By the time you read this I will already be home, but I wrote this in the Amsterdam airport.
I was in Sri Lanka and then Ghana and I left feeling very encouraged about these meetings and the future of these churches.
Pastor Marty Misener of the Niagara Falls FMC and Paula Moriarty our International Child Care Ministries Director were my team members in Sri Lanka. Marty used the women’s washroom twice – please feel free to ask him about this! Besides those two episodes (and getting a welt on his forehead, and eating enough food for three people…) he was an excellent team member! I spoke on forgiveness, and he spoke Biblically, clearly and pointedly on reconciliation at the pastors’ retreat. We split up and interviewed all the pastors individually: asking about family, ministry and challenges. It was inspiring hearing their passion for evangelism and sacrifice. Most of them have one or two other jobs in order to as function as a pastor.
In Sri Lanka, two young church planters told us inspiring stories about sacrifice, faithfulness and persecution. Mohan biked into a Buddhist village and was asked why he was visiting with a Bible. He explained that he was going to teach the Bible to some new friends. The police report said that a crowd of 500 people surrounded him, stripped him naked and beat him. Mohan said that the police watched and then finally stepped in to arrest him for causing a public disturbance. He got off with a warning. Months later he is starting a church plant in that village because “God called him to”.
Paula and I worshiped in a house church that looked just like what I imagine Acts 2 church looked like. Paula spoke about Luke 15 and had the whole group on their feet participating in the message. Paula, by the way has the wonderful capacity to make friends and to make people feel very cared for – great qualities for an ICCM Director. She travels with a suitcase the size of a minivan! Anyway the pastor of this house church, told us that his Buddhist village, when he first moved in a few years ago, stoned his home late one night with his wife and baby at home, trashed the home and threatened him to leave. Imagine being home one night and having a mob outside your door throwing rocks at your home! For five years there was not one convert but he was sure God had called him there, so he was faithful to the call. Then it happened: he now has a house full of converted Buddhists!
Ghana is still a Mission District under Canadian oversight, but is very close to becoming a Provisional Conference which is a step away from being their own General Conference! To become a pastor in the Ghanaian FMC, you need to complete a Bible degree, and plant a church! Pastors are instructed to prayerfully watch for potential church planters – and they do. They are challenging stay home mothers, students, single moms, entrepreneurs and young professionals to consider church planting. Maybe one of the reasons that we have a pastor shortage and a church planting shortage is that pastors aren’t challenging (and discipling) quality people into ministry! Pastors, delegates, church members are you challenging our young people, entrepreneurs, professionals, men and women into ministry? And how are you a part of their development?
In both countries ICCM is developing significant ministry, which FMCIC will begin to partner with more strategically (but you’ll hear more about that at Regional Gatherings). Barrie FM Church is heading up the Ghanaian partnership under the leadership of Pastor Jennifer Louise Wagar (that’s what they call her). The full Canadian team was Pastor Jenn, Carrie Webb, a Godly lay person and nurse from the Barrie congregation, Paula and myself – I was blessed to be with another excellent team. Jenn and Carrie are clearly loved by the Ghana church and ministered in friendship, the Word and prayer (we were able to pray with each pastor and church planter at the conference).
Churches if you are looking to engage in a cross-cultural mission partnership, these two countries are already in formal relationships with FMCIC and we’d love you to come on board. Both countries are passionate about evangelism. They are talking about developing micro-financing (entrepreneurial opportunities), schools, and higher education institutions. Contact Pastor Jennifer Louise Wagar at Barrie FM for Ghana and Pastor Marty “there-was-no-sign-on-the-door” Misener for Sri Lanka.
This is what Pastor Marty Misenser, Lead Pastor at Queensway FM Church had to say about the trip to Sri Lanka
As noted in the Feb 13th Cliff’s Notes, our team had the opportunity to speak with the pastors who launched a court case against the Free Methodist Church in Canada. We were able to hear their pain and express our sadness as well about the situation. After teaching about forgiveness and reconciliation, we were able to discuss the situation and provide them with tangible steps that will serve to restore our relationship. At this point we are praying and waiting, in the hopes that the journey of reconciliation can continue.
One Sunday, each team member preached at a different church in Kandy, located in the interior of the Sri Lanka. Bishop Cliff preached at the late Pastor Solomon’s church, Paula preached at Pastor Chaminda’s church, and I spoke at Pastor Pradeep’s church located in his house. Each of us returned and celebrated the goodness we had seen that day. God is moving and working in Sri Lanka. Churches are being planted and it is clear that revival is taking place, as many people are coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus. There was also a sense that the Lord was healing the division created by the estranged pastors and we collectively acknowledged that our goal is to preach the gospel so that people can know Jesus.
On Monday, the team met with the BOA where we discussed our findings from the meetings and began to dream with them about what the next steps could be. This was a beautiful discussion! As we move forward, prayers are welcomed for the Sri Lankan BOA and the pastors who serve there. As the ministry grows in Sri Lanka, please continue to pray for wisdom and discernment for the leadership.
God is indeed faithful and He will continue to lead in this country. There are so many gifted pastors and their passion for Jesus is encouraging. We can be encouraged that our partnership with our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka is bearing so much fruit!
ANNUAL REPORT 2017 – Now Overdue!
If you have not yet submitted the annual report please do s0:
LOCATIONS & DATES
- SOUTH/SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO & WEST GTA @ The Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church, 456 Krug St, Kitchener, ON [Kitchener] March 3, 2018
- QUEBEC @ Rosemont FMC, 3553 rue Jean-Talon Est, Montreal [Montreal] March 17, 2018
- EASTERN & CENTRAL ONTARIO-EAST @ Wesley Acres, 1391 Wesley Acres Road Bloomfield, ON [Bloomfield]– March 24, 2018
- NORTHERN ONTARIO @ St. Joseph Island FMC, 1589 Hilton Road, Hilton Beach ON [St. Joseph’s Island] April 7, 2018
- CENTRAL ONTARIO – NORTH & EAST GTA @Wesley Chapel, 2385 Warden Ave, Scarborough, ON [Toronto] – April 14, 2018
- NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO @ Dryden FMC, 261 Van Horne Avenue, Dryden, ON [Dryden] April 28, 2018
- BRITISH COLUMBIA @ New Heights Community [Mission] May 12, 2018
- ALBERTA @Westpark Church of the Nazarene, 3920 57th Ave. Red Deer, AB [Red Deer] May 26, 2018
- SASKATCHEWAN @ Arlington Beach Camp [Cymric] June 2, 2018
- MANITOBA @ Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre, 3550 Victoria Ave, Brandon, MB [Brandon] – June 23, 2018
Please see the website for more details – https://fmcic.ca/regional-gatherings-2018/
Church Health Thursdays – Taking Responsibility for Our Community – Check In: https://fmcic.ca/taking-responsibility-for-our-community-check-in/New
News & Stories Blog – A Church with Mission in mind – Interview with Greg Elford :https://fmcic.ca/a-church-with-mission-in-mind-interview-with-greg-elford/
the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out: https://fmcic.ca/3-minute-theology-2-5-knowing-the-bible-inside-out/
New Leaf Podcast: Anna Spray -Table Church: https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/ep-51-anna-spray-table-church/
Faith and Finances Website: http://faithandfinances.ca
Do you know someone who would like to receive CliffsNotes? They can now sign up through the website at:https://fmcic.ca/cliffsnotes-signup/
Ordination and Commissioning Services Schedule
The next deadline is October 15, 2018 to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for courses taken during both the pring/summer and fall semesters of 2018.
October 15 is also the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships.
Here is the link for both types of scholarships: https://fmcic.ca/scholarships/
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
June 1-3, 2018 at Hampton FM Church, Saskatoon, SK
June 1-3, 2018 in Ontario at Holt FM Church, Mount Albert ON
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
Personal and Church Stewardship
6-week online course – start date TBA
8-week online course (FRENCH) – begins April 9, 2018
Culture and the Missional Church:
Next course 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: https://fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/. Those tracking for credentialed ministry should take the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology if possible.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Sault Ste Marie FMC, Sault Ste Marie, ON
Church Profiles available
Contact Susan DePlanché in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 289-228-1225.
Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON (deadline April 3)
Melfort FMC, Melfort, SK (deadline March 20)
Madoc Wesleyan/Free Methodist Church, Madoc, ON (deadline March 20)
Marmora FMC, Marmora, ON (deadline April 3)
Thunder Bay Free Methodist Church, Thunder Bay, ON (deadline March 20)
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON (deadline March 20)
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan in the Leadership Development Office [[email protected] or 289-228-1225] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)
Athens FMC, Athens, ON (Angel Valentin-Transition Pastor)
Asbury FMC, Perth, ON (Hanford Branscombe-Interim Pastor)
Centennial Chapel FMC, Kamloops, BC (Vern Frudd-retiring May 31, 2018)
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON (Tom Gurnick – Interim Pastor)
Grapeview FMC, St. Catharines, ON (Dan Sheffield – Transition Pastor)
Odessa FMC, Odessa, ON
Richmond Hill FMC (English & Chinese), Richmond Hill, ON
Tabernacle de la Grace, Montreal QC
West Springs FMC, Calgary, AB
Weyburn FMC, Weyburn, SK
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 (Charles Tanner)
Cordova Mines FM Fellowship, Cordova Mines, ON
Dryden FMC, Dryden, ON
Eglise Chrétienne Méthodiste Libre de Le Gardeur, QC (Duplan Auguste Lython)
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON (Robert Boutilier)
Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB (Raymond Riglin)
Markham FMC, ON (K.K. Leung)
Roblin FMC, Roblin, MB (Heath Butler)
Surrey FMC, Surrey BC (Nathaniel Prakash)
theStory, Sarnia, ON (Joshua Walters)
Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON (Lewis Byer)
Wesley Chapel Japanese FM Church, Toronto, ON (Misa Mochinaga)
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON (Ken Babcock)
PASTORS IN TRANSITION
Associate Pastor of Next Generations – Trulls Road FM Church
Director of Youth Ministry – Trulls Road FM Church
Youth Pastor – Malvern Methodist Church
Associate Pastor – Barrie FM Church