A Love of Calgary

I have been serving as children’s minister at Dixie Hills Baptist in Bolivar, Tennessee, for 16 months. Earlier this year, I started using the Children in Action curriculum during our Wednesday night ministry. I was so excited to see Calgary as the featured city for June! I’m originally from Mississippi, but God called me to attend the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and College in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains just a few miles from Calgary. I had no idea God would have me on mission in Canada for almost 14 years! For most of those years, I served in full-time children’s ministry.

There are two big events happening in Calgary in July, so now is the perfect time for missions groups to pray for Calgary. Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday on the first of July! Canadians love to celebrate on Canada Day with food, festivals, and fireworks. It’s a celebration time much like the Fourth of July in the United States. Calgarians will show their Canadian pride in all sorts of ways on Canada Day. People will wear a lot of red and white and wave their Canadian flags that weekend. Many churches will use this holiday to be on mission in their communities by hosting block parties, which is a great and practical way to show God’s love by providing free food and children’s activities. Churches will use the block parties to celebrate the great country of Canada and the great love of Jesus.

From July 7–16, Calgary’s yearly Calgary Stampede will be held, and it will be a very exciting time in the city. It will kick off with a big parade through downtown Calgary. The Calgary Stampede is a combination of a state fair and a big rodeo—only much, much larger! It’s a ten-day celebration of western culture and heritage that draws visitors from all over the world.

During Stampede Week, many communities and businesses all over the city will host free pancake breakfasts for people to celebrate the Stampede together. People love these breakfasts! Many churches will use this event to serve their communities or local businesses. The churches might also host their own pancake breakfasts to be “on mission” right in their own communities. During the years I served in Calgary as a children’s minister, I helped my church with the pancake breakfasts. The community center depended on our little church (which met in the community center) to help them with the pancake breakfasts for several years. Each year, instead of having our regular church service that Sunday morning, our congregation would help prep, serve, and clean up for the pancake breakfast. We fed at least 1,000 people each year! We would also plan and hold children’s activities during the event. This was a great way to share God’s love with the people in our community. A missions team from my church in Mississippi would come each summer to help us. They would usually stay to help with VBS.

There are over 1.4 million people living in Calgary. There is only 1 Canadian National Baptist church for every 44,586 people. That’s not very many churches for the number of people living in the city. Only about 5% of the people living there say they believe in Jesus Christ. Events like Canada Day celebrations and Stampede Week pancake breakfasts help churches be on mission and share about Jesus. These events can also be an easy way to invite families to summer events like VBS, day camp, backyard kids club, and sports camp.

Pray for the churches in Calgary as they hold special events and for the lost people of Calgary—and across Canada—to come to know Jesus!

 

Ellen Cone served in children’s ministry in the Calgary area for over 14 years. She currently serves as a children’s minister in Tennessee and has a passion for children’s missions discipleship.

 

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