Rev Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada writes a regular column for each issue of Canada Lutheran.
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Canada Lutheran, Month, Year, Volume# and Issue#
NATIONAL BISHOP'S TURN
Preparing for the National Convention
This year the National Convention will be held July 9–12 in Edmonton. Our theme is Liberated by God’s Grace. This convention will kick off our 2015–17 commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Bible study leaders Rev. Dr. Gordon Jensen and Rev. Dr. Allen Jorgenson will help to enliven our theme through Bible study.
As part of the anniversary kick-off, National Church Council is inviting our church to adopt and participate in an ELCIC Reformation Challenge 2015–17. The challenge will see us working as a whole church in shared projects that support people in need, support the ministry of one of our global partner churches, work towards the restoration of creation and support the future of The Lutheran World Federation. It is a big challenge, but I know it will bring us together as a church with a common mission and vision.
We will be inspired by our keynote speaker, Commissioner Marie Wilson. She will share with us some of her experiences of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and point out ways that we as a church and a country can move forward with reconciliation. It will help us live out our commitment to Right Relationships between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. We will also consider a motion on the Doctrine of Discovery that will assist us in this journey. Jennifer Henry from KAIROS will be there to help us learn and prepare for our deliberations.
Effective Partnerships is one of our on-going strategic directions. We look forward to hearing from our partners in Canadian Lutheran World Relief, ELCIC Group Services Inc., Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute and Luther College. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will join us for convention. They will share the Word and witness as they bring greetings and through their preaching.
We will be doing a lot of important work! We will have second reading of a new constitution and then consider proposed Administrative Bylaws. We will look at a recommendation for Authorized Lay Ministries designed to help us with the provision of Word and Sacrament Ministry. As well, we will consider motions on the Corrections and Criminal Justice System, Climate Justice and Welcoming the Stranger. There will also be elections, including those for national bishop, secretary and treasurer.
We look forward to the opportunity to greet familiar faces and meet new friends. We are encouraging Table Talks at lunch to help us interact with each other on certain themes. We will gather Saturday evening for a celebratory banquet. And I’m sure we will all rejoice in the return of regular coffee breaks as another chance to mix and mingle with our displayers and each other.
Surrounding all of these activities we will gather to worship and pray and come to the table together. This is the real core of our convention and the heart of who we are as people of faith. Our convention worship will also help us to prayerfully reflect on the theme and sub-themes of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.
Are you getting excited? I sure am! If you are not able to come to National Convention as a delegate, volunteer or visitor, why not follow us online? The convention will be live-streamed. More information on that will be available close to convention time on the National Convention website: http://elcic.ca/in-convention/2015-Edmonton.
Whether you can attend or not, please join me in praying for our church as we meet in National Convention. Pray that God will give us vision, lead us into wise decisions, enliven our spirits and strengthen us to be a church In Mission for Others.
Canada Lutheran, Apr/May 2015
Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada writes a regular column for each issue of Canada Lutheran.