Bishops Notes – September 22, 2008

September 22, 2008

Dear Colleagues,

This past weekend, we were at Smiths Falls FMC for a Saturday morning Leadership Seminar, (it was good to have others also come from Arlington Woods, Athens, Ecclesiax, Perth and Westport) a Saturday night Women’s gathering (with Donna) and two inspiring Sunday morning worship services.

On Saturday, I was interested to hear how the theme of Generosity from General Conference is being lived out in a couple churches. During the morning session, Pastor Fred McCracken (Athens) passed me several newspaper articles that describe ways that people in the Athens FMC are stepping up to support the local food bank, a school backpack program for needy children and a clothing give away for area people and for “Sanctuary”, a homeless shelter in Toronto.

On Saturday afternoon, Pastors Angel Valentin and Tom Evans gave us a tour and an explanation of the “Bridges” ministries of the Smiths Falls FMC. Through a series of “God connections”, they have been given access to the “Old School” – a high school building that was closed when a new high school was opened. Under Pastor Tom’s leadership, here are some of the ministries that are happening: Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers – actually, ministry begins to teen moms before the babies are born), “God Talk” at a drop in for teens, Special Olympics Floor Hockey, a weekly Men’s Athletics Outreach, a snowsuit program for needy children (in conjunction with the Children’s Aid Society), an “Adopt a Grandparent” program (in conjunction with Big Brothers/Sisters where seniors from the FMC are relating to at risk children on a one to one basis).

In addition, “Bridges” is involved in a Home work Club, a Christmas present drive and a summer Day Camp at a “high needs” elementary school in their community. In another location called “The Keep”, at risk teens are helped with drug addiction and other serious struggles.

What wonderful examples of neighbourhood focused ministry! People are experiencing Christ’s love, people are getting help, and people are coming to Christ. There are pics in the Photo Gallery from our Smiths Fall’s visit.

There are several announcements this week. Turning Point Community Church, Surrey, BC has gone into transition. Jeff Nault (Ministerial Candidate at Smiths Falls) has been appointed to Verona FMC, Paul Griffin (from the PAOC) has been appointed to Prince Edward County FMC and Gary Walsh is a new Senior Vice President at Northeastern Seminary and Roberts Wesleyan College.

Members of the National Ministerial Education, Guidance and Placement (MEGaP) from across Canada are meeting at Wesley Acres this week for their annual training retreat. Please remember Kim Henderson and others as they give leadership to these important sessions in your prayers.

May you know Jesus’ deep joy as you serve in His name.

Blessings,
Bishop Keith