Founded in 1944, the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) is the largest ecumenical body in Canada, now representing 23 churches of Anglican; Evangelical; Free Church; Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox; Protestant; and Catholic traditions. Together, the CCC represents 85% of the Christians in Canada.
The CCC takes direction from a Governing Board; the ELCIC has two representatives on the board. The work of the CCC is spread over two commissions (the Commission on Justice and Peace and the Commission on Faith and Witness); two reference groups (Biotechnology Reference Group and Christian Interfaith Reference Group); three working groups (the Canadian Ecumenical Anti-Racism Network or CEARN, the Human Trafficking in Canada Working Group, and the National Advisory Group on Emergency Planning or NAGEP); two dialogues (Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim); and various other related groups and agencies.
The ELCIC is represented on the Biotechnology Reference Group, Commission on Faith and Witness, Christian Interfaith Reference Group, Canadian Christian-Jewish Consultation, National Muslim-Christian Liaison Committee, and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Writing Team.
Canada is blessed with two regional ecumenical agencies, both of which take on some measure of national work. They are the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism (Montréal, QC) and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism (Saskatoon, SK). For example, the Prairie Centre maintains a helpful Shared Ministries Bureau which documents Canadian locations where churches of different denominations are sharing clergy, facilities, program or worship.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada maintains warm relations with the array of Christian denominations in Canada. Some relationships are direct, bilateral as with the Anglican Church in Canada. Others are through coalitions, councils and joint projects.
Over time, the accent may be placed on one or other of our various ecumenical relationships. Our full communion relationship with the Anglican Church of Canada frequently yields joint expressions of our mission and ministry. Other communities with whom we frequently make common cause include The Presbyterian Church in Canada and United Church of Canada www.united-church.ca/. Both are represented by observer-partners on the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission. As, well, the ELCIC holds one of the five Anglican spots on the current Anglican-United Church Dialogue. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops also represents a community with whom we have frequent interaction.
In recent years, especially following the Lutheran World Federation’s apology to the Mennonites for past wrongs (Stuttgart, 2010), our relationship with Mennonite Church Canada has deepened and grown. In fact, we have jointly produced a study guide on the apology for congregational use. See the resource section below.