CliffsNotes – January 21, 2020

What kind of church does Canada need?

Over the next several weeks I will outline the recommendations that you and I will be discussing and voting on at General Conference 2020: Be Free! You will also be receiving a General Conference package as usual (it will be digital in our continued creation-care efforts). Most of these items will be familiar to you as we have been talking about them for the past 2 years. I have written about them in the Mosaic and my Cliff’s Notes. We brought them to you at Regional Gatherings. My goal now is for you to bring these items to your leadership teams to discuss and pray about. I would ask that you send us (Board of Administration and me) any clarifying questions prior to GC. I have asked Harold Gonyou the BOA chair to lay these out for us. Today let’s talk BOA transition from management to vision/policy…

Dr. Harold Gonyou has been chairing our Board of Administration for almost 3 years. He has been an excellent board chair: he is prepared, agendas are sent out weeks before meetings, he connects with me very regularly (very important that chair and pastor connect often), he thinks a couple of steps ahead of every item (if the item is passed, if the item requires further discussion, etc), he actively listens with feedback and questions. Harold makes every effort to have all members’ input and he is prayerful. Harold, on behalf of the BOA and FMCIC thank you!

Now, Harold, you have been very busy helping us transition from a management board to being a vision/policy board. As a board we have read through “Pursuing God’s Will Together” by Ruth Haley Barton. We have moved from sub-committees to Teams, we are recommending a smaller therefore more robust BOA, we have developed a Personnel Team, commissioned a Think Tank, and Task Forces, as well as prayerfully discerned the “page 1” of The Manual! And much more! I am personally grateful for a healthy and enthusiastic BOA. Today, Harold, tell us a little about why we have had to transition from a management style of board to a vision-policy style and what steps you have taken?

Harold: It should be remembered that the BOA had just finished a Life Plan exercise, and so some organizational changes were to be expected. My understanding is that our organizational structure had been relatively unchanged since the early nineties when management boards were the norm, and policy boards were just beginning to gain popularity. We used this past term to shift to more of a policy board structure by eliminating board committees that ‘managed’ ministry areas and replacing them with teams of persons with expertise in each area. The management committee, which must make many business and regulatory decisions, remains a board committee. In addition, reports from MEGaP continue to come to the BOA as per the Manual, through the Leadership Development division. As a result of this re-organization, the board spends more of its time in discussion of vision and policy, and less on committee work.

The board is charged with holding the NLT and Bishop accountable. We have strengthened three components of this task. At each of our board meetings we discuss the reports from the NLT which Bishop Cliff delivers to us a couple of weeks in advance. We set aside time for each ministry area, and the recommendations it puts forward. Each meeting includes a closed session for questioning the NLT and bishop, followed by an in camera session with only the board, and then feedback to Bishop Cliff. As part of this we request the Personnel Team (we’ll talk more about that later) to provide an annual performance review of the bishop, who also receives the performance reviews of the other NLT members.

We have held ourselves (BOA members) accountable as well. Early on we developed a board members’ covenant, helping us to focus on performing the role that we were elected to. We also initiated a BOA members’ evaluation process which focused on the value that we see in each other and how we can help each other better achieve their potential on the board. Through this process we have developed a greater appreciation for each member of the board.

Reorganization is an evolving process. The changes themselves take time and often involve a learning process. But we have developed a sense of comfort working with each other in the changing environment that I believe bodes well for next term’s BOA.

This past weekend Karlene and I worshiped with the North Grenville FM Church in Kemptville. It was a warm church family time, in cold wintery Ottawa area! Thank you Kemptville!



Church Health Thursdays – What Mr. Church Health Wants for Christmas:
News & Stories Blog – First Response Bags:
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 – :


Rev. John Lang – Pastor at Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON – transitioning to retirement effective August 31.


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 – at Kingsview Free Methodist Church, Etobicoke, ON
November 6-8, 2020 –  location TBA*

Wesleyan Theology:
November 6-8, 2020 –   Ontario 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) – start date – 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.)



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 are now 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
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
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)

None available at this time


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
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON
Eyebrow FMC, Eyebrow, SK
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON (Rev. Aaron Birtch – Transition Pastor)
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON

Executive Director – Wesley Acres Christian Retreat Centre
Youth Pastor – Malvern Methodist