Dan and I spent all of our time in the capital city Colombo, so I didn’t get to see much of Sri Lanka. I did however meet pastors from all over at the Annual Meeting. They greeted us warmly and I feel like I’m leaving with many new friends.
There is an ongoing court case that involves three of our Sri Lankan pastors against the FMCIC and FMCISL and it’s about land, security and power. This shouldn’t be happening, Jesus warned against going to court with your brother, as did Paul. Their BOA explained to me that these pastors “only had to talk with us.” They were invited to talk several times: their Superintendent, Dan, Keith and I even sent a message, but they refused. Jesus makes it pretty clear that steps one through three involves talking it out (alone, with a third party, with the church), Matthew 18:15-17. They resolved that they were right, they opted to stay offended and in the end they chose to make things very messy instead of “making every effort to guard the unity” (Ephesians 4:3).
Here’s the funny thing: each of these pastors apparently is a really good guy, and their churches love them. What happened? Probably pride (“I’m right no matter what you think!”) which means a lack of humility. Also a disregard for the Body. Many wise Godly people have tried speaking with them, yet they are only listening to each other. Finally, though Scripture is quite clear on the matter of court, these three pastors somehow have been able to dismiss it – all they had to do is sit with us to see if the mess could be avoided.
Pastors, board chairs and delegates how do we know that we aren’t like one of these three? Clearly, each of them thinks he is right and it’s costing us on so many levels. What’s the lesson in this for you and me? Maybe, when the sky is blue and there is no conflict you could create a checklist for yourself and give it to your board, your spouse, your accountability partner, your dentist!
- Am I being proud or humble (define your terms so that this is measurable)?
- Am I hearing Godly wise people or only the one or two that agree with me?
- What’s Scripture say about this and am I listening?
The District Mission meeting was really good. There was a great sense of unity in the room. We prayed together, sang very enthusiastically, laughed, ate great food, and enjoyed each others company. I preached in a lively little church pastored by Pastor Shanty. I was supposed to preach twice on Sunday but I ended up in bed – it was very sad for me and obviously humbling (I came a long way to be with these new friends).
The truth is, I’m not good with spicy food so the cook has been cooking unspicy food for me. On Saturday night, I was enjoying a curry coconut sauce on veggies. I put what I thought was a whole green bean in my mouth and bit down but it was no bean. It was a green chili pepper and it filled my mouth with hot painful pepper-ness. So as not to be rude by spitting it out, I chose to swallow it (I’ve replayed that moment over and over and wonder what in the world I was thinking?!). I explained to Dan what happened and with all the bedside manner of a skilled surgeon he explained that,
“This business of peppers only hurting on the way in isn’t always true. Sometimes these peppers hurt a little going in but later they really hurt!”
He kept eating and then said calmly, “I guess we’ll see”.
“WE’LL SEE”?? No, no Dan, I’ll see, it’ll be me, all alone in that little room feeling sorry for myself thank you very much”.
I in fact thanked him for his positive encouragement and went to my room.
I felt like a time bomb.
Turns out that Dan’s encouraging and prophetic word to me was right: BOOM! TMI I know.
I was out the rest of Sunday and wiped out all of Monday (though I chaired the Monday event). Dan was a good nurse for the most part. He said to me during the most “heated” time I was having, that he was worried. He said that his nurse wife was worried. I didn’t hear anything else he said after that. I mean he kept talking but all I heard was that I was going to die (he never said anything like that but that’s how it registered). He made me tea and salted water but did not rub my tummy or sing to me like Karlene would have – actually now that I’m out of that weakened state I’m quite glad that he didn’t!
I realize there isn’t a whole lot edifying truths in the last couple of paragraphs – sorry about that! Moral of the story, don’t eat green beans, they may be hot peppers.
To those churches who have a relationship with Sri Lanka I will be in touch when I get home – they are grateful for your help and are especially interested in your friendship! They asked me to send you greetings. To anyone interested in exploring this more please feel free to contact me.
Church Health Thursdays – Beautiful, Missional Feet: https://www.fmcic.ca/beautiful-missional-feet/New
The Little Big Picture Blog – A Day in the Life of a Military Chaplain: https://www.fmcic.ca/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-military-chaplain/ New
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: Brandon Richardson – The Embassy -> Slate Church:https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/ep-47-brandon-richardson-embassy-slate-church/
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:
Oct 27-29, 2017 – Ontario 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/. Those tracking for credentialed ministry should take the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology if possible.
- Rev. Jay Mowchenko has been appointed as the Network Leader for the SK-Large Church Network formerly led by Rev. Barry Taylor.
Ordination and Commissioning
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, 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
(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
Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON (Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK – (Dyan Mouland-Transition Pastor)
Grapeview FMC, St. Catharines, ON
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
Cordova Mines FM Fellowship, Cordova Mines, ON
Eglise Chrétienne Méthodiste Libre de Le Gardeur, QC (Duplan Auguste Lython)
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON
Frankford Community FMC, Frankford, ON (Bruce Kellar, Transition Pastor)
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
Associate Pastor – Barrie FM Church
In-Program Supervisor – Little Blessings Nursery School, Whitby, ON
Associate Pastor – Trulls Road FM Church
Youth and Children Ministry Director – Verona Free Methodist Church