CliffsNotes – November 30, 2021

Last weekend Karlene and I were warmly welcomed by our Rosemount Church in PQ (Pastor Pierre). This weekend I enjoyed a visit with a couple of our pastors, and worshiping with our Dunnville ON Church (Pastor Bernie), and again I received such a kind greeting! Both of these churches told me about how important prayer is to their church families, and this was certainly easy to see. Thanks, Rosemount and Dunnville Church families for your commitment to becoming a “house of prayer”!

I recently participated in a spiritual challenge called “THE GAME WITH MINUTES”, by Frank C. Laubach. Laubach wrote this booklet in 1956 as a challenge to the Church. He says this in the introduction of the booklet:

We call this a “game” because it is a delightful experience and an exhilarating spiritual exercise; but we soon discover that it is far more than a game. Perhaps a better name for it would be “an exploratory expedition,” because it opens out into what seems at first like a beautiful garden; then the garden widens into a country; and at last we realize that we are exploring a new world.



That’s a pretty good metaphor for prayer isn’t it: we move into prayer as if it is a walk in a garden, only to discover that prayer is a whole new country to explore. Perhaps too often we stay in the garden and do not explore the fullness of the country-of-prayer that God invites us into. I actually pray that the FMCiC has a vision for prayer as an ocean, or a new country to explore. I pray that your definition or understanding of prayer is this large and inviting.

The “game” works this way – again, in his own words:

HOW TO BEGIN: Select a favorable hour; try how many minutes of the hour you can remember God at least ONCE each minute; that is to say, bring God to mind at least one second out of every sixty. It is not necessary to remember God every second, for the mind runs along like a rapid stream from one idea to another. Your score will be low at first, but keep trying, for it constantly becomes easier, and after a while is almost automatic. It follows the well known laws of habit forming. If you try to write shorthand you are at first very awkward. This is true when you are learning to play a piano, or to ride a bicycle, or to use any new muscles. When you try this “game with minutes” you discover that spiritually you are still a very weak infant. A babe in the crib seizes upon every thing at hand to pull himself to his feet, wobbles for a few seconds and falls exhausted. Then he tries again, each time standing a little longer than before. We are like that babe when we begin to try to keep God in mind. We need something to which we can cling. Our minds wobble and fall, then rise for a new effort. Each time we try we shall do better until at last we may be able to remember God as high as ninety per cent of the whole day.



I “played” for a few days. I am competitive enough to have taken this on as a challenge that I wanted to win. It was a good exercise, of paying attention to where my thoughts were, and how quickly my brain was firing. I had to be gentle with myself, and patiently remind myself to come back to the prayer exercise (a few times I caught myself being disappointed with myself for allowing several minutes to go by because of other thoughts and distractions – feeling disappointment with self should not be an outcome of the game!). More important than being aware of my inner world, is that the game is about prayer. It is about being aware of the Holy Spirit in me and around me, and the ocean or country of prayer that I am invited into.

I mention this “game” as a reminder that as we move into the Advent season, we should be singularly focused on Christ. Advent can be a tiring season, filled with good and bad feelings. Focus on JesusStay focused on Jesus.

Perhaps, you would try the game out for a few days to help you pay attention to your inner world, AND the prayer-opportunity that you are actually invited into?!

Laubach offers this as a help to “win” in the game:

WHAT IS MEANT BY WINNING
You win your minute if, during that minute you either:
1. Pray.
2. Recall God.
3. Sing or hum a devotional hymn.
4. Talk or write about God.
5. Seek to relieve suffering of any kind in a prayerful spirit.
6. Work with the consciousness of God’s presence.
7. Whisper to God.
8. Feel yourself encompassed by God.
9. Read a scripture verse or poem about God.
10. Give somebody a helping hand for the Lord’s sake.
11. Breathe a prayer for the people you meet.
12. Follow the leading of the Inner Voice,
13. Plan or work for the Kingdom of God.
14. Testify to others about God, or the church.
15. Share suffering or sorrow with another.
16. Hear God and see Him in flowers, trees, water, hills, sky.

 


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
March 20  – Alyson Lauber – time & location TBA

Date and time TBA:
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:
June 4-6 2022 location TBA*

Wesleyan Theology:
June 4-6 2022 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

Harrowsmith, ON – Harrowsmith FMC
Prince Albert, SK – Cornerstone FMC
Thornbury, ON – Blue Mountain Community Church

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)

Saskatoon, SK – Lakeview FMC [full-time] (Nov 30)
Warkworth, ON – Warkworth FMC [full-time] (Jan 11)

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