On August 11–12, delegates and their families gathered in Calgary, Alberta, bringing to life the second quadrennial conference of the established National Conference of The Wesleyan Church of Canada (TWCC). About 40 elected delegates from Wesleyan churches across Canada and Maine comprised the conference bar.
Reverend Dr. Eric Hallett, district superintendent of the Central Canada District, introduced the keynote speaker Reverend Dr. Stephen Elliott who was re-elected as the national superintendent during the conference.
In his introduction of Dr. Elliott, Dr. Hallett used the concept of a “coaching tree” to depict Dr. Elliott’s legacy of ministry leadership in making disciples who make disciples. The term “coaching tree” is used in the National Football League and refers to tracing a coach’s influence “through the number of people who become head coaches after serving with that person.” Dr. Elliott’s influence has similarly raised up leaders of leaders.
“We are led as a National Conference by an influencer who has made it his life mission to follow Jesus Christ in purity, passion and purpose,” stated Dr. Hallett.
Reverend Peter Moore, district superintendent of the Atlantic District, said, “The second National Conference of The Wesleyan Church of Canada was marked with a strong sense of unity in worship and mission. The challenge is vast and our future impact is only possible with the help of our great God. Dr. Elliott’s anointing as he preached was the highlight of our time together as he cast vision for the purity, power, and passion of our call to reach Maine and Canada for Christ!”
In giving honor to the Holy Spirit’s work among them, Dr. Elliott shared, “Our theme for the national conference was “Great God” based on Nehemiah 8:6, and over and over again, we heard comments about the sense of God’s awesome presence at our national conference.”
In addition to the preaching of Dr. Elliott, other speakers included Rev. Sharon Guptill and Dr. David Hearn (former President of the Missionary Alliance church of Canada), Dr. Steve Lennox, Rev. Matthew Maxwell and Rev. Krista Shaver. The conference received warm greetings from several distinguished leaders — Dr. Joel Cumberbatch (chair of the International Board of The Wesleyan Church), Dr. Wayne Schmidt (General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church of North America) and Dr. David Guretzki (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada) — as well as several representatives from denominational schools and associated ministries including World Hope International, Global Partners and Hephzibah 62.4.
During the business portion, the conference bar elected a new national board and adopted the proposed national budget, a new vision statement and strategies, as well as positive changes to the Canadian retirement plan and a clarifying of “in-trust” property ownership in Canada. They also voted on and placed into action a “process for increasing the defined autonomies of the Canadian church as it anticipates applying to become a General Conference by 2031.”
In transitioning to a General Conference, TWCC would officially join The International Conference of The Wesleyan Church and acquire “full authority over the Church in its assigned territory” and “the right to manage its own internal governance, including revising its discipline, as long as it does not violate the Essentials” (“The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church,” paragraph 2625).
From business sessions to worship to teaching, the Canadian Conference lifted hearts and minds to kingdom work and God’s great power.
Leadership present at the conference agreed that God’s presence is moving in and through TWCC in mighty ways.
Dr. Elliott states, “Our vision as a national church is to raise up generations of Christ-following disciples who are characterized by pure hearts like Jesus, a powerful witness by the Holy Spirit, and a passionate love for God, the lost and the hurting.”
Rev. Sarah Cochran is a Wesleyan pastor serving in Interchurch Service for Destiny Rescue, an agency rescuing kids from sex trafficking worldwide, and a graduate of Wesley Seminary, Marion, Indiana.