Yesterday was the second Sunday of Advent. I trust wherever you worshipped yesterday, much was made of Jesus.
Our General Superintendent will be in the district this week for a meeting with the DBA in Fredericton on Thursday and Friday. There will be many items of significance to be determined and a major focus of the meeting will be the process of selection/election of a District Superintendent at District Conference in 2014. On Thursday morning, prior to the beginning of the DBA meeting, Dr Lyon will accompany me on visits to our three Fredericton churches.
Truro celebrated their 65th Anniversary yesterday with former pastor Denn Guptill as special speaker. The church was founded by 1948 by Rev. N. E. Trafton. This year is also the 25th Anniversary of the dedication of their present building which was built when Denn was the pastor. They also hosted a banquet and a sold out “Evening of Christmas Music” on Saturday evening. Congrats all around.
Fredericton Crosspoint has received a special white offering each year for several years to help to brighten the Christmas of a member of our tribe as well as an overseas worker. Last week they raised more than $3,000 for this purpose – well done. An idea other churches could adopt without doubt – it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
Last year our Mount Pearl Solid Rock church prayed on every street in their city and marked the street on a city map. When all the streets had been visited, the map was laminated. Last week Pastor Stuart Marples and two members of the church represented the group at a city council meeting where the map was presented to the mayor and council. They were very well received by the mayor and council. Another creative example of community connection.
Hammonds Plains Cornerstone baptized 12 candidates last week. Baptisms are an undeniable testimony to new life in Christ. PTL!
I met with the LBA at Maple Ridge last week as we work through the major physical challenge facing Pastor Nick Graham. Excellent meeting with a very good outcome for the next several weeks. Thanks to Assistant Pastor Mike Agrell for stepping up to shoulder extra responsibilities during this season. Please continue to be in prayer for Nick, his family, Mike, the church and for God’s hand to be active in this situation. Nick will be in Halifax for extensive further testing in mid January.
The district office staff and spouses shared a Christmas lunch together last week. It was a very enjoyable time and a bit unique to have both a former and present DS at the office staff lunch.
Head of Millstream recently held a Community Christmas Banquet in the local rec centre. This was a very stretching event for the church which only averaged 12 in worship last year and had 53 at the banquet at which Pastor Vince Robertson shared a 7 minute gospel message. Attendance this fall is running in the 20’s – close to 100% increase. Go Vince!
Gloria and I were at Bangor Pathway yesterday morning for worship and I also met with the LBA. Tony Stevens is serving as pulpit supply presently and Pathway will be in the search process for a pastor during the normal cycle in the spring.
Gloria and I dropped in to visit our dear friends, Conard and Debby Symonds, on our way back from Bangor. The entire pastoral staff and spouses from Crosspoint came by to sing a Christmas carol and offer prayer. It was a special moment for all.
THOT: “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” - Nelson Mandela
Welcome to Advent. God became man and dwelt among us – how incredible is that! We are now entering the time of year when we especially focus on Advent and how that reality so dramatically changed our lives. While we celebrate Advent every time we worship together, our focus is sharpened as we approach Christmas. As we exchange presents with those we love may we have a deep sense of the Presence of the one who loved us and gave Himself for us.
This week, Kingswood will present its annual Carols at Kingswood. On Wednesday evening at 7 PM the university will present this special Advent evening in the Saunders Irving Chapel.
I mentioned last week that Nick Graham was headed to Halifax to be assessed re his liver function. They have received word that a transplant will need to take place, barring a true miracle. Nick and Beth were in my office on Tuesday on their way to Halifax. I contacted Tim Guptill and asked him to bring his pastoral staff over for special prayer with the Grahams. It was a tender time and showed once again the great value of being a part of a caring tribe.
I will be in Maple Ridge on Wednesday of this week to meet with Nick and the LBA as we work through this difficult situation. Nick and Beth and the girls welcome your prayers and deeply appreciate the many, many tweets, emails and texts of support and encouragement that have already received.
Havelock, NS has been receiving special funds to complete the lower level of their lovely new facility. Last Sunday they surpassed the $50,000 mark – congrats and PTL! Dedication is on tap for next spring.
The Wesleyan Church has recently adopted a new logo and branding strategy. There is a Local Church Brand Guide available – check it out.
I attended the funeral this week of Patricia Milbury, the sister of Lois Buckingham. Our sympathy is extended to the entire family. Patricia was a long-time member of Fredericton Journey from where the service was held.
Dartmouth Hillside is announcing the 2014 edition of the “Hillside Rally” to be held on Feb 28-Mar 1 next year. Students – early opportunity to hold the dates.
Senior high teens and youth groups from across the northeast converged on the KU campus for Encounter, a worship rally held Nov 1-2. In response to messages brought by Derek Idol, Pastor of High School ministry at 12Stone, teems lined the altar making first time commitments to Christ. Thirty two youth declared a call into ministry.
Gloria and I had the privilege to share lunch on Saturday with Andrew and Allyson Maves and their son Elias. Great kid who patiently sat through a 90 minute lunch and conversation. Impressed. Evening coffee with John Symonds.
Yesterday, we were in Yarmouth where it is great to sense a fresh, new optimism. Thanks to John for so adequately serving for this season of transition at Yarmouth.
In the evening, I visited with Stefan and Deb Gilbert and the congregation at Shelburne Hope. We are seeking the mind of the Master as we look to the future of the work there. Your prayers are solicited. More word will follow.
Snowbirds take note. The annual Atlantic Snowbirds Breakfast will take place on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at the Country Kitchen in Brooksville at 9 AM. Gloria and I will be honoured to host this event and all who attend will be guests of our district. We will be receiving an offering, the proceeds of which will help fund the Jesus Film, the most effective evangelistic tool in the history of Christianity. See many of you there.
Deep Water now has their recently acquired North Street Church ready for action. Great job in the hard work of clean up and redecoration. Crosspoint has a very sharp stage set for the Advent season. Looking good!
THOT: Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. – JFK
Gloria and I were in Indianapolis this week for meetings of the General Board (GB) and other related activities. I was first elected to the GB in 1984 and it has been a great privilege across these years to develop strong and deep networks and relationships with some of our most effective leaders. We also had opportunity to spend some time with Ross and Shirley DeMerchant and Steve and Heather Bradley, great folk with Atlantic roots.
A devotional was shared with us on Tuesday morning by Dr. A Wingrove Taylor, now 90, who served with distinction for many years as General Superintendent of our church in the Caribbean. He was widely and greatly used as a gifted preacher of truth and he can still “bring it” as the young turks are wont to say .
Prayer Focus Notes – please remember these tribal members in your prayers:
King’s Valley held a men’s retreat over the weekend at Beulah. A very positive and challenging ministry to the men of the church and good use of our Beulah facility – a win win.
It’s a boy! Congrats to AJ and Julia Plaizier, Lead Pastor at Corbett, on the safe arrival of Caleb Adriaan who put in his appearance late on Friday night.
ADVENT 2013 is at hand. HQ has excellent material for this season. Pastors, you should have or will receive info directly from Indy – thanks for checking it out.
As Moncton ministers in this Advent season, they are presenting Christmas @ CelebrationCentre.ca on Nov 30 and Dec 1. Still plenty of time to get tickets. Check the website and take in a great evening of “celebration.”
Gloria and I were at Jonesport yesterday to install Andy Phillips as the new pastor there. There is a renewed spirit of optimism in the church and it is great to welcome Andy, Tammie and their children to our tribe. They are both Kingswood alums and have been serving in the Central New York district. Tammie has roots in our area having been raised in the Nazarene Church in Middleton, NS.
Sympathy is extended to LD and Lois Buckingham on the passing of Lois’ sister Patricia Milbury. She was a long-time member of Fredericton Journey Wesleyan from where her funeral will be held today – Monday – at 2 PM.
The Wesleyan Retirement Plan webinar is scheduled for tomorrow – Tuesday – at 11 AM AST. If you are a plan participant, you have the connect info in hand. If you were not on the earlier webinar on this topic, you are invited to join us tomorrow. It is about 40 minutes long and offers live interaction with the presenter.
THOT: John F. Kennedy and C.S. Lewis both died on the same day – Nov 22,1963 – fifty years ago last week. A word from both of them…
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do from your country” – JFK’s inaugural address. Substitute “church” for “country” and you have fertile preaching/teaching soil.
“”Let us always long to hear the stories of grace in others lives. Every conversion is the story of a blessed defeat.” – Lewis
Gloria and I will be in Indianapolis for most of this week. I am privileged to serve on the General Board as well as other related committees, all of which are meeting this week. We will return to the district by Sunday and will be in Jonesport that day to install Pastor Andy Phillips.
Our hearts go out to the people of the Philippines who have suffered so much damage and loss of life in the recent super typhoon. The Wesleyan Church of the Philippines is very strong, vibrant and dynamic. I know that many of us want to respond to this tragedy and to stand with our brothers and sisters there.
Donations from the US can be sent directly to the Wesleyan Emergency Relief Fund at World Headquarters in Indiana with the check memo marked for WERF – Philippines. Donations on the CDN side can be sent to The Wesleyan Church of Canada, 11-80 Mapleton Road, Moncton, NB E1C 7W8, marked for Philippines relief.
Thanks in advance for your generosity.
I met last week with Pastor AJ Plaizier and the LBA at Corbett Avenue as we discussed together the involvement of Corbett as the pilot project as a Maximizing Impact church. Great meeting and total buy-in as we go forward. Be watching for more…..more about Maximizing Impact…..more about Corbett as the pilot unfolds……more about other churches being involved…..energized!
The Wesleyan Retirement Plan Webinar slated for last week had to be postponed at the last moment due to technical issues. The Webinar has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Nov 26th at 11 AST. New sign up info has been sent to Plan participants.
New Hope Valley recently held a movie night and the church was filled for the event. Yet another example of a creative way to interface with the community.
THOT: Much of what we consider valuable in our lives arises out of these kinds of lopsided conflicts, because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty. – from David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Remembrance Day (Canada) and Veterans Day (USA) are both observed today, Monday November 11th. The incredible freedoms we enjoy here in North America were won on far away battlefields by veterans, both living and dead, whom we honour this day.
Grace is free but it is not cheap. So too is freedom, and we who are recipients of grace that can only be described as amazing should, of all people, rejoice in the freedom of our countries and the freedom of our relationship with Christ. “Him that the Son sets free, is free indeed.”
Mindy Dunn, wife of Dr Jim Dunn, Executive Director of the Church Multiplication and Discipleship (CMAD) Division at our HQ, passed away last week at the age of 44. All of us who were honoured to know her understood fully that here was a woman, wife and mother who was indeed a fully devoted follower of Christ. I have expressed our sympathy both personally and on behalf of our tribe to Jim and their children Caleb and Courtney.
Her home-going celebration was held on Friday and her final earthly journey was in a style befitting a classy lady.
It’s Monday Again (IMA) continues to enlist more subscribers who not only sign up, but actually read the thing. Last week, our open rate exceeded 70% for the first time – a % far above the industry average. Word about our tribe is spreading – onward and upward.
SUMMIT 2013 took place by way of a bus tour last week in North and South Carolina. The event was sponsored by CMAD and focused on church planting and the explosive growth of multi-site church development and repurposing. It was an inspiring and idea-generating time – highly energizing. AJ Plaizier, AJ Thomas, Brent Ingersoll and Denn Guptill travelled with me and we shared synergistic vision casting together that has dynamic possibilities for our district going forward. We hunkered down in our special corner of the bus as we travelled along and no idea for Kingdom impact was off limits.
We also shared in a low country boil and visited Southern Wesleyan University where we were treated to a beautiful buffet courtesy of SWU. While there, we visited the Freedoms Hill Church, the first Wesleyan Church in the deep south, built in 1848. Due to the anti-slavery stand of our church, bullets were fired through the door of the building and one man was hung nearby – because freedom may be free now, but it was not cheap. It is moving to stand in the shadow of a building once filled with people of our tribe who were committed to what is right even if it cost them their lives. Such is our heritage that must never be lost. Remembrance Day is a great time to, well, remember.
I met Mark Gorveatte and Scott Rhyno in the airport in Moncton early on Wednesday morning as they were traveling to South Korea. Kingswood is connecting with a large holiness denomination there where there are possibilities for student recruitment and also for intern placement.
Kings Valley has produced a Christmas music CD entitled Holy Light to be released on Nov 17th. Check out the website for more info and/or to pre-order.
The Wesleyan Retirement Plan Webinar first offered in October will occur again this week – tomorrow the 12th at 11 AM AST. The connect info was sent to all plan participants in a memo on October 24th. The Webinar is circa 45 minutes in length. If you were not a part of the October event, you may want to sign in tomorrow morning.
The funeral of Avis Hicks, widow of Rev. Bertram M Hicks, was held on Wednesday of last week. She was the mother of four including Janice Thomas, wife of Pastor Reg Thomas. She was a steadfast Christ follower and faithful spouse to and co-labourer with her husband across a life time of ministry. Our sympathy is expressed to the extended family.
Gloria and I were in Black’s Harbour yesterday for the installation of Pastor Nelson Koonce. We welcome Nelson and Holly to Black’s and wish them the Master’s best. Gloria and I moved to Black’s in 1971 to pastor our first church and what a wonderful group of people they were to serve – great to be back yesterday.
THOT: Slow down. Listen up. Value patience. Elevate others. Offend slowly. Apologize quickly. Trust Jesus. Reflect Kingdom. – Ed Stetzer
The ENGAGE conference was held at Kingswood on Oct 18-19. This event is designed to encourage and equip worship leaders and worship teams and featured several special guest speakers and worship leaders. There were 83 registered guests from 28 churches spanning 6 denominations. Congrats to Elizabeth Rhyno and the crew for this outstanding event.
Halloween was last week. A number of our churches held a Trunk or Treat evening and literally touched 1000’s of kids and parents. Hats off to all of you involved in this positive activity that brings so many people in contact with our tribe. In addition to the normal hand outs, Truro made Bibles available free and 16 were taken by interested individuals.
Amherst hosted their 6th annual Foodbank Music Night last Sunday. Over 250 attended, and 9 groups took part. Hundreds of dollars worth of groceries were brought in for the local foodbank and an offering was taken and over $1500 was received. Another example of strong community contact and outreach.
Many churches observed Pastor Appreciation Month during October – thank you! Many creative and thoughtful expressions of appreciation were shared, including a cruise on the Oasis of the Seas for Pastor Scott and Shari Prime from New Hope - enjoy.
Our own Dean Stephenson, Catons Island Director, produces maple syrup each spring. He won first place last week for his syrup from the North American Maple Syrup Council – go Dean!!
Kerry and Carole Allison are back from Ukraine and would be happy to come and speak in churches or small groups about their ministry there. They do amazing work there through World Hope and they are making a difference. You can contact them at 506-567-4443 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 150 people gathered for prayer at the Moncton church this last week. They laid hands on Pastor Tim and Gayla and prayed for revival and a mighty move of His Spirit. Pastor Tim says, “We are just trying to stay out of His way and let Him lead in our lives.”
Bill Lea, Rod Guptill, Matt Maxwell, Scott Wood and Tim Guptill are going to Cuba on a short-term missions trip in January. Have you been on a missions trip yet? If “no”, why not? If “yes”, have you been lately? Check out options at GPAtlantic.com.
On Saturday morning I met in the Easton church with the Riverside Camp Board. Riverside had a very good summer ministry this year and the adult camp was blessed by the preaching/teaching of Rick Kavanaugh. Board Chair Ralph Sabine and his wife Noreen treated Gloria and me to lunch on Saturday and we enjoyed our time together.
Yesterday we were in Woodstock to help celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the birth of our district. It was in 1888 in Woodstock that our forefathers exercised both courage and wisdom in standing for principle and here we are now in their shadow. May we always exercise both courage and wisdom as we minister in these dynamic days.
Four rewards of competent leadership:
Final reminder – not too late…..
Warm congratulations to Allan and Sheri Stevens, our missionaries to Albania, on the safe arrival of John Douglas. He arrived on October 9th and as you can tell from the picture below, mum, dad and JD are all doing well. We thank the Master for this new life.
Great day at Maple Ridge today. Gloria and I were there to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of their present building. There was high energy and a real sense of optimism in the air as they look to the future. There were 205 present, 3 were baptized and the worship centre was full. PTL and congrats to Pastor Nick Graham and the crew on the Ridge.
It’s Monday Again (IMA) continues to be well received. We have had 96 new subscriptions since June and last week’s edition (Oct 21) had more “opens” than any week to date. Thanks for your growing interest in the life of our district.
Had a very good meeting during the week with Shawn Branch, National Director of Threshold Ministries. They were formerly the Church Army of Canada, a ministry of the Anglican Church. Their “Street Hope” ministry touches various Canadian cities including Saint John.
The Canadian Wesleyan Retirement Plan Webinar was held last week for members of the plan and will occur again on November 12th. If you missed last week, you may want to sign in for the November session which will be a repeat of the earlier event. I was a part of the crew on last week’s event and I recommend it to you. Meeting sign-in details will reach you this week. The Webinar is offered by Great West Life, our plan administrators.
As mentioned last week, Kings Valley launched KVEast last Sunday. There were 139 in attendance and we applaud Pastor Brent and crew for this initiative that has great potential not only for KVEast but as a model that other churches on our district may be inspired to consider.
The Global Leadership Summit (Hybels) has held at the Rock Church in Lower Sackville, NS this week and was co-hosted by our own Hillside Wesleyan. I was privileged to be there and the district was honoured to assist in partially sponsoring 25 members of our tribe to attend as we had also done in Moncton in August. That investment in those 50 people will bring eternal results and serves as a great morale builder. Onward and upward.
REPEAT NOTE: The Prayer and Soul Care Days earlier announced for 4 locations in November are being rescheduled for the spring of 2014.
THOT: Thom Rainer’s Three Changing Trends
Gloria and I began last week with a three-day trip to San Antonio, Texas to meet with circa 25 other District Superintendents and spouses in a peer learning gathering. The fellowship was heartwarming, the information exchange enlightening, the instruction of high quality, the scenery spectacular and the sense of camaraderie energizing.
I have been privileged to be in and out of this group three times over the past 30 years – in for 7 years as Delta DS then out while at HQ; back in for 11 years while as Atlantic DS then out while back at HQ and now back in for this one year while serving Atlantic again. Lasting and valuable relationships built over time have immense value. Never underestimate the power/value of networking.
The gravely ill granddaughter of Nelson and Holly Koonse (Blacks Harbour) that was mentioned last week passed away. Nelson conducted the funeral on this past Wednesday in North Carolina. Our sympathy and prayers are extended to them.
Great West Life webinar on Tuesday – and again on Nov 12 – for members of the Canadian Wesleyan Retirement Plan. Sign on details were emailed to all members last week.
Westchester held a benefit for a lady with cancer who has been attending the church. There were 140 in attendance and they raised $2300! In their context, this is outstanding.
Dee and Ed Lower have accepted a call to co-pastor a Church Of Christ in Christian Union in Lewisburg, PA. They will continue to hold their ministerial standing with our district while serving in Lewisburg.
Visit GPAtlantic.ca for an update on short-term mission team possibilities. Being a part of a mission team will expand your worldview and help to ignite a passion for the world. Check it out.
Yesterday I installed Steve Brown as pastor at Grand Harbour Central. My dad’s roots were in Grand Manan and I am always pleased for an opportunity to visit. I love the island.
The church provided a lovely cottage looking down the Seal Cove Sound for our accommodation - Beach Front Cottages - and had the refrigerator well stocked. The menu was topped off with lobster – what a wonderful treat.
Gloria and I also visited briefly with Jasper and Debbie Rideout and chatted with Elaine McComiskey as well. Debbie is home recovering from her recent surgery and doing quite well. They certainly appreciate the prayer support of our tribe.
The Kingswood University board met this week. One of the very significant actions was the creation of the Buckingham Leadership Institute whose mission is “to inspire and equip leaders in the local church to maximize the fullest potential for themselves and the organizations they lead, all for the glory of God!” Dr LD Buckingham will be the Director, serving in a part-time self-funded position. He will provide leadership, inspiration and the deep passion he holds for local church ministry after some 50 years of impacting pastoral service. You will recall that when he retired at Moncton I reported in IMA that “Buckingham is unemployed”. I am pleased to gladly eat those words and to confirm that “Buckingham is employed”.
NOTE: The Prayer and Soul Care Days earlier announced for 4 locations in November are being rescheduled for the spring of 2014. A detailed email will go to all ministers this week – watch for it and the new dates/locations.
THOT: Be reminded….we are the
People of God committed to the
Purpose of God believing in the
Providence of God and relying on the
Power of God.
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
Yesterday I was privileged to speak at Kings Valley and to install Brent Ingersoll as the Lead Pastor. Great energy and synergy swirling in the place. Excellent spirit and strong crowd in both services. The installation and my message are both available on vimeo.
Met with the Leadership Team at Deep Water last week. I enjoyed the focused interaction and had an opportunity to see the North Street property reno project in process.
Amherst held a Pastor Appreciation service last Sunday. The pastor was asked to take a seat at message time and nine members of the church each shared briefly on one of the fruits of the Spirit and how the Fancys lived those out. Great idea!
Nelson and Holly Koonse, pastors at Blacks Harbour, received word this week that their daughter Erica had a baby that arrived pre-mature and was gravely ill. Later word came that little Jade would not survive so Nelson and Holly left on Friday for North Carolina to be with Erica and Jade. I know they would welcome an interest in your prayers as the Master brings it to mind.
After Techie Days I headed to Newfoundland. While on the Rock, I visited several new housing areas that are springing up as the oil and gas driven economy is in a major surge. People are moving back to Newfoundland from the west and there is an amazing sense of optimism in the air.
Solid Rock Wesleyan has formed a Satellite Development Team as they seek to find ways and means to expand and reach out. Pastor Stuart Marples is leading the team and I really enjoyed meeting with them on two occasions for several hours as we dreamed forward together. Energizing!
Gloria and I will be in San Antonio, Texas for the first portion of this week. We will be attending a meeting of our District Superintendents and are looking forward to these days. My email, twitter and texting will be up and going all the time I am out of the district. Feel totally free to contact me as need arises.
THOT: He paid a debt He did not owe – I owed a debt I could not pay.
TECHIE DAYS this week – Tuesday at 10:30 at Kingswood Wesley Hall and Wednesday at 10:30 at Hammonds Plains Cornerstone. Dr Lorne Oke, Executive Director, Center for Learning and Innovation at IWU will be our special resource guest.
The Camp Board met on Friday at Beulah. Good word overall from both Beulah and Caton’s 2013 and plans are stirring for 2014. New features and positive changes in the works for next year. Will be great! The pic below is courtesy of Dean Edgett – Caton’s Island wearing her fall coat of colours.
Pastor Bud Fancy and more than 70 men from the Presque Isle church were on a prayer retreat last week. Few things will impact the spiritual climate of a church like this kind of focused retreat. A transferrable idea…….
October is Pastor Appreciation Month – a marvelous opportunity to say thanks – you are loved. Lay people – don’t miss it.
Two major steps in the development of a comprehensive district strategic plan on church planting and church health took place this week. The Turn Around Task Force – made up of pastors who have led or are leading a turn-around church – and the First Day Task Force – made up of planters who were on site the first day of a church plant – met in Moncton. Great synergy and sharing of lessons learned and transferrable concepts going forward. Energizing!
Highlights from last Sunday ….
Yesterday Gloria and I were at Easton for the installation of their new pastor Jason Coffman. Jason and his wife Penny come to us from the Indiana Central District. Welcome to the Atlantic tribe.
The ladies of the Woodstock church held a 24 hour retreat at Beulah on Friday and Saturday of this past weekend. There were 31 ladies present and the reports were extremely positive. Another transferrable idea…
THOT: The worst thing we can die with, ever, is potential. Dr. Henry Cloud at Catalyst 2013.