“To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” ~2 Peter 1:1-2
Dear Bethel Family,
After months of discussion, prayerful discernment, and many, many documents, our congregation voted in favor of the merger with North Langley Community Church. With this vote begins a new season for us as a church community and there will be things to celebrate and anticipate, things to figure out, and things to mourn in the coming weeks and months. As we enter into this ‘in-between season,’ I would like to offer a few words of encouragement and address some of the questions around next steps.
I have seen this church extend grace to one another in so many ways over the years, and I would ask that we continue to do so as we journey together through the process of merging with NLCC. After all, the Kingdom of God is much larger than the vote on Sunday! Regardless of how each one of us voted, we remain brothers and sisters in the family of God. In other words, let us view this vote not in the light of our own opinions, but in the light of eternity, the bride of Christ, and the Kingdom of God.
This merger will be a process of significant change, and all change can bring blessing alongside inevitable loss. We are at the end of one chapter even as another one begins. There may be times where we celebrate while others mourn, and others may celebrate what we mourn, and we may find times where we feel a mixture of mourning and celebrating all at once! In some ways it is like a celebration of life for a person, where it is important for us to allow ourselves and others to work through the full range of emotions we experience. Giving grace to ourselves, each other, and NLCC as we merge will allow us to walk well through this merger, even as we work through difficulty.
Throughout the process of discernment around the merger, some people expressed that they were considering moving on from Bethel should the vote go differently than they desired. This is a normal and natural response to a decision of this magnitude, and sometimes God does lead people from one congregation to another. After all, the global Church is much, much larger than Bethel or NLCC! If you find yourself in the midst of discerning whether God is leading you to worship elsewhere, please do so prayerfully in response to God’s leading and not in bitterness as a response to the vote. It may be that you do end up worshiping elsewhere, but give time to prayerfully consider how to do so with love and grace rather than anger or frustration.
I know that there are some in our church family, and some connected to our church family, who have shared that the process of discerning the merger has been hurtful for them. Significant effort and prayer went into this process, a process that was unavoidably going to be difficult, but it was undoubtedly a process carried along by imperfect people whose imperfection led to unnecessary hurt along the way. I and the Elders acknowledge this and ask for forgiveness where the fault was our own. There are things that could have been done differently, but I am thankful to see how God was in this from beginning to end, imperfect though it was, and I am thankful that a clear consensus was obtained, despite the missteps along the way.
This is a reminder for us that we as a church need to continue to put our faith and trust in Christ alone. We don’t stop praying because the merger was approved, and we don’t place our hope in people, whether at Bethel or NLCC, but rather we continue to fix our eyes on Jesus. While there is much excitement surrounding the merger with NLCC and all that we anticipate happening for the Kingdom of God as a result, it is essential that we continue to put our hope in Christ. Both Bethel and NLCC believe that this merger allows our two communities to do more for the Kingdom of God together than we could apart, but Christ is still the foundation and anchor of our hope.
As a result of this merger, there are many decisions that now need to be made, details arranged, and things to be put in place as we officially begin the process of merging Bethel with NLCC. Over the next few weeks, we will work hard to put together some answers for these questions that are naturally arising and hope to have a number of them answered by the middle of May.
In the meantime, there are a few key ways to stay up to date on what is happening:
1. Sign up for Bethel’s weekly e-mail newsletter and make sure to skim it each week. (You are likely reading this letter because you’ve already done that, so well done!)
2. As Bethel begins to wind down, the Aldergrove church plant will ramp up so it will be increasingly important to sign up for the Aldergrove Church Plant e-mails from Pastor Kevin Schultz at https://www.nlcc.ca/campuses/aldergrove-campus. (Scroll down part-way and click on “I’m Interested” to sign up for the newsletter)
3. In mid-June we will be sending out all of the activities happening through the summer and until the church plant launches. Keep an eye out for this as it will help us all stay connected in this 'in-between' season!
As we look to all that the future holds, I pray that “the God of hope [will] fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Merger – Vote Results
As mentioned in Pastor Jon’s greeting above, April 24th was the congregational vote to merge Bethel and North Langley Community Church (NLCC). Here are the details of that vote:
To recap the motions: “Be it resolved that…”
1. we affirm that the 4 Vision Statements are inspired by the Holy Spirit, are a step in obedience to the Lordship of Jesus and His answer to our prayers. 90.8% In Favour
2. that the Board of Elders of Bethel Mennonite Church are authorized to start enacting our 4 Vision Statements by making all agreements and arrangements with NLCC as are necessary to merge our congregations and join in NLCC’s efforts “to connect people with the life-changing power of Jesus Christ, to love God and love others”. 88.1% In Favour
3. that the Board of Elders of BMC is authorized to transfer title of all land, buildings and other property (both real and personal), including without limitation the land and building located at 24687 56 Ave, Langley, British Columbia (the “Property”) to NLCC at no cost. 82.1% In Favour
4. Bethel Mennonite Church withdraw from MCBC and the Board of Elders is authorized to take all steps necessary to effect that withdrawal. 85.1% In Favour
For further details on the results, click on the download below.
Ballots were destroyed on May 16th.
May 1-29 ~ 5-part series: The Kingdom of God
June 12-26 ~ 3-part series: In Light of Eternity
Donations for May and June can be made to Bethel in the usual way. However, for June, please have them in to the office by Sunday, June 26th in order to give us time to get the tax receipts ready to distribute.
Donations after July 1st can be made out to:
North Langley Community Church (NLCC) 21015 96th Avenue, Langley , BC V1M 2Z3
Designate to: Aldergrove Campus
Alternatively, you can give online at nlcc.ca/give
Camp Squeah – June 3-5 We are excited to be able to go to camp again! It’s been since 2019 that we were able to gather together at camp.
Celebration of Life for Gregory Zibin - May 14 at Bethel Greg’s family held a Celebration of Life for Greg on Saturday, May 14 at 10am at Bethel. Greg passed away November 16, 2021.
Memorial Picnic for Emma Janzen - Sunday, May 22 @ 3pm at Williams Park All who knew and loved Emma are welcome to attend. Bring a lawn chair. There will be a short program, a Faspa, and simply enjoying the park. The gathering will be at the pavilion.
BBQ at Bethel – May 28 4:30-7:30pm Join us for this family-friendly event hosted by pastors Jon and Kevin. There will be games, facility tours, free hot dogs and burgers, and a time of worship and prayer together.
MOVE Camp – July 4-8 1pm-3:45pm Kids Day Camp hosted by NLCC for kids finishing K - Gr5. To be held at the Bethel building that will soon be North Langley – Aldergrove Campus. To register: nlcc.ca/move-camp or 604-888-0442
Men's Encouragement Group It’s been great to see men regularly coming out to this group! The men’s group continues to meet the first Saturday of each month at 10am in the church lobby. It’s a time to share updates about your lives (mental health, faith, relationships, whatever people want to share about), encourage each other and pray. Open to men of all ages.
Personal Items at Bethel Is there something here at the church building that has personal significance to you that you would like to bring home? If so, please email the office and let Corinne know what the item is and why it has meaning to you by May 31st.
Starting June 1st, Corinne will contact people to come pick up the items. (If something is requested by more than one person, we'll have a conversation and figure that out.) We want everything with special significance to find a good home before the merger so that nothing is lost in the shuffle of renovations!
Please Note: Items used for ministries (e.g. projectors, tables, chairs, etc.) will be sticking around to be used once the merged church plant launches, which means they are unfortunately not up for grabs.
>Wolly & Anyta Neustaedter have recently moved into Tabor Home in Abbotsford. Please pray for an easy transition for them as they get used to their new place and routine.
>Susanne Dier is requesting our prayers for a speedy resolve in her financial and mental health issues. Her employer updated the payroll system in 2016, which messed up thousands of paycheques. This has been an ongoing issue that is still not fixed and Susanne has had to find TWO more jobs as a result. Maintaining three jobs is taking a huge toll on her mental and physical health and she is exhausted. Please pray that this payroll issue would be resolved and Susanne can go back to regular life with just one job to support her.
>Please pray for Ed and Carol Unrau, who were regular attenders at Bethel before Covid hit. Carol has been suffering from cancer throughout her body for the past couple of years and is now in palliative care in Langley. Ed is also dealing with back and leg issues and is scheduled for back surgery on May 17.
>Please pray for Anne Klassen who had her cataract surgery on Apr19 for her right eye and is awaiting a second surgery in June for her left eye).
>Sabine Wadhams (Matt & Eva's daughter) was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer on March 21st. She is currently undergoing chemo treatments. Please be in prayer for Sabine as she goes through this difficult season. If you'd like to call and talk to Sabine, her number is 604-803-5097.
>We are thankful for such clear consensus on the merger coming out of the congregational meeting on April 24th! Please pray for the people of Bethel through the closing of this chapter as well as for Bethel & NLCC as we begin the merger process.
Giving for January: $11,405
Giving for February: $14,190
Giving for March: $12,667
Giving for April: $ 9,410