The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) met in Winnipeg from September 8-10. Council members conduct the business of the church between National Conventions. The following is an overview of highlights from the fall NCC meeting.
At the 2011 ELCIC National Convention in July, ten new council members were elected to replace outgoing members, including two new officers of the church. On Thursday evening, following the council’s opening worship, National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and Vice President Sheila Hamilton provided an orientation to all council members on the constitution, administrative bylaws and structure of the ELCIC, as well as the role of NCC, its governance model and strategic plan.
Telling Our Faith Stories
Usually detailing a personal experience, the telling of one’s personal faith stories – also known as Dwelling in the Word – has become a regular part of NCC meetings. These reflections are one of the ways NCC is responding to the new Call to Spiritual Renewal initiative (www.elcic.ca/csr), which encourages deeper discipleship within our church through a practice of: pray, read, worship, study, serve, give, tell. At the fall meeting, Rev. Jeff Smith, Rev. Matthew Diegel and Rev. Trish Schmermund shared their reflections with council. Videos of their reflections can be viewed online: www.elcic.ca/National-Church-Council/Dwelling-In-The-World.cfm
Convention Review and Outstanding Business Items
Council members spent time on Friday reviewing feedback from the 2011 ELCIC National Convention and attending to unfinished business from the gathering. Overall, council felt that the feedback from the convention was positive. Concerns regarding visitor fee rates will be addressed at the spring 2012 NCC meeting when delegate fees for the 2013 National Convention are presented for approval.
Council members received correspondence regarding balloting and elections at this year’s National Convention. NCC members approved a motion to have, “the officers of the church review the process of how elections and balloting are conducted at National Conventions.” A report will be brought to the September 2012 NCC meeting.
A review of the motions passed at convention was part of the meeting’s agenda. Council members walked through each motion affirmed by delegates to identify next steps for the ELCIC and NCC. In addition, council members also reviewed motions that the convention did not have time to address during the proceedings. These included the following:
- A resolution on addressing sexual exploitation and human trafficking. This motion was affirmed by NCC members as an NCC policy and will be brought to the 2013 ELCIC National Convention for endorsement by the whole church.
- From the Committee on Reference and Counsel: that the ELCIC, in partnership with the Synods, make provision for congregations to celebrate Holy Communion on a weekly basis. NCC referred this motion to the Conference of Bishops.
- NCC affirmed a motion on exploring ways to be more environmentally friendly at the 2013 National Convention.
At the 2011 ELCIC National Convention, delegates approved the recommendations of the Structural Renewal Taskforce in principle (www.elcic.ca/Structural-Renewal) and authorized NCC to move forward with the implementation process. Council members heard that Synods are currently working to develop their implementation teams. Sheila Hamilton, chair of the Structural Renewal Taskforce, provided an overview of the implementation work from a national level. Council members also approved a motion to appoint a National Implementation Team that will work with the Synod Implementation Teams. The national team is comprised of several members of the existing Structural Renewal Taskforce, communications and constitutional expertise, and representation from the five ELCIC Synods and NCC.
Ongoing Strategic Planning
NCC received two papers at their fall meeting. Global Mission and Accompaniment and The Ecumenical Journey were presented to council members for review. These papers provide context of the current realities in these two areas. NCC will further consider these papers at its spring 2012 meeting when members will spend time on strategic planning and visioning.
NCC meetings in 2012
The next National Church Council meeting will held March 8-10, 2012 in Winnipeg. The fall meeting will take place September 6-8, 2012.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 145,400 baptized members in 594 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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