A scattering of global Baptists have gathered this week in Vancouver for the Baptist World Alliance’s Annual Gathering. From Europe and Africa they have come, from Asia and Australia, from South America, Latin America, North America, and Canada we have gathered to discuss ways in which Baptists can be more effective in witness and ministry to refugees, to disaster victims, to people who who have little hope. We talk about doctrinal beliefs and ethical demands, about social concerns and religious liberty, about communicating the good news and preparing ministers through theological education.
Vancouver is a beautiful and multicultural city, socially and environmentally conscious — and in our experience so far, quite hospitable. When Susan and I arrived on Sunday evening after 21 hours of Uber, airports, airplanes, a train, and a long walk, we were hungry. After checking into the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel, we asked a few locals for recommendations and headed for the waterfront, where we’d been told a dockside restaurant called Cordero’s served fresh and amazing seafood.
We found the restaurant, which turned out to be so busy that the hostess predicted a 45-minute wait. Hoping for a faster meal, we ventured across the street to a smaller place called Six Degrees, where the owner met us at the door to apologize that the kitchen was closed. He suggested Cordero’s, and when we cited the expected wait, he said — in a delightful British accent — “Well, we’ll see about that, shall we?” He then strode off to the restaurant, leaving us to follow with some embarrassment.
Inside Cordero’s, he talked to at least half a dozen different staff members before getting to the maitre’d, who asked if we’d be willing to sit on bar stools at a small high table in a corner of the outside seating area, beside the water. Of course we would! When we thanked our benefactor and promised to come and eat at his restaurant another night, he brushed it off, and said “Welcome to Vancouver.”
We felt welcome, indeed — and the food was amazing, as promised: the best salmon and sablefish we’ve ever had.
The work got underway with day-long committee meetings on Monday. Commission meetings extend throughout the week, and the General Council will meet Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. Tonight Canadian Baptists will host us with a special dinner and program at the First Baptist Church of Vancouver. I hope it’s not sinful to be more excited about Canadian cooking than the next committee meeting …