CliffsNotes – March 17, 2020

Canceled Sundays, General Conference and Kingdom Work in a Ghost-town!

Many of you had to cancel Sunday morning service. I see that several of you live-streamed your service. Praise God for that type of technology. The question that I find myself asking is one that a dear friend asked me, “if the Sunday morning service is shut down for the next 2 months, what would be the outcomes?” Would we be healthier at the end or would it be a very bad thing? What would happen to the sense of community? What would happen to those who are currently on the “edge” of the community, would we lose them? Would they lose the habit of meeting together on a Sunday? Habits are broken and new ones creep in. Am I suggesting that church is a habit? No, I am suggesting that routines, like getting up at certain times on Sundays can be the stuff of habit.

Is Sunday morning our best method of forming community? What about our finances – would they stay consistent, or would people rationalize away, not giving? Is church so fragile in Canada that losing one hour a week for corporate worship, devastate us? Or would it simply devastate how we do church? Is this a window to prayerfully re-imagine how we currently do church?

A word about General Conference. We are still 2 months away which makes this decision a little tricky because you are anxious to purchase flights and make plans as soon as possible. The General Conference Planning Committee is meeting next Monday to draft up a plan that we will present to the BOA . That is when we will make a final decision about going-ahead or postponing and I will have information for you by the end of this week!

Vennachar Ontario is officially a “ghost-town”, yet our FM church is serious and committed to “accepting responsibility for their community”. Ask Pastor Laurie about the miracles connected to their brand-new building. I’ve briefly mentioned their archery initiative to you, but recently I received this note from Pastor Laurie:

Tonight was another adult archery……amazing response from community. More than half were neighbours. This year’s outreach events are a result of restructuring our leadership team meeting. Instead of studying 6 months of calendars and slotting in activities, our leaders had an evening of prayer followed by a sharing time of how we felt God was leading in the use of our new facilities.

 In addition to our original archery range setup, an archery teacher passed away and his wife has contacted our church to see if we would like a donation of over $1000 of arrows and bows…. she wants his supplies to go to an archery program that children are involved in and she heard about us.

I am feeling blessed to make connections with new families…this week families that joined us for our outreach pancake supper and archery programs now plan to come to family night suppers where parents can participate in a four-week study on “3:16 words of hope” and children enjoy Kids Club activities.

I have been praying about and struggling with “how can outreach ever pay for itself ” ;  but really we should not be asking how much outreach will cost…but rather …who will it reach. Maybe on our budget sheets “outreach” should go in the investment column, not an expense.



Church Health Thursdays – Talk With, Not About:
News & Stories Blog – Arlington Woods 1.5 Years Post Tornado:
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


None Scheduled


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:
Course starts October 13 (deadline to register – October 5)
Part One: Oct 13-Nov 5 – advance online engagement
Part Two: Nov 6-7 – two-day in-person class – Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON

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.)



October 15 is the deadline to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for any courses taken during the summer and/or fall semesters 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. 


Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON


Church Profiles available
Contact Davika Dotson in the  Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 416-240-7845   (deadline to apply in brackets)

Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK (March 24)


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.)

Campbellford FMC, Campbellford, ON
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC (Rev. Vern Frudd – Transition Pastor)
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON (Rev. Aaron Birtch – Transition Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)

Ministry Intern – Maple Grove Christian Retreat Centre
Youth Pastor – Malvern Methodist