Under Sail

We are coming into that season once again when some pastors and churches will go through a transition.  The process has already begun for a few.
Pastoral Changes:
Rev. Reg Thomas, Brazil Lake Wesleyan Church, has resigned after fourteen years of pastoral service to this congregation.
Pastor Peter Beckwith, Minister of Youth at Fredericton First, will be concluding his ministry service with the church at the end of June.
The churches in Ingomar, Lower Hainesville, Presque Isle, and West Head are already in the search to determine their next lead pastor.

Pastoral Recall Votes are due to be conducted in nineteen of our churches the first two weeks in March. This is subject to the pastors indicating their availability and allowing their names to stand for vote.
Update on Atlantic District Ministerial, Feb. 3-5, 2009:  Within the last two weeks I was contacted by Dr. H. B. London’s office and informed that Dr. London is not able to join us as our speaker for our District Ministerial.  This is due to complications following a recent surgery.  He is out of the hospital and improving, but doctors have ordered “rest and no travel” for an undetermined amount of time.  We are still going forward with our 2009 District Ministerial.  Obviously, due to these circumstances, we are going to an alternative plan.  The Atlantic District has an “arsenal” of very capable people from a variety of age groups and backgrounds.  We will be hearing from some of them during our time together.  I’m excited about this, and looking forward to what God is going to do.  The theme around which our main sessions are built is “Hot Buttons”.  Our ministerial personnel have already received a brief explanation of what the main sessions will address along with a schedule.  Pray that these days would be a wonderful time of spiritual refreshment and fellowship for our pastors, ministers, and their spouses.  We currently have 120 registered attendees.
Joanne and I visited the Saint John First Wesleyan Church January 4th.  It was my privilege to bring greetings on behalf of the District and also share a message in the morning service.  Rev. Eric Hallett is the lead pastor and Adam Kline is the assistant pastor.  This was Joanne’s home church as a child and teenager, and it holds good memories for her.  I appreciated the leadership and participation of both pastors in the service, and the friendliness of the congregation.  We enjoyed a meal with the Halletts and the Klines following the service.
There were 65 people present at the Brooksville Snowbirds Breakfast January 10th.  Several traveled some distance to join us including one couple who live two hours away!
Joanne and I attended the annual GS/DS Institute January 12-13, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida.  We were privileged to hear from two guest speakers.  David Kinnaman, author of Unchristian and President of the Barna Group, spoke on “What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity.”  Dr. Michael Sytsma, an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and a licensed professional counselor, spoke on “Understanding and Preventing Ministerial Sexual Misconduct.”  Among the agenda items, which included seminars on issues facing districts and local churches, was input on the 2011 Pastors Gathering to be held at the same location January 4-7, 2011.  More information will be forthcoming on this event as we move closer to the dates.
Pastor Dan McGuire, Head of Millstream Wesleyan, reports that walls are up, pipes are in the ground, and electricity has been run in order to provide new restroom facilities for their church.  Plans are also being made to add a new fridge and stove to the basement area as they endeavor to provide an outreach to their community, especially in the area of children.  New children have been coming out for their Thursday children’s program, and some new adults have been out on that evening as well. Over 75 people turned out for the Christmas program (lya 15).  Congratulations to Pastor and people for taking these steps.  On a different note, Pastor Dan is in pain as he fell a week ago and broke his shoulder blade.  Ask God to bring healing and a quick recovery to Dan.
Mrs. Bernice Cooke, mother of Pat (Rev. Wayne) Briggs passed away Sunday, January 18, 2009.  She was very involved with the Seal Cove Wesleyan Church throughout the years with Sunday School and prayer meetings.  The funeral service was held Wednesday, January 21st from the Seal Cove Wesleyan Church with Pastor Wayne Briggs officiating, and Rev. Ward McComiskey and Rev. Charles Bain assisting.  We extend our condolences to Pat and the family.
On Friday Feb. 6th at 6:30 Presque Isle Wesleyan Church will be showing the movie “Fireproof” which is a powerful movie released by the same people who produced “Facing the Giants”.  “Fireproof” is a movie depicting the life of a fireman and his wife as they struggle through various issues in their marriage.  This is a very powerful and real testimony of the power of forgiveness and God’s willingness to restore a troubled marriage relationship through relationship with Him.  Admission is free with a fellowship time after the movie. Following this, on February 28th, PIWC will be hosting a Focus on the Family simulcast entitled “Focus on Marriage, Seeing Your Marriage Through God’s Eyes.” Speakers include Dr. Gary Smalley, Beth Moore, Dr. John Trent, Gary Thomas, Dr. Del Tackett, and worship leader Jeremy Camp. Tickets are $50.00 U.S., which will include lunch.  For more registration information contact Patty Browning at patty.browning@mmgins.com or Pastor Wayne Doiron pastorwayne@piwc.org or contact the church office at 207-764-0021.

Pastor Connie Stewart, Shelburne Wesleyan Church, says they will also be utilizing the movie “Fireproof” as well as the outreach material and suggested sermons.  They are showing the movie this Friday and Saturday night, holding a Valentine’s Banquet Feb. 14th, and then conclude the series on Sunday, Feb. 15th with an opportunity for couples to renew their vows.
I’m sure other churches on the District are utilizing this tool as well.  It provides an excellent outreach opportunity, so if you are not aware of it, or haven’t looked into it, you may want to check it out.
Thank you for your prayers for the three situations I alerted you to in the last Under Sail.  Here’s a brief up-date:
James Bremner is making good progress following his serious accident, and the family is encouraged in many ways.  However, there are still several hurdles in this on-going process such as physical therapy.  Thank you for your continued prayer support.
Stephen Bain has undergone eight surgeries thus far.  Healing is taking place.  The family remains cautiously optimistic about Stephen keeping his right foot.  The key factor is that infection does not set in.  The family expresses their thanks for the many contacts and prayers.
We visited with Norma Lee and Hazen Ricker last Saturday.  Norma Lee began radiation January 15th and will undergo ten treatments.  The doctor told her that the brain cancer is inoperable.  Please keep the Rickers in your prayers.
In this same vein, earlier this week I talked with Karen Cooney, wife of Pastor Mark Cooney, Millville Wesleyan.  I pass this information along with her permission.  Karen has been continuing on a journey towards a diagnosis of some sort of disease which effects her muscles, and hence her strength.  She has been referred to the Montreal Neurological Hospital for further investigation, and has already made two trips.  There has been serious concern Karen may have ALS.  However, at this time, they do not believe she has developed ALS.  That’s good news!  Currently they feel it is some sort of rare muscular disorder where there is disturbed communication between the nerve and the muscle.  Often this is caused by an autoimmune disorder.  The immune cells target their own cells – this response produces antibodies that attach to affected areas preventing the muscle cells from receiving messages from the nerve cells.  This is the “nutshell version.”  This process has been long, and some days it seems to be almost never-ending for the Cooneys.  But God has the answer already.  Karen shares that she so appreciates the support and prayers of His people.
Kings Valley Wesleyan Church will be hosting a Fund Raising Dinner for the ministry at Caton’s Island.  The date is April 24th at 7:00 pm.  There will be a catered five-course meal, and live entertainment.  The money raised will go towards a much needed major building project on Caton’s Island.  We are looking for 400-500 guests to attend.  It will be a great evening, so put it on your schedule now, and bring some friends with you to this event.  The churches will be receiving further information, posters and promotional material soon.

Please Note:  In the last Under Sail I mentioned the 2008 Wesleyan Discipline online; the Discipline is available to purchase on-line, but not available online.
“Whom you would change, you must first love.”                                        – Martin Luther King Jr.

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