Last week I was in meetings at Mount Carmel with Network Mentors, Network Leaders, NLT and the newly hired Regional and Church Planting Coaches. We did some very good work together and I look forward to telling you more about that in the coming weeks. Thank you to each one who stewarded 3-4 days (depending on how far you traveled) to do this Kingdom work!
There have also been some changes within the administrative staff at the Ministry Centre. Davika Dotson will no longer be working in the Church Planting department. She will now be working in the Leadership Development department as the Administrative Assistant for Marc McAlister. If you have any questions regarding Leadership Development or Regional Coaches you can contact either Marc or Davika.
We would like to welcome Jessica Isaak to the team as well. She will be working in the Church Planting department as the Administrative Assistant to Jared Siebert. If there are any questions about Church Planting and the role of Church Planting Coaches you can contact Jared or email Jessica at [email protected].
In my last year of high school (there was grade 13 back in the day) as a new believer, I found a job as the full time overnight residential counselor at Christian Horizons Home for adults with developmental disabilities. It was a very rich maturing experience. I stayed on through seminary, and it was in Toronto that I became friends with another staff member Dwayne Milley. Dwayne is now the Vice President of Operations at Christian Horizons. I interviewed him recently because I believe that he has an important message for the local church.
Cliff: Dwayne, what percentage of our Canadian population is impacted by the specific people group that you work with?
In Canada (as per the 2012 census), for those 15 years and older:
1 in 200 (0.6%) have a developmental disability
1 in 7 (14%) have a disability that limited their daily activities
1 in 25 (3.9%) have a mental-health related disability
In the world (as per the United Nations data)
8 in 10 (80%) of people with disabilities live in developing countries.
1 in 10 (10%) of children with disabilities get to go to school.
Cliff: You told me your personal story about trying to settle into a church family – could you describe that experience?
Dwayne: First, a little back-story — Karen, my wife, had been pastoring for 20 years when our daughter, Deepika, joined us through adoption. Deepika is from India and knew four words in English (mommy, poppa, toilet, and TV). I was raised in church and active with Karen in her role, while being part of the ministry of Christian Horizons professionally (where you and I met!).
We took three months off together when Deepika came home. As we began to go back to work, we quickly realized that Deepika needed more of her mother than she could give while working. We also saw that Deepika didn’t want to be part of our church life. We regret, as we look back, the mistakes we made. We were part of a big church, so the first time Deepika went, she saw more people in that 90 minutes than she would have seen in her entire life combines.
We began to learn about emotional trauma in older, adopted children. We also began to understand the depths of her developmental delay. You see, Deepika missed out on the natural developmental milestones because she lived outside the typical family unit. By the time we became a family, she had much catching up to do. We’ve been together for almost four years now, and we’ve seen her speed through some developmental milestones, while she seems to be missing others.
Now, about church attendance. Karen quit her job and we started trying to attend a church in our neighbourhood. Some of her friends from school attended there, and it was quite diverse, including people of Indian descent. We figured it was a good mix. We began to attend, would stay for the singing, and then leave. She wasn’t interest in kids’ church – she wanted to be with us, which made sense to us, as she missed out on us for six years of her life and was, perhaps subconsciously, trying to catch up. Her safe place was with us.
Since Karen had been a pastor, she knew the leadership of this church. We had let them know of our plans to attend and how we hoped it might go. We began to tithe right away to that church as well, to demonstrate our commitment.
More than once we were asked why she was sitting with us in church and why we didn’t send her to children’s church. At the beginning of summer we tried to send her to the church summer camp. Karen began to attend with her in order to help her acclimatize to the new situation. Karen wasn’t permitted to attend, which meant Deepika’s attendance was less than a few minutes. That was the last straw. “Plan to Protect” is necessary, but how this church applied it meant we were excluded.
We were in deep grief.
Today – two years after Karen quit her job at the big church, she was invited to fill in as pastor at a small church in downtown Hamilton. Sundays were still a problem for us, so the church knew they’d get Karen, but not Deepika and me. They accepted us in our ‘weirdness’ (that’s my word, not theirs). On the few occasions when Deepika and I attended, the church lovingly accepted us and did not pressure us. Not long after the church asked Karen to be their pastor, and Deepika slowly has become familiar with the environment and the people. In fact, Deepika now regularly goes in early to help get things ready with her mom. Sometimes I lead worship. Last week I was leading from the front and Deepika was singing along in the front row. It’s hard to even say those words without my misting up.
Cliff: How can a church begin to connect with these families?
Dwayne: Families experiencing disability need community. When it comes to disability, every story is different. Church communities need to embrace people experiencing disability in all their messiness. I use the word ‘messy’ there respectfully, because that’s how it’s perceived, and sometimes it is.
When a person with a developmental disability yells loudly in the midst of a planned quiet time in church, it seems messy. Or like in our case, when a little girl with emotional trauma needs her mom with her in order to acclimatize to a new thing, it seems messy. But it’s messy only because we’ve decided it is. When we get past that we can see the gifts that people bring to the Body of Christ. There’s a church in Toronto that’s missing out on our gifts now.
Let me preach for a minute. This week Deepika has been learning about creation at school (thank God for her school!). One night she said to us, ‘did you know that if Adam and Eve didn’t eat the apple we’d all still be naked?” We suggested to her that those of us in Canada might opt for clothes because of the cold. But what I didn’t say to her was that if Adam and Eve didn’t sin, we wouldn’t be a family. Because if sin didn’t happen, there wouldn’t be broken families. There wouldn’t be orphans. Our family is only possible because of brokenness.
Our family, by embracing the brokenness – in all its difficulty, sacrifice, and unknown – we’re living out God’s redemptive plan for humanity. There is no need for redemption, for Kingdom living, if there isn’t brokenness. In God’s kingdom, orphans don’t have to be orphans any more. Deepika is teaching us about Christ, and we’re learning about redemption.
There is no easy way for churches to reach out to people experiencing disability. We have our programs and our pews, and people experiencing disability often do not fit nicely onto either. But if we look around our congregations – are 1 in 7 of us experiencing a disability? If not, then there are people in our neighbourhoods who are missing out on community and the Good News. And we’re missing out on their God-given gifts.
In Luke 14, the host (God), says to ‘go out and compel them to come in’. When it comes to disability, I believe the mandate of the church is the same as its overall mission – to go and make disciples. Unfortunately, people experiencing disabilities are often left out. We certainly were.
ANNUAL REPORT 2017
Please submit your Annual Report and Network Leader Evaluation on or before February 20, 2018.
SAVE THE DATE – 2018 REGIONAL GATHERINGS
Network Mentor and Leader Meeting
Church Health Thursdays – 5 Grave Dangers for Any Local Church: https://www.fmcic.ca/5-grave-dangers-for-any-local-church/ New
News & Stories Blog – A Church with Mission in mind – Interview with Greg Elford :https://www.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://www.fmcic.ca/3-minute-theology-2-5-knowing-the-bible-inside-out/
New Leaf Podcast: The Story Behind the Story- William Paul Young: https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/ep-50-story-behind-story-william-paul-young/
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://www.fmcic.ca/cliffsnotes-signup/
– The following ordained ministers have been hired by the FMCiC and appointed as “Denominational Ministry-Regional Coach”, effective January 15:
- Rev. Steve Cylka (central Ontario)
- Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt (western Ontario)
- Rev. Seth Freeman (MB/SK)
- Rev. Roxanne Goodyear (eastern Ontario)
- Rev. Vern Frudd (BC/AB)
- Rev. Philippe Reichenbach (Quebec)
– Rev. Chad Vankoughnett – status changed from “Denominational Ministry-Executive Director, Arlington Beach Camp and Conference Centre” to “In Transition”, effective January 11.
– Davika Dotson will now be working in the Leadership Development Department as the Administrative Assistant to Marc McAlister.
– Jessica Isaak will be working in the Church Planting Department as the Administrative Assistant to Jared Siebert
Ordination and Commissioning Services Schedule
The next deadline is February 15, 2018 to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for the winter semester of 2018. More information is available at this link:https://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
June 1-3, 2018 in Western Canada (location TBA*)
June 1-3, 2018 in Ontario (location TBA*)
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
Personal and Church Stewardship
6-week online course – begins January 29, 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://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/. Those tracking for credentialed ministry should take the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology if possible.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
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.
(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)
Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON
Centennial Chapel FMC, Kamloops, BC (Vern Frudd-retiring May 31, 2018)
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON
Grapeview FMC, St. Catharines, ON (Dan Sheffield – Transition Pastor)
Madoc Free Methodist/ Wesleyan Church
Marmora FMC, Marmora, ON (Adam Kline- Interim Pastor)
Melfort FMC, Melfort, SK
Odessa FMC, Odessa, ON
Tabernacle de la Grace, Montreal QC
Thunder Bay FMC, Thunder Bay, ON (Andre Korstanje retiring July 2018)
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON
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
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
Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB (Raymond Riglin)
Markham FMC, ON (K.K. Leung)
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)
Wesley Chapel Japanese FM Church, Toronto, ON (Misa Mochinaga)
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON (Ken Babcock)
PASTORS IN TRANSITION
Associate Pastor – Trulls Road FM Church