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Ninth Biennial Convention
Augustana University College, Cambros AB
June 12 - 15, 2003

Sing to the Lord a New Song
Home » In Convention » 2003 Camrose » Convention Reports » Synod Assistant Report Send to a friend     print

Report of the Assistant to the Bishop
for Synodical Relations

The job summary for this assistantship seems to say it all—"The assistant will promote, nurture and support communication, collaboration and cooperation between the synods and the national expressions of the church." ; There are many connecting links in our ministries together as a church. It is hoped that through this new designation there will develop stronger collaborative links between synods and that the National Office will be seen as a support network for those program areas that are a national expression as well. I see this as a horizontal (synod to synod; synod to national) working link rather than a vertical (national to synod) working link (for those who need a visual as I do). It will be an awesome and rewarding experience when we can take this vision and make it a reality in our day-to-day workings of national-synodical relationships. I feel this is a possibility because we have the beginnings of a strong network already in place and we have a structure in place that lays the groundwork for this reality—the ELCIC National and Synodical Responsibilities (NC-95-11) . This is more than just a financial necessity. It is an opportunity for us to grow together as a church and honour all gifts for ministry in rich ways. The following are ways that we are experiencing this reality.

Program Committee for Leadership for Ministry

Five synodical representatives (from CTELs), the presidents of Lutheran Theological and Waterloo Lutheran seminaries and national staff gather in meetings to address issues of leadership for ministry and develop policy and standards for the common benefit of the church.

(see report attached under Program Committees)

Program Committee for Youth Ministry

Five synodical representatives, the liaison to the National Planning Committee for the Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering and a national staff person gather in meetings to develop policy for youth ministry and address mutual needs of the ministry, as well as provide visioning, support and supervision of national programming as needed. This committee met in 2001 and 2002 and developed a long-term strategy for delivering programming and leadership development opportunities for young people in our church and in a wider global context.

(see report attached under Program Committees)

Canadian Missions and Shared Ministries

The Canadian Mission Consultation takes place yearly in conjunction with the Canadian Extension and Capital Fund Advisory Board. This is an opportunity for synod mission consultants and chairs of synod mission committees to collaborate and share ministry highlights and strategies. They also make plans for the biennial Canadian Mission Pastors Conference held in conjunction with the Chinese Ministry Conference. These are opportunities for networking and support, for the exchange of ideas, and ways to share ministry in mission congregations. Pastors attending these conferences indicated a need for ongoing central communication links as well.

(See also more information attached to the Report of the Treasurer.)

Stewardship Strategy

Staff Team: Rev Elaine Sauer, Assistant to the Bishop for Synodical Relations
Barb Fast, National Stewardship Coordinator
Doreen Lecuyer, Treasurer
Rhonda Lorch, GHDA Coordinator
Kelvin Krieger, Mission Coordinator
Jeff Pym, Lutheran Planned Giving Director
Judy Long, Administrative Support
Synod Consultants: John Wolff, BC Synod
Lorraine Kalis, ABT Synod
Tom Brook, SK Synod
Jim Thomas, MNO Synod
Rev Guenter Dahle, Eastern Synod *

In March 2000, the National Church Council approved the ELCIC Strategy for Stewardship 2000-2005. A national team continues to implement the recommendations of that strategy. The funding is provided through the ELCIC budget, Lutheran Investment Funds and Endowments (LIFE), a grant from Forward in Mission, program cost recovery and a grant from the Lutheran Laity Movement for Stewardship—Canada.

Actions during 2002:

  1. Barb Fast was named National Coordinator in June to replace Rev Cindy Halmarson.
  2. Partnership with the BC and Eastern synod were confirmed. John Wolff was named BC’s Consultant in March and *Guenter Dahle agreed to be liaison with the Eastern Synod’s Support Working Group and Conference Resource Persons.
  3. Stewardship consultants, synod chairpersons and representatives from National Staff met in November for the third Stewardship Consultation, for training, mutual support and planning. The next Consultation is planned for Nov 27–30, 2003 in Winnipeg.
  4. Stewardship resource packets were sent directly to all ELCIC congregations. Materials (a combination of resources from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and the ELCIC) were available in print and on the ELCIC web site. The theme for 2002–2003 is Remember, all year long giving—a perpetual celebration.
  5. Annual report covers were again designed and available by order. Synod consultants also produce and share their own resources.
  6. The MNO Synod team hosted an excellent Stewardship Practicum, Living by Grace in February. An evaluation done commended the synod team and held valuable insights for the other synods as they continue to plan their practicums. Four will be held in 2003. Eastern Pushing the Envelope April 24–26; BC Stewards of Grace May 23–24; ABT Free to Live, Free to Give, Oct 2–4; SK Living in Grace Oct 24–25.
  7. Web pages have been designed and have been posted on www.elcic.ca. Communication between consultants is well established. Some consultants have also initiated regular email correspondence with congregational contacts.
  8. Ecumenical cooperation continues to be encouraged. Nationally, partnerships are in the beginning stages with Anglican Church of Canada, Ecumenical Stewardship Center, Roman Catholic diocese of Winnipeg and United Church of Canada.
  9. Actions and areas of concern for 2003 include:
    • successful practicums with shared evaluations and some plans for follow-up;
    • ongoing communication;
    • healthier synod committees;
    • useful theme materials, engaging annual report covers;
    • continued ecumenical cooperation;
    • encouragement of stewardship as an important aspect of theological education; and
    • clear definition of GHDA/CLWR relationship.

Partners in Faith

National Steering Committee

Chairperson: Rev Gordon Hanson
Synod Facilitators: BC, Gertie Gatzke
ABT, Kent Hollingsworth
SK, Murray Patzwald
MNO, Randall Klaprat
Eastern, Pat Rode.
National Office: Barb Fast, Coordinator

A strong and dedicated Partners in Faith National Steering Committee has been working since 1998 to address the challenge of family ministry. Partners in Faith endeavors to equip people for passing on the faith and to support discipleship in a home/congregation partnership. Over those years, synod teams have been recruited and trained, gatherings of many sorts (camps, conferences, meetings, seminars) have served to introduce this ministry, Partner Congregations have been identified who will serve as mentors to others and resources have been identified or created. A Handbook for Congregations was published, web pages have been designed, communication networks discussed.

It is the recommendation of the National Church Council and the Conference of Bishops that responsibility for Partners in Faith move to the synods. This decision was supported by all five synod bishops at the Conference of Bishops in December 2002 and reflects the ELCIC National and Synodical Responsibilities document.

Each synod will establish a Partners in Faith strategy that will nurture the ministry and allow it to continue to grow. Members of the National Steering Committee have completed their terms with a focus on strengthening synodical links. Lines of accountability have been established, teams identified and Partner Congregations recruited, trained and encouraged. Elaine Sauer and Barb Fast will provide National Office support as needed for the work of this ministry.

Women’s Desk

While this continues to be an awareness initiative on the part of the National Office, it has had a stronger emphasis in recent years. With the completion of the With Many Voices study on women in ministry in the ELCIC there is opportunity to do follow-up with ordained ministers, but also the church at large, asking the question "What does this mean for the ELCIC?" in terms of leadership issues, women’s issues, ministry issues, etc. A 2002 gathering of ordained women met in Niagara Falls and reflected upon the study, gave input to the writer and researcher, and helped begin the process of follow up. The Women’s Conference, hosted by the Eastern Synod women, was also an opportunity to gather in worship, develop networking, share stories and reflect on ministry issues as needed by the participants. A 2004 conference, hosted by the Saskatchewan Synod women is in the planning stage.

There is also the relationship with other women’s organizations in the ELCIC (ELW) and in the global context. The LWF’s North American Regional Coordinator for Women, Ruth Vince, also continues to be a presence for us in North America and works at keeping connections with other women’s organizations such as the ELCA Women, the Anglican Church of Canada Women (although they are an informal group) and global women’s groups from around the world. Her recent visit to the Cameroon was an opportunity to serve their community, to create networks of communication and to bring awareness back to our community.

At the 2003 ELCIC convention, there will be a Women’s Luncheon which will again be open to men and women gathering to reflect on the role of women and issues facing women in our church. We continue to recognize ordained women with the presentation of an anniversary medallion. Communication

With the shift to "e-communications", there is a need to evaluate all aspects of communication within the national context. A task force has been meeting to begin reflecting on the communication needs of the church. This will be an ongoing process which we hope will help us develop a strong strategy for communications in the present and meet the future needs of the church. This is an issue that will affect all areas of shared ministry as we continue to work through our national-synodical relationships.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev Elaine Sauer
Assistant to the Bishop for Synodical Relations

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
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