Monday, November 28, 2011

A Great Week In Vancouver with RZIM Canada!

     Yesterday marked the end of RZIM's week long itinerary of events in the greater Vancouver area, which I had mentioned in my earlier post. Dr. Andy Bannister spoke at The Point Church's 10 AM service at SFU, and then flew back to Toronto, with a stopover in Winnipeg. Most of the team would have left by late morning, some like Michael Ramsden and David Lloyd heading back to Oxford, and the Canadian team heading back to Toronto. Unfortunately, I was only able to make it to two events during the week - the "Stripped Down Faith" event at SFU on Wednesday, where Michael Ramsden spoke on the topic "Is The Christian God Schizophrenic?", and the RZIM Builder's Dinner at the Ramada Hotel in Abbotsford, held last Saturday for RZIM's financial supporters.

    The event at SFU (in partnership with Campus for Christ) went very well, and the talk was most interesting and engaging. I recorded most of the main talk, and some of the Q&A session, which featured some very interesting, heartfelt and thought-provoking questions. I hope to have video highlights of the evening up on the YouTube channel shortly. Until then, here are some of the photos from the evening:

Andy Bannister and Michael Ramsden during the Question & Answer segment at SFU
Dr. Andy Bannister in conversation with a student after the event

Michael Ramsden deep in discussion. This conversation went on for a long time!
     The Builder's Dinner during the weekend turned out to be a wonderful evening, as I got to meet and connect with a number of RZIM supporters, some of whom were also graduates of RZIM's six-week summer program offered at their Oxford Centre of Christian Apologetics at Oxford University. It has long-been a dream of mine to one day do their one-year course, so it was with excitement (and not a little envy) that I listened to stories of their experiences in class, being taught by and spending time with some of the finest thinking minds in the Christian community. During the course of the evening, in between starters and the main course, we got to listen to Dr. Andy Bannister describe some of their experiences at their speaking engagements in the lower mainland over the last week. After that, Michael Ramsden gave a small talk on the famous doxology of Jude 1:24-15, intertwined with inspiring and powerful stories of their ministry experiences all over the world of the past year. It was a personally humbling experience to sit in the company of such great men and women, most of whom were much older than I yet both supporting RZIM and tirelessly involved in ministry of their own, even in their old age. Here are some of my favourite snapshots of the evening:

The venue at the Ramada Plaza in Abbotsford
Rick Manafo, setting up the soundstage
Testing, Testing...

With Andy Bannister, Rick Manafo and Michael Ramsden at the end of a memorable evening!

     Although I wish I had been able to attend all of RZIM's speaking engagements on the Mainland and Vancouver Island, it was a great week nonetheless. One of the unofficial highlights was being able to go out to dinner with my friend Rick Manafo, one of RZIM Canada's apologists and also their event manager. I had had the privilege of meeting Rick for the first time last year while visiting the RZIM Canada office, and helping him over the last several months with some of the details related to the Stripped Down Faith events at SFU and UBC. It was wonderful to go to dinner on a cold and rainy night in downtown Vancouver on Thursday, at the Banana Leaf restaurant on Denman Street, before he joined the team on Vancouver Island for one of their main speaking engagements. We got to both fellowship and review the events half-way through their itinerary, and possible plans for next year and the short-term future. I was really excited to see God open doors and connect people during this trip, and am looking forward to partnering and participating with more RZIM events in the Lower Mainland in the years to come!
- The Wisdom Seeker