July 10, 2011
My previous congregation was St Matthew’s Abbotsford where I served from 1982 to 1987. They are a wonderful Christ-centered Spirit-filled congregation that are being evicted today from their premises. I honour their Rector the Rev Mike Stewart, their Bishop the Right Reverend Dr Trevor Walters, and their people for showing the courage of their convictions. They, like our congregation St. Simons’ NV did over six years ago, are putting their faith into action, and showing the world that the Gospel matters more than buildings. Everything has to be laid at the foot of the cross. They are in the words of Hebrews 10:34 ‘joyfully accepting the confiscation of their property’ for the sake of Jesus Christ and his Word.
The people of St Matthew’s will be leaving their old building and process to their new premises at Grace Church where they will be worshipping for the forseeable future.
Grace Church 2087 McMillan Road Abbotsford
Letter from Mike Stewart (July 6, 2011)
My Dear Brothers and Sisters of Saint Matthew’s
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your Name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield (Psalm 5. 11, 12).
Today has been yet another milestone in our life together as a Christian community. Within a few hours, our belongings were moved to our new home at Grace Church! People turned up in their cars, vans and trucks ready and willing to transport our stuff, and within a few hours we were done. It has been a real blessing in the midst of much grief to see us pulling together in so many ways as a family of God’s beloved people. Over the past few weeks we have been packing and loading boxes, drinking coffee and eating cookies together, praying for one another and generally assuring one another that God is with us and that He continues to guide us and will provide for us. God bless you all for the Godly and exemplary way in which you have dealt with this major transition in our life and witness as a Church! Your light shines brightly for all to see.
There are still a few things to highlight as our time of departure draws nearer.
- Our Service of departure, Solemn Procession to Grace Church and Holy Eucharist begins in our current location this Sunday (July 10th) at 12.30pm. We are anticipating a very large number of people from the community and beyond who are coming to support us and walk with us. We have had so many messages of support from Churches in our Diocese and Province, and from local Churches in Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Christian Leaders Network. Some of these messages will be read out on Sunday.
- Beginning on Sunday July 17th we are holding one Sunday Service only at 8.30am. This Service will be a Holy Eucharist with children’s ministry, using the new liturgy that your Clergy have carefully and prayerfully put together.
June 20, 2011
-an excerpt from my upcoming book ‘Restoring Health: Body, Mind and Spirit’, a sequel to ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’.
Have you ever been stuck at a key transition-point in your life?[i] I have. Being stuck sometimes feels very painful. At other times I’m oblivious to it. A key turning point for me was when as National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries, I attended the 1998 ARM/SOMA Pre-Lambeth Leadership Conference at Canterbury’s University of Kent. Walking into a seminar, God ‘whispered’ to me that I would be receiving a message. The Rev Freda Meadows, who ministers with the International New Wine Director Rev Bruce Collins, suddenly called me out of the crowd and said:
You don’t need to run in keeping up with others. Enter into God’s rest. Keep your eye on the finishing line (which is Him). You will be moving into new things…word of knowledge… You will be gifted in this area…You are in an apprenticeship time at present. You will disciple others. You are a man of God’s Word, things of the Kingdom. You are a person of vision…a visionary…long-range. God is going to put you in a key place and you will find yourself training and discipling others.
Ten years later, the Rev Freda gave further insight into the 1998 Canterbury prophecy, saying:
…the underlying thrust was to trust God for the outcome of the plans He had in using you and that while you were to do all that was necessary, it was not for you to try and make anything happen but to follow the Lord’s leading using the gifts and skills He gave in the best way you knew and through what you had learned as your experience grew.