I S S U E 0 5 | Winter 2022

Photo of Jennifer Lau in duotone

Welcome to a new year and the second year of CBM Responding! We hope this quarterly publication has connected you with our shared work and mission through news and updates from Field Staff and projects around the world.

I would like to take a moment to thank you for your continued generosity and support. Whether through the Hopeful Gifts for Change Catalogue, The Christmas Match Campaign or the Hopeful Gifts Church Campaign, your giving through 2021 is impacting lives around the world.

As we launch into another year of ministry, we are excited to share with you news, events and project updates in the following pages. At the end of the issue, you will find CBM’s list of events and resources to support you and your church’s mission. Looking to our Field Staff, you’ll read an update from Michael Waddell as he transitions to a new role within CBM. Michael also introduces us to Faith+Work, CBM’s focus on ‘whole-life discipleship.’ This important initiative encourages people to see their work as a calling and witness to God’s redeeming power in the world in any vocation.

As churches across Canada open their doors to in-person worship, Jonathan Wilson, our Senior Associate for Theological Integration reflects on how we can ‘Return from Exile’. He considers Judah’s return from exile and the challenges that the nation faced, and how the Church today can learn from their returning journey.

This past fall we had the honour of hosting a Zoom event for Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30. It was a meaningful opportunity for Canadian Baptists across the country to spend time together in reflection, with a spirit of listening to our Indigenous brothers and sisters as they shared with us what this day meant to them.

Speakers included former CBM Indigenous Relations Specialist Cheryl Bear; Associate Professor for New Testament Studies at Acadia Divinity College and faculty member at the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAAITS) Danny Zacharias, and pastor and Indian Residential School survivors Gordon and Mary Jane Petawabano.

Danny Zacharias has graciously allowed us to print the reflection he shared on September 30. I hope you will take the time to ponder his words and accept his invitation to consider a faithful future.

It is a privilege to be able to partner with you, as your prayers, encouragement and financial support enable us to keep working on your behalf in places of need. Together, let’s continue to embrace the call to serve our broken world through word and deed.

Grace and peace,
Jennifer Lau
Executive Director

In Michael’s new role as Senior Associate, Faith+Work and Philippines, he provides leadership to the overall strategy and initiatives of CBM within the area of marketplace ministries. Liaising with CBM’s partners in the Philippines to implement, monitor, and evaluate joint programming between CBM and local church partners continues to be part of his role.

Michael was appointed as Global Field Staff serving in the Philippines in August 2015, with his wife Melanie. They relocated to Canada in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Melanie now has her private practice for counselling therapy for individuals and families, and Michael continues to work with CBM.

Michael has a Master of Arts in Theology from Acadia Divinity College and is an ordained minister with the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC). Michael and Melanie have four growing children: Kyla, Sean, Carter, and Allie.


Q: How did you navigate the decision to work for CBM as Global Field Staff?

After a short-term mission experience with CBM, I began to wonder if there could be more to life than running a small business that owned most of my time while trying to find a little extra time to serve in my church. When CBM shared with me that they were beginning to explore missional opportunities to engage people globally in and through the marketplace, I was immediately interested in discovering how I could be involved. Initially, we had no idea where God would send us and if we’d even be willing to go. While attending Oasis (CBAC annual convention) in August 2014, we struggled with ‘where’ God was leading us. Ed Stetzer in one of his messages said, “put your ‘yes’ on the table and let God place it on the map”. We knew at that moment that God was speaking to us through this message. Soon after, CBM leadership presented the idea of us going to the Philippines. We didn’t even really know where that was, but we had decided to put our ‘yes’ on the table, and we knew we needed to trust that God was leading us to the Philippines.

Q: What is one thing God has been revealing to you through your work in the Philippines?

It’s hard to nail it down to just one thing, but I would say that God has been teaching me about the kingdom value of work. Not just the kingdom value of vocational ministry roles such as pastors or missionaries, but the kingdom value and purpose of all work. God uses our work to bring hope and healing to a broken world, as workers in all avenues of society begin to see their everyday work as a means of serving God and contributing to human flourishing and as a means of reflecting God’s image as a worker and creator. By doing their work ‘as for the Lord, not for human masters’ (Col 3:23) they are doing the Lord’s work.


Pray for Michael in his new role with CBM.

Pray for the growth and development of Faith+Work within CBM and our partner network. 

Pray for CBM’s partner, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries, which is dealing with pandemic-related and other challenges.

  Learn More about Michael Waddell

Are you interested in joining CBM as Global Field Staff?

Are there other people you know who might?

If you are passionate about how God’s love transforms people’s lives, and want to join our team, contact Member Care: membercare@cbmin.org OR call 905.821.3533. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you.

For more details, visit cbmin.org/job-opportunities

The average person will spend 90,000 hours or one third of their life working. We will spend more of our time working than we will at school, in church, on the soccer field, or even watching TV. It’s difficult to fathom this enormous portion of our life, but it should make us pause and think intentionally about how we are stewarding our time.

What is the point of work? What does work mean? Who benefits? What is good work? Whose work matters to God?

Many people see work simply as a means to an end (i.e., “I work to put food on the table for my family”) or something to endure (i.e., “Everybody’s working for the weekend”).

But have you ever met someone who really loves their work and sees it as meaningful? Someone who is full of passion and joy for their work? I have and it’s really powerful to see.

Just imagine if all of God’s people saw their work as a witness to, and a demonstration of God’s love and justice in the world! Every part of our lives is valuable to God and meaningful for us. Work matters, and how we work matters.

Too often, people have been told to separate work and faith between the sacred and the secular, between Sunday and Monday. They were not taught how to integrate faith in their workplaces. This has resulted in a dualistic approach to life where only the things Christians do in and through their church count for God.

At CBM, our Faith+Work strategy enables us to help equip and mobilize women and men for whole-life discipleship through their work. By seeing their work as calling, and using their abilities, skills, and service in and through their work, God’s people are helping to heal a broken world.

In 2016, my family moved to the Philippines to work alongside CBM’s partners, Kabuganaan Philippines Ministries (KPM). During our time there, we helped churches see that work matters and is an integral part of God’s plan to redeem and restore his creation.

God at Work in the Word and in the World

There is no one better to demonstrate the power of work than God himself. From the beginning of scripture, Genesis opens with God at work, creating the universe. Throughout the Bible, we see images of God as a worker. He is a gardener (Gen 2:8), shepherd (Ps 23), potter (Jer 18:6), physician (Matt 8:16), teacher (Ps 143:10),
vineyard- dresser (Is 5:1-7), and metal worker and refiner (Mal 3:2-3, Ez 22:20). Just as God is at work, he also uses the work of his people to accomplish his purposes in the world.

Through our work, God invites us to participate in his redemptive plan for all of creation and to contribute to the flourishing of individuals and communities. When God’s people recognize that their work matters and that it is meaningful to God and others, amazing things begin to happen!

Ezekiel running the screen printing machine. Community members receive training in how to make bracelets that can be sold at local markets.

CBM’s Faith+Work Framework

1. Formation: Partners, churches and individuals will grow in their understanding of marketplace theology and practice the integration of faith and work in their daily lives. Churches will equip the whole people of God for their work in God’s mission. 

2. Creation: In a spirit of mutuality, we will partner with diverse groups of people and organizations to increase the witness of God’s mission in, to, and through the marketplace, through collaborative means inviting people to join in God’s ongoing work of creating healthy and whole communities and cities. 

3. Mobilization: We will form global networks of women and men who have a Kingdom vision and are passionate about integrating their faith with their work for the transformation of communities, while expanding the witness of local churches beyond their 4 walls. 

The approach we took was to focus not specifically on work, but on ‘whole-life discipleship’, and integrating faith into every aspect of our lives, of which work is a central part. Our goal has been to help individuals see that the work they accomplish and how they do it matters to God. Even when their working conditions are difficult, when the results of their work are flawed, when corrupt bosses exploit their work or the outcomes, or when unrealistic requirements are placed upon their work, we have helped them see that Jesus really cares about their whole life.

Ezekiel, a young Filipino man with a lot of creative talent and interest in business, wrestled with the tension between wanting to use his natural talents and abilities in business and desiring to serve the Lord. Growing up in the church, he was taught that ministry was done through the work of the church and its various programs and ministries. For this reason, he wondered if he would need to give up his dream of working creatively through business to pursue pastoral ministry so that he could ‘do the Lord’s work’. He was both relieved and inspired to discover that God cares about all good work, not just work done directly through the church. Ezekiel could do the Lord’s work by using his creative skills and abilities through business. His work is a gift from God and an opportunity for him to join in God’s mission in the world.

Our commitment to Faith+Work helps people see their work as ‘vocation’ or calling. Whole-life discipleship allows us to engage all of God’s people in fresh and exciting ways, leading to a better understanding of the transformational power of work. Our workplace isn’t just a platform for evangelism where we can share our faith, but rather, our good work is a witness to a good God.

Our family returned to Canada during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We thought we would be home for just a few months until the restrictions were lifted, and we could return to Capiz Province to continue our work. What we saw as a temporary return to New Brunswick, God saw differently. A door was opened for us to move into a new scope of service where I am now able to help give leadership to all of CBM’s Faith+Work engagement around the world. Now I am collaborating and assisting CBM’s staff and partners in discovering how our work in the world connects with God’s mission of redemption.

We invite you to connect with us and join us as we explore the points of intersection between daily work and our Christian faith. Let’s reject the idea that work is simply a means to an end or something to endure. Together, we can embark on a journey of discovering how our work in the world connects with God’s divine work of redemption.

As restrictions on church gatherings ease in Canada, our initial euphoria may soon fade as we begin the hard work of rebuilding our congregations and our mission. Returning from exile wasn’t easy for Israel; it won’t be easy for us.

The life of many churches and Christians over the past year and more has felt something like “exile.” We must be careful with this narrative: it’s not clear that the pandemic was a direct judgment of God, nor is it only God’s people who suffered. Moreover, most of us were not displaced geographically, a factor that we must take very seriously. Otherwise, we risk diminishing the suffering of those who have been geographically displaced.

Nevertheless, with that caution in mind, the narrative of “exile” may help us understand our disorientation and displacement. Certainly, there is a displacement in moving from gathering for worship in one physical place to gathering online. And many have suffered other losses.

The time of the pandemic has been a kind of exilic time. Now, we are gradually returning from an exilic-like time. As we do, let us be guided by Judah’s return from exile. Among many I could choose, I will observe six dimensions of their return.

First, there will be opposition. One might think that the opportunity to return from exile—to reestablish life in the promised land, to gather once again for in person worship and mission—would be so wonderful that unity would prevail. It does not. The returnees and rebuilders of Jerusalem faced opposition within and without.

When that happens, we need to learn from Ezra and Nehemiah: set guards and keep rebuilding. That is, recognize the threats but keep focused on the main things.

Second, there will be nostalgia and regret. Returning from exile means things have changed and will continue to change. When the foundation of the new Temple was laid, Ezra tells us:

  1. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:
    “He is good;
    his love toward Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away. (Ezra 3: 11-13)

I imagine something like that happening among our people. Many will gather for worship and mission in person, but others will continue as they have—worshipping online in pyjamas and eating breakfast. Many will give thanks we are together once again; others will give thanks that they don’t have to change the habits they’ve settled into during the pandemic.

Both groups may be right. It was right for a new generation to shout for joy at the laying of the Temple’s foundation. And it was right for the older generation to weep as they recalled the “former glory.”

But there is no going back after exile; yes, Judah needed to remember rightly the causes of their exile and their time in Babylon. But when we return from an exilic time, we must go forward.

Third, rebuilding takes a long time, and it requires new vision. The work of building the Second Temple took more than twenty years and the people often lost motivation. We are in rebuilding from the pandemic for the long haul. We must not be discouraged by lack of progress, and we must patiently overcome any loss of motivation.

Fourth, the leaders of Judah, especially Nehemiah, had to watch for oppression and injustice as the people returned from exile. He was not so focused on “getting things back on track” that he failed to listen to and care for the people. (Nehemiah 5)

Fifth, we have cause to mark the return with special celebration and even a continuing practice of recalling the time when we “returned from our exilic-like time.” As the exiles returned to Jerusalem, they gathered to hear the reading of the Book of the Law. As the people began to weep, Nehemiah spoke these words: “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) It seems also that Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, was intensified after the return from exile.

What might be an appropriate celebration and annual practice that would remind us of God’s goodness to us?

Sixth, the mission of God’s people is in danger. For the people returning from the Babylonian exile, survival and precise faithfulness to their understanding of the law meant the gradual erosion of the mission of God’s people and the severe reduction of the identity of God’s people to the “politics” of the world. This manifested itself most clearly in the various violent rebellions that attempted to throw off the yoke of the Roman empire.

However, from this time we also get the promise of a faithful remnant and YHWH’s intervention to bring justice and free YHWH’s people (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). These promises are fulfilled in the coming of Israel’s Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who is also the Saviour of all who believe and the one under whom all things are being brought into unity. The mission of God’s people who return from “exile” is to be faithful followers of this Lord and bear witness to his reconciliation and peace in word and deed.

In this brief reflection, I have noted a few things that we might learn from Judah’s return from exile. There is much more to learn from Ezra, Nehemiah, and the prophets of this time (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi). May God grant us faithfulness in our continuing journey as God’s people.

Friends, we gather today from many territories, territories called by particular names given by the First Peoples of those lands, territories that we now collectively also call Canada. I speak as one originally from Winnipeg in Treaty 1 territory, the land where my maternal ancestors lived thousands and thousands of years. I have been asked to share with you the importance of this day. Here are my reflections. 

Over 6 years ago, in June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded its 8-year long process. The TRC hosted 7 national events across Canada to engage the Canadian public, educate people about the residential school system, and share and honour the experiences of former students and their families, as we heard the stories of over 6,500 witnesses. Out of this commission came an extensive historical record about this dark chapter of our shared history. And from this process came the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action, actions that affected every level of society – because our shared history in these lands shapes us at every level. And while there may have been some in this country who hoped that this chapter would be closed at the end of the commission – we know life does not work that way. Our history shapes us. The stories we tell about ourselves and our history shapes us as individuals, as communities, and as societies.

While listening to a podcast a number of months ago featuring a theologian named Chris Green, he said something that I have been ruminating on, and I have used it many times since I heard it. He said “The future is nothing but what we tell or don’t tell about the past. [and] The future will be as good as the telling of our past is truthful.” (InVerse Podcast, Jul 19, 2021).

We are headed into an unknown and unknowable future, a future that is only known by the Creator. So how do we walk with integrity and humility and wisdom into an unknowable future? We speak the truth about our past and we move forward in a better way. And as we course correct on this path we call Today, we keep speaking the truth. We keep telling our stories.

We are often taught to think in a straight line, to think in a linear fashion – that there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. But life is not like that. The grand story that we are part of as God’s people is not like that. If you open your Bible to the beginning, we are with God in a bountiful, beautiful place with the tree of life at the center. Flip to the back of your Bible, and we are back to that place again. Our planet revolves around the sun, the moon circles around our planet, and the seasons always come one after another, and as we go through our calendar, we eventually get to January again.

A healthy and holistic life is cyclical. Indigenous folk continually remind themselves of this reality and have been shaped by this, as we fall into rhythm with the seasons of the lands, and as we look to the medicine wheel as a symbol that orders many aspects of our world. It is into this reality that we come to this new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. You see, the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action were grouped into a number of categories. Some were specific to sectors of society like education or media, and other calls were specific to all of Canadian society. Under the sub-section of Commemoration, Call to Action #80 stated:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

The work of commemoration is an important one, a vital one. You see, there is something that is profoundly true about us as human beings — we are forgetful. And in an individualistic society such as ours, one that values youth and the latest and greatest things, we are especially forgetful about things outside of our lifetimes. But we are shaped by our past both individually and collectively in profound ways, ways that we do not often recognize. And so we are called to commemorate. To remember. As followers of Jesus and readers of the Bible, we should no doubt understand the importance of acts of commemoration. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were often told to remember. And here is the thing, they are often called to remember events that happened way before they were even born. How could this be, and why? They were invited to listen to the stories that have been passed down in both oral and written form. They were invited to make the old story their own. They were invited to recall, for instance, that God brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and that this event has had a profound effect on their lives, even generations later.

But not only were they called to simply recall something to their mind. They were called to embody that remembrance. They remembered by eating lamb during Passover to remember the Exodus. They were also told by God to live in tents for seven days to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and remember the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness that we read about in the book of Numbers. And that act of remembering was not of events that happened to them, but it became about them in this embodied act of remembrance. They remembered this time when their community did not trust in God, when God nonetheless provided for their needs, and when he led them through to the other side. And finally, as people of the New Covenant, we commemorate the life of Jesus with our holy days, and with the act of worship through the table of communion.

We are forgetful people, and we need to remember in good ways. Not simply to recall something to mind, but to enter into an embodied act of remembrance. To educate ourselves and to listen to the stories. As Chief Justice Murray Sinclair said, “this nation must never forget what it once did to its most vulnerable people.”

As we come together as Canadian Baptists today, we come to do the work of remembering the evils of the past which have shaped our present circumstances. We do so to recognize that we have benefitted and continue to benefit from injustices of the past – injustices that were intentionally and expressly done to the Indigenous peoples of these lands. We do so to enter into the lament of communities that remember the horror of the government and the church who came for their children. The majority of Canadians have had the luxury of not having to grapple with inter-generational trauma and pain. But we have awoken all the more as we have in these past months been confronted with hard news of unmarked graves of children at residential schools. You have been shocked no doubt. For some, it has shocked you out of complacency. For some of you, this was the first time ever hearing about the residential school system. As you may know, it began with the finding of 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops. There are 12 schools whose sites are currently being searched, 7 that have been completed, and over 100 more sites for which searches have not yet commenced. With only 7 of the over 100 schools planned for search, the number is already over 1,300 unmarked graves.

These are of course approximate. God alone knows the precise numbers and knows the name of every child in those graves and the graves of those that will not be found. You know these as numbers – sadly these children at these schools were also known by numbers. Stripped of their clothes, their identities, their cultures, and their given names – they were identified and called by numbers in these institutions. The residential schools sought to kill the Indian in the child – this was their expressed goal. It stripped them of their humanity in an act of cultural genocide. And now we are confronted with the reality that this program of cultural genocide fostered spaces which led to sexual abuse, torture, malnutrition, and death. But these children were not numbers. They were Image-bearers of God.

They had parents, siblings, cousins, and grandparents. And these families, these communities throughout Turtle Island have always known of this horror. They have lived with the trauma of children removed from families, with many who never came back, and those who came back broken.

I am reminded of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:10, when God tells Cain that Abel’s blood cries out to him from the ground. Injustice is not forgotten by those who are affected. Families remember. Communities remember. God remembers. And the land remembers. We too are now called to remember.

Each year on September 30, many will wear orange, a tradition started by Phylis Webstad in 2013, a 3rd generation residential school survivor, who proudly wore an orange shirt bought by her grandmother for her first day of school. It was stripped from her and never given back.

As we commemorate this for years to come, we will remind ourselves of how the evils of the past have shaped this nation and we will seek a better way forward. And this day will become a catalyst in our education systems, when our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will learn for the first time about Residential Schools. This new day will work to reshape or collective Canadian culture such that talk of reconciliation does not become something we work to finish and check off our to-do list, but something that becomes the new ethos of our country, walking in a good way – and confronting us with the question “who do I need to be given what I now know?” And we must also recognize that there are places and spaces in our country in which we cannot even yet speak of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, because there was not conciliation to begin with.

Finally, as those that have pledged their allegiance to Christ – I hope that we will not shy away from hard truths. That we will own up to the ways in which this colonial legacy has shaped us at the expense of others. That we will not shy away from speaking prophetic truth to power even when those powers reside within our own house, or even within our own hearts. Because “the future is nothing but what we tell or don’t tell about the past. [and] The future will be as good as the telling of our past is truthful.”

DANNY ZACHARIAS is a professor of New Testament Studies at Acadia Divinity College, located in Wolfville, NS, on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw peoples.

Share this page