April 2018 Renewal Day

Our spring 2018 Renewal Day and Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at Vaughan Community Church.

Speakers include:

David Haskell from Laurier University, co-author of the groundbreaking study “Theology Matters”, which found that theological conservatism of attendees and clergy were important factors behind church growth.

 
 

Prof. John Stackhouse of Crandall University (via Skype), who has lectured widely and was the author of the July/August 2017 cover story in Faith Today: A mini history of evangelicalism in Canada.

 
 

Mark your calendar! Registration is to begin in November. Details to come.

We Make House Calls

Our executive director, Rev. Andy Cornell, is available to speak to congregations, sessions and any group or court in the PCC.

He will bring a message of hope for all ministers, elders and congregations — of every theological stance — who are feeling increasingly alone in an unbelieving world.

He will bring a message of encouragement for ministers, elders and congregations who are experiencing division over the debate over sexuality and marriage in the PCC.

He will bring a prayerful presence and a listening ear.

He will bring a reminder that the church is a precious body and that our primary purpose is to proclaim to the world that Christ — the son of God — came to reconcile us with the Father. We are to put all selfish, human desires aside and seek God’s precious will for our lives. We are to submit with joy to power of the Holy Spirit to sanctify and empower us to do the work of our triune God.

  • Cell/text: 226-229-1695
  • Email: renewalfellowshippcc@gmail.com

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A Prayerful Presence at General Assemblies

Report From The Floor of GA 2017

Commissioners to 2017 General Assembly chose neither the narrow path nor the wide avenue on the issue of human sexuality, opting instead to take a rocky road.

A decision on whether to allow ministers to immediately bless same-sex marriages and begin the process to redefine marital union was deferred. A strong majority of commissioners, after several hours of debate, voted to put off a vote on recommendations 11-15 of the joint report of the Committee on Church Doctrine (CDC) and the Life and Mission Agency (LMA) until the CDC's "final report on this matter has been received and that the General Assembly, in its wisdom, has made a decision regarding The Presbyterian Church in Canada's doctrine concerning same-sex relationships."

However, the PCC's lower courts, congregations and colleges will be asked to study and report on two weighty theological documents, one advancing the current stance that marriage is between a man and a woman, the other calling for marriage to be defined as two people. Perhaps as a parting blow in response to the deferral, a smaller majority of commissioners added two additional reports for study, both leaning liberal: the LMA report responding to the overtures on human sexuality and a paper entitled "The church and people who are transgendered and intersex."

In addition, the church is being asked to consider the document "Where from here?" – which asks for direction on which course to take on the issue: status quo, wholesale change or allowing individual minsters and congregations to choose on their own. The report also invites other suggestions.

Assembly thus set the course for a twisting and turning journey over the next seven months, sending five documents on the sexuality issue to congregations, colleges and lower courts for study and reporting by the end of January 2018.

The only firm decision was to finally enact a process to repent on past acts of hatred against those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and intersex communities. The initiative will see steps taken to create a space for the LGBTQI people to tell their stories, draft a response and identify "concrete actions" to remedy the situation and report back within three years. It's intended to fulfill a section of the 1994 General Assembly statement of human sexuality which was never acted upon.

A related issue, gracious dismissal, received wide consensus. For the third year in a row, Assembly received several overtures seeking the right of congregations to leave the PCC with their buildings. The requests came from sessions and presbyteries representing both sides of the human sexuality debate. As it was the year before, the official response from the church was lukewarm. However, very early in the assembly, commissioners agreed to strike an immediate committee to form terms of reference for a special initiative to address the issue. Those terms were approved unanimously. Among the issues to consider: the ongoing wounds that resulted from the congregations which left in 1925 to create the United Church of Canada, the regulatory framework that currently prohibits congregations from leaving the denomination with their buildings and the potential harm to the PCC and the wisdom of allowing gracious dismissal to take place prior to a final decision on sexuality.

The debate over human sexuality revealed more than a theological divide in the PCC. Our growing, ethnic-based congregations – Korean especially – emerged as vibrant supporters of the traditional, biblical witness, and yet overlooked by General Assembly office. Last year's document, "Body, mind and soul" was never translated into Korean. Many of those congregations have not bothered with the debate, being more focused on the actual work of the church. On a motion from the floor, assembly agreed to provide translations of the two main documents in the human sexuality debate by the end of August. (This lack of recognition of our ethnic congregations – which are among the healthiest – was ironic given the significant amount of time the PCC has spent on repenting for its part in the Indian residential school era.)

Lost in the haze was another report on an equally weighty issue: physician-assisted suicide. Commissioners received a detailed and moving pastoral report on the issue prepared by a CDC sub-committee. It was also sent down for study, with a reporting deadline of January.

The final tally: congregations are being asked to read and report on six documents by the end of January. That's a lot of reading, study, prayer, discussion and decision.

It could have been worse, in more ways than one. Had commissioners voted in favour of recommendations 14 ("That being in a same sex civil marriage shall not be a reason to bar any person from candidacy or ordination as a minister of Word and Sacraments, elder, or designation of a diaconal minister") and 15 ("Christian marriage is a union in Christ whereby two individuals, regardless of gender, become one in the sight of God") then congregations would have had two other issues to study and report within the same deadline. Judging by the overwhelming majority which voted in favour of deferral, there was no appetite for a life-and-death decision at the 2017 General Assembly.

The lack of a decision was heartbreaking to some in the liberal camp, who were noticeably frustrated. At the same time, some on the traditional side are grieving the death of a once-vibrant, biblical denomination; to them, the end is inevitable. Thus sets the stage for an eventual showdown.

Rev. Andy Cornell <amcpastor1@gmail.com>

Report from the Prayer Room at General Assembly 2017

Renewal Fellowship has hosted, for the past number of years, a Prayer Room during General Assembly. This reflects, since its inception thirty-five years ago, our focus on prayer for our denomination. This focus has crystallized in our "7:14" initiative, praying morning and night, claiming the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

There has been a host of prayers rising to God's throne, culminating, I believe, in this Assembly. It was my privilege to be in the Renewal Fellowship Prayer Room during this Assembly, to uphold in prayer all of the commissioners, staff, committees and our moderator during the proceedings. This year's Prayer Room was located in a residence, which was very handy for anyone between sessions, and also for me. I was joined, of course, by many others off-site and a good number in the Assembly hall as well. There were Presbyterians there representing PSALT (Presbyterians Standing for Apostolic Love and Truth) and Dunamis, and their own congregations. What a blessing!

An added blessing was to join the early morning prayer times with the moderator, along with as many as twenty others, joining in one accord to pray. I was grateful for the text messages from the floor, keeping me up to speed on proceedings, and for those who dropped by to pray.

Certainly, our task is not over. The call to pray goes on! Thanks be to God for faithful men and women who know the power of prayer and who hold up the PCC in their prayers. Pray for Holy Spirit to breathe his Life into our congregations, to empower them to carry out Christ's mission on earth, to make his name known and to bring in his kingdom here, as it is in heaven.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be at Assembly, for the people I met and talked to. Thanks be to God!

Rev. Nan St. Louis, Chairperson, Renewal Fellowship Board <nanstlouis1@sympatico.ca>

What We’re Doing

In humility, Renewal Fellowship seeks the guidance of the Holy Spirit in fulfilling God’s vision.

This is what we’re currently up to (click scroll down for details on each item):

  1. Call to prayer campaign.
  2. Daily prayer calendar.
  3. Anniversary dinner and executive director installation.
  4. Spring 2018 Renewal Day and AGM.
  5. House calls: Executive Director on the road.
  6. A prayerful presence in the courts of the church.
  7. Renewal Fellowship Prayer meetings.
  8. Telling encouraging stories.
7-14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

The Renewal Fellowship is committed to pray for the Presbyterian Church in Canada. This logo is a call to pray each day at 7:14 AM and 7:14 PM.

 

Who We Are

We are believers. We are Presbyterian. And we are men and women working and praying for the church to be renewed as a more authentic expression of what Christ wanted in his church: rooted in scriptural truth, guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, putting Christ above all things.

We are ministers and ruling elders, members and adherents, musicians and organists, Sunday School teachers and youth leaders, students and retirees.

We represent every province and presbytery.

At last count, our membership stood at 425 members/adherents and 99 ministers.

What We Believe

Our Doctrinal Basis

We are in full agreement with the faith confessed by The Presbyterian Church in Canada in the subordinate standards of the Westminster Confession of Faith as adopted in 1875 and 1889, and in the Declaration Concerning Church and Nation of 1954, Living Faith, as well as with the standards and subscription for membership and leadership within The Presbyterian Church in Canada. In reaffirming these convictions, we wish to underline the following emphases of our biblical, evangelical and reformed faith:

  • The unity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in the Godhead.
  • The sovereignty of God in creation, revelation, redemption and final judgement.
  • The divine inspiration and entire trustworthiness of Holy Scripture as originally given, and its supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
  • The universal sinfulness and guilt of all people since the fall, rendering them subject to God’s wrath and condemnation.
  • Redemption from the guilt, dominion and pollution of sin, solely through the sacrificial death (as our Representative and Substitute) of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.
  • The bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and his ascension to the right hand of God the Father.
  • The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.
  • The justification of the sinner by the grace of God through faith alone.
  • The indwelling and work of the Holy Spirit in the believer.
  • The one Holy Universal Church with is the Body of Christ and to which all believers belong.
  • The expectation of the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why We’re Here

Our Concerns

We are fervently praying for:

  • the Lord to renew his church for authentic witness and consistent obedience.
  • fresh power and authority for the local congregation through the breath of God in our structures and organizations.
  • responsible participation in the courts of the church.
  • a deep hunger for the teaching of the Bible and its authority.
  • a recall to lives of biblical purity, especially on the part of those entrusted with leadership of the people of God.
  • a zeal for reaching, through the instrumentality of a national church with a rich heritage, those lost without God and without hope in the world.
  • fellowship for believers to give encouragement to continued witness and ministry within the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

Our Purpose

We have four specific objectives:

  • We will promote publications and other materials that clarify, especially for lay people, the concerns we share, providing biblical and theological comment, and encouraging practical and specific ideas. This originally included Channels, a magazine that was published two or three times a year until 2006 when it became an e-publication with articles archived on this website.
  • We will encourage the development of programmes in the areas of prayer, intercession, small groups and evangelism. These programmes will be supportive, constructive, and positive.
  • We will organize conferences, seminars, and other activities which will facilitate the long-term process of strengthening the reformed and evangelical witness within our denomination.
  • We see the Renewal Fellowship as a means to contact and encourage those concerned about renewal within the Presbyterian Church in Canada. It gives us an opportunity to relate to each other and discuss the issues from time to time arising within our denomination, mutually encouraging and strengthening one another.

Contact the Renewal Fellowship

The Renewal Fellowship Office

For more information on any events contact the Renewal Fellowship Office:

The Renewal Fellowship Board

  • Ms. Karin Cowan, Parry Sound, Ontario, Treasurer (2018*)
  • Rev. Germaine Lovelace, Kenora, Ontario (2018)
  • Mr. Leslie Ruo, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (2018)
  • Miss Janie Robertson, Mississauga, Ontario (2018)
  • Rev. Duncan Cameron, Scarborough, Ontario, Secretary (2019^)
  • Rev. Stan Cox, Paris, Ontario, (2019)
  • Mr. Don MacMillan, Gloucester, Ontario (2019)
  • Rev. Ian McWhinnie, Oakville, Ontario, Vice-Chair (2019^)
  • Rev. Timothy Ferrier, Chesley, Ontario (2020)
  • Mr. Bill Harrison, Stoney Creek, Ontario (2020)
  • Rev. Ian Shaw, Simcoe, Ontario (2020)
  • Rev. Nan St. Louis, Durham, Ontario, Chair (2020*)
  • * – second three-year term
    ^ – third three-year term

The Renewal News Editorial Staff

The Prayer Calendar Editorial Staff

Support Us

  • Become a member or renew your membership in the Renewal Fellowship online using Visa or MasterCard — $10 per household; $100 per congregation.
  • Donate securely online to the Renewal Fellowship using Visa or MasterCard, or send your cheque to the Renewal Fellowship office at 3819 Bloor Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario M9B 1K7
  • Like us on Facebook – The daily Prayer Chain reminder
    will appear on your Facebook page. Facebook
  • Contribute an Article for Renewal News — Send it to the Renewal News Editor: Rev. Andy Cornell <amcpastor1@gmail.com>.
  • Submit your prayer requests — Send them to the Prayer Chain Editor: Linda Shaw <rfprayer@gmail.com>.
  • Subscribe to the Renewal Fellowship e-mailings. These include Renewal News, the Prayer Chain, and conference brochures. The Subscription Management Page makes it easy to manage your own subscription in all the following ways:

    • Cancel Your Subscription
    • Vacation-Stop Your Subscription — set your own re-start date.
    • Change Your Address
    • Switch the Frequency of Your Prayer Chain E-Mailings — there are daily, weekly, and monthly versions.
    • Send Gift Subscriptions — recommend the Renewal Fellowship E-mailings to people who would appreciate them.
  • Advertise with Us — Do you have a position in the church or an event that you want others to know about? The rates are: $75 for Renewal News alone, $75 for the website alone, and $100 for both for a quarter-page advertisement. Contact the Renewal News Editor: Rev. Andy Cornell <amcpastor1@gmail.com>.