International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

"I invite you to pray for all those affected by poverty, raise awareness about the issues that contribute to poverty within our communities, and engage in initiatives that address these challenges," says Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson in a letter to the church on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Read the full letter here: https://www.elcic.ca/Documents/201810InternationalDayfortheEradicationofPoverty.pdf

The text of the letter follows:

October 17, 2018

They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor,
which was actually what I was eager to do.
(Galatians 2:10)

Dear Friends in Christ,

On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I invite you to pray for all those affected by poverty, raise awareness about the issues that contribute to poverty within our communities, and engage in initiatives that address these challenges.

As Paul and other apostles debated and discerned the shape of mission in the early church, they came to clear and enthusiastic agreement that “remembering the poor” is essential to the call to share the gospel. Care for neighbours in need is not only about acts of generous sharing and caring, it also includes ongoing learning about issues and a commitment to seek justice.

As the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) continues to discern what it means to be a church In Mission for Others, they have identified that one of our strategic priorities is Reconciled Relationships, and that working to end poverty in Canada is a key goal for this priority.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals commit to eliminating poverty by 2030. In Canada, more than 4 million people live in food insecure households. The Government of Canada has established a national poverty reduction strategy. The goal of eradicating poverty can only be achieved through a comprehensive, human rights-based strategy, back by strong legislation and sufficient funding for ending poverty for everyone. The ELCIC supports Dignity for All’s model of what Canada’s comprehensive national anti-poverty strategy needs to include: www.dignityforall.ca/about/our-plan/.

I am grateful that we journey together with many partners as we work towards Reconciled Relationships in the following ways:
The ELCIC works in effective partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief to support refugees, promote food security, and challenge the causes and respond to the consequences of injustice and poverty.

Organizations such as KAIROS, the Canadian Council of Churches, Citizens for Public Justice and the Lutheran World Federation help us to live out Jesus’ call to remember the poor.

We join with our full communion partner, the Anglican Church of Canada, in addressing the issues of homelessness and affordable housing and of responsible resource extraction.

Paul reminds us every congregation and faith community is called to remember the poor and discern the particular ways it can promote compassion, justice and peace in its neighbourhood.

As we pray for the eradication of poverty, I give thanks for all the ways that you participate in God’s mission and pray for God’s blessing on all the ways you work to eradicate poverty and to journey toward reconciled relationships.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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A letter from the National Bishop: We commit to upholding the dignity of all people.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson has written a letter to the church affirming the commitment to upholding the dignity of all people and "to standing with our LGBTQ2+ siblings in Christ, both inside and outside of our church."

A pdf of the letter can be found here. The text of the letter follows.

Dear members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC),

Then [Jesus] took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:36–37, NRSV)

Grace and peace to you.

On Sunday, we will hear how the followers of Jesus were arguing about who was the greatest. When confronted, they are silent. Jesus takes a child into his arms, and directs the disciples to welcome everyone with a sense of the holy in each person.

From the margins of society, Jesus draws people into his arms and into the centre of our communities; and asks us to reconsider our attitudes, our assumptions and our ways of welcoming. I am reminded of how tempting it is for leaders and communities to argue about who is important and who is not; to make decisions about who is in and who is out; and to magnify the significance of our own experience of normal. Even after we have committed to following Jesus, to treating people fairly and to being inclusive, there is much work to be done to turn our commitments into true and meaningful action.

In 2011, the ELCIC National Convention adopted a Social Statement on Human Sexuality, which calls us as a church to the following commitments.

We commit to upholding the dignity of all people. We recognize the image of Christ in every person and serve that person as Christ himself. In meeting diverse people, we begin with a core sense of respect for the value of each person as a unique child of God. We commit to following Jesus by welcoming everyone.

We commit to engaging in practices that more fully enable all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to live as members of the body of Christ and as co-workers in ministry, and to help nurture disciples in the image of God. We recognize we are affected by the biases of our predominantly heterosexual culture. We commit to keep on learning.

We commit to engaging the diverse faces of the world in which we live. We recognize that meeting diverse peoples and forming a truly inclusive community is a journey of discovery that will include moments of discomfort and anxiety. We commit to using these moments to help us grow as disciples.

The ELCIC finds itself in an increasingly pluralistic context which invites us to think anew about how we preach and live the gospel. As we continue to learn and grow as God’s people, we gain new understanding of our world. When we name our complex history, it can assist us in repairing those broken relationships and moving us towards being a more inclusive church. Language becomes an important vehicle to proclaim God’s justice and well-being and reflects hospitality and welcome to all.

In March 2018, the ELCIC’s National Church Council approved new Inclusive Language Guidelines. Women and men, transgender and non-binary people, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, two-spirit, asexual, and heterosexual communities deserve to have their individual identities, titles, and pronouns respected and upheld. While it isn’t required to know all of these terms, it is critical that we have a general understanding of the range of identities we have been gifted with by God and reflect that in our use of language with one another.

Just as the church wonders how to uphold dignity, so do our communities and our societies.
Recently, in different parts of Canada, there have been conversations regarding what curriculum will be used in schools as appropriate sexual education. Concerns are being raised about possible future use of the notwithstanding clause that may affect our LGBTQ2+ siblings. In the face of these conversations and concerns, how do we help each other to deepen respect for each other?

I am conscious that persons whose sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity means living as a minority in a predominantly heterosexual and gender-binary culture, the risk of painful, harmful and/or dangerous experiences remains far too high. The ELCIC does not support conversion therapy to change a person’s sexual orientation; or any other form of treatment that is hostile to a person’s identity. Rather, we sense a deep need for safe opportunities to listen to diverse experiences, to learn from each other, and to honour people’s God-given identity. We are called to form families, communities and societies where all are welcome and where all make a meaningful contribution. We are committed to standing with our LGBTQ2+ siblings in Christ, both inside and outside of our church.

This church lives by faith and grace. Living faithfully means trusting in God’s grace boldly, and taking risks. This church is yearning to see how God will be active in our future, and how God will use us as agents of reconciliation in our broken world.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 114,592 baptized members in 525 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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Lutheran, Anglican youth from across Canada gather in Thunder Bay

The 2018 Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth Gathering (CLAY 2018) has come and gone, but the memories, lessons learned and experiences gained will live on for years. Held every two years in a different Canadian city as a joint youth gathering between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Anglican Church Canada (ACC), CLAY 2018 took place this year at Lakehead University Campus in Thunder Bay, ON, on the traditional lands of the Fort William First Nation, Signatory of the Robinson Treaty of 1850.

106 Home Teams consisting of 845 total registrants joined 84 local volunteers, the six-member CLAY Worship Band and the four-member CLAY Drama Team for the five-day event, spanning from Wednesday, August 15 to Sunday, August 19, 2018.

Coming together under the theme ‘Threads’, the 2018 gathering focused on story-telling, story-tending, and what it truly means to listen. Five Large Group Gatherings (LGG) tended to the following themes/questions, including: How to listen to the stories of others, How to trust God in our unravelling, Where God fits within our stories, Good news stories from God, and Where do we go from here as unfinished but beloved children of God?

Steve Greene – the lead speaker/storyweaver at CLAY 2018 – spoke at each LGG reflecting upon and weaving together the many stories of place and purpose (shared by the other various storytellers) to the Biblical story. Greene, who has previously presented/led many powerful slam poetry ministry projects at past gatherings, was born in Montreal, QB., with his family originally coming to Canada from the West Indian cultured Barbados.

Beatrice Twance-Hynes of Biigtigong First Nation led the ‘Patterns’ session at Friday’s LGG. She is from both the local Bear Clan (maternal), Deer Clan (paternal), and has lived in Thunder Bay since 1988. Beatrice is a traditional women’s dancer, singer, songwriter and drummer. She serves as a Cultural Manager and is a member of the Elders Advisory Council within Thunder Bay.

Jenny Salisbury of Toronto, led the ‘Unravelling’ session at Thursday evening’s LGG. She was born and raised within a military family, and travelled/moved a lot as a child. Jenny found meaning and purpose within the church community through theatre. She currently serves the theatre as a writer, actor and teacher.

Lindsey Jorgensen-Skakum of Lethbridge, AB., led the ‘Weave’ session at Saturday evening’s LGG. As a Pastor, Lindsey has a passion for sharing the Good News of God’s love within and outside the church’s walls. A passion that has led them to share a ministry of welcome and inclusion as a member of the LGBTQ2+ community.

Esther Diabo served CLAY 2018 as the Elder-in-Residence, acting as a teacher, observer and elder. As a nine-year attendee of the Canadian Indian Residential Schools, Esther went on to become a teacher, and now offers free Ojibwe & Culture classes, welcome to all. She has taught for 18 years within the First Nations communities of Northwestern Ontario.

Highlights from the gathering included an offsite event, where youth were able to hear stories about Thunder Bay at the nearby Marina Park, and the indigenous lands and the threads of the lives of the locals. Hosts from the area gave accounts specific to their upbringing and lives. After learning what it means to be a true listener and a story-tender, the members of CLAY participated in an act of public witness as agents of reconciliation while at the park.

Working together with sets of different home teams and CLAY volunteers, the youth belonging to the ELCIC and ACC continued to fulfil their commitment to address issues such as homelessness and unaffordable housing through the National Youth Project (NYP).

By first learning of the issues contributing to poverty and homelessness, and then acting and advocating in supporting the local networks and agencies through partner programs, the youth visited a mock homeless shelter, gathered/donated socks, and sent postcards to the Federal Government and local Members of Parliament, in hopes of raising awareness and advocating for a greater responsibility and accountability in addressing the underlying causes of homelessness. 

While at CLAY 2018, attendees took part in the second-largest KAIROS blanket exercise in the world, and the largest ever by youth. Diabo helped lead the exercise with prayer, the teaching of Ojibwe, and a purification process. The 45-minute activity helped participants gain a better understanding of colonization (or the shrinking of land/blankets) and the process of displacement endured by Indigenous Peoples here in Canada.

The Story Dash on Lake Tamblyn was one of the lighter moments, and pinnacles of Home Team time at the gathering. Hilarious 10-sentence story content was created by each Home Team using set ‘base words’, additional ‘bonus words’ and creative titles.

A variety of late-night spots – including dances, swimming, yoga, a campfire with the CLAY Worship Band, and a coffeehouse – provided many options for the youth following evening sessions. 

CLAY 2020 will take place Calgary, AB., on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

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A Shared Ministry experience like no other

A one-of-a-kind internship in the rural area of Brokenhead, Manitoba is opening up the opportunity for nine congregations to participate jointly in a creative relationship.
 
Supervising the internship is Rev. Richard Engel who oversees services and pastoral duties at six different congregations within the Brokenhead area, consisting of congregations from Lac Du Bonnet, Ostenfeld, Pinawa, Whitemouth, Lydiatt and River Hills. Three other congregations from Green Bay, Thalberg and Beausejour complete the nine that jointly sponsored the internship.

This shared ministry program has been operating since May of 2017. Three months after its humble beginnings, Intern Pastor Jeremy Langner was welcomed to the Brokenhead area and has since been serving alongside Rev. Engel.

“A typical internship usually only has one supervisor and one congregation,” Engel says. “What we have here is anything but typical.”

As complicated as it may sound, this Manitoban pastor/intern duo has been rather successful in the early stages within this recently developed shared ministry.

“The overall goal of this internship is to have an intern who is fully functioning as a pastor by the end of the training period,” Engel says. “In the beginning, Intern Pastor Jeremy was my shadow, and we did everything together. We then began a period of transition… now he goes to one two-point parish to preach while I go to another on Sundays as the congregations really begin to experience the ‘shared ministry concept.’”

“The ‘shared’ word in shared ministry is something that I have discerned and taken very seriously,” Engel continues. “How do we share together while doing ministry? The pastor isn’t in charge of everything, rather we are in charge of this all together, and we are going to work at this together.”

For Intern Pastor Jeremy Langner, the chance to be able to serve and learn in this very unique shared ministry partnership has been fundamental in his growth as an emerging leader within the ELCIC.

“In Manitoba, pastoral internships don’t really come up all that often,” the 34-year-old says. “I am originally from Winnipeg, so having the chance to learn about the challenges and dynamics from rural congregations in my home province has been an incredible opportunity for me. I am not just in one particular place/congregation, but I am learning from each of these sites – something I really appreciate.”

Not only is the internship a unique partnership, but so is the funding that is supporting this new initiative. Financial support is coming from all expressions for the ELCIC. The ELCIC’s National Office Church Extension and Capital Fund (CECF), synodical funds from Acts of the MNO and local funds from the participating congregations help make this initiative possible.

“Having that assistance in supporting me as an intern has been critical,” Langner adds. “It has provided the internship site and in-part, has made my seminary education possible. If I wouldn’t have found this opportunity in my home province, and had been forced to relocate the family, it certainly would have been a very different outcome. So national funding for this is really critical for training leaders in theological education; I am really thankful for it.”

Rev. Richard Engel also echoed his intern’s thoughts on CECF funding.

“Funding from such things as the CECF has been integral to this internship,” he reflects. “Without the CECF, we would not have been able to do this internship.”

While every relationship experiences a few bumps in the road, Engel says the experience has been very exciting. “When I look back from where we were in May to where we are now, there has been significant progress. Much like our liturgical readings from a few weeks ago, in which Jesus was out in the wilderness, that is certainly how we all felt in May. We had been cast out into the wilderness, but it is no longer a wilderness anymore.”

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Convention font echo land and utilize naturally grown, locally sourced materials

The Font for the 2019 ELCIC National Convention was designed by artist Jeffrey Taylor, Newschool Arts, Duval, Saskatchewan.

“I am very proud to have been asked to create this baptismal font,” says Jeffrey. “It was one of those serendipitous God occurrences when the Rev. Patricia Simonson asked me if I could make a bowl for the font, and also inquired if I would be interested in making the base as well.”

The original idea was to have the base constructed out of reclaimed elevator timbers. “We sat and talked about the project at my table, which happened to be made from reclaimed elevator lumber, and I grew excited about taking on the task,” describes Jeffrey. “As Pat and I spoke of the materials that might be used, we shared a desire to use as many naturally grown, locally sourced materials as possible. So, all the antler used was from naturally shed antlers which fall off the deer and then regrow each year. The clay comes from pits in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta. The wood was sourced from a local wood reclaiming company that specializes in grain elevator timbers.”

As Jeffrey thought and prayed about the project, his mind was drawn to the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-23. “I felt that it was an apt passage for a baptismal font that was to represent Saskatchewan.”

The decorative marks on my pottery echo the land around Jeffrey. Furrows and fields echoed in the dark marks, clouds in the sky and snowbanks are imagined in the blank spaces. Both bowl and marks made from mixtures of the abundant clay, which lies beneath our province’s fertile layer of topsoil. On the font, there are subtle green markings. Looking closely, on both on the inside and outside, there are three intersecting circular marks representing the Trinity. Flowing out of this are lines that flow around the bowl as an expression of how God is at work in the world.

The base has simple straight lines that bring to mind the provincial boundaries. Jeffrey has been exploring working with antler as a creative material for a few years, and antler inlay was next on his list of things to try. Each pair of inlaid images represents one of the types of soil used in the parable to describe the differing responses to the gospel reading:

“A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path, and birds came and ate it.  Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep.  But when the sun came up, it scorched the plants, and they dried up because they had no roots.  Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked them. Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit, in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one. Everyone who has ears should pay attention.”

The bolted sections are of differing lengths to echo the differing harvests coming from the good soil. Using reclaimed lumber means it comes with a variety of marks and scars from its previous life, beautiful stories of the journey the wood has taken, and perhaps an echo of our own lives as God works on and in us to reclaim, restore and reconcile us.

Following National Convention, the font will take up residence in its new home: Luther College’s Chapel, as they were in need of a font.

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A letter to the church on World Refugee Day 2018

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson has written a letter to the church on World Refugee Day 2018.

Download a pdf of the letter here: https://elcic.ca/documents/201806worldrefugeedaylettertothechurch.pdf

A text version of the letter follows:

Dear friends,

Today I am in Waterloo, Ont. taking part in Canadian Lutheran World Relief’s (CLWR) World Refugee Day Prayer Breakfast.

I am proud of the work being done in this area by our church and by CLWR. During the Reformation Challenge, we sponsored more than 500 refugees, offering generous support and friendship as these people settled in Canada.

And yet, I am aware of our society’s sometimes weak commitment to being a welcoming and safe community. Particularly distressing are stories emerging from the United States of intentional policy choices to separate families and criminally prosecuting people as they cross the border seeking asylum.

I urge you to read and share the letter I have written to Canada’s Prime Minister (elcic.ca/documents/201806worldrefugeeday.pdf) imploring him to uphold the rights of refugees in Canada, in North America and around the world. In the letter, I call on the Prime Minister to use whatever influence he has to ask the U.S. Government to reverse these policies that deliberately violate human rights.

I also urge you to pray for our sister church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and give thanks for their continued witness and support of refugees (elca.org/News-and-Events/7935).

On this World Refugee Day, I invite you to renew your commitment to upholding the rights of refugees, to learn and raise awareness about refugee issues, and to pray for peace, justice and safety for all people.

Each new dawn is a reminder that light arises from the darkness, providing an opportunity to follow Christ on the journey of living by grace. I am reminded of the parable of the great banquet, Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled (Luke 14:15–24). Our calling is not to separate families; our calling is to invite everyone to the feast, so that all may be fed, all may be welcome, the house may be filled, and God’s community may be complete.

Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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Companions of the Worship Arts announced for 2018

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACofC) have announced the 2018 recipients of the Companion of the Worship Arts (CWA).

The honour of Companion of the Worship Arts—a highly reputable recognition—highlights the immense gifts and offerings of a particular individual to the worship life of each church at the local and national level. The CWA has roots in the ELCIC and was first presently jointly in 2014. It is presented every two years to one Lutheran and one Anglican at the National Worship Conference, which this year will be held from July 16-19, 2018 in Victoria, B.C.

This year’s Lutheran recipient is Rev. Eric Dyck. Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Montreal, and currently teaching liturgy and supervising seminarians with the Montreal Anglican Diocesan College. Rev. Dyck lectures on eucharistic development and history, oversees workshops on presiding, text delivery, movement in the liturgy, and offers extensive consulting on adapting appropriate liturgies into various settings.

His contributions to the worship life of his church, in all of its expressions, are well known and extend beyond his own Lutheran tradition. He has contributed to the worship life of the church in the local, synodical, national and even international levels.

Rev. Dyck’s list of contributions to the worship life of the ELCIC stretch exceptionally far. He served as a Sacristan and Worship Committee Member, Liturgical Director, and a General Consultant for The Lutheran World Federation from 1993-2004.  He held the seat of Co-Chair for Worship within the ELCIC for the 2013 Joint Assembly (ELCIC and ACofC in Ottawa), the Worship Design Team Chairperson for the 2005 and 2007 ELCIC National Conventions, Chair of the ELCIC Program Committee for Worship, as well as various roles within the National Worship Conference (Lutheran Co-Chairperson, Hospitality Suite, Liturgical Director, Sacristan, Chair, Local Committee Member).

Rev. Eric Dyck has had numerous pieces of his work published within the ELCIC. He was a valuable contributor to the Renewing Worship Project, which saw the development of Evangelical Lutheran Worship.(( He is currently working with Earth-World Collaborative in their liturgical products which design electro-acoustic music for liturgies while using the classic ordo, texts, rubrics, as well as sound-mapping and other new technology for the more traditional areas of the ordinarium. Rev. Dyck is also constructing and re-casting liturgies for international pilgrimages, based on the traditional/medieval liturgies, but focusing on contemporary situations.

This year’s Anglican recipient is Blanche Kate Gates. A longtime member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Nanaimo, B.C., where she is considered an Elder of the parish, Gates played a vital role in the development of contemporary liturgy in the Anglican Church of Canada as part of the task force that developed the Book of Alternative Services (BAS).

As a member of the national Doctrine and Worship Committee in the early 1980s, Gates interpreted the work of the committee to prepare for the publication of the BAS. During this period, she read many liturgical texts and commentaries—including experimental liturgical texts developed in the 1960s and ’70s, the 1979 Book of Common Prayer published in the Untied States, and the Roman Missal as revised by Pope Paul VI—to expand her knowledge and facilitate the work of the task force. Instrumental in creating the BAS and specifically its revised funeral liturgy, Gates spoke about the BAS to the House of Bishops and, as a delegate to General Synod, seconded the motion by which the Anglican Church of Canada officially adopted the BAS in 1985.

During her tenure as President of the Anglican Church Women for the Diocese of British Columbia, Gates left a considerable impact on her counterparts from other dioceses at national meetings. As a member of the Altar Guild and talented seamstress, she has consistently offered valuable assistance with linens, vestments, and parish and diocesan fabric banners that today enhance the worship space of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria and various parishes.((Reflecting her passion for quilting, Gates created the “Tree of Life” quilt for St. Paul’s, and sewed a stole and chasuble based on the same theme for the congregation. As she prepares to mark her 100th birthday, her contributions to worship and liturgy at the national level continue to influence the way Anglicans across the country interpret and practice their faith.

The CWA awards are to be presented at the 2018 National Lutheran & Anglican Worship Conference, Responding to Disaster: Prayer, Song, Presence, taking place from July 16-19 in British Columbia.

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Canadian Lutheran, Anglican Leaders offer message for Earth Day

April 17, 2018

In recognition of Earth Day on April 22, 2018, we invite you to join us in praying for the humility and discipline to use Earth’s resources wisely and responsibly.

We begin by praying the rule of Life, from Gospel-based Discipleship of Indigenous Ministries of th Anglican Church of Canada:

    Creator God, we acknowledge and give thanks that:

In Jesus we know we belong to a Sacred Circle with the Gospel and Baptismal Covenant in the centre.

In this Sacred Circle:
We are all related;
We live a compassionate and generous life;
We respect all life, traditions, and resources.
We commit ourselves to spiritual growth, discipleship, and consensus.(1)
Amen.

As we read this prayer today, we are reminded of the importance of relationships, including our relationship with Mother Earth. We are also reminded that through prayer God calls us to action.

Consider what you might do to use Earth’s resources more responsibly. Some possibilities are:

  • Being more mindful in your use of water;
  • Eating locally grown food when possible and eating meat less often.Taking more trips by walking, biking, busing or car-pooling in order to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Reducing your use of plastics by not taking a straw or a shopping bag. See 17 Tips to Use Less Plastic for more ideas; www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-lessplastic.html.

Consider what your faith community might do to nurture responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home, and each other. Some possibilities are:

  • Finding ways for your community to reduce its environmental footprint. Greening Sacred Spaces offers a variety of resources: www.greeningsacredspaces.net.
  • Listening to children, youth, adults and elders to discover innovative approaches to the challenges that we share.
  • Joining with partners in your community and neighbourhood who are inspiring and implementing
    new ways to care for the earth.
  • Making safeguarding the integrity of creation a regular part of your worship life by using worship
    resources that celebrate God’s creation.

Consider what we all might do to advocate for a more equitable world that recognizes the need for communities to define their own development goals and objectives. Some possibilities are:

  • Encouraging your Member of Parliament to support Bill C-262 which would insure all Canadian
    laws are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    www.anglican.ca/news/primate-endorses-bill-c-262-letter-prime-minister-trudeau/30020361/
  • Upholding the principle of free, prior, and informed consent for all communities impacted by resource extraction.
  • Commending the recent announcement of a new Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise. (https://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/ecological-justice/open4justice)

Recent important legislative initiatives are a reminder for all of us to continue to work for human rights and to care for creation every day. As the recent collaborative report from Auditors General across Canada highlights, there is need for much stronger federal and provincial relations to meet important emissions reductions targets in order to begin addressing the very real impacts of climate change already being felt in Canada and around the world.(2)

On this Earth Day, let us pray together:

Creator, we stand in awe and wonder at God’s great creation, at the diversity of beings, and at the intricate balance of relationships that sustains life.

We recognize the need and basic human right for each person to have a place to which to belong.Inspire in us the will to live in responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home, and each other are part of realizing our full humanity.

Gather us together for the love of the world, and send us out, with patience and persistence, to act as your disciples. Amen.

We are confident that through your prayers and discernment you will discover a multitude of ways to learn, raise awareness and make difference for the Earth.

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Anglican Indigenous Bishop, Anglican Church of Canada

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

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(1) https://www.anglican.ca/im/introgbd/
(2) http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_otp_201803_e_42883.html

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With hearts for Humboldt

With thousands of other Canadians, we watched CBC’s coverage of the Vigil for all those impacted by the horrible Friday night crash that killed fifteen of the Humboldt Broncos Junior A Hockey Team and left the rest of the team with very serious injuries. As families grieve, a community grieves with them. As a community grieves, a nation grieves with them.

In the face of such tragedy as this people come together. In tears they embrace one another. They listen to messages of condolence and feel the sympathy offered. They join in prayer. Some bow their heads. Some lift their heads. Some close their eyes. Some look out as if to a distant horizon looking for the tender mercies of God. When invited to hold hands they do. They know their need for each other and for God. They share their pain and seek comfort through one another and in the balm of God’s kindness.

That vigil in the arena that is home to the Humboldt Broncos was preparation for what will be a very hard week….a hard week for that community and several others where funerals will be held, a very hard week for the world of hockey. Let us then remember in our prayers all those who will conduct these services and all those to whom they are ministering.

As we pray for those who have died and for their families in anguish and sorrow at this time let us also pray for those who survived the crash and for their families who keep vigil at their bedsides. Let us remember the medical teams who are tending to their sons and brothers and all who support them through their presence and professional care. Pray too for the young men whose beds are positioned in a way that enables them to hold hands so bravely in their fight for life.

And finally let us remember before God those called to Emergency Health Services and to Policing Services. Collectively known as The First Responders in the wake of tragedies, they face carnage and chaos with great courage. They do all they can to save lives and they indeed do save many. They go about their work with an efficiency of skill that is remarkable. But they also go about it with a huge heart for serving those in crisis. They know trauma and it’s immediate and lingering impact.They know it for individuals, families , and communities. They know it for themselves too. They work and they weep…they weep and they work time and again.

As we turn our hearts to the very wide community of the Humboldt Broncos, we turn them to God in prayer for mercy and comfort in the midst of their deep sorrow.

In all we see and hear and think and feel in a time like this we are reminded of the simplicity yet full measure of our faith in God and our care for one another. We have come to know that faith and care as The Summary of The Law. In response to a question concerning the greatest of all the commandments Jesus said, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this ,“you shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

In these and all our days we pray,

“Lord, have mercy upon us and write both these your laws in our hearts.”

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz

Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson

National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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Lent Devotions offered by heads of Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Canada, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Set Free By Truth

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry joined the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in preparing Lent Devotions for the upcoming liturgical season.

Named Set Free By Truth, the Lent Devotions begin with Ash Wednesday on February 14 and continue through Easter Sunday, April 1. Each segment of Set Free By Truth presents Scripture citations, a reflection, and a prayer.

Set Free By Truth is available for free downloading here. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ecumenical-lenten-reflections

Ash Wednesday: “Return to me with all your heart”; by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Lent 1: “An appeal to God for a good conscience”; by Archbishop Fred Hiltz,
Anglican Church of Canada.

Lent 2: “Take up their cross and follow me”; by National Bishop Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

Lent 3: “But we proclaim Christ crucified”; by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church.

Lent 4: “The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people”; by Presiding Bishop Eaton.

Lent 5: “Purge me from my sin”; by Archbishop Hiltz.

Palm/Passion Sunday: “Hosanna!” by Bishop Johnson.

Triduum: “Until he comes again”; by Presiding Bishop Curry.

Set Free By Truth can be downloaded for websites, bulletin inserts, church programs, and used as discussion points.

For more information, contact the Rev. Margaret Rose, mrose@episcopalchurch.org.

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