I have been asked very good questions about my first trip out west, like “what did you learn?” and “is there a common thread in the how we all do church?” I don’t yet think I am fully aware of everything that I learned, but I did experience a lot: warmth, love, and anticipation of what God has in store in this next season. I felt like every new visit led to new friendships and I look forward to visiting with more!
I loved Andrew & Jeniece’s story, our pastors from Okotos. Besides the fact that he was a Canadian champion power lifter (how cool is that!), his approach to church is to disciple – every week he meets with a number of church members to disciple them – in fact I’m not sure if he ever mentioned any programs or events that his church runs. Remember our (FMCIC) working definition:
“Discipleship is an intentional and organic relationship that Jesus modeled, where 2 or more get together regularly in order to: nurture church family, open up Scripture, pray, and cheer each other into mission.”
This, pastors and leaders, is one of our first priorities. Discipleship is not a program, 13 week class, or something designed for new believers, but a culture – FM churches striving to be discipling churches. This is how we do church together. This is our culture.
In Calgary we were served an amazing pad thai with Jason Johnson and his family and together we prayed about God’s continued vision for that community. In Edmonton we were blessed, literally Pastor Patrick and Dale Lashley blessed us with a specific word from the Lord (oh that we would practice blessing more. A word or promise from God that we have prayerfully considered and that God entrusts us to offer to someone. It is God who activates the word in the individual’s life expressing His goodness to them).
In Mewassin we celebrated Trevor Swanson’s induction (though the board chair did say that it was unfortunate that I was there. I love being around laughter and fun… I think that she was kidding :)). Oh that the church would spend more time laughing with each other!
In PA (that’s what we westerners call Prince Albert) Karlene and I met with leaders enjoying being in their community – asking what it looks like for them to accept responsibility (with their resources). One of the leadership teams that I met with is now asking the big strategic General Conference question: what does it look like for us to accept responsibility (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) for our community? Who is our community? How far does it extend?
In Spiritwood we learned that people actually reads these Cliff’s Notes and we heard a beautiful unfolding story about reconciliation (I’m looking forward to hearing the outcome).
In Saskatoon Karlene and I worshiped, shared communion and then sang around a fire with Daryl and Vonda Dozlaw’s church family Riversdale Neighbours. This community packed into the Dozlaw home, most arrived with baby strollers because I think most are from that neighborhood. There was a great deal of love and friendship in that room (for God and each other), so much so that Karlene and I both felt like we had been adopted in! In Acts 2, the first 25 ish years of the new church, is described as being loving and concerned with each other that others saw what they had and wanted in too!
Finally at Lakeview, the experience of authentic community continued with the energy of a vibrant children’s program: I mean people greeted us in togas (maybe they always dress that way at Lakeview, but I’m pretty sure it had everything to do with their VBS program that was starting on that Sunday). The children’s area was transformed into an ancient time and children and their parents lined up after church for hot dogs and registration (they are doing VBS in the evening which I think is a great idea). They also told me about their soccer league for children in the community.
This past weekend I was at Chapel Ridge in Stittsville, ON and they run a soccer league as well! Chapel Ridge is preparing to add to their building. Person after person told me about their love for their church family and it was quite beautiful. When I asked what they loved, I heard about leadership, warmth, and prayer… I heard a lot about prayer: groups, meetings, I even saw two men after the service stop on the front pathway in the middle of a busy crowd put their arms around each other and pray!
I look forward to telling you about meeting with leaders from a ministry in Ottawa that is rallying the church in that area (over 300 churches involved) to pray, love, and serve. They even have hired a Prayer Missionary! And something very cool for me is that many of those leaders are a part of Chapel Ridge – FM’ers!
My experience so far in our FMCIC:
Leaders asking “how do we accept responsibility for our community?”
Church Health Thursdays – 6 Ways to Reclaim Real Life in a World of Technology: https://www.fmcic.ca/6-ways-to-reclaim-real-life-in-a-world-of-technology/
The Little Big Picture Blog: Set Durham Free: https://www.fmcic.ca/set-free-durham/
the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out: http://www.fmcic.ca/3-minute-theology-2-5-knowing-the-bible-inside-out/
New Leaf Podcast: Church Startups, Structures and Conflicts (oh my!) – Betty Pries: https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/ep-46-church-startups-structures-conflict-oh-betty-pries/
Faith and Finances Website: http://faithandfinances.ca
LifePlan Study Team Files
Do you know someone who would like to receive CliffsNotes? They can now sign up through the website at:https://www.fmcic.ca/cliffsnotes-signup/
The next deadline is October 15, 2017 to apply for both the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for the summer and fall semesters of 2017, and for the Special Scholarships. More information is available at this link:http://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
Nov 3-5, 2017 at Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON
Nov 3-5, 2017 at First FMC, New Westminster, BC
(also available online through FMC-USA:http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
Personal and Church Stewardship
6-week online course – start date TBA
Culture and the Missional Church:
Date and Location TBA
(*these locations will be selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)Registration is online for all courses at this link: http://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/ and now includes PayPal or credit card payment options. Those tracking for credentialed ministry should take the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology if possible.
Rev. Tim Richards has been appointed as Lead Pastor at Ryde Centennial FMC, Gravenhurst, ON, effective August 16, 2017
Melfort FMC, Melfort, SK has gone into transition.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON
Westdale Park FMC, Napanee, ON
Church Profiles available
(Contact Susan DePlanché at the Personnel office to request a church profile –[email protected])
Dryden FMC, Dryden, ON – Personnel Office receiving resumes until September 5
Frankford Community FMC, Frankford, ON – Personnel Office receiving resumes until August 8
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON – Personnel Office receiving resumes until August 8
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan at the Personnel office [[email protected]] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)
Athens FMC, Athens, ON
Asbury FMC, Perth, ON
Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON
Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON (Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK – (Dyan Mouland-Transition Pastor)
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON (Carl Bull – Transition Pastor)
Melfort FMC, Melfort, SK
Rustle FMC, Kingston, ON (Todd Stelmach-Interim Pastor)
Sault Ste. Marie FMC, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Tabernacle de la Grace, Montreal QC
Functioning with approved local arrangements
Avonlea FMC, Avonlea SK
Campbell’s Bay FMC, Campbell’s Bay, QC (Orville White)
Church On The Hill, Orillia ON (Ousman Ali)
Cordova Mines FM Fellowship, Cordova Mines, ON
Eglise Chrétienne Méthodiste Libre de Le Gardeur, QC (Duplan Auguste Lython)
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON
Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB (Raymond Riglin)
Markham FMC, ON (K.K. Leung)
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (K.K. Leung)
Roblin FMC, Roblin, MB (Heath Butler)
Surrey FMC, Surrey BC (Nathaniel Prakash)
theStory, Sarnia, ON
Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON (Lewis Byer)
Vennachar FMC, Vennachar, ON (Laurie Lemke)
Wesley Chapel Japanese FM Church, Toronto, ON (Misa Mochinaga)
Wyevale FMC, Wyevale, ON
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON (Ken Babcock)
PASTORS IN TRANSITION