CliffsNotes – May 18, 2021

A Job Opportunity & Challenging our Definition of Prayer

First an invitation to consider (for yourself or someone you know) the wonderful ministry opportunity of working as the Administrative Assistant to the Bishop! The Ministry Center team is a committed, competent, loving work-family. Though the incumbent will be required to be in the Ministry Center on occasion, there will be freedom to work from home. Click here for job description. Posting closes May 31.

What’s your definition of “prayer”? When I survey people (and I ask this question a lot!) the answer is generally something like, “talking with God”. I’d like to challenge that definition. In the case of the Afghan bombing, or the COVID crisis in India, or the several mass shootings in the US, “talking with God” may feel personally therapeutic, but the definition does not seem to be Biblically satisfying. I mean, “talking to God” implies that you do all the talking, telling Him all that you are feeling, and then walking away with an “Amen” – which means, “God make it happen the way I said”.

Disappointment with God usually grows out of this: God not doing things the way you told Him to. Besides that, there are a number of other ‘methods’ of prayer described in Scripture that do not necessarily involve “talking” (eg. fasting, singing, tears, abiding), which would be excluded from your definition, “talking with God”. I know that I sometimes disappoint people who pray with me, because they expect more eloquent words from me – but the truth is, my personal practice of prayer involves very few words.

Our current definition of prayer, “talking with God” is fine, but prayer is so much more. I’m not sure that short pithy definitions will help us pray into what happened in Afghanistan 2 weeks ago. Having said that let me start with prayer being “communion with God – Who is already and always eager for you to be with Him”.

By “communion” I mean your physical body, emotions, and your mind all focused, aware, engaged in Him. Communion is deep “fellowship and sharing”. Not the Christianese word “sharing” which means using words, but the sharing Karlene and I did last night as we silently enjoyed a beautiful sunset together – we shared that moment.

Communion is a soul word, and soul (according to Dallas Willard) is the full engagement of body, mind and emotions. You are whole when all 3 of these are focused or in synch with one another. “My soul cries out” should mean, my feelings, thinking and body are all fully engaged as one. Elite athletes, for instance, pour their souls into their sport by physically training, studying their sport (mind) and seeing psychotherapists (feelings) to consider their emotional health.

Communion is me quieting my body, mind and heart into Holy Spirit who is already “praying”, interceding on our behalf. Communion, therefore, is a journey into, what Jesus describes as “one” in John 17. Jesus prayed that we would be one with each other and with Him. How can we be one with Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

The Bible tells us that the oneness we experience as husband and wife, is the example for Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:32). Paul is saying (my paraphrase), “do you want to know what God wants in terms of relationship with you? Well, the marriage covenant best exemplifies this”. The oneness a wife and husband experience is described in Genesis with words like: “helper” (which is not subservient but means “strength”), “suitable” (which means “corresponding to”), the rib, the celebration of each other, naked and no shame, face to face, leaving the family of origin, “cleaving” to one another, purity in heart (no sin between them). The oneness in marriage is further described in Ephesians 5: agape love, and submission to one another. Oneness in marriage is a beautiful journey of discovering each other, it is about souls communing.

Oneness with God is a beautiful journey of God inviting us to discover Him, to know Him, to experience His love – it is about communion (Him with us, us with each other). God invites you to enter into communion. All this to say that prayer then is entering into the Oneness – not that we become god, but that we enter into the communion that already exists between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (we are invited into the throne of Grace, Hebrews 4:16).

Now the question is, “Commune (abide)?”


What’s Happening at GC 2021
May 17-21 

There are a number of pre-conference events happening each week leading up to General Conference on June 5-6. To access these live events in Whova:

  1. Sign into Whova
  2. Select Agendafrom the Menu (found on the left side of the page)
  3. Find the date/event
  4. Select View Sessionto join the event

You can also access these events by clicking the Zoom links provided below.

The following live events are happening this week:

May 18th 12pm EDT Grant Connect Training
This webinar will help you get the most out of Grant Connect. Find detailed and up-to-date information on grant programs, application guidelines, financial history, key decision-makers and more! This is for anyone looking for church project or ministry funding. You will learn how to:

  • How to access our FMCIC account
  • Identify and qualify good prospects using Grant Connect
  • Use various features like Search, Gift Explorer, and Pipeline
  • Navigate the Help Centre resources
  • Find resources to help you write grant proposals


May 19th 12pm EDT Live with Marc McAlister

May 20th 12pm EDT Connexion subvention (French)
Connexion subvention est une plateforme de recherche de financement et l’un des produits phares d’Imagine Canada. Utilisez Connexion subvention pour trouver tout ce dont vous aurez besoin pour écrire une subvention gagnante! Joignez-vous à nous pour apprendre comment :

  • Comment accéder à notre compte FMCIC
  • Identifier et comment qualifier de bons prospects en utilisant Connexion subvention
  • Utiliser de diverses fonctionnalités comme la Recherche de bailleurs de fonds, L’explorateur de dons et le Portefeuille
  • Naviguer dans les ressources du Centre d’aide
  • Gérer votre compte Connexion subvention

Trouvez des ressources pour vous aider à rédiger des propositions de subvention

Community and View Exhibitors in Whova
Learn how to view last week’s GC events, connect with others in Whova and win stuff by checking out the Exhibitors:

Navigating Whova Drop-In Sessions

Discover all that Whova has to offer. If you need help creating your profile, adding an event to your agenda, viewing a session or you just want some company as you explore Whova, we’ve got you covered. Every Monday and Tuesday throughout the month of May, Alison and I will be available to help you with all things Whova!

Click here to join Monday May 31 at 12pm EDT:

Click here to join Tuesday May 25 or June 1 at 9pm EDT:


The NLT is encouraging all pastors, delegates, and leaders to register for New Leaf’s Transforming Polarized Conversations. This 4-week learning experience, in partnership with conflict, change and leadership specialist Dr. Betty Pries will offer a practical and engaging learning experience, offering tools and practices for transforming polarized conversations.

Thursday May 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th @ 1:30pm EDT. 

To register:

French translation will be available for this webinar. If you would like the Zoom link and instructions on how to access the French audio, please email [email protected].


Session 3 May 20th: Feeding Elephants, Talking to Riders, Shaping a Path

It is tempting to lean on logical argument (the rider) to solve our polarized differences. Our differences, however, are more often driven by factors much deeper than logic (our elephant). This Learning Centre session considers a spectrum of polarized thinking in church and congregational life using the metaphor of the elephant, rider, and path, to propose a tailored approach for engaging congregants who reside at diverse places on the polarization continuum.


What’s Got You Thinking Episode 5 – Tori-Lynn Marin:

Bishop Cliff’s May 12th Message:

Let’s Talk Money (GC Workshop):

Time for A Financial Date (GC Workshop):

How to Navigate Community and Exhibitors in Whova


Tuesdays: Cliff’s Notes
2nd Tuesday of each month: What’s Got You Thinking?
3rd Wednesday of each month: Get the Scoop with Lisa and Alison
4th Thursday of each month: Church Health Thursday
Message from Bishop Cliff:
Coffee with Jared:
Mystery Beverage with Marc:


Pastor Keith Deyo – appointed as Interim Pastor at Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON, effective May 16 (Keith will also continue in his appointment as Assistant Pastor at Kingston West FMC, Kingston, ON)


Wilder Boutin – date and time TBA – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC
Leonard Bruce –    date, time and location TBA
Kathleen Casement – date and time TBA – Verona FMC, Verona, ON
Blake Found – date and time TBA –  Uxbridge FMC, Uxbridge, ON
Jessica Isaak – date and time TBA – Hampton FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Tyler Lane – date and time TBA – Trulls Rd FMC, Courtice, ON
Erika Mills – July 25, 2021, time TBA – Blue Mountain Community Church, Thornbury, ON
Benjamin Platz – Date and Time TBA – Next Church, Kingston, ON
Douglas Smith – August 1, 2021 at 1:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON


Alyson Lauber – Date and time TBA – Lakeview FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Nathaniel Prakash – Date and time TBA – Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC


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:
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA*

Wesleyan Theology:
Nov 5-7, 2021 – location TBA*

Also available:

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*

Personal and Church Stewardship:

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! )




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.

October 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the summer/or fall semesters of 2021.  The 2021 application forms and instructions  are now available to download from the link above.  Please use the application forms marked “rev 2021.”


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 2021 calendar year – apply online anytime from the link above.  Special Scholarships are awarded in late November/early December each year.


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 or the spring Regional Gatherings, add 6 hours of CEU credit for each event when you send in your annual CEU report.



Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON [Interim Pastor-Neale Robb]


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)

New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON (June 1)
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (June 1)

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 (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Harrowsmith FMC, Harrowsmith, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Frankford Community Church, Frankford, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON (Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt-Transition Pastor)
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON (Rev. Alan Adams – Interim Pastor)
Warkworth FMC, Warkworth, ON

Kids Pastor – Lakview Church
Camp Director –  Harbour Ridge Camp
Summer Research Student – Bramalea FM Church