Many have asked, “When are we going to get the next “It’s Monday Again”? IMA was a weekly up-date sent out by Dr. HC Wilson, the former DS, and now our DS Emeritus. We’re beginning a new chapter in the life and seasons of The Atlantic District. Two words have been resonating in my spirit for a few weeks now…“under sail.” There is some rationale behind those two words, and I will share that with you at a later date. But today I want to bring you up-to-date on some of the high spots that have transpired in the last two months across the district. For some of you, part of this edition will contain what in your mind is “old news,” and for others, you will be “catching up.”
First, I want to thank Dr. HC Wilson for his front-line help in July and August. Joanne and I had already made plans to be in Australia and New Zealand from July 16 – August 16, and these plans were well underway prior to our having any knowledge that we would be leaving our local church ministry in order for me to become DS in Atlantic. Dr. Wilson bridged the gap during that time, and cared for any pertinent and pressing matters within the district while at the same time picking up the very large responsibility of Global Partners. He continues to be a very available resource, as needed. This is a great help as I get in touch with district matters and the more recent history of various things within the district. It has contributed to a very smooth transition, as DS transitions go!
Cliff Notes on the LeRoys – Our last Sunday in the local church we pastored (Victory Highway) was July 1st. We arrived in NB the first week of July, visited Moncton to search out a house to live in pending election as the DS, and following that election made an offer on a house less than 2 km from the District Office, which was accepted. We were in the final service at Beulah Camp (July 15) and took part in the DS “baton pass” with Dr. HC. We left the next day for Australia, and had the privilege of being with my oldest sister (Melva Ridgway, wife of Dr. James Ridgway) and her husband for a couple of weeks. I had not seen her in 12 years. We arrived on her birthday! We connected with a lot of other family members in Australia as well. In addition, we had the privilege of sharing this trip with my brother Duane, and his wife Shirley, who live in Toronto.
After seeing some other parts of Australia and New Zealand, we arrived home Aug. 16th, closed on our house Aug. 20th, went to NY and loaded up our furniture Aug 27th, crossed the border on the 29th (after jumping through all of the appropriate hoops at U.S. and Canadian customs), and unloaded our furniture in Moncton on Aug. 30th. In the midst of all this I had several emails and communications with Dr. HC as the ministry on the district moved along. We have been in the full swing of things since our arrival back in North America, and have begun the Sunday schedule of DS visits to the churches and conducting pastoral installations. There will be nine of those in total this year.
Now, let me give you some “high spots” from the last two months. This will be a “longer than usual” list this time but shorter in future communications! This is a combination of “high fives” and FYI stuff, up-coming events, and things that have impacted our district family (and a little beyond) where we need to stand together and let brothers and sisters in Christ know they are supported, and in our thoughts and prayers. Please understand this is in no way an exhaustive account of life in the district. With that said, here it is…
- The Amherst NS Wesleyan Church, under the leadership of Pastor Raymond Fancy, is in the process of purchasing a church and adjacent house from the Roman Catholic Church for a cost of approx. $300,000 (including putting in a new furnace and doing some cosmetic touch-ups). Their target is to have the papers signed by the end of this month. They are waiting on the paperwork from the seller’s lawyer. This new building (new to them) will double their seating capacity to about 250. The DBA has given its unanimous approval for this purchase to proceed and WIF has given their approval as well. During October they will prepare the facility and property for use with a target date of November 1st for occupancy. The present church facility will be rented out for the next two years with a rent-to-own arrangement in place. Also, a house that the church owns is also being rented out with the possibility it will be sold within one year. Together the monthly rent on these two properties will off-set the monthly mortgage payments on the new facility, and any property sold will be used to off-set the new mortgage. Congratulations to Pastor Raymond and the Amherst congregation on this positive forward step.
- Madeleine Allard and her husband Murray Carpenter direct Medical Mission International, and attend the King’s Valley Wesleyan Church. They, along with their son, Jean Francois, were part of a medical team to Lima, Peru, in August in the aftermath of the earthquake there. They expected to see around 1000 people in the two weeks project. The Gospel was presented to all the people coming to the clinic after they had received consultation, while waiting to receive medicine.
- On September 9th, King’s Valley Wesleyan Church (Pastor Don Ingersoll) launched two new services – The Gathering at 9:00 a.m. and Mosaic at 10:45 a.m. – to better serve their constituency. The Gathering is more of a blended service and Mosaic is aimed at the younger generation. This past weekend they had 682 people in attendance with about 100 people more in the second service than the first. It takes courage and hard work to take the calculated risks necessary to impact the culture and expand the Kingdom.
- Rev. C. K. and Grace Chitty were involved in a very serious car accident enroute to Halifax on July 9th, ten weeks ago today. Grace spent 10 days in a Halifax hospital, and another 12 days in rehab in Indianapolis. CK suffered scrapes and bruises, and his injuries weren’t as severe as Grace’s. However, especially for Grace, it’s been a long road of recovery. I spoke with them both this weekend. Grace’s prognosis is good. She is using a cane but is returning to work this week. They ask for a continued interest in your prayers.
- Vivian Mercer, mother of Pastor Ron Mercer (Lower Hainesville Wesleyan) passed away on July 15th. I was overseas at the time. Dr. L. D. Buckingham represented the District at the funeral which was held in the Norton Wesleyan Church on July 20th.
- We were saddened to receive word that Tricia (Perry) Sullivan, wife of Pastor Mark Sullivan, Belleville Wesleyan Church (Ontario), passed away unexpectedly July 23rd following complications resulting from surgery. The Sullivans have three teenage children. Tricia is formerly from Perth-Andover, NB, and they pastored on the Atlantic District in Houlton, ME with Pastor Bud Fancy. Mark is the brother of Larry Sullivan, who also pastored on the Atlantic District and currently does some supply work. Let’s remember this family in our prayers.
- We celebrate the Global Partners appointment of Selinda Ingalls as a career missionary to Swaziland. The General Administrative Council of The Wesleyan Church unanimously approved this appointment on September 5/07. Her home church is Central Wesleyan, Grand Manan, NB.
- Pastor Michael and Tammy Hutton (Sydney, NS – Harbour) would like to thank the District family for the many prayers, cards and calls regarding the recent tragic loss of Michael’s sister and brother-in-law. At this time, Michael and Tammy, along with Michael’s parents, are determining the best plan for the four boys (ages 12, 9, 8 and 4) who have been left orphaned. The children will be living with Michael’s parents for the next 10 months to complete their school year in Lubbock, TX. After that, Michael and Tammy are planning to take guardianship or adopt the boys into their family. The Huttons ask for your prayers as they seek out all the legal and immigration details for this to occur over the next few months.
- Rev. Conard E. Stairs, a former President of Bethany Bible College, celebrated his 80th birthday July 13th. His family had a “drop by” celebration time for him at his Beulah cottage and we were privileged to be among those that stopped in to visit and help him celebrate.
- The Atlantic District celebrated the life of Mr. Paul Mullen, even as it was saddened by the loss of his presence among us. Paul, retired for these last several years, was a long-time song evangelist in the Reformed Baptist Church and then the Wesleyan Church after merger. He was listed as a Commissioned Special Worker in the lay category of ministerial appointments with the Atlantic District. His funeral was held in the Tabernacle at Beulah Campground on August 23rd with his pastor, Rev. Wayne Briggs, officiating. I was honoured to participate in this service along with several others. Approximately 500 people attended. Please remember his wife, Carrie, and their family in your prayers during these days of adjustment.
- Joanne and I were privileged to take Drew and Amy (Inman) Donovan to breakfast in Auckland, New Zealand on August 11th. They are Go-Net missionaries, working in the New Zealand Wesleyan Church. They love their work, and seem to be making a very good adjustment.
- Joanne and I were happy to attend a celebration event on August 20th in honour of Bill and Dorene Alexander’s 40th wedding anniversary. These good folks have been long-standing laypeople in both the Corbett Avenue and Fredericton First Wesleyan Churches. Bill has served on the Board of Trustees of BBC and currently serves as a BOT member of Houghton College.
- Mrs. Merle Smith, widow of Mr. Ed Smith, known and loved by many of our District family, passed away recently. Her funeral was held at Olivet Wesleyan (Pastor Tim Guptill) on September 6/07.
- Many have been asking about an up-date on the status of the Beulah Wastewater Project. Approximately $140,000 has come in toward this project to date. Dr. HC Wilson has agreed to continue to be involved with the process especially as it relates to government grants. This is still in process. Last Monday, Dr. Wilson and I met with Jochen Schroer, an environmental engineer with Environmental Services, Inc. In the immediate, he is working on the wetlands aspect of this project and dealing with watercourse alterations. We still have some easement matters that need to be finalized and our lawyer, Chipp McCrea, is helping with that. It is necessary that these important details be put in place before the major physical aspects of the project get underway. It does not appear that those will start in this calendar year. We will keep you posted as new information is available.
- We requested prayer recently for Rev. Walter Fernley, one of our retired pastors who had been hospitalized. He was released four days ago but has returned to the hospital today because of complications with medications. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.
- Please be in prayer for Pastor Andrew and Kristi Benson. Kristi is experiencing some complications with her pregnancy. She’s been placed on 24-hour bed rest, and is currently in the Moncton Hospital. Kristi is 27 weeks into the pregnancy, and she needs to reach another 3 to 8 weeks. Please keep them in prayer. (Kristi is the daughter of Dr. & Mrs. H. C. Wilson.)
- South Coastal District Superintendent, and former BBC Board of Trustees member, Dr. Dan Berry and his wife, Shelley, were in a terrible car accident a week ago. They were very seriously injured, and remain in need of much prayer.
- I’ve had the privilege of conducting two pastoral installations this month. Pastor Tim (Gayla) Guptill was installed at Fredericton – Olivet on September 9th, and Pastor Peter (Cathy) Hayes was installed at Havelock, NS yesterday. I believe both of these men and their wives are very good fits for their new assignments, and there is a positive spirit of expectancy in both congregations.
Some immediate up-coming events:
- “An Hour on Sunday” is a 2007 Willow Canada Arts Conference that will be hosted at King’s Valley Wesleyan, September 21-22. Contact the Kings Valley Church office if you need more information.
- Reminder: The Atlantic District Ministerial will be held at Beulah Camp September 25 – 27. Information has already gone out to all District personnel from this office. Please contact us if you have any questions. We are looking forward to this important time together!
- The Married Couples Retreat will soon be here (September 28 – 30 at Beulah Camp). Pastor Wayne and Threasa Doiron will be giving leadership for this District event. Registration information has been sent to the churches. It’s still not too late to be part of this special and valuable time.
“It’s what you do in February that makes a difference in July.” – Lance Armstrong