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Sunday
Jul202014

Pastor Derrick's Resignation

Derrick Hamre

Derrick Hamre

Lead Pastor

On Sunday, July 13, I sent the following letter to our Deacon / Pastor Leadership Team. I was sitting in an office with Sara-Lee pondering life. The membership of Christian Life Assembly were meeting. I was wondering and praying when there came a knock on the door. It was our Superintendent with words that would change the trajectory of our lives. We had received a 92% vote, higher than CLA had ever voted before. Prior to going with him to address the assembled crowd, I sent this letter. The relationships here are too valuable and important for me not to honour. Before anyone else knew, via email, our leaders knew. I then went to complete what I had called my rendez-vous with destiny. God had answered our prayers for discernment, he has started to write a new chapter for us all. Let us hold to faith in Him.

Dear Emmanuel Leadership,

It is with mixed emotions that I render my official resignation as Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Church, West Kelowna . After a strong vote of the membership of Christian Life Assembly, I have accepted the call to pastoral duties effective September 1st.

After 17 years of incredible ministry my departure from all that is comfortable and familiar will come with difficulties. These have been the best years of my life. Each of you are not only partners in ministry but friends. There are two emotions I feel right now, contrasting ones. First the pain of good bye. It breaks my heart to leave you. The second is relief, not from the end of a process‎ but from obedience. I have done what God required me to do. I fulfilled my marching orders. My alignment to Him is secure and I have passed His test. The outcome has truly surprised me. However, as I look back, this may be one of the most pivotal tests I've ever had to undertake.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I have never felt abandoned or judged. I have bragged of your spiritual depth and emotional health. I believe your test now begins. May you be strong and courageous. May you be prayerful and faith filled. May you see God's provision and care in increasing ways.

We will meet tomorrow night at 7 pm. Superintendent Ken Russell will be with us.

For Such a Time as This,
Derrick

Sunday
Jul132014

Letter to the Congregation

Derrick Hamre

Derrick Hamre

Lead Pastor

Dear Emmanuel Church,

Moments ago, I sent my official resignation to the Emmanuel Leadership Team. After a strong vote of the membership of Christian Life Assembly in Langley, I am stepping down as Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Church. This vote has been the confirmation to me that God is ‎guiding us on a new path.

First, I want to thank you for the prayer and support over the past two weeks. This has been a difficult road for us. As a priest before God, His will and design has always been primary. I must follow His leading and your understanding of this has helped me.

Second, for 17 years of faithful partnership, I am so grateful. It is with mixed emotions that we send this note today. You will remain in my heart and I will cherish the corporate memories forever. These have been the best years of my life! Thank you.

Third, my date of departure is September 1. I will be meeting with the board tomorrow at 7 pm. Ken Russell, BC & Yukon District Superintendent will be there as well. He will help the deacons to understand next steps in the search process. We will communicate as clear and as often as we can as important steps in the process are taken.

The final item is a call to pray. This is Christ's Church, He has a plan. Let's continue to believe that He will guide us and keep us in peace. May you be filled with faith in Christ, hope for the future and an understanding of His will.

In sincere love,
Pastor Derrick

Sunday
Jul132014

Kids Clubs

Ben McGillivray

Ben McGillivray

Next Generation Associate

It's that time of year again where two interns, 8-10 teens and I invest two and a half weeks of time doing outreach kids ministry in the neighbourhoods of our community. This year we are doing seven clubs. One club each in Glenrosa, Talus Ridge and Peachland, and two clubs each in Westbank and Rose Valley. These clubs are two and half hours packed with action with a ministry strategy of being highly relational, while sharing the love of Jesus through teachings, crafts, songs and games. This is a highlight for me every year for two reasons:

  1. I get to challenge teens to do something useful for the kingdom of God in the summer, and
  2. I get to challenge the people of this congregation to open their homes for a great ministry opportunity.

To give an understanding of the type of ministry we encounter, at one of our clubs I was able to sit with a 10 year old girl who has had a difficult upbringing. She has been in foster care for as long a she can remember. I was able to minister to her and pray with her. This is just one example of how we encounter kids from all walks of life and get the opportunity to extend the love of Jesus to them.

The ministry will continue as the team is being commissioned today to head to 100 Mile House. While there, the team will be working with the local PAOC church to run our clubs within their community. The church has gone through much transition in the past few years and is really looking forward to us bringing some life and enthusiasm as well as hopefully planting some seeds in their youth ministry. 

Please pray for us as we head to 100 Mile House, for the teens as they continue to build relationships, for Pastor Gary as he books host families and prepares for the teams arrival, and for the community that we will be serving.

I would like to express our deep appreciation to our host families for opening their homes to us and many, many kids. Also, thanks to our teens for their energy and tireless efforts in engaging over 200 kids in the name of Jesus and Pastors Dan and Sol who have done a great job in planning, preparing and leading these clubs.

Sunday
Jun292014

A Time for Prayer & Discernment

Derrick Hamre

Derrick Hamre

Lead Pastor

On Sunday, June 29, I used the time allotted for the message to share what God has been doing in my life and how that may affect Emmanuel Church. Much to my surprise and with significant initial resistance, the Holy Spirit has been working to make changes in my heart and ministry. These alterations have challenged my faith, my relationship with God and have the potential to bring dramatic changes in West Kelowna. After 17 years, my time as Pastor of Emmanuel Church may be coming to an end.

How did this happen? 

First, it is important that you know I was not seeking change nor expecting it. I am happy and content. I love my church and the ministries that flow from this place. These past 17 years have been so enriching and rewarding. However, in March, God began to challenge my allegiance. Was I willing to continue to follow Him anywhere and at anytime? Frankly, I couldn't believe what God was asking. For a couple months I was like Jacob wrestling with God in a cave. I was scared. In my human understanding leaving didn't make sense. But faith in God does not always align itself with "human understanding". If it did, Peter would never have gotten out of the boat. Second, an opportunity was presented to me. Over the years I've had many invitations. This one was different. How it came about, who it was from and how I was to engage it were all different than other occasions. Initially, I felt it was part of a broader test. Like Abraham, was I willing to lay down something precious to me on God's altar? Darrell Johnson says "things are not always as they seem". I was to discover this was not a test but a door God wanted me to walk through. Therefore, on Sunday, July 13, I will be preaching for the pastoral call at Christian Life Assembly (CLA) in Langley, BC.

What does that mean? CLA, like Emmanuel, is a church that confirms pastoral appointment by a vote of their membership. On that weekend in July I will meet with staff and members, and preach in their services. That afternoon, the membership will vote and if we are affirmed, we will resign at Emmanuel and relocate to Langley for September.

This is a time for prayer. We need to have discernment for Christ's Church. These last few weeks have been some of the most difficult of my life. However, obedience and faith in God are a hallmark of Christianity. I still believe the best days of Emmanuel are in front of it. I've been proud to be a part of these past chapters, and they are but a prelude for something greater. Join me in fasting and prayer for God's will.

Sunday
Jun292014

Two Things

Jeff Bjorgan

Spiritual Formation Pastor

Picnic in the Park. Many years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, someone at Emmanuel thought that it would be a good idea to gather, once a week throughout the summer, to have a barbeque. It was a success, as people liked to eat, liked to spend time together, and who can resist a barbeque? As time passed by, the event morphed from people's homes to different parks around the city to its present home, Gelately Nut Farm.

Every Thursday at 6 pm we will be gathering throughout the summer at the Nut farm. You come, with your friends, someone you met on Sunday that is new, your small group, your family, and bring something to cook, something to share, like a dessert or a salad, and some lawn chairs; the church provides the rest: barbeques, condiments, utensils, and something to drink. It's a great place to re-acquaint with friends, meet new people, and keep connections fresh and alive.

This coming Thursday is extra special, as we are also having a baptismal service to go along with the barbeque. Should be a great evening!

Right Now Media. Emmanuel has subscribed to a media service called Right Now Media (rightnowmedia.org) that allows any member, small group, Sunday School class, etc., at the church access to over 5000 Bible study curriculums. Basically put, when you receive an invite, you can access streaming video for your own use or for your small group as often as you like. For free. All that is needed is an access code which comes via an invitation from me. This week I will send out an e-mail invite to our members. If you would like to be a part of this, and you don't get an invite, just give me a call. We're really excited about this new resource and what it means for equipping our members with great teaching and resources. If you have an questions, don't hesitate to contact me.