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Parliamentary Motion on Canada Summer Jobs

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Some of you may have been following the issue surrounding the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. For several years in the past, our church took advantage of the CSJ program, which allows us to hire high school and post-secondary students as interns for the summer to help us with our ministry and also to give them valuable work experience and training. The grants that the government gave for this purpose were extremely valuable to our church, the students, and the community of South Delta as we used the internships to develop young leaders to serve the community by organizing youth events, kids camps, community events, and serving in the Tsawwassen First Nation community. However, a change to the application process to this year's CSJ program means that we are no longer able to take advantage of such a valuable program. The government has added an attestation box to the application form this year where we have to check the box that says, "I attest" to an aforementioned attestation. Here's the wording of the attestation on the application form:
"Both the job and my organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free of discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability or sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression."
Because of our understanding of the biblical teachings on the definition of marriage and sanctity of life, and our conviction that these biblical teachings are to be understood as God's truth in this world, we cannot check this attestation box in good conscience. So, like many churches and other organizations all across Canada, we applied for the CSJ grants without checking the attestation box, and with an accompanying letter explaining our reasoning for leaving the box unchecked. We also expressed our concern that organizations with similar convictions should not be exempt from benefiting from government programs like this because of our faith. Our application was returned as it was deemed, "incomplete."
We are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section two), and we believe the CSJ attestation requirement infringes on our rights. However, our reaction as a church—the body of Christ—should not be one of violent protest or slandering of the government. Romans 13 commands us to "be subject to the governing authorities." I know that it is tempting to speak poorly about the government in these situations, but that is not how mature Christians should respond. We ought to respond with respect and love like Jesus in situations like this. Let us pray for the government and the people who serve our city, province, and nation. Let us pray that they would be successful in their roles, and that they and their families would be blessed.
Nevertheless, we do have the responsibility to speak truth in grace. So, we have written our Member of Parliament, Carla Qualtrough, to encourage her to vote in favour of the parliamentary motion on Canada Summer Jobs that is scheduled for Monday, March 19th. MPs will be voting on the following motion:
"That, in the opinion of the House, organizations that engage in non-political non-activist work, such as feeding the homeless, helping refugees, and giving kids an opportunity to go to camp, should be able to access Canada Summer Jobs funding regardless of their private convictions and regardless of whether or not they choose to sign the application attestation."

Please join our staff and elders as we pray for God's favour upon us regarding this matter, and for discernment and wisdom for the MPs as they meet on Monday.
Paul Park
(For more information, please visit the Canadian Council of Christian Charities blog.)

Posted by Paul Park

A Cheerful Giver

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I am thankful for God's faithfulness and that His word, the bible, never changes. God is faithful to look after His children. Matthew 7:11 says, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

In Luke 6:38, we read about the principle of giving: "Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." God's challenging you and me to be generous. 2 Corinthians 9:6 builds upon this principle: "...whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

We serve a loving, faithful God. His word is true. May God continue to encourage us to grow in our walk with Him.

Posted by Sonya Dobson

My First Year

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Well, it’s officially been a year since my wife, Britni, and I packed up all our stuff in Ontario and headed out here to Tsawwassen. It’s crazy to think it has already been a year. It has gone by so quickly. So much has happened this year that it would take much longer than this blog to say it all, but I’ll try my best to give you a glimpse into what God is doing.

One of the greatest blessings of the past year has been working with the staff and volunteers at SDBC. The staff truly loves serving this community and wants to see Christ known in South Delta. But that mentality doesn’t stop with the staff. I’ve seen it in action in our church family, specifically with those who volunteer in youth and young adult ministries. I am privileged to have stepped into my role here at SDBC with a dedicated leadership team for our youth and young adult ministries already in place. Every week we have a group of leaders who come and are excited to be involved in what God is doing through these ministries. He is doing great things.

Our preteen program is seeing incredible community engagement, with students coming out and engaging with the games, the teaching, and their leaders. Many of these students and their families don’t attend SDBC but have heard about the program through kids talking about it at school. We’re continuing to teach explicitly what it means to be a Christian in our culture and praying for God to work through myself and the leadership team.

Students in our youth program are growing as a community as we’re seeing a consistent group of students out each week. Relationships are being built between leaders and students that is allowing open conversation during small group discussion times. I’m looking forward to what is ahead for the youth ministry this year. The focus moving forward is to build a gospel-centred community and build intentional discipleship relationships between students and leaders. This is all for the purpose of equipping teens to reach the youth of South Delta.

This past September, we changed things up a little for the young adults, and launched Reach, our new young adults program. We’ve seen almost a dozen young adults enter into mentoring relationships with members of SDBC. Throughout the fall, there was a growing desire to continue to have a young adult community group in addition to Reach, but with a missional focus. So, a few young adults stepped up to lead a group and work through the Alpha program. Through Reach and the community group, we’re seeing young adults challenged to step out in faith and reach the young adults of South Delta.

There’s a lot to be thankful for in this past year. I’m looking forward to seeing these ministries continue to impact students and young adults in the coming years. I ask for your prayers for myself, and the leadership teams for these ministries, as we continue to seek God’s direction.

Posted by Kyle McDonald

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