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Reflecting on 2020

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2020 is hard to describe in a few words. For many people, it was challenging, difficult, depressing, stressful, unexpected, and even full of regrets and resentment. For some, it was a time for unifying, growing, learning, refocusing, and even rejoicing. Some of us lost loved ones during this difficult time and others lost jobs. Some of us, though, started new relationships, started a new career, got married, and even gave birth to beautiful children. Overall, reflecting on this unique year leaves me remembering Psalm 23. Even though David "walk[ed] through the valley of the shadow of death," he still professed that "the LORD is [his] shepherd and that [he] shall not want." He praises God for restoring his soul and leading him in paths of righteousness. Despite the greatest challenges of his life, he experienced the Lord preparing a table before him even in the presence of his enemies. He exclaims that God anoints his head with oil and that his cup overflows. He is confident that he shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

It is okay for us to admit that this past year has been challenging or even excruciating. However, we can still set our gaze on God who remains our only hope whether times are easy or difficult. When times are relatively easy, we may be tempted to think we don't need God to be our hope. When times are too difficult, we may forget about the hope that God promises and be tempted to despair. No matter where we are in life, the best way forward for all of us is to remember that God is our refuge and strength. He is our hope and our reason to be able to trust that we will be okay today, tomorrow, and forevermore. He is for us and not against us.

When we walk through our own valley of the shadow of death, let us not forget about the great Shepherd who satisfies our souls; the one who makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters; the one who makes our cup overflow and fills our lives with goodness and mercy. Let us not lose sight of the fact that we WILL dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Amen.

I miss you and I long to see you. Until our Lord allows that day where we can see each other again, may our mighty God protect you, fight for you, and make his presence known to you as you reflect on 2020, and may he continue to be your hope as you head into 2021. May you experience a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. 

Your brother in Christ,
Paul

Posted by Paul Park

Catching up With Staff: Mary

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This week we hear from me, Mary Grierson! This first paragraph is usually where I rant and rave about how awesome my amazing co-workers are, but I will not be doing that about myself, as it would be dreadfully awkward. Instead I will just list a few characteristics that are classic "Mary at work" characteristics: I am quite chatty and I love talking to my co-workers, I ask A LOT of questions, I love to learn new things, and I am a compulsive cleaner. You can often find me cleaning the staff microwave or coffee machine (for fun) on my lunch break. I love to clean, and I also love to take care of my co-workers, so it's really a win-win.

What is your role at SDBC and how long have you worked here?
I am the Community Life Coordinator at SDBC! This means that I take care of everything that could fall under community life, whether that is a ministry inside the church or a program that we run for the South Delta community. I oversee community groups, church wide events, and special programs (things like special Christmas Sunday's, the 60th anniversary, or Alpha, etc.), staff events, Starfish Pack, preparations for the SDBC Tutoring Program, and many other things.

What is something about you that people in the church might be surprised to discover?
Let me think...I took lessons and played the drums for 5 years! I was also part of a church girl band where I played the drums. We were called the "Hot Pinkz," like the colour hot pink, but with a Z so that people knew we were cool. Oh, to be 12 again!

What are some of the things you love most about being part of the SDBC community/family?
The thing I love most about our SDBC family is the love, care, and support that our church family freely gives to one another. I have been a recipient of this love, care, and support and it is truly a gift. When I first started coming to this church in 2014, this characteristic was what attracted me to the church community; people seemed to really care about each other and participate in each other's lives.

How has your role shifted and changed since the start of COVID-19?
My role has shifted in so many ways! To start, when COVID became an issue in BC in March, Paul came into my office one day and said, "Mary, we need to choose an online platform to maintain community, can you choose one and help everyone use it?" Now, this is awesome, because, like I mentioned previously, I love learning new things. However, if you know me well, you know I am not the most tech savvy person, so it was quite an interesting task for me. However, I read through many articles on "How to Zoom" and became versed enough with it to be able to help some of you, my beloved church family, use it! Another change was how the Starfish team operated. As I have written about in other stories, during the first lockdown a small crew packed out of a home. We are now back to packing at the church, but again, with a very small crew. A lot of time has been spent applying for grants and securing funds for Starfish so that we can continue to grow this year. One last thing I want to mention is that I also have become a new member of the tech team/video crew on staff! Which, again, is hilarious, because as of February 2020 you would not have ever seen me on the tech team. Our team has been amazing with answering all my questions and helping me become a member of this team.

What are some of the challenges and triumphs you have encountered in your life and work since the beginning of COVID-19?
At the beginning of this COVID journey I really struggled with the loneliness of working from home for the first time. My husband, Phil, has continued to go into work everyday, so I had to get used to being alone and developing new rhythms and habits. The love and prayer from my co-workers really helped me through this time. It has also been hard not seeing our church family every Sunday. I long for the day when I can see you come through the doors and give you a big hug, or an in-person smile. However, I am hopeful because I know that this is only a temporary reality and God is sovereign over this COVID situation. God has still been working during COVID, and he has been working powerfully. As Jordan mentioned a few Sundays ago, people are still coming to Christ and asking questions about him during this time. We also see God working through the community and orchestrating Starfish receiving a $15,000 grant! How incredible is that?!? These funds help guarantee that we can meet the needs of every student in South Delta who signs up to be part of the program. One triumph in our Starfish Pack program is that we are now serving the high schools! Originally we did not think that they would be interested in the program, however, they were! We are now able to begin to meet the needs of the high schoolers in our community!

How can we pray for you in this season of life?
Please pray for the continued health and safety of our staff and church family. Please also pray that the Starfish Pack continues to grow. We now have the funds, we just need more students to come forward, as we know that the need is there.

Click here to email encouragement to Mary.

Posted by Mary Grierson

Christmas Eve at SDBC

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We received many questions about what Christmas will look like this year at our church. Given the many restrictions currently in place in our province, we recognize that Christmas will not look the same as previous years, but this gave us an opportunity to creatively explore different ways to worship God and to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. With many traditions stripped from us, perhaps we could refocus on the most important element of Christmastime—Emmanuel, our God with us.

This year, SDBC will gather online on Christmas Eve to worship. We are calling you to join us for our livestreamed service at 5PM on Christmas Eve so that we could worship our God together. If you have been joining us for online services, you can use the same link as our Sunday services to access the Christmas Eve service.

Following the 5PM service, we are hosting a short Zoom gathering where Jayson will lead us in "Silent Night" as we continue our tradition of raising candles to represent the Light that has entered the world. We would love to see you and continue this meaningful tradition virtually, so please use this Zoom link to join us immediately after the Christmas Eve service. You will be able to find this link on our Christmas page as well.

This Saturday (December 19th), a few of our staff will be hosting a drive-thru at our church courtyard so that you can pick up candles and a special gift for you to enjoy during the Christmas Eve service. We assure you that this will be as safe as it could be with all our safety protocols in place. We are also asking you to bring canned foods to contribute to the South Delta Food Bank. We enjoy giving generously this time of year, and this will be an opportunity for our church family to support the people who need our help in our community. We look forward to seeing you at this drive-thru on Saturday. Please feel free to drive through anytime between 10AM and 2PM.

We understand that our Christmas Eve service is a valued tradition not only for our church family but for our South Delta community at large. Please help us get the word out by sharing the details of our plans with your friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues. Feel free to share this letter, our promo video, our social media posts, and our website to invite the community to join us for this important service.

As we celebrate Christmas this year, may the Lord's presence and his perfect peace be with you all! Merry Christmas!

Posted by Paul Park

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