“The church has never been more relevant. Christ’s message of peace, sacrificial servanthood and neighbourly love is exactly what an ailing secular society needs,” said Willard Metzger, executive director, Mennonite Church Canada, in his sermon at the opening worship service of the 16th Biennial National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), meeting at the University Centre, University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, July 6-8.
Metzger preached and ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson presided. In attendance were almost 150 delegates, as well as special guests, visitors and volunteers.
The convention meeting area was transformed into sacred space with a communion table in the middle of the delegate tables, font and pulpit also strategically positioned, and a musical ensemble of violin, saxophone, percussion and keyboard led congregation and choir in song.
Addressing the convention’s theme Liberated by God’s Grace, Metzger noted, “God’s grace is so much more lavish that we can imagine it to be,” as he reflected on Jesus’ parable about the sower and the seeds. “The role of the sower [the church] is to sow it lavishly.”
“If there ever is a time that the world needs to see the witness of those liberated by grace, it is now,” Metzger said. “And who better to herald this display of liberated grace than Lutherans.”
“I applaud your Reformation Challenge,” said Metzger. “The goals of sponsoring 500 refugees, providing 500 scholarships, planting 500,000 trees and raising $500,000 for The Lutheran World Federation Endowment Fund are substantial. What better way to celebrate 500 years of God’s faithfulness than to extend yourselves for others.”
Metzger also applauded the ELCIC’s commitment to truth and reconciliation. “Reconciliation is not an accident. It requires intentionality,” he reminded those assembled. “We are in a new day. Thanks be to God.”
Full agenda details and a live link to the ELCIC’s National Convention is available on the ELCIC website: www.elcic.ca/In-Convention/2017-Winnipeg
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 114,592 baptized members in 525 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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