March 16, 2012
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) members participated in a day-long visioning session as part of its recent spring meeting. Through a facilitated discussion process, NCC members considered where God is calling the national expression of the church.
During the vision process, NCC members evaluated the work of the national expression over the past four years. Council was asked to consider how fully strategies have been implemented and how effective the strategies have been. The review lifted up the development of the ELCIC’s five pillars of focus (spirited discipleship, effective partnership, focused framework, diverse faces, and compassionate justice), reaffirming the church’s mission in these areas and offering an expanded look at how to proceed over the next four years.
ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson stressed the importance of the council's work in this area. Allowing time for visioning at this meeting is critical to how we move forward and adapt to our changing landscape, said Bishop Johnson. The visioning process and reflecting on our future will help guide our mission and ministry over the next four years. I want to thank the members of NCC for rolling up their sleeves and working hard on this during our recent meeting!
In addition to the one-day visioning session, council members also received reports from the National Bishop, Officers and Synod Bishops. An update was also provided by the National Implementation Team on the Structural Renewal work being done by the synods in preparation for their upcoming Synod Conventions. Some concerns about the Structural Renewal process were raised at the meeting; NCC members discussed and prepared plan to address the concerns. More communication about the implementation process is being communicated by synods in advance of their Synod Conventions and is also available on the ELCIC website (www.elcic.ca/Structural-Renewal). NCC's meeting agenda also included decisions on budgeting due to an unanticipated shortfall in benevolence from some synods in 2011 and the notice of a further reduction of support in 2012. More information will be communicated churchwide as details are finalized.
Worship is always an integral part of NCC meetings. For its spring meeting, new council member Jeff Buhse led the opening worship service – with Bishop Susan Johnson presiding. Buhse also opened each day of meetings with devotions. Several council members also shared their personal faith stories as part of a Dwelling in the Word component of the meeting. These personal faith stories will be available for viewing on the NCC website shortly (www.elcic.ca/National-Church-Council/Dwelling-In-The-World.cfm).
The NCC meeting took place in Winnipeg from March 8-10. The next meeting of the council is scheduled for September 6-8, 2012.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 145,376 baptized members in 594 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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