When the Israelites were exiled to Babylon, they found themselves spiritually and morally challenged in a land in rebellion against God and His truth. Similarly, Christians in this uncertain period of a post-truth Canada feel increasingly isolated from culture and their community. Hence the name of the event: Thriving in Babylon. The purpose is to explore the opportunities evangelical Canadian Christians have in our present-day context and how we can thrive within it.
This spring conference will take place on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, 2018, at Vaughan Community Church, Thornhill, Ontario. It is being held in co-operation with The Renewal Fellowship Within The Presbyterian Church in Canada. It will be a celebration of the evangelical church in Canada, with speakers, discussion, sharing, and fellowship. This event is open to people from all churches and denominations.
The theme on Friday, April 20, will be Christian Living in a Secular World
- Evangelical Fellowship of Canada president Bruce Clemenger will speak on the challenges of freedom of religion in the Canadian context and the benefits of networking as evangelicals.
- The Peoples’ Church pastor Warwick Cooper will share insights into the improving relationships between evangelicals and the LGBTQ community.
- McMaster Divinity College professor Lee Beach, author of The Church in Exile: Living in Hope After Christendom, will set the scene, directing us toward hope.
- Open Doors Canada executive director Gary Stagg will speak about what we can learn about the experience of Christian oppression in other parts of the world.
- Radio host, author and president of the Presbyterian Laymen (PCUSA) Carmen Laberge will speak on how we can bring God back in the conversation within the mainline church.
- Christian author and speaker William Webb will share his insight into the ethical challenges facing Christians in Canada today.
- Toronto Chinese Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship Chair Wes Chang will speak on the experiences of Christian new Canadians – the largest segment of growth in the Canadian Church – in a secular Canada.
The theme on Saturday, April 21, will be Good News for These Times.
- Author John G. Stackhouse Jr. of Crandall University, is noted for his studies of church and culture and will be speaking on the future of evangelicalism in general. His most-recent book “Why you’re here: ethics for the real world” was released in December.
- David Haskell of Wilfrid Laurier University, is lead author of the groundbreaking study, Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy, which found conservative theology is a driver for growth, and liberal theology leads to church decline.
- Peter Bush, moderator of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, will be speaking on the possible future directions of the denomination.
Friday: Christian Living in a Secular World
8:00 – Registration
8:00 – Coffee and Connecting (light breakfast provided)
9:00 – Worship and Welcome
9:30 – Rev. Lee Beach
10:30 – Break
11:00 – Carmen Fowler Laberge, via Skype
12:00 – United Church of Canada (Cruxifusion) representative to be confirmed
12:30 – Lunch
1:30 – Dr. Warwick Cooper
2:30 – Dr. Bill Webb
3:00 – Roundtable discussion
3:30 – Break
3:45 – Gary Stagg
4:30 – Rev. Wes Chang
5:30 – Bruce Clemenger
6:30 – Dinner – Korean buffet
7:30 – Praise and prayer – Bethel Chapel
8:00 – Café house for reflection/table groups, music and conversation – call out to all registrants to bring their musical talents
Saturday: Good News for These Times
8:00 – Registration (Coffee and light breakfast provided)
9:00 – Opening comments and worship: worship: scripture, songs, prayer
9:30 – Prof. David Haskell
10:15 – Q&A with David Haskell
10:45 – Break
11:00 – Small group discussion
11:30 – Rev. Peter Bush
12:00 – Q&A with Peter Bush
12:30 – Lunch
1:40 – Worship and small group prayer time
2:00 – Prof. John Stackhouse
2:45 – Q&A with John Stackhouse
3:15 – Closing charge and benediction
Mark your calendar! Registration is online through Eventbrite, allowing payment online by credit card or by cheque through the mail. For both Friday and Saturday, the last-minute cost from April 1-16 is $145. Friday only is $85, and Saturday only is $60.
A block of rooms has been set aside at Sheraton Parkway North Toronto Hotel and Suites (at Highway 7 and Leslie) for April 19-20 at $119 single or double, price guaranteed until April 3. Call hotel directly at 1-800-668-0101 or 905-881-2121 and quote event name or code TIB419.