Cliffs Notes: June 20, 2023

I mentioned the “rage index” last week, this week I wonder about what replaces a grumpy culture? If the Spirit washes us clean, heals, guides, strengthens us to forgive, creates in us a new heart, then what does that look like lived out? Encouragement is an outcome of moving from being angry. Where anger can tear down your own soul, or another, Biblical encouragement is about building up another person.
The Greek word for “encourage” is “parakaleo”. It is used in the New Testament to describe not only giving comfort to someone, but it also involves exhortation, urging, strengthening, and even appealing.
Last week I officiated at Rev. David Dyer’s funeral. I heard that word used quite a bit. David was not only a kind, prayerful servant with a pastor’s heart, in his retirement he and Charlotte began to come alongside pastors, in order to encourage us. I benefited from his and Charlotte’s ministry. He called me, wrote me a letter, emailed and I know that he and Charlotte prayed for me daily. I enjoyed visiting with him, because I knew that I would feel encouraged. It means something for a pastor to have an older pastor remind her that he is in her corner! That he has some sense of her sacrifice or frustration or joy, and that he thinks that she is doing well. I heard last week that there are dozens of pastors who were encouraged by David in this same way.
Encouragement must come from a heart encouraged by God. He models it in you first. We need only receive His encouragement. God encourages us through His word. He reminds us of who we are in His word. His encouragement makes me stronger, braver, and motivated to encourage others.
He encourages me with His presence. Romans 8:16 describes how His Spirit “testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (also read this passage in the Message version!).  
He encourages me through His church. I can tell you story after story of church family encouraging me in the most significant ways. Oh, that you would pray to be an encourager.
Encouragement requires attentiveness to others. We fail to encourage as a culture because we don’t really know our neighbours, or church families. We know them enough to greet warmly, and joke around, but not enough to encourage each other about the significant work God is doing in our lives, the deep concerns that we might have, the gifts God is developing in our lives, the promises He has given us which are yet to happen. I mean to say, that the most significant encouragement I receive is from individuals who have paid attention to something they see in me, and they affirm it. When I think of encouraging people, I think that they have made a special and prayerful effort to really see something in someone, and name it. They are specific in their words of encouragement, and they focus on significant areas. For instance, thank you for noticing my new shoes, but that is not encouragement – it’s nice, but not necessarily Biblical encouragement. Encouragement zooms in on important things God is doing in you and through you. It is the building up of another’s soul!
To be clear, encouragement is not limited to words. I was encouraged by an elder from Arlington Woods, when I was 19 years old. It was late at night and he showed up at my house with an old Greek Lexicon. He handed me the book and said that one day I would need it! What does a doctor need a lexicon for? I was not in pastor-school at the time.
Godly encouragers encourage us towards God, they frame their encouragement in the context of that person’s calling, or Holy personhood. It is an affirmation of God’s love, and calling on your life, and a recognition of the gifts and graces He has given you in order for you to fully enjoy your journey with God. I had someone try to “encourage” me once, by telling me, as a young pastor, how poor a sermon I had just given. I assure you that this was not Biblical encouragement. Encouragement builds up, and does not tear down. It gives and does not expect a thank you. It helps the other feel confident, stronger, motivated in Christ.
Encouragement makes us a stronger church family. Oh, to be a movement known as encouragers.
Challenge: this summer prayerfully find several people to encourage.

Ottawa Regional Gathering at Arlington Woods FMC – June 14, 2023

Rev. Bruce Kellar – Ordained Minister (In Transition) – status change to retirement, effective June 15

None scheduled

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:
Date and location TBA*

Wesleyan Theology:
November 3-5, 2023 – location TBA*

Also available:

    • Self-paced, up to 8 months to complete
    • 16-week intensive version, select Instructor Vaughan (session start dates: June 26, Aug. 21, Oct. 16)
  • Central Christian College online, 6 weeks, asynchronous  deadline to apply: Sept 18 (start dates Oct 2 and Nov 12)
  • Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan University

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 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!)



[PLEASE NOTE:  The FMCiC preference for LSP is for students to attend one of the approved schools on this list. However, if you decide to apply to a non-approved school, you must first send a request to the Credentialing Coordinator to determine whether the committee will approve funding for you to study at a non-approved school. Along with your request, please include a written explanation as to why you are choosing to study at a non-approved institution. It is strongly recommended that you do this before paying tuition, and well in advance of the LSP deadline. The Credentialing Coordinator, along with the LSP committee, will consider each request individually and according to LSP policy.]

The Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) provides financial assistance to candidates who are studying to meet the educational requirements for credentialed ministry, or for members of conference pursuing continuing education.

October 15 is the next deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the spring, summer and/or fall semesters of 2023. The 2023 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above.  Please use the application forms marked “rev 2023.”

The Special Scholarships provide financial assistance to those who are members of a Free Methodist church pursuing post-secondary education to grow in their Christian faith, to those who are pursuing credentialed ministry, and to members of conference pursuing continuing education.

October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during the 2023 calendar year – apply online anytime from the link above.  Special Scholarships are awarded in late November/early December each year.

Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report hours acquired during each year for Continuing Education Units (CEUs).  Check the link above for information on CEUs, and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.

Send a report online anytime you have hours to submit for CEUs:

Note:  For those who attend the fall Minister’s Conferences or the spring Regional Gatherings, attendance is now taken at these events so 6 hours of CEU credit for each event will automatically be recorded.


Bracebridge, ON – New Hope FM Church
Brampton, ON – Bramalea FM Church
Hilton Beach, ON – St. Joseph Island FM Church
Kingston, ON – Polson Park FM Church
Sault Ste Marie, ON – Hillside FM Church

Church Profiles Available
Contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] (deadline to apply in brackets)

Madoc, ON – Madoc Free Methodist/Wesleyan Church (full-time) [July 25]
Salmon Arm, BC – Lakeside Community Church (full-time) [July 25]

Preparing Profiles
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.

Brantford, ON – The Open Door Church
Campbellford, ON – Campbellford FM Church (Rev. Leonard Bruce – Interim Pastor)
Cloyne, ON – Pineview FM Church
Dunnville, ON – Dunnville FM Church
Frankford, ON – Frankford Community Church
Godfrey, ON – Cole Lake FM Church
Kingston, ON – Kingscourt FM Church

Marmora, ON – Marmora FM Church (Pastor Keith Deyo – Interim Pastor) 

Mississauga, ON – Grace Methodist Church
Nepean, ON – Arlington Woods FM Church (Rev. Mike Hogeboom retiring May 31/24) 
Orillia, ON – Church on the Hill (Pastor Velma Shewfelt – Interim Pastor)

Richmond Hill, ON – Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Seeley’s Bay, ON – Pine Grove Community Church
Sombra, ON – Zion FM Church (Rev. Terry Clyne retiring Aug 31/23)

Tillsonburg, ON – Open Arms Church
Wallaceburg, ON – Charlemont FM Church
Warkworth, ON – Warkworth FM Church


Associate Pastor of Worship Ministry – Northview Community Church