“So, Bishop what do you think?”
Someone asked me this question, last week. They were referring specifically to the respectful and meaningful online conversation that has been happening among our pastors with regards the LGBT+ community and FMCIC. It’s a fair enough question.
So here is my response: My personal beliefs and core values about personhood, singleness, family and marriage, align with the Free Methodist Church’s doctrine and constitution. I believe that our (FMCIC’s) view of singleness, our view of family and marriage are worth celebrating.
I am also aware that the Manual is a working document which requires constant review to reflect current scholarship and language. We’ve always done it this way. Do you remember the good work FMCIC did in the area of “entire sanctification” a few years ago?
One of the beautiful things about being a denomination is that articles of religion can not be changed by one local Church, or a national Church, a rogue Bishop or a national BOA. A doctrinal or theological edit of the Manual, requires a majority vote here at home by all delegates and pastors, and then a majority vote by every Free Methodist Conference (country) in the world (their delegates and pastors). That is what had to happen when we in Canada thought clarifications were needed regarding sanctification.
By the way, I hope these facts about our polity will squash the wrong beliefs that have been shared with me directly that the FMCIC is on a “slippery slope” by even engaging in a conversation about the LGBT+ community. The truth is the Free Methodist Church in Canada can’t just simply “slope” away from our current doctrinal position.
With that in mind the question still remains, “How do we accept responsibility for the community and country we live in?” We must ask in concrete terms what it means to love people, and we must understand and be a Biblically hospitable people.
Someone said to me, “why are we even having this discussion since the Bible is clear about this?” To this person and others who feel similarly, consider this: if your spouse says to you one day, ‘I think that we need to go for counseling’, what is the Godly response? “No, I don’t have a problem”, or “No, I don’t think that we do”?
Karlene and I made a covenant with each other many years ago (we are 29 years married), that if either of us asks to go to counseling then the other will not argue or reject the idea. Our response would be to agree to counseling regardless of our own opinion.
I believe that beloved members of our Church are asking us to come to the table to discuss something significant. We need not be afraid of each other. We need not be afraid of the future. We don’t need to be afraid especially, when we know we’re coming to Christ’s table, and choose to humbly listen to God, the Scriptures and each other. We are doing this together and we are doing this because it matters.
Rest assured, friends, this table is being set for us. On April 17 we will introduce a ministry plan to all delegates and pastors. That plan includes action steps to having a robust conversation, at Christ’s table, about FMCIC essentials, membership, hospitality, celebrating what we believe while not judging but loving others, etc. The plan will include much opportunity to hear each other, and pray.
 as represented in an FMCIC position paper, but we do need to develop a formal theology of singleness.
 Remember that delegates are elected by their local Church in order to represent the local Church at the national level.
Attention: Listserv Platform is Down!
Some of you may have already noticed that the Listserv Platform is down (we use this service for our Pastors, Delegates, GC-FORUM and Treasurer’s Listserv.) Until the Listserv platform is restored we are using MailChimp to send out very important messages about the upcoming General Conference vote on Saturday and the Town Hall meeting on Friday. We are asking all voting pastors and delegates to contact each other and confirm that they have seen and read the emails we are sending in preparation for Friday night’s Town Hall meeting and Saturday’s General Conference vote.
ANNUAL REPORTS (due February 26, 2021)
We kindly ask that you make completing the Annual Report a priority. We have included a guide (pdf) to help you understand and complete the Annual Report. We trust that it will be helpful to you in completing the form.
ANNUAL REPORT ONLINE FORM (English):
NEW THIS WEEK:
What’s Got You Thinking Episode 2 – Tamara Goller: https://vimeo.com/510259870
Rule of Life Introduction: https://vimeo.com/509778380
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
Tuesdays: Cliff’s Notes
Thursdays: Church Health Thursday article share
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
Wednesday, January 6: Message from Jared Siebert
Wednesday, February 2: Message from Marc McAlister message
Wednesday, March 2: Message from Bishop Cliff
Erika Mills, Co-lead Pastor, Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON – approved for ordination
Benjamin Platz, Associate Pastor (Urban Missionary), Next Church, Kingston, ON – approved for ordination
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Wilder Boutin – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC – date and time TBA.
Leonard Bruce – date and location TBA
Erika Mills – date and time TBA
Benjamin Platz – date and time TBA
Douglas Smith – May 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON
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:
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA
Date and location TBA*
- May 7 to June 25 – hybrid online/livestream course – “John Wesley’s Theology” [THEO 0629H] at Tyndale University with instructor Rev. Dr. James Pedlar: https://www.tyndale.ca/seminary/summer/courses/theo-0629h
- through FMC-USA as a 7-week intensive online course with several start dates: 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):
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.”
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
None at this time
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)
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON [Interim Pastor-Neale Robb] (March 9)
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON (March 9)
(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)
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, 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)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON (Rev. Alan Adams – Interim Pastor)
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)
Camp Director – Harbour Ridge Camp
Angelic Treasures Christian Daycare Newmarket – SUPERVISOR