The West Coast Christian Accord arose like an unexpected pregnancy. On September 26, after 21 days of fasting and nightly prayer meetings, the WCCA was birthed with over 1000 signatories affirming 14 clear declarations focusing on human sexuality, gender and marriage. 185 pastors were among the signees.
In December 2017, Pastor Kevin Cavanaugh (Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Surrey) was hosting meetings for Journey Canada and had invited another speaker to join them. He says that members of the LGBTQ community began inundating Cavanaugh and the staff with intimidating threats saying they would be turned over to the RCMP for hate crimes and that there would be organized protests happening during his Sunday services.
He knew his congregation was unprepared so called off the meetings. In his reflections he realized that “courage comes from conviction” so he connected with Pastor Dave Carson and Pastor Giulio Lorefice Gabeli of Hope Vancouver (Gabeli is also the senior pastor of Westwood Community Church, Coquitlam) to strategize a response. The West Coast Accord grew out of that collaboration.
The multi-denominational movement has bonded together diverse churches into a common cause. Gabeli stated publicly that “we were like Jeremiah – we were vexed in our spirit over the sin and immorality.” He felt that the Spirit prompted him toward the words of Jeremiah 20:7-9. Part of this section reads “So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, ‘I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”
Paul Dirks (New West Community Church), Sam Owusu (Calvary Worship Centre) and Laura-Lynn Tyler-Thompson are also signatories. Dirks says “there is a time and place for church leaders to speak as prophets to our world regarding the Word of God. We’re facing the Bonhoeffer moment where we either speak up or lose the authority to speak.” He says the goal is to access two million people with the vision of the West Coast Accord and that this movement is part of the turning of the tide against the SOGI 123 curriculum.
Tyler-Thompson, running for school board in Burnaby, states that “We, as followers of Jesus, honour the rights of all Canadians to live the lifestyle they choose but we also must be honoured for our values. We don’t want our children taught transgenderism.”
Cavanaugh invites others to join in affirming The Accord and says, to those concerned about losing their influence in the community by signing, “our increasingly secularized society has a zero-tolerance position on anything Christian. Simply hint at any thought, idea or value remotely Christian and you will be quickly dismissed, marginalized, or removed. Friends, there comes a time in every believer’s life when truth and biblical conviction collide with one’s personal standing, even reputation. At one point, one must give way to the other.”
Gabeli says that “the WCCA is a clarion call for Christian Leaders to ‘arise and stand as one’ representative of the Canadian Church; declaring that we have the right, as law abiding citizens, to the freedoms of conscience, speech and the freedom to practice our faith and values. For far too long the Church has been silent in the public arena allowing the secular social engineers to deconstruct the foundational biblical values that made our Nation prosperous and the envy of the world.”
With SOGI 123, it appeared as if the LGBTQ movement had successfully gained exclusive influence and authority over the messaging of information while the church had been disengaged or distracted with other issues. The social transition in our education system alone pressuring research, teaching, service, credentialing and administration systems, to conform to the new wave, shows the need for collaborative action is clear. Recent legislation across this country reveals that the courts cannot be relied on for consistent support.
The movement has embraced the words of Martin Luther King when he proclaimed: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Cavanaugh concludes: The Accord is significant because all 14 articles taken together form a complete declaration that is important for three reasons: first, it is a biblically based teaching resource for the churches on the controversial topic of SOGI; second, it is a plumb line of righteousness to call the Church and the City to account; and thirdly, it is a clarion call to pastors and churches to form a like minded coalition who will stand together on this issue for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
The Reveal for the Accord, along with the wording of the 14 affirmations, can be accessed on the West Coast Christian Accord website westcoastchristianaccord.com.