I rediscovered lectio divina last week. Oh, it is not a long-lost friend, as it has been a part of my Bible reading discipline but in the past few years, much less. It’s been less because it requires time and quiet listening. Busy-ness is not conducive to “time and quiet listening”. Lectio divina is an ancient meditative approach to Scripture. It usually looks something like this:
- Pray to be attentive (repent and then ask God to make you fully present in the moment);
- Do a little homework on the passage, ask good Bible study questions like: context of periscope, original purposes, historical setting, etc. Just enough study to make sure that your meditation doesn’t turn into make-believe;
- Read the Scripture out loud;
- Quietly, prayerfully, ponder on what word/thought/idea/phrase stands out in the passage; then write out that word/thought/idea/phrase;
- Read the Scripture out loud again;
- Prayerfully ask how this word/thought/idea/phrase might translate into my life – then after a few moments of quiet listening, write out what came out of this moment;
- Read the Scripture out loud one more time;
- Take a few minutes quietly with Holy Spirit asking what He wants you to do with all this. This time write out a responsive prayer related to what He might be asking you or speaking to you.
Scriptural meditation is not like Eastern meditation (an emptying of the mind, into the shared oneness), but a filling of the mind with His presence and Word. It requires a good understanding of the meaning of the Bible verse in context, and a quieting soul. I love it because it is about a sanctified imagination: inserting yourself into the story somewhere and feeling, seeing, smelling, touching and hearing in order to allow the passage to take root into you. Meditation is the stuff of sanctified imagination (it awakens our imaginations), listening to God, and sabbath (time to stop, breathe, quiet, listen and be refreshed).
I know that I lost some of you at the journal (“write”) requirement – too bad. Some of you thought, “Read the same passage 3 times! Who has that time?!?” The “homework” part that required some Bible study made some of you think, “like I have time for that!” If you are a single mom with 3 kids at home, the idea of alone time, let alone meditation time is at best wishful thinking! You are hearing me simply say, “start and be gentle with yourself – I am confident that God is so much looking for time with you, that you may just be surprised about how He provides for you to enjoy that moment – He may just provide, meaningful time and Himself!”
Allow me to be your friend and gently nudge you to try. Meditating on God’s Word is a life changer. You can do it fishing, quilting, walking, sitting with a coffee… Meditating, studying, reading, memorizing, and hearing God’s word are all important, but today as I prayed for us I felt the need to encourage you to meditate.
DO NOT FORGET TO SIGN UP AND SHOW UP THURSDAY EVENING FOR THE PRAYER SUMMIT: https://www.fmcic.ca/40-days-of-prayer-summit-registration/
Church Health Thursdays – Thoughts About the “New Normal”: https://www.fmcic.ca/thoughts-about-the-new-normal/
News & Stories Blog – The Gift of Sewing: https://www.fmcic.ca/the-gift-of-sewing/
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 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 https://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:
June 5-7, 2020 – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this course will be taught live via Zoom (details will be sent to those who register prior to the course)
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) – start date – June 1, 2020
(* 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 https://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, add 6 hours of CEU credit when you send in your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
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)
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
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)