Oasis: Old Agers Still In Service
by Henry Hooge
The average age of our OASIS Team of Seniors is well over 75, in fact, closer to 80. We did recently welcome a youngster, well into his 50s, to join our ranks on the Advisory Team. PTL.
So, you may wonder, what does Oasis do? It is our conviction that seniors, regardless of church or spiritual experience, have a place in the Kingdom of God, with ample avenues in the church community to serve. In Chilliwack Alliance, Oasis represents one monthly evening service at the church open to anyone who cares to join us – regardless of age. True, we cater largely to a senior audience. We believe that every community should have such an outlet for both ministry, and being ministered to; OASIS has been active for well over 20 years, and continues to be a viable service.
Our monthly services consist of lively hymn singing (hymns from the hymnal, but also on the screen). Frequently, we have the music accompaniment of piano and organ, along with violin and/or harmonica. It is such a joy to sing these old hymns of the faith, and rejoice in the lyrics that we can so readily identify with.
We are involved in a variety of programs, especially missions of various kinds. Included are ministries such as our own Alliance Global Missions, as well as annual programs featuring ministries such as Dalit Freedom Network, ICR (International Christian Relief) Place of Rescue Cambodia (here we sponsor a child), The Table Gathering (Ukraine), and local ministries such as M2W2, Ruth & Naomi Mission, and Teen Challenge.
One program a year (April) is dedicated to Messianic Jewish ministries, hosting Jewish works, such as Christian & Jews, ICEJ, Chosen People Minstries, One Foundation, Friends of Israel. This evening proves to be one of the best attended in the year, and of course is fascinating, in that it deals with Israel, and God’s purposes for His chosen people – after all, consider prophecies!
A very popular annual event is the Annual Throness Evening, featuring the instrumental and vocal ministry of the talented Throness Family. Join us September 29, and enjoy this family presentation.
Our service begins at 6:30 pm, the last Sunday of each month and includes a lively song service, special musical contributions by various ensembles and solos, with the focus of the 90-minute program on a mission or ministry, which often also includes ministries sponsored by Chilliwack Alliance Church. The Spirit of God orchestrates these programs, and we are richly blessed in not only learning about these ministries, but also able to substantially support them. No Oasis service begins without a pre-session prayer.
Frequently, Oasis will put on a pre-service dinner for our guests, so we can become better acquainted. The response of our many guests over the years has been overwhelmingly very positive. God-honouring times.
God has graciously blessed this evening ministry, totally run by lay Seniors (no pastor involved) and we have experienced the moving presence of the Spirit of God on so many occasions. Other churches within the community are encouraged, and do join in with the congregants of our own church. It is incredible how the Lord has been able to use the dedication of a group of Seniors, desiring to continue to serve the Lord. Publicity goes out to surrounding churches every month, encouraging an ecumenical participation.
Annually, we also have a Christmas Carol night with a full fledged orchestra (45 participants) from our community known as Songs of Praise Orchestra.
Oasis also offers a Camp Scholarship program to Camp Kawkawa, so that each year we have sent unchurched parish children to our Camp at Hope. Alongside the support of the Vision Tree Ministry of our church, we have been able to send, on full scholarship, between 20-40 youngsters to Camp each summer, with the exciting follow up, that a number of these community youngsters have been brought into our church Youth program. Here we are particularly grateful for the ministry of our church Parish Chaplain, Carol Goh, and assistant pastor, Wayne Massey.
Here are committed Seniors, most are well-advanced in age, still using their talents and dedication to further the cause of God’s kingdom. These Seniors are not “re-tired” but “retreaded”.
We want to encourage many more churches to consider having this kind of ministry in their community. For further information, you can certainly contact the Chilliwack Alliance Church. Why not join us on one of those ‘last Sunday of the month’ programs, and experience the blessings of the Lord.
Henry Hooge is the Co-ordinator of the Oasis Ministry at Chilliwack Alliance Church.