I believe that Canadian Christians are suffering from “Citizenship Confusion”. It is not a rare disease and has been around since the beginning of time. We will enjoy complete relief from this confusing disease, when we finally only have one citizenship for eternity.
Citizenship Confusion impacts our sense of purpose, our theology, our understanding of justice, identity and what we feel entitled to. For instance, let’s consider the argument that some Christians were making during the lockdowns about meeting together, not being vaccinated, or not wearing masks. One pastor was arrested and several others were in the news because of protest rallies, petitions, and angry rants about rights being infringed on.
They even misused Scripture (“do not stop meeting together”) to strengthen their case. I heard of Christians rebuking their churches for abiding by public health restrictions, and thereby deeply hurting their church families with words, with uncareful use of Scripture and with poor theology. The problem? Citizenship Confusion (which is a result of uncareful Bible study, poor theology, an ungracious ecclesiology, pride, and a lack of love for the mission field we call Canada).
To the pastors who were on local and national news for 25 seconds, who chose to use that local and national exposure to demand and declare their rights (and freedom) to worship, I would ask: “tell me, what “rights” or laws specifically are you referring to?”
You are absolutely right that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is a part of our constitution, is in place to protect your rights to worship. You have a voice as a Canadian citizen. You are entitled to disagree, protest, fight for your rights, and express your faith. I love Canada for this, BUT if you are a Christian, you are first of all a citizen of the Kingdom! Your Kingdom citizenship informs your Canadian citizenship.
Your Kingdom charter is different than your Canadian one. For starters, if a pastor or any Christian is given 25 seconds on their local or national news, then they should choose to present Jesus! Paul the Apostle was given opportunities to speak to local authorities and then finally the Roman government, and though he probably had strong feelings about his people’s political situation, he chose every time, to present the Gospel! He was always first of all a citizen of the Kingdom. Jesus, in the opinion of many Israelites, was supposed to be a Messiah to free the Jewish people from the Roman oppressor. He chose Kingdom first.
Citizens of the Kingdom choose Kingdom ethics, laws, rights, freedoms, values first every time! We are to be inspired by brothers and sisters in persecuted countries where the Church is thriving (China, Iraq, Iran for example). These brothers and sisters are not confusing their citizenship responsibilities and privileges. They are not fighting publicly for the right to meet, they are not protesting over face coverings, they are not ending up in the news over these things. They are living into their Kingdom responsibilities, by loving their neighbours, being a safe place for people, and being known as generous, loving kind people.
Take some time to create a chart comparing your rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen and a Kingdom citizen.
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/
Rev. David Griggs – appointed as Interim Pastor at St. Joseph Island FMC, Hilton Beach, ON, effective October 1
September 12 at 2:00 pm – Kathleen Casement – Verona FMC, Verona, ON
September 19 at 2:00 pm – Tyler Lane – Trulls Rd FMC, Courtice, ON
October 3 at 2:00 PM – Blake Found – Uxbridge FMC, Uxbridge, ON
October 24 at 3:00 pm – Jessica Isaak – Hampton FMC, Saskatoon, SK
November 7 at 2:30 pm – Leonard Bruce – Peterborough FMC, Peterborough, ON
November 21 at 3:00 pm – Wilder Boutin – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC
Date and time TBA:
Erika Mills – location TBA
Benjamin Platz – Next Church, Kingston, ON
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:
2022 date and location TBA*
7-week course on Tuesday evenings 7:30-9:30 pm EDT via Zoom starting Tuesday, October 5, 2021
- 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:
2022 Date and location TBA*
Personal and Church Stewardship:
5-week online course – 2022 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
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)
Prince Albert, SK – Cornerstone FMC [part-time] (Oct 5)
Simcoe, ON – Cedar Street Community Church [part-time] (Oct 5)
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.
Campbellford, ON – Campbellford FMC, (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cloyne, ON – Pineview FMC
Frankford, ON – Frankford Community Church
Hamilton, ON – Rymal Road Community Church
Harrowsmith, ON – Harrowsmith FMC
Hilton Beach, ON – St. Joseph Island FMC (Rev. David Griggs-Interim Pastor)
New Westminster, BC – First FMC
Oshawa, ON – The Corner Church (Free Methodist / Church of the Nazarene)
Richmond Hill, ON – Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Sarnia, ON – New Horizons Community Church (Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Saskatoon, SK – Lakeview FMC
Thornbury, ON – Blue Mountain Community Church
Warkworth, ON – Warkworth FMC