“Today I apologize to the members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community for the ways that we have not lived up to our commitments and to the ways we have treated you in the past and even now,” Bishop Susan Johnson shared.
“I want to acknowledge the harms that members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community have experienced in our church.”
The apology came as part of the National Bishop’s report to delegates at the 2022 ELCIC National Convention, taking place July 15-16. The meeting is taking place online, the first time the church has met virtually for its national convention.
Bishop Johnson acknowledged the times members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community did not receive welcome, had been denied sacraments, vocation, marriage rights, and when proper gender identity had not been affirmed.
“I acknowledge the harms that we do not know and that people have not shared,” she continued. “I acknowledge the harm experience by those who still feel the need to be closeted and not live out their full identity in our church.”
“With this apology I acknowledge the harms we as a church have caused and those harms we continue to cause,” she said. “We have work to do and I cling to a hope that the entire church will learn from the past and work toward a future where all generations will feel acceptance, affirmation, and celebration for the gifts they bring our church as valued children of God.”
Bishop Johnson indicated her hope for a similar apology to be carried out in-person at next year’s planned in-person convention.
The National Bishop’s report also included her appreciation for the church’s incredible perseverance through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“You have shown yourselves to be resourceful and resilient,” Bishop Johnson said. “We have found ourselves capable of making changes quickly to adapt to ever-changing guidelines from governments. A church, adaptable and quick to change – who knew it was possible.”
This year’s convention theme is Let There be Greening
“Greening is all about new life,” she said. “We want our church and all of our members to be greening, full of the spirit and of the new life in Christ. We want our world to be greening, with an end to war in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and a chance for new life to re-emerge. We want the creation to be greening, restored to the freshness and health the way God created it.”
The Bishop’s report also highlighted the ongoing Living our Faith initiative and gave thanks to the ELCIC’s many partners.
“It is an honour to serve you as your National Bishop,” she concluded. “I love our church and I’m proud of what we do and what we stand for. We pray fervently, we work for justice passionately, we face challenges head on, and we embrace the future with hope.”