Humility, grace, peace and love
Apart from all that is going on in the news, it is the intensity of the confusion, anger, judgement, hate, and gloom that are causing me to experience a cosmic sadness. I just read an intensely angry and threatening note to one of our Churches about their “involvement” in a city-wide forum last week. To be clear, the Church supports the annual discussion forum, and last week the forum featured a controversial topic. I appreciated how two of our FM pastors interacted with the event afterwards. Two differing takes on the event were presented on listserv. Both were very respectful, even loving, towards one another, though their views were different and were able to engage in a difficult discussion. Thank you, pastors, because we should be able to have these kinds of honest conversations.
As we continue to have these important, controversial conversations, I appeal to you FMCIC that the best way to learn truth is through humility, grace, peace and love. Truth lived and communicated in humility, grace, peace and love will transform lives. Truth without these is the stuff of legalism and a form of religion without power. The loving truth is that we are an already divided Church (by “Church” I mean “the Church” in Canada) in several controversial matters.
Last year I’m sure that you heard about the Baptist pastor who ‘came out’ as a woman during the Sunday morning virtual service. The most shocking outcome was discovering that this very conservative Baptist Church was divided about the pastor’s future as their pastor (49-51%)! I believe that was not only a Baptist phenomenon. I believe that evangelical Churches across Canada would be surprised to discover that the Church is already equally divided about this.
Today, however, I am simply appealing to you to pray for humility, grace, peace and love. If these Jesus-like qualities mark our truth discussions then we will be Gospel-agents in a Canada that desperately needs truth. If, however, we conform to the pattern of this world and respond with intense anger, judgement, with no desire to listen and disdain for all those who do not believe as we do, then we only further contribute to the hopelessness. Humility, grace, peace and love.
Here is the link for the FMUSA Bishops’ response to what is happening right now in their country: https://lightandlife.fm/official-statement-regarding-jan6-national-events/ . Some of you have asked me how FM is doing in the US recently. We need to continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the south.
You are part of the BODY (1 Corinthians 12)
Next month the Free Methodist Church in Canada (that’s you) will be voting one more time prior to General Conference in June. The goal of these early-sittings of General Conference is to work within the limitations of virtual meetings, yet accomplish all the business that needs to happen within our movement. One of the items will be the Nominating Committee report. This report will the list candidates who have been prayerfully screened to serve on national committees: Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), Nominating Committee, Ministry of Education Guidance and Placement (MEGaP), Board of Administration (BOA).
The Nominating Committee has the important and challenging task of finding Free Methodists who represent our ethos and are willing to serve on these committees.
While the Nominating Committee does the task of finding people for SCOD, MEGaP and BOA, we need people to serve on the Nominating Committee. I am learning that it is not that we do not have qualified Godly men and women for these roles, rather, it is that we do not have enough who are willing to invest their time into these roles.
Here is my appeal:
- Pastors, leaders and FM members please prayerfully PARTICIPATE in the nomination process right away: send the Nominating Committee names of individuals for these positions. If pastors, delegates and FM members actually participated, which is a responsibility and privilege of membership, then that would help the Nominating Committee tremendously (we need names for MEGAP, and BOA).
We also need names for Nominating Committee members: One clergy and four lay members are needed to fill the Nominating Committee slate. If you are interested or know of someone in your congregation who is interested and willing to serve in this capacity for Nominating Committee please send Kalesha Peters your recommendations: [email protected]
- Remember that you are a part of an international organization, The Free Methodist Church. There are a lot of moving parts, and we are primarily run by volunteer leaders. Nationally, we need Godly women and men to use their gifts to help us accomplish our vision, here and beyond. To be clear, we need you to prayerfully consider stepping up. Because we have more positions open than people willing, I believe that either the organization needs to be reconsidered (which we have begun to do) AND/ OR there are some disobedient FM’ers out there!
- National involvement can be a very fulfilling experience. You will meet other committed, passionate Godly people who believe in a united national and international Gospel effort. You will learn and be stretched in your faith. You will help us listen to God and be a part of shaping the vision of the Free Methodist Church.
- A final note to pastors: WE NEED YOU! Pastoral leadership is not less needed in this disorienting season of unknowing, the need is greater. Your gifts of shepherding are especially important in a time of isolation, mental health crisis, marriage troubles, financial disaster. Your compassion, ability to listen, your calling to disciple (yes even in this time) will help the Church to shine. I know that some of you are wondering about your ministry, your calling, the future of Church and especially pastoral work. Allow me to say clearly, not necessarily prophetically because the Bible already says so, that your calling as pastor will always be essential to the healthy functioning of the Church (Ephesians 4:11).
Church Health Thursdays – This Advent Season: https://www.fmcic.ca/27503/
News & Stories Blog – Double Whammy – https://www.fmcic.ca/double-whammy/
New Leaf Learning Centre: January Learning Centre Book Club- with Jamie Howison – https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/events/january2021-learning-centre-book-club
FM VIDEOS: https://www.fmcic.ca/category/fm-video-blog/
Intercultural Engagement Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IETfmcic
SCOD: Topics Worth Thinking About – https://www.fmcic.ca/topics-worth-thinking-about/
Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt – appointed as Transition Pastor at New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON, effective January 1
Rev. Leonard Bruce and the Warkworth Free Methodist Church, Warkworth, ON – in transition, effective January 15
Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church, Harrowsmith, ON – in transition, effective December 31
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Leonard Bruce – date and location TBA
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:
Jan-Feb course is full and registration is now closed
Nov 5-7, 2021 – 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:
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):
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 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
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
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON (Rev. Gary Denniss-Interim Pastor)
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)
Angelic Treasures Christian Daycare Newmarket – SUPERVISOR