“[God] has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.” Luke 1:69-70 (NLT)
We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year as you celebrate the birth of the Savior in 2011!
Dr. L.D. Buckingham Retirement Announcement: On Sunday, December 11, 2011, Pastor L.D. Buckingham and his wife, Lois, stood before the Moncton congregation and gave early notice of their June 30, 2014 retirement. Pastor Buckingham spoke of the importance and need of a well processed transition to a new Lead Pastor. His early announcement is intended to accommodate that desire. A Succession Planning Committee has been in place for close to a year now, and they are ready to move into a Search Committee role. Never one to sit around resting, Pastor Buckingham enjoys excellent health, and looks forward to being able to travel more, continuing to work with other church leaders in an advisory and leadership development capacity. He is well known for his inspirational speaking, and will be a tremendous asset as he serves the Kingdom in this new role beyond June 30, 2014.
Executive Pastor Kevin Matthews, Moncton Wesleyan, reports that MWC completed their 39th consecutive presentation (seven performances) of the Living Christmas Tree on December 4th, under the direction of Associate Pastor Don & Janet Ingersoll. Pastor Kevin says the Ingersolls did an “unprecedented and amazing job.” In addition, scores of volunteers out front and behind the scenes made it possible. This year’s combined attendance was up by more than 1000, with a grand total of more than 11,000 people present! But most importantly, 257 people indicated a decision to accept Christ as their Savior! Follow-up is now underway. Several who had never been to MWC before showed up on Sunday morning, December 4th, to “check out” the church! A passion to reach folks far from God and introduce them to the Savior has been in this church’s DNA for a long time!
Pastor Scott Prime, Kentville – New Hope Wesleyan, told me they had just under 800 people in attendance the weekend of December 4th to the three performances of their Christmas presentation and their two regular Sunday morning services. This is the second year that New Hope has done a major Christmas outreach to their community. It has heightened the church’s visibility in the community. Offerings were up significantly, and many people were seeking God. New Hope is the ‘talk-of-the-town’ in a good way!
Pastor Andrew Maves reports that Digby Wesleyan Church had 488 people attend their Christmas Presentation over three nights this past weekend (Friday through Sunday). There were eleven salvations! PTL!
Pastor Ryan Farrell, Nackawic Wesleyan, shares that they had their annual Christmas Presentation at the church December 11th with 96 people in attendance. This is a “standing room only” crowd in their building! There were many new faces present from the community and surrounding area. It’s wonderful to see this positive momentum in our Nackawic Church.
Christmas at Kingswood: Bethany Bible College introduced a wonderful Christmas celebration four years ago that reaches out to the community of Sussex, and involves the community as well as those who are part of the College. It has now become a much anticipated event in the area. Though the celebration is in its fourth year, this year I attended the first ever Christmas at Kingswood (University) event. Professor David Klob did an outstanding job in leading it, and the whole presentation was excellent. The place was packed out for the afternoon performance, and again for the evening presentation. This is a wonderful addition to anyone’s Christmas celebrations!
In the last couple of weeks, I sent information by email to our pastors concerning two bi-vocational pastors on the District who have both had health issues impact them. They hold secular jobs to supplement their incomes and when they are working they are paid; when they don’t work they are not paid. Rev. Scott Lewis, Lower Hainesville Wesleyan, has been off work (from his secular job) since mid-November. He works construction and has a herniated disc. Rev. Nelson Koonce, Bangor-Pathway, has a medical condition that requires a fairly expensive medication, and recently he had to be hospitalized for four days, a costly venture in the U.S. I want to thank the churches, organizations, and individuals who have responded to the needs of both the Lewis and Koonce families during what are very stressful days for them. This is much appreciated. Those of you who would like to assist either of these families, and have not done so to date, please contact the District Office for further information on how you can help. Thank you.
I was in the Lower Hainesville Wesleyan Church the weekend of December 4th. There were 35 people in attendance (lya 25). Pastor Scott Lewis was present, though he was limited in his involvement due to his back injuries. The lay participation is always high at LHWC, and they stepped in with no problem to assist the pastor with the service. I brought greetings on behalf of the District and gave the morning message. After the service, we made our way to the Upper Hainesville Community Hall for the annual Church Christmas Party where the congregation honors their pastor and his family for their service to the church and the community. Everyone enjoyed a home cooked turkey dinner with all the “fixin’s.” This small congregation blessed their pastor in a big way.
I was in the Sussex Wesleyan Church yesterday to share in their Sunday morning service. There were 272 in attendance (lya 239). Jayme Hall and the Worship Team led us in meaningful worship. I appreciated the attention the congregation is giving to community needs. The church has taken on a needy local family in the community (through the Salvation Army) and is providing Christmas for them this year. It was wonderful to see the Christmas parcels being placed on the platform. The congregation’s involvement will make a difference for this family’s 2011 Christmas. In addition, at the close of the service, a spontaneous offering was taken to assist the two bi-vocational pastors I mentioned earlier, Scott Lewis and Nelson Koonce. Sussex has joined the ranks of others to assist both of these families in a time of need. Thanks for caring. Joanne and I enjoyed a lovely dinner and a good time of fellowship with Pastor Rob & Val MacCallum, and their family in their home.
Rev. David Way, Pastor of Care at Moncton Wesleyan, had a heart attack on Saturday while he was in Nova Scotia. He was taken to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in Amherst, NS. I spoke with him by telephone this morning. His vitals are good, he is stable, and doing well under the circumstances. He is waiting to be transferred to the Saint John Regional Hospital where they will do further tests before he is released. Please pray for him and his wife, Debbie, and their family during these days.
Several of the Atlantic District Snowbirds have been asking me when this year’s Atlantic District Snowbirds’ Breakfast is going to be held at Brooksville. It will not be in January of this year. Other commitments have taken precedence and I will not be in Florida at that time. No date has been determined at this point. If it happens, it will be later in 2012, most likely March. We’ll keep you posted.
The next Under Sail will come your way in January, 2012.
“Christmas is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” – Dale Evans