Dear Colleagues,I don’t know when I began signing off my emails with “Blessings,” but I’ve always felt good about using that rather than “Sincerely yours.” In my thinking, this was to signify something deeper than “have a nice day.” I wanted those who heard from me, whether on casual or weighty matters, to be connected to the good things of God that are released when we bless one another.
On the weekend, I started reading Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved – Spiritual Living in a Secular World.” I haven’t finished it yet but it has my attention on a couple of levels. In my own discipleship, I believe it is important to keep in touch with the center and foundation of my faith. Rarely do I read anything that Nouwen writes that does not help me there personally.
I am also interested in the book because of its genre. In essence, it’s a letter from Nouwen to a secular journalist and writer, Fred Bratman, whom Nouwen befriended. He wanted to understand the spiritual life in terms that he and his friends could understand, avoiding theology and technical language. So Nouwen takes on the task and sets it up with these words:
…I am thoroughly convinced that the origin and goal of our existence have everything to do with the ways we think, talk and act in our daily lives. When our greatest truth is that we are the Beloved and when our greatest joy and peace comes from fully claiming that truth, it follows that this has to become visible and tangible in the ways we eat and drink, talk and love, play and work. When the deepest currents of our life no longer have any influence on the waves at the surface, then our vitality will eventually ebb, and we will end of listless and bored, even when we are busy.
So, my task now is to write about that process of becoming the Beloved as it can be pinpointed in our very concrete daily lives. What I will attempt to describe are the movements of the Spirit as they take place within us and around us… To identify the movements of the Spirit in our lives, I have found it useful to use four words: “Taken (chosen),” “blessed,” “broken,” and “given.” …These words summarize my life as a Christian because, as a Christian, I am called to become bread for the world: bread that is taken, blessed, broken, and given. Most importantly, however, they summarize my life as a human being because in every moment of my life somewhere, somehow the taking, the blessing, the breaking, and the giving are happening.
See what I mean? This is very rich, spiritual nourishment, and when he comes into the discussion of what it means to bless and be blessed, he explains, “To give a blessing is to affirm, to say ‘yes’ to a person’s Belovedness. And more than that: to give a blessing creates the reality of which it speaks. There is a lot of mutual admiration in this world, just as there is a lot of mutual condemnation. A blessing goes beyond the distinction between admiration or condemnation, between virtue or vices, between good deeds or evil deeds. A blessing touches the original goodness of the other and calls forth his or her Belovedness. So, when you receive an email and I close it with the word, “Blessings,” I hope it will convey my desire for you in that moment. I want that God’s best will be yours and that you are in a place where you can receive the goodness of His strengthening presence.
There are several announcements this week. We want to offer our congratulations to Edrice Clermy (church planter at Eglise Evangelique des Mille-Iles) who has transferred in as an ordained minister from Evangelique l’Eglise Chretienne de Carrefour in Haiti. MEGaP has approved Jim Peetoom’s request to retire. Echo Lake Youth Camp is on this week. Please remember this important ministry to teenagers in your prayers.
I also want to encourage you to register for the fall Ministers Conferences if you have not done so already. Also, at Wesley Acres, we are short on accommodations available. If you have registered for a single room and you would be willing to share your room, please be in touch with Wesley Acres.
P.S. Remember. If you are wondering about something related to the FMCIC and its ministry, please send your question to the Ministry Centre.
Have a look at Dan Sheffield’s blog: http://sheffield.typepad.com
Trevor Swanson – September 12, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. at New Hope FMC, Newmarket, ON.
– Jim Peetoom – transition to retirement
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Bramalea FMC, Brampton, ON
Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC
Profiles available / Director of Personnel receiving resumes
Arlington Woods FMC, Ottawa, ON
Asbury FMC, Perth, ON (Alan Adams, Interim)
Avonlea FMC, Avonlea, SK
Barrie FMC, Barrie, ON
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON (Tom Gurnick, Interim)
Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON (Vic Stonehouse, Interim)
Vennachar FMC, Vennachar, ON
Westport FMC, Westport, ON
Functioning with approved local arrangements
Butternut Creek, Kingston, ON (Bob Boutilier)
Campbell’s Bay FMC, Campbell’s Bay, QC (Orville White)
Charlemont FMC, Wallaceburg, ON (Paul Gast)
Eastern Koinonia, Toronto, ON (Javed Jamil)
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON
Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB (Raymond Riglin)
Mainstreet Community Church, Kelowna, BC (Shonu Ghosh)
Malvern Chinese, Toronto, ON (K.K. Leung)
Mississippi FMC, Mississippi, ON (Jack Bradley)
Richmond Hill Chinese & English Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (K.K. Leung)
Roblin FMC, Roblin, MB (Heath Butler)
St Joseph Island FM Church, Hilton Beach, ON (Adrian Collins)
Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON (Lewis Byer)
Wawota FMC, Wawota, SK (Kevan Sears)
Wyevale FMC, Wyevale, ON
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON (Ken Babcock)
PASTORS IN TRANSITION
William (Rusty) Crozier
2010 FMCIC MINISTERS CONFERENCES
September 28-30 – Wesley Acres
October 5-7 – Entheos Retreat Centre (near Calgary)