New ELCIC National Office Staffing Team Models Effective Partnerships and Focused Framework

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson is employing a new model of staffing that lifts up the ELCIC’s priorities of effective partnerships and focused framework.

Three new senior staff members have joined the National Office in a part-time deployed capacity and were introduced at the recent National Church Council meeting. The new model, "will help to balance our budget, but will also bring a multiplier effect with the addition of these new staff members who all bring expertise, creativity and enthusiasm in their focused areas," says Bishop Johnson, who also notes that, "the new model allows for an effective partnership with congregations. The National Office has used part-time deployed staff before, but never to this extent."

Rev. Carla Blakley has been appointed to the position of Assistant to the Bishop, Global Mission. She assumes this role in a part-time capacity while maintaining her current call as senior pastor at Bread of Life Lutheran Church, Regina, SK. She brings many gifts to this new position, including international experience, creativity, and a commitment to and passion for the mission of the church around the world. Within this portfolio, Rev. Blakley is responsible for coordinating ELCIC Global Mission with the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Global Mission staff, supervising deployed staff of the ELCIC Global Mission program, assisting in the development and maintenance of Companion Church relationships, and assisting with the ELCIC Companion Synod Program.

Rev. Lyle McKenzie has been appointed to the position of Assistant to the Bishop, Worship. Rev. McKenzie assumes this role in a part-time capacity while maintaining his current call as pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, Victoria, BC. With a passion for worship, Rev. McKenzie brings many gifts to this new position, including his experience as chair of the local worship planning committee for the 2009 ELCIC National Convention and 2000 National Worship Conference, and as chair/co-chair of several synod convention worship committees. Within this portfolio, Rev. McKenzie is responsible for relating to the Program Committee for Worship, the National Worship Conference, and worship at the National Convention, along with responsibilities for maintaining and building relationships with the worship expressions of the ELCA, Anglican Church of Canada and Augsburg Fortress.

Rev. André Lavergne has been appointed to the position of Assistant to the Bishop, Ecumenical and Interfaith. Rev. Lavergne also assumes this role in a part-time capacity while continuing his current call as pastor at Trinity Lutheran, New Hamburg, ON, where he works in a team ministry. In addition to his passion for the ecumenical and interfaith relations of the church, Rev. Lavergne brings to the position his previous experience of working in a deployed staff position for the National Office which enabled him to develop and foster many ecumenical relationships. Some of the partners Rev. Lavergne is responsible for relating to include The Lutheran World Federation, World Council of Churches, Canadian Council of Churches and interfaith relations.

In September 2009, the National Office refocused its work and staffing levels to reflect current resource and programmatic challenges. While ensuring a commitment to priority areas such as Global Mission, Ecumenical Relations and Worship, the changes allowed the National Office to explore the possibility of new staffing models. This new model enables flexibility as the church undertakes a Structural Renewal Process heading towards the 2013 ELCIC National Convention.

The three new staff members join the existing senior staff of Rev. Paul Gehrs, Assistant to the Bishop in the areas of public policy, youth, and leadership for ministry, Trina Gallop, director of communications and stewardship, and Gloria McNabb, director of finance and administration.

A directory of National Office staff members, along with contact information, can be viewed online at:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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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