“We are called to be together, and to journey together. Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be in your midst,” said Rev. Dr. Martin Junge, general secretary of The Lutheran World Federation, in his sermon at the opening worship service of the 17th National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), meeting at the University of Regina, in Saskatchewan, July 11-13.
Special guest Rev. Dr. Martin Junge preached, while ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson presided over the service. Roughly 150 delegates gathered in Regina, while special guests, visitors and volunteers were also in attendance. Thursday afternoon’s opening worship service marked the official opening of convention, highlighted by the singing of hymns, sharing peace, Holy Communion and a handcrafted confession.
Local elder Betty McKenna greeted the assembly and formally welcomed those gathered on Treaty Four Territory. Following the greeting, convention participants took part in a service of confession, assembled by Debbie Hill, Arlene Granbois and Doreen Topp, with the help of Regina Indigenous Christian Fellowship minister Bert Adema. The personalized confession was shaped in a way to continue onward in the journey toward reconciliation.
In his sermon, Rev. Dr. Junge shared the story of Nicodemus (John 3), comparing the similarities between the idea of being ‘born again/born from above’ and the theme of the 2019 ELCIC National Convention, Called to Journey Together: The Ministry of Reconciliation.
“It is not because of who we are, and it is not because of what we do, but it is because of who God is, and what God does in Christ,” said Rev. Dr. Junge. “We are justified, liberated, invited to receive a new life, which doesn’t come forth from our doing – our being, but it comes forth because of what God does, and who God is.”
The convention agenda further includes the proposal of 22 significant motions on important mission and ministry relating to: The Call to Journey with those who are Dying, a resolution on single-use plastics, Reimaging our Church – Public Ministry in the ELCIC, Resolution on Respect for LGBTQ2SIA+ persons, and many more; the elections of Secretary, Treasurer, National Church Council, Court of Appeal and National Bishop; the Report of the National Bishop, as well as several presentations spread out over the agenda to lift up reconciling with creation, journeying with Indigenous Peoples, and journeying with people of other faiths. The ELCIC In Mission for Others Leadership Award will also be presented to the 2019 recipient.
More information as well as a live link to the ELCIC’s National Convention is available on the ELCIC website https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2019-Regina/default.cfm.