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The Christ Church Cathedral (CCC) Men’s Group grew out of discussions between CCC deacon, the Reverend Alisdair Smith and then-curate of the Cathedral, the Reverend Patrick Blaney (now rector of St. John the Evangelist, North Vancouver) in 2008. In the five and half years that have passed, the group has grown from 5 or 6 meeting every couple of months on a Saturday morning to over 30 getting together for a delicious and hearty breakfast in community. The group now meets several Saturday mornings a year in a safe and caring environment to spend time together, to learn together and to reflect together on what it means to be men, and sometimes what it means to be men of faith in 2014. Ivo, an IT security specialist who is not a church member and began attendance at CCC Men’s Breakfast on the invitation of a parishioner in 2012, says “the collective wisdom in this room in amazing.”

 The program organizers, Dr. Jack Forbes, David MacMillan and Dr. Marv Westwood presented the first speaker of 2014, on January 18th, the Right Reverend James (Jim) Cruickshank, retired Bishop of the former Diocese of Cariboo, former Dean of Christ Church Cathedral and former professor at Vancouver School of Theology. Bishop Jim is a parishioner at CCC. His topic was an ambitious one, Faith – Freedom – Selfhood; Our Relationship with Faith. Bishop Jim’s insightful, engaging and enlightening presentation addressed the complexity of how personal faith becomes our faith and how we can approach God’s TRUTH. “I’ve never taken a course on truth” quipped Bishop Jim, “but FAITH is the journey to TRUTH.” Early in his presentation he said that “in order to talk about Faith and how we move towards faith, we must confront Fear. Overcoming Fear that moves us to Faith moves us to Freedom and “Christianity is about freedom.”

For Bishop Jim, “Faith is the belief that God’s promises are true. Christianity is not that we believe in God but that God believes in us.” It is always about God and God’s people that is why we say “Our Father.” Faith is our response to God’s promise:

 Faith is not separate from Love and Hope.

Bishop Jim explored these ideas in a room full of men who were paying very close attention which evolved into a lively discussion with those present adding some thoughtful and occasionally profound ideas into the conversation. Truly, Bishop Jim Cruickshank is one of the wisest of the wise elders of “Our Faith.”

Those at the next CCC Men’s Breakfast, February 22nd will welcome writer, Douglas Todd who will reflect on the concepts of “Story.

 Beginning Tuesday, January 21st, Bishop Jim will lead six bible study sessions on Tuesday evenings at 5pm on the theme of The Sermon on the Mount. All are welcome at Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard Street. The first Tuesday, January 21 meeting will take place in the Chancel the remaining weeks throught o February 25th in the Park Room near the lower level Burrard Street entrance.

Images: Bishop Jim Cruickshank with God’s Truth listed on the flipchart paper. Middle, Ivo and Dr. Marv Westwood