Good Spiritual Habits

Image Source:  Shades Mountain Independent Church

We’re now into the second quarter of 2016, which usually means that any New Year’s resolutions we may have set have long been broken by now.  That’s okay.  When we’re cultivating new habits, we likely won’t be consistent at first.  As long as we’re persistent (and, for believers, asking God for help with the changes we’re making is always a good idea), we can get past our faltering first steps and begin to walk more consistently and confidently in our new ways. Read More

Physician-Assisted Suicide & Palliative Care: A Brief Update

Reposted from the CABC website:  http://baptist-atlantic.ca/news/physician-assisted-suicide-palliative-care-a-brief-update/

Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death is a watershed issue for Canadian society. But it is also an incredible opportunity for Canadian Christians (and churches) to offer their communities a different perspective on life, death, dignity, suffering, community and worship. How we deal with life – with all of its joys, sorrows, challenges and celebrations – and how we face death, say more to our families and neighbours about our faith than the most well-constructed sermons or evangelistic programs.

Perhaps no other issue so clearly illustrates the difference between a life rooted in Christian faith and one based on secularly-reasoned political correctness. The contrast is stark. Raymond de Souza notes that the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide signals 3 revolutions in jurisprudence: Abandoning the legal principle that every life is always a good to be protected; Embracing the idea that suicide is a social good; and removing the particular obligation of the law to protect the weak and vulnerable.

“I am a 19-year-old university student with Type 1 Diabetes – a chronic, incurable and serious disease that causes me daily suffering. I do not think doctor assisted suicide should be accessible to anyone. People living with Type 1 Diabetes are at high risk of depression, and can experience diabetes burnout. If I ever got to that place, I would not want to live in a society in which taking my life was both easy and socially acceptable. I am especially worried for the vulnerable in our society, including those with disabilities, the poor, and people with mental illness.” – Rachel McNally

God is at work in the land and He invites us to join Him as He changes Atlantic Canada, one neighbourhood and one community at a time. As we care for the weak and vulnerable, those who suffer and those who mourn, our love will bear witness to our faith in ways that are powerful and transformative!

The CABC is producing resources to help churches grapple with this issue. In the meantime, below is a brief backgrounder to help you begin to have conversations about this very important issue (you can also download this in PDF format: http://baptist-atlantic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Physician-Assisted-Suicide-Update.pdf).

Dr. Lois Mitchell, Director of CABC’s Public Witness & Social Concern


Political Context:

  • February 6, 2015 – the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that criminal code prohibitions against Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death are unconstitutional and gave Parliament 12 months to write legislation to permit and govern the practice;
    • In giving their ruling (Carter vs. Canada), the conditions under which Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death could be sought were:
      • When the person clearly consents to the termination of life, and
      • Has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.
    • Some immediate concerns were raised:
      • The wording is quite vague;
      • There is no reference to death being “imminent” or even that the illness or condition under which Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death is sought is terminal;
      • Rules are likely to be interpreted more and more permissively over time (the slippery slope argument);
      • Impact on physicians/health care providers who do not support the legislation;
      • To what extent does this decision reflect (or impact) the economics of care?
  • July 2015 – the Federal Government appointed a three-person panel to consult with Canadians. This included an online consultative process, open to all Canadians, as well as presentations made by interveners to the Panel.
  • Fall 2015 – The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) prepared a Declaration on Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia and circulated it across the country with hopes of getting 10,000 signatures before Feb. 6, 2016. The deadline is extended to July 6, 2016. To date there are over 19,000 individual signatories. The leaders of over 30 Christian denominations and over 20 Jewish and Muslim leaders from across the country have endorsed the Declaration. See http://www.euthanasiadeclaration.ca to add your signature.
  • Conversations are ongoing amongst faith-based groups across the country as we attempt to provide reasoned responses to the recommendations of the Panel AND facilitate healthy conversations amongst our own faith communities.

Cultural Context:

Cultural trends that have contributed to where we find ourselves:

  • A focus on individual rights and the accompanying sense that we should be independent & autonomous;
  • A sense that a compassionate society is one that protects its citizens from “suffering”;
  • A pace of life that suggests that caring for the aged or disabled is a burden.

When one considers the arguments that have been compelling within our society amongst those who favour Physician-Assisted Suicide/Death, they fall into 4 general categories:

    1. Quality of life is compromised by certain illnesses or conditions. BUT, life is a sacred gift (John 16:33).
    2. If a person is not mentally competent or physically able to care for him/herself, they no longer have dignity and every effort should be made, even before they get to that state, to allow them to “die with dignity”. BUT our life is not our own (1Cor. 6:19-20).
    3. No one wants to be a burden to his or her loved ones. BUT, caring for one another is at the heart of the Christian life (Matthew 22:36-40).
    4. No one should have to die in pain and since pain treatments aren’t always effective, Physician-assisted death allows for an easier (and more compassionate) death. BUT, better pain management is the answer, not a premature death AND, in the context of eternal life, suffering does not necessarily end with death (Hebrews 12:1-3).

What Can You Do?

Original CABC post about Euthanasia & Palliative Care:  http://baptist-atlantic.ca/news/euthanasia-palliative-care/

CABC Statement on Discrimination

Reposted from CABC’s website:  http://baptist-atlantic.ca/news/cabc-statement-on-discrimination/

Dear Friends,

[Please read the following excerpt from a press release written by Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia]:


In September 2015, a board of inquiry with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) found that Sobeys’ staff falsely accused Ms. David of Upper Hammond’s Plains of shoplifting. This false accusation was found to be the result of racial profiling by Sobeys.

Sobeys has appealed the Commission’s decision because they have issues with perceived bias and the approach taken by the Commission’s adjudicator. In other words, Sobeys’ fight appears now to be with the ‘process’ the Commission used and not with Ms. David. Yet Sobeys is knowingly dragging an innocent woman, against whom they racially discriminated, back through the process to serve their own purpose.

To read the full statement and press release see the following link: http://baptist-atlantic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/L_Anderson_EBC-Media-Release.pdf. To read the report of the NS Human Rights Commission, click here: http://humanrights.novascotia.ca/node/141.

Rev. Dr. Lennett Anderson of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hammonds Plains and the Board of Directors of the Church have condemned the injurious actions of Sobeys and are planning public demonstrations. Dr. Anderson and the Church have called upon the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches and all other churches of like-minded persons to stand with them against this injustice.

The Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches recognizes the ongoing reality and challenges of racial discrimination in Atlantic Canada and we stand in solidarity with Ms. David and Emmanuel Baptist Church in their struggle against further injustice.

We applaud the decision of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, which clears Ms. David’s name in this case. We are grateful that Ms. David’s church and community is standing with her as she faces and recovers from this ordeal. We support all peaceful efforts to bring reconciliation when injustice has occurred.

We are deeply disturbed by the continued actions taken by Sobeys in this case. Insofar as Ms. David was wrongly accused of shoplifting, we urge Sobeys to acknowledge the consequences of their actions on Ms. David and spare her from further embarrassment and stress.

We call upon the congregations of the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches to stand together with Ms. David, Emmanuel Baptist Church and, our sisters and brothers in the African United Baptist Association against further racial discrimination. Together we stand for justice and for the fair treatment of all people in our society.

Rev. Dr. Peter Reid
Executive Minister

Other links:

Holy Week Devotional 2016: Footsteps of Jesus

Image Source:  Georgetown University

Guest post courtesy of First Baptist Church, Charlottetown, PEI

Welcome to Holy Week, that period that spans Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

As we prepare for the celebration of Easter, this devotional booklet has been compiled to help us follow the footsteps of Jesus during His last week leading up to His death, burial and resurrection. Where did He go? Who did He see? What did He say? Why did He die?

Eight contributors from First Baptist Church have penned these articles. They represent different ages, genders and walks of life. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will guide us each closer to the Saviour who loved and gave Himself for us as in our imaginations we follow His steps during that first Holy Week.

Easter blessings,
Pastor Dave DuBois

Click here to download the devotional booklet.

One Pastor’s Story of Unexpected Ministry

Guest post courtesy of Acadia Divinity College, our Convention’s school of theology

TOGETHER WE’RE EQUIPPING CHRISTIANS TO SERVE.

Recently, we have heard many stories of the plight of refugees.  Often we think there is not much we can do.

In August 2015, an Iraqi mother and her five daughters left a refugee camp in Turkey and boarded an airplane bound for Canada. From the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they were driven to the quiet rural community of Paradise. The congregation of Paradise Baptist Church, led by Rev. Mark Reece (Acadia Master of Divinity 2004) warmly embraced the family and welcomed them into their new community and home.

In 2012, Mark felt the call to enroll in the Acadia Doctor of Ministry program.  As part of this program, Mark had the opportunity to take elective courses.  The course entitled, Reaching Muslims: Theology, Apologetics and Effective Engagement, taught by Dr. Andy Bannister, Director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) Canada, caught his attention.

“It was an area of personal interest to me that I wanted to explore,” said Mark. “I didn’t think it would have much impact on my immediate ministry context. I was wrong.”

Mark credits that course and the quality education he received from Acadia Divinity College in preparing him to respond to the refugee crisis.  Since the family of six has arrived, Mark and the members of Paradise Baptist have been busy caring for their new neighbours as well as helping many other churches respond to the crisis.

Please prayerfully consider giving a gift to allow us to continue equipping Christian leaders like Mark Reece to serve. This fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, we require $415,000 to ensure the operational needs of the College are met.  As of February 15, 2016, we have received $272,150 in support.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support of Acadia Divinity College. We look forward to what we may accomplish together.

Click here to support the ministry of Acadia Divinity College.

Other Links for Paradise Baptist Church, Paradise, Nova Scotia:

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/paradiseubc/
Convention website:  http://baptist-atlantic.ca/news/welcome-to-paradise/

Give to the CABC – Refugee Sponsorship

Canadian Baptist Ministries website:  http://www.cbmin.org/welcome-to-paradise/
CBC News:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/bridgetown-prepares-to-welcome-iraqi-refugee-family-1.3180744

The Pearl: Be Sure You’re After the Right One

Image Source:  Pearls Only

The Pearl of the World

If you haven’t read The Pearl by John Steinbeck, you’re missing out.  It’s a short parable-style novella (about 130 pages in book form or 2.5 hours in audio form) about a Mexican pearl diver named Kino.

Kino and his wife, Juana, have a baby.  One day, the baby is stung by a scorpion.  Kino does not have the money to pay the doctor to save the baby’s life.  The next day, Kino goes diving for pearls and finds what the local villagers call “The Pearl of the World” — a pearl so large that it will set Kino and his family up for life.  The rest of the story describes the evils and tragedies that occur as Kino tries to sell the pearl to secure his family’s future. Read More

What are We Willing to Sacrifice for Jesus?

How much are we willing to sacrifice for Jesus?  He sacrificed so much for us!

Here are a few ideas/questions for consideration.  None of these things are bad in and of themselves.  Some of these things may not even apply to you.  But sometimes it can be good to stretch our thinking about how we’re living our lives and how that affects our ability to serve God. Read More

How You and Your Church Can Give Everyone What They Want

Image Source:  LG Elite

It can be difficult to know how to serve everyone in a church setting.  Children have different needs than youth, who have different needs than young adults, who have different needs than older adults, who have different needs than seniors.  There is even a wide range within each age category – differing genders, marital statuses, employment statuses, educational backgrounds, hobbies, interests, musical preferences.  How can the church serve all of these people well? Read More

Exploring Jesus’ Feminine Side: Part 1

I was eating dinner in the cafeteria at ABU (now Crandall).  We had just received the schedule for that year’s senior seminar and thesis presentations.

Suddenly there was a lot of activity on the other side of the table.  I heard exclamations of “Heresy!”  There were mumblings about “those psychology majors.”  When I asked what the matter was, I was shown the title of the offending thesis:  “Exploring Jesus’ Feminine Side.”

I said, “Flip the page over to see the details.  Maybe it’s not as bad as you think.”

I then witnessed a look of utter dismay.  “It’s your thesis?!?” Read More

How You Can Help Syrian Refugees This Christmas

Canadian Baptists nationwide have committed to sponsoring 100 Syrian refugee families.  Our Convention hopes to provide sponsorship for at least half of those families.  They have made many resources available for any churches that would like to help.

Most of us can’t sponsor a refugee family on our own but we can help in other ways.  The Festival in Charming Churches is providing Islanders with an opportunity to contribute.

Read More