Rules of [Email] Engagement
Over the next 3 years we will be discussing controversial topics – we, as Church, have to be addressing these very important issues. Do you remember when the hot, and even divisive topics of debate within Churches were the use of drums (someone once gave me a book on satan and his insidious plan to infiltrate Church with drums), contemporary worship, Sunday sports, versions of the Bible and cancellation of Sunday evening services? These were issues that our neighbours did not care about one bit, in fact they would not have understood why were squabbling about most of these. However, the discussions we will begin to tackle as a Church in the next few years, are life issues that our neighbours, and members of our Church family care very deeply about, therefore, so should we. I am hoping that we have learned something about conversing well from these past Church-battles, and each of these past Church battles have prepared us for this new season. I hope.
Racial justice, ethnic equity, and LGBT+ are now at the Free Methodist Church ‘table’ – the Jesus-table. He is Head of the Church, and we His sons and daughters will have these profoundly significant conversations with Him, and with each other at His table. The question is how? Let me offer some rules of engagement in public forums:
- We love Jesus. Assume that your brothers and sisters in Christ engaged in these FMCiC discussions love Jesus. Can you think about why this is an important assumption for you to have at the Jesus-table?
- We love others. Sometimes polarized groups accuse each other of not loving others. I am
suggesting that we should assume that we (those at the FMCiC table) all love people, and we love each other. The questions will be how to be Jesus-welcoming, and what does that look like within our community of faith?
- We will become excellent listeners & questioners. I am a trained listener (as a psychotherapist) but I still fall short of excellence as a listener. Pastors learn, practice and teach listening. One key ingredient to listening is asking questions. Questions to clarify, questions to challenge. For instance, I could read something you wrote or hear something you said, and conclude that you are accusing me of _______ (you fill in the blank). I could immediately respond with a well-crafted defense, which you would receive and we would be in an unhelpful argument. Better, I could respond by asking you first, “did you mean to accuse me of _________ in your words?” I am learning that the majority of the time clarification is all that is needed to make the discussion helpful and productive.
- Humility and truth are not at odds with each other (this may be the most important principle)! In fact, I can better receive truth and speak truth from a place of humility. Do you have a Biblical working definition of humility? Leaders, are you confident that your local church family has a working definition of humility? Pastors take a month and do a series on the calling and gift of humility.
- If in doubt, then do not write it! I am not saying trust your heart, as much as I am saying that if you are praying and you have a check in your spirit about sending words out publicly about a controversial topic, then don’t send it publicly. Actually, allow me to say this another way: if you are thinking of sending something out publicly I pray that you have a check in your spirit! Read, re-read and if you are unsure at all, then ask a friend to review first. A helpful rule is to sleep on it and if it is still as important in the morning then send.
We have provided you with all the contacts of the task forces, you have my contact, as well the other National Leadership Team members, you have a Regional Coach and a Network Leader, all who could help you find answers. People of peace are people who are learning to be very careful with their words.
Are we so fragile that we have to tread so carefully into conversations? Yes! Perhaps it is because you are not as good a writer as you think! Perhaps, you do not know that the problem you are addressing hits me very personally, and for you it is only academic. You and I both know churches split over words and ego. So yes, please assume fragility in the public forums. The final word belongs to the Bible: “A gentle answer turns away wrath”
WHAT’S NEW THIS WEEK
Nothing at this time but stay tuned!
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
None this week.
Wilder Boutin – date and time TBA – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC
Leonard Bruce – date, time and location TBA
Jessica Isaak – date and time TBA – Hampton FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Blake Found – date and time TBA – Uxbridge FMC, Uxbridge, ON
Erika Mills – July 25, 2021, time TBA – Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON
Benjamin Platz – Date and Time TBA – Next Church, Kingston, ON
Douglas Smith – August 1, 2021 at 1:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON
Alyson Lauber – Date and time TBA – Lakeview FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Nathaniel Prakash – Date and time TBA – Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC
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:
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA*
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA*
- May 7 to June 25 – hybrid online/livestream course – “John Wesley’s Theology” [THEO 0629H] at Tyndale University with instructor Rev. Dr. James Pedlar: https://www.tyndale.ca/seminary/summer/courses/theo-0629h
- through FMC-USA as a 7-week intensive online course with several start dates: 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! )
2021 APPLICATIONS http://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
October 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the summer/or fall semesters of 2021. The 2021 application forms and instructions are now available 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
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON [Interim Pastor-Neale Robb]
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, 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 available 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
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Frankford Community Church, Frankford, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON (Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
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)
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)