CliffsNotes – December 10, 2019

Caistor Centre, ON is in between Smithville and Binbrook, north of Beamsville, about a half an hour from Dunnville. I love that we are present in Caistor Centre and Dunnville. I led Pastor Kim Henderson’s induction service yesterday. There was a whole lot of love in the room: pastor for congregation, congregation for pastor, and there was great food afterwards. I especially appreciated the board chair taking a moment to address the children to help them understand what their church family was doing. It went something like this:

Chair: hey boys and girls today is an induction service for Pastor Kim. Do you think “induction” is a good thing or bad thing?

Children: chorus of “good” with one boy saying “bad”.

Chair: this is about us officially welcoming Pastor Kim as OUR pastor…

I’ve noticed in my visits that many of you take time to explain to guests and children what you are doing next in the service. Thank you for that! My hunch is that taking time to explain elements of the service to children and guests also helps remind or reinforce meanings and truths to those of us who have been around a while in the same church. For instance, for years I introduced the communion liturgy with words like these: “Liturgy is like asking an old Godly friend to help us do communion properly, and the old Godly friend says, ‘well, start by remembering to address God this way… and don’t forget to say sorry… and remember that it means this…” (I believe that former Bishop Walsh taught me this).

What are the benefits of taking time to explain or remind the congregation of different elements of your service? Who benefits in your opinion? The pastor or worship leader by having to explain regularly what communion is about, or why we take up a collection, or why we sing worship songs, and so forth, is forced to take a ‘walk around’ the service and explore all the many brilliant and beautiful aspects of worship and Body. One year I served communion every Sunday pre-service from September to Advent. I chose to do it a different way each time (nails in bread, broken bottle of wine, connecting it to Christmas, liturgy, quiet, etc.). It stretched me theologically and creatively. It was a rich experience.

Sometimes, we can become too familiar to our Sunday morning times. We miss the outdated décor, we don’t notice little piles of old books or boxes in the corner. We don’t even see the rip in the couch in the foyer. Question: Is our worship space décor, art, furniture, clutter-less-ness important? To whom or why? Take a walk around your space this week as leaders…

We speak Christianese and forget that not everyone knows the meaning of our words “call to worship”, worship, benediction, tithes and offerings, testimony, INDUCTION, and many other terms we use. Not everyone in the room knows when to stand, and when to sit. Paying attention to our space on a Sunday morning and the language we us is very important. Paying attention to space and taking time to explain or remind, helps those of us who are familiar to see things in a fresh way, and helps guests feel included (and less distracted), and helps our children learn.


Church Health Thursdays – Are You a Light in The World?:
News & Stories Blog – Tell Your Stories:
the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out:
New Leaf Network: The 2019 New Leaf Advent Reader – :


None this week


Rev. Todd Stelmach (Kingston, ON) – ordination service on February 2nd at 4 pm at Rustle Free Methodist Church, Kingston


Register online through the link above

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 5-7, 2020 – Ontario location TBA*
November 6-8, 2020 –  Western Canada location TBA*

Wesleyan Theology:

June 5-7, 2020 – location TBA*
November 6-8, 2020 –   location TBA*

(also available online through FMC-USA:

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:
Ontario course date and location TBA*

Personal and Church Stewardship:
5-week online course (FRENCH) – start date – TBA
6-week online course (ENGLISH) – June 1, 2020

(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!  Note:  Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course.  Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)



(Note:  The Leadership Scholarship Plan and Special Scholarships are now closed for 2019.)

February 15 is the deadline to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2020. The 2020 application forms and instructions  will soon be available to download from the link above.

October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during 2020 – apply online from the link above.



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, add 6 hours of CEU credit when you send in your annual CEU report. 


Athens FMC, Athens, ON
Crossroads FMC, Salmon Arm, BC
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON


Church Profiles available
Contact Susan DePlanché  in the  Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 289-228-1225 (deadline to apply in brackets)

Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK (December 10)


Preparing Profiles

(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan in the Leadership Development Office [[email protected] or 289-228-1225] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)

Campbellford FMC, Campbellford, ON
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Eyebrow FMC, Eyebrow, SK
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON (Rev. Aaron Birtch – Transition Pastor)

Executive Director – Wesley Acres Christian Retreat Centre
Executive Director – Arlington Beach Camp and Conference Centre
Youth Pastor – Malvern Methodist