One of my favourite things about this job is the opportunity to be with Church family across Canada and beyond. It’s a fantastic, and spiritual experience to meet a new friend who is also a believer. Often, we feel connected right away, a mysterious siblingship in Christ.
In the past 10 days I have been with Church family in Manitoba and Alberta. I met with delegates, boards and pastors. For instance, I met with Pastor Bryce and Kate (and their two beautiful little girls). Their Church plant meets in their basement – 35 people! They worship together, eat together, and spend much of Sunday together playing (soccer or games in the park). Loved hearing about this growing work in Calgary.
This past Sunday I was with our West Springs FM Church in Calgary. So good to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. It was “powerful” worship, and I was excited to hear (and meet) some West Springers praying about a Church plant.
“Powerful” is a word that Karlene and I have been discussing for a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks ago, a terrible and destructive storm ripped through Ontario on a Saturday. On the Sunday morning, there was no electricity, and trees and hydro lines were down, making many main roads impassable. The service would need to be canceled, and it was Karlene’s job to help get the word out. The first iteration of the cancelation announcement read, “Service is canceled, the Church has no power!” Immediately she saw these words and they jumped off the screen. Not only did she not want to send that message, she was devastated reading the double meaning. She quickly reworked it to read, “the Church building has no electricity.” This has started an important discussion with leaders in her Church about the power of God.
Karlene and I discussed the question of “power” and the Church in Canada. Is the Canadian Church “powerful”? For starters, what is the Biblical meaning or definition of the “power of God”? I won’t give you the full answer, as it really does deserve your prayerful Bible study, but let me start you out. Power in the Bible is connected to His presence (where He is making Himself known, there is power), and His power is transformative. With this as a working definition (which requires more working!), we can begin to ask, “does my local Church reflect / represent God’s presence, and therefore, His transformative life-giving work in people’s lives?” And “is this God-sized transformation, or is it simply what nice, loving motivated people could do anyway without God?”
Does Canada need a “powerful Church”? Well, I believe that Canada needs a PEACEFUL-PEACE-BRINGING Church, and then, I believe that God will entrust this PEOPLE OF PEACE with His power. Conversely, I do not believe that He will entrust an entitled, conflicted, polarized, unforgiving, gossipy, proud, stuck, disobedient, apathetic, grumpy Church with His Name (His power). I didn’t just say that the Church in Canada is all these bad things, but I would suggest that Churches are probably polluted by one or more of these negative things. Any one of these could cause God to be hesitant about entrusting that local Church with an outpouring of His power.
It is the responsibility of each local Church to ask, about God’s power in their Church life; and to ask how their local Church should begin to shift or posture themselves in order to be entrusted by God as stewards of His power!
Are you familiar with the Intergenerational Ministry Task Force?
The purpose of this task force is to investigate the current understanding of this ethos as it is being experienced at the local church level throughout the Free Methodist Church in Canada, before continuing to recommend next steps in resourcing congregations to embrace the role of the whole church family in empowering children, youth, and young adults for mission. The task force seeks to both evaluate present practices and envision what a greater emphasis on age-inclusivity could mean for the future of our movement.
The task force has recently created a Facebook page. They hope it will be a place where conversations around intergenerational ministry can take place and ideas and resources can be exchanged.
Please LIKE their page to join in the conversation:
Rev. Erika Mills – Released for Service Beyond the Denomination: Director of Spiritual Care and Mission Effectiveness, Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home, Regina, SK, effective August 1
Rev. Jason Mills – Released for Service Beyond the Denomination: Assistant Professor and Dean of the Seminary, Briercrest College and Seminary, Caronport, SK, effective August 1
June 12 at 2:00 pm – Erika Mills – Blue Mountain FMC, Thornbury, ON
June 26 at 2:00 pm – Benjamin Platz – Next Church, Kingston, ON
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES http://www.fmcic.ca/
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 4-6, 2022, – location TBA*
November 4-6, 2022, – location TBA*
- Tyndale University: https://www.tyndale.ca/seminary/course/theo-0629
- FMC-USA http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/
- as a 7-week intensive online course: Wesleyan Theology [#74W] Dr. Robert Vaughan – start dates: June 7, Jul 26, Sep 13, Nov 1
- as a correspondence course (8 months to complete): Wesleyan Theology (#74C), Dr. Allen Wachter
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!)
2022 SCHOLARSHIPS http://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
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 deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the summer and/or fall semesters of 2022. The 2022 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above. Please use the application forms marked “rev 2022.”
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 2022 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/
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.
You can now send a report online anytime you have hours to submit for CEUs. Here is the link: https://fmcic.wufoo.com/forms/continuing-education-unit-ceu-report-form/
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.
For those who took courses and/or did in-depth research and learning about how to make the changes required during the pandemic (ie how to live-stream services), add the number of those hours to your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Hamilton, ON – Rymal Road Community Church
Harrowsmith, ON – Harrowsmith FMC
Hilton Beach, ON – St. Joseph Island FMC
New Westminster, BC – First FMC
Oshawa, ON – The Corner Church (Free Methodist / Church of the Nazarene)
Saskatoon, SK – Lakeview FMC
Thornbury, ON – Blue Mountain Community Church
Warkworth, ON – Warkworth FMC
Church Profiles available
Contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] (deadline to apply in brackets)
Sarnia, ON – New Horizons Community Church [June 21]
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.
Bracebridge, ON – New Hope FMC
Campbellford, ON – Campbellford FMC
Cloyne, ON – Pineview FMC
Dunnville, ON – Dunnville FMC
Frankford, ON – Frankford Community Church
Richmond Hill, ON – Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)