Gathering under dramatic green and white banners, delegates and guests at the Twelfth Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Convention celebrated an enthusiastic closing worship session on June 28.
The large crowd sang heartily as the worship team processed in with tall jangling parasols and candles, which transformed the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) War Memorial Gym—the convention’s main venue—into a sacred space. A liturgical dancer accompanied the procession, while cello, guitars, flute, and choir added a lively musical backdrop.
National Bishop Susan C. Johnson warmly welcomed those assembled and acknowledged the Musqueam people, whose traditional land includes the UBC campus.
Bishop Michael Pryse, Eastern Synod, preached passionately on Mark 5:21-43, where Jesus resurrects Jairus’s daughter and heals the hemorrhaging woman. Bishop Pryse said both Jairus and the woman pushed boundaries and approached Jesus with great faith. He challenged delegates to return home in the same spirit.
“We come together to dream new dreams and hatch new plans,” he said. “We do all this knowing that in a few short hours we will be sent out to be the hands and feet of Christ in the various contexts that we have come from.”
Using an image from the National Bishop’s opening sermon, Bishop Pryse again compared the convention to a family gathering. “Every member of the family bears some responsibility,” he said. “Each of us will have part in determining this gathering’s net effect on mission to and for the world.” He encouraged delegates to return to their churches with a spirit of unity and love.
Later in the service, Bishop Johnson installed members of the National Church Council, including new ELCIC vice president Sheila Hamilton. The convention’s chaplains, Jane Freeman and the Rev. Samuel Voo, led the assembly in prayers for these workers. All then joined in the Eucharist.
Bishop Johnson declared the convention ended and sent the delegates out into the sunny Vancouver morning with a Romans 12 passage used at several worship sessions: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.”