June 22, 2007
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) has set the stage for its next 10 years In Mission for Others by renewing its commitment to one of the church's foundational documents, Evangelical Declaration, at its Eleventh Biennial National Convention, which is taking place in Winnipeg, June 21-24. The convention of clergy and lay delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of renewing the document which included a title change to reflect the church's mission strategy, In Mission for Others: An Evangelical Theology of Mission – Evangelical Declaration.
The declaration was originally adopted at the ELCIC’s 1997 National Convention as a statement of mission for the decade ending 2007. Ratifying it again reaffirms the church’s theological foundation for the coming decade, said Bishop Ray Schultz. The statement was adopted with very few changes from the original 1997 wording.
Schultz said he took the near-unanimous approval of the declaration as a strong motion of confidence. “I interpret it to mean that the direction by which we’re defining mission and the strategies we’re defining around it are strongly appreciated by this delegation,” he said.
“We understand that the present reality of the world involves significant changes in our society, economy and culture,” the declaration reads. “Technological innovations, globalization, economic and political uncertainties and shifting morals and values have increased the sense of insecurity for many people. We further understand that the needs of the world and our opportunities for mission are found on our doorsteps and not simply at a distance.”
The document goes on to say: “We believe that the reality of Christ is that God promises to be with us unconditionally in the midst of the changes of our world. The church is called to name those things that cause us to be less than human. The church is called to proclaim the truth of the gospel to others and to live according to it as a community. The church is called to stand in solidarity with, and to welcome into its midst, all those who are marginalized because of sin and who experience injustice. The cross of Christ stands opposed to any ideology that treats people as commodities or proclaims that people can earn salvation by hard work or positive thinking.”
The declaration commits the ELCIC over the next decade to: discerning means of faithful living, equipping people to be members in mission, encouraging advocacy for the unjustly treated, sharing gifts with the whole people of God, communicating with others and responding to opportunities for mission.