Last month we participated in another week-long medical mission with Speroway. We worked in and around San Salvador, El Salvador to meet medical needs but also to give out food, clothes, toys, smiles and a few hugs.
Did you enjoy the interviews during the "True Joy" sermon series? For me, it was an absolute delight to sit down with each person as he or she spoke about praying, serving, suffering and thinking with joy.
It started with an idea for a fundraiser for the Sea to Sea Bike Tour that Joan and Alice cycled in 2013. Women came together to “groove” and the money raised helped Joan and Alice. Some of the favourite moves were the yoga stretches at the end of the evening, which gave birth to another idea – why not hold some yoga classes?
November 11 – Remembrance Day. This year more Canadians took the time to remember and participate than in many years. It was the first co-ed night for Cadets Hawks (boys in grades 7 & 8) and GEMS 2.0 (girls in grades 7 & 8).
An exceptionally large number of people turned out for the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Bowmanville. It wasn’t because of the good weather, although that helped. It was because of the recent deaths of Canadian soldiers on Canadian soil.
I believe that the only thing that can keep a church from being too big to feel a sense of belonging is small groups. That’s why I hope that you will join one of the sermon based discussion groups for our November series about “True Joy.”
Several Saturdays ago, my husband Mike and I, as well as a good friend of ours, were walking to our car after attending an event in downtown Oshawa. We looked across the street and saw a young man sitting on the bumper of his car with the trunk open. Signs attached to the back of the car said, “Free water”, “Free sandwiches”, and “Ask me why I’m here.” Mike said to me “Isn't that Jonathan from church?”
I've lived on both sides of the fence. I began life on one side and stayed there for several decades. In fact, of all the folks who attend church about 99% of them are on that side—the PS (pew sitter) side.
There’s a new display in our building, promoting the important work of Sheila Dykstra, the missionary to Nigeria that we support as a church. It’s a cross section of an African schoolhouse, and it was made by Ed who researched the Internet for authentic looking ideas and built it with great enthusiasm.
This summer, Katherine joined a team from Discovery Church on a missions trip to Borneo, the largest island in Asia. After a long flight and a twelve hour ride on an open bus through the jungle she arrived at Living Water Village, an orphanage for more than five hundred children.
I want to draw your attention to a small but important addition to our website, “www.hopefellowship.ca.” On the On-Line Sermons page, just below the title of last Sunday’s message, you will now find a new feature called “Sermon Discussion Questions.”
It’s August 11. Heidi and I are camping at Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park and it’s 8:30 Monday morning. I've just gotten up and I am inspired to write this: I’m sitting in my chair. The duct tape I've used to wrap the torn seat is a bit damp but that’s to be expected after the night's dew.
Last Sunday’s worship service featured the largest collection of Hawaiian shirts that we’ve seen since visiting the Hilo Hattie store in Honolulu. All those bright colours made for a very celebrative event and we want to thank each person who came to church wearing a Hawaiian shirt, sarong or lei.
An average of thirty people came together each night last week to pray for Hope Fellowship’s six ministry zones. Praise God! Now it’s Rev Up Sunday, the day when our Zone Co-ordinators present their opportunities to become participants and volunteers.
I was supposed to preach in Peru. It was supposed to be a big service, there was supposed to be a lot of new believers, people who didn't know the Lord. It was supposed to be the first time I got on stage overseas and brought the Good news, but it never really happens the way it’s supposed too.
Last week we took a look at what happened while Pastor Peter and Marja were away on sabbatical and vacation. It’s been an eventful summer for our church family. Now let’s take a look at what lies ahead for us.
The sabbatical/vacation for Pastor Peter and Marja included 18 Sundays, 10 guest preachers (including our own Bernice Baker, Mike Broersma, Gary VanderMeulen and Lisa Guillaume Koene), and 2 video sermons (the second one will happen next week) for Hope Fellowship. Pastor Peter & Marja chose the summer because church life is quieter in the summer, and it would mean the least disruption for Hope Fellowship. So was it quiet while they were gone?
From time to time I have the opportunity to bring a person with a need together with someone who has the resources to fill that need. It feels like I am a cog in a machine – just a small part of the process of doing God’s work here.
We were coming home from our weekend errands, when we saw a few toys on the curb; the national symbol for “please take our unused items”. I am always on the prowl for lightly used toys for the church nursery so we stopped.
A drunk street person created a stir on the bus when he kept taunting another passenger. Everybody kept their cool until he got off. The man sitting in front of us then said, "I felt like popping him one!"
Nervous as a freshman, I got off the bus and found the classroom where the Motorcycle Safety course is taught. Then I met Bob, 60, a Hawaiian man of Japanese descent. He told me that he used to be in the army. I said that I was a pastor on sabbatical.
Our studio apartment is only 360 square feet. It has not been upgraded since the Inn On The Park was built in 1977. It has a tiny bathroom with tub and shower, and a narrow kitchenette with a two burner stove, small sink and microwave.
We spent an afternoon reading our books on Magic Island, a man-made peninsula and peaceful beach in Honolulu that is favoured by the locals. The masts in the Ala Wai Harbour, the skyline of Waikiki, and the steep slopes of Diamond Head made it difficult to focus on the words.
BLESS, BELIEVE, BELONG. Three words we hear a lot of at Hope Fellowship. When we as a church, or we as individuals, have a balance of these three aspects of life, there is a healthy balance to life. I was thinking about these three words as I thought about the people I work with. I work at Glen Hill Strathaven and Glen Hill Marnwood, two Long Term Care facilities in Bowmanville.
The streets of Waikiki always thrum with life as the wealthy, the homeless, the tourists and the locals vie for space on the crowded sidewalks. Especially at night, street performers play, sing, dance or pose motionless, busking for tips.
11 Countries, 11 Months, 1 Mission “The ones who are crazy enough to change the world are usually the ones that do.” Some might think it is crazy to sell all your possessions, pack up a bag and head out for an 11 month, 11 country journey to live and volunteer in some of the saddest slums the world has to offer. But if you were asked by God, would you?
The day before the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we visited Pearl Harbour, Oahu's top tourist attraction. It was there, on December 7, 1941, that Japan launched a surprise air and submarine attack on the ships and planes that had been gathered at this naval base in the Pacific Ocean.
His real name is George, but everyone calls him Koi. Like the last fish still swimming in his backyard pond where he used to keep a whole school of koi. And like that lonely fish, Koi is facing the inevitable.
On Memorial Day, we joined a large gathering of war veterans in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific for the annual remembrance ceremony. The cemetery is set in an extinct volcano known as the "Punchbowl."
We got a big dose of New Hope Church last weekend. It began with a two and a half hour "Spirit of Aloha" concert on Friday night featuring Big Daddy Weave, the Dove Award winning band that has been topping the Christian music charts with number one singles.
Sheila Dykstra, a member of Hope Fellowship, is an Education Consultant in West Africa with Christian Reformed World Missions—she teaches teachers. Teaching is not a valued profession in West Africa, and Sheila helps teachers learn to teach children in a loving, Christ-centred manner.
Out the door at 5 a.m. to walk the fifty minutes to Diamond Head Crater. Arrived at 5:50 a.m., just beating the busloads of tourists. As the buses disgorged their passengers, we hurried up the path.
The trail from the entrance to the summit is 1.3 kilometres of concrete sidewalk, rugged switchbacks and three steep staircases.
Sunday morning, the head greeter at the Fort De Russy Army Chapel welcomed us with a smile and a lei made of sea shells. I straightened up and headed for the sanctuary. "Oh no, you don't," Lynne Shanahan said. "When you receive a lei you also get a hug."
In Hebrews 10, there is a paragraph that contains five sentences beginning with the words “Let us.” Let’s take these “Let us” challenges to heart so that we remain strong in the Lord and strong as a church during the four months of sabbatical that we will be apart
I have thoroughly enjoyed researching and preaching the Money Matters, Safe Sex and Famous Last Words series. I hope that God has used these messages to challenge and encourage you.
On this Stand Up Sunday we will hear some powerful messages from people who are professing their faith for the first time and being baptized, or re-affirming their faith as members of Hope Fellowship Church. Encourage them with your prayers as they speak
After months of planning and work, the day finally arrived. The speaker travelled safely from Grand Rapids, the musicians from the west end of Toronto, family and friends had helped transform the sanctuary, the tech team had everything set up, food was prepared—and then the ladies arrived.
Canadians observed National Victims of Crime Awareness Week (April 6-12) and Pink Day (Wednesday) this week. The former focused on those who have been victimized by a criminal offence; the latter had an anti-bullying emphasis. As I thought about crimes and bullies, I realized that I have experienced both.
After Pastor Peter preached that wonderful message about Relationship, I knew that this story had to be shared. What many people don’t know is that prior to coming to Hope, my life was pretty much symbolized by the “brokenness” picture shown on the screen and Bob Dylan’s song. Another strong symbol was the basement of my mother’s house where I lived. It was dimly lit and lonely which was exactly how I felt.
A real MAN doesn't eat quiche, cry at movies, have any public displays of affection and definitely doesn't meet in small groups to discuss his feelings! These are the typical stereotypes that men have had to live up to for centuries.
When we purchased the JAM City curriculum in 2010, it was the plan that it would be reused at the end of a cycle. Well, that cycle is ending soon and I went looking for the material we used in the beginning. I wanted to copy the curriculum for our small group and large group leaders, but realized that what I needed was not on a disc.
Hope Fellowship’s Tricia and twenty other graduating artists from York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program are presenting their recent paintings in a current exhibition at the Twist Gallery in Toronto. The exhibit is called “Merge” and demonstrates “their mutual exploration of contemporary motivations in painting today, such as neo-minimalism, environmental issues, neo-expressionism and figurative work.”
The best selling book and soon to be released movie Heaven Is For Real is based on the true story of the three year, ten months old son of a Nebraska pastor who claims to have experienced heaven during emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix.
Many teenagers lead busy lives. They’re involved in organized sports. They have homework. They have part-time jobs. And they’re involved in family and church activities, like everybody else. These realities have made it difficult for some of our teens to come out to the Wednesday night youth group meetings.
Our arrival at the Kingfisher Bay Retreat Centre last Friday set the tone for a focused experience for Hope Fellowship’s leaders. Reconnecting with the welcoming staff and sitting by a warm fire was a great way to start setting aside the busyness of daily life and shifting our hearts, souls, minds and bodies towards the future of Hope Fellowship.
On Friday night and all day Saturday, Hope Fellowship’s office bearers and zone co-ordinators met at the Kingfisher Bay Retreat Centre to continue their discussions about our church’s mission and vision.
In my recent message about “Safe Surfing” I said that Internet pornography is so addicting because it is accessible, affordable and anonymous. My reference to anonymity triggered a thoughtful response from Steve, a regular worshipper at Hope Fellowship.
My husband’s willingness to share in church about porn could have surprised me. Yet when he told me God was nudging him, it didn’t. God can do that - call us to risk transparency. I respect Doug for listening and being vulnerable in sharing so publicly.
I think you would enjoy being in the room when our five passionate, excited, sometimes LOUD zone coordinators meet. They meet together once a month to share what is going on in each area of ministry and to draw support and encouragement from each other.
“The first day my head was spinning,” Krista said, remembering the day when she began her new duties as a member of the Counting Committee. “Today we did it! We balanced!” “It’s definitely been a learning curve,” Helen added. “Now it should be fun because we’re more confident, less stressed and taking less time. In fact, we were finished an hour earlier than last week!” For the last few weeks the two women have met weekly to count the money that the deacons deposit into the church safe every Sunday.
Ever since I started researching and writing the Money Matters messages, I've been seeing and hearing related topics. On the CBC, for example, where they did a feature about the working poor. In the National Post, which published an article explaining “Why saving now is better than saving later.” Then someone made me aware of an article about debt in the January issue of Parenting magazine.
On Wednesday night, four participants in the latest New Members Class professed their faith to the Pastoral Elders. It was a powerful evening as Lori, Michael, Kiera and Alexis shared their testimonies. Each had a compelling story about the journey that God has led them on, stories that they will share with the entire congregation on Stand Up Sunday, April 27.
In July, Christina Reid, one of Hope Fellowship’s young adults, will pack her bag and head out for an “eleven countries in eleven months” missions trip. It is organized by an Atlanta, Georgia based organization called “Adventures in Missions.” And what an adventure it will be for this new Christian who was baptized at our church less than a year ago!
The newspaper called it “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” but it was magic for those who managed to make it to the Sunday services on December 22, a day that will be remembered for one of the GTA’s most damaging and crippling ice storms