Happy New Year for 2008! This has been the year for snow storms on The Atlantic District. As of January 2nd, Moncton has had 165 cm (65 inches) of snowfall, and experienced four major storms within a week right after Christmas. The snowfall amount is running 67% above normal for this time of year.
Rev. Kirk Perry, pastor of the Grand Harbour Central Wesleyan Church, Grand Manan, NB and Joanna Hanson were married on Grand Manan Island on December 1st. We extend our congratulations and best wishes to the bride and groom. Please accept our apologies for this belated announcement in Under Sail. It was an oversight on our part. We always enjoy celebrating memorable events in the lives of people within the district family.
Pastor Ken and April Banks, Truro, NS – Central Nova Wesleyan, welcomed a new addition to their family, Adasa Helene. She came into the world at 9:04 am on Friday morning, December 21st. She weighed 7.4 lbs and was 19 inches long. Adasa has a big brother, Colby. Both Adasa and her mother are doing fine.
Pastor Dan McGuire reports that Head of Millstream had over 90 people out to their Christmas program. This was more than 4 times last year’s average attendance.
Pastor Jasper & Debbie Rideout, Westchester Wesleyan, had their Christmas Concert on December 23rd and called it, “The Christmas Extravaganza”. They had 73 (lya 27) attend and most of these were unsaved folks from the community.
Robin White, career missionary with Global Partners and part of our Atlantic District Team, is happy to report that his visa came just before Christmas. Robin flew to Nagoya, Japan on Friday, December 28th to begin his responsibilities overseas. We pray God’s blessing on his ministry.
Rev A.D. Cann, one of our distinguished retired pastors, went home to be with the Lord on Christmas Day. He passed away peacefully at his residence, Autumn Lee Retirement Home, in Moncton, NB. He was 93 years of age, and was predeceased by his wife, Zora Mae (Hicks) Cann. Rev. Cann was ordained in 1940. He served pastorates in Westchester, NS, Hartland, NB, Yarmouth, NS, Seal Cove, Grand Manan, NB, Blacks Harbour, NB, Sussex, NB, Liverpool, NS and Pleasant Valley, NS. His funeral service was held on Saturday, December 29th at the Moncton Wesleyan Church with Pastor L. D. Buckingham officiating.
My last two weekend visits in the churches have been with pastors that are “twenty year” men. December 16th Joanne and I were in Grand Bay at River Valley Wesleyan Church with Pastor Dave and Carolyn McElhinney. Pastor Dave planted this church and is in his 20th year as the senior pastor. The culture of this congregation provides an inviting and warm environment for people as they come to church. The positive influence and witness of the congregation and the pastoral staff extends well beyond the church’s walls. It was our privilege to worship with them, and then enjoy a meal with the McElhinneys.
We enjoyed a couple of weekends at home in Moncton over Christmas, and then last weekend (1-6-08) we were in the Maple Ridge Wesleyan Church. Pastor Wayne and Grace Blinn are in their 20th year of ministry with their congregation as well. We enjoyed connecting with this congregation, not only during the service, but also at a church-wide potluck dinner afterwards. I was reminded as Joanne and I visited with the Blinns that something powerful happens when we are faithful to God’s Word, and live with integrity in our communities, and before our neighbours. There are folks in Pastor Wayne’s “neck of the woods” that have never darkened the church door but if they needed a pastor, they’d call Wayne. The Blinns have also made an impact on a lot of lives through some hands-on, practical ministry. They have kept 47 foster children across time, and currently have a little guy, Alex, that has been in their home for about a year. He came to them as a small baby. Thanks for this living example of coupling our faith with our deeds as James instructs us to do.
The General Department of Evangelism & Church Growth (E&CG) and Bethany Bible College (BBC) are making available a wonderful opportunity January 15-16, 2008 at BBC. They are putting on a Church Planter Pre-Assessment Seminar. The College has generously opened this event up to people outside the student population. Those of you who may have an interest in church planting, or are wondering if you have the gifts to plant a church, should seriously consider attending this event. Rev. Chris Conrad, Director of Church Planter Development for E&CG, will be the main presenter. Chris planted a very successful church in Spearfish, SD, while I was the DS in the Dakota District. I can tell you first-hand that he comes to this event not only as a presenter, but as a seasoned practitioner. The cost of the pre-assessment event is normally $550 per person but anyone who has any intention of serving as a Wesleyan pastor can attend for free. The cost for those outside The Wesleyan Church is $50. Meals and accommodations will be your own responsibility. The seminar begins at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday (after chapel). Dr. Stephen Elliott, Director of Church Planting & Pastoral Ministry Programs at BBC, is the contact person at the college for the seminar. If you would like to register for this event, or require additional information, please contact Dr. Elliott at email@example.com and he will be more than happy to assist you.
In our last DBA meeting (December 5th-6th) the DBA, at the D.S.’s request, appointed Rev. Dale MacDonald to serve as the chairman of the District Board of Ministerial Development (DBMD). The DS, who has been serving as the chairman, will now serve as the vice-chair. This arrangement will help to re-distribute the workload of the DS. The DBMD dates for the spring meeting have been set for Monday, March 31st to Wednesday, April 2nd. The meeting will be held at Bethany Bible College in Sussex. The new chairman will send out more detailed information to those involved in the near future.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada will be partnering with churches in the Moncton/Saint John region to present epicentre. This is a seven phase initiative that will take place through the first eight months of 2008 and is designed to challenge youth, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey, to learn about their faith and how to share their story with their peers. This process also helps teens piece together valuable aspects of Christianity, including their moral decisions and Christian responsibilities. Some phases are designed to teach teens about God, while others are designed to help teens love God. This program promotes friendships and relationship building opportunities for their friends to hear of the Gospel of Christ. The first event, called hallofuzion, is planned for Moncton Wesleyan Church on February 8th at 7 pm, and at Full Gospel Assembly in Saint John on February 9th at 7 pm. Dave Steeves (Moncton Wesleyan) is the chairperson for the Moncton venue and Roger Graham (Forest Hills Baptist) is chairperson for Saint John. Mark Miller is the BGEA project manager for the event and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact him or one of the chairmen if your church is within this region and you have further questions.
“Giving people a little more than they expect is a good way to get back a lot more than you’d expect.” – Robert Half