CliffsNotes – November 9, 2021

Why these “hot button topics” now??

People have wondered why in a pandemic season, when we are not even seeing eye to eye on vaccinations, and politics, why is the FMCiC discussing such weighty matters? Why in a season that people and pastors are TIRED have we embarked into “hot button topics” (Racial Justice & Ethnic Equity, LGBTQ2S+, Reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, etc)?

These were our options: a) try to ignore these matters, b) wait for a better day, c) or engage.

a)     Ignoring these conversations would be to choose not to do contextual ministry. Furthermore, too many of FM’ers, are asking us, their church family, to talk about these things. Because, as members of the FMCiC, we are in covenant with one another, we have to be responsive to one another. To those of you, who would have chosen to shy away from these conversations I remind you:

“Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have the ability, and responsibility in Christ to have difficult conversations. Do not quit on each other, do not leave, or write your brother or sister off as no longer worthy of your covenant commitment to him or her; rather, please prayerfully engage with much patience with one another, love, debate (perhaps sometimes fight), but again in love, always guarding the unity that Jesus prayed for us in John 17, and we can do all this together while we continue to do the essential work of serving others who do not yet know Jesus”;

b)     A couple of you have wondered if it would be better to push pause on these matters and “wait until we are through COVID”. Two responses: First the Church will be stronger, as we determine to respond Biblically to these matters. The Church is not strong now, we learned some things about ourselves during COVID didn’t we? For instance, we do not argue well: we actually have sisters and brothers quitting church families over non-Gospel issues like US politics and vaccinations! According to Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, ¼ of those who attended Sunday morning service prior to COVID, will not be returning (ever!). We are not strong, however, PRAYER and engaging in these “hot button topics” will force us to re-centre ourselves on the Gospel.

Secondly, it seems to me that the Church has been waiting for a “better” day for too many years. In his letters from a Birmingham jail, Martin Luther King Jr. actually confronts the “white evangelicals” for waiting. Read it here. Waiting is not an option;



c)     Engaging was our only option as Jesus-followers. Furthermore, we didn’t chase after any of these “matters”, they are chasing us, challenging us, demanding that we respond…

Four years ago, when I started into this new adventure as Bishop, I inherited a 3-year old discussion. In the 2014 General Conference Rev. Dale Harris challenged FMCiC to consider our relationship with the LGBTQ2S+ community. I also heard from you pastors, and members who have loved ones who have “come out”. I have loved ones, young people from churches I have served, “come out”. These pastors, members, and young people were asking me how FMCiC was going to respond. Pastors, for instance, felt very alone in this and hoped that their FMCiC family would help.

The LGBTQ2S+ Committee has been asked to LISTEN first! They are asking you pastors, leaders, and members to prayerfully discuss questions, reservations, concerns, hopes that you may have related to the FMCiC and our relationship with the LGBTQ2S+ community. As Methodists we place a high value on Christian discussion, even difficult conversation. Your feedback is already shaping how the committee moves forward.

And then Mr. Floyd was murdered. I became aware of issues that, sadly, I confess, I was not completely cognizant of – even within FMCiC. It seemed that I was waking up along with so many of us across the country to the voice of oppressed people, and to my part in the inequity. We, the FMCiC had to start our Racial Justice & Ethnic Equity Task Force in order to help us navigate healing and one-ness as the Body of Christ; and of course, help us to become People of Peace. We obviously could not wait until “after COVID”.

And then, remains of children were found in Kamloops at a former residential school. More shock and tears, and more waking up. More essential steps that FMCiC will need to take to be in step with Holy Spirit, because aren’t we called to be People of Peace?

COVID was no respecter of these matters, and showed no concern about our shared global pandemic fatigue.

I didn’t choose to have these conversations in a pandemic; I did, however, choose not to ignore them, and chose to lead into them. Your Board of Administration and your National Leadership Team obviously believe that navigating these waters will lead us to become the Church that Christ would have us be: Christ-centeredlovingcourageous, one, creative, evangelistic, healing, a people of peace. Therefore, just in case you are wondering why we have not taken our foot off the hot-button-gas-pedal during a pandemic, these are our reasons. I am deeply grateful for you, the FMCiC, a people who is choosing to have difficult conversations, prayerfully and anchored in Scripture, even in this pandemic season.

I pray this into FMCiC:

“May God Himself, the God of Peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

May God Himself, the God of Peace (who calls you and I into a Covenant of Peace, into the Gospel of Peace, through the Prince of Peace, so that we should be a People of Peace), sanctify you through and through (sanctify your pasts, your ideas, your goals, your gifts, your imaginations). May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you (to be His people, to be a People of Peace) is faithful, and He will do it (will empower you, will make happen what He calls us to do, will give us strength to follow through)! Amen.


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 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

Harrowsmith, ON – Harrowsmith FMC
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)

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