Black Creek UMC has its own Sky Pilot

New pastor also a professional aviator and safety consultant to the industry

Gerry “Sky Pilot” Binnema and his wife

Submitted

In the 1800s, church clergy were often called “Sky Pilots”, possibly in reference to the heavenly themes from the pulpit.

Gerry Binnema has recently become the new pastor at the United Mennonite Church in Black Creek and brings a contemporary meaning to this old nickname. He is part of a new trend of bi-vocational pastors who work part time for the church but also have another occupation. Aside from his duties at UMC, Binnema is also a professional aviator and safety consultant to the industry. His wife, Elaine, is a counsellor who has started her practice out of their home in Storries Beach.

Pilots require a clear vision and good planning to fly safely. Binnema recently brought these skills to the church in a visioning process. The goal was to find the place where the gifts and passions of the congregation intersect with the needs of the community. Many ideas arose in the day-long session.

“We realized our rural community was no longer the country paradise with nuclear families it was in 1937 when our church was founded by German-speaking immigrants from the Soviet Union,” said Binnema. “Much has changed. There are many low-income single-parent families living out here because of the less expensive rents. In many ways, we are a rural community with inner city issues.”

The vision identified an opportunity to serve the area by providing a break for parents by looking after their kids for an evening. Also UMC hopes to open the church building for use by other people and groups in the community.

“We want to have music evenings, hootenanny style, for all budding and accomplished musicians to drop in with guitars, accordions, ukuleles or just voices,” said Binnema.

One of the challenges is the lingering notion that you have to be from an ethnic Mennonite background to feel welcome. Some picture Mennonites as rural folks who wear bonnets and travel in horse-drawn buggies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. People at UMC come from all circumstances but share the common beliefs in peace, service, community and putting faith into action.

One of the church’s projects is called “Beyond our Doors” supporting soup kitchens in Campbell River and Courtenay, the Miracle Beach School Breakfast Program, Communitas Supportive Housing as well as international development and relief programs through Mennonite Central Committee.

“We are a small church, very friendly and easy-going,” said Binnema. “Our worship is not especially slick, loud or rehearsed, but we welcome you just as you are; coming to hear real teaching from God’s word for our everyday lives.”

The Black Creek United Mennonite Church is on Enns Road just off the highway north of Black Creek Store. The church’s web page is http://www.umcbc.ca/index.html.

 

Just Posted

Courtenay voter taking it to the streets

Sarah Henckel-Sutmoller made her own election sign Saturday afternoon.

Basket raffle a Comox Valley Child Development Association Children’s Telethon tradition

One-stop Christmas shopping with Winner Takes All Basket rffle

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

Golden anniversary for G.P. Vanier Thursday

It was a day of celebration for students, educators and administrators past… Continue reading

Steady stream of voters at Filberg

Voter turnout has been a steady stream Saturday at the Florence Filberg… Continue reading

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Steady stream of voters at Filberg

Voter turnout has been a steady stream Saturday at the Florence Filberg… Continue reading

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Most Read