Bishop’s Notes – March 28, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Let me continue with my Lenten reflections based on “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for (steadfastly set his face to go to) Jerusalem” (Luke 9:15).  Because Jesus had this underlying resolute, unchanging determination to do His Father’s will, it is not surprising that he did not lose his moorings during some very emotion laden times of temptation.  The Triumphal Entry that we will celebrate in a couple weeks could have been a moment of losing his head and really working the populist momentum to seize an opportunity to do some serious damage to both the political and religious hierarchies that were opposing/dismissing him.  He was not interested in resisting Rome.  He was leaving the Pharisees and their scheming manipulations in the hands of His Father.  His focus remained unwaveringly on fulfilling his part of the Mission of God in the world.

This past weekend, the LifePlan Study Team and the BOA had their final meetings before General Conference.  Please continue to pray for a Bishop Cliff and the LifePlan Study Team as they work on their presentations.

On Saturday afternoon I flew to Thunder Bay and drove westward across a beautiful part of God’s creation to Dryden.  When I arrived, I was surprised to discover that Dryden FMC (pastored by Doug and Luci Wightman) was hosting a Young Adult retreat and several carloads had come to it from the Glorious Hope Church in Winnipeg.  Doug and I decided to drop in on them at their Saturday night campfire.  It was inspiring to listen to the testimonies at the campfire and then to be led by them in the singing part of worship on Sunday morning at the Dryden church.

In the Adult Sunday School class on Sunday morning, it was interesting to listen to the discussions that the group had as they worked their way through a session of the “Bearing Faithful Witness” material prepared by Dan Sheffield and Jared Siebert. (BTW, on Sunday night at the NW Ont/Winnipeg network meeting in Fort Frances, Diane Clifford mentioned that they have a group using the same material and will soon be starting a second group.)

Of course, there was a fellowship time following the service during which I had interesting conversations with a lot of different people.  Among those were Jim and Diane Goldsbury who were among the small core group that started the Dryden church as a church plant under John Hyndman’s leadership back in the mid-1980s.  The church is still there.  They are still there.  The church is still growing.  They are still growing.  A beautiful example of what the Lord wants to see over and over across our country.

Speaking of the network meeting, it is no small thing to attend one of these in this area of Canada.  Participants drive about four hours (one way) to get there and so the fellowship among them is very warm and deep.  Dustin Schellenberg (Winnipeg) had some things come up at the last minute and so you will see in the pictures in the Photo Gallery that he joined us by Skype.  Each of the churches represented had very encouraging stories to tell of how God is at work in their ministries.  (E.g. Over at O’Connor FMC, Chris Fiorito says that there are only a few seats left in the front these days in their worship services.  And it was just a few years ago that they added a major addition!)

Marc McAlister represented the FMCiC at Malvern Methodist’s this past Sunday and sent this note:

This past weekend Malvern Methodist Church pastored by Michael and Ardith Morris celebrated their 20th anniversary.  At a celebration dinner on Saturday night, they honored over 60 people who have been with the church from its beginning as a church plant.  On Sunday morning, there was lots of music – the Malvern Methodist Ensemble, the kids of the church, guest saxophonist Dave McLaughlin and soloist Carla O’Brien followed by greetings from MP Hon. Gary Anandasangaree and MPP Hon. Raymond Cho.  Both politicians spoke highly of Malvern’s involvement in the community, their concern for youth, diversity and being a welcoming environment.  Founding Pastor, Jim Kesselring reviewed the history of the church and then challenged the congregation to continue to follow God into this next chapter.  The focus of the whole day was God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Another church plant that is still there because of the faithfulness of a core of people.

An embarrassing moment happened at the BOA this past weekend when a question was raised (about information that we gather in the Annual Reports) and we were not able to give a good answer.  This was because 28 Annual Reports have not yet been received.  Friends, please do your best to get these reports in.  We need your piece to fit into the overall picture as we prepare for General Conference.  I am going to ask that a list of missing reports be published on Listserv on Thursday.

There are no new announcements this week.

Have a great week continuing in the Lenten journey.

Bishop Keith


• The Little Big Picture Blog: World Relief 101:
Church Health Blog: 7 Reasons Why Small Churches Get Stuck:
• the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out:
• Dan Sheffield’s Blog: Yahweh Watched Over You:
• Jared Siebert Podcast:Beekeeping, church planting, & becoming a neighborhood enthusiast – Preston Pouteaux: New
• Faith and Finances Website:
• Facebook:
•The National Ministry Centre Team video:
LifePlan Study Team Files

Photo Gallery
BOA Spring Meeting
Malvern Methodist Anniversary
Dryden FM Church
NW Ontario/Winnipeg Network


Remain in Me… and you will bear much fruit!


The next deadline is October 15, 2017 to apply for both the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for the summer and fall semesters of 2017, and for the Special Scholarships. More information is available at this link:

Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
June 2-4, 2017 at West Springs Free Methodist Church, Calgary, AB
Nov 3-5, 2017 in Ontario*

Wesleyan Theology:
June 2-4, 2017 at Holt Free Methodist Church, Mount Albert, ON
Nov 3-5, 2017 in western Canada*
(also available online through FMC-USA:

Personal and Church Stewardship
6-week online course – start date TBA

Culture and the Missional Church:
Date and Location TBA

(*these locations will be selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)Registration is online for all courses at this link: and now includes PayPal or credit card payment options. Those tracking for credentialed ministry should take the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology if possible.



Ordination and Commissioning Services Schedule

Polson Park FMC, Kingston, ON
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON

Church Profiles available
(Contact Susan DePlanché at the Personnel office to request a church profile – [email protected])
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON – Personnel Office receiving resumes until March 28
Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON – Personnel Office receiving resumes until April 4

Preparing Profiles
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan at the Director of Personnel office [[email protected]] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)

Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON (Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK (Dyan Mouland – Transition Pastor)
Dryden FMC, Dryden, ON (Doug Wightman – retiring May 31/17)
Eglise Chrétienne Méthodiste Libre de Le Gardeur, QC
Frankford Community FMC, Frankford, ON (Bruce Kellar – Transition Pastor)
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON (Carl Bull – Transition Pastor)
Mewassin FMC, Duffield, AB (Trevor Swanson – Transition Pastor)
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Ryde Centennial FMC, Gravenhurst, ON (Sterling Cooper – retiring July 30/17)
Tabernacle de la Grace, Montreal QC
Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON (Brian Bell – retiring June 30/17)
Wesley Chapel Japanese FM Church, Toronto, ON
Westdale Park FMC, Napanee, ON (Vic Stonehouse – Transition Pastor)
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Cliff Fletcher – Bishop-elect)

Functioning with approved local arrangements
Avonlea FMC, Avonlea SK
Campbell’s Bay FMC, Campbell’s Bay, QC (Orville White)
Church On The Hill, Orillia ON (Ousman Ali)
Cordova Mines FM Fellowship, Cordova Mines, ON
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON
Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB (Raymond Riglin)
Markham FMC, ON (K.K. Leung)
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON (Marty Misener)
Richmond Hill Chinese & English Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (K.K. Leung)
Roblin FMC, Roblin, MB (Heath Butler)
Surrey FMC, Surrey BC (Nathaniel Prakash)
theStory, Sarnia, ON
Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON (Lewis Byer)
Vennachar FMC, Vennachar, ON (Laurie Lemke)
Verona FMC, Verona, ON (Kathy Casement)
Wyevale FMC, Wyevale, ON
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON (Ken Babcock)


William Crozier
Kim Henderson
Derek Spink

Director of Maintenance – Arlington Beach Camp
Associate Youth Pastor – Northview Community Church
Director of Children’s Ministry – Trulls Road FM Church
Associate Pastor – Barrie FM Church
Family Ministries Pastor – Chapel Ridge FM Church
Worship Director– Bramalea FM Church