Harold Gonyou’s (BOA Chair, and FMCiC delegate to FM World Conference) Report from World Conference:
Remember the times as a child that a missionary, having worked in a far away culture, enthralled you with stories of their ministry and the people that they served. And now imagine those people, having now taken leadership in their countries, telling their own stories of expanding ministries, meeting challenges, and amazing growth. That was my experience at the Free Methodist World Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil just two weeks ago. The conference consisted of 21 bishops (11 of whom were recently elected) and 20 lay delegates (including myself) from General Conferences and Provisional General Conferences from around the world. Each conference gave a report of their ministries and challenges as they expand the reach of the Free Methodist Church in the world.
At the last World Conference, four years ago, the bishops and delegates adopted the Decade of Harvest, setting a goal of doubling world membership in 10 years. Having increased membership by approximately 300,000 in the last 4 years, they are on track to reach this 10-year target. The greatest proportion of Free Methodist membership lies within the African and Asian regions, with several conferences, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and India, exceeding 100,000 members and several hundred churches. Other conferences, such as Brazil with 100 churches and 10,000 members, are more comparable to Canada.
Many conferences have embarked on a holistic approach to their ministry by providing not only spiritual, but also education, health and economic care to their people. These needs are reflected in the schools, colleges and universities sponsored by the church with training in theology, teaching, health care and food production. As an example, the India conferences support over 2,000 orphans and provide literacy programs for women, but the need is great, with 20 million orphans and over 200 million disadvantaged women in the country. The International Child Care Ministries, which many Canadians support, sponsors over 20,000 children in collaboration with the Free Methodist churches in 30 countries. Many of these children attend church operated schools.
At the conclusion of the World Conference, we were invited to join the final service of the General Conference of Brazil. Approximately 5,000 attended with the music, dancing and preaching reflecting the joy of the occasion. All of the world bishops were introduced and participated in the ordination of approximately 20 ministers in the conference. It was a wonderful celebration with the church in Brazil, and with our international Free Methodist leaders.
This is fantastic news out of the Generosity & Stewardship Department: OVER $5.8 MILLION IN PLANNED GENEROSITY!
“I am so encouraged to update you with our latest numbers on our FMC Planned Giving Partnership. As of the end of October, there are now over $5.8 million in planned gifts towards the Kingdom!
Of this amount, 40% (over $2.3 million) are gifts planned for our FMCIC, Local Churches and Partner Ministries! This is a great indication of people catching our vision and wanting to be a part of it.
It is so encouraging to see our combined efforts and people’s generosity. Just imagine what good this will do in the Kingdom!
If your local church is not experiencing the positive results that others are having, we can work with you on a communications plan that connects your ministry vision with an invitation to be generous both now and in the future. What we are seeing is that a positive, inspirational message – communicated regularly in a variety of ways – is making a difference.”
Church Health Thursdays – Things Rarely Drift Towards Good and Healthy: https://fmcic.ca/things-rarely-drift-towards-good-healthy-things/
News & Stories Blog – Tell Your Stories: https://fmcic.ca/tell-your-stories/
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: Ep 70 – the Neighbourhood Series – Erinn Oxford: https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/ep-70-the-neighbourhood-series-erinn-oxford/
None this week
Ordination and Commissioning Services
Rev. Todd Stelmach (Kingston, ON) – ordination service date and time TBA
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 – Ontario location TBA*
June 5-7, 2020 – 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) – 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 will soon be 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
Hampton FMC, Saskatoon, SK
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)
Crossroads FMC, Salmon Arm, BC (November 12)
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON (December 3)
(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.)
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Campbellford Free Methodist Church, Campbellford, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON (Rev. Aaron Birtch – Transition Pastor)
The Journey (a FM church plant), Ridgeway, ON