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Photo: Spark!2019
Photo by Spark!2019

On Nov. 8 and 9, members and leaders of Christian Reformed congregations across the Maritime provinces will gather for a time of learning, encouragement, and inspiration at Spark!2019 in Truro, N.S.

Participants will gather at John Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Truro on Friday evening and Saturday for presentations, workshops, fellowship, and an optional outing. Organizers Rene Wall and Karla Winham are hoping for participation from all six Maritime churches, with at least 10 people from each church attending.

Wall and Winham have partnered with Connections staff from the CRCNA for this year’s event, sharing responsibilities in promoting the event, arranging for speakers and workshop leaders, and offering funding for travel to help enable more people to come if travel or accommodation costs may be a barrier.

The event, formerly called the Maritime Day of Encouragement, has happened on and off for about 15 years, said event organizers. Lately the gatherings have been hosted in Truro every two years.

“We hope people will gain new knowledge . . . to equip them for both their own faith journey and the challenges they face as they serve and lead in their churches and communities,” said Wall.

Reconnection and encouragement among the churches is another goal, she noted, because churches in the Maritimes are geographically quite distant from one another.

Friday evening will feature a time of worship and a keynote presentation by Lesli van Milligen of Faith Formation Ministries and Beth Fellinger of Resonate Global Mission, exploring ways that churches can adapt to navigate ministry in a rapidly changing world. Later in the evening, participants will be invited to a “third-space ministry experience” at a local pub, learning how to take church out of a building and into the local community.

Saturday’s workshops will cover topics such as youth involvement in church communities, missions, food, justice, creativity, walking with refugees, and practical help with The Bridge App and other resources. Elder and deacon workshops give officebearers time to connect and discuss issues they encounter in their work serving churches.

“We also try to have workshop options for people who aren’t currently in leadership roles,” said Wall. “We all have a role to play in our churches, and we are always looking to mentor new leaders.”

People interested in registering for the event, or part of it, can email spark@johncalvincrc.ca as soon as possible. Participants can attend the keynote address on Friday, Saturday’s workshops, or the whole conference. Accommodations are at a local hotel or in people’s homes.

“It’ll be a great chance to sit back, relax, refresh, and renew ourselves for our work in God’s kingdom,” said Wall. “It’s going to be awesome.”