“It is my right to sing in worship, as a Canadian!” Perhaps, but does it matter?
What I mean, of course, is that you have Christian family all over the world living in closed states which do not offer this freedom. Take a moment to remember how our brothers and sisters in closed countries approach worship. Their worship isn’t limited to singing, meeting in larger groups or comfortable seating, yet we know that the Church is thriving in those countries!
In Quebec last week, a local Church (not FM) of about 200 people met defiantly without masks and sang. They were challenging the restrictions much like a BBQ-restaurant owner in Toronto did last week. Both had enthusiastic supporters and angry, concerned detractors, because our country is that kind of polarized. In fact, the Church’s neighbours held a protest against them! That means this local Church contributed to polarization, rather than bringing peace. It is also probable that a large number of people from the community will not be attending that Church in the near future. They made a choice to exercise their Canadian freedom, rather than live into their love-their-neighbour responsibility as Kingdom citizens. I hope that the word “community” is not in that Church’s name.
Should Citizens of the Kingdom join an anti-mask rally in Quebec? Is this COVID season a government conspiracy to cripple the church? What about the great “re-set”- should we not be voicing our concerns? Do we not have a responsibility to speak the “truth” in all this? My response to us is this, “is a public declaration of our rights as Canadian citizens really the Church-voice that we want our community to hear?” Do we really want to be seen on the media, marching for our rights to worship? Do we want to contribute to the polarization, and the reckless use of confusing “facts” and “news”? There is One Truth that is not confusing, and this is where we need to be focused.
I appreciate that as a Canadian I have rights and freedoms, but I am first of all a Citizen of the Kingdom and I choose to “seek Jesus’ Kingdom and His righteousness” above all! The Truth and Church-voice that I want my neighbours to hear and see is what we Free Methodists stand for. For instance:
- Organizing peace initiatives between people groups, which will include: confession, repentance and reconciliation. Peace initiatives include hearing stories, joining righteous causes (i.e. clean water on reserves), community peace initiatives, lobbying government, etc. We have created an FMCIC task force to help us lean further into this;
- Offering healing to those enslaved in sexual sin, educational campaigns about the evils connected to porn, and action against human trafficking. I mention this because 40 children were recently saved in Atlanta from sex traffickers (“Set Free Movement” can help you with this);
- Celebrate and embrace the desire of so many to care for creation! Instead of forming strong opinions for or against climate change, chose to embrace every call to have a clean earth. Do you hear the difference? Less concerned with my opinion, and more concerned to find ways to care for creation.
Let me suggest that fighting for our rights to sing publicly, or to not wear masks, or fighting to have a Sunday morning service just like we used to prior to COVID, is the Church flirting with being in the world and of the world. It is Canadian Christians being more concerned with their Canadian rights and freedoms, than with evangelism (1 Corinthians 9:9-13) and deference (1 Corinthians 8). We remember that in countries where there is no freedom to evangelize, still the Church thrives!
FMCIC, please continue to be a shining community presence, work with your public health officer, so that every community nurse, delivery person, doctor, police officer or official would feel comfortable joining you for a Sunday service or a small group should you invite them to your church to hear and experience Gospel. Be a community presence where neighbourhood parents would be pleased to send their kids! Seems to me that the final word should belong to the One who will help make sense out of this disorienting, chaotic, polarizing season: JESUS.
- Take time with church family to consider expressions of worship beyond singing;
- Pray for the persecuted church.
- What are 2 primary responsibilities you have as a Kingdom citizen?
- Study 1 Corinthians 8. Paul had something to say about freedom and ministering to the “weaker brother”. Apply this passage to the situations addressed in this Cliff’s Notes. Who is the weaker brother, and how should a mature Christian respond?”
New Leaf Learning Centre: Anticipating the Coming King in a Changing Reality – https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/events/advent-in-the-learning-centre/
FM VIDEOS: https://www.fmcic.ca/category/fm-video-blog/
Intercultural Engagement Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IETfmcic
SCOD: Topics Worth Thinking About – https://www.fmcic.ca/topics-worth-thinking-about/
None this week
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Leonard Bruce – April 25, 2021, Warkworth FM Church, Warkworth, ON
Douglas Smith – May 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON
Wilder Boutin – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC – date and time TBA.
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
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:
*NEW* – 6-week course via Zoom starting Thursday, January 21, 7:30-9:30 pm EST
Date and location TBA*
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
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/scholarships/
LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
February 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2021. The 2021 application forms and instructions will be available soon to download from the link above. Please use the application forms marked “rev 2021.”
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/introduction-to-continuing-education/
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
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, 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)
None at this time
(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 FMC, Campbellford, ON (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Harrowsmith FM Church, Harrowsmith, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON (Rev. Gary Denniss-Interim Pastor)
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON (Rev. Alan Adams-Interim Pastor)
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)
Executive Director – Arlington Beach Camp and Conference Centre
Angelic Treasures Christian Daycare Newmarket – SUPERVISOR