Local church gains full status

Fort Frances officially gained a new congregation on Sunday when the Church of the Holy Spirit was granted full society status with the Free Methodist Church of Canada.
“It’s truly wonderful,” said Pastor Garth Clifford. “It has been an exciting time. We’re now much more of a permanent congregation.”
“We actually formed the congregation about three years ago and we became an affiliated congregation three years ago,” said Dick Trivers, chairman of the board of the local congregation.
He described this period of affiliation as “a courting.”
“We were getting to know them and they were getting to know us, to see if the fit was right,” he explained.
Rev. Clifford said they made the decision to go for full society status after a visit in June from Keith Elford, the bishop for the Free Methodist Church of Canada.
“There is another step we could have taken, but he encouraged us to go for full society status,” Rev. Clifford said.
They were notified of the final decision in early October.
At Sunday’s service, Fred Hubert, the assistant superintendent of the Northwest district for the Free Methodist Church of Canada, presented Rev. Clifford with a certificate indicating their church’s full society status.
Trivers noted the switch from an affiliated congregation to a member is not a great change. An affiliated congregation may send representatives to church conventions, but does not have voting rights.
“Now we have a voice in any and all national church matters. That’s the only difference,” he remarked.
The congregation—made up of about 40 families—has been holding its services at the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau in the old CN station every Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
“We’re not a huge congregation, but we’re a very active one,” Trivers said.
The church has bought a piece of land on Eighth Street and currently is raising funds to build a church there.
The new church will mean the congregation will have room to organize extra programs and activities outside the weekly services.
“The big problem right now is to have room for youth programs and Sunday school programs,” Trivers said. “Those have to be our focus if we want to have a meaningful place in the community.
“Our kids and our youth are definitely a priority for us,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the congregation continues to raise money for their new location. “We’re hoping to break sod in the spring,” Trivers said.