The Vision for Mission provided a vision statement and a five-year strategic plan (1999-2003) for ELCIC Mission in the World and National Church programming for Canadian mission and campus ministry. The Vision for Mission complemented the Evangelical Declaration through which we are committed to mission as a way of life, seeking to engage all people in the mission of the church at a personal and relational level; to be and make disciples of Christ as a people of God for others. In this context, Mission in the World seeks to engage the ELCIC in international mission.
The ELCIC is engaged in mission worldwide through the communion of the Lutheran World Federation. Within this communion, eight partner church relationships provide the foundation and focus for ELCIC Mission in the World. Five of the eight partner churches are being twinned with ELCIC Synods in the Companion Synod Program as a way of facilitating engagement in international mission at the synodical, congregational and personal level. Mission in the World has made some funds available for official visits of synodical and companion church leaders to help establish these relationships.
Mission in the World programs provide a tool box for building on the foundation of partner church relationships. The Long-term Missionary, Short-term Missionary and Volunteers in Mission (VIM) programs provide three possible streams of service for ELCIC members. Through the Good News Partner and Missionary Exchange programs, the ELCIC is able to host personnel from partner churches and receive their gifts and insights. Missionary and mission sponsorship provide participants with opportunities to develop relationships with ELCIC missionaries and partner church pastors and direct financial gifts for their support. Directed gifts consistently account for about half of the Mission in the World annual budget. Grants are also provided to partner churches by Mission in the World and an agreement two years ago between GHDA and CLWR expanded the capacity to provide grants for church partnership projects.
Here is how Mission in the World programs have been fostering partner church relationships during the past couple of years:
- Katharine Bergbusch, Long-term Missionary
- Directed gifts and grants for ILEP pastors and Sunday school resources
- Companion with the British Columbia Synod
- Brian Rude, Long-term Missionary
- GHDA/CLWR priority partnership funding for the Quetzalcoatl Foundation
- Agreement for Patagonia Mission Sponsorship and cooperation
- GHDA/CLWR priority partnership funding for holistic outreach in San Gregorio
- Companion with the Saskatchewan Synod
- Rev Barry and Alice Lang, Volunteers in Mission
- Companion with the Eastern Synod
- Rev Jose Ariza, visiting instructor to IELCO, Sept. to Dec. 2001
- GHDA/CLWR priority partnership funding for communication training project
- Companion with the Synod of Alberta and the Territories
- Rev Etienne and Jeanne Fomgbami and family, Good News Partner in Canada
- Annual grant for the Garoua Boulai Bible School/Seminary
- Rev Jack and Valerie Frederick, Short-term Missionaries
- Stuart and Margaret Brown, Long-term Missionaries (jointly with the Danish Sudan Mission)
- Directed gift project for Cameroon Lutheran Student Housing
- Companion with the Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod
- Visits and communication to support the ELCJ and other Palestinian Christians
- GHDA/CLWR priority partnership funding for ELCJ schools
- Bonnie Weppler, Short-term Missionary (jointly with the ELCA)
- Directed gift project for "Tok Ples" resource materials in ELC-PNG schools
- Participation in the LOPC (Lutheran Overseas Partner Churches)
While the focus is on partner churches, Mission in the World has responded to other opportunities; the placements of Rev David and Marlys Kaiser in Hong Kong (Short-term), Lori Endress in Thailand (Short-term, funded by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia), Erika Parker in Slovakia (VIM, jointly with ELCA) and Anne Hallman in England (VIM, jointly with ELCA) are examples.
Plans for 2004 to 2005 will take into consideration the declining resources available to Mission in the World as reserves are being used up. There are no plans to increase the numbers of Long-term or Short-term Missionaries (other than jointly with outside funding) or to call another Good News Partner after the Fomgbami family returns to Cameroon in August. In addition to maintaining ongoing missionary placements and programs, the emphasis will be on Volunteers in Mission, Missionary Exchange and the Companion Synod Program. These three programs are cost-effective and engage people in international mission at a personal level. Further opportunities to integrate Mission in the World, such as with GHDA/CLWR, the LWF, other denominations and KAIROS will be considered. While this approach is influenced by the resources available to Mission in the World it is also guided by the Evangelical Declaration and the recommendations made for it by the Future Directions Task Force for Mission in 1997.
Kelvin Krieger, Program Coordinator