April/May 2006 cover image: Campus Ministry images past and present

Vol 21 No 3 April/May 2006

Columns

National Bishops's Turn

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Ida Reichardt Backman—Editor
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For Others—At Home and Globally

Reflecting on the content of this issue of Canada Lutheran, I was struck with how it corresponds, in all its encompassing aspects, with the ELCIC theme In Mission For Others. As people of God, our embrace theoretically includes everyone, from the various Christian denominations that are represented in a university campus ministry setting to the myriad religious groups attending the recent World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly in Brazil. It's really all about tolerance, acceptance, and understanding, isn't it? And all of these are exemplified in both settings, and the fruits of both are considerable.

Exploring ideas, ideologies and yearnings in a safe environment is a precious commodity. For college students, at a key time of their intellectual and spiritual growth, campus ministry is an invaluable haven to search out a workable spiritual reality. Campus ministry has had a profound influence on countless young people. I am one of them. I credit the chaplain, regular prayer and liturgies, the forums for free discussion, and the environment of, what seemed to me, goodness, as a key component to my spiritual path.

In what could perhaps be called a larger sphere (although how big is one person's soul, after all), the WCC Assembly was a forum for leadership from 347 denominations from all over the world who meet every seven years to pray, deliberate, discuss and generally spend time together getting to understand each other and communicate on a spiritual level.

National Bishop Raymond Schultz; Rev. Paul Johnson, Assistant to the Bishop for Ecumenical Relations; Mrs. Ruth Vince, Executive Director of Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW) Inc. and Ms. Sara Faulhafer, a second-year divinity student at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, represented the ELCIC at the Assembly. With Sara's article, some excerpts from the other ELCIC attendees' blogs, and some wonderful photos, you can experience a little of their time at the Assembly. (For more extensive coverage, access the ELCIC website and follow the links to the WCC Assembly site.)

On the second last day of the Assembly, National Bishop Raymond Schultz wrote:

"Being In Mission for Others calls for us to learn the art of respectful dialogue among those who are different from us. In a world that is driven by the idols of material possessions and political power, people of different religions have the common experience of living by faith. We can try conquering others with our own religion, but that takes us back to political power seeking. It is more respectful to support others while, at the same time, being fully ourselves. We should witness with great enthusiasm, but at the same time, seek to speak well of and assist our neighbour in every way (The Small Catechism by Martin Luther.) If we cannot do so with others, it should be so at least among ourselves, so that the world can see how we can love one another!" (1 John 3:18).

And now, the long days of Lent are almost over, and as we welcome spring and the emerging signs of new life, we anticipate the celebration of Easter. I wish you all the joys of the Resurrection.

Ida Reichardt Backman
Editor