Merry Christmas Eve – one more sleep! The Barrington Christmas Tree constructed with lobster pots reflects the locale perfectly. And even better, Christmas invaded the South Shore of Nova Scotia this month with a coordinated Advent series entitled, “Our Generous God Calls Us to Be A Generous People,” including Brazil Lake (Kevin Myers), Havelock (Shawn Craven), Port Maitland(Barry Vernon), West Head (Vince Robertson), Woods Harbour (Jason Parker), and Yarmouth (AJ Plaizier). Practicing what was preached, each church participated in a Love Week serving their respective communities with relevant projects. Full details of these events are available on each church’s Facebook page but for example, Brazil Lake (pictured below) provided a Christmas dinner for local volunteer fire department and their families.
The Lakers also took five days of Christmas goodies in for the staff of Carleton Consolidated Elementary School. Amazingly these six churches volunteered 1,383 hours and gave $59,425 back into their South Shore communities!
AJ Plaizier shared, “As good as this was for our communities, it was good for our churches to see the ‘stronger together’ value become a reality. Huge thanks to Shawn, Barry, Kevin, Jason, and Vince for leading this.”
Yesterday Saint John First (Graham Perry) celebrated Christmas Sunday by welcoming people with homemade donuts and eggnog coffee. Chris Stephens was present to lead worship for an excellent service to a packed church. This rounded out the weekend following the annual free Christmas breakfast to the community on Saturday. Graham shared, “We had a great crowd with lots of new contacts. We also delivered breakfast to the police station in uptown Saint John for emergency response officers.”
Moncton (Joel Gorveatte) experienced an unprecedented Christmas gift offering yesterday. 100% of this offering was given in support for Harvest House to assist in 14 more beds for walk-in accommodation in the battle against homelessness for the city of Moncton. The goal was $65K and the congregation erupted into praise for the Lord’s provision as Joel announced to Director Cal Maskery a total offering of $106,700! Not only will this offering open the 14 new shelter beds, with construction beginning next week, it will also increase the quality of the shelter with new bathrooms and lock boxes to secure guests’ belongings. And because of exceeding this goal by more than $40K, it will provide operational money to get the Women’s Recovery open providing another 10 beds! Joel declared the vision once again that, “Our dream is for Moncton Wesleyan to become the greatest volunteer mobilization force this region has ever seen.”
Joel is pictured above with Her Worship Dawn Arnold (Mayor of Moncton), and Harvest House Executive Director Cal & Rose Maskery. The couple on the right are Dan & Irene Ferguson. Dan was the Warden who released Cal from prison 36 years ago and now leads a weekly Bible Study for Harvest House – a ministry led by his former inmate! Now THAT’s a Christmas miracle!
I was in Washington DC area from Sunday through Tuesday this week for meetings with five other District Superintendents from the North East Region. Amongst other invigorating discussions regarding Kingdom multiplication, we toured the latest innovation of the New Life (Mike Hilson) network (pictured above). Mike Hilson (Beulah Camp 2018 Evangelist) shares the vision for “New Life Fitness” (pictured above) as a church/business model which will include regular features of small group Bible Study, relationship evangelism, and Sunday morning worship complete with a cardio workout during worship and sermon during cool down.
An exciting word from Joanne Ozon (Hope), “Our church has grown from an average of two children to eleven children in past two months. [Yesterday] morning our children acted out the nativity scene with 65 in attendance. God is moving!”
The District Office will reopen on January 2nd. LEAD PASTORS: Please text/email me your total attendance and number of Christmas Eve Services this week and I will post an update next week (pics welcome).
Ellen joins me in wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas with your loved ones and a Happy New Year! I was Ordained in 1995 by Dr. Earle Wilson and trust you will enjoy this Facebook post capturing his thoughts for the season…
Christmas Eve THOT: At Bethlehem God began to speak a new language. John passes by the tender scene of the Babe in swaddling clothes. He leaves that to the other Gospel writers. Rather John speaks of the incarnation from heaven’s side . . . the others from earth’s side. They begin with Bethlehem, John begins with the “bosom of the Father.” Luke dates his narrative by Roman emperors and Jewish high priests . . . John dates his, “in the beginning.” In John we meet Christ not as a babe but as The Word. The Old Testament is full of instances when God spoke, but God expressed Himself in Christ as never before. The en-fleshed Word that the eternal God spoke in Christ is the language, not of creation, but of recreation – redemption. The glory of Christmas is not the glory of absolute Deity on parade, it is the glory of self-emptying Deity in passionate service for the sin-struck race. In the person and work of Christ; in the sinless life and sin-bearing death of the Word made flesh, mercy and tribute are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Rejoice! (Earle Wilson, GS Emeritus)
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.