CliffsNotes – March 24, 2020

National Prayer Time on the 28th & Lessons from a Tornado

Let me start with a thank you to our churches who are finding ways to meet needs in your community. Practical needs like groceries, toilet paper, prayer and counselling support – I was reminded that homes that already experience abuse, will be especially dangerous places in this season of self-isolation – I’m not sure what we can do, but please pray for an idea. Thank you for working (some of you ‘learning’) technology to be able to still worship, pray and learn together on Sundays. One of our churches is meeting every night by Zoom for prayer! That’s beautiful. I watched several of your services yesterday – I was very ‘churched’ by the end of the day! Next week Pastor Joe in Saskatoon is going to address children and their questions around this crisis. Pastor Jennifer in Barrie ended by challenging her congregation to build a house fort and send in the pictures to their Facebook page (which Karlene and I did). This week the General Conference Planning Committee is meeting in order to regroup. This weekend the BOA is meeting by Zoom (we’re getting good at this actually as we’ve had lots of practice these past 3 years). I will keep you posted.

This coming Saturday night I’d like to invite you to participate in a worship & prayer time for FMCIC and Canada. I will send out the link this week. We are planning the event to be from 7:30-8:30 PM Saturday. Again, I will send out more info this week.

Last year a tornado touched down in Ottawa. Arlington Woods was actually on the storm’s path, and lost a roof and trees. The area looked like a war zone with trees down, and houses levelled. People were devastated. Arlington Woods church family had to deal with their problems, while at the same time minister to their community. They have ministered in significant ways, and have enjoyed God’s blessing. Media loved them. I asked Pastor Mike about lessons learned from the last crisis, because perhaps these lessons can help us in this new crisis…

After going through a tornado, you are never quite the same. There are definitely lessons learned.   As I headed into last week it hit me that we are headed into another crisis with many unknowns. Here are some things that stand out from my experience that is helping right now.   

1.  Find Help:  God impressed me to find someone within hours of the Tornado to give me the top 10 things that I should be doing.   I also formed a team of wise people for counsel to help us over a 3 week period, chosen based on their gift and skill sets.  It definitely helped to have some people who had a holy imagination. 

2.  Prayer:  Now would be a good time to pray – I mean really pray.

3.  You are the pastor:  It was made clear to me from the team that I was to be the pastor.  I was being looked to as the spiritual leader and that I was to clear as much of the other business off my plate.  It is easy to get involved in the minutia or down in the weeds.    This will be a defining moment for you and your congregation.   If you are able to be their spiritual leader and you are their for your congregation they will love you more than you could know. 

4.  Timing for Team Meetings:  This will be different for everyone but, At first we were meeting twice a day then once then every other day.   This ramped up quickly and down quickly.   Remember, this is for a time, tie a knot and hang on.

5.  Don’t project out too far.  So you don’t become overwhelmed, it is important to not to set your mind too far out into the future.  One day at a time, then two and so on.    Down the road, eventually you will see some things begin to emerge.  God did something unusual to our church and community through this experience because I believe we were given eyes to see and ears to hear his vision for us which was outside our normal way of doing things.   Friends, society will be forever changed by what we are experiencing.   The church will not be the same afterward.

6.  Its a marathon, not a sprint.  I found that after three or four weeks of managing a crisis that I was feeling depleted.   I hit a wall, not uncommon to those who are front line crisis workers.   I woke up one day after being in the battle for 3 weeks to realize that I was not in sprint, but a marathon.  It was a very tough day.  I wondered how I was going to be able to keep up.   I was not going to be managing tornado relief forever, and that my focus needed to shift.   For us, we will be going back into our buildings at some point.

7.  Support:  I found tremendous support and encouragement from congregations from our city as well as FM congregations across Canada.  Let this be a time where you reach out in support with others and let’s carry the load together, perhaps mobilize the churches in the area.

8. Make a List: write down the lessons you have learned as you will likely forget otherwise.  You will refer back to them.

Take Heart, God is doing something in His Church.


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)

Worship Coordinator – Arlington Woods FM Church
Executive Director – Wesley Acres
Ministry Intern – Maple Grove Christian Retreat Centre