Under the banner, “Liberated by God’s grace,” the 15th Biennial National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) opened with water and word, bread and wine, a butterfly, Bishops, prayers, and songs.
Almost 250 delegates, over 100 visitors and numerous volunteers were in attendance as opening worship commenced with a procession entering the worship space from the four directions, with all paths leading to the waters of Baptism.
With water poured into the font from the synods, the words of the prophet Isaiah rang out: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water.”
The choir shared that the convention room is holy ground as the gathering gave way to the Word. Everything done and said in the convention space was proclaimed to be done and said on holy ground. Isaiah’s words were shared once again, “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water!” And as if that news wasn’t good enough, the worshipping community was reminded, in the words of the letter to the Ephesians, that it is by grace that we have been saved.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton read the gospel from Luke (4:16-21) and in her sermon proclaimed that our churches are not irrelevant; that the good news that Jesus our Lord and Saviour has accepted us as his very own children is not irrelevant.
Using a word from the gospel, Bishop Eaton said emphatically that today the love of God is complete; God’s will has been accomplished.
The worshipping community responded to her words of hope with expansive prayers for creation, community, and justice; for the church, healing, and jubilee.
Finally, from the four directions, those in attendance were called to come to the table – delegates, visitors, and volunteers – to receive the body and blood of Christ.
Following the meal, delegates were welcomed to Treaty Six Territory by ceremony helper Oskaapewis Reuben Quinn, a direct descendent of pahpasteew who was leader of the Nehiyaw people in Edmonton who signed the adhesion to Treaty Six. “It is meant to be,” he said as he welcomed delegates. “We have taken root in beautiful Turtle Island, and it is meant to be.”
Opening worship concluded with ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson declaring the church-wide assembly in session.
Almost 400 delegates, special guests, visitors and volunteers are meeting in Edmonton for the ELCIC’s 15th National Convention. Full agenda details and a live link to the proceedings are available on the National Convention website: https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2015-Edmonton/default.cfm
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 121,000 baptized members in 533 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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