September 2006 cover image: group of three youth

Vol 21 No 6 September 2006


National Bishops's Turn

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Trina Gallop—Managing Editor/Advertising
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Ida Reichardt Backman—Editor
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The Power of Community

How do you get hundreds of people focused on a positive, joyful pursuit and build community at the same time? Pick an engaging topic, fine-tooth comb the organization, plan stimulating and challenging workshops, find a dynamic keynote speaker or two, and you have a recipe for success.

In this issue, join me for a whirlwind tour of two exhilarating and unifying gatherings the ELCIC sponsored these past few months—the National Worship Conference in Regina, and the Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLYG) in Winnipeg.

Making All Things New was a sold-out event, and with topnotch keynote speakers, Rev. John Bell and Rev. Richard Leggett, and an enticing selection of workshops, the hotel convention space was filled with enthusiastic participation. The conference was also the setting for the presentation of the Companion of the Worship Arts, this time to Debbie Lou Ludolph for her "significant contribution to the worship life of the ELCIC." Ludolph was particularly gracious in her acceptance of this honour.

Then, to the Convention Centre in Winnipeg to delight in the energy and enthusiasm of over 1200 youth attending the CLYG, Full Serve. We were definitely 'pumped up' for the event, and as keynote speaker, Rev. Kathy Martin, coaxed and challenged us into recognizing our gifts and utilizing them to be of service to others, the momentum grew throughout the whole three days. Mind you, the pulsing beat of the band's music, the perceptive and occasionally hilarious antics of the drama troupe, and the professionally produced video clips didn't hurt!

Putting Full Serve into practice occupied a good part of the gathering, and the splendid summer weather contributed to the participation in the faith walk and various service activities. One of these was a fundraising car wash (where, I've got to admit, the occasional 'misplaced' spray of water was very welcome). A CLWR orientation was also offered, where the youth helped sort We Care school supply packages. Some groups also spent the afternoon picking up litter for Take Pride Manitoba.

It was heartening to both participate and observe the cooperation, good will and excellence at these two events.

The backdrop to these, of course, was the ongoing hostilities in the Middle East (and our Canadian involvement in them), and the massive AIDS conference in Toronto.

As we watch yet more news coverage of one of our Canadian military personnel killed or injured, and in the Middle East, the devastation of homes and communities, we're torn about the rightness of it all. And we wonder when and how it will end.

The AIDS conference attracted 24,000 people to wrestle with what seems to be an ever increasing number of sufferers throughout the world, but most particularly in Africa. The ELCIC had participants at both the pre-conference presentations and at the conference itself, and had two representatives attending the whole conference: Rev. Bob Shantz, who served as a conference chaplain, and Rev. Brian Rude.

It's been a busy summer. And now it's time to 'get back into the harness' with classes, schedules, meetings—to the relative confines of structure. I hope all goes smoothly for you.

Ida Reichardt Backman