“Taking Grace to New Places” was the theme for the 2012 Easter Offering for North American Missions. Some of our churches participate in this, and it is certainly a worthy endeavor for all of our churches. The goals are to intensify prayer, raise partners for more evangelism and church growth, and pursue our Wesleyan passion for multiplying Christ-followers and new churches in cities across North America. The General Department of Evangelism & Church Growth (E & CG) of The Wesleyan Church has taken a radically new approach for the Easter Offering this year. Instead of asking every pastor to make a direct appeal to those in the pews, they are simply asking that each Local Board of Administration set aside a gift of at least $150 or more to send to E&CG during the month of April. Every church can do this, and I would encourage you to do so! The Easter Offering is about working together to multiply healthy churches and Christ-followers. Thank you for helping to fulfill this wonderful theme: “Taking Grace to New Places.”
Pastor Ken Banks, Truro – Central Nova Wesleyan, reports that their Acts of Kindness Sunday on April 1st was a positive experience for both the congregation and the community. They had 35 people take part in either giving away free flower packets door-to-door, topping up washer fluid for free at a local gas station, or giving away hot dogs at a busy street corner in town. They handed out “business card” invitations for their Easter service during these events. Prior to going out on this venture, the whole church (90 people) gathered together at 10 am for praise and prayer, and then the Kindness Teams headed out at 10:30 am. Rev. Connie Stewart preached a message to those who chose to remain, and Pastor Ken went with the teams. Their goal was to see 170+ in attendance on Easter Sunday, and they had 138 in bad weather! (lya 83).* The church is following up with the new people who attended. Pastor Ken is excited not only about the new contacts, but also what the experience did for the church people.
Portions of the Maritimes experienced a snow storm on Easter Sunday. Moncton had 23 cm, and a few churches had to cancel services. Others pressed on! At least 80% of our churches (or more) had to deal with the weather
Pastor L.D. Buckingham, Moncton Wesleyan, reports that their church had just under 2000 people in attendance on Easter Sunday in spite of the bad weather!
Pastor Scott Lewis reports that on Easter Sunday morning Lower Hainesville Wesleyan joins annually with the Staple Settlement Baptist Church for a Sunrise Service on top of Crabbe Mountain. This year, in spite of a snowstorm, they had 26 people standing on top of the mountain at 7:30 in the morning! Pastor Scott says he was quite white when he got in his truck to head to breakfast!
Pastor Glen McVicar reports that Lower Brighton Wesleyan (lya 46), under the direction of Willie Thompson, held an “all-nighter” for the teens on Thursday night into Good Friday morning. There were 40 teens and 8 workers. The theme was “I Can” and the teens made a wall out of 777 pop cans at one end of the gym. It was pretty impressive! The children had an Easter Party and the Easter Egg Hunt had over 2,000 chocolate eggs to find (wow), and 55 attended the event! Easter Sunday morning was a great celebration and one man gave his life to Christ! That makes two men who have given their lives to Christ recently in this congregation.
Pastor AJ Thomas, Halifax-Deep Water Church, reports that they had 4 baptisms Easter Sunday morning, and “a whole mess of people trusting Jesus for a comeback in their lives!” There were 293 in attendance (lya 170).
Pastor Bill Lea, West Head Wesleyan, reports that they had over 100 attend their Good Friday service, 100 attend their 6:30 Sunrise and Breakfast Service, 247 attend their 10:30 AM worship service (lya 84), and 150 attend the 6:00 PM service. Pastor Bill says, “The icing on the cake was a young lady that gave her life to the Lord Sunday evening. They have also reached a new high of 130 for Sunday School, which is amazing. God is definitely on the move in the West Head community. One excited gentleman, a carpenter by trade, remarked as he was leaving the service, “Buy the wood and make up the plans! We’re growing fast!”
Pastor Nick Graham, Maple Ridge Wesleyan, says they had an awesome time Easter Sunday morning in church. It was a very high-spirited service. Even though it was snowing, they still had 244 in attendance (lya 103)! They also baptized 10 people – 9 were planned, and 1 was on the spot! Pastor Nick says, “I won’t soon forget this day. I’m so stoked for what’s yet to come!”
Pastor Gary Churchill, Miramichi Wesleyan, reports that a musical drama entitled “What Do You Need to Believe?” was presented on two consecutive evenings of the Easter weekend (Good Friday & Saturday) with a combined attendance of 290 (lya 52). There were 43 people involved in the production as cast and crew. Among the responses, eight people indicated that they were uncertain or confused about what they believe about Christ and want to know more. Three people were baptized on Sunday, April 15th!
Pastor Nelson Koonce, Bangor Pathway, reports 94 for Easter (lya 65) and they also had ten people join the church!
Perth-Andover, NB Flood Clean-up
On Monday (April 9th) of the NB Easter Break a busload of forty-five volunteers from Kingswood University and Sussex Wesleyan Church traveled to Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, to help with the clean-up efforts after the Saint John River overflowed its banks creating the worst flood in Perth-Andover’s recent history. Over 500 residents were evacuated from their homes the end of March and approximately 25 million dollars worth of damages occurred. Organizers Rev. Kirk Sabine of Kingswood University and Rev. Rob MacCallum, Lead Pastor of Sussex Wesleyan, worked with personnel from Samaritan’s Purse to coordinate the relief efforts of their volunteers. Perth-Andover Wesleyan Church, one of the buildings damaged in the flood, was filled with over eight feet of water. Although the sanctuary was not affected, Senior Pastor Rev. Reg Thomas and church members have completely gutted the basement. Pastor Reg says, “Our people are in good spirits and we are back in our own church for services. We are getting back to some sense of normalcy.” The basement of their church is off-limits, and they are dealing with constricted space issues as a result. Pastor Reg expresses his thanks, and that of his congregation, to all the churches on the District who have been so kind and gracious in sending donations to help in their time of need. He says the support has been both overwhelming and a blessing! They are still waiting on decisions to be made as it relates to government financial aid. The church will need at least $150,000 to restore and repair their building (and that’s a ballpark number only).
Speaking of “clean-up…
Beulah Camp Work Day is going to be May 26th, with a rain date of June 2nd. There are always a number of things that need to be done in order to prepare for the camping season. This is a great opportunity for the men, women, and teens of your church to be involved in a broader ministry while at the same time building relationships with each other. Put this information in your church bulletin, and if you have a group that would be willing to take part, please contact Bruce and Roxie Cheney at Beulah Camp, and let them know how many from your church will be participating. This information will aid in the planning of the projects, and also the meal preparation. Contact Bruce at Cheney@beulahcamp.com or (506) 468-2900. By the way, the water is now on at Beulah!
Beulah Camp 2012 is set for July 6-15. Pastors Steve Wilson and Larry Wilson are the special speakers; Scott & Elizabeth Rhyno are the worship leaders and will coordinate our music; EXALT will be returning – it’s the 10th anniversary of this Choir; the Webb Family will be joining us for a service mid-week; ministries for children and teens will be happening through the week; other special events will be taking place as well. Check it out on the Beulah website which has been re-tooled, and is now up and running – www.beulahcamp.com
General Superintendent Dr. Jerry G. Pence has accepted a call to be the Senior Pastor at Brooksville Wesleyan Church in Brooksville, Florida. Dr. Pence has served as a GS since 2005. He and his wife, Calene, plan to move to Brooksville in early July, 2012.
Pastors and Churches:
Fredericton – Crosspoint Vote Results – Crosspoint voted 99% in favor of having Pastors Conard Symonds and Mark Brewer serve as co-pastors for the next two years. Pastor Conard’s responsibilities will decrease and Pastor Mark’s will increase over that period of time. Both men are currently on the Crosspoint staff.
Stefan Gilbert, a 2011 Kingswood University graduate, has been appointed by the District Board of Administration to serve at the Shelburne Wesleyan Church. Pastor Ben Medel has resigned. Stefan will take up his new responsibilities at the normal transition time for pastors and churches following Beulah. Stefan’s wife, Deborah, is also a Kingswood University graduate, Class of 2010, and the daughter of Pastor Denn and Angela Guptill.
Pastor Greg Hanson resigned from the Charlottetown – Sunrise Church April 15th. He and his wife, Shera, have served this congregation for thirteen years as church planters. Greg will be taking a part-time position at Kings Valley Wesleyan and working with Pastor Mark Worth in the area of Spiritual Formation. I will be meeting with the core people of the Charlottetown congregation next week regarding next steps.
Rev. F. Lyle Harvey has been retired and living at Beulah for the last 4-5 years. He passed away on Easter Sunday, April 8th, at the Saint John Regional Hospital. He has Grand Manan roots, and is more widely known to our older pastors and ministers. He pastored in six Wesleyan Churches, two in Eastern Canada and four in the USA. His ministerial credentials are held in the Eastern New York-New England District (formerly Champlain District) where he has been listed as one of their Retired Ordained Ministers. A memorial service was held to honor his life at the Brown’s Flat Wesleyan Fellowship in Brown’s Flat, NB on Friday, April 13, 2012. Rev. Stuart Steeves brought the message. There was also a memorial service for his family and friends in the USA in Catskill, NY on Monday evening, April 16th. We extend our condolences to Lyle’s wife, Gwenda, and the family.
Rev. Connie (Duane) Stewart’s mother, Mabel (MacPherson) Horton, passed away April 18th. She lived in Truro, NS. Her funeral was held at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Truro, NS on Sunday, April 22nd. We extend our condolences to Pastor Connie and the rest of the family.
Linda Lamos, District Director of Children’s Ministry, has held two District Huddles for Children’s Ministry workers this year, one at Presque Isle Wesleyan in March, and the most recent one April 21st at Yarmouth Wesleyan. In Yarmouth, 60 people attend a power-packed 4 hours that included rallies, breakouts, and lunch together. Every church represented received several free resources provided by Group Publishing. There was positive feedback, and excitement is building in the Yarmouth area for what can be accomplished in Children’s Ministry. The next Huddle will return to Presque Isle Wesleyan on September 15, 2012.
“Spiritual emptiness results from being too consumed with our own way, work, and will. Dethroning self is the pathway to fullness. This is our Creator’s great desire for us.” - Mark O. Wilson, Filled Up, Poured Out, p. 50
“We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
*Note: lya = last year’s average (primary worship attendance)