Coming Soon! The First HMC Chilli Cook-Off!

HOW IT’S GOING TO WORK

If you want your chilli to be part of the February 25 Cook-Off: Bring your crockpot to the main kitchen before the service. See the cook-off team to register. (You will be asked to take a number and give your chilli a creative name.)

We will take up to 20 entries.

If you want to be a judge: At the end of the service you will be given a chance to volunteer as a judge. We can have (up to) 20 judges. You will be dismissed a few minutes before everyone else. Find the judging station in the U18 foyer (kitchen outside the gym) and get further instructions there.

You do not have to participate in the cook-off to share your chilli! Please plan to bring a pot either way and deliver to the main kitchen before the service. Buns and drinks will be provided. You’re welcome to bring along a dessert as well if you choose.

Winners will be celebrated in our service on Sunday, March 4 and will get to take home one of these gorgeous trophies:

Bring your appetite and your best chilli!

Daily Prayer Request – Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tonight is our annual SLEIGH RIDE & CAROL SING! Pray that it would be a great time of coming together, and that we would be reminded of the value of our church family. Pray that the weather would cooperate, that every participant (and the horses!) would be safe, and that our presence and voices would be a blessing to the community as we sing and play together.

Bring along your family, friends, and neighbours. We hope to see you tonight at 6:30!

Happiness is a Chili Potluck

What a wonderful time we shared over bowls of chili on Sunday! Thanks to everyone who had a hand in organizing and to everyone who brought in a pot of chili.

We intend to host these casual gatherings every month so watch the bulletin for details as plans come together

Pitch and Praise – It’s For Grandpa’s Too!

by contributing writer Brian Austin

How does a grandpa like me give a fair evaluation of a weekend with 1,500 youth? How do I measure the energy in that huge tent full of youth singing, clapping, and many of them dancing as they praise God? When the beat of the drums has my chest feeling like someone is doing CPR, how does an old guy like me still enter into the spirit of praise?

*

I love youth, but like many of my generation, I love them in small doses. I confess to a bit of trepidation in committing myself to this weekend. I enjoy the passion and energy of their music, but I long for some of the old hymns in the mix. I rarely give much thought to the bit of hair I have left, but I’d have gladly had enough to cover my ears so I could discretely wear ear plugs. I’m not a guy to dance and wave my arms, but there is something contagious about that many youth more focused on God than on what this old grandpa might think.

 Old school as I am, I’m uncomfortable when guys wear hats in church, especially during prayer. But there was no disrespect in the prayer times when hats were totally forgotten by everybody but me.

One of our own youth has this crazy talent for be-bopping. (Is there a right way to spell that?) He made it to the finals in the “Pitch Has Talent” competition with a huge fan club cheering him on. The laughter and cheering brought a wonderful and needed break from the sometimes intense soul-searching. I’d have arranged things a bit differently, especially giving a longer transition time between those soul-searching moments and the celebration – party-atmosphere times that followed so closely. Yet I find no room for criticism. I saw God touching lives. I heard God speaking into my own life.

It was no great sacrifice for me to go. Our youth are great kids and are worth it. I thought I was going primarily for them and was content with that. But it wasn’t just for them.

Little (perhaps not so little) things stood out. The weather threatened as we packed up to leave Friday afternoon. We drove through rain much of the way. But it was dry as we set up tents, and we had only one light shower during one of the main sessions. Nights were chilly but not freezing. We had times of brilliant sunshine followed shortly by light clouds. The weather was as close to perfect as you could ask for in May when sunburn and frostbite in any 24 hours are very possible. Dynamic speakers gave powerful challenges to these youth, yet still spoke strongly to this grandpa. Words of healing and worth were spoken to the broken and wounded.  “Power in the Blood,” one of those old hymns I love, boomed through the tent and beyond with passion I’ve never heard in those words before. I attended one workshop on prayer and found it rich and rewarding, especially as youth crammed into that room when there were a dozen other planned events they could be doing at the same time.

I came home exhausted, but full of hope for our youth and our world – and challenged in my own spirit to give of myself more fully in reckless abandon to God.

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.  [Articles by Brian]



*photo courtesy of @pitchpraise on twitter

Snow Camp 2015

Over the last few years there has been a great push towards strengthening relationships between various age groups – a lot of focus on mixing generations and age demographics in an effort to solidify the Biblical call for us to be one body in Christ.

“so in Christ we, though many, form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.”

Romans 12:5

In keeping with this focus, for the first time ever, the Junior Youth Group was invited to join the Senior Youth Group for our traditional HMC Snow Camp weekend retreat.  “Doing something new often causes apprehension,” says Karen Krotz, coordinator of the Senior Youth program at HMC. “It raises questions like Why am I doing this?  Why change things when it has worked perfectly fine the same way for many years?  What happens if it doesn’t go well?”  The questions really could go on and on.

The age range between a seventh grader and twelve grader is huge.  The shift in dynamics had to be considered during planning and changes had to be made to accommodate a wider age range but, much to the delight of Karen and the other leaders, “our younger youth joined in all the activities – including the talent night…and our senior youth welcomed them into what used to be ‘their’ weekend with open arms.”

hanover missionary church snow camp group photo

“What a great bunch of kids,” reported Jason McDougall, who helps his wife, Melissa, with coordinating the Junior bunch.  “I bunked with the junior high boys and LOVED it.  Stayed up late, told stories, laughed, and learned as much from them as they did from me.”

The weekend was a time of getting to know the kids better through play, learning, and relaxing together and it was all possible because of the great team of volunteers that were there. From the
leaders to the volunteers in the kitchen to all the incredible prayer support and encouragement from the church family.

“God is good,” Jason shared. “It was a privilege to watch the kids grow as a group – to learn, and laugh, and play.  I enjoyed my weekend with them and the other leaders… and we are all looking forward to doing it over again next year.”

“Was it a success?” Karen asks.  “Are we glad we tried it?  Do we do this again next year?” 

And her answer to these questions is a resounding, “YES!”

Watch the Snow Camp video on YouTube

See the full photo gallery on Facebook

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.

On Teacups & Friendship

At the beginning of February the Ladies Social team hosted a Winter Tea Party.  Here are some thoughts inspired by that event

by contributing writer, Michelle McLaughlin

Life’s busyness doesn’t always leave room to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  Drinking tea from a proper teacup and saucer.  Enjoying dainty treats made by hands other than your own.  Laughing.  Savouring the moments with friends made special through shared life-stories, hurts, triumphs, fears, laughter and joy.  Deepening friendships newly made.

With the many to-dos waiting to be done and the varied lists of needs yet to be fulfilled, it’s too easy to get caught up in the getting-it-all-done.  It’s too easy to be caught up in bearing daily life burdens alone.  It’s too easy to mistakenly think we are each the only one with this many demands on our abilities, on our resources of inner strength, on our oh-so-precious time.

But it was in the enjoyment of a tea party amidst a roomful of women of all ages and stages of life where I was reminded that I am not so alone as I sometimes delude myself into believing.  It was in sitting with my dear friends that I was refreshed after a day made long by my own unkind, unprompted emotions.  It was in the sharing of burdens when I was nudged to remember I am not the only one facing these daily struggles of motherhood and cooking and loving and cleaning and dreaming and praying for these families we are entrusted with.

It was a tea party with fancy hats, delicate teacups and saucers, a fun photo booth and friendships.  We smiled.  We laughed.  We talked.  We shared.  A few of us even shed a tear as we listened to the life story of a woman made wise with embracing life as it unraveled before her.  A story permeated with her trust that God would see her through both difficult and joyful times.


The day began with bearing emotional encumbrances alone.  The day ended with a hot cup of tea infused with gentle reminders that I am not alone, that I am not the only one traversing this road of motherhood and womanhood.  

Enjoying a cup of tea is all about slowing down the hurry’s and the have-tos of the day to enjoy the moment.  It is savouring the delicate aroma wafting from the warm amber liquid before that first lovely sip of infused flavour.  

Mingling our hearts and time with our friends infuses our joys so the harshness of life is lessened.

Michelle is a stay-at-home mother to 5 energetic boys, striving every day to find the simple blessings in a busy household of seven.  She has been attending HMC for a few years and volunteers in the nursery and with the Ladies Social team.
Michelle shares her life on her own blog at Simple Bounty.

[tea pot photo by Blaine Radstake ~ see all the tea party photos here]

Welcoming Fall with a Parking Lot Carnival!

Every year we like to welcome the Fall with a special kick-off Sunday. In the past we’ve done different things  (all involving food, of course)  but this year we decided to go for something completely new and fresh.
A Carnival!
The sun beamed down surprisingly hot as we got everything set up after church on the afternoon of September 7 but we had a big crew of willing and able adults and children who banded together and made it happen.
With two inflatable bouncy houses – one a castle and one a skid loader – homemade carnival games provided by the crew at New Tribes Mission and the young adults group, an abundance of treats, pie and BBQ, the evening was a huge success and a whole lot of fun, culminating in a lovely time of outdoor worship!
One of our goals over the past year has been to create opportunity to build the HMC community and this certainly fit that bill! There were (sticky) smiles all around the parking lot – some of our neighbors even wandered over to see what was going on. 
The carnival team was tired but pleased and already there is talk about possibly doing it again some time!

We’d love to hear what your favorite part was! Would you like to see something like this happen again for Welcome Back Sunday? Would you do anything differently? 

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.

Another Version of an HMC Bond Fire

On July 27, the Hallberg’s generously hosted our fifth Bond Fire of the season and people began trickling in just as the rain started.  
Some time was spent with the horses but as more people arrived the rains began to fall heavier. 
Refuge was found in Tor’s shop but when God’s light show got underway 31 people headed into the house and cozied up around the fireplace, visiting and making s’mores.
It was not quite the bonfire people may have envisioned on their way there but it was a great time with old and new friends.  Just another version of an HMC Bond Fire!

Come Sit By The Bond Fire

The first Bond Fire of the season came on the heels of a torrential downpour. Between vicious cracks of thunder the Rusnak’s regrettably posted a cancellation notice only to glance out the window ten minutes later to see the sun peaking through. Everything was soaked but one look at the daughter who’d spent her afternoon   labouring over a sign and the cancellation was rescinded with a ‘you might get wet but I dare you to come!’ announcement post.
Dry wood was pulled from the bottom of the pile behind the barn and a fire was going when the first guests arrived.  People slowly trickled in and in the end there was a grand total of 21 in attendance (with enough snacks for 50!) but the smaller group offered a great opportunity to meet some people newly connected to the congregation and though everyone got wet feet, hearts were light and the company was great!
The evening ended with an impromptu fireworks show and sparklers for the children.

Some brave kids jumped in the river at tonight’s BondFire @ The LaPrise’s pic.twitter.com/iq2zQFNIbK
— Hanover Missionary (@hmcnews) July 7, 2014

Our second week was met with sunshine and many more people ventured out to enjoy the night together in the LaPrise’s backyard.  There was swimming in the river, a fascinating minnow-catching demonstration, and more food than the picnic table could contain.
We are looking forward to many more evenings together this summer. People have willingly opened their yards and homes and we are excited about the sense of community this recurring event is building. 
Will you join us this Sunday night? We’d love to see you there!