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April 23, 2008

Synod Convention Season Now Open!

While many may think that with the warming weather and longer days, the season of spring is now upon us, but every second year these signs also signal the beginning of Synod Convention season within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). The British Columbia (BC) Synod opened the season this year on Thursday, April 17 with their convention situated in among the mountain-views of Kelowna, BC at Christ Lutheran.

The Synod Bishop's report was one of the first items of business on the agenda. Bishop Gerhard Preibisch noted, there have been some significant changes in the BC Synod Office, during the past year. Rev. Dr. Gregory Mohr is now serving as Assistant to the Bishop; a welcome addition to the office, said the Bishop.

Bishop Preibisch thanked congregations, lay people and pastors within the BC Synod who responded to the call to be In Mission for Others within the synod and their communities. God has blessed many of us richly, said the Bishop, calling on delegates to the convention to consider doing more as, we are a people rich in resources and recommended that individuals and congregations review their proportional giving to the church and that all members of the BC Synod consider giving a planned gift to the church.

Elections for Secretary and Vice-Chair of the Synod were spread throughout the business agenda. On the fifth and final ballot, Rev. Cliff Reinhardt was elected to the position of Secretary and on the second ballot, John Boucher was elected to the position of Vice-Chair.

National Bishop Susan C. Johnson addressed delegates on Saturday afternoon thanking them for the opportunity to meet, talk and worship with them. Bishop Johnson shared an overview of National Church Council's visioning work that took place in March 2008 and called on delegates to consider the, huge mission field at our doorsteps, sometimes starting within our own families, indicating a call into deeper discipleship, filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and [sharing that with] those around us.

In closing, Bishop Johnson thanked delegates for the support and encouragement received since being called to the National Office and noted the hope she sees for the future of the church, we may not know for sure how things are going to turn out, she concluded, but we do know that with God they will be good.

After significant discussion, a motion forwarded from the Synod's Faith and Society Committee to affirm that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities share the worth that comes from being persons created by God and are welcomed into the full life of the synod, in accordance with its constitution and by-laws, and its polices was carried.

Motions to encourage congregations within the synod to review giving to the church, along with considering a planned gift to the church, were also discussed and carried.

Synod Conventions are held in the years between National Conventions. All five ELCIC Synods will hold their conventions or assemblies this year. Further details and dates are available on the ELCIC website: www.elcic.ca . The Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod will be the next synod to hold their convention which will start on Thursday, April 24 and takes place in Dauphin, MB.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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