Bishop’s Notes – March 9, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I trust that you are experiencing a spiritually rich Lenten season as we journey toward this year’s celebration of the Lord Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

This coming weekend, we hold the first of the 2009 Regional Gatherings in Montreal.  The schedule and locations are below if you haven’t put this into your schedule yet.

Here is what we hope will happen as local church pastors, delegates and board chairs talk together  in conversation groups.

1. Every church will receive encouragement because others took time to listen to their story and then to pray with them.

2. As people listen, those who have capacity to help others will be nudged by the Holy Spirit to tell them that they will help them.

3. Sometimes churches have dreams that they have never spoken about outside of their local church.  We hope that people will find it safe to talk about their dreams for their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and other parts of the earth.  Others who have no dreams hopefully will be encouraged to start dreaming – perhaps by deciding to join someone else’s Judea, Samaria and other parts of the earth dreams.

4. We hope that, as churches from a geographic area talk and listen, the Holy Spirit will help them to think about two or three unique things that they could do together to impact their Judeas, Samarias.  We think it will be a wonderful thing if some new partnerships emerge because of people sitting together and talking.

In the schedule, we have set aside about 2.5 hours for the group conversations and this will give each church about 15 – 20 minutes to share what the Lord has been and is doing.  As much as possible, we are keeping the groups the same as in 2007 so that people who were together last time, can hear what has developed since the last Regional Gathering.

We are hoping that the group conversations will have a missional focus based on a very simple agenda as provided by Jesus (“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and other parts of the world” Acts 1:8).  Here’s the questions we’ll be using: 
• Give the group a picture of what is, and what has changed since we met in 2007 in:
… your “Jerusalem” (neighbourhood)
… your “Judea” (region)
… your “Samaria” (near but different neighbours)
… “other parts of the world” where you connect
• How has God been showing up in your church’s ministry since we last met?
• What challenges are frustrating you?
• What do you have to offer other nearby churches?
• What God-inspired dreams are you dreaming?

We want to be an encouragement to churches that are in a season of recovery where not a lot of encouraging things are happening and, of course, we want to share the joy  of those who have lots of good things happening.

In closing, we offer our congratulations to Judy Finley and Cristy Williams who have been appointed to Smiths Falls FMC and to Pierre André Jean Charles who will be commissioned on Sunday afternoon in Montreal.  Please remember Angel Valentin (bypass surgery this week) in your prayers.

Have a great week serving 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 [email protected].