Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's Worship Conference

This past weekend 60 ish people from different churches came to Calvin for the "Let's Worship" Conference. I wasn't part of the actual conference, but did help cater the event (see entry about the "Friendly Hands"). I thought it might be nice for you to know about those things that go on in Calvin that allow for others to grow and learn and be nurtured as well. It was sponsored by our church and there were lots of great workshops to attend. Here's what happened. 9:00 a.m. Opening Worship

Track 1 - The Art of Worship Team Leadership

9:30 a.m. Vocals and Vocal Harmony Paul & Greg This session will address the role of the worship team in encouraging the congregational voice, the basic structure of the worship team, the ideal number of vocalists, lead vocalists, microphone technique, when to use vocal harmony, and how to create vocal harmonies.

10:40 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. Rhythm Section I: Guitar and Piano This session covers a variety of topics including: an introduction to the guitar for non-guitarists, the roles of electric and acoustic guitars, the difference between solo piano and worship team piano, basic piano textures, and balancing the piano and guitar.

Track 2 The Art of Worship Design

9:30 a.m. Principles of Worship Design Ken /Daryl This session will focus on the what and the why behind the choices we make in the way we design worship, considering both our Reformed roots and our contemporary context. We will then focus on the how by examining one church as a case study of a process of worship development.

10:40 a.m. Break

The purpose of today’s workshops is to explore the potential of the worship arts and their role and implementation in worship gatherings.

11:00 a.m. The Art of Drama OR The Art of Projection Peter (Computer-Aided) Ron (not me : ) )

Track #1

1:00 p.m. Rhythm Section II: Bass and Drums This session is an introduction to the bass, the anatomy of the drum set, the drum beat, controlling drum volume and coordinating the bass and drums.

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. Arranging I This session focuses on putting all the instruments and voices together into a cohesive arrangement that supports the congregation’s singing and the song’s text.

2:10 p.m. Break

2:30 p.m. Arranging II An open rehearsal that demonstrates the concepts outlined in the first Arranging section

Track #2

1:00 p.m. The Art of Visuals OR The Art of Liturgy Petra / Ruth-Ann

2:10 p.m. Break

2:30 p.m. Putting It All Together This session will feature a panel of all the presenters and an open discussion prompted by Q&A as well as the sharing of best practices. Everyone is encouraged to participate.

3:40 p.m. Combined Closing Worship This conference was allot of work, but proved to be a great day for all involved. Thanks to all who helped plan the day. Those who attended learned allot and grew from the conference. Below are some pictures of the day.
Registration time.
People "posing" for this picture. Nice pose Ron (not me : ) )
Attendees enjoying break time.
More attendees.
One of several great workshops offered.
Another workshop.
A workshop held in the sanctuary.
Food, glorious food.
Hey, that guy looks somewhat familiar serving the soup. Whew, I didn't spill on anyone..... : )
More Friendly Hands serving the attendees.
It was Winston's Birthday this day. He received a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday to you!"

Friendly Hands at Work

This past weekend I had the chance to be part of another ministry that happens here at Calvin. It occurred in conjunction with the "Let's Worship" Conference (see that Blog entry for info on that) held at Calvin CRC. A group known as the "Friendly Hands" (FH) catered the conference event. Let me tell you a bit about the FH. They are a group lead by Rita and Anne, with a host of other helpers. Their mission is to provide food for events at Calvin CRC. They cater weddings, dinners, and funerals throughout the year. I like this ministry for many reasons. First and foremost, I like the two ladies in charge. They are kind, compassionate people who desire to put on top notch catering events. They work hard and the results of their labors of love are always outstanding. Another reason I like this group is because it quietly goes about it's ministry, but does so much more than just serve food. They help make weddings great places to fellowship. They provide comfort in the midst of the difficult task of hosting funerals, and they make you feel good as you are served a meal from their "Friendly Hands." There's more. The group of volunteers that gathers together to prepare the meals long before they occur could better be classified as a small group within our church. The camaraderie amongst this group is amazing. You can always hear laughter coming from the kitchen as they cut and dice and prepare their meals. I made a point early on of offering to volunteer at a FH function. I wanted to "infiltrate" the organization to get to know those in the group. As a Youth Pastor, it's no secret that you need to make friends with all sorts of "groups" in order to do effective youth ministry. Sometimes it's political, always purposeful, and yes, even selfish, when it comes to youth ministry. However, as the years have passed, I've struck a nice friendship with Anne and Rita. I've come to appreciate all that they do at our church, and more. I've come to see that many in the group are of the more "mature" side of life and they love to get together for an event. It's like holding a small group meeting time. The conversations that go on vary greatly. Sometimes it's "commenting" on church life, other times is encouraging one another as they struggle with life. It always seems to be edifying in the end. So, I found myself involved once again serving with the FH. I'm not sure how the rest of the group views the "Youth Pastor" coming in to serve, but I know that Anne and Rita enjoy it. I think it's important to be a servant once in a while, and not always leading in the church. When I'm a FH person, Rita or Anne are in charge and if they say JUMP, I say HOW HIGH!!! : ) Below are some pictures of the event we just did. I'm so appreciative of the ministry that they do, and it is a ministry of Calvin church. Thanks Anne and Rita for all your work. I know how much time it takes for you and what it takes out of you. I'm not sure how many people really do. : ) May God grant your ministry group many more years of events together (though we could do with less funerals eh) and fellowship. You are much more than just a catering group. You are a blessing to our church, and to each other.
Rita hard at work.
More of the group, taking a break.
Back to work.
Work, work, work.
Pastor Ron making up the new name tags that were just purchased.
Pastor Ron showing off all the new name tags. Strange man, eh!
Pastor Ron ensuring that guests feel welcome and are taken care of. A standard and important job of every FH.
Once the work is done, one of the perks is that we who volunteer get to eat the fruit of our labor. I'm getting some delicious soup to eat. It was worth the work. : )

YP - Chili Dinner F.R. & Games Night

Youth Ministry seems like it's always a multifaceted animal that is hard to grab by the tail and control. There's always more that can be done, should be done, and even shouldn't be done. Youth Pastors (and volunteer Youth Leaders in churches that have no paid staff) are at times viewed as the Expert in all things, but Master of none. : ) I'm OK with that in my job description because I get to do things that I thoroughly enjoy. I have GREAT, AWESOME, GIVING Youth Leaders that help me in the ministries that we do here at Calvin. They make my life easier. One area that happens in is the one we call "Youth Group Fundraisers." I actually love fund raising events, but I know that other Youth Pastors loath them. I like them because I find that fund raising is about much more than just raising $$. Raising money is a means to a greater end. Here are the real benefits of doing a fund raising activity: 1. The fellowship that comes with the planning of the activity helps relationships grow between adults and young people. All important! 2. The fellowship that flows through the congregation as the event is going on helps a congregation build relationships in many and varied ways. All important! 3. A congregation gets to see it's youth doing positive things in a world that doesn't always see them that way. 4. Young people learn the value of hard work (something else that isn't always taught well in today's society), and that it can be fun to do. 5. I get to watch different young people react in different ways during a fund raising event. I enjoy that because there are at least 3 kinds of YP at a fund raising event: a. Those that have come to work hard and contribute. b . Those that have come to work, but not necessarily that hard. c. Those who have come to watch other people work. I enjoy watching that dynamic play itself out at each and every fundraiser that I've held in my 14 years of ministry. Well, enough pontification about Fund raising. On to the topic at hand. Our latest fund raising event - A combination Chili F.R. and games night. We held it on March 21st, the tail end of March Break. Several YP were gone, but enough hung around to make a go of it. We decided to combine a games night with the Fundraiser to give people a chance to socialize longer, or simply linger. Below is a chronological explanation of the event using pictures.
Different Fundraisers rely on different experts in our church : ) For Pancakes is John B, for Chili it's Chad and Janine (for sure!!!) We arrived at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. I was greeted to cans and cans of beans, tomato paste, and more beans......
My son Christopher got to work opening all those cans.....after a brief class in how to operate the can opener....again !
Rosalynn came shortly on and was put to work peeling potatoes. Apparently she doesn't do well with a knife in her hand. We have her a potato peeler instead.
Hannah B. Well, let's just say that she came to this F.R. with a couple of strikes against her already. Seems she was at a "partey" (yes the spelling is on purpose for phonetic sounding) all night, and only got 2 - 3 hours sleep. As you can see, she's hurting already, and she just got started. : (
David and Megan had the fun task of peeling LOTS of onions. It was sad to see David cry....well, not really : )
Lots and Lots of cans for 5 different chili recipes. 1 Vegetarian, 1 with only beans, 2 mild, and 1 really hot.
Katherine and Makusi get to work once they arrive. LOTS of potatoes to peel.
Christopher and David sample the buns as they cut them (no, they didn't sample them ALL.....I knew you were thinking that : ) )
We began preparing the Chili at 10 am. We were done at about 1:oo pm. The rest of the time the Chili fermented in several crock pots, and the YP settled down to watch some movies to pass the time until 4:30 pm.
David and Chris at 5:00 am, "So, like, where are all the people, eh?"
Shawn and Ben make sure that all who attend give generously to a good cause. They did. We ended up making just over $800 clear. THANKS TO ALL WHO CAME OUT!
Eric, "So, what's in that chili? Is it hot? I have sensitive taste buds you know...." or something like that: )
Evert, Annet and Linda out for a GREAT meal. I think Annet is wondering how she's going to use a knife and fork to eat her chili....ask her about it sometime. : )
Soon the masses of people began to fill the fellowship hall. Chili and buns galore.
Now, we operate our fundraisers on a donation only basis, with a portion taken off / plate, the rest being tax deductible. Here is John with his family, well, actually some are missing. Good thing we made ALLOT of chili : ) . Thought I was going to say something else, eh John (tee, hee).
Here is my wife and two kids enjoying dinner. Katrina just loved our chili.
More Calvin"ites" enjoying an evening out.
The burning question of the afternoon was, are we going to be able to eat as well? This happens often in F.R.'s. My motto is that no one of the YP eats until we feel that the paying patrons have had their fill. That time couldn't have come soon enough for Mike, Chris and David.
With everyone's stomachs full, it was time to enter into clean up mode. It seems that the boys have really taken to the dishwasher in our kitchen. Hey, I'm good with that. They did a GREAT job of washing ALOT of dishes.
As clean up got under way, many people settled down to play games together.
A popular game played often at Calvin is something called, "Settlers of Catan." I'm not much of a games player, so I leave that to those who are. : ) Many spent hours playing this game.
Seems that John and Peter and his son decided to play boggle. Apparently John's vocabulary is lacking.......alot! He lost by a landslide.
Others decided to simply sit around and fellowship together.
The evening ended around 9:00 pm. Thanks again for all who came out. Thanks Chad and Janine for you skill once again, and your enthusiasm. Thanks to the YP who came to be part of the day. It was good working with you. Another successful fundraiser under our belts. Whew.....each one is fun, but each one causes me some stress.........but it's all good now, really : )

Coffee Break Ministries Highlighted

Calvin Church has been blessed with many ministries. All are wonderful to watch as they ebb and flow, struggle and grow, but are never in it for personal show. One ministry I always see is Coffee Break. It meets every Wednesday morning from 9:30 - 11:30 am in the Fall and Winter/Spring. Things are just about wrapping up for this ministry season. I wanted to take just a moment to highlight this ministry. My wife, Joycegina, heads it up at this point in time. Quite a bit of work, actually. She's often on email, or the phone, ensuring that all the volunteers are in place, prayer meetings are happening, etc. She likes it though, so that is good. Each Wednesday morning, Calvin slowly comes to life beginning at about 9:00 am. It begins with the initial helpers coming in to pray, or begin the coffee, or set up snacks and tables/chairs. The volume level increases slightly as the group leaders come in, and set up their respective rooms, as well as the caregivers for the children. Things comes to a crescendo as all the women, some with children, some not, enter the building. Between 9:30 and 10:00 am there is allot of talking that goes on over coffee in the fellowship hall (I didn't get a picture of that, but it's a sight to see). At times I'll saunter into the fellowship hall to grab a coffee and talk with some of the ladies, but I know that I'm a distraction to the real action - catching up on their lives in between coffee break meetings. : ) After some good fellowship, maybe some announcements from my wife, it's off to the various Bible study groups for about 1.25 hours. Things quiet down around the church by about 11:30 am as the leaders close things down. This ministry has been going on for several years now, meeting many needs and ministering to many women in the process. We are very thankful for Coffee Break. Having said that, that doesn't mean this ministry is not without its struggles. I know in talking with my wife that there is always this tension in her heart as to what type of group should this be/is/wants to be. At present I could say that it is a group that ministers to many women who are already Christians, whether they have younger children, are empty nesters, or have children at all. That is not a bad thing at all, but I think that some struggle with that. Should we be seeking out women who are searching for Christ (we have had some in the past), and if so, how would that change the present dynamic of Coffee Break? What would have to be added, removed, changed in order to move Coffee Break in a different direction? Do the women attending even desire that sort of change? Joycegina is testing the waters of those who are attending now. I am intrigued to see what the results of her questions will reveal. Another issue is maintaining the many volunteers to keep it running. Many are needed. Bible Study leaders, child care providers, people to set up and clean up, etc. It seems that each year that gets to be a harder thing to get commitments for. A ministry like this one doesn't thrive without them. (Oh, and thank you to all those who HAVE volunteered in the past. I know Joycegina GREATLY appreciates all you do!) I still think Coffee Break is valued greatly here at Calvin. I know that for some women this is their life-line to sanity as they tend to their families. I've seen some great relationships be built from the foundations of Coffee Break Ministries. As this year draws to a close, and planning begins for next year, would you pray with me that this ministry continues in new and creative ways that energize those who lead, and those who attend? Thanks. Oh, and if you just happen to be reading this as a non member of Calvin, and are interested in knowing more about this women's ministry (whether you are a believer, or just wondering about who God and Jesus are and what they have to do with you), please call the church office at 613-225-2889 and the office manager will be sure to forward your number on to Joycegina. You can also email me at and I'll get Joycegina to contact you.
The Mom to Mom group. A VERY Large group : )
Another Bible Study Group. Some very fun ladies in this group (oh, that's not to say those in the other group AREN'T fun....FYI) : )
Bea and Margaret take time each week to take care of the little ones. Always a GREAT craft or some other teaching item. Thanks for all your VALUED and WONDERFUL work with these little ones.
Some of the projects that the little ones get to do. Looks like lots of FUN!
Oh, I told the lady with the outstretched arms and the bunny ear fingers that I'd put this picture in my blog, so here it is. : )

March Break Hoopla

March Break is a time for travel for many families. However, not all go away. Many simply stay at home. Kanata CRC's Youth Worker, Andrea, decided that it would be nice if something were offered in her church neighborhood for a couple of days during March Break. She asked if I'd help, and bring along a couple of young people as well. Since we had planned for something during March Break (we go on a mission trip every other year during this time), I accepted the invitation. This was going to be a bit different for me, since I'm used to being the one in charge of things, not the one doing the volunteering (and yes, the hands on work)! : ) On Monday - Wednesday of March Break myself, my son Christopher, and Hannah and Megan helped out at Kanata CRC's March Break Hoopla. A morning program featuring games, baking, woodworking and dance. I was in charge of the woodworking. Christopher and myself were to help kids make birdhouses. Simple enough, so I thought : ). Usually the first day is a bit chaotic because volunteers need to assess how to do things, get a system in place, etc. It was no different for Christopher and myself. It took us a bit of time to get a system in place to cut the roof, cut a hole for the birds to enter and exit, and hammer things together. (It turned out that gluing things together first was more workable, so we adopted that strategy for day 2 and 3). It was alot of fun doing this. Christopher did a great job of cutting and gluing and I made sure the houses stayed together. Some kids wanted to hammer and cut, others simply wanted to watch. See the pictures below to get a better idea of what we were doing. Hannah and Megan helped with the groups and dance class. All in all about 40 ish kids showed up for the three days. It was interesting to observe and learn from Andrea. Lots of food for thought when it comes to our church and how to engage the neighborhood around us in the future. Nothing preachy, but more of a practical nature. Build the relationships first, and let the Lord lead the conversations. Thanks for the opportunity for myself and several of our youth to help you out Andrea. A job well done.
Pastor Ron assisting a participant with nailing.
Hannah helping to sand birdhouses with her group.
Megan and Christopher gluing, gluing, and more gluing.
My daughter, Katrina, painting her birdhouse. (It now hangs in our tree awaiting tenants.)
The cooking class. They all made GREAT chocolate chip cookies.
Megan helping out to demonstrate some dance moves.