This is my final Cliff’s Notes until September. Today, something to pray about and someone to meet…
Someone asked me what I think about the ‘cancel-Canada-Day’ idea. It’s a good question and believe me, I understand it. On the one hand, I don’t like at all the uncareful, self-righteous, easy-judgementalism that is perpetuated by the “cancel culture”, however, this is more than another cancel culture campaign. I absolutely do understand the confusion and angst about celebrating Canada this year. I feel it, I am grieving.
I am Canadian, and as a believer in Jesus I have hope for Canada. If this sleeping giant called the Church fully engages in our mandate to be a people of peace, then Canadians have much to hope for and celebrate. I’ll wear red and white on Thursday and I will pray for Canada. I will pray for the Church to be a people of peace, a house of prayer, ministers of reconciliation, ambassadors of Jesus Christ. I will pray for healing across our land. I will pray for vision for Canada, because I’m not sure we have much, and the Bible says that without vision the people perish. God’s vision for Canada would make all the difference, and it’s the Church’s role to live it out. Jesus’ vision is beautiful!
First, I’d like to briefly respond to a comment that I have heard a few times now: “But my church is not near a reserve?!” These friends are suggesting that land acknowledgement, the blanket exercise, or for that matter the work of the Racial Justice & Ethnic Equity, are not necessarily relevant to their congregation. Two thoughts for you to consider prayerfully:
1. You belong to a movement in Canada, the Free Methodist Church in Canada. A) What hurts one part of our family should hurt us all; and B) when our pastors and churches attempt to be people of peace in the areas directly connected to the residential school discoveries (current and very sadly, future discoveries), these pastors need to be able to say that the FMCiC stands with them, not only the 4 or 5 of our churches near big cities or reserves. What does “belonging” to the FMCiC mean, my dear friends, if it doesn’t mean that we all fully engaged in being people of peace (learning, supporting, praying, forgiving, healing, showing up for one another – see June 8 Cliff’s Notes for more on being a “people of peace”)?
2. It is the Biblically right thing to do: to be people of peace now. Below is a short excerpt of Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (16 April 1963) to his fellow clergymen. The letter is a response to the “white moderate” clergy who agreed with King’s cause but didn’t like his method, the demonstrations, or timing:
“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
I have attached a link to a poem that I was sent. It aired on the CBC’s “The Current”. The poet is a residential school survivor. It is very raw, disturbing and compelling. It is a version of history that I need to learn, as uncomfortable as it is. You can listen to poet Dennis Saddleman here (click here).
Biblically speaking, people of peace are not “moderates”. Canada needs the Church to step up and be a people of peace – this can be a beautiful time for the Church. I hope that I have given us much to discuss and pray about this summer.
Second, we have hired a new Executive Assistant for the Bishop. She is Monique Alexander, and I asked her a few questions to acquaint you to her:
Q – Monique we are thrilled that you have joined us, your church family across the country is going to want to know who you are. So, before I ask about your professional qualifications and ministry gifts, tell us “who is Monique?” Tell us a little about your journey with Christ.
A – Thank you, I’m thrilled to become a part of the FMCiC family. To start with, I am a mother to a 16 year old son named Simeon. My journey with Christ began at a fairly early age. Even though my family and I did not attend church regularly for the first few years of my life, I was raised with a basic awareness and understanding of who God was. Through occasional Sunday school attendance with friends and participation in some bible camps, my faith and belief grew. Then in my pre-teen years, my parents became born-again Christians and we began attending regular weekly services at Wesley Chapel. I gained an even greater understanding of who the Lord is and what salvation really means. A few years later, I made my own decision for Christ at a Billy Graham crusade in Toronto. As I think about my life with all of it’s ups and downs, it’s amazing to look back and realize just how present God has been every step of the way.
Q – Ok let’s talk gifts, calling and skills: How does this job fit into your life (briefly tell us about your professional background)?
A – I’ve spent the last three and a half years working in an administrative capacity with Free Methodist churches – most recently at Wesley Chapel, and just prior to that at New Hope in Newmarket. A good chunk of my earlier professional life was spent at the CBC where I worked in both the Human Resources, and the Media Sales & Marketing departments. It was a VERY different environment as I’m sure you can imagine. I think that one of the benefits of having experience in both environments is that it has allowed me to see more clearly and recognize the calling that I have to serve and to provide support from behind the scenes, if you will. To me, the role of Assistant to the Bishop calls for an understanding of the overall mission of the FMCiC, and for keeping that mission in sight as day to day responsibilities are undertaken.
Q – You’ve been a Free Methodist most of your life, what’s your prayer for the FMCiC in this season?
A – My prayer for the FMCiC in this season is that we seek to remain sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and grounded in the Word. I believe this will serve to further strengthen us not only in this season, but beyond!
WHAT’S NEW THIS WEEK
Marc McAlister’s latest blog “I Will Never Watch Church on a Screen”: https://www.fmcic.ca/i-will-never-watch-church-on-a-screen/
Land Acknowledgement Q&A with IET’s Adam Kline: https://vimeo.com/566793766
2021 Graduates Video: https://vimeo.com/568080140
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
Tuesdays: Cliff’s Notes
2nd Tuesday of each month: What’s Got You Thinking?
3rd Wednesday of each month: Get the Scoop with Lisa and Alison
4th Thursday of each month: Church Health Thursday
Message from Bishop Cliff: https://vimeo.com/
Coffee with Jared: https://vimeo.com/
Mystery Beverage with Marc: https://vimeo.com/
Wilder Boutin – date and time TBA – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC
Leonard Bruce – date, time and location TBA
Kathleen Casement – September 12, 2021 at 2:00 pm – Verona FMC, Verona, ON
Blake Found – date and time TBA – Uxbridge FMC, Uxbridge, ON
Jessica Isaak – date and time TBA – Hampton FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Tyler Lane – date and time TBA – Trulls Rd FMC, Courtice, ON
Erika Mills – date and time TBA – Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON
Benjamin Platz – Date and Time TBA – Next Church, Kingston, ON
Douglas Smith – August 1, 2021 at 1:00 pm, Maple Grove, Thamesford, ON
Alyson Lauber – Date and time TBA – Lakeview FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Nathaniel Prakash – Date and time TBA – Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://www.fmcic.ca/
Register online through the link above (Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course. Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)
Lay Ministers tracking for credentialed ministry and those transferring ordination credentials into the FMCIC need to take the following two courses for full credit – and if possible, the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology.
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA*
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA*
- Tyndale University: https://www.tyndale.ca/
- FMC-USA as a 7-week intensive online course with several start dates: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/
Ministerial Candidates tracking for Commissioned or Ordained Minister are required to take the following two courses for full credit. Those who are already commissioned or ordained are required to either audit these two courses for 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) each or take the two courses and complete the assignments for 3 CEUs each.
Culture and the Missional Church:
Date and location TBA*
Personal and Church Stewardship:
5-week online course – Start Date TBA
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)
2021 APPLICATIONS https://www.fmcic.ca/
LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
The Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) provides financial assistance to candidates who are studying to meet the educational requirements for credentialed ministry, or for members of conference pursuing continuing education.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the summer/or fall semesters of 2021. The 2021 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above. Please use the application forms marked “rev 2021.”
The Special Scholarships provide financial assistance to those who are members of a Free Methodist church pursuing post-secondary education to grow in their Christian faith, to those who are pursuing credentialed ministry, and to members of conference pursuing continuing education.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during the 2021 calendar year – apply online anytime from the link above. Special Scholarships are awarded in late November/early December each year.
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs) https://www.fmcic.ca/
Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report Continuing Education Units (CEUs) acquired during each year. Check the link above for information on CEUs, the report form and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.
Note: For those who attend the fall Minister’s Conferences or the spring Regional Gatherings, add 6 hours of CEU credit for each event when you send in your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON
Church Profiles available
Contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 416-240-7845 (deadline to apply in brackets)
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON (July 6)
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Davika in the Leadership Development Office [see above] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.
Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON
Campbellford FMC, Campbellford, ON (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Frankford Community Church, Frankford, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
Lakeview Free Methodist Church, Saskatoon, SK
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON (Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Rymal Road Community Church, Hamilton, ON
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON (Rev. Alan Adams – Interim Pastor)
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON