Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Directory   Search  
Minutes of the National Church Council,
September 16 - 18, 2004

Villa Maria Retreat House, Winnipeg MB


Officers: Bishop Raymond Schultz, National Bishop
Rev Susan Johnson, Vice President (Chair)
Donald Storch, Secretary
Norman Thompson, Treasurer
Council: Judy Baribeau
Tom Brook
Margaret Fast
Maaike Froelich
Elizabeth Hachborn
Rev Roger Haugen
Rev Lynne Hutchison
Rev Stewart Miller
Dr Roger Kingsley
Judy Kochendorfer
Rev Ilze Kuplens-Ewart
Rev Dr Peter Mikelic
Anglican Church of Canada Representative The Very Rev Peter Wall
Synod bishops: Rev Cindy Halmarson, SK Synod
Rev Stephen Kristenson, ABT Synod
Rev Gerhard Preibisch, BC Synod
Rev Michael Pryse, Eastern Synod
Rev Richard Smith, MNO Synod
Guests: Kathy Magnus, Lutheran World Federation Regional Officer for North America
Rev Charles Miller, Executive Assistant to the Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Hildy Thiessen, Executive Director, ELCIC Group Services, Inc.
Norm Coull, Chair of Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) board
Rev Dr Ken Kuhn, Director of the Millennium Study of Leadership Needs
Rev Les Stahlke, author of Governance Matters: Balancing Client and Staff Fulfillment in Faith-based Not-for-profit Organizations
Staff: Rev Elaine Sauer, Assistant to the Bishop, Synodical Relations
Gloria McNabb, Director of Finance and Administration
Barb Fast, recording secretary
Doreen Lecuyer, Director of Finance (outgoing)
Council: Rev Sonja Free
Rev Nolan Gingrich
Carl Sorensen
Judy Wry

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The following National Church Council committees met prior to the opening of the Council meeting.

  • Task Force on Convention Renewal
  • Communication
  • Public Policy
  • Finance
  • Constitution
  • Faith Order and Doctrine

After welcoming the Council and making some introductions, the Bishop advised that Rev Susan Johnson, Vice-president, would chair this meeting.

Attendees took time to introduce themselves.

Report of Regional Office in North America, Lutheran World Federation

Kathy Magnus shared a report of her work with the LWF Regional Office in North America. Brochures promoting the LWF Endowment Fund are available for use. Other resources are at www.elca.org/lwf. The LWF at their September council meeting adopted a new mission statement. Recommended is a new LWF worship resource "Koinonia: Services and Prayers." Discussion also celebrated the results of the Key Leaders Meeting in August 2004.

Reports of the Synod Bishops

The Synod Bishops gave reports about activities in their territories.


The agenda for the meeting was reviewed. Two items were added

  • Audit committee report in conjunction with the report of the treasurer
  • Correspondence, including a letter from BC Synod (new business)

CC-04-48   MS  That the agenda for this meeting be approved as presented with additions


CC-04-49   MS  That the Minutes from the March 2004 meeting be adopted as presented.


Business Arising from the Minutes

  • CC-04-17: Governance manual will be dealt with later in meeting
  • p.4 request: Notes on Short term disability policies of other organizations were distributed at this meeting. This will be a sidebar, not a discussion item.
  • CC-04-27: This has been done. See Report of the National Bishop.
  • CC-04-32: Discussion indicated that at the BC Synod Convention, NCC members were identified. Not done in Eastern Synod. No significant comments Alberta and the Territories. Saskatchewan member was approached as an NCC member.
  • CC-04-37: See pages 6–7 of March 2004 minutes. Process continues. No appointment yet due to financial constraints.
  • CC-04-42: Process to develop a Social Statement will be on Saturday's agenda
  • CC-04-43: A second news release about study of sexuality issue was sent out following last council meeting
  • CC-04-44: Charles Miller is attending this meeting, representing Bishop Mark Hanson of the ELCA.
  • CC-04-45: Done, reported in Report of the National Bishop.
  • CC-04-46: In process, see Report of the National Bishop.
  • CC-04-47: Reported as done by Rhonda Lorch

Chair Susan Johnson noted that we have a busy agenda ahead but that tonight we are ahead of schedule. Worship was moved up to 8:45. Bishop Raymond Schultz and chaplain Rev Dr Peter Mikelic presided at a Eucharistic worship service.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Rev Peter Mikelic opened the session with devotions

Reports of the Officers

Report of the National Bishop

Bishop Ray opened the floor for questions.

Susan noted the due diligence matters (Report of the National Bishop, p.5). A question was asked regarding the date of completion of employee review. Plans are to do this immediately following the meeting with a more complete review to follow as job descriptions change.

CC-04-50   MS  that NCC provide Sister Anne Keffer with a Call to Special Service


Point of information re membership of the Program Committee for Worship (PCW)

CC-04-51   MS  that NCC approve that PCW membership be increased from three to five.


CC-04-52   MS  that NCC approve the process described within "Preparation of Approved Worship Resources" (Appendix 9)


CC-04-53   MS  that this matter be referred to the officers who will arrange that space be allocated within the 2005 Convention to discuss Renewing Worship resources.


Program Committee for Leadership for Ministry

CC-04-54   MS  that the Internship Endowment Fund be allocated to the seminaries based on the number of students they are placing on internships or diaconal field placements for rostered ministries in the ELCIC


CC-04-55   MS  that NCC endorse "It's Your Call" Sunday, Jan 16, 2005 for the purpose of recruiting candidates for ministry.


CC-04-56   MS  that NCC approve the study of the issue of mandatory retirement age for rostered persons with the view to amending all constitutions to change the mandatory termination of regular call from 65 years to 69 years (see also CC-04-88).


Canadian Mission

NCC was not willing to consider the suggestion the second Sunday in September each year be designated as Chinese Special Interest Conference Sunday to promote the fellowship and ministry of the Conference and to raise funds.

Lutheran Office for Public Policy

No report.

Report of Lutheran Planned Giving

Report received for information.

Report of the Vice-president

Report received for information.

Report of the Secretary

Report received for information.

Report of the Treasurer

CC-04-57   MS  That NCC approves the audited Financial Statements as presented.


CC-04-58   MS  that NCC authorizes the Chair of the Audit committee to engage Ernst and Young for the audit of the 2004 financial statements at an cost of approximately $18,225.


Roger Kingsley served notice that at the March 2005 meeting the Finance committee will be recommending an amendment to the corporate bylaw to "within the first 10 months of the year"

Report of Group Services Inc.

The GSI report was made by Hildy Thiessen, Executive Director. She described the process being used to work through the pension funding plan and the communication strategy being used. She reported that increased remittances are coming in. Regulatory approval is in process.

Camrose Lutheran College Corporation is no longer a participating employer. This required a Partial Plan Wind-Up Actuarial Report. It has been filed in draft.

CC-04-59   MS  WHEREAS by Resolution passed on January 22, 2004, the NCC resolved to allocate $2 million from the Benefits Reserve Fund for use by GSI to sustain the retiree pension plan subject to GSI receiving satisfactory approvals from the provincial Regulator and from CRA to such contribution (without jeopardizing the current registered status of the Pension Plan);

AND WHEREAS GSI has advised that the Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institution is prepared to provide such approval, and has agreed to assist GSI in obtaining approval from CRA;

AND WHEREAS participating employers have begun to make additional contributions to the Plan as of September 1, 2004 equal to 4% of each Member's Salary which funds will be deposited in a separate bank account established by GSI pending approval by CRA of the credit of such funds to the Defined Benefit Fund;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the $2 million allocation from the Benefits Reserve Fund referred to in the January 22, 2004 Resolution be paid to GSI by October 15, 2004 provided that such payment shall be dealt with by GSI in the same manner as the additional contributions made by participating employers since September 1, 2004; and further provided that the payment of funds be subject to the ELCIC's ability to release the funds without adverse effects to its charitable registered status, as confirmed by the NCC Executive Committee.


Report from the ELCA

Rev Charles Miller, executive assistant to ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, brought greetings from Bishop Hanson and noted the resemblance between ELCIC and ELCA council matters and process. He shared information about four ELCA endeavours: strategic planning, sexuality study, conference of bishops agenda matters, and disaster response. He also referred to the meeting of key leaders last August as "an outstanding meeting" and indicated a special readiness to move on the mission suggestions made there.

Bishop Schultz introduced Les Stahlke, author of Governance Matters: Balancing Client and Staff Fulfillment in Faith-based Not-for-profit Organizations.

Committee Reports


Committee Chair, Margaret Fast, reviewed the recommendations from the Communications Review Task Force. She gave notice of a motion recommending acceptance of the recommendations and that the task force receive a note of thanks.


Committee will meet later today.

Convention Renewal

Surveys from conventions have been reviewed (2 models). Reaction is a strong "no" to a small convention.

The committee recommends:

  • That an explanation be prepared of what has been learned and;
  • That the constitution committee look at "voting in different houses".

What other ways to reduce costs will be discussed? No other major changes planned at this point.


Three motions forthcoming.

Faith, Order and Doctrine

No report.

Public Policy

No report.

Special Order: Strategic Directions and Governance

Les Stahlke, author of "Governance Matters" spoke to NCC about his company and the help that he could offer the church. He has reviewed some of our ELCIC documentation and read Les Weber's report. Susan has a copy of this presentation and it can be copied on request. He estimates the cost for him to work with us for 10–12 days @ $500/day. This does not mean we should table our discussion of strategic directions at this meeting.

Bishop Ray referred to Strategic Proposal for Consideration by National Church Council, Appendix 1 . The report focuses on 3 strategic directions and proposed outcomes. After some discussion, Les Stahlke led those present through an exercise identifying services and beneficiaries related to each direction.

Bishop Schultz reminded the meeting that the governance manual is a work in progress and invited comments. Discussion followed.

CC-04-60   MS  That Pastor Les Stahlke be retained as the consultant to NCC in developing its governance procedures, and strategic planning. (March and July 2005)


CC-04-61   MS  That NCC write a letter of gratitude to Pastor Weber for his service


CC-04-62   MS  That the draft governance manual be received as information and referred to the process contracted with the governance consultant.


Management Plan was received for information only at this stage.

The Communications Task Force questioned whether we should go ahead with this before we work further on strategic planning, capacity audit, etc. Should this report be a part of the environmental scan? Could National Office move ahead guided by these recommendations? It was decided to return to this discussion tomorrow.

Special Order: Millennium Study of Leadership Needs

Rev Dr Ken Kuhn presented information from his studies. The study continues for another 6 months until March 31, 2004. Dr Kuhn entertained questions and suggestions. A summary of findings and interim recommendations is included in this docket. Recommendations will be a part of new business tomorrow.

Adjourned at 5:25 p.m. NCC met for a dinner of appreciation honouring Rhonda Lorch and Doreen Lecuyer.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Chaplain, Rev Peter Mikelic opened the session with devotions

CC-04-63   MS  that the report and recommendations from the Millennium Study of Leadership Needs be referred to the Program Committee for Leadership for Ministry


Convention 2005

Bishop Schultz distributed notes. He suggests we follow up on the general theme of the last convention. Discussion followed.


  • to adopt a theme
  • to allow officers to set the fee
  • constitutional bylaw changes to re-elect an incumbent on a yes/no or suspension of convention procedure by a 2/3 vote

CC-04-64   MS  that the theme of convention 2005 be "In Mission for Others".


CC-04-65   MS  that the fee for the 2005 convention be set by the officers.


CC-04-66   MS  that the Bylaw and Constitution Committee discover and pursue what is needed to allow a 2/3 yes/no vote to decide the position of the incumbent Bishop and officers starting with the 2005 Convention.


Social Statement (Eastern Synod Motions)

Susan invited open discussion and directed those present to appropriate notes within the docket. Committee of Public Policy reported on their previous conversations and recommend the ES strategy. The question arose: Can our bishop speak his heart on matters? ELCA has invited 2 ELCIC observers to their meetings as they work towards a similar statement.

CC-04-67   MS  that we accept the invitation from the ELCA to send 2 observers to their "Task Force for Studies on Sexuality"


CC-04-68   MS  That NCC adopt the recommendations in "A Proposed Strategy for NCC to respond to the Eastern Synod's request for a study of the matter of same-sex blessings". (Summary of a Proposed Strategy for NCC to Respond to the Eastern Synod's Request for a Study of the Matter of Same-Sex Blessings, Appendix p.133 ff)


CC-04-69   MS  That the selection of two observers to the ELCA's "Task Force for Studies on Sexuality" be made by the officers of the church.


CC-04-70   MS  That the officers determine the status of the social statement of our predecessor church.


NCC agrees not to report these actions until a release is received from the Bishop's office. The request was made that this come out before synod study conferences begin.

Motions from Committee Reports


CC-04-71   MS  That NCC direct the National Bishop to send a letter of thanks to the Communications Review Task Force, commending them for their work.


CC-04-72   MS  That the Communication Review Task Force Recommendation #3 regarding the election of the Editor of Canada Lutheran be referred to the Constitution committee.


CC-04-73   MS  That recommendations 1, 2, 4–7 of the Communications Review Task Force be referred to the Bishops office for inclusion in the strategic planning process.


Convention Renewal

CC-04-74   MS  That the Convention Renewal Task Force report to the 2005 Convention concerning:

  • the learnings from the questionnaire process;
  • an explanation of the decision to bring no recommendations concerning the two suggested models for change and;
  • a clarification of the implications of remaining with the current processes.


CC-04-75   MS  That a study be done on proportional cost-sharing for conventions and reported to the March NCC meeting.


CC-04-76   MS  That NCC refer the question of clergy delegate selection to conventions to the Convention Renewal Task Force.



Rev Roger Haugen declares a potential conflict of interest. He will abstain from voting.

CC-04-77   MS  That the CECF Management Handbook be amended to add the following clauses in Section A Administration, Item 2

i) Each year the members of the Advisory Board shall elect a Chair and a Recording Secretary for the Advisory Board for a term of one year, renewable.

ii) All appointees shall be appointed at the same time for the same two-year term. If an appointee is unable to complete the two-year term, a new appointee shall fulfil the remainder of the two-year term.


CC-04-78   MS  that members of the Advisory who are synod representatives are nominated by their synod bishop and appointed by NCC for two year terms, renewable. The following nominations are brought before NCC for formal appointment for a two year term ending December 31, 2006

ABT: Rev Phil Hink
BC: Rev Ray Niebergall
East: Rev Guenter Dahle
MNO: Bishop Richard Smith
SK: Rev Roger Haugen


CC-04-79   MS  that for the purpose of addressing the actuarial deficit of those self-insured gift annuity agreements that were entered into prior to 2002 (since 2002, gift annuities are no longer self-insured): until such time as the actuarial liability of the gift annuity agreements is fully funded, the unrestricted equity accounts inside LIFE titled "Estates Pending Distribution" and "LIFE Grant Fund" shall be used to offset the actuarial liability of the gift annuity agreements.


Report of ELW

Report received for information. ELW Executive Director, Ruth Vince, was unable to attend because the ELW Board is also meeting this weekend.

CC-04-80   MS  that NCC receive the motion ES-04-33 re: ordination to the ministry of openly lesbian and gay persons (see Report of the National Bishop, p.3) and defer discussion of this matter until the meeting in March 2005.


In Camera session

CC-04-81   MS  that the non members of council remain in the room for the in-camera session


CC-04-82   MS  that the minutes of the March 5, 2004, NCC In-Camera session be adopted as circulated and moved into the public record.


CC-04-83   MS  that the in camera session be adjourned.


Reflections from our Conference of General Synod partner, the Very Rev Peter Wall

Vice-President, Susan Johnson, turned the chair over to Bishop Schultz who thanked her for preparing the agenda and chairing the meeting.

New Business


Letter from BC synod regarding their Synod Convention motion SC-04-04 regarding a Lutheran House of Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology, Appendix p.130.

CC-04-84   MS  That the request for study be referred to the Lutheran Theological Seminary for consideration and recommendation to NCC.


Letter from Carol Quist and minutes of Caring Conversation meeting held May 10, 2004 by Lutheran Campus Ministry Edmonton at Hosanna Lutheran Church, Appendix p.115–127.

CC-04-85   MS  that NCC reply with acknowledgment of receipt of letter, and information about processes underway.


Letter from Ron and Nancy Thom regarding "the direction our church is taking with respect to the issue of homosexuality," Appendix p.129.

CC-04-86   MS  that NCC reply with acknowledgment of receipt of letter, and information about processes underway


Letter from ELW President and past president regarding building an "interactive relationship between ELW and the ELCIC at the National level", Appendix p.136–137.

CC-04-87   MS  That NCC instruct the national bishop to pursue the question raised.


Mandatory Retirement Age

CC-04-88   MS  That NCC refer the action "PCLM 2004.09" back to the Program Committee for Leadership for Ministry, directing them to outline the parameters of the study and make a recommendation about the process to NCC at its March 2005 meeting. (see also CC-04-56)


Next Meeting Dates:

March 3–5, 2005 (all day Thursday 3 as a workday with Les Stahlke)

July 20–21, 2005 (Wednesday 20 as a workday with Les, Thursday morning 21 as a Council meeting

September 15–17, 2005

March 9–11, 2006

Chaplain for the March 2005 meeting: Tom Brook

For July meeting: Rev Stewart Miller

Chaplain Rev Dr. Peter Mikelic closed the meeting with a hymn and prayer.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Fast
Recording Secretary

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
© Copyright 2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada