‘And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching’. Hebrews 10:24-25
I’ve heard this verse quoted in arguments about regathering on Sunday mornings. I heard one person say something to the effect, “Meeting on Sunday is a command, and regardless of what government says, we have to regather.” Interestingly, the Hebrews passage does not say “let us not neglect meeting together on Sundays”! The person’s comment above is another example of us fitting Christ into our methods and schedules. His ways are so much bigger than our ways. Am I suggesting that we stop meeting Sundays, or that our one hour on Sunday is not important? No. Sunday mornings continue to be the most convenient and accessible corporate meeting time in a week. My point is that Biblically speaking, we are not limited to Sundays to be able to “spur one another on”, and “encourage one another”. In fact, the verb tense of “consider” here is to repeatedly, in an ongoing fashion, spur one another forward, not just on Sundays. Notice that the Hebrews passage is not prescriptive: “here’s how to meet, when to meet, and what to do”; rather, it says to meet and here are the desired outcomes (love and good deeds, encouragement). Online service has been a way to meet in this season.
Thank you to all who helped make an online presence happen in your local church. Thank you to those who found other ways to connect during this COVID season. Most of our churches have decided to continue an online presence with the live service, and again thank you for this extra effort. My question is what is missing and what are some possible solutions?
Corporate worship is missing. I once watched a movie called “China Cry”. It is a true story about the church in China. A woman became a believer and was imprisoned for her faith (she miraculously survived a firing squad). There is a scene where the woman is invited to attend a worship service. As it was illegal to meet for worship, the group met in someone’s courtyard, and the worship leader led the small congregation in a hymn, in which they raised their arms to and mouthed the words. They weren’t mouthing the words because they were not engaged, but because they weren’t allowed to sing out loud. It is a beautiful scene. I am not prescribing mouthing words (though it’s not a terrible alternative). I am reminding you that the Church in persecuted countries has had to learn and re-learn how to adapt and be flexible in order to worship and do evangelism. We must learn from our brothers and sisters how to be responsive to our current realities. We are not under persecution, but we are under restrictions (not just Christians but everyone). I miss corporate worship singing, but I am prepared to ask God for a “new song” that He has created for this season. A new song that I can sing with a mask, socially distanced, online and in person, without actually singing.
Corporate prayer is missing. We are spoiled with our freedom to be together openly and pray with one another. We enjoy the freedom to be at a prayer rail and have our church family come around us. I miss prayer times like these. I miss using anointing oil, and church family to pray with someone. These are rich, powerful, intimate times. Intercessory prayer has increased online, as more of us are able to attend prayer meetings. The missing prayer opportunity is the listening to God together prayer times, or healing ministry prayer times. How will your church adapt to our current reality? How will we “lay hands” for prayer in a season like this?
Let us not neglect meeting together, because we need to be together. Let us prayerfully adapt and be creative (which is a Godly value) in order to spur one another on in love and good deeds, and encourage one another.
Church Health Thursdays – The Act of Noticing: https://www.fmcic.ca/the-act-of-noticing/
News & Stories Blog – St. Joseph Island’s FMC Building Reopens – https://www.fmcic.ca/st-joseph-island-fmcs-building-reopens/
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 Network: The 2019 New Leaf Advent Reader – : https://www.newleafnetwindork.ca/podcast/
FM VIDEOS: https://www.fmcic.ca/category/fm-video-blog/
Get The Scoop Video: https://www.fmcic.ca/august-26-2020-get-the-scoop-with-harold-gonyou/
Here’s some exciting news! The directory of Pastor Retreat Locations is now being maintained by the Education & Clergy Department of The Wesleyan Church.
This site about 10 years ago as a collection of free and low-cost retreats and vacations for pastors. Over the years, these pages have been used by tens of thousands of visitors seeking a respite from pastoral ministry.
The site now contains more than 200 facilities in 38 U.S. states and 9 other countries.
None at this time
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Leonard Bruce – October 25, 2020 at 11:00 am, Warkworth FM Church, Warkworth, ON
Douglas Smith – October 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
Register online through the link above
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 – location TBA*
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:
Course starts October 13 (deadline to register – October 5)
Part One: Oct 13-Nov 5 – advance online engagement
Part Two: Nov 6-7 – two-day in-person class – Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON
Personal and Church Stewardship: (NOTE: TUITION WAIVED FOR THIS ONLINE COURSE)
5-week online course (ENGLISH) – October 5, 2020
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early! Note: Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course. Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)
2020 SCHOLARSHIPS https://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for any courses taken during the summer and/or fall semesters of 2020. The 2020 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during 2020 – apply online from the link above.
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
None at this time
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)
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON (Sept 29)
(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
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)
Angelic Treasures Christian Daycare Newmarket – SUPERVISOR
Associate Pastor: Youth, Young Adults & Social Media – Barrie Free Methodist Church