A NEWS RELEASE
From National Office of the ELCIC
Mississauga, 24 November 2006 – “It’s a good time to be in the Church,” noted one of the younger members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s Eastern Synod Council during a consultation with representatives from National Church Council (NCC) that took place on Saturday, November 18, 2006.
The positive nature of the comment was just one of many joyful and optimistic comments heard as ELCIC National Bishop Raymond L. Schultz and Vice-President, Dr. Roger Kingsley, attended the last day of the Eastern Synod Council’s fall meeting at the Queen of Apostles Retreat Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
In September of this year, NCC notified the Eastern Synod that its resolution regarding a local option for the blessing of same-sex couples, brought forward and passed at the 2006 Eastern Synod Assembly, was beyond the synod’s constitutional authority. At the same time, NCC also acknowledged that there were deep and significant differences of opinion concerning the issue of same-sex blessings within the church and invited a consultation with the Eastern Synod to determine how its concerns might be addressed.
During Saturday’s consultation, Bishop Schultz and Dr. Kingsley also received a formal response to the notification the Eastern Synod received in September. After careful consideration, which included time spent by Synod Council in Bible study specifically focused around three chapters of Acts (2, 10 & 16), council members had determined that, “the Eastern Synod had both the right and obligation to pass [the] motion [regarding a synod option for same-sex blessing]. We believe, however, that it would be prudent to refrain from acting upon it at this present time. As such, we receive the ruling of National Church Council with deep regret.”
Conversation during Saturday’s consultation focused on the significance to the ELCIC with regard to diversity. A recognition that diversity “is part of how we see ourselves In Mission for Others” was noted by council members at several points throughout the consultation. “We need to celebrate diversity in our church. Diversity transcends many different meanings, not just the one identified in this motion.” Several council members also urged, “Let’s listen to God on this.”
Throughout the consultation, the overall tone of council members was passionate; council members noted that they were not trying to appease NCC by agreeing to abide by the September decision. Nonetheless, Synod Council members were respectful of the process and agreed to “see what happens” – a reference to a statement from the NCC regarding its commitment to assisting with understanding and addressing the differences of opinion within the ELCIC concerning the blessing of same-sex couples.
The Eastern Synod Council meeting concluded with Bishop Schultz offering a blessing on the work of council.
Full text of the response from the Eastern Synod Council regarding NCC's September 2006 ruling can be viewed here - http://www.elcic.ca/files/PostSCNov2006.pdf
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