FXCA december update

december 2010 update

hi there!

I am awestruck by the natural beauty of the aurora captured by photographer Stan Richards over some fields in Iowa some Decembers ago. I have never seen these “northern lights” in such startling colours, and can only imagine the feelings of those who observed it themselves. God has privileged us to live in this creation of incredible beauty. Sometimes a beauty that can be better seen in the dark of night than in the glare of day. With the lengthening hours of darkness up here in this northern hemisphere, comes the seasonal reminder that, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus said to his disciples, rather surprisingly if you ask me, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

That being the case, the questions become, “How are we shining? Where are we shining?” The light of Jesus needs to be shining in us, through us, in every situation. Through our actions as well as through our words. May the joy of the Lord Jesus fill you so full of his light, that it can’t help spilling out in countless different ways!

Thursday December 2nd is the next mission shaped ministry gathering. The topic this time is a key one for developing fresh expressions of church: Gospel and Culture. Our guest speaker is Joe Manafo, a Free Methodist church planter from Sarnia ON. Joe has been a workshop leader at more than one of our Vital Church Planting Conferences, and is always challenging and refreshing. He is also the creator of a documentary on church planting across Canada entitled One Size Fits All?, now available to watch free here.

Please pray for Joe as he travels (a three hour drive), for Connie as she leads, for Alexander as he masterminds the technology, for the Niagara group as they drive in for the session, and for all our participants, in the classroom and scattered across Canada and (of course!) Barbados.

the mission shaped intro courses that have been going on throughout the fall in Alberta and Ontario are wrapping up, at this time of year. Presenters and organisers will be pouring over the evaluations of the participants, and then, informed by those evaluations, the FXCA team will get to work reviewing this six session course. Watch out for news of the results in the new year.

After the rush of vision days in October, there were no days in November. The evaluations from the three days in October were excellent, showing increased appreciation of the slides, which had been revised and given a new look by ours friends at Fresh Expressions in the UK. The new look slides which we had adapted for Canada were tested at the Halifax, and Mint Brook vision days. Watch out for new of forthcoming vision days here and also on the FXCA website. Contact vision @freshexpressions.ca to find out more organising a vision day in your area.

Two Vital Church Planting Conferences for 2011

Edmonton, May 26-28; Toronto, May 31-June 2nd,  both conferences will feature  Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield and former Archbishops’ Missioner and team Leader of Fresh Expressions, as well as a Canadian speaker.

Messy Church News

Another great Messy Fiesta (MF) was held in Southern Ontario at Trinity Anglican Church, Simcoe on November 6th.  Thanks so much to our hosts for providing a wonderful venue and a great lunch!  Our Messy Church theme for the session was the ‘Beatitudes’ (also known appropriately as the ‘Be Attitudes’) where participants from Simcoe, London, Exeter, Woodstock, Brantford, Paris and Sarnia engaged in activities including making mobiles, sun catchers, beaded hearts, frig magnets, ‘good neighbour’ books and having fun doing the ‘Smarties Challenge’.  Worship centred on the theme as Nancy Rowe (MF co-presenter) engaged participants to be part of the ‘talk’ about blessings. A highlight of the day was hearing from Brian McGuffin (Trivitt Memorial Church, Exeter) who talked about how they started a MC in September with a group of 50 at their first session, followed by 80 at the October MC! This opened up lots more discussion.

The next Messy Fiesta will be on Saturday, January 29th at the Burgessville United Church (a bit south of Woodstock ON).  Please click here for more information and a registration form. 

In April or May we will hold another Messy Fiesta in the Hamilton/Burlington area for both newcomers and for those who have begun their own Messy Church so watch for news in the new year.

Contemplative Fire Niagara holds its first Gathering

The members of the Contemplative Fire Niagara Core Team have been meeting faithfully for half a year, experiencing its rhythm and what it has to offer. We have found it to be a community of support which helps to connect spirit (being) and action (doing) with understanding (knowing.)

Contemplative Fire Niagara will offer several ways for individuals who are searching for more depth in their lives to connect with a community which supports their holistic growth in the faith. This will include a monthly “Contemplative Fire Gathering” on the third Sunday of the month. These gatherings include an experiential way of connecting with the weekly scripture, some stillness, and a Eucharist. Each gathering will be a unique experience designed to allow a deep recognition of the scripture.

The first gathering was held on November  21st at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Burlington with a group of about forty. The Rev. Anne Crosthwait (Contemplative Fire Canada– Community Leader) joined the group to welcome the participants. Our next gathering will be hosted by St. Jude’s Church in Oakville, ON on January 16th at 7 P.M. We hope to have Churches across the Diocese to host a Contemplative Fire Gathering. Perhaps you would like to speak to your ministry team about it!

Contemplative Fire is for anyone, from the regular Church member to those who have no affiliation with a Church but might be exploring how Jesus can make a difference to their lives.

To learn more about Contemplative Fire Niagara and to learn about future Gatherings, please visit: www.contemplativefireniagara.blogspot.com. The members of the Contemplative Fire Niagara Core Team are Stuart Pike, Jean Archbell, Suzanne Craven, Max Woolaver and Dorothy Hewlitt.  Contact Stuart Pike at pikes123@sympatico.ca for more details.

Please continue to pray for all of us involved in encouraging “the development of fresh expressions of church alongside more traditional expressions, with the aim of seeing a more mission-shaped church take shape throughout the country.” Yes, it’s a huge job, but with God nothing is impossible, even though it is seldom easy!

Thanks so much for your interest and support of Fresh Expressions Canada throughout this year. At this time of the year, if you would like to support the work financially you can do so online by clicking here and filling out the form, selecting “Other,” from the “I would like to direct my gift to:” options, and writing Fresh Expressions in the “Please Specify” box.

Wishing you a watchful Advent and a joyful celebration of Jesus’ birth!

the Fresh Expressions Canada team, Ryan, Sue, Thomas, Jenny, John, Connie &…

Nick Brotherwood

Team Leader-Fresh Expressions Canada


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