“Entertaining says, “here I am!” Hospitality says, “there you are”.
My baby sister has the gift of hospitality. She and my brother-in-law love hosting events, and having guests drop in. She has the ability to make you feel like her home is yours, and that you are the most special guest to have been there. Absolutely genuine. She read the above quotation to me. It’s stuck with me. I don’t know if the author is Christian, though I am guessing that he/she is. As I sit with the idea, it seems to represent Biblical hospitality well. It implicitly connects incarnational ministry (Jesus “incarnating” or becoming embodied or becoming like us) to hospitality.
Yes, Jesus said, and says, “here I am”, and this is certainly not about “entertainment”! It’s a genuine invitation from God into a new and abundant life.
Jesus says “here I am”, because He first sees us, knows us, is aware of what we need. Before He was present with us, He knows us. The Bible says that before He formed us “in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). He sees us and then invites us to Himself, and this is the stuff of Biblical hospitality.
My little sister sees people and invites them and welcomes them in. Jesus asks, “Are you tired and heavy-laden”, as if to say, “I see you there, I know your need”. And then He says, “come and I will give you rest”, in other words, “here I am, you’re welcome here”.
When I think about church life, and the many invitations that I have sent out over the years, most were general invitations which were essentially the church saying, “here we are, come for a visit”. The invitations I sent out were more about marketing principles than hospitality. I mean, marketing says that if I send out 1000 invitations, by flyers or word, or if I create a great sign on a busy road, a small but significant percentage will respond. Marketing says, “if we build it, they will come” (the “Field of Dreams” approach to ministry). And frankly, many of the invitations I extended to friends, neighbours or even neighbourhoods, over the years, were to entertaining events.
It seems to me, in this new era, the better, and more Biblically hospitable approach is much more personal: “friend, I see you, you are welcome – actually, you belong.” Ironically, this simpler, Jesus-like relational approach, may feel more challenging to you, because it requires each of us “seeing” others, “finding” new friends, inviting them to experience church family, and the power of God alive in our lives!
This past weekend I was invited to present at Smith Falls FM’s second annual RECHARGE event. Several of our FM churches participated. It was a full day of revisiting our calling to disciple and being spiritually fed in a variety of workshops. I love when our churches find ways to connect! Thank you, Smith Falls for gathering the Church and offering us an opportunity to recharge!
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Rev. Andrew MacKay (Ordained Minister) – released from appointment as Associate Pastor, Picton FMC, Picton, ON and transferred his membership from the conference to Picton FMC as a “Located Ordained Minister”, effective October 30
Pastor Sean Brewster – released from appointment as Associate Pastor, Northview Community Church, Regina, SK (retroactive to January 13, 2023)
April 14, 2024 at 2:00 pm ET – Pastor Yves Anthonuel, Eglise Evangelique des Mille-Iles, Laval, QC
Date and time TBA – Pastor Misa Mochinaga, Wesley Chapel Japanese Free Methodist Church, Scarborough, ON
Date and time TBA – Pastor Josiah Piett, House of Freedom Free Methodist Church Plant, Niagara Falls, ON
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:
June 7-9, 2024 – location TBA*
November 3-5 – Holt Free Methodist Church, Mount Albert, ON
- Tyndale University – https://www.tyndale.ca/seminary/wesley-studies/courses
- Free Methodist Church-USA Anytime on Pathwright (multiple instructor choices)
- Self-paced, up to 8 months to complete
- 16-week intensive version, select Instructor Vaughan
- Central Christian College online, 6 weeks, asynchronous – deadline to apply: Jan 1 (course runs Jan 9 to Feb 19)
- 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*
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!)
LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP) [APPLY TWICE PER YEAR]:
[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.
February 15 is the next deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2024. The 2024 application forms and instructions will be available later this year to download from the link above. Please use the application forms marked “rev 2024.”
SPECIAL SCHOLARSHIPS [APPLY ONCE PER YEAR]:
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 2024 calendar year – apply online anytime from the link above. Special Scholarships are awarded in late November/early December each year.
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEU’S) https://www.fmcic.ca/introduction-to-continuing-education/
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: 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.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Bracebridge, ON – New Hope FM Church
Mississauga, ON – Grace Methodist Church
Church Profiles Available
To review the church profiles that are available, please go to our website at this link: church profiles or contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office – [email protected] [deadline to apply in brackets]
Brampton, ON – Bramalea FM Church (part-time) [December 5]
Brantford, ON – The Open Door Church (full-time) [November 28]
Wallaceburg, ON – Charlemont FM Church (part-time) [November 14]
Salmon Arm, BC – Lakeside Community Church (part-time/full-time) [November 14]
Sombra, ON – Zion FM Church (full-time) [November 28]
Once these church profiles become available, they will be listed above as “Church Profiles available” and also on our website at this link: church profiles
Belleville, ON – Belleville Centennial FM Church (Rev. Rodney Peterson retiring Aug 31/24)
Campbellford, ON – Campbellford FM Church (Rev. Leonard Bruce – Interim Pastor)
Cloyne, ON – Pineview FM Church
Dryden, ON – Dryden 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)
Nepean, ON – Arlington Woods FM Church (Rev. Mike Hogeboom retiring May 31/24)
Newmarket, ON – New Hope Methodist Church (Rev. Terry Gibson retiring Aug 31/24)
Orillia, ON – Church on the Hill (Pastor Velma Shewfelt – Interim Pastor)
Richmond Hill, ON – Richmond Hill FM Church (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Seeley’s Bay, ON – Pine Grove Community Church
Tillsonburg, ON – Open Arms Church