014 General Board, General Minister and President Sharon Watkins set out a challenge:  “The time has come to lighten our load and tighten our focus – on mission!  I am inviting our church, in all its expressions, to join in a conversation on God’s mission for Disciples today.” (audio of address) (2014 Communique – PDF)

Since General Board, a group of Disciples from many professional and cultural backgrounds has been meeting about just how to find this new focus. The proposal called Mission First! was presented to the General Board in April 2015. It includes a call to mission and a pilot model for helping us identify a common direction in mission.

Mission First! addresses the need to find a new shared focus in mission. We are not setting aside pro-reconciliation/anti-racism, new and transforming churches or leadership development. Mission First! seeks to help Disciples identify the next mission priorities God has for us as we move toward the year 2020 and beyond.

A Call for Stories, Updates, & Connections

One of the great legacies handed down over generations of Canadian Disciples is our eagerness to share stories from our corners of the vineyard. The Canadian Disciple from its inception in the early-mid 1900s onward featured inspirational moments, calls for prayer and support, and special events that helped us connect to one another coast to coast to coast. As we journey into God’s future, it will be vitally important that we share these stories once again. 
Please send your annecdotes, photos, important events, challenges, and updates from your ministry to Jen at rm@canadadisciples.org to be included in future editions of The Canadian Disciple. <>

Copyright © 2016 Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada, All rights reserved.
Published June 2, 2016 (Guelph, Ontario)

Submit your stories and congregational updates to:
rm@canadadisciples.org

Check our website for Regional information, RMs Calendar and more:
www.canadadisciples.org 

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