Monday evening, ONEchurch held another meeting to discuss how we could help at the shelter. About 30 people, representing numerous churches and ministries, were there. Others informed us of their willingness to be involved, but had a conflict with the timing of the meeting. At this meeting we presented the need again and requested teams to take designated evening shifts at the shelter. Ultimately, our goal is to have teams from various churches and ministries that would be willing to be committed to a weekly evening shift in an ongoing basis (probably from 8 – 11pm). Each team will have their own point person that their team responds to and there will be a contact person from ONEchurch that will communicate with those running the shelter – presently Susan Zuidema.
Just imagine what a mobilized Church, helping to meet a need like homelessness would look like if we were all working in the same direction, in partnership with others. As the Church of Brantford, we are well-positioned to do just that. ONEchurch… your desire to help and your persistence in stepping up has made us believe that transformation of this issue is more than a pipe dream; it can become a reality. Thank you to all who have brought a meal, provided clothing or rounded up a tarp to help.
God’s reconciling purposes are for the “whole” world. His heart is not just for personal transformation, but for transformation of entire neighbourhoods, cities, and nations to once again live out his original intent and purpose in creation.
God calls out a people and gives them a mission—to continue Jesus’ ministry and mission – to partner with him in his plan “for the redemption of all creation.” This mission includes displaying before our neighbourhoods, cities, and nations a transformed way of living, and living together, which is the way God always desired. In so doing, we fulfill Jesus’ prayer that the kingdom would come and his will be done on earth as in heaven.
Everywhere we go and in everything we do in “our everyday ordinary life, our sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life” (Rom.12:1 MSG) is to be transformed by the Spirit at work in and through us. As we live in God’s way, fulfilling his mission, we will change everything we touch—just as Jesus did. Our transforming influence ought to bring change to the problems that plague our cities today—poverty, crime, addictions, divorce, violence. And there ought to be a dramatic increase in the things that characterize the transformed life of the kingdom—mercy, justice, and compassion (especially for the poor).
Our goal over the next several months is to unpack for discussion the major themes that guide ONEchurch. Each month at our luncheons we will be taking to time to discuss the ideas presented in the newsletter. This month, we will explore what is meant by “City Transformation.”
ONEchurch describes its mission as “participating in the transformation of the city.”
What is transformation? Can a city actually be transformed?
Further, can the church be more than just a religious institution, significantly participating in the shaping of the culture, social framework and even the economy of a city? It’s an important question to answer because if it can, and if that’s what Jesus desires of his people, then these questions are not just interesting but mission critical.
This article will provide the basis for our discussion on September 12th at noon at the luncheon hosted at Organized Kaos.
r first annual ONEchurch Brantford Food Drive was a success, but not just in raising food. Success can also be weighed in terms of new relationships and collaboration, in heightened community involvement, and in bringing honour to God by doing as He commanded: meeting real needs.
God blessed our efforts and more than 28,500 pounds of food were raised which will go directly to feeding families in need in Brantford this summer. Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow!
In the fall of 2018, Cheryl Antoski, Brantford’s Ward 4 Councillor and the Chair/Co-Founder of the Equal Grounds Community Gardens (EGCG), approached Pleasant Valley Church about the garden in Princess Anne Park. Existing volunteers were winding down and the EGCG needed a new champion.
“In our Christian faith, we believe that life began in a garden. In fact, God never repealed his command to His followers to stop caring for the garden,” said Terry Ciona, pastor of Pleasant Valley. Many churches are looking for ways to be involved in their community and to meet and know their neighbours. Pleasant Valley has implemented a number of community initiatives in recent years, including a summer 2018 children’s soccer-baseball program right in Princess Anne Park. They quickly recognized the opportunity to work the local garden as a chance to go deeper in these existing relationships, in particular with the children.
The energy was high as people connected for the 4th annual Brantford Civic Prayer Breakfast. A record number of guests packed out the room at the Best Western conference centre on May 10th. Phil McColeman (MP-Brant), Will Bouma (MPP-Brantford/Brant) and his wife Joni attended along with seven city councillors headed by Jan Vanderstelt, representing Mayor Kevin Davis. Also in attendance were Geoff Nelson, chief of Brantford Police and Anna Everett, deputy fire chief.
Speaker James Kelly of FaithTech inspired attendees to pursue opportunities and solutions that can result from leveraging technology to solve real-world problems. He elaborated on the concept that in the midst of devastation, there is an opportunity for innovation.
ONEchurch is very excited about the potential of an upcoming, city-wide food drive to bring congregations together to meet a need in the community. Brian Beattie, chair of ONEchurch explained that “it fits with our mandate to participate in the transformation of the city and bring practical, tangible solutions to real issues around us.”
In early June, congregations from six zones covering over half of the city of Brantford will work in an unprecedented event to fill the storehouses of the Brantford Food Bank for the summer months.
While the Food Bank is open year-round, summer can be tough. School is out which means that school-run food programs do not function and family grocery needs are higher. But the Brantford Food Bank, like most food banks, suffers from drastically reduced donations in the summer months. This food drive targets this need.
Taking care of our neediest, most at-risk children is no small task, but is one that Jesus clearly commands his disciples to do. Jacob’s Well Ministries, Inc. is actively offering Brantford’s neediest children the hope and love that is offered by a relationship with God in their annual Creation Force March Break Camp.
The Creation Force March Break camp is offered in Jesus’ name and for His glory. Each day, camp focuses on a different biblical lesson. On the third day, they learn that “You have a Purpose.” On this day, they are presented with the gospel message and given an opportunity to respond. Last year, as in every year, a sea of hands was raised to receive Jesus and to start the journey of exploring His purpose for their lives. The continued discipleship of children who decide to follow Jesus at camp needs to happen in local churches. Read more about how you can help.
The drive from where we turned off Colborne Street East to get to Intervarsity Circle Square Ranch is always a little longer than one might expect – and a little bumpy too – but the atmosphere around the ranch’s dining room table for the ONEchurch leader’s luncheon in January was one of camaraderie, mutual appreciation, and support.
We were excited to hear from Steve and Andrea Richardson, directors of the Ranch and staff for nearly 26 years. The Richardsons talked about how God is using the Ranch to transform kids’ lives. We learned that over 1500 campers come each summer and only about half are from church families. The Richardsons shared the joy of hearing about decisions to follow Jesus (224 last year!) and pray that these decisions represent one of the first steps in a work the Holy Spirit is doing to transform families.