I’m very excited to show this painting. There is something about the paper boats, the reflected colours and the clouds that make me feel warm and happy. When I met the founders of the Calgary Punjabi Church, I was immediately struck by their warmth and hospitality. These are genuine, generous people with a real heart for their community.
My meeting with them was very different from other meetings I’ve had for the Intersection Art Project – it started with a warm embrace and the story of how one woman, Kamal, came to know Christ, who in turn led to her whole family converting. From this seed, the church started as a tiny small group study that grew to a weekly radio broadcast to finally a thriving congregation led by her brother, Balwant. This church not only serves the South Asian people of Calgary in their mother tongue but also reaches out in many ways to the community as a whole.
As I sat in this meeting, I realized over an hour into it that I’d barely taken any notes. I didn’t need to – this was more of a narrative that needed to be listened to than an overview of mission statements and vision. Kamal spoke about this idea that each person in their church is like a paper boat, casting nets out to reach the people around them. How God is guiding these boats, protecting them and showing them where they are to go. I was struck by this idea of paper and water – there is a fragility that they could only survive and stay afloat with the hand of God involved. The title “Fisher of Men” comes from the Bible where Jesus calls his first disciples to leave their job as fishermen and to follow Him to become fishers of men, so too have the people in the Calgary Punjabi Church have become this as well.