CliffsNotes – November 2, 2021

Remembrance Day: I have asked our military chaplains to create a Remembrance Day service. It is probably too lengthy for you to use during your Sunday morning service (over 20 minutes), but you are welcomed to use it Sunday if you would like. Pastors, simply contact my office to get the link. Otherwise, it will be released on November 11.
I am grateful for the ministry of our military and non-military chaplains.


On this rainy day I read Kierkegaard, a Christian thinker, worthy of your time:

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But, we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend not to be able to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. “My God”, you will say, “if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?” …Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”
Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard.


At some point in recent history, a dark cloud of distrust (perhaps even disdain) within the Church, has been cast on the Bible. I have heard people, whom I respect, say things like, “we worship and love Jesus, not the Bible.” Of course, this is true, that we do not worship the Bible, but still, it is life’s most important book, and it is not wrong for me to say that I love it.

Consider this response to the question: “Cliff, what do you think of Pastor Barry Taylor’s beard?” My response, “well, I don’t love it, but it’s looks good on him.” Do you hear how that sounds, and the impression I just gave you about Barry’s beard and me? Somehow, with the slightly unenthusiastic answer, I have given you the impression that I do not think much of my dear brother’s beard. It is subtle, but I believe we have done some of this with Scripture. Consider these other lines that I have read or heard: “Well that’s just the Apostle Paul”, “don’t worry about that, that’s just the Old Testament”, “Luther didn’t even like the book of James!”

I’m not suggesting that we speak disingenuously about difficult passages or feelings about Scripture, BUT I am suggesting that we speak honestly with deep reverence for the Word. It is a unique book, which requires unique responses. We should speak and relate with this same reverence both privately and publicly. It is entirely possible that when those whom I disciple, mentor, and very importantly, parent, hear me speak of the Bible with a lack of enthusiasm, with skepticism, or caution, then I have discipled, mentored, and parented this spiritual reality into them.

Christians, how we talk about the Bible, how much effort we make to be in the Bible, how courageous we are to allow ourselves to be “alone with the New Testament” speaks volumes to others about our regard for the Word. And it taints your own feelings and response as well…

We begin to believe what we read, and say about things; rather, than disciplining ourselves to speak reverently and respond courageously to the clear Word of God, we speak lightly, sometimes cautiously, and usually we make little effort to engage in it (maybe we read a verse a day, in the Daily Bread?).

I mention this because Kierkegaard called us “a bunch of scheming swindlers”, and I don’t want him to be right, though I think he might be. I also mention it because in this season of engaging missionally in the prevailing culture that is polarized, confused, and hurting, the Bible should be our compass. It should be our compass as FMCiC has the essential task-force-conversations that we are having, and as local churches develop 3-5 Year Ministry Plans for 2022.

The Word of God is:

  • a “light for our path” moving forward,
  • the way to help us understand where we have been,
  • God-breathed, therefore is life giving
  • a “surgeon’s scalpel” in our lives corporately and privately (The Message version of “double edged sword),
  • the story of God in the world,
  • the covenant clearly laid out (including His promises),
  • should be read, listened to, meditated upon, memorized, studied
  • and therefore we should be responding to the Bible with deep and sincere reverence.


Our Manual says it well;

THE SCRIPTURES

¶108     AUTHORITY
              The Bible is God’s written Word, uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit. It bears unerring witness to Jesus Christ, the living Word. As attested by the early church and subsequent councils, it is the trustworthy record of God’s revelation, completely truthful in all it affirms. It has been faithfully preserved and proves itself true in human experience.
             
              The Scriptures have come to us through human authors who wrote, as God moved them, in the languages and literary forms of their times. God continues, by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, to speak through this Word to each generation and culture.
             
              The Bible has authority over all human life. It teaches the truth about God, His creation, His people, His one and only Son, and the destiny of all humankind. It also teaches the way of salvation and the life of faith. Whatever is not found in the Bible nor can be proved by it is not to be required as an article of belief or as necessary to salvation.

¶109     AUTHORITY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
              The Old Testament is not contrary to the New. Both Testaments bear witness to God’s salvation in Christ; both speak of God’s will for His people. The ancient laws for ceremonies and rites, and the civil precepts for the nation Israel are not necessarily binding on Christians today. But, on the example of Jesus we are obligated to obey the moral commandments of the Old Testament…
             
¶110     AUTHORITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
              The New Testament fulfills and interprets the Old Testament. It is the record of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is God’s final word regarding humankind, sin,  and salvation, the world and its destiny…


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN

Tuesdays: Cliff’s Notes
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
Message from Bishop Cliff: https://vimeo.com/518725147
Coffee with Jared: https://vimeo.com/533730644
Mystery Beverage with Marc: https://vimeo.com/504427854


ANNOUNCEMENTS
None this week

ORDINATION SERVICES
November 7 at 2:30 pm – Leonard Bruce – Peterborough FMC, Peterborough, ON
November 21 at 3:00 pm – Wilder Boutin – Église Vie d’Espoir, 35, av. Marien, Montréal-Est, QC

Date and time TBA:
Alyson Lauber – Lakeview Free Methodist Church, Saskatoon, SK
Erika Mills – location TBA
Benjamin Platz – Next Church, Kingston, 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:
2022 date and location TBA*

Wesleyan Theology:
2022 date and location TBA*

Also available:

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:
2022 Date and location TBA*

Personal and Church Stewardship: 
5-week online course – 2022 Start Date TBA
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)

SCHOLARSHIPS

2022 APPLICATIONS   https://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/

LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
The Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) provides financial assistance to candidates who are studying to meet the educational requirements for credentialed ministry, or for members of conference pursuing continuing education.

February 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2022.  The 2022 application forms and instructions will soon be available to download from the link above.  Please use the application forms marked “rev 2022.”


SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS:
The Special Scholarships provide financial assistance to those who are members of a Free Methodist church pursuing post-secondary education to grow in their Christian faith, to those who are pursuing credentialed ministry, and to members of conference pursuing continuing education.

October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during the 2022 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.

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CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Interviewing

Prince Albert, SK – Cornerstone FMC

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)

Harrowsmith, ON – Harrowsmith FMC [full-time] (Nov 2)
Saskatoon, SK – Lakeview FMC [full-time] (Nov 30)
Thornbury, ON – Blue Mountain Community Church [full-time] (Nov 16)
Warkworth, ON – Warkworth FMC [full-time] (Nov 16)

Preparing Profiles
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, ON – Campbellford FMC, (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cloyne, ON – Pineview FMC
Frankford, ON – Frankford Community Church
Hamilton, ON – Rymal Road Community Church
Hilton Beach, ON – St. Joseph Island FMC (Rev. David Griggs-Interim Pastor)
New Westminster, BC – First FMC
Oshawa, ON – The Corner Church (Free Methodist / Church of the Nazarene)
Richmond Hill, ON – Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Sarnia, ON – New Horizons Community Church (Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)


EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES