A report by Gloria Burrow, submitted to the Canadian Bible Society following her experience with Proclamation.

Proclamation is the reading of God’s word aloud in public and in its entirety from beginning to end traditionally over a 10 day period. Reading schedules have been developed integrating Old Testament readings with Psalms & Proverbs and New Testament readings.

[from the Canadian Bible Society website – read more]

The beautiful sanctuary at Carrick Camp

For anyone planning a “Proclamation” in their area, rest assured that it will be well worth every effort, every prayer and tear, and every hour of dedicated planning.

I felt such an urgency to be renewed and refreshed, to learn what God would have to say to me through His Word – not waiting for a year to read it alone in my home – but reading and listening consistently, hour after hour, for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord.

Rolling through my mind during those long months of preparation was the determination that “come what may”, we will accomplish this, even if I needed to do many of the readings myself. Of course, I didn’t need to worry since we had almost 300 people sign in to read several times each, and we had a team of approximately 25 strong, willing leaders, who took on various aspects of the 10 day operation.

I marveled at the unity and joy in the preparations. 

Members of the HMC Staff Team spent a morning reading

From 7:00 am – 7:00 pm each day, groups from various churches, family connections, and individual readers came. It was a delight to meet and chat with them and then listen to each of them as they read – noting the strengthening of relationships within these small groups as they focused together on God’s Word has been something to ponder and remember.

I believe, for those who participated, God has given new desires and a fresh glimpse of how much we need this daily “road map” – our guide and comfort.

The positive comments are on-going, and very encouraging:

One young man who was reading from Proverbs and had been wrestling with a difficult work-related situation later said, “I got my answer while reading. Now I know how to handle that. I’ll let God deal with it.”

A young mom who came to read a few times gave her heart and life to Jesus at break-time, and is being nurtured by the gracious lady who prayed with her and was sensitive to her need that day.

An older man came often to read. He and his wife were pillars throughout the 10 days even though they hadn’t really planned on it. At the close of our forth day this man quietly confessed to me and a few others that he had doubted this event would be of much value, and in the beginning he thought it would be nothing but a religious exercise and a waste of time. “I was so wrong,” he said, with tears running down his face. “God is doing a good work in me and many others.”

Every day, one lady drove 45 minutes to be there for 7:00 am and she stayed until it ended at 7:00 pm. If she missed even a few minutes she would record the scriptures she missed and read them at home. She is a very busy lady with a unique ministry but was amazed to realize that the days of Proclamation were not booked on her calendar. She kept them open for the right purpose and was extremely blessed by it. When Proclamation ended she was so thrilled to feel that she had taken in the whole Bible.

Neighbors of the camp, who had known for years it was there but had never attended, signed up to read. Later we met some of them at the Sunday evening concerts at the camp during the summer at the camp. It was a beautiful setting and great exposure for the ministry of Carrick Camp.

A man who had already read with a group came back later in the middle of his work day and said he just “had to” sign up to read again.

So, all we can say is that God’s Spirit was truly at work.

The Festival of Praise – mostly music and our community choir – was an amazing climax with about 200 people present. This also gave opportunity for many to share financially, adequately covering expenses and providing a generous donation to the camp and to the Canadian Bible Society.

The Name of Jesus is the Name about all names and praise God, His Word is true and powerful!

Adding Your Voice To Sunday Mornings – Why We Read The Scriptures Aloud

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophesy, and blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it…” Revelation 1:3a

Why We Read The Scriptures Aloud - Hanover Missionary Church

As we carry on in our chronological journey through the scriptures there has been an ongoing invitation to participate in the story through Life Groups, discussion questions, and personal challenges.  One more way of bringing the narrative to life is by sharing the Sunday morning reading of scripture among various voices in the pews.

“I see it as a new liturgy,” Pastor Jason said from the pulpit on November 23, 2014.  And while Hanover Missionary Church is not traditionally a liturgical church, there is something powerful to be said for actively participating in a service and not just being a consumer. 
The beauty of the liturgical tradition is that it carries a lot of back and forth and calls for active participation.  “Literally translated ‘liturgy‘ is ‘the work of the people‘,” Pastor Jason shared.  “In our context we have to be careful that everything isn’t driven from the front – that you become inactive participants in something that is largely being performed…and you are simply there as an observer.  We don’t want that.  We want you to be active participants and so, as you read the scriptures and as I share from my insight, from my perspective, from my readings, from my prayer, hopefully our messages jointly – our lips jointly – will be filled with messages from the Lord for each other.  There is power in the good news.  There is power in the scriptures and, as we share the Word of God together, there’s transformation that comes as it takes root in our hearts.”
Understanding the reasoning behind why we do things the way we do is just one more step in the journey towards becoming a strong family in Christ – a community actively pursuing God together.  And perhaps, through understanding, you will find yourself raising your hand to add your own voice to a Sunday morning service at HMC, making your experience richer, and the Word that much more powerful.

Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she’s trying hard not to love.  She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications.  You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.

Navigation Tools

by contributing writer Brian Austin

A recent trip to the Bay of Fundy brought something home to me rather forcefully. Navigation tools are far advanced from the time Samuel Champlain established a settlement at present-day Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia in 1605. In many parts of the Bay, narrow channels can be easily crossed at high tide in 10 minutes with a small motor boat or even a row boat. Most of the people who regularly make those crossings have all the navigation tools available. Some of the more seasoned ones can read patterns in the waves and currents as easily as most of us read print. But every year a few of them get caught when a fog bank comes in quickly. Every year a few get caught in a sudden storm. Most make it through somehow. But a few don’t.
Present day print resources provide outstanding tools for navigating life. Very few people who attend our churches and use our libraries will not own a Bible or at least have one in their home. How many of them are making the crossing, but their GPS is sitting on a shelf at home? It’s usually easy, quick and comfortable. They’ve done this before and had no problem. Yet life has a way of bringing fog-banks and storms. Our churches are full of people who don’t read their Bibles. Their GPS is sitting on a shelf somewhere and not turned on. They have all the right tools, but they’re not using them.

Virtually everyone coming through our doors has access to the Bible and many Bible Literacy tools. It’s a Spiritual GPS with the maps and charts astonishingly accurate and up-to-date. Probably 2/3rds or more of those people rarely if ever use those tools. I can’t fill that gap. Our pastors can’t fill that gap. But together, just maybe, we can stimulate enough interest that people will begin to read the Bible for themselves. Together, just maybe, we can bring enough balance to the bits and pieces they know that they will begin to hunger and thirst for a deeper grasp.

Maybe what we need as a church – maybe what the people listening to the preaching and using our library need is a storm – not enough to shipwreck us, just enough to remind us that the tools so readily available have no value for us unless we actually use them.
Brian Austin is a published novelist, poet, fish enthusiast, and church librarian. He has been an active part of HMC and it’s Resource Centre for more than 30 years. He and his wife live in Durham.

Read Any Good Books Lately?

By contributing writer Brian Austin

As church librarian, I have the privilege of managing a treasure of almost measureless value. I love books. The eyesight issue that has created a personal struggle for the last number of years has not diminished that love at all, although it has reduced my personal reading drastically. The HMC Resource Centre has been a personal work of love and ministry for more than 31 years now. I suspect the time is coming soon when it would be healthier for the church and Resource Centre if I stepped aside and someone else gave leadership, but I count it a privilege and an honour to still be deeply involved. 
I take delight in watching toddlers love for books. It is a rough love and torn pages are part of it. But the simple joy they find even before they can read – not caring what page they open to or even if the book is right side up – just caught up in something full of wonder. . . 
 I want so much to have our teens reading – though a part of me cringes when a new book gets carried in a backpack for a week. Signed out once it shows more wear than a book stamped 20 times that our seniors have been reading. Still, from my perspective, finding another book that will grip that teen is one of the places real ministry happens. 
 A lot of main-stream teen fiction is scary stuff. Some of it is brilliantly written, way beyond my skill as a writer. But if the message is dangerous, and it often is, the very brilliance gets a hold on a young mind and draws them back for more. It thrills me when I find wonderful teen fiction with biblical truth woven into the story. When I get that into a teen’s hands and they come back for more – then a prematurely worn out book is an excellent investment from my perspective. 
I don’t know how to compete with TV and iPads and computers. Kids are growing up with so much technology and according to some research, with increasingly short attention spans. I can get all uptight about that, or I can remind myself that the greatest teacher of all time used sound-bytes 2000 years ago. I don’t think any of Jesus’ parables take five minutes to tell. I wonder if there is a message there for us authors. As a librarian I can focus on what I can do something about – searching for and buying the best children’s and teen books I can find, and encouraging the kids who do love to read, getting to know their interests a bit and pointing them to books that fit. 
For me there is another huge, almost impossible hurdle to overcome. An ever increasing percentage of the people who use our library have never read the Bible for themselves. If they come regularly to our church they have heard preaching that is always Bible based, but at best that gives them snippets of the Bible’s message, not the whole of it. The best intentioned preacher joining forces with the best intentioned authors cannot fill that void. As a church librarian with a treasury of rich, theologically and doctrinally sound resources available, I cannot fill that void. Reading about the Bible’s message, no matter how beautifully done, is not and cannot be the same as actually reading the Bible for itself. 
If I can ever summon the nerve to do it, people will come into our church some Sunday morning to find the library door locked, a big poster of an open Bible, and the question in huge block letters: “Have you read any good books lately?” Maybe I’ll picture an e-reader on the poster as well, a nod to people younger and more technologically connected than me. It will be a reminder to me as much as to anyone else, because with eyesight issues, my Bible reading has also suffered. 
Brian Austin is a published novelist, poet, fish enthusiast, and church librarian. He has been an active part of HMC and it’s Resource Centre for more than 30 years. He and his wife live in Durham.