We (the FMCIC – which is you, me, all of us together!) sent one of our Winnipeg pastors to the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation event in Winnipeg. One of the important benefits of being a part of a movement is we can be mobilized across Canada and the world.
I asked Dustin Schellenberg to tell us about the experience.
Dustin: I thank you for the opportunity to attend the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada –Truth and Reconciliation Committee conversation this week. The experience has touched my heart, my mind and my soul. I was able to make new friends, connect in special ways in Winnipeg and be part of a group of people that are not content to just talk about reconciliation but step into it. We spent time brainstorming ways to work together to respond to the TRC calls to action. We prayed that the Spirit would show up and guide us and he did; he moved us to tears. He moved us to a place of deep lament over our hardness of heart and lack of love towards the indigenous people of Canada. He called us to guilt, to shame and to repentance. We listened to the First Nations pastors and leaders amongst us share their pain and anguish and we stepped into it with them. He moved our spirits not just to think about what to do, but to own our responsibility for that pain, to face the fact that we can’t make people forgive us, and that all we can do is repent, not just say sorry, but truly repent and act differently.
The actions that will come out of this meeting and the meetings it spawns will be actions that bring us down into the place of sorrow with the people of our country. They will be things that draw us to the people who have suffered the loss of everything they loved: land, lifestyle, identity and their very children and lead us to suffer with them. They will be things that bind us to the people, not to fix them, but to restore our relationship with God, our relationships with each other and our relationship with the land.
The EFC has invited us to share our stories, our practices and our events with them so they can help all of us come together to support the good work being doing. There will be online resources and places to connect this in the near future. For us, as Free Methodists in Canada, I would love to see us become more vocal about how we are making relationships with the indigenous people in our communities. I’d love to hear the successes and failures so we can learn from each other and become better people in the land.
Cliff: What do you think are some ‘next steps’ for us as a denomination?
Dustin: I’ve been thinking a lot about the question of practical first steps and it’s a tough one. One of the big things will be to provide some education opportunities for people. I suspect many have not read the Indian Act or the treaties for the areas they live in. Many more won’t know the tribes that originally occupied the areas they live. If we can begin to help people learn that and engage in the history of the land it would help.
The EFC is creating a database with a bunch of info on stuff like that, a data base of indigenous leaders per province that can connect with churches and a place to begin inviting each other into events but that will take time to compile. We can share any knowledge we have with them and that would greatly help.
I believe that the pace of reconciliation must be set by the offended party or victim rather than the aggressor so to a certain extent we don’t get to decide how it goes or what to do, and there are many indigenous that don’t want to be reconciled to the church. We do need to assume a posture of humility and an openness to listen to their pain, suffering, and culture. I’m not totally sure how to demonstrate we are sorry and are listening besides saying and doing that. Darryl Dozlaw’s song is a good example of that.
It’s good to talk about the history in church, and speak honestly about our regret. What is said from the pulpit has power and authority greater than an individual so recognizing what has happened, our role in it and speaking about changing ourselves would be beneficial.
It’s probably worth the effort to do something with SCOD on indigenous spirituality and practices even from an informational level. There is a big issue with this, I think, and even the Native American Christians don’t agree on how to approach it, but the calls to action specifically talk about recognizing the value of it in light of how we made it illegal for a long time.
We will be talking more about this topic, so stay tuned. In the interim here is the Call to Action document that came out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
SAVE THE DATE – 2018 REGIONAL GATHERINGS
Church Health Thursdays -8 Good Questions to Evaluate Your Church: https://www.fmcic.ca/8-good-questions-to-evaluate-your-church/New
News & Stories Blog – Getting ‘Un-invisible’: Cornerstone FM in Prince Albert, SK: https://www.fmcic.ca/getting-un-invisible-cornerstone-fm-in-prince-albert-sk/New
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 Podcast: Learning Party Talks – Greg Paul: https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/ep-49-learning-party-talks-greg-paul/
Faith and Finances Website: http://faithandfinances.ca
LifePlan Study Team Files
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The next deadline is February 15, 2018 to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for the winter semesters of 2018. More information is available at this link:https://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
Nov 3-5, 2017 at Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON
Nov 3-5, 2017 at Lakeview FM Church, Saskatoon, SK
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
Personal and Church Stewardship
6-week online course – January 29, 2018
Culture and the Missional Church:
Next course date and location TBA
Registration is online for all courses at this link: https://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/. Those tracking for credentialed ministry should take the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology if possible.
- Dunnville Free Methodist Church, Dunnville, Ontario has gone into transition
Ordination and Commissioning
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Dryden FMC, Dryden, ON
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON
Church Profiles available
Contact Susan DePlanché in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 289-228-1225.
Rustle FMC, Kingston, ON – Leadership Development Office receiving resumes until October 17
Sault Ste Marie FMC, Sault Ste Marie, ON – Leadership Development Office receiving resumes until October 17
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan at the Leadership Development Office [[email protected] or 289-228-1225] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)
Athens FMC, Athens, ON (Angel Valentin-Transition Pastor)
Asbury FMC, Perth, ON
Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON (Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Centennial Chapel FMC, Kamloops, BC (Vern Frudd-retiring May 31, 2018)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK – (Dyan Mouland – Transition Pastor)
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON
Grapeview FMC, St. Catharines, ON (Dan Sheffield – Transition Pastor)
Madoc Free Methodist/ Wesleyan Church
Marmora FMC, Marmora, ON
Melfort FMC, Melfort, SK
Odessa FMC, Odessa, ON
Tabernacle de la Grace, Montreal QC
Thunder Bay FMC, Thunder Bay, ON (Andre Korstanje retiring July 2018)
Functioning with approved local arrangements
Avonlea FMC, Avonlea SK
Campbell’s Bay FMC, Campbell’s Bay, QC (Orville White)
Church On The Hill, Orillia ON
Cordova Mines FM Fellowship, Cordova Mines, ON
Eglise Chrétienne Méthodiste Libre de Le Gardeur, QC (Duplan Auguste Lython)
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON
Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB (Raymond Riglin)
Markham FMC, ON (K.K. Leung)
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (K.K. Leung)
Roblin FMC, Roblin, MB (Heath Butler)
Surrey FMC, Surrey BC (Nathaniel Prakash)
theStory, Sarnia, ON
Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON (Lewis Byer)
Vennachar FMC, Vennachar, ON (Laurie Lemke)
Wesley Chapel Japanese FM Church, Toronto, ON (Misa Mochinaga)
Wyevale FMC, Wyevale, ON
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON (Ken Babcock)
PASTORS IN TRANSITION