Bishops Notes – October 20, 2008

October 20, 2008

Dear Colleagues,

I came away from this past weekend’s meetings of the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD) thankful for the wide range of gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to those elected to SCOD by the General Conference. This was the new SCOD’s first meeting, and, of course, the primary focus was organizing and assembling projects for the next three years.

Here are some of the topics that are in process: A grid for ethical decision-making; a service for those losing an unborn child; a new approach to membership in the FMCIC, a theology of possessions; a Great Commission in the Old Testament and its place in the history of redemption; the spiritual formation of adults and children in the FMCIC; a new core value statement on generosity; guidance for helping people with the topic of cults; and reviewing the edits to The Manual of The Free Methodist Church in Canada.

This is not an exhaustive list of the topics and issues that are being considered, nor is it an exclusive list. When I say that it is not exclusive, it means that if you have an issue that you think the Study Commission on Doctrine should study, we are open to receiving your proposals, but we’ll also likely engage you in the research work that goes with crafting statements on the issues that you send. By the way, I hope that you have remembered the fine presentations on the Position Papers on the FMCIC website that we heard at General Conference, and I hope that you are visiting those position papers (found under the “Who We Are” tab on the FMCIC website home page).

The Student Ministries Leaders retreat at Muskoka Baptist Conference was also held on the weekend. Kim Henderson tells me that there were about 35 leaders present and that the Lord used the event to create networking relationships that will result in connections of encouragement, sharing of resources and the planning of future events. Please remember to pray for these leaders who faithfully minister to young people in our congregations and communities.

On Sunday, Donna and I were happy to be part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Port Rowan (ON) FMC. It was great to be with these folks as they celebrated God’s faithfulness over the last century and have the opportunity to challenge them to continue to watch for what the Lord Jesus is up to these days and to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to help them fulfill His purposes in their community. We had a wonderful roast beef dinner afterward at the Community Hall where the Hon. Toby Barrett spoke and made a presentation to Pastor Charles Mayo on behalf of the province of Ontario.

There are pictures from these events in the Photo Gallery this week. (Stay tuned; more Student Ministries pics may appear later in the week.)

The Board of Administration meets in two weeks. One of its responsibilities will be to follow up on actions mandated by the General Conference, and so I am asking for your prayer support for them as they prepare for the meeting.

We have three announcements this week: Hilkka Aavasalmi has been appointed as Network Leader (replacing Cliff Fletcher who is now a Network Leader Mentor) and Fred Merritt has been appointed as Pastor at Dunnville FMC. Bob Snider has accepted a position as pastor at St. Ann’s Community Church and has withdrawn from the denomination.

Have a great week serving Jesus.

Bishop Keith