The Free Methodist Church in Canada | Summer 2009 – Volume 6 Issue 3
Cover Some Great News About Some Great Connections by Bishop Keith Elford
page 3 It Takes A Village by Kim Henderson
pages 4-9 I Know What We Believe In But What Are We Doing? One church’s journey out of the land of ideas by Darryl Dozlaw
page 10 Passages Celebrating Generosity by Joanne Bell
page 11 International Child Care Ministries - Direction by Doug Dawson International Child Care Ministries - Direction by Anna Lakatos World Relief Canada Ministry Opportunity Upcoming Events including Foundational courses Ministers Conference Dates Prayer Guide
An Eternal National Of Many Cultures by Dan Sheffield
DID YOU KNOW?
The MOSAIC is produced using environmentally responsible processes. The paper is acid-free, contains 10% post-consumer waste material, and is treated with a non-chlorine whitening process. Vegetable-based inks were used throughout the publication and it is 100% recyclable.
is a publication of The Free Methodist Church in Canada 4315 Village Centre Court Mississauga, Ontario L4Z 1S2 T. 905.848.2600 F. 905.848.2603 E. firstname.lastname@example.org www.fmc-canada.org For submissions: email@example.com Dan Sheffield, Editor-in-Chief Lisa Howden, Managing Editor and Production Mailed under publication agreement: #40008369 Return postage guaranteed
Reflecting the diversity of ministry expression within the Free Methodist family.
have to be honest with you. I love living in Canada because I enjoy lots of things about each of our four seasons. But when the leaves start to turn colour and the air is a little more crisp, we know that football season is upon us. While I don’t claim to know the strategies of the game inside and out, and I only watch sporadically until the schedule begins to close in on Grey Cup weekend, I do love football. [BTW, although we have lived in the greater Toronto area now for 12 years, Donna and I are still devoted fans of the team that won the 2008 Grey Cup!] One doesn’t have to be a football fanatic to understand that there is something powerful in the dynamic of the game. On the one side of the line, there is a group of mighty, muscled men who are pulling together to advance the football down the field. On the other side of the line, you have the defensive squad that is doing everything to stand firm and resist the progress of the opposition. It is in its working together that a team wins touchdowns and in its standing together that a team resists giving ground. If the CFL Salmon Arm, B.C. – Over a decade ago, the Crossroads Free Methodist Church had it in their hearts to plant a new congregation. Just recently, that new congregation (Lakeside Community Church) moved out of sharing meeting space with Crossroads and into a neighborhood school so that it could more effectively reach another part of the community. They have also set up an office and meeting space in downtown Salmon Arm and their youth ministry, led by Dustin Laird, is based in the community centre, where non-churched teens are regularly being impacted with the gospel.
had been around in New Testament days, I wonder whether the Apostle Paul might have looked to the gridiron for a metaphor that represents the Church in its mission of advancing the kingdom of God and resisting the kingdom of darkness. This edition of the Mosaic is focused on telling some good news stories of what is happening in the life of the FMCiC across this great nation. When we stretch out our offensive and defensive lines from Vancouver in the west to Quebec City in the east, we are spread across a great distance, but even so, there are some interesting connections at work – some of them inter-provincial, and some of them international – that demonstrate that God is able to accomplish His work when people are united in purpose. Here goes for a few stories that come to mind, though there are many others that also need to be told, some of which are stellar because of their innovation and others that are stellar because of their steadiness. Winnipeg – Barrie – Ghana: The Crestview Park Free Methodist Church in Winnipeg had some wonderful days and some tough days. More recently, under the leadership of Joseph Seidu (originally from Ghana) the Crestview congregation has come alive with new vigor and growth. One might suspect that with a large contingent of Ghanaians the growth in this congregation would be from among African immigrants. Not so. Crestview Park is seeing people come to Christ from a wide multi-cultural spectrum.
Meanwhile, back at Crossroads, under George Fleming’s Outside Lakeside Community leadership, the congregation, Church with Sheldon Carlson made up mainly of retired people, [left] and Dustin Laird [right] continues to reach out with its weekly soup kitchen, a ministry that has been in place for many years. The new development is that in recent months, community people who have been dropping into the soup kitchen on weekdays are now also finding spiritual nourishment at the Sunday morning service. Pine Grove - Mississippi, ON: If you stand in the church yard of the Pine Grove FMC, other than the parsonage, not another house is in sight. Yet this rural congregation led by Jack Bradley has a vision for ministry. There is a Saturday evening service for shift workers and others who are not available on Sunday; there is a vibrant Sunday morning service; and on Sunday nights, Pine Grove people travel to the little hamlet of Mississippi to participate in a lively evening service.
Crestview Park FMC, Winnipeg
But what is the connection to Barrie? The Barrie Free Methodist Church has developed a heart for the country of Ghana and has sent teams, funded projects and supported John-Mark and Loreli Cockram during their short-term ministry in Accra. It’s primarily because of the strong connection between Barrie and Accra, Ghana, that the Free Methodist Church in Ghana requested to become a Mission District of The Free Methodist Church in Canada. This past summer Joseph was in Ghana to minister in several places and to build relationships with the Free Methodist leaders. “Great Connections” ... continued on page 2
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Working Together Did you know that you gave away ten new homes to families living in displacement camps who were affected by the tsunami? Well you did. Just after the tsunami hit in 2005, Free Methodist churches and individuals from across Canada – moved by the devastating loss of life and property – donated over $220,000 to the tsunami disaster relief fund. In the event that you are reading quickly (as I often do) and because it bears repeating, I’m going to type this in again … Free Methodist Churches in Canada along with some individual donors raised over $220,000. It was an unprecedented and collaborative response to an overwhelming need. And so, as I sit at my desk and review all the video footage and image stills from the Sri Lankan trip earlier this year (February 2009), I can’t help but smile. Dan Sheffield, accompanied by Pastor Sritharan Jeyarajah (better known to us as “Pastor Jey”) and Darryl Dozlaw took part in dedication services to transfer the deeds of ownership of these properties from our hands to their excited new owners. (See Darryl Dozlaw’s article, page 4.) As I look at all the pictures and see all the smiling faces – both our representatives in Sri Lanka and the families – I catch a glimpse of the palpable feeling of excitement that day. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be handed keys and a deed to a house with no strings attached after spending almost four years in a displacement camp? I wish I could have been there to witness it . . . I wish we all could have been there! Because we all own this – we did it together. There are families in the small village of Theraimadu, Batticaloa whose lives have been transformed because we partnered together – as a group we accomplished far more than all of us could possibly manage as separate individuals. It has all been very exciting to be a part of. But I think the most exciting part of this for me has been the realization that when we work together really great things can take place. This has been a strong affirmation of our core values as a denomination • The instrinsic worth of persons … everywhere – we responded to the needs of Sri Lankans who live 12,500 kilometres away from us. • The importance of teamwork and the strength we have in local and global connection – as an example, the formation of a Free Methodist church on the building project site and a stronger partnership with the newly established Sri Lanka Mission District, which is overseen by our Canadian Conference.
“It is in its working together that a team wins touchdowns and in its standing together that a team resists giving ground.” Sarnia – Tillsonburg - St. Catharines Ghana: Anyone who has met Barbara and Lloyd Peterson know of their deep love for Hispanic people. They have been regular visitors to the Dominican Republic and to Mexico, but they are also keenly interested in building a connection among the H i s p a n i c ministries that have been Lloyd and Barbara Peterson emerging over the last four years in southern Ontario. Iglesia del Buen Samaritano, pastored by Rick Venne in Sarnia is one such congregation. Over in Tillsonburg, the Open Arms FMC has opened its doors to the Iglesia de la Palabra Viva, a Spanish church pastored by Jose Ticas. Earlier this year, Grant Wolfe at the Grapeview FMC in St. Catharines was wondering how his congregation might reach out to migrant workers in the fields only two miles from his church. Not long after this began to stir in his heart, Noel Montoya arrived on his doorstep, asking if his congregation of approximately 20 Hispanic people could worship in Grapeview’s facilities. Something is happening among Hispanic people in southern Ontario. Because some of these new converts are seasonal workers, Barb and Lloyd Peterson have made several trips to Mexico to connect new converts with evangelical churches in their communities back home. Flinton, ON: In this little village of 250, Bruce Kellar had a vision in 2005 to see a church planted among unchurched people and it has been happening. So far in 2009, 17 people have come to Christ. Many of the people who have been reached by this church plant are in the over-45 age group. The emerging dream is to start a second service to reach a younger group of people who may not have the same love for country and western music shared by the older set.
• The value of learning and listening – a lot of work took place before the construction actually started. We learned much about how to proceed by talking to local builders. • Our call to build community (church) – this has been more than a building project: this is about a growing relationship that we are now a part of. • The integrity displayed in determining the best course of action for the funds that were raised and the personal growth that we have experienced as we have walked through this project together. • Last, but certainly not least – generosity, the desire to share our resources with those in need. It makes me wonder what else we are capable of if we work together?
Through the Roof, Flinton, ON
Burundi - Sherbrooke - Quebec City Repentigny - Weyburn: This past July, Pierre Sanambe, who planted Église Methodiste Libre Source d’eau Vive in Sherbrooke moved with his family to begin the work of planting a new church in Quebec City. Equally wonderful is the fact that Mathieu Lamah has been raised up by the Lord to take over the pastoral leadership of the Source d’Eau Vive church.
Lisa Howden Managing Editor
New Westminster – New Heights B.C. Connection: At the B.C. Regional Gathering in June 2009, the New Westminster leaders were talking about their dream to develop a community garden that would provide food for hungry people. They were also feeling promptings to connect with ministry beyond Canada. In the same talking circle, leaders from the New Heights church in Mission, B.C. were talking about their street church that weekly provides food BC Regional Gathering for hungry families and their connection to an orphanage that they support in Thailand. It will be interesting to see how this oldest congregation in BC and this youngest congregation in B.C. join hands to make something happen. Simcoe, ON: The town of Simcoe now has two Free Methodist congregations— Cedar Street that reaches out to people who prefer a traditional form of worship and The Comm, a new church plant that meets in a Jamaican restaurant and welcomes street people. Here’s how they describe what they are doing: “We feel the need to connect to the community. We are doing this with an informal celebration service. We compare ourselves to Zacchaeus; we are the tree holding the people up to get a better look at Jesus.” They have bought this three-story building. On the main floor is the Jamaican restaurant. But they also have a vision for low-income housing on the second and third floor, and a shelter and café for homeless people in the basement. There are lots more good stories around the country. Edmonton FMC is seeing a bunch of new members and experiencing a whole new atmosphere of hope. I could go on talking about many congregations that are rediscovering the grace of giving, others are recovering their ministry confidence as they see God at work in the healing of deep conflict, and still others who are rejoicing in the provision of new pastors who are helping them experience a new future. The thing that I love about football, as I said in the beginning, is that it’s the story of a team. As one person has wisely said, there is no “I” in the word Team. It’s a group of people pulling together in the same direction. I suspect there are some professional football players that play a whole season without getting mentioned in the sports columns of the newspapers. It’s not possible for the sports writers to mention every player and what they did to contribute to the winning of each game, but without them the score would have been different. I find myself in the same spot as I conclude this article. There are too many congregations to talk about each in an article of this length, but I do want to say that I love what God is doing in all different kinds of ways, through all different kinds of styles, in all different sizes of congregations that make up the FMCIC team. [BTW, the 2008 Grey Cup champions are a team from southern Alberta. No more clues.]
Quote Confusing the words wish, faith and pray with each other usually just results in a minor grammatical faux pas, but when any of these words, especially hope, is confused with action, the results are much more devastating. ~ Bo Bennet
Over in Repentigny, a breakthrough has been achieved in that after many months of struggle in this strategic area where there is a great need for evangelical churches, this congregation has been able to purchase some property where they can meet. We must not miss the international and interprovincial team effort in these two Quebec stories. Pierre Sanambe received his formation in the Burundi FMC and the purchase of the Repentigny property was made possible through a substantial down payment provided by the Weyburn (SK) FMC.
Pierre Sanambe with his family
Rev. Keith Elford is Bishop of The Free Methodist Church in Canada.
It takes a village ...
ost of us enjoy a good celebration and don’t have to look far or try hard to come up with a reason to get together – weddings, graduations, anniversaries, birthdays and the list goes on. Often at funerals we have the opportunity to celebrate a life well-lived. We show up for these events for a number of reasons: we value the people who are the reason for the celebration and we want them to know it; we’re an active part of their lives; we want to be supportive; it’s a good family connecting time – and so on. And, being honest, sometimes we show up because we feel we have to, or because someone is making us - and sometimes we show up only because of the promise of good food! Whatever the reason, we know we won’t be alone. Celebrations aren’t solo events. As I think about leadership development, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate. While the focus of some of those celebrations is on individuals, many people have had significant roles along the way. Leadership development is not a solitary process. It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child and it takes many people to raise up and develop a leader. A lot of the leadership development events this past spring have happened with this philosophy in mind: good things can happen when we work together.
Another group of pastors gathered for a day to assess the current process in place for internships. Again, good input was provided by the team which has resulted in many positive changes. I’m very thankful for the health of the Leadership Giving Stream (it’ll be a river yet!) that makes these internships possible. This gives a further reason for celebration and another way that many of us play our role in the village, in leadership development. Yet another group of pastors got together for a day and a half to share, evaluate and make changes to the Leadership Development Plan (LDP). These pastors are working through LDP with potential leaders in their churches. There was lots of sharing and learning as we looked at ways to continue to strengthen the roles played by the local discernment team at the church and MEGaP. We’re all part of the village. Ordinations are wonderful celebrations. I’m not able to attend all of them, but my attitude is that I get to go, not that I have to go. Ordination marks a significant event in our journey. It can take a lot of time, effort, prayer (and money) to get there. Many people travel with us and invest in us, providing encouragement, support, a shoulder to cry on and a good kick when we need it. Ordination is not a destination but it is
Leadership development is not a solitary process. It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child and it takes many people to raise up and develop a leader. A group of pastors gathered for a day at the Ministry Centre to brain storm the contents for a New Pastor Orientation Handbook. These were relatively new lead pastors that could relate to ‘what I wish I’d known my first year’. As the day and discussion unfolded, every time we thought we were close to finalizing the list, someone would think of another item that really should be included in the handbook. This resource, when complete, will cover everything from ‘what’s a governance board’ to ‘it’s my first wedding and I don’t know what to do’. MEGaP members are currently working on writing various chapters and I trust it will be a valuable resource when complete.
Taken at David and Kathy Stephenson’s ordination. Pastors from area Free Methodist Churches and the community gather to lay hands on them as Bishop Keith prays.
an important mile-marker. The most recent ordination I attended was at Ridgeway Community Church in Ridgeway, ON, for Dave and Kathy Stephenson. Dave and Kathy are no strangers to celebrations. Over the course of May and June of this year, they both graduated from Tyndale Seminary with a Masters of Theological Studies degree, led the congregation through a wonderful weekend celebrating 125 years of community ministry through Ridgeway Community Church, became grandparents for the first time, and were ordained! Many people gathered to help them celebrate their ordinations: family; their home church family (Barrie Free Methodist); colleagues; mentors; accountability partners; friends and their current home church family, to name a few. In some way, all of us present had participated in Dave and Kathy’s journey and that made for sweet celebration! I’m going to take a page from Jared’s book and issue another 100 church challenge – for leaders to be identified and developed from within our churches. Pray for these potential leaders. Pray for wisdom and openness to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. We know from the account of David’s anointing in 1 Samuel 16:7 that we need to have God’s eye and heart when it comes to identifying leaders. Pray for patience, opportunities and perseverance through the ups and downs of this journey (those of you who are parents will relate to this!). Experience the joy of celebration as these leaders make it to the important markers along the way, knowing that you have played a significant part both in the journey and in the moments. Good things can – and do – happen when we work together.
Leadership Development Plan [LDP] Think Tank - June 2009
Rev. Kim Henderson is the Director of Personnel for The Free Methodist Church in Canada
I KNOW WHAT WE BELIEVE IN, BUT WHAT ARE WE DOING? One church’s journey out of the land of ideas
hen the sun sets in Thraimadu, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka its drop from the sky is so quick that a brief conversation beginning in broad daylight concludes in the blackness of night. It was this way for the small group of us seated in resin chairs having a discussion with recipients of tsunami houses on the eve of their possession day. The usual leadership faces were there: Dan Sheffield- Director of Global and Intercultural Ministries for the FMCiC; Pastor Sritharan Jeyarajah- Tamil Free Methodist Church, Mississauga, and Pastor Guna. Guna had been hired to simply oversee the project site, but within a few short months had grown a church of 80 people meeting in the supply shed. Seated quietly in a line, bearing mixed expressions of eager anticipation and cautious hope bordering on disbelief were the four Sri Lankan women who, less than 24 hours later, would be symbolically planting trees and receiving prayers of blessing in their new homes. After some dialogue about the linguistic nuances of a letter of understanding which would serve as a legal deed until further due process could be attended to, the signing began. As the pastor of just one of the many Canadian churches that had joined together in addressing the social need arising from the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December, 2004, I sat smiling in the February heat. What a wonderful thing I was permitted to be part of, if only as a witness. Funny thing about being a witness. Legally, it often involves signing something.
Poitu varam is the Tamil phrase for ‘go and return again soon.’ Completely surprised and honoured by the invitation to place my own signature on the page, I fumbled with the pen, fearing some tragic inky blunder that would result in nullifying the first letter. Sometimes it takes great concentration just to sign one’s own name. However, in this case some confidence came with the realization that my illegible scrawl was really just a symbol - it was a mark made on behalf of every pastor of every Free Methodist church in Canada that had heard the troubling news back in that final week of 2004 and had sensed God’s invitation to help somehow. That evening’s experience would leave me reflective and virtually speechless for hours. How had we found our way here, over five years and half a world away from the churches in Canada that had grappled with a sense of global responsibility amidst the barrage of images and sound-bytes that circulated so effortlessly throughout the global village during the week following the disaster?
And God moved. Even in the wake of Christmas, or perhaps in the true spirit of it, the people in these churches gave. In our smallish church, a fund was established and over the next while several thousand dollars were given to it. Probably not much in the larger scheme of things, but definitely an active participant in the larger scheme: God’s justice agenda. It was a great place to start. For me personally, it was my first step out of the land of ideas and into the real world. I think it was an early step for our church as well. Four months later, God called our church back into the game. I was having breakfast with a friend who engages in global ministries work regularly. He asked me a simple question: ‘I know what we believe, but what do we actually do?’ The first answers were predictably “programmy.” However, with deeper prodding, I was bumped out of the place where I had lived my whole life, presuming that global ministry was someone else’s calling. Here, it appeared, was a call from God to get involved. God had packaged it in the words of my friend so that it would get in... What I heard my friend say was: Until the leaders of our church do something other than Sunday morning, the people of the church will continue to hide behind them. So, through an intense, multifaceted dialogue involving emails with many different people including both Dan Sheffield and my father, a pile of praying, and some really good late-night coffees, I came to understand that God was inviting an involvement deeper than simply establishing a temporary fund. God was inviting our church into relational engagement. I found myself joining a team headed to Sri Lanka, not sure where I was going, much less why, but knowing that it was of God and that it was to somehow involve our whole church, not just me.
“Why did God send the Tsunami?” On this initial trip, two intense impressions were made regarding the impact of the Tsunami upon the people of Sri Lanka. The first was how far from the reality of this catastrophe we lived in North America. A young man shared how he had taken work placing bodies washed ashore onto wooden carts, ending up loading his best friend onto one. Another man, a pastor around my age, pressed me with questions I couldn’t answer: “What do I tell the people in my village when they ask ‘Why did God send the Tsunami?’” None of my tidy little theological defaults had any hope to offer this hurting people. I was still a well-intentioned outside observer.
What kind of response will we make to God’s justice agenda? On December 26, 2004, a tsunami tore across the Indian Ocean, devastating everything on the shorelines of countries in its path... with virtually no warning, the coasts of Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka in particular were laid to waste by two massive waves in a period of about 37 seconds. Thousands upon thousands of lives were lost along with billions of dollars worth of property. In Canada, I had been slated to preach on the Sunday that followed. I had a nice “New Year’s” message about something... the details of it are long gone now. As I was praying, God spoke. Is this the best we’ve got right now? Is this the most important thing we have to say? Do you really want to deliver this message, or do you want to actually address the urgent? I knew what this meant- we all knew what this meant. Pastors all around the world, in our movement and others, were having the same conversation with God. The urgent was the need that existed as a result of this incredible natural disaster. The urgent was something tangible. The urgent was something immediate.
Sri Lanka Encounter Team 2005
The second impression had to do with the need for relief rebuilding. As part of that trip, Pastor Jey, Alan Retzman and I joined Pastor Lazarus, the superintendent of the newly formed mission district of Sri Lanka on a mission to Batticaloa. This city on the east coast of Sri Lanka had been heavily affected by the Tsunami. I had seen pictures of the devastation, taken the previous February by my friend Bob Munshaw who was pastoring Saskatoon Free Methodist Church at the time. However, the Batticaloa we traveled to in August not only bore great evidence of the natural disaster that had
5 befallen it, but also of the incredible tenacity of its survivors. An older man shared how his grandfather had built his home, his father had been raised in this home and now it fell upon him to rebuild it; and although many promises had been made by western photographers, so far these bricks were all his own. Kind words and empty promises were of no encouragement here- displaced survivors, having lost everything and everyone they had once held dear were living in tin shanties and refugee tents, enduring temperatures of +40 in the shade. And yet they persevered.
It appeared as though God was willing to use our ‘otherness’ in a meaningful way to accomplish his will for those on both sides of this conflict. Poitu varam is the Tamil phrase for ‘go and return again soon.’ My friend Pastor Lazarus said this to me as I got into a van one night in Colombo, and was simply saying ‘We’ll see you tomorrow’. However, these words came to mean much more to me concerning the hope of one day returning to this place with others, ready to be used of God here in whatever way God ordained. Over the weeks and months that followed, it became clear that a missionalpartnership of sorts had been birthed between the work being done in Sri Lanka and my local church. Interest in the work taking place in Sri Lanka and the need to be met there grew almost immediately. Our lead pastor, Steve Lougheed joined Alan Retzman and Benedict Gomez in February 2006, while a team for that summer was being drawn together and prepared. There was much dialogue about the state of things in Sri Lanka and how the relief moneys given by the people in Canada could be best used. Alan, Dan, Pastor Jey, Ben, and others were in constant dialogue with the leaders of the mission district of Sri Lanka to discern the FMCiC’s ongoing role.
closed to others. Around us, incidents were on the rise, with a bridge being taken out by insurgents up the road from us one day or violence in the street ten minutes behind us the next. We experienced only freedom and safe passage, however, as we scouted land, met with government officials and sought further insight into what God intended to do through the FMCiC in this country. Matt was being challenged daily in his personal and ministry journeys in ways that would become increasingly apparent over the coming months, even years. We prayed daily prayers of thanksgiving for the mercies seen in the day coming to an end and those unseen for the day ahead. It was a trip of wonders. What was not wonderful, however, was how arduous the process to secure suitable land for development became. Some of the options that were inspected held promise while others, lacking fresh water or access to electricity, clearly held none. Even more frustrating was the sense that we probably wouldn’t actually get the go-ahead to develop in a suitable area before the war ended or Jesus returned. This golden gleam of the city of God dream was being increasingly inhibited by red tape while in the meantime there were still so many people sweating it out in refugee tents and living conditions that were deplorable.
Building a global partnership Leaving Ampara, we joined the rest of our team (comprised of members from Northview in Regina and Wesley Chapel in Scarborough) for the work that we were slated to do together. There was still a nagging sense that the tsunami housing project was very tentative and in all of this, it was very difficult to be patient and faithful. With our western minds and western worldviews, the challenge was to serve within the existing systems and structures rather than to start trying to supercede them in a flourish of well-intentioned ethnocentricity.
A dream for a whole community of houses emerges The Ampara district is south of Batticaloa and was even more heavily affected by the disaster. Among Pastor Jey and others, a dream began to grow to build a city of God with more than a hundred houses and a community centre/church in the Ampara region using Free Methodist funds. The idea was that the Sri Lankan government would donate land and all of the moneys raised in Canada would go to constructing houses for the displaced. Without the cost of land, more houses could be built. It was a great plan. Plans were drawn up for housing while contacts and negotiations were made with the government to secure suitable land upon which to begin the project. In August of 2006, I was able to return to Batticaloa as part of our larger trip. With me was my friend Matt Larson who was interning at our church. In the year that had passed since I had been there, much had changed. Much rebuilding had already taken place, certainly, but the presence of the army had also increased. There was, after all, a civil war going on which had to be factored into all of our plans. It was strange how, on my run through the streets every morning I would be greeted cheerfully by both Sinhala soldiers and Tamil shopkeepers who were otherwise locked in a staredown with each other. It appeared as though God was willing to use our ‘otherness’ in a meaningful way to accomplish his will for those on both sides of this conflict. It was especially apparent on the Batticaloa and Ampara portion of this trip how the very hand of God seemed to be extended over all that we participated in. Due to the escalating violence, particularly in the eastern and northern regions, all NGO’s (Non-Government-Organizations) had been told to leave the country. Yet because we were a church, we were free to move to and fro, gaining access to areas that were
Darryl Dozlaw and Pastor Jey attending a home fellowship - February 2009
Upon returning home, the team from Regina, consisting of Matt and myself, along with Rick and Jaylynne Fox (formerly of Saskatoon Free Methodist and having experienced a stirring within their hearts upon hearing of Sri Lanka a couple years earlier from their pastor at the time, Bob Munshaw) shared their respective stories and impressions readily, accepting opportunities to speak at churches and camps throughout the year that followed. The missional partnership of our local church with the movement in Sri Lanka had continued to deepen with more of our people connecting with the churches there. The people in the seats back home actually knew where Sri Lanka was, and were growing
School children wave to team while travelling in Sri Lanka
Housing recipients pictured here with Wade Fitzpatrick [back row, sixth from left], Lead Pastor at First Free Methodist Church in Moose Jaw, SK and Pastor Guna [far right], of the newly formed church plant in Theraimadu, Batticaloa (currently taking place in a tool shed on the building project site).
Stages of the building project
Pastor Jey and Dan [Sheffield] got to work securing Sri Lankan architects, contractors and skilled workers to construct ten houses, with plans for a church, community centre and market to follow.
response was obedience. Part of the challenge was to sort out whether this was our church’s gig, or just something that the pastor was passionate about. See, on my other trips, I was serving under the auspices of another’s leadership, and was therefore a delegate. Somehow, it felt different with my new role in the church, and I didn’t want to be guilty of conveniently making my interests coincide with the interests of the church. Regardless of what your leadership role, submission to someone is a necessary and meaningful form of accountability. Everyone answers to someone.
accustomed to sights, stories, faces and names from the trips taken thus far. There was, however, always an awkward pause whenever team members were asked about tsunami relief. In our small way, we had participated in the raising of funds and awareness, yet felt a little lost as to what progress we could actually report. It was a time of diplomacy and faith-stretching.
I shared my conviction with our board and we dialogued at length over how involvement across the ocean was in keeping with our core values and was an expression of our collective mission as a church. In the end, our board decided that the preexisting relationship between this little church and the exciting work that God was doing in Sri Lanka should continue into this new era. One of the things that came up was the possibility of my taking a trip in February ‘09, and this being a springboard for a plan to send an ESL team the following August. There were still young people from the church coming forward, expressing giftings and desires conducive to this kind of service. And so it came to be that I would be participating in the February trip, while my friend Matt would return to Sri Lanka August with his wife and a full ESL team.
Sometime during that second trip, the idea for Encounter Sri Lanka, a denominational global ministries experience for young adults was conceived. The guinea pigs of the ESL pilot in August ‘07 would be my family, along with two others from our church who had expressed interest and one from Wesley Chapel. Also from Wesley Chapel would be Sheryl Murray and Onika Brown, two educators who had been part of the team in 2006 and were returning to provide pedagogical training to Sri Lankan Christian education leaders. Of inestimable value to the project as interpreters were Ben Gomez and Jackie Jeyarajah - Pastor Jey’s daughter.
Of the recipients, seven of the nine were families headed by women who had been widowed or otherwise abandoned during the catastrophe.
The best houses, for the last
Sri Lanka Encounter Team 2007
The focus of the ESL’07 trip was on the programming offered, not tsunami relief. Pastor Jey stayed behind as he often did, while the ESL team headed back to Canada. He was still hard at work exploring options to see relief plans come to fruition. During this time, it had become apparent to Pastor Jey and others that as long as we were waiting for land to be handed over by the government of Sri Lanka, the project would be in limbo. Negotiations had begun for the purchase of land suitable to build houses and a community centre on. In the time that had passed since the disaster, economics had changed and the price of usable land in the tsunami-affected areas had skyrocketed, largely due to demand by NGO’s and churches seeking property to develop with relief housing.
To our delight, we learned that the first of the houses being constructed at Theraimadu would be ready to be turned over to their owners- people who would, by that time, have been displaced and waiting over four years for a dwelling. The selection process had been conducted at arm’s length, with applications being made to and considered by a third party. Of the recipients, seven of the nine were families headed by women who had been widowed or otherwise abandoned during the catastrophe. There was tremendous satisfaction in sharing this with people outside of the church who had questions about our involvement in this tiny country that seemed to be increasingly in the news. Likewise, the response of non-churched people to the project, the selection process and the ultimate recipients was incredibly positive. It was as if those we knew drew inspiration to live more generously from news of the project. In many ways, I believe this excitement had to do with the fact that this was a justice initiative being carried out by a church, rather than an NGO. The church was doing what people felt the church should be doing.
To purchase land now would be to drastically reduce the amount of houses we could afford to erect, but at least the project would once again move more tangibly forward. The Theraimadu land just outside of Batticaloa was purchased and Pastor Jey and Dan got to work securing Sri Lankan architects, contractors and skilled workers to construct ten houses, with plans for a church, community centre and market to follow. The land purchased was at the centre of a relief housing community that had been built by Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision donations. There would be many neighbours. Free Methodist Church in Canada housing project in Theraimadu.
Listening for God’s direction Back in Regina, we were dealing with some changes of our own. Having gone through a time of transition, we were settling into a new rhythm as I moved into the lead pastor role and tried to figure it all out. However, there was something else going on. In my global ministries involvements of the previous three summers, I had diligently sought answers from God as to whether this or that trip was mine to take and in each case I had received the green light. I never wanted to just presume that involvement in Sri Lanka was a given and in the summer of 2008, God tested me on this one. He simply said ‘No.’ It was the first time that I received this word but it was so clear and so different in articulation and feeling from the previous GO-codes, that I knew the only faithful
Land purchased in Theraimadu for housing project
My friend’s words from four years earlier played as back-story in the agreement evident on people’s faces as they heard us share of the work: “I know what we believe in, but what are we doing?” And so I found myself representing both people I knew and people I didn’t know, seated in a resin chair on the other side of the world on a hot and humid night in February, 2009, fumbling with a pen. The day had been inspiring. Moving through the Theraimadu relief housing project, it was easy to note the electricity in the air. Many of the houses were bustling with the final preparations for the handing over of keys the next day- a bit of sweat equity provided by the recipients. Floors and walls were being washed down, yards were being landscaped, one household was working to put in a cement walkway- two boys shoveling, two women carrying buckets of cement and a man from the community doing the troweling. I had never seen people dressed so well and smiling so broadly while loading cement in +40 temperatures. I believe in our part of the world this is called ‘pride of ownership.’ We met the families and interviewed a few of them. All the while, Pastor Guna translated, demonstrating a gift for language. He shared story after story with us of the people in this community, the hardships they had endured, and how the common feeling among them was that they had waited hopefully, thinking they had been passed by, only to receive what was, in their view, the best houses in the area. The houses really were special. Because great attention had been paid to the details of living in eastern Sri Lanka as architectural plans were developed, the dwellings were positioned according to the regular wind currents with great ventilation for air flow
Housing recipient pictured here [in blue] with family during house blessing ceremony. Pastor Guna [left]; Pastor Jey, Darryl Dozlaw and Dan Sheffiled [right]
Pastor Guna had been brought in fresh out of Bible school to provide security at the project site. I had already heard rich stories about this man from Wade Fitzpatrick, pastor of the Moose Jaw church after his own trip in August of 2008. Our friend Guna was clearly a pastor, not a security guard. Within very little time he was providing pastoral care for the people in the surrounding community, and had set up a thriving church in the utility shed. During the week he had established a school, teaching English to the people of the area, and had been harassed by some who felt that his presence as an on-site spiritual father in the community was somehow in violation of an unspoken turf agreement. He had endured malicious rumours of gross misbehaviour and a conversion agenda, as well as physical threats to his person. Yet, he had persevered and the depth of his character was such that those whom he served had eventually stepped up to defend him as their pastor and friend. We enjoyed some rich fellowship together on the evening of the signing and then left the project site, knowing that the following day would be an exciting one.
God’s “Big Happy” Possession day was a beautiful day. Each of the houses had been decorated lavishly with bright colourful banners, welcoming streamers and such. Each had a ribbon across the doorway which would be ceremonially cut. As part of the celebration, there would be a prayer of blessing for the household, a snack served to the first guests, a family portrait taken and, of course, the planting of the first tree in the yard. Although there had been many dignitaries invited to participate in the day, unfortunately very few were able to attend and participate. However, many from the community, of course, came. In particular, those receiving homes were on hand to celebrate with their new neighbours. As we would see the following day, many were already attending Pastor Guna’s church together and were faith brothers and sisters. There was a rich sense of communitymore like communitas actually.
“Happy day” - Sri Lankan housing recipient receiveds certificate of ownership and keys.
and high ceilings which allowed the heat to be swept by the wind up out of the living space. Each house had a veranda because those designing them had noted that the newly erected relief houses in the area almost all featured ‘after market’ verandas that had been added on by their owners. The houses were also slightly larger than the others in the area, allowing for multiple-family dwelling. The fact that they were painted bright green was probably just a matter of aesthetic preference.
One of the girls, I recognized from loading cement the day before, turned to me, beaming amidst all that was taking place, and articulated her perspective succinctly: “Big happy.” That our little church could be part of God’s Big Happy here was the culmination of over five years traveling on this road out of the land of ideas, into the land of action. Pastor Darryl Dozlaw, was a high school teacher in Regina when he first travelled to Sri Lanka in 2005. He now serves as the Lead Pastor of Northview Free Methodist Church in Regina.
10 Stewardship Ministries
Emily Arbo – Associate Pastor, Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths
Falls, ON, effective July 28, 2009 Kris Gowdy – Pastor, Kingston West FMC, Kingston,
ON, effective August 17, 2009 Dean Holtz – Assistant Pastor, New Horizons, Sarnia, ON, effective June 5, 2009 Dustin Laird – Assistant Pastor, Lakeside FMC, Salmon Arm, BC, effective June 19, 2009 Matthew Larson – Community Development Pastor,
Northview Community Church, Regina, SK, effective July 10, 2009. Belinda Leibel – Associate Pastor, Northview
Community Church, Regina, SK, effective July 10, 2009 Lynda Sinclair – Assistant Pastor, Arlington Woods
FMC, Nepean, ON, effective August 1, 2009. NETWORK LEADER CHANGE Tom Gurnick – resigned, effective September 1, 2009 Kevin Tompkins – resigned, effective May 11, 2009 David Moore – (replaces Kevin Tompkins – MB-SK
Small Church Network), effective August 4, 2009 APPROVED AS MINISTERIAL CANDIDATES Emily Arbo (Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON) Dustin Laird (Lakeside, Salmon Arm, BC) Belinda Leibel (Northview, Regina, SK)
APPROVED AS COMMISSIONED MINISTER Normand Doucette (Mountain View, Clarenceville, QC)
APPROVED AS ORDAINED MINISTER
o celebrate or not to celebrate… that’s not the question. The right question is: how do we celebrate generosity appropriately? Over the past few years, many of you have heard me speak about how to develop a culture of stewardship and generosity… we need to preach it, teach it, celebrate it and model it. It’s been interesting to note that both lay people and pastors are least comfortable with the concept of celebrating. I think that is partially because the topic of money is very secretive within our culture. I also think it is because we aren’t sure what celebrating generosity is all about. Why should we celebrate generosity?
Whatever we celebrate reinforces a value in our minds and hearts. Whatever is celebrated regularly in your church often becomes most valued by your church. When we celebrate generosity it reminds us that God is transforming hearts, minds and lives through the resources that are invested in kingdom service. Throughout scripture, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, we find stories of individuals giving as well as corporate giving. Here are a few examples:
Barbara Peterson,(New Horizons, Sarnia, ON)
ORDINATION & COMMISSIONING SERVICES Normand Doucette Commissioning – August 16, 2009 at Mountain View FMC, Clarenceville, QC
In Numbers 7 we read about the gifts of individual leaders given for the dedication of the altar.
In 1 Chronicles 29 we read the story of the abundant giving of the people for building the temple.
Barbara Peterson – Ordination – September 13, 2009
Mark 12 recounts the story of the widow’s offering.
In 2 Corinthians 8 Paul tells the Corinthians of the generosity of the Macedonian churches.
at New Horizons, Sarnia, ON CHANGE OF STATUS Don Olford – Leave of Absence effective August 1, 2009 Mike Szabo – Leave of Absence, effective July 1, 2009 Kevin Tompkins – Leave of Absence
effective July 21, 2009 Rob Van Norman – Located at Lakeview FMC, Saskatoon, effective June 18, 2009
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION Asbury FMC, Perth, ON Avonlea FMC, Avonlea, SK Bramalea FMC, Brampton, ON Charlemont FMC, Wallaceburg, ON Eastern Koinonia, Toronto, ON Ecclesiax, Ottawa, ON Lakeside Community Church, Salmon Arm, BC Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON St Joseph Island FMC, Hilton Beach, ON Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC Vennachar FMC, Cloyne, ON Wawota FMC, Wawota, SK Westdale Park FMC, Napanee, ON Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON PASTORS IN TRANSITION Ousman Ali Linda Dixon Harold Fox Tom Gurnick Larry Hart Dale Hawley John Kurish Steve Lougheed Doug McLeod Samson Mehari Paul Millar Jim Peetoom Weekly Bishop’s Notes The Bishop’s Notes are generally sent out on Mondays. If you are an ordained minister or a ministerial candidate you automatically receive these notes through the pastor’s listserv. If you are a lay person, and you wish to receive the Bishop’s Notes via email, please visit our website www.fmc-canada.org and look under the “Who We Are” banner - see “Bishop’s Notes” for rss feed. Ministry Opportunities For an up-to-date list of job postings, please visit our website www.fmc-canada.org and look under the “Who We Are” banner - see “Ministry Opportunities.”
Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel, Fort Lauderdale, offers four insights into the value of using intentional congregational celebration to challenge the leadership and the congregation to change their attitudes from a minimalist, 10 percent approach to giving to wholehearted surrender of all we possess to God’s ownership and disposal: 1. Through celebrating the cause of Christ, we place our priorities with his kingdom instead of with our personal gain. 2. By celebrating integrity in finances, we keep ourselves from abuse of resources. 3. By celebrating generosity, the church comes together to see what giving actually does for the kingdom, enjoying the privilege of obedience together. 4. Finally, through celebrating frugality, we set aside as many resources as we can for God’s work, storing up our treasure in God’s work rather than personal gain.
It is important that we shift from a fundraising mentality where givers are seen as donors and are giving from “their” resources and are often motivated in some way by self-interest, to a stewardship mentality where givers are seen as stewards, giving back to God what is already God’s and who are motivated by investing in eternal things. As we make this shift in our minds, the vocabulary we use and the way we celebrate generosity will change. As we relate stories of generosity and thank people for giving of their time, talents and treasure, we need to always be connecting the giving to God who gives us the ability to do so. “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” 1 Chronicles 29:14. When David rejoices and celebrates the generosity of his people, he begins by praising God and giving Him the glory. To celebrate generosity appropriately we need to consider what Biblical truth we want to communicate. In the story of the widow’s offering, Jesus wanted to teach his disciples that the size of the gift doesn’t matter to God but rather the level of sacrifice and the motivation behind the gift. Paul in 2 Corinthians 8 uses the story of the Macedonian churches, not to make the Corinthians feel guilty, but rather to encourage them to complete their giving in faith. “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.” 2 Corinthians 8:8 How and when can we celebrate generosity?
My hope is that for each of us, celebrating generosity appropriately will become a natural part of our communication, both personally and as leaders within our church community. Here are some ideas of how and when we can celebrate: •
Expressing gratitude to God and to others. Let those who teach your children at church know how much you appreciate them and what they do.
Thanking God for His provision.
Thanking people for their gifts of time, talent and treasure. Thank someone when they open a door for you. Thank your family for helping with chores around the house.
Every time you have a ministry “win” it can be correlated to people’s generosity. Use these moments to reinforce the value of their stewardship and generosity in transforming lives and investing in eternity.
When an offering is taken, be intentional about what is said/ prayed at these moments. Thank God for His generosity to us. Thank people for their generosity with God in their giving. Use this time to remind people that through their giving they are making eternal investments. Their giving is not to the church. Their giving is to God through His church.
Relate stories of generosity for the purposes of encouraging others. Stories can be told by the givers, receivers, or by an observer. As leaders we need to be careful to ensure that our storytellers are motivated by the right reasons and choose to tell the stories for the right purposes. A humble spirit and a Godly focus are crucial.
What does celebrating generosity look like?
First, let’s look at what it isn’t. It’s not about recognition. It’s not about publishing donor lists in categories of highest givers to lowest givers. It’s not about dedicating a wall of the church to display donor plaques or even putting signs on items that have been donated. And it’s not about asking Mr. and Mrs. Smith to stand up in front of the congregation to tell how much they give. Celebrating generosity inappropriately will communicate the wrong message. But that doesn’t mean we simply shouldn’t celebrate. It does mean we need to figure out how to do it in a way that communicates the right messages. Celebrating generosity appropriately starts with the right motivation. Our celebration should be based on our desire to glorify God. This must be central to the message we communicate. Matthew 6 reminds us that if we give, pray or fast for the wrong reasons – the praise of men – it is not pleasing to God. But when we give, pray and fast for the right reasons, God will reward us.
For additional information on celebrating generosity check out the Generous Churches resources from Leadership Network (www.leadnet.org) as well as Generous Giving (www.generousgiving.org). Joanne Bell is the Stewardship Ministries Director for The Free Methodist Church in Canada. Please visit www.generoussteward.org for more information and ideas. You can contact Joanne at firstname.lastname@example.org
International Child Care Ministries
World Relief Canada is seeking an
International Program Officer THE AGENCY
World Relief Canada was formed in 1982 as the relief and development assistance arm of the evangelical church community in Canada, and is an agency working in partnership with overseas church partners to assist and empower the poor in the developing world. THE POSITION | The Program Officer, based in Markham Canada, will:
Churches across Canada are known to have a heart for missions. Numerous teams are sent out each year to different countries to show Christ’s love to those in need. This not only positively changes the country, but also ignites an excitement and passion in congregations - leaving a desire to do more. This is where International Child Care Ministries comes in . . . as a Child Sponsorship Ministry, we believe we are an extension of the mission field, a way to tangibly love the hearts that have touched ours. Our vision over the coming years is to partner with Free Methodist Churches in Canada and target specific countries to form strategic and global partnerships, developing a focus for each church of generosity and serving. We have already started this process with the congregation of Trulls Road. After prayerful consideration, the church has decided to put their mission focus on India. Donations are made to specific funds, multiple teams are sent out to specific regions, and we are able to offer the sponsorship of children in the exact areas that were served in. This creates a level of unity and collaboration throughout the church, and paints a clear picture of the progress being made to the congregation. The following are the countries that ICCM is involved in: Brazil; Burundi; Cambodia; Chile; Ecuador; Ethiopia; Ghana; Haiti; India; Kenya; Malawi; Nigeria; Philippines; Venezuela. We will continue to strategically expand our country base . . . “If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10
• • • • • •
THE QUALIFICATIONS | The applicant should:
• • • • • • •
by Anna Lakatos Assistant to the Director of International Child Care Ministries
World Relief Canada | Suite 310, 600 Alden Road - Markham, ON L3R 0E7 Fax: (905) 415-0287 E-mail: BSyvret@wrcanada.org Please respond before August 31st, 2009. Although we appreciate every application, only those being interviewed will be contacted.
Prayer Guide Days of Prayer and Fasting
The Prayer Guide is sent out via listserv at the end of every month for the following month - it is a call to fasting and prayer for the FMCIC. It has also been heartening to hear that many pastors pass it along to local congregation prayer teams and invite the whole congregation to participate. The Prayer Guide can also be accessed through our website.
Upcoming Events Encounter Team to Kenya NLT members and Director of Child Care Ministries – September 16-26, 2009 Study Commission on Doctrine [SCOD] Meeting at the Ministry Centre – November 20-21, 2009 Ministers Conference
The 2009 Ministers Conference led by the National Leadership Team [NLT] and Joanne Bell will focus on “Living Generously”. Much more than a theme, living generously is our joyful and sacrificial response to what the Lord Jesus desires to see lived out among His people. Calgary [west] – September 29- October 1, 2009 Wesley Acres [east] – October 20-22, 2009 Board of Administration Meeting at the Ministry Centre – November 6-7, 2009
www.fmc-canada.org You can find information and resources on our website!
Be a Christian with strong commitment to holistic ministry with the poor. Have a university degree in business (with preferably microfinance), and/or a degree in agriculture, or related field. Have overseas experience with microfinance and/or agriculture/food security. Have good interpersonal, training, planning, assessment and reporting skills. Be highly proficient at information management and editing. Be proficient at financial review/ analysis and be computer literate. Be proficient in English.
Apply with a resume to Mr. Bruce Syvret, International Director
Our hope is for you to prayerfully consider what country your focus could be, and allow us partner with you in showing Christ’s love to the world. For further information please contact us: Paula Moriarity, ICCM-Canada, Director 4315 Village Centre Court | Mississauga, ON L4Z 1S2 (905)848-2600 email@example.com
Administrate assigned programs for AFRICA, and occasionally elsewhere. Administrate programs of MICROFINANCE and/or FOOD SECURITY. (engagement will depend on candidate’s expertise and experience). Review program proposals and reporting, provide funding support and technical advice, for our overseas partners as they plan and execute overseas programs. Includes 2 trips a year overseas for 3 weeks each for the purposes of planning, assessment and training with overseas partners. Arrange technical support for partners in microfinance and/or food security. Provide quality management of internal “programming” information and availability of such information to external users such as networks, major donors and website.
Culture & the Missional Church October 30, 31 & November 1, 2009 Freedom Christian Community Church in Brantford, Ontario
(for Ministerial Candidates, Commissioned Ministers and Ordained Ministers only).
Personal and Church Stewardship November 13, 14 & 15, 2009 at Lakeview Free Methodist Church in Saskatoon, SK Heart of Canadian Free Methodism September 25, 26 & 27, 2009 Lakeview Free Methodist Church in Saskatoon, SK November 13, 14 & 15, 2009 Centennial Free Methodist Church in Belleville, ON
Ministers 2009 Conference
CALGARY [west] September 29-October 1, 2009 Registration deadline: September 17 WESLEY ACRES [east] October 20-22, 2009 Registration deadline: October 5 For more information please visit the website www.fmc-canada.org
An Eternal Nation of Many Cultures
anadian author and social/political thinker John Ralston Saul has recently challenged the nation with his book, A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada. Saul is regarded by Utne Reader as one of the top 100 Visionaries of the World. Saul, the husband of former governor-general, Adrienne Clarkson always pushes buttons with his writings, and this one is no different. Saul argues that Canada is a Métis nation, heavily influenced and shaped by aboriginal ideas: egalitarianism, a proper balance between individual and group, and a penchant for negotiation over violence are all aboriginal values that Canada absorbed. He says all the important traits we Canadians feel we have inherited from Western Civilization — tolerance, inclusiveness and fairness — we have actually learned from Canada’s native peoples. In Saul’s view, the earliest settlers started by intermarrying with natives, which is why he calls Canada a Métis civilization. Aboriginals taught the bumbling Europeans pretty much everything worth knowing, from how to live on the land, to how to live with and listen to each other. But then, in the 19th century, the British imperial elite decided to squelch this native contribution with its glorious oral and humane traditions. The imperialists did this by rewriting the history of Canada.
I believe that we are called, as followers of Jesus, to hold our Canadian identity with loose hands ... God is in the process of building a new city, a new humanity, an eternal nation that is full of people from different cultures, languages, tribes and nations. Several years ago, Queen’s University professor, Will Kymlicka, wrote a helpful article entitled, “Multicultural states and intercultural citizens.” Kymlicka makes a distinction between how government can facilitate the structures for peaceful habitation of differing cultures, and yet individual citizens still have to make choices about how to relate to their neighbours across the back fence. He suggests that: an intercultural citizen is someone who not only supports the principles of a multicultural state, but also exhibits a range of more positive personal attitudes towards diversity. In particular, it is someone who is curious rather than fearful about other peoples and cultures; someone who is open to learning about other ways of life, and willing to consider how issues look from other people’s point of view, rather than assuming that their inherited way of life or perspective is superior; someone who feels comfortable interacting with people from other backgrounds, and so on.
Michael Adams, another Canadian author [Unlikely Utopia: The Surprising Triumph of Canadian Pluralism] and pollster [Environics], comments on Saul’s book: Aboriginal peoples are one of Canada’s most rapidly growing demographic groups. Now at 1.2 million, they are close to the numbers estimated to have been here when Jacques Cartier first set foot on this land. An even larger number of us (1.8 million) claim aboriginal ancestry and both these numbers have been growing in recent censuses more rapidly than new births, suggesting that we are in fact witnessing a renaissance of aboriginal identity in this country - an emerging spirit that Saul is sensing.”
While I haven’t fully digested A Fair Country, my international experience causes me to agree with the basic premise of Saul’s previous book, The Collapse of Globalism. There, Saul suggested that despite the conventional wisdom of Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, globalization is not reducing friction between cultures. In fact, during this most inter-connected period in human history, there are more and more ethnic conflicts popping up everywhere – making “a spiky world” rather than a flat one. My contention is that as our human and cultural identity is minimized to promote supposedly universal values [a flat world], people feel they have to push back – with force. We have witnessed this recently in the conflict in Sri Lanka, which showed up predominantly on our TV screens in Canada because of our large Tamil-background population, particularly in Ontario. In the attempt to make a unitary, centrally controlled government, one ethnic community feels marginalized, their identity minimized, diminished, in the process, and so they fight back with the various resources at their disposal.
In Hebrews 11, the New Testament writer understands that “by faith Abraham… made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
I believe that we are called, as followers of Jesus, to hold our Canadian identity with
loose hands. We need to understand ourselves – all of us, however deep our roots are in this land (mine almost 200 years) – as strangers and foreigners. God is in the process of building a new city, a new humanity, an eternal nation that is full of people from different cultures, languages, tribes and nations. No, that’s not Canada! Whatever we do in Canada with the multicultural idea, it falls short of what God has in mind. In our Canadian context, the people of God must take the lead in not minimizing the culture and identity of those around us, whether that be Aboriginal, Francophone, South Asian, Mexican, or WASP. And this will require adjustment – that’s the social meaning of ‘metis’ – to learn from, to adjust to, even as “the other” is learning from and adjusting to, us. And that’s a ‘shalom’ thing – seeking the peace and welfare of our neighbourhoods, cities and nation. Dan Sheffield works regularly with FM churches seeking to find appropriate responses to their increasingly diverse neighbourhoods.