Bishop’s Notes – February 16, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

I was recently reading the newsletter from the Church of the Holy Spirit (FMC in Ft. Frances, ON) and read the following article written by Pastor Diane Clifford. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season and I thought that Diane had some good thoughts for us to reflect on:

Pondering Lent with Diane
Lent is a season of soul-searching, a time when we seek to open ourselves up before God, to hear his call, a time to recognize and respond to God’s presence in our lives and in our world, a time to place all that we are, all we can be, in God’s hands and to allow his transforming grace to work in us. Lent is a time when we are invited to spend time in special personal housecleaning – worship and prayer, a time to give more of ourselves and share more of the gifts that we have been given.   Lent is also a time that calls us to look back on the impact of baptism on our lives.  Through baptism we have a special relationship with the Creator of the universe.  Baptism makes us a child of God – adopted, incorporated into God’s family; a member of Christ and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Lent is a time to recall the relationship we have with the Creator, to recall the responsibility and privilege that is ours through baptism, to live into that call to be Christ-followers, to be broken bread and poured out wine for Christ’s purposes in the world. Lent begins in ashes – it journeys through darkness and ends with triumph.  We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our Song!!!

Some Terms for Lent!
• Lent (from the Anglo-Saxon word – lencten) means springtime.  The season lasts from Ash Wednesday to Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Saturday’s Easter Vigil.
• Palm or Passion or Cedar Sunday is when we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem which leads to his passion and resurrection.
• Holy Week is a general term for the days from Palm Sunday, or Cedar Sunday as we know it, to Holy Saturday.
• Maundy Thursday is derived from Jesus command – “to love one another” – words spoken at his Last Supper where he washed the disciples’ feet, giving us an example of what it means to serve.  May we too always be willing to wash the feet of others.
• Good Friday marks Jesus’ trial, crucifixion and death.
• Easter Vigil is celebrated on Holy Saturday evening after sundown prior to Easter Sunday.  Historically it is a time for baptizing and receiving new members, relighting the Paschal Candle and celebrating the Lord’s Supper
• Paschal is a term for Easter borrowed from the Jewish Passover.  As the Jews celebrated God’s rescue of his people from slavery, so Christians celebrate through liberation from sin’s bondage through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

Ancient Symbols!
In the Christian season of Lent, there are ancient terms and symbols from times and cultures foreign to us. Yet the meaning of these signs of Lent is vital and contemporary in today’s church. Some of these are:
•  The mark of ashes, a biblical sign of humble repentance, is placed on the foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a solemn, public reminder of our mortality and repentance.
•  The 40 days of Lent are like the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness in spiritual preparation, struggle with Satan and choosing God’s will – the way of the cross. 
•  Self-denial refers to the practice of intentionally giving one’s time, energy and possessions for others, especially the needy, as Christ gave himself for us.
•  The colours displayed in the church building are usually purple or violet (for repentance) and black for mourning on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and white for Easter.

This prayer is not only for each one of us as individuals but for our family in faith.  May this Lent be a time for us to reflect – a time to ponder where God is calling us – a time to discern what his vision for the Church of the Holy Spirit will be in the coming months.  

A Prayer for Lent
My dear Saviour who is love, fill me with Your love that embraces and does not hold back, that accepts and does not condemn, that forgives and does not retaliate, that stretches out and does not stagnate.  Make this Lent a positive time, a growing time but also a reflective time to see myself as you see me.  It is only when my soul is stripped and naked that I can begin once again.  Help me to shed all my wrappings this Lent so that I may stand before you, and you know me.  Amen.

Please help us by getting your Annual Report in this week.  See instructions below.

Have a great week serving the Lord Jesus.

Blessings,

Bishop Keith

P.S.  Remember.  If you are wondering about something related to the FMCIC and its ministry, please send your question to ministrycentre@fmc-canada.org.

Have a look at Dan Sheffield’s blog: http://sheffield.typepad.com

APPOINTMENTS
NA

ORDINATION SERVICE
Chad Vankoughnett – May 2, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. at First FM Church, Moose Jaw, SK.

ANNUAL REPORT  – Due now!  Please file your report through our website—www.fmc-canada.org—you will find it on the top banner of the home page, or at this link: http://www.formsite.com/reports/form70742026/index.html

Network Leader Evaluation – all who attend Network meetings regularly should file (The Lead Pastor’s evaluation will be included with the Annual Report; all others can file through this link.)  http://www.formsite.com/reports/form775276147/index.html

CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Interviewing

St Joseph Island Free Methodist Church, Hilton Beach, ON
Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Vic & Joan Stonehouse, Interim)

Profiles available / Director of Personnel receiving resumes
Wawota FMC, Wawota, SK DoP receiving resumes until February 19

Preparing Profile
Asbury FMC, Perth, ON (Alan Adams, Interim)
Avonlea FMC, Avonlea, SK
Bramalea FMC, Brampton, ON
Charlemont FMC, Wallaceburg, ON
Eastern Koinonia, Toronto, ON
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON
Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON
Vennachar FMC, Vennachar, ON

Functioning with approved local arrangements
Butternut Creek, Kingston, ON
Campbell’s Bay FMC, Campbell’s Bay, QC
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON
Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB
Mainstreet Community Church, Kelowna, BC
Malvern Chinese, Toronto, ON
Marmora FMC, Marmora, ON
Mississippi FMC, Mississippi, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English Churches, Richmond Hill, ON
Roblin FMC, Roblin, MB
The FreeWay, Oshawa, ON
Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON     
Wyevale FMC, Wyevale, ON
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON

PASTORS IN TRANSITION
Ousman Ali
Jennifer Anderson
Dean Babcock
Glenn Dixon
Linda Dixon
Harold Fox
Tom Gurnick
Larry Hart
Dale Hawley
Kevin Kay
Steve Lougheed
Doug McLeod
Samson Mehari
Paul Millar
Jim Peetoom
Pierre Sanambe
Barry Taylor
Jennifer Wagar
Scott Woolhead
 
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
– Executive Director – Arlington Beach Camp
– Associate Pastor of Mission and Ministry– Arlington Woods FMC, Ottawa, ON

2010 Regional Gatherings
March 20 – Montreal – Rosemont
March 27 – Wesley Chapel
April 17 – Brantford – Freedom Christian Community
May 1 – Arlington Beach Camp
May 8 – Dryden
May 15 – Athens
May 29 – Sault Ste Marie
June 5 – Ellice
June 12 – Merritt

2010 FMCiC Ministers Conferences
September 28-30 – Wesley Acres
October 5-7 – Entheos Retreat Centre (near Calgary)