Pulpit supply May long weekend – an idea: just in case you had forgotten, we will all be together this May long weekend for General Conference: Be Free! Pastors, instead of looking for a guest speaker why don’t you plan to live stream the Sunday service? For those in BC, you could either start very early or better yet use the recorded video of the service. If the technology scares you, call us (well don’t call Mark Molczanski, Marc McAlister, or me – technology isn’t our thing)! I’m confident that someone in your church can help. It would be wonderful for us, across the country, to be singing in worship all together, praying together, opening God’s Word together and receiving God’s specific blessing for this season together.
We are in week 4 of our series with Board of Administration chair Harold Gonyou. He is outlining resolutions that we will be voting about at General Conference. The goal of this series is for you to bring these to your leadership team to discuss, ask clarifying questions and pray about prior to GC. By the time we meet you will have participated in several Regional Gatherings that developed and discussed these; you have read about them in these notes over the past couple of years; you have read about them in the Mosaic; you will have received the full GC package and of course you will have had this series. Lots of think-prayer time to process.
Harold, I am hearing that some think that the new guiding principles are too generic. Dr. James Pedlar, Wesleyan scholar, addressed this very notion in a brilliant reply (which I assume people have read). Do you want to remind everyone of some of the things he said in response to this?
Harold: This document is intended to reflect our basic principles, not just those that differentiate us from other churches. So, of course you will find a great deal of ‘generic evangelicalism’ in it. Any evangelical should be able to read it and say there are a lot of similarities in our beliefs. But DR. James Pedlar (Bastian Chair in Wesley Studies at Tyndale Seminary), in his comments which were published in these notes a few months ago, also saw a great deal of Methodist and Free Methodist beliefs and values in them as well.
He explained that some things could have been said in more ‘Wesleyan’ language, and as Free Methodists we would have recognized them immediately, but that terminology may not be understood by people trying to find out more about our church. I have a daughter who attends a different denomination, and I find I have to ask her to explain certain terms used in their church, because we all have our distinctive jargon. Our goal was to have a document that could be read and understood by people from no or different traditions. The ‘Frees’ do include some beliefs that distinguish us from some other traditions, and also include traditional emphases of our movement which give us a Free Methodist identity.
So, Harold, you are saying that the truth is, we are a church and therefore our vision, mission, core values, guiding principles, articles of religion will have similar language to every other Christian church? What is unique to each denomination, is their unique mix or combination of guiding principles. For instance, few denominations combine the values of collaboration, creativity, community, and justice in their particular list of values. Harold, why are these guiding principles on “page one” of our Manual?
Harold: Page 1, whether it is a newspaper, novel, or Manual, leads to page 2 and all of the rest of the publication. What you read on the first page determines if you will continue reading, but no one expects to find all of the details and answers on the first page. These are an introduction to our movement. In recent years I have assisted in our church membership classes. We used the ‘Frees’ as a starting point in our last class and these served to put our potential members at ease before we covered the specific doctrines and polity of our denomination. There is a complete message expressed in a short space. It covers the piece that comes from knowing God through Jesus Christ, the joy of being part of a believing community, the beauty of worship, and our engagement with other churches, our local community, and our society. And in all of these there is freedom to follow the spirit and not be constrained by the world around us. Hopefully we have captured the essence of the principles that guided earlier Methodists and Free Methodists, and that these will continue to guide us in the future, even if the wording is occasionally updated to reflect contemporary expression.
Just in case you missed part one of Harold’s discussion about the Frees last week, I highly recommend that you take time to read. Here again are the links for the resolution:
The Manual Intro pages
Church Health Thursdays – Listen to the Tug on Your Heart: https://fmcic.ca/listen-to-the-tug-on-your-heart/
News & Stories Blog – First Response Bags: https://fmcic.ca/first-response-bags/
the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out: https://fmcic.ca/3-minute-theology-2-5-knowing-the-bible-inside-out/
New Leaf Network: The 2019 New Leaf Advent Reader – : https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/
Todd Stelmach’s ordination
Rev. Vic Stonehouse – appointed as Transition Pastor at Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON, effective February 16
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
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*
November 6-8, 2020 – Ontario location TBA*
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
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.)
2020 SCHOLARSHIPS https://fmcic.ca/scholarships/
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.
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs) https://fmcic.ca/introduction-to-continuing-education/
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.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
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
(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