“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
This is attributed to Augustine, and I hope that it is true for FMCIC. The fascinating cultural phenomenon is that “essentials” are debatable. Another old adage, this time from a US politician, “you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” Unfortunately, today everyone seems to have access and feel entitled to their own facts. This ambiguity of truth has infiltrated the Church. Polarization within the Church is alarming, and disheartening. Christians in Canada are arguing about climate change, racism, LGBT+, and even US politics.
I find myself wondering what peace looks like within the Church, so that we the Church can be peace-bringers. First, what are the essentials, and equally important, what are the non-essentials?
Is the Apostle’s Creed essential enough? Does the Creed say enough? Interesting question isn’t it? It does not mention that in Christ we are one regardless of race or gender. Is the question of women in ministry, which is very important to FMCIC, considered a non-essential? We could create a list of what is not explicitly mentioned in the Creed but are considered essential core values to churches.
What about the 5 “solas”? Would they be essential enough? The Five Solas are:
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
- Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
Not bad eh?! But again, what about Church and mission? What about the essential FREEDOMS that FMCIC value? Or the Gospel Coalition’s list? Or the Pentecostal essential list? Again, not essential enough.
Before Augustine wrote this sentiment, Jesus prayed it in John 17, that we “may be one as We (Trinity) are One.” The question then is what does Oneness entail? In this passage it is belief and relationship. Can I be one (or in holy relationship) with someone who does not support women in leadership? Can I be one (or in holy relationship) with someone who believes that tongues are the initial evidence of the indwelling presence of the Spirit? Can I be one with someone who ______? There is a line for sure, but being generous with my gift of friendship is a different “line” than only a doctrinal line. Jesus was and continues to be generous with the gift of Himself in relationship. He was hospitable and this often led to oneness. He ate with sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes. He did not compromise who He was or what He believed. He was not immediately one with these individuals (though He was hospitable), but as soon as they believed in Him, He was. As soon as we believe we are one with Jesus, but we are also in process – we are holy and we become holy. Unity therefore is both an event and a process.
My dear friends, we are about to enter a season where we will be asking these questions about oneness, or unity as a Church. We are all having to ask what this all means, and Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 4 that we may well be “perplexed, but not despair”. We need not despair because none of this is a surprise to Jesus. He will help us navigate through. I am suggesting that you lean into these two Biblical experiences like you never have before: hospitality – oneness, AND prayer.
In essentials unity (perhaps “essentials” includes generous friendship and not just doctrine, and unity is a process), in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.
Church Health Thursdays – Like You: https://www.fmcic.ca/like-you/
News & Stories Blog – The Job of a Prison Chaplain – https://www.fmcic.ca/the-work-of-a-prison-chaplain/
New Leaf Learning Centre: Raising Disciples in a Pandemic – https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/events/raising-disciples-in-a-pandemic/
FM VIDEOS: https://www.fmcic.ca/category/fm-video-blog/
SCOD: Topics Worth Thinking About – https://www.fmcic.ca/topics-worth-thinking-about/
Rev. Wilder Boutin – Pastor at Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC – approved as an Ordained Minister, effective October 9.
Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church, Harrowsmith, ON – in transition, effective November 30
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON – in transition, effective October 15
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Leonard Bruce – April 25, 2021, Warkworth FM Church, Warkworth, ON
Douglas Smith – May 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON
Wilder Boutin – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC – date and time TBA.
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES http://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:
November 6-8, 2020 – in-person course cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.
*NEW* – 6-week course via Zoom starting Thursday, January 21, 7:30-9:30 pm EST
Date and 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:
Date and location TBA*
Personal and Church Stewardship:
5-week online course – Start Date TBA*
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early! )
2020 APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
2021 APPLICATIONS http://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
February 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2021. The 2021 application forms and instructions will be available soon to download from the link above. Please use the application forms marked “rev 2021.”
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during the 2021 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.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, 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 (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Harrowsmith FM Church, Harrowsmith, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON (Rev. Gary Denniss-Interim Pastor)
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON (Rev. Alan Adams-Interim Pastor, effective Nov 1)
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)