If not every Canadian is aware of an evangelical Christian presence in the country, don't blame it on an estimated 30,000-plus Christians in 2,000 churches. On June 12, they capped three weeks of eclectic community involvement with a nationally televised broadcast.
Dubbed "Celebration 2005," the event featured:
- A Lethbridge, Alberta, multichurch barbecue to express support for ranchers hard hit by the 18-month-old mad-cow crisis that had closed the Canada-U.S. border to live cattle trade;
- A British Columbia Presbyterian church's "plant-a-row" project that encourages church members with gardens to provide fresh produce, several months a year, to a local food bank;
- Translating the Book of Daniel into aboriginal Mohawk language, as one means to help combat high suicide rates among First Nations young people;
- Free car washes in Ottawa, Canada's capital.
Spearheaded by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), C2005's aim was to help Christians love their neighbors. Sharing the gospel was integral to many of the outreaches. Resource materials helped people communicate simply and effectively. The EFC represents 140 denominations, educational institutions, and ministries amid Canada's highly pluralistic population of 32.8 million people.
The idea for C2005 emerged four years ago from a joint meeting of several EFC "Roundtables," designated to follow up on a 1995 conference in Toronto. Aileen Van Ginkel, EFC's ministry empowerment director, said the Roundtable leaders, drawn from congregational, educational, media, and development fields, wanted more than "just another conference."
Guy Saffold, executive vice president of Trinity Western University and chair of the education Roundtable, suggested city festivals might be a good place to ...1