“We’re at the edge of a Jordan,” declared the opening-night speaker at Canada’s FCA Convention in Cornwall, Ontario, in late October. The nation is changing dramatically, said David Macfarlane, director of national initiatives for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. The fastest growing religious category now is not Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Sikh, but “no religion.” As a result, “The church in Canada is looking to new models, because what we are doing isn’t working as well as it used to.”
Macfarlane then went on to hold up the Joshua epic as encouragement to the 140 attenders, urging them not to shrink back from dealing with a new environment. God is ready to give victory today just as he did to the Israelites, he said.
The convention was hosted by Fountaingate Christian Assembly in this city of 50,000 on the St. Lawrence Seaway near the Quebec border. Registrants gave high praise to the host pastor, Brad Montsion, calling it “the best” and adding, “We should have the convention here every year!”
Bible teaching came during several sessions that featured Warren Jones, recently retired national leader of the Apostolic Church in Great Britain. A variety of breakout workshops were offered throughout the three-day event as well.
The second night featured a historic reconciliation between the FCA and officials of the Independent Assemblies of God in Canada; the two groups had gone their separate ways back in the early 1960s. Glen Forsberg, chair of FCA’s national Board of Elders, said, “We want to declare tonight that the spirit of division back then will not be part of our lives today.” John Lucas Sr., longtime FCA pastor in Calgary, described the warm reception he had received after being invited to the 2006 Independent Assemblies convention in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Forsberg grew emotional as he addressed Paul McPhail, general secretary of the Independent Assemblies, directly: “We love you and ask for forgiveness for any time we have harbored ill will toward your group.”
McPhail, who was accompanied by Paul Henderson, one of his regional secretaries, responded in kind. “We apologize to you,” he said, “and we ask for forgiveness for any hurts we have done.” He cited the Psalm 133 promise that “when God’s people live together in unity . . . there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore” (verses 1, 3).
The two leaders then linked arms for a prayer led by John Lucas.
The independent Assemblies of God (http://www.iaogcan.com) is home to approximately 500 churches and 750 ministers across Canada. To hear the comments made at the Cornwall FCA Convention, go to http://www.fountaingate.org and open the convention speaker track entitled “Warren Jones 1.” The addresses of David Macfarlane and the other FCA convention speakers are also available there.