Emmanuel Barrie Ministry Report
A Message from Pastor Randy Roebuck, Emmanuel Lead Pastor (Interim)
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom…
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
In times of change and uncertainty, in a world of new challenges every day, it is reassuring to know that God is unchanging. It is reassuring that our hope is not misplaced. We acknowledge again our utter dependence on the One who is our strength.
We began the year and end the year with our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and our mission to know Him and make Him known through the power of the Holy Spirit.
That focus on Jesus and mission has served us well as Emmanuel has experienced a sea of change.
Emmanuel witnessed the closing of a beautiful chapter in the life of the church this year. Pastor Rick and Jo Buck, after nearly 24 years of passionate leadership, shared with us that God is calling them to a new thing. It was with heavy hearts that we released Pastor Rick to be the new Regional Director of FEB Central Region, but we are confident that God has uniquely equipped him for this new role. We rest in the knowledge that we gain by losing. In the interim, our Elders have put in place a leadership team who will press on with our commitment to faithfully carry out the mission that God has given us.
With growing excitement this year, we have anticipated the planting of our third campus in North Barrie. Pastor Jordan and Olivia Wilcox, together with their launch team, look forward to being a light to the community of North Barrie in the fall, God willing. Again, the spirit of Emmanuel is that we “gain by losing.” We are sending many of our best as we live out our strategy “to gather and go.”
Emmanuel witnessed a wonderful series of miracles from God that culminated in the arrival of the Salloum family from Lebanon last fall. As the family has settled in Barrie, we have been blessed to witness God’s plan unfolding as Fatih and Kifah begin to build relationships among the Arabic speaking community of Simcoe. So many changes have brought us closer to realizing our vision to see Arabic speaking members of our community come face to face with Jesus.
We have enjoyed another wonderful change this year at both of our campuses that often goes un-noticed. It has been our joy to welcome so many new people to worship with us and serve with us. Some have come from other churches and others because they have been invited by Emmanuel families. Some have come through our doors out of a sense of missing something and the hope that they would find it among God’s people. It has been a privilege to see many people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Over this past year we have witnessed 19 people be baptized in obedience to Christ’s command.
When we think of change and uncertainty, none of us could have anticipated COVID-19 and its devastating effects. But even amid something so terrible that none of us would have chosen, we are seeing God work. The irony is that in being forced into isolation we have experienced God drawing us out to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us.
God willing, soon we will be able to begin meeting together once again to worship and experience community together. We have in the spirit of loving our neighbours temporarily set aside the joy we have in coming together physically to worship, and instead we have found new ways to continue to lift up the name of God and proclaim His worthiness.
In times of change and uncertainty, in a world of new challenges every day, it is reassuring to know that God is unchanging.
Our hope is that through the many reports in this document that you will see the hand of God working in and through Emmanuel and that you will give God all the glory.
It has been my privilege to serve as the Chairman of Emmanuel’s board of Elders this past 2 years. The heart of our team of Elders is to be faithful shepherds to the Emmanuel family. Currently we have 13 elected Elders who are charged with the responsibility to give general oversight to the ministries of Emmanuel to accomplish our mission. They do this by empowering and holding accountable the Lead Pastor.
This past year, Doug Grant, one of our Elders at the Orillia campus, went into the presence of the Lord after a long battle with cancer. His tender heart for the Lords’ people is sorely missed.
Some of the many duties of the Elders each year include approving Emmanuel’s annual budget and audited financial statements prior to them going to our membership for approval at an Annual General Meeting. The Elders meet monthly, and more often as required, to review Emmanuel’s monthly financial statements and to review reports from our pastoral team on the various ministries of Emmanuel. The Elders approve all pastoral hires and manage the process for the nomination of new Elders. Elders serve communion, interview prospective members, anoint the sick with oil and pray over them as prescribed in James 5:14-15, serve in other ministry areas of the church, pray for congregants, and attend Emmanuel events. The Elders particularly enjoy hearing the testimonies of congregants when they apply for membership.
Elders’ meetings always start with a devotional and the meetings are always punctuated with prayer. This ministry year the Elders faced the challenges of the departure of our beloved Pastor Rick, after almost 24 years of service with Emmanuel. The Elders approved an interim leadership structure, approved Pastor Jordan as the Site Lead Pastor for our Barrie North campus and monitored the transformation of Emmanuel to a virtual church on March 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We praise God that He has been active and alive in the hearts of the Elders this ministry year, maintaining a wonderful sense of unity among the men and giving the Board wisdom in the midst of uncertain and rapidly changing times.
Our trust is in the unchanging God! – Hugh McIntosh, Chair of the Board of Elders
We are grateful for another year working with a group of musicians and vocalists who serve Jesus by leading His church in song. As worship leaders we are reminded each week that our job is not to distract from the worship, and not to bring attention to ourselves, but to get out of the way and allow Jesus to be seen in all His glory. As we entered the COVID-19 crisis we had to scramble to find a way to do that effectively. Worship is such a corporate experience, and it is a strange dynamic when trying to sing along in your homes on Sunday morning (and even stranger trying to lead that experience though a lens). But let me encourage you to sing out as much as you can and make the best of a strange time. We will be together soon! — Pastor Paul Turner
God is increasingly moving Emmanuel to seek His face in prayer.
Six weekly prayer opportunities permitted an average total of 50 to gather in prayer. Four of those groups migrated successfully online during the pandemic and continue to meet weekly.
Before the onset of pandemic restrictions, ministry teams intentionally met prior to program to seek God’s favor–some continue to send prayer prompts. Your staff and pastors gather almost daily (especially during these COVID-19 days) to pray online.
Over 980 individuals received the weekly prayer prompt tool, in its various versions. This is a vital tool as requests come in regularly by email and phone.
This past year we had several distinct prayer initiatives. Focused prayer occurred in response to the connection card drive in the fall. Prayer teams interceded each evening of the musical outreach. The elders led 4 Sundays in February for men. A mid-week Facebook Live opportunity sprang up early in the pandemic. And this year’s 4th annual 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World has become a vibrant multi-church partnership supporting the Arabic church plant initiative.
God graciously permitted us to experience miraculous answers to prayer (as last July with the Wood family). And He has certainly brought us to the end of ourselves during the pandemic. May He find us increasingly focused and dependent on Him. – Pastor Steve Paul
The Integration ministry at Emmanuel encompasses the Sunday morning ministries that welcome our community and help our ministries to run smoothly. We are also responsible for helping newcomers to find their way in our large church family and take next steps to explore Christianity or to get involved in the church.
Integration volunteers include Ushers (51), Greeters (72), Ministry Hosts (9), Welcome Desk (17), Parking Crew (9) and Sunday Youth Welcome (6). We also hosted many people at five Emmanuel 101 classes this past year and saw 46 people attend Membership classes. Since last spring, we have been exploring new ways of reaching out to people who are attending the church. We have new gifts for first-time visitors and new ways of following up when folks fill out a welcome card. As our culture changes, it is important that we respond in a wide range of friendly and welcoming ways on Sundays. Most of these teams have participated in discussion and training around welcoming people with disabilities into our fellowship, as well as emergency awareness.
As we look to the future and how our society will care and protect each other in light of the pandemic, there will be many changes on Sunday mornings. Greeters will have new and different roles. Our friendly and caring volunteers in these ministries are a wonderful group of people of all ages and stages of life. As we look forward to gathering together again, we are deeply thankful for the warm welcome and helpful presence of these committed and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. – Kathy Slessor
God has given us so much cause for praise in the Multi-Site area of Emmanuel’s ministry over the past year! At this time last year, we had a vision to see a site launched in the North end of Barrie by some time during 2020, and while Pastor Jordan Wilcox was in an investigative process with us, his transfer into the role of the North Barrie Lead was not yet determined. By the summer of 2019 God’s leading in this transition was clear, so that Pastor Jordan began giving a portion of his time to preparation for the North Barrie plant. By January 2020, his full attention was given to this new role. Since that time, Pastor Jordan and the core team that is with him have continued to train and to steadily progress toward the goal of seeing a new site in the north end of our city, and of seeing the launch of a worship service in the fall of 2020. Pastor Jordan will share more details on the specifics of this new site plant below. Pray for Pastor Jordan and the Emmanuel North Barrie Core Team as they actively engage the community with the Gospel of Jesus and equip Christians for the work of the ministry.
Further, after several years of praying about an Arabic–speaking ministry and asking God to safely bring our Syrian refugee family to us, in October of 2019 the Salloum family arrived on Canadian soil! Since that time, Pastor Steve Paul has skillfully led our settlement team (a group of almost 30 faithful people, including a team of drivers) to assist the Salloums in their integration into Canada, the primary focus for their first six months here.
I’ve been privileged to work with Pastor Fatih Salloum in the preparation for the Arabic work. In March of 2020, Fatih began placing his primary focus on the Arabic site, building a core team that is praying and training together, and finding ways to effectively advance the Gospel during this time of physical distancing. Pastor Fatih’s leadership has also been a real asset to Emmanuel’s “30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World” initiative. By God’s grace, we are still working toward seeing the launch of an Arabic worship service in November of 2020. Pray for Pastor Fatih and the Emmanuel Arabic Ministry Team that is being formed, as they bring the Gospel of Christ to the Arabic community in Simcoe County, and as they equip Christians for the ministry that God has entrusted to them. – Pastor Josh Davy
In September of 2019 we announced Emmanuel’s plans to plant a church in the north end of Barrie, with the purpose of making disciples in that area. In the weeks and months since then, God has been so faithful to us as we begun the process of planting. Our first prayer was that God would gather together a team of people who were excited about the idea of being disciple makers in the north end of Barrie. We held vision nights in December and January where we shared what we felt God was calling us to. We began having conversations with interested individuals and families. In February God answered our prayer by bringing together 41 adults to be a part of our core team.
Since then we’ve been meeting together regularly. Our prayer during this season has been twofold, that God would unite us around the mission that Jesus gave us, and that He would equip us for the work that he’s called us to. We’ve seen God answer both of those prayers. Even during this season, where we’ve been meeting online, we have seen God uniting us together and giving us increasing opportunities to love our neighbours and proclaim Jesus. Please continue to pray for us as we look forward to what launching weekly services will look like in September! – Pastor Jordan Wilcox
God has blessed us with relationships within the Arabic Christian people from Emmanuel Barrie, and God is using these relationships to open the doors with both Muslim and Christian families in Barrie. In addition, we met a number of Muslim families at the ESL school that we attended in Barrie, and we have developed a good friendship with them too. We have had time to talk about the Bible and the Christian faith with the families that we are meeting. Those conversations have often gone well and some of the families would like to have more conversations with us. We are meeting with these families over the phone or through electronic means. We have also had a chance to personally deliver some essential items to families that have need. In some cases, God has placed us alongside prominent people within the Muslim community in Simcoe County. In other cases, some people have not received us or our message about the Gospel very well. Please pray that our relationships and friendships would be strong, that our service to the community would be well received, and for more and more opportunities to speak with people about Jesus. Please also pray for God to give us great wisdom when we are caring for people who are opposed to Christ, and for Him to assist us in this ministry. – Pastor Fatih Salloum
During the COVID-19 crisis, the church has had to rely more on our web presence and digital communication. We are so grateful for Kyle Vandekleut and Jeanette Switzer who have brought so much vision and excellence to these ministries.
We hired Kyle Vandekleut about eighteen months ago to oversee our growing production and media ministry. Many of the high-quality videos that you view on Sunday mornings or on Emmanuel+ (our YouTube channel) are a result of Kyle’s hard work. When COVID-19 hit us, Kyle’s expertise made the necessary shift to online services appear easy. But it has been a lot of work! He has done a masterful job combining his technical knowledge and creativity to bring together a Sunday service on Facebook that is high quality and engaging.
If you have interacted with our [email protected] email, our website, our Instagram Page, or our Facebook Page, you can thank our Communication Director, Jeanette Switzer. In addition to her expertise on these digital platforms, she also designs many of the graphics that catch your eye for our various ministries or sermon series.
Thank you, Kyle and Jeanette! — Pastor Paul Turner
This past year has been so rewarding as we’ve seen both young and old enthusiastically use our library resources. In addition to signing up lots of new patrons, we’ve helped new believers find materials to aid them in their daily walk, and others to find books that expand on current sermon topics. Ministry staff send people in to access resources in specific areas of concern. God is definitely using the library ministry to help people grow and thrive!
Through the library budget, Emmanuel funds the purchase of new books and media each year. That keeps our fiction and nonfiction materials up to date.
We continue to process sign ups for RightNow media, a web video resource of sermons, studies, and children’s programming. Emmanuel pays a monthly fee to make this available to all associated with the church. It has been especially useful these past months during the pandemic.
The library runs with an admin team (Wendy Chopp, Lynda Baxter, Erin Mensinga, and Janet Ward), and a wonderful group of volunteers. We’re sorry to see Erin move on to ministry with her family at the North Barrie church plant. She has contributed so much to the library, particularly in volunteer recruitment and communication, and new acquisitions.
We’re always looking for more volunteers! Maybe this might be your service niche? – Lynda Baxter for the Admin team.
We always want to provide a hearty welcome at Emmanuel! Glenn and Kelly Gibson lead the Hospitality Committee, ensuring that our fellowship times together are opportunities for warm connection for everyone! They organize and prepare our monthly celebration of the Lord’s Table, and they plan and serve delicious refreshments for other special events. Glenn and Kelly also lead the team that serves in the Café on Sunday mornings, helping visitors feel welcome and enabling our church family to connect between services.
Our Wednesday evening café is a hub of activity for people of all ages. Under the capable leadership of Christine and Mike Keogh, those who gather for Wednesday evening programs are treated to a friendly welcome, lovely trays of goodies and fruit, and warm encouragement to meet and fellowship with others before programming begins. We hope that this ministry will grow in the future as we reconnect again when restrictions are lifted.
Thank you to Andra Rice for organizing our Fall Picnic, and for all the volunteers that ran activities and games and helped behind the scenes. Even though we moved inside because of rain, we enjoyed a wonderful time of reconnection after summer holidays! Thank you, also, to Colleen Gartner and her team of volunteers for preparing and serving the delicious barbecue for almost 1000 people.
Thank you also to Mabel Torrie and the Funeral Committee for all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into preparing lovely receptions after church family funerals, a beautiful expression of God’s love and care for grieving families and friends. – Joanne Valler and Kathy Slessor
Discipleship and Training
God is building spiritual growth and discipleship at Emmanuel through the workshops offered seasonally—primarily on Fridays and Sundays. Last fall and this winter, opportunities included an introduction to the Gospel (Christianity Explored), Next Steps discipleship (Stranger on the Road to Emmaus), a go-deep study of the Covenants, and workshops focused on finances, marriage, and parenting.
The Gospel Project for Adults is now into its 5th year on Sunday mornings, trekking through the entire Bible in 3-year cycles. This is an open, hungry group! Peter and Erin Mensinga also launched an inaugural Grassroots Apologetics for Parents study.
Although a cross-ministry partnership training weekend on “How to Study the Bible for Yourself” was indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19, several discipleship opportunities continue online, including a newly launched pilot—a survey of Bible books.
Thank God for our committed leaders: the McIntoshes, the DeSousas, the Morrisons, Larry Clark, Shawn Hadigate, the Davys, Tim Patzer, Andy Symons, and our kitchen leaders Susan Enns, Willie Kloosterman, Joanne Valler … and their entire kitchen team that serves delicious dinners to our Friday evening groups!
Micro-discipleship groups (intentionally replicating groups of 3-5 participants) are a long-term strategy I pray will “take” exponentially at Emmanuel. Five of these groups have sprung up and seem to be successful so far. – Steve Paul
The purpose of our small groups is to know and follow Christ by being in community with one another as we study God’s Word, pray together, and live out Christ’s mandate to lovingly minister to each other, our neighbours, and our community at large. God has beautifully established that in our Small Groups! Several groups reported generously offering financial and grocery assistance during seasons of need. Many people have joined brand new small groups this year or have become participants in presently functioning ones via our new Small Group link on our Emmanuel website.
During this pandemic, God still grows and encourages His people as several small groups meet online through Zoom or other platforms. We are now implementing more Zoom Bible studies for those not yet or no longer connected to a small group. By God’s grace, we will continue to live as disciples, walking with one another through this journey of social isolation.
GriefShare and DivorceCare groups also met consistently through the 2019-20 season to share God’s love and comfort by encouraging believers and unbelievers alike in their journeys of pain and loss. In the COVID-19 crisis, it has been more difficult to maintain these ministries in an online setting, though phone contact with some group members has encouraged them with God’s hope and love. – Tracey Steffens
“… even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Isaiah 46:10)
The Lord blessed our Emmanuel Seniors ministry throughout the year through Bible study, prayer meetings, monthly Joy Fellowship events, and worship. Many seniors are regularly growing in their faith through Bible study and small groups. The Monday morning formal prayer meeting for seniors was well attended with twenty-four different individuals coming out to the prayer meetings and persevering in lifting, to our Lord in prayer, those people listed on the weekly prayer prompter in need of prayer. Additionally, we regularly pray for our church, our city, and our nation and our political leaders—that they would submit to God’s authority and that the Lord would raise up leaders who follow Christ. The monthly Joy Fellowship meetings have continued to be a great time of blessing as we listen to guest speakers focusing on how Jesus Christ is impacting the culture, missions, sports, academia, and the global church. The Lord has richly blessed these meetings with robust attendance and challenging speakers, special music, and testimonies of God’s faithfulness through the lives of His people. The seniors at Emmanuel are engaged in helping each other, as well, with assistance in areas of phone calls, visiting at the hospital and in nursing homes. As part of my ministry I regularly visit seniors in Amica, Roberta Place, Woods Park, Heritage Place, Grove Park Home, Barrie Manor, Barrington, Waterford, and others as well as at the Royal Victoria Hospital. The community of seniors at Emmanuel is so encouraging and loving and we are blessed by many volunteers and leaders. – Pastor Steve Winfield
In 2019 the Boomer group (those born 1945-1960) enjoyed numerous activities. Our primary focus is to facilitate community and friendships within the church structure, to encourage a sense of relationship and belonging. Therefore, our quarterly events encourage friendship and an opportunity for visitors to meet people in a friendly social environment. This past year highlights were a film night with dinner, a cottage day in Muskoka, touring the hills of Mulmur while enjoying the fall colours and the fish ladder, and in late November a Christmas dinner and musical evening with Joni McCabe. We hope to plan several events over the summer and early fall as COVID-19 allows. Our grateful thanks and deep appreciation for all who have helped to make events a success. – Paul and Rosemary Fraser
Women’s Ministry at Emmanuel Barrie has continued to thrive throughout 2019 into 2020! Some of the major events throughout the year have included the Fall Coffee House (another sold out event!) and the Women’s Night of Worship in January.
In our Tuesday/Wednesday Ladies’ Bible Study groups, God challenged us with practical applications of living as Christ-followers in Jen Wilkin’s Sermon on the Mount Bible study. Through Lysa TerKeurst’s Finding I AM study, God taught us that our souls can only be satisfied by the provision of all that Jesus Christ is. Some table groups continue to connect with one another by phone or online while sheltering at home. In addition, a women’s Precept Ministries study has continued throughout the year.
The Single Women’s Fellowship enjoyed a beautiful luncheon and sweet time of encouragement together on two different occasions this past year, in October and again in early March. Many thanks to Pauline Connolly who heads up this important ministry of encouragement and fellowship in the Lord.
Thank you also to the Shower Committee who plan and host lovely bridal showers for women in our church family, expressing our love and support as they plan their upcoming marriages. And thank you to all who took time to be part of these showers to show your love and encouragement for our young couples. As several showers were cancelled as a result of the pandemic, the shower committee put together a lovely gift for each bride-to-be from the committee and the church family. Be in prayer for young couples as they adjust their plans during this uncertain time.
If we reflect on what “God has done” throughout the year, continuing to the current and challenging times we are facing now, we can see that he has planted a deeper hunger for spiritual growth and deeper relationships among the women of Emmanuel Barrie. Even now, our Women’s Ministry continues to evolve and support with the beginning of an online Zoom Women’s Bible Study focused on the 23rd Psalm. We thank God for the growth and relationships that have been fostered this year, and we look forward with great hope, patience, and creativity to the future!! – Jeanette Switzer
We are so grateful for the leadership of Dennis Mudde and the Men’s Ministry committee who organized our Wednesday night Men’s Study. In the fall we went through the book of Ephesians (J.D. Greear) and in the winter semester we completed the 9 Attributes of a Man (Vince Miller). The format was video–based with small group break-out study. We have received incredible feedback about what God has been doing through these studies and the relationships forged in the small groups. Men are finding prayer and accountability partners and are walking more closely with Jesus as a result of these connections. As with other ministries, COVID-19 interrupted our study. Praise God for technology, as each small group was able complete the semester on Zoom. —Pastor Paul Turner
Centred Young Adults
Over this past year the young adults have been in a significant time of transition. In September it was announced that Pastor Jordan was going to be transitioning to a new role as a church planter. As the plans for transition began to take shape however, it became clear that God was opening up lots of opportunities for leaders and volunteers to step in to help out. It’s been so amazing to see so many young adults step up to allow ministry to continue to their peers in this season!
In the fall during our weekly gatherings we studied the book of Colossians together and fixed our eyes upon Jesus who is, “the image of the invisible God.” In the new year under the leadership of David Mann the young adults explored the spiritual disciplines and were encouraged to slow down and savour Jesus together. Throughout the year several young adult small groups have been meeting together and growing in their love for God and one another.
Currently the young adults are continuing to gather online to study the Scriptures, to pray, and for mutual encouragement in this season. – Pastor Jordan Wilcox
The Woods Children’s Ministry
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
It is such a tremendous thrill to spend time each week in the Woods wing with our children. They are joyful, open, welcoming, spiritually sensitive and a whole lot of fun to be around!
Each week about 200 children from nursery to grade 5 gather in the Woods to worship together, be taught together and to enjoy community. The teaching is a structured journey through the Bible using the Gospel Project curriculum. Whether the lesson is in the Book of Judges or the book of Jonah or the Epistle of James, it is always connected to God’s great rescue plan that is only found in Jesus.
Emmanuel is blessed with 180 committed volunteers who serve our children. This team is a joy to work with. Time and time again I hear from volunteers who tell me that God is teaching them and growing them even as they teach and minister to the children. God is good!
I have been impressed with the partnership Emmanuel has with the parents of our children. I see and hear evidence each Sunday that the kids are being taught at home the things of God. The children are eager learners and demonstrate that not only are they taking in the stories but that they are also taking it into their hearts. Thank you to all our parents and grandparents who are living out the Gospel in your homes. You are making a difference for eternity.
None of us could have anticipated the events of the last few months. We have been stretched and challenged in ways none of us were expecting. We have missed the children in the Woods dearly, but our prayer is that God is continuing to work in their young hearts. – Pastor Randy Roebuck
This past year 125 kids, JK to Grade 5, were part of our 2nd year of Awana at Emmanuel. We thank the Lord for the 51 teens and adults that served in various ways each evening to provide this life-changing program. We especially appreciated the Jr. Youth worship team that led us in worship songs to start each Awana evening. We enjoyed Large Group teaching with Pastor Randy and a few other volunteer readers as we went through the C. S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series. Our large games rotation, led by Curtis Fink and Brad Patzer, gave clubbers opportunity to have fun, burn off energy and learn about working as a team through a variety of games. Small Group handbook times were great opportunities for connection and teaching as the leaders led clubbers to open their Bibles to research verses. During handbook time, the children also shared their verses that they had memorized at home. Between all of the age groups, the children researched and learned over 150 Bible verses this year! We’re especially blessed by the ministry of our Club Directors for Cubbies, Sparks and T&T– Tabitha Friesen, Andrew Aloussis, and Jacob Peckham. We look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of each clubber with our “Year End Celebration Party” when restrictions are lifted. – Lori-Anne McDonell
What a privilege it has been these past several years to work the Emmanuel kids for the yearly kids’ Christmas Musical. God has been so faithful to call each child to come out and be a part of telling the story of Jesus’ birth. I am always so humbled when the kids come ready in those first weeks to audition and eagerly accept roles and musical solos to practice for the performance. It is a pleasure to watch them sing songs about our God, learn Bible verses, and have an opportunity to act in a way that shows God so beautifully. I also feel so blessed that this year God called Jen Patzer to co-direct, Nick Beilby to provide sound, Aaron Johnston to provide lighting and Rachel Courtney to oversee costumes and props. This year, and in previous years, we were grateful to be able to have the funds to purchase musical scores and digital downloads of the musical CD and split tracks for musical accompaniment. God also allowed for opportunities for children who do not attend church to attend the children’s musical and be exposed to the story and teachings of Jesus. Praise God! They in turn invited their family members who then got to hear the message of Jesus’ birth, and heard a brief presentation of the Gospel at the end of the musical. This year we saw the most people in attendance, with many non-attenders of Emmanuel or any church for that matter. I pray that this ministry will continue this coming year and that we have opportunity to share the story of Jesus’ birth with the help of our Emmanuel kids again. – Bekki Beilby
Our summer camps are one of Emmanuel’s biggest outreach opportunities to our community. This past summer 456 campers participated in Adventure Camp (JK to Grade 5) and Sports Camp (Grade 4 & 5), under the leadership of our new camp director Sarah Morris. Sarah led her team very well through many challenging obstacles this summer. There was great team unity as the directors really pulled together and worked collaboratively. We saw God work in incredible ways. We had 168 campers make professions of faith and we provided over 70 Bibles to campers. Every year we choose a mission for the campers to be involved with and this year we collected items for Operation Christmas Child – enough to fill 156 shoeboxes!
The most frequent quote we heard from campers was, “This is the best part of my summer!”
Extreme Camp had 121 Jr. High campers and 32 dedicated and enthusiastic leaders. The campers were challenged physically and spiritually, and several made first time decisions for salvation. One evening the students served in the community in different ways, including visiting and doing activities with residents in six nursing homes, writing encouraging notes to widows, and packing the 156 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Our outreach night impacted not only our community but also our students, and will continue to be a part of Extreme Camp. What an incredible week! – Pastor Dave Chantler
Jr. High Ministry
I serve alongside an incredible group of 27 dedicated Christ followers who love Jr. High kids and are committed to their small groups. We strive to create a safe, loving environment for our students to grow in their faith and in friendship with one another. This past fall and winter, over 90 Jr. High students gathered together on Wednesday evenings for fun activities, worship, and Bible teaching that shares God’s truth and challenges students to live as Christ followers.
One hundred students and leaders ventured to Pioneer camp for our October fall retreat. Our theme was “Made for More” building on John 10:10. Students grew deeper in their relationships—with God, each other, and their leaders–all while having a blast!
A highlight of our ministry year was that one of our Jr High students prayerfully found creative ways to reach out to his community to help meet a need for Operation Christmas Child, collecting over 187 boxes! What a prime opportunity to grow in the joy of serving Jesus by loving others.
The Big Game is our Superbowl outreach event for our Jr. & Sr. High students. This year approximately 300 students and 70 volunteers participated, with many students inviting their friends to attend for the first time. At half time Pastor Dave Whitelaw shared his testimony. Numerous students responded and spoke to a leader or to me about how encouraged they were in their walk with God or how they wanted to pursue the Lord further.
As a result of COVID-19 my leaders and I have shifted our efforts to help Jr. High youth feel connected as a group and grow in their faith. Teaching and small group time happens online now, and the feedback is very positive—they’re having a blast! We meet on Zoom Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and meet again following the service on Sundays at 10 am. A highlight for me is delivering prizes from our game time to the students the next day! It is evident that God is at work in our students and families during this time. – Pastor Dave Chantler
Sr. High Ministry
The 2019-20 Ministry year was marked by Sr. High Youth owning their faith in new and exciting ways. High School is a demanding season of life when young people face adversity towards their faith, yet this year we saw 10 Sr. High Youth step forward to be baptized and publicly declare their allegiance to Jesus Christ. We praise God for this and continue to ask him to revive the hearts of this generation to passionately follow Christ.
In the summer of 2019, a team of nine students and four leaders participated in Remix, a one-week urban missions trip in Toronto organized by Youth for Christ Canada. The week involved morning training sessions followed by afternoon outreach—serving among the homeless, volunteering at food banks, serving Syrian refugee families resettling in Canada, and street evangelism. This was a rich time for the students as they grew alongside other Christian youth while discovering how to live out their faith among the poor, hungry, displaced, and spiritually lost.
On Tuesday nights in the fall we studied the characteristics of authentic faith during our “Real” series. Fall Retreat focused on discipleship – consistently living for and growing in God – and was highlighted by the baptism of one of our Grade 10 boys. We enjoyed several big events and continued our Christmas tradition of hosting a Christmas party for residents at Grove Park Home.
Tuesday nights in the winter we delved into discovering and serving through our spiritual gifts, and understanding God’s calling in our lives. We also enjoyed a spiritually and communally rich time at our winter retreat in February of 2020.
With the coming of COVID-19, we’ve continued to gather as a youth community every week on Tuesday nights for an Instagram live stream and are meeting Sunday mornings after service for a Zoom hang out. Moreover, through social media platforms we continue to connect with students and share helpful resources online.
We thank God for the dedicated team of volunteer Sr. High Leaders who have poured their lives into the youth this past year. Their love for God, passion to serve, and ability to recognize and nurture the spiritual potential in young men and women is incredible. We are grateful for the volunteers who helped host big youth events and retreats, and the committed team of those who pray weekly for this ministry. And it has been a privilege to partner in ministry with Matt Maw, Pastor of Youth and Worship at Emmanuel Orillia. Matt and the Orillia Sr. High youth have joined us in our big events, and I am grateful for Matt’s partnership in leading in various ways.
Thank you for your support and prayers for the Sr. High Ministry. Let’s keep asking God to do a life-transforming work in the hearts of every student and leader who is a part of this community as we look ahead to the next ministry year! — Pastor Luke Crawford
This has been an active year of engagement in Outreach ministries. A few highlights of our engagement with our Local/Regional Outreach Partners include our sponsorship of and participation in the David Busby Centre’s “Street Light Gala” fundraiser, our participation in the Barrie Food Bank’s fall and Easter food drives (where we gathered 3288 lbs. of food and raised over $9500, respectively) and in a January “food sort,” where a team of about 40 people was sent to serve the Food Bank for an afternoon. We have also maintained a very strong relationship with the Envisage Pregnancy Resource Centre, raising $6439 in their annual “Baby Bottle Campaign,” hosting Envisage in our building for several functions, and sending a small group of young adult women to engage with the ministry.
We continue to support several other Local/Regional Partners, including ministries such as a church plant in Toronto, several campus ministries, and a chaplaincy ministry at Pearson International Airport. One of our great joys has been to support and partner with Mikhaela Gray-Beerman in her work with Fight4Freedom. This is a Gospel–centered ministry that works to end human trafficking through education and raising awareness, and also through direct ministry to women who have been caught in the sex trade. Our participation with Mikhaela has been deep and varied in approach. We would ask you to pray for Mikhaela and the important and yet difficult ministry to which God has called her!
In addition to our strong participation in “Night to Shine” again (a ministry for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families and care givers, and that grew again this year!), we have started several new outreach initiatives. We saw the launch of our new basketball outreach to kids, called “Vertical Basketball” (see report below). We also have a small but growing team of people who are working on ways to engage the new community of people who are moving in across the street from the church. We have been anticipating and praying for the arrival of these new neighbours to Emmanuel Barrie for many years, and this team is designed to help us as a church in our efforts to build relationships with these neighbours and effectively reach them with the Gospel. Finally, the arrival of COVID-19 has seen the arrival of many needs in our broader community, such as unemployment and financial crisis. We are currently investigating the feasibility of some form of an outreach ministry that would engage these challenges in a Gospel–centered way, and that would prove to be an effective witness for Jesus. Please pray for us as we look to continue to be faithful and fruitful with the Gospel, and consider how you could directly join in the cause. – Pastor Josh Davy
Vertical Basketball is a new sports ministry outreach program that is hosted by Emmanuel. The program for Grade 3 to 8 filled up to capacity with 67 players participating. Over 25 per cent of the participants do not attend a Gospel–focused church. The program incorporated basketball skill development, team competition, Gospel presentations and teaching. A team of volunteers also offered a hospitality service to the parents and guardians to provide opportunity for building relationships with unchurched families. The program filled both the gymnasium and the Woods area. Hospitality filled the corridors.
God put together a team of volunteers that have a strong passion for outreach. God blessed every task of designing and implementing this sports outreach ministry. God provided the team with opportunities to get to know and connect with the unchurched kids and families each week. We realized that many families that participated in this sports ministry were not previously involved with other Emmanuel ministries and may not consider other offered programs. A few of our players come from a challenging home situation, and at times throughout the weekly session, demonstrated poor coping behaviour. It was a blessing to witness volunteers come alongside these players, demonstrating godly patience and love as these kids were gently encouraged.
The COVID-19 pandemic concluded our program after Week 8 of the 10–week program, but plans are in place to run the program next year. – Dale Smith
Bloom (Ministry to Mothers of Preschoolers)
The theme chosen for this season of Bloom is Community – what a great focus for this year! Our leaders (Bekki Beilby, Heather Vlamming, Carolyn Horlings, Elanna Stoner, Cheri Scholten, Victoria Nicolle and Alison Primmer) intentionally planned meeting topics that would generate deep, thought-provoking discussion. As well, our very active team of Mentor Moms (Alison Primmer, Margie McCarthy, Sylvia Currie, Cathy Chapman, Sonja Hoover and Liz Rabinovitch) stepped into more active roles, leading discussion around the tables and encouraging the table groups to develop relationships outside of the bi-monthly meetings. This focus on Gospel-centered, relational evangelism was clearly God’s leading for this season.
Currently, four of our six table groups are continuing to meet weekly through online platforms. We’ve had several women who do not regularly attend church join our online Sunday services because of the discussion around their “tables.” As the toll of isolation and stress wears on moms with young children, we are seeing how support and a safe place to share burdens has been a source of encouragement to the families involved with Bloom. We are so thankful for what God has done through this unexpected pivot to online ministry!
As we look forward to next season, we are overwhelmingly grateful for our childcare volunteers. Under the capable leadership of Mona Khalil, our team of 31 volunteers has cared for 58 babies and preschoolers so that 50 moms can attend the 15 meetings each season. Thank you so much Sprouts Volunteers! – Kathy Slessor
Christmas Musical Theatre Production
Last year’s Christmas musical production gave our church another opportunity to strive, along with our cast and crew, to reach our community through culturally relevant and powerful storytelling. At each rehearsal our cast prayed that our church family would reach out to those in their sphere of influence, invite them to performances and have meaningful conversations with them about Jesus Christ, fostering in them a curiosity and hunger to know the God we all serve. We prayed that this would lead to Gospel conversations, church attendance and ultimately, salvation.
God acted in the lives of many who attended! Each performance had a committed team praying for our unsaved family and friends by name. We heard several encouraging reports of lives impacted by the show itself, of those who came back to our Christmas Eve and Sunday services, and of neighbours who wanted to ask more questions of friends who brought them. We continue to trust that God is still at work in these lives through ongoing conversations and relationships with members of our church family. Regarding the 2020 season, the future of a show this year will depend on the course of the pandemic. –Tracey Steffens
Global Missions Outreach
Emmanuel continues to have a thriving missions program, supporting 32 missionaries in 13 different countries. Below is a list of missionaries we are supporting as well as a rationale for our three focus areas. (Note: Some missionaries cannot be named to keep their ministries safe.) Emmanuel affirms and supports the work of missionaries around the world but chooses to focus on three strategic areas. As the majority of the Christian Church’s resources go to groups that have been reached with the Gospel, we value work among the unreached people groups, leading us to adopt three focus groups among unreached peoples. We define an Unreached People Group as an ethnic group without an indigenous, self-propagating Christian church movement sufficient to evangelize the rest of the group. Emmanuel’s focus areas among unreached peoples are: West Bengal, India, the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region, and Quebec.
We have chosen India as a focus area because of the sheer number of unreached people groups (Joshua Project states that of the 693 people groups in India there are 633 people groups that remain unreached.) We are currently partnering with several initiatives in India.
- G and S work in some of the poorest areas providing tutoring centres for children, vocational training for women, and church services. The Tutoring Center in Rupamari works with 57 children and is held in a converted cow shed. These children are supported solely by sponsors at Emmanuel. This year we were able to provide $9,000 to build a boundary wall around a new property that was purchased for the tutoring centre.
- Mahima Home is located in Kolkata and works to rehabilitate survivors of sex trafficking.
- Adult Literacy Classes in India are Bible-based and are transformational both on a personal and spiritual level. Emmanuel supports five adult literacy classes in West Bengal with the Bible League.
- Church Planter B works in the Sundarban islands. He runs a children’s tutoring centre and has two house churches and facilitates Bible studies.
- Jack Chen overseas LeadersFormation in India. LeadersFormation is a training module that resources national church leaders to train other church leaders. In addition, he oversees a ministry in the Kolkata slums called K.H.R.I.S. which helps selected children who live in the slums through high school and college with the aim of helping them secure good jobs, which will then help get their families out of the slums.
- P is a Bible translation consultant who coordinates several translations in India.
The MENA (Middle East North Africa) region is home to some of the hardest–to–evangelize people groups in the world. As long as we can maintain partnerships in this area, we will continue to consider it a focus area.
B and R use Lebanon as their base while training leaders in the MENA region for ministry. Through B and R’s ministry, we support the Clementia Learning Centre, a school for Syrian refugee children. We also support church planting efforts among the Syrian refugee population.
Less than 1% of people in Quebec call Jesus their Lord and Saviour. Beside being the largest unreached people group in all of the Americas, they are also our neighbours. Close proximity allows us to send frequent teams at a lower cost.
- Matt and Kristen Fraser currently work in a church that is the only Evangelical church of any denomination for up to 50,000 people.
- Chris and Sarah Middleton work with The Fellowship to recruit missionaries to Quebec, tracking with them, then strategically placing them in areas of need.
- Ecclesia is a church strategically placed in downtown St. Jerome, Quebec. Emmanuel partners with Ecclesia by monetary donations as well as sending short term teams.
It is important to note, that while Emmanuel seeks to increase its influence in these three focus areas, we continue to affirm and support the work of missionaries around the world. Below is a list of the many missionaries we support.
Tim Bahula teaches, facilitates, and designs training modules with Horizon Education Network. Horizon provides biblically based, culturally relevant curricula, made accessible through the medium of distance learning.
D and N live in Bosnia where they are working to plant a church. D teaches English in a university and works with local youth.
Ron is the founder and director of Empower Ministries, an organization that seeks to strengthen and equip national churches around the world.
Richard Flemming is currently the Fellowship National Coordinator with The Fellowship, primarily working from Canada. Several times a year, he will travel to the Congo to help coach the local pastors carrying on several important works.
Hanni Muhtar works as a missionary with LeadersFormation, training international cohorts of church leaders, facilitating local workshops and being an ambassador among FEB churches and associations.
Mark and Karen Naylor. Mark works with Fellowship International as the Coordinator of International Leadership Development. In addition, he is Supervisor of a Bible Translation Project in Pakistan for Sindhi speakers.
Ben and Krista Taylor are based in Wroclaw, Poland where there are over 100,000 university students. They are currently working alongside a Polish church to reach these university students for Christ. In addition, Krista translates Bible studies into Polish and helps facilitate Bible studies.
Dan Shurr is the director of Fellowship Aid and International Relief (FAIR). Dan is responsible to lead the FAIR initiative by maintaining a vision towards social justice fueled by the hope of the Gospel.
Jacob and Margaret Huyer facilitate short term trips around the world with Global Outreach Mission.
Steve and Tara Regnault work with Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan. Steve facilitates a Bible school training module specifically tailored to Indigenous workers while Tara is a trained counsellor. Steve also makes frequent trips to Nepal where he maintains training of Nepalese national church leaders.
Scott and Tracy Blackburn are located in Peru and run Tat’s Place, a children’s home for at–risk children and youth.
Brent and Helena Mudde serve in Angola, Africa. Brent is a pilot with MAF. Helena is the principal and teacher at an international school.
Lucasz and Jola Kropisz are Polish nationals who work with Josiah Venture to reach the youth of Poland.
Michal and Sylwia Skiba are Polish nationals. Michal is president of the Josiah Venture’s Polish ministry. He and his team reach youth in Poland.
Karen and Seth Hilliker work with the Cherokee Nation at New Life Ranch in Oklahoma. Through various mentorship programs, Seth and Karen reach out to youth and families in the area. Karen also runs mental health workshops in the schools.
Martin Lamb is the Director of Communications with Ethnos Canada, bringing the needs of Tribal people to the churches of Canada.
Brian and Linda Crawford support church planters in Thailand and surrounding countries with OMF.
Jim and Carmen Orr are in Cananeia, Brazil and work to reach at–risk youth. They provide a place for these youth and their families to gather and run several youth and family programs at their facilities.
Dave Prince serves in Spain and desires to lead people to follow Jesus and passionately love Jesus through a relational and transformational ministry. Among other things, he uses English classes to build relationships and provide opportunities for Gospel conversations.
Anthony and Shawna Myers work at Teen Missions International in Florida. Anthony serves in the Printshop & Maintenance Departments. Shawna serves as secretary to the Director. Together, they also coordinate the Peanut Kids Camp.
Evynn and Michael Schlender are currently in Madison, Wisconsin with YWAM. They are providing Bible training to YWAM students.
B focuses on software development, design, and implementation, helping Wycliffe develop software that is used for both Bible translation and typesetting.
Short Term Teams
Emmanuel Barrie sent out two short term trips this year.
India—From October 19 to November 3, 2019, nine young adults from Emmanuel Barrie joined several of our partners in India. They joined our missionary “G” to run VBS programs as well as visit several of his ministries. They also visited Mahima Home and were able to take the boys from the Mahima boys’ home on an outing to an amusement park. In addition, they joined other nationals to partner with VBS programs and other initiatives.
Lebanon Medical Trip—From September 25 to October 3, 2019, doctors and nurses from both Emmanuel Orillia and Barrie, along with Pastor Dave Whitelaw, provided free medical care in the name of Jesus to Syrian refugees in Lebanon with our missionary “B.” — Angela Turner
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.