It has been an amazing week for lifting up the Name of Jesus all over the region! As you read the reports from around the district, remember – every number has a name and every name has a story that matters for eternity. Each one has been touched by the truth of the Christ Child. The video link in the final church report below shares the powerful testimony of two former atheists who came to Christ in 2018 and were baptized yesterday morning!
There were 160 who gathered to worship Christ at the Christmas Eve Service in Trinity (Joel Bridges). Christmas Sunday featured the Trinity Kids with 112 present. Joel celebrated, “There were lots of non-attending family members who visited to see the kids! Our pre-Christmas average was 78. Beginning some small groups this winter – Excited!”
Presque Isle (Bud Fancy) completed their December series, “A Simple Christmas,” with an amazing music program. The whole presentation was an invitation to Jesus. 965 people attended two services and 6 people accepted Christ. The atmosphere was electrifying as people truly celebrated Christ’s birth and the gift God gave us. This YouTube link records the opening number and includes Worship Arts Pastor Victoria Rowe as one of the drummers. The program also featured an original song co-written by Victoria (Come See) which recently hit the iTunes Top 200 list.
Kings (Brent Ingersoll) celebrated the Saviour with 5800 people during six presentations of “Christmas at the Imperial” and saw 93 people turn in a card indicating their decision to follow Christ – PTL!
Havelock (Shawn Craven) presented “Christmas on the 340” to a capacity crowd of 183 on Christmas Sunday. Over 30 dozen cookies were given out for people to deliver before Christmas to first responders and essential services staff who had to work this Christmas season. And best of all Shawn shared, “Was honoured to lead a man to Jesus last night in our community who is dying from cancer. God is cool. An answer to prayer for some in the family who have been praying for years. I love giving Satan a beating!”
Moncton (Joel Gorveatte) had an increase of 50% in attendance (over 2017) on Christmas Eve with 1730 present. Joel announced that a final total of $109,000 was raised in the Christmas offering for Harvest House. Outreach Pastor Nathan Adams was featured on behalf of the church in this CTV News report.
New Hope (Scott Prime) had a total attendance of 480 on Christmas Eve (120 at the two-month old Kingston Campus). To top it off, yesterday was a record attendance (typically the lowest Sunday of the year) with 290 present between the two campuses.
Other Christmas Eve highlights…
Deep Water (AJ Thomas) with 558, (pictured above)
Digby (Andrew Maves) with 215,
Hillside (Jay Guptill) with 390,
Lower Brighton (Jacob Ebbett) with 31,
Maple Ridge (Mike Agrell) with 185,
Nackawic (Ryan Farrell) with 44,
Saint John First (Graham Perry) with 262,
Sussex (Jim Agrell) with 378,
The Lighthouse (Tim Guptill) with 190,
The River (Steve Sinclair) with 217 (Polar Express Outreach),
West Head (Vince Robertson) with 65,
Westchester (Karen Purdy) with 31, and
Woodstock (Dale MacDonald) with 285 (300+ at Christmas Café),
Jason Parker (Woods Harbour) sent this message late on Christmas Sunday, “We had a crazy genuine first-time commitment today. His daughter had accepted Christ at a service in the summer. He attended the fishermen’s service where Cal Maskery (Harvest House) was the guest speaker last month. He attended today and indicated he wanted to come forward to accept Jesus. And so, this morning in front of our whole church he made the very public decision to follow Jesus and the place went bonkers! It was one of the most genuine conversions I have ever witnessed. Praise Him! God is doing crazy awesome stuff.”
Denn Guptill (Cornerstone) shared, “One of my favourite part of Christmas Eve at Cornerstone is reading to the kids at the Children’s Service. It’s like having a hundred grandkids.” Cornerstone raised $18,000 this Christmas for World Hope International (Canada) to drill wells in Sierra Leone. There were 800 in attendance at the three Christmas Eve services in addition to 308 present on Christmas Sunday morning.
World Hope International Canada has been raising money for clean water with the goal of reaching 1.3 million dollars globally by January 1, 2019. Executive Director Tanya Nace shared, “Funds raised will be matched by some generous US donors and we are very excited that the Atlantic District has been joining in to help transform communities around the world. Today is the last day to contribute, so feel free to hop over to https://www.worldhope.ca/clean-water-challenge/ before midnight tonight and join in the fun!”
This full bottle of water represents a thousand dollars raised for the clean water project during the advent season at Island (Aaron Reimer).
Journey (Matt Maxwell) has a new “Nations Wall” décor in its sanctuary. The top row of flags represents nations of current attendees. The bottom row represents mission fields supported. Journey had nearly 850 at two Christmas Eve services. Journey celebrated four baptisms yesterday (pictured below). One couple has been attending less than a year and shared in this video testimony they declared their decision for Christ recently after a decade of atheism. Matt shared, “Not a dry eye in the place!”
Because of our Global Collective core value, Atlantic District churches give the first and best of our international support to Global Partners – the missions arm of our denomination. In 2018, we have partnered with others to see 175 missionaries serve globally, 173 Wesleyan churches plants, over 22,000 people baptized, and most importantly, over 28,000 people gave their lives to Jesus!
I challenge you all to join me in 2019 and set your phone alarms for 9:38 (Matthew 9:38) to pray daily to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up workers for the field. To inform and focus your intercession, Global Partners has provided this 2019 Prayer Guide.
Camp Ministry Update (Part Two). The DBA has approved an 18-month Interim Overseer model for the significant operations and impact of District Camp Ministry. Effective January 7th, Rev. Steve Bradley will be serving as Beulah Interim Overseer through the summer of 2020. He will provide direct upline supervision for Caretaker Bruce Cheney and Conference Coordinator Doug Tatton. Welcome aboard, Steve! We are grateful for your willingness to serve in light of your well established relationship with existing leadership and with the community at Beulah as you continue to serve in the Lead Pastor role with Browns Flat Fellowship during this time.
And speaking of Camp Ministry – check out these Facebook videos (courtesy of Brock Symonds) of John Symonds and his family skating on Lake Galilee at Beulah on Boxing Day!
THOT: Jesus’ New Year challenge for us all, “Be about my Father’s business.” (Pat Steeves)
On Second THOT: What you dwell on the longest becomes the strongest. (Pat Steeves)
Bonus THOT: Advice for young Dads: Never tell your wife, “I thought the kids were with you.” If my wife asks where they are I always say, “We’re playing hide and seek! Wanna come find them with me?” (Pat Steeves on Luke 2:44)
January 9-12, 2019
Orlando, Florida at The Caribe Royale
More than a minister’s conference. The Gathering is a reunion of ministry family and friends. A sabbath for our souls. Coming together to stop, rest, pray, play and thrive. A chance to celebrate what God is doing in our lives and ministry through meals, stories, inspiration and worship. We know this will be a gathering you won’t want to miss! Head to wesleyan.org/gathering – there’s still time to register!
Fuel 2019 Next Gen Leaders Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bring your team of Next Gen workers, leaders & volunteers for breakouts, sessions and connection with other Next Gen leaders. This two-day conference is for both Student and Kid’s ministry leaders, pastors and volunteers. Join us for time to refuel our souls, build deep relationships and learn together! For more information please contact District Youth Co-Presidents, Drew Donovan (Moncton) or Martin Stehouwer (Saint John First).
In EFC’s Canada Watch (Oct/Nov), the lead article by David Guretzhi deals with the question “How do Christians live out our witness in this new context?” It is both inspiring and challenging—well worth reading.
The Oct/Nov Canada Watch edition also contains an article on Renegotiating Faith. CCD Pastor Rick Hiemstra explains the research in a 25 minute interview or watch the 45-minute webinar recorded in early October featuring key members of the research team.
Another valuable resource from EFC is the Palliative Care Toolkit. View the booklet online or request your own copies at 1-866-302-3362 (toll-free). EFC is requesting prayer for their submission against Expanding Access to Assisted Suicide. Read the background story.
Keep up with what the EFC is doing as they seek to be a positive influence and to apply biblical principles to contemporary issues.