Pastor Will Keller hosted the first “Many Voices – One Heart” event. Tyendinaga Mohawk Chief R. Donald Maracle was in attendance and was invited to bring us greetings. For over an hour he gave us a history lesson and the time flew by. I felt confusion, anger, and sadness as he referred to the same historical characters and events that I had heard of, but he was telling a very different version of the story (I was not feeling anger towards him at all, but was asking myself why I hadn’t heard these things before – I was mad at myself, school, church, and the world). Chief Maracle’s historical account of the founding of Canada, immediately made sense as it filled in historical gaps for me (i.e. reservations, Indian Act, treaties, “60’s Scoop”, high incidences of abuse on reservations, etc.). In our high school history classes, we did learn about terrible things that a “few” pioneers, European soldiers, settlers, and founding fathers perpetrated, but I seem to have learned that these terrible moments were few and far between. Somehow, we overlooked or rationalized systemic racism as being excusable, perhaps a means to an end (a new nation), or simply the prevailing cultural norm. Many of our founding fathers were racists, with a stated agenda to “alleviate the Indian problem”.
I mention this because the FMCIC has embarked on a story-telling (or better, a truthful re-telling) campaign. Our Intercultural Engagement Team has created an event that your church really needs to host at some point. Our understanding and hope are that as we begin to share in the full story, we will begin to be able to understand how to heal as a nation.
These past two weeks have once again exposed the depth of our need for healing as a nation. Racial injustice is being exposed as the festering open wound that it is. This wound is old, as old as sin itself. Sin separates us from God and from each other – it always has. Canada’s story is one marred with colonialism, hatred, ignorance, and slavery wherein the people group with the biggest weapons wrote the history books. Once again, I am hearing history being told, unlike the version I have known. And it makes sense as it fills in historical gaps and our current reality! I feel confused, angry, and sad. Again, I am mad at myself, school, church, and the world.
The Board of Administration is meeting this week to begin to discuss how we can be a healing agent in Canada, but I have a hunch that part of the solution is in telling the truth – the full story. For instance, Pastor Keitha sent out a Facebook post today confronting the wrong narrative that “Canada was not founded by slavery”. Her brief history lesson is poignant and challenges us towards a shared new story (did you watch my interview with her last week posted on the FMCIC Facebook page? If not, here is the link: https://www.fmcic.ca/bishop-cliffs-conversation-with-steve-ottley-and-keitha-ogbogu/ ). For instance, after reading the article I wonder what it says about our nation; that cities, streets, and a major university are named after slave-owning founding fathers? Truth-telling should lead to evaluation and change.
The FMCIC believes that every person is created in the image of God. We believe as Free Methodists, in the absolute need to stand against injustices. Furthermore, we are people of Catholic spirit where all those who love Jesus should mobilize as one in order to bring Christ and His Kingdom into the world. And most importantly we believe in the power of prayer because ultimately “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this evil world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
The Free Methodist Church in Canada is poised to be a minister of reconciliation. This starts in truth-knowing and then truth-telling. First, we need to know who we are in Christ and His sanctifying, healing, life-giving work in us. As we experience this, we must also know the truth about our country/culture. Remember that Jesus had to re-tell the history of Israel to His people, in light of Himself and their hard-heartedness. Then we must tell these truths: others need to know the truth about our history and about Christ’s love and healing power…
Church Health Thursdays – Timely Questions: https://www.fmcic.ca/timely-questions/
News & Stories Blog – Bishop Cliff Chats with Addison Aspilla: https://www.fmcic.ca/bishop-cliff-chats-with-addison-aspilla/
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 Network: The 2019 New Leaf Advent Reader – : https://www.newleafnetwindork.ca/podcast/
FM VIDEOS: https://www.fmcic.ca/category/fm-video-blog/
None at this time
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Leonard Bruce – Warkworth, ON – ordination service date TBA
Dani Harris – The Corner Church, Oshawa, ON – ordination service date TBA
Douglas Smith – Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON – ordination service date TBA
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES http://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
Register online through the link above
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:
November 6-8, 2020 – location TBA*
November 6-8, 2020 – Ontario 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:
Course starts October 13 (deadline to register – October 5)
Part One: Oct 13-Nov 5 – advance online engagement
Part Two: Nov 6-7 – two-day in-person class – Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON
Personal and Church Stewardship: (NOTE: TUITION WAIVED FOR THIS ONLINE COURSE)
5-week online course (ENGLISH) – Fall 2020-date TBA
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early! Note: Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course. Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)
2020 SCHOLARSHIPS http://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for any courses taken during the summer and/or fall semesters of 2020. The 2020 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during 2020 – apply online from the link above.
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
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, 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)
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK (July 14)
(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
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC (Rev. Vern Frudd – Transition Pastor)
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON (Rev. Aaron Birtch – Transition Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)