Jun18SunJune 18, 2017
Dear Friends in Jesus,
It has been a joy to serve you these last 13 years. God has been good and faithful. As a nation we are celebrating our 150th Anniversary. God bless Canada and Lord make us a people of blessing to our fellow Canadians. It is also the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. It is apropos to take note of this anniversary as we look to the future. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg church decrying abuses and distortions that had corrupted the Church. This act symbolizes the beginning of the Reformation which has changed the course of history. It has fallen out of fashion to celebrate Reformation Day, but on this the 500th anniversary, and in light of this year’s General Assembly theme (He Reigns from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth) and our hopes for the future of our nation, it is good to find inspiration in the courage of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Menno Simons and John Knox to name a few.
When standing before his accusers who wanted him to renounce his views, Luther is reputed to have said, ‘Here I stand, I can do no other.’ We owe them much. May God raise up faithful men and women, who will speak truth into our world in our time. Luther gives us more food for thought with his observation, ‘Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.’ Lord Jesus, make us a people who sow love, spread blessing and extend hope!
Because of our hope in Jesus, we have strong reason to believe that the best days for Canada are ahead. There will be challenges; there will be reversals; there may be hardship and there may be persecution. In the words of Montgomery,
O’er every foe victorious, He on His throne shall rest;
From age to age more glorious, all blessing and all blest.
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove;
His name shall stand forever, His name to us is Love.
He shall reign from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth! Amen.
And what of our future, that is, the future of the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada? Our future is tied inextricably to our willingness to stay close to the Lord of the nations. He has given us an unusual place in this nation. Our tribe is not large, though some of our congregations are amongst the largest in the land. But we have reason to believe that God is not finished with us yet. It has never been my vision for us to be the biggest. This is not the metric we have used. There is a saying that it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts. We could say that it is not the size of the gift in the heart, but it is the size of the heart in the gift that matters. The widow with her mite gave ‘more than all the others’ because she gave all her living. (Mark 12: 42-44)
We have not sought to compare ourselves to others. We have sought to be faithful to the vision that God has set before us. We have sought to walk in the Way of Jesus. And God has honoured, and will honour this. As I leave office, I have not done all things well, but I have done them as well I could.
To the heirs of EMCC, may the movements represented in EMCC that God has blessed for more than 200 years, find in your day and on your watch, that you have cherished and you have invested to His glory, and to the good of this world that needs His glory and His blessing; and that you have been ready to go where He goes and to do what He does.
And to my successor, President Elect, Kervin Raugust, may you receive the mantle of leadership and the blessing and empowerment of God for the coming days, sufficient for its challenges and replete with promise and blessing.
See Pastor Phil's Final Assembly Report Introduction
View the Memory Book presented to Pastor Phil at General Assembly 2017