Bishop’s Notes – December 1, 2008

Dear Colleagues,
Here we are nicely launched into Advent, and I hope that this will be a spiritually rich season for all of you and your congregations.

As I mentioned last week, this is a wonderful season for self-examination and preparation for the celebration of the Lord Jesus’ first coming. It is also a wonderful time to represent Jesus well by being an encouragement to others.

Just this morning, Jared was telling me about his visit yesterday to the Rustle church plant in one of the tougher neighbourhoods of Kingston. This congregation (planted by Next Church) is focused on a community-based approach and yesterday had about 60 people present for their gathering – a number that would begin to make them feel the limits of their meeting space. In yesterday’s service, a family that has connected from the community brought their five children before the folks to have them dedicated to the Lord. Jared says that it was an awesome moment for everyone present.

But there is more to the story. Over the last number of months, a unique and healthy partnership has been formed between Rustle and Cole Lake FMC (an established FM congregation in the rural area north of Kingston). Last week, the whole Rustle congregation was invited to Cole Lake for a Christmas dinner and carol sing. Pastor Al Doseger at Rustle said that it was a great evening of fellowship and a wonderful gesture of encouragement for them as a church plant.


I want to mention something to you that I am finding personally helpful. It is good during seasons like Advent (I know it’s busy!) to set aside a few minutes here and there for reflection on the health of our personal lives and ministries. In the busy times, we must take responsibility for appropriate self-care or “unhealth” in various forms can begin to overtake us.



I am attaching a resource entitled “Advice to the Minister” that I am planning to use for reflection on my personal and ministry life. The Study Commission on Doctrine, and then the National MEGaP, have re-worked this material (Par 801 in The Manual), and strengthened some parts of it so that now we have a document that probes in multi-dimensional ways, and, I think you’ll find, gives some pretty good counsel that is both encouraging and challenging. Let’s try to read it through several times this month and think about the balance of the rhythms of our lives as spiritual leaders.


The Manual of The Free Methodist Church in Canada has been updated with changes coming from the General Conference and several committees (SCOD, MEGaP, BOA). A CD will be prepared and sent to you soon, but in the meantime, you will find the new version of the Manual on the website.

Have a great week serving Jesus.


Bishop Keith