2016 was a year of growth and expansion for the church engagement team at World Vision Canada.
We saw our team expand with 4 new Church Advisors enabling us to connect and build relationships with many more churches.
We also released several new resources and were even honoured with an award!
However, before we continue onward into 2017, I wanted to take some time to reflect on this past year and all of the new relationships we’ve formed and old ones that have grown. Together we have accomplished so much! Here are some of the highlights.
We launched into 2016 with our very own launch of the new Church Leader Top(ics) website. This online store provides a curated list of great books for the church leader at discounted rates. All proceeds support World Vision Canada programs.
In February we had the pleasure of handing out the Hero for Children award to Keith Chard from New Life Community Church in Clarenville, Newfoundland. The World Vision Canada Hero for Children award celebrates Canadians who have a clear heart for children and have done something extraordinary. It amazes me when you realize what a huge impact a small church can have, sometimes exceeding that of churches many times their size. Read the blog I wrote featuring Keith to learn more about his story.
The 2015 Annual Impact Report was also released and featured the great work by Canadian Churches.
March was the launch of the award winning World Vision Canada Water Campaign. The campaign brought awareness to the need for access to clean water and how water can help children and families become smarter, stronger, safer, more successful, more productive and help them live longer.
Sharing God’s Heart for the Poor is released by World Vision Canada Churches. A new bible study by Amy L Sherman.
In addition, Christa Hesselink launched her Love 2 Love project with her book “Life’s Great Dare” with proceeds from the project supporting World Vision Canada programs. We also marked International Women’s Day with a special blog written by Nori Ayer. It featured 3 phenomenal female church leaders; Rev. Maryann Skinner (First United Church), Pastor Judith McCartney (Soul House), Cindy Westacott (Bendale Bible Chapel) and their inspirational stories.
In April we launched our 12 city tour of the Cultivating a Culture of Dare Church Leader Forums with Mark Buchanan in Cambridge, Toronto, Regina and Saskatoon. There are more people attending our annual Church Leader Forums and more people following us on our social media than ever before. Church Leaders from across Canada where challenged with the question, “Where is your Samaria?” Resources from the event are now available here.
Other highlights from April included the 1-year anniversary of the Nepal Earthquake when Winnipeg Centre Vineyard remembered victims from the tragedy with a fundraising event.
The team was also invited to the Cruxifusion Conference by the United Church of Canada. Furthermore, World Vision Canada hosted the 2016 Church Engagement World Vision International Leader meeting welcoming leaders from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the United States to our head office here in Mississauga.
In May, World Vision Canada President Michael Messenger travelled with Bruxy Cavey and the Africa Learning Team from the Meeting House as they visited their partnership project in Mposa and Chamba, Malawi.
Shifting Stats is named 2016 World Guild Book of the Year in Culture! Shifting Stats features 40 churches across Canada responding creatively to the shifting landscape. Authors Patricia Paddey and Karen Stiller attended the awards ceremony along with myself and World Vision Canada Resource Specialist, Brad Saunders. What an honour!
In mid-June the 12 Church Advisors from across Canada came together for the bi-annual Strategy meetings. It was a great time of sharing ideas and building friendships.
Tenth Church explored their partnership with World vision Canada in Cambodia while River City and the Meeting House Youth Team explored their partnerships in Columbia and Malawi respectively.
In August, World Vision Canada Churches partnered with the Global Leadership Summit. The focus of the partnership was around training leaders and delivering holistic solutions that serve the world’s most vulnerable people, especially those affected by the Syrian Crisis. We created and distributed a FREE downloadable: Refugee Crisis Leadership Guide. Church Advisors attended summit locations across the country to learn and be inspired with fellow leaders.
I also had the privilege of travelling with four of our own new staff members to Brazil. It was a great experience to show them first-hand World Vision programs at work.
Lennett Anderson spoke at Compass Church in Orangeville, Ontario to help them launch a World Vision partnership with a community in Haiti. This was Lennett’s introduction as one of our new Global Partnership launch speakers.
September was also the initial release of our French publications of Sharing God’s Heart for the Poor, “Partager le Coeur de Dieu pour le demuni” with Shifting Stats and others to follow.
Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti with powerful winds coupled with torrential rainfall. Homes were damaged, crops destroyed and over 1000 people died. Many fled their homes seeking shelter at over-crowded churches and safe zones. World Vision was there to help.
Three of our Church Engagement team (Monique, Nori and Tim) ran races with Team World Vision in Montreal, Toronto and Chicago.
In October, many across the country took part in #HungerFree Sunday accepting the challenge to host a friend for a Meaningful Meal. We provided a Meaningful Meal Church Guide which helped spark conversations around the dinner table and provided table graces for those in need around the world.
Reflections for Advent was launched online, a free new Advent resource created by author Mark Buchanan. Reflections for Advent was downloaded by my many and used as a personal, group and church devotional.
Also in November, Flourishing Congregations officially launched, whom we’re a partner with.
The annual Gift Catalogue Luncheon was held at Paris Presbyterian Church in Paris, ON. Church Advisor Brian Mullins was asked to join them this year as their guest speaker.
The 2017 Church Leader Forum speaker and topic is announced, Flying in Formation: Leading Teams to New Heights featuring Dr. Steve Brown, President of Arrow Leadership. The event website for registration is also launched.
The Christmas Unplugged Tour took place across 5 welcoming communities in Newfoundland; Corner Brook, Baie Verte, Clarenville, Bay Roberts and St. John’s. The events featured comedian Steve Geyer and singer/songwriter Angie Rogers.
Since the inception of Global Partner Opportunities three years ago, we now have 185 churches supporting communities in 30 different countries around the world. This is far beyond our expectation. We are thrilled with how Canadian Churches have risen up to meet the needs.
We’re currently in the process of working through a 2017 realignment and restructure that will equip us for the next 10 years. Our wish is to continually meet the growing and changing desires of Canadians to engage in the needs of the world.
May 2017 bring you much peace, joy and love.
Happy New Year!