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Read stories about churches and people across the ELCIC and how we respond together to the call to be a church In Mission for Others.

Copies of this publication are available free of charge. Order your print copies today and share them with your:

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Has your congregation held a 2019 ELCIC Praise Appeal Sunday?

The ELCIC Praise Appeal allows the opportunity to highlight different aspects of the ministry of the wider church. Congregations throughout the ELCIC are asked to designate one Sunday this year at a time that works best for them to highlight the ELCIC Praise Appeal.

The theme for the 2019 ELCIC Praise Appeal focuses on the call we hear in Micah 6:8 to do justice, love kindess and walk humbly with our God in a way that is both memorable and compelling.

Resources for holding an ELCIC Praise Appeal can be found here: https://elcic.ca/praiseappeal/2019Resources.cfm

Has your congregation already held a Praise Appeal Sunday this year? Let us know! Email tgallop@elcic.ca

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an annual ecumencial celebration. Christians around the world are invited to pray for the unity of all Christians, to reflect on scripture together, to participate in jointly-organized ecumenical services, and to share fellowship.

In the northern hemisphere, Week of Prayer for Christian unity is traditionally held every year between January 18 (the Feast of the Confesssion of Saint Peter) and January 25 (the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul).

Resources for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can be found here: https://form.jotform.com/ELCIC/stewardship

This year’s theme calls us to move from shared prayer to shared action. The international resources for the 2020 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by colleagues in Malta. The 2020 them, "They showed us unusual kindness" (Acts 28:2), remembers the historic shipwreck of Paul on the island of Malta and calls us to a greater generosity to those in need.

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National Lutheran and Anglican leaders invite reflection, prayers and conversation as Canadians prepare for federal election

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop Susan Johnson, National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop Mark MacDonald of the Anglican Church of Canada and Anglican Church of Canada Primate Linda Nicholls write to the two churches in advance of the October 21 federal election. In their letter, the leaders invite members of the two churches to consider, "What kind of Canada do you desire? How is that desire rooted in your spiritual convictions as a follower of the way of Jesus Christ?"

The text from the letter follows. Download the full letter here: https://elcic.ca/Documents/documents/Election2019jointletter.pdf

September 26, 2019

Dear Friends,

On October 21, Canadians will vote in a federal election, electing Members of Parliament who will help shape the life of our country for the next four years.

On the one hand, an election provides an opportunity for citizens to reflect deeply on the values we hold dear, on the common good, and on the promises that candidates and parties make as they seek our vote. On the other hand, an election can focus on fear and on appeals to apparent self-interest. Decisions based on fear are often flawed, even dangerous, and what appears to be our self-interest may be so detached from the common good that, in fact, it does everyone harm.

In the midst of the exile, when it would perhaps seem quite normal to be driven by fear and self-interest, Jeremiah utters these words on behalf of the God of Israel: “Pray for the city into which I have sent you in exile, and seek its welfare, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” As Lutheran and Anglican Christians, we receive this as lively counsel from the living God.

What might that look like as we prepare to vote in October? How might we reflect on key elements of our churches’ public witness as Election Day approaches?

Along with a broad base of faith communities, our two churches share a deep sense of call to actively work for the common good. In 2013, our two churches made particular commitments to encourage each other in addressing issues of Reconciliation, Climate Change, Responsible Resource Extraction, Affordable Housing, and “free, prior and informed consent” for Indigenous peoples.

An election campaign is a good time to think about these issues, pray about them, talk about them in our churches, and ask about them in town hall meetings and to campaigners at the door. Both The Canadian Council of Churches (www.councilofchurches.ca/news/2019-federal-election-guide/) and KAIROS (www.kairoscanada.org/resources/federal-election-2019) have prepared ecumenical resources to encourage discussion and reflection on various issues. We commend them to you for your consideration.

What kind of a Canada do you desire? How is that desire rooted in your spiritual convictions as a follower of the way of Jesus Christ? Let’s talk about that in our churches, pray about it in the deep longing of our hearts, bear witness to it in our public discourse, and seal it with a vote that thoughtfully considers what will make our country a good place for all, and therefore a good place for each of us.

Yours in the Spirit of Full Communion,

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

The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop, Anglican Church of Canada

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

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A call for prayers as first list of known names of children who did not return home from Residential schools is released

The ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson has prepared the following pastoral letter calling on members of the church to join with the Anglican Church of Canada, "to offer prayers from September 27 to 30 for the children who did not return home from Residential Schools."

The text from the letter follows. Read the full letter here: https://elcic.ca/Documents/documents/201909PastoralLetter.pdf

Dear members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada,

The Anglican Church of Canada, our full communion partner, is calling on relatives, friends and people of compassion to offer prayers from September 27 to 30 for the children who did not return home from Residential Schools. On September 30 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, a first list of known names will be publicly released by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at a ceremony in Ottawa at the Canadian Museum of History.

September 30 is also the day known as Orange Shirt Day, a day to remember all the children taken from their homes to residential schools.

To quote the statement from The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls, Primate, and The Most Rev. Mark Macdonald, National Indigenous Archbishop:

Releasing these names may bring relief at the public acknowledgement of this family pain but it may also open wounds of grief afresh. While publishing the names may honour the children, the act of doing so is another public reminder for every family of the legacy of residential schools, paid by indigenous people across Canada.

The Anglican Church of Canada stands with the families and communities in sorrow. Sorrow for the preventable deaths of children in our care. Sorrow for every family that unwillingly released their child to a residential school expecting them to be cared for only to be told the child died and for most, no body ever returned.

Let us join our sister church in prayer.

Prayer for the Children

God who came into the world as a child, we bring before you in deep grief the children who did not survive Residential Schools. Continue to hold them closely in the safety, comfort and everlasting Love which you desire for all creation. Hear again our cries of sorrow and lament for our participation in a system that allowed these deaths to happen. Forgive us.

Holy Spirit, in the unimaginable pain of this loss, when all words fail, hear and hold our “groans too deep for words”* as we see and honour the anguish of families left without the life, love and laughter each child represents. Be present with us in the myriad of emotions that the release of these names may bring—sadness, anger, relief, confusion, fear. Guard also the hearts and minds of survivors as they are faced again with memories of their own trauma and suffering.

Jesus, who showed us how Love is meant to live in the world, call us again out of denial and into truth, out of despair and into hope. Spur us to action in the places where systems of injustice prevail. Provoke us to speak out against racism, discrimination, climate injustice, and all that stands between us and the good, just, beautiful life you designed for us together. Be our strength when weak, our courage when afraid, our light in dark places.

Hear our prayer, God of all, in the name of your son the Reconciler of all things,


Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson,
National Bishop

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Call for prayers following devastation of Hurricane Dorian

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson encourages individuals and congregations to pray for all who have been affected by the recent devastation of Hurricane Dorian.

“We pray for the people of the Bahamas, for the dead, for those who have been injured and their families, and for all who are without homes,” says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. “We pray for the people on the east coast of the United States and Canada. We pray for all who work to bring relief and aid to all these affected areas.”

On September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas as a category 5, the strongest hurricane this side of the Caribbean. Moving slowly through the islands between September 1 and 3, the hurricane left a death toll over 43 people as of September 6, but this number is expected to rise as hundreds of people are still missing. The hurricane has left 70,000 people homeless on the islands.

In the United States, several cities were hit by the hurricane, including Cape Hatteras, North Caroline and other east coast states. Five deaths in that region were blamed on the storm so far. In Canada, Hurricane Dorian swept through parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, causing damage to trees, roofs and widespread loss of power throughout the area.

ELCIC’s partner, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) is responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. Donations will support relief efforts in the Bahamas through ACT Alliance.

Individuals and congregations wishing to support relief efforts can donate as follows:

  • Make a designated offering donation for “Hurricane Dorian” through any ELCIC congregation.
  • Call CLWR at 1-800-661-2597 (locally at 204-694-6502) to donate by credit card or go online at https://www.clwr.org/hurricane-dorian.
  • Send a cheque made payable to CLWR and mailed to CLWR, 600-177 Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 0W5. Please indicate that you wish to contribute to “Hurricane Dorian.”
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2019 ELCIC National Convention comes to a close in Regina, Saskatchewan

The 17th National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) formally wrapped up on Saturday, July 13, sending participants home from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan following a full agenda over the three days of convention.

Based on the theme, Called to Journey Together: The Ministry of Reconciliation, the assembly included almost 150 delegates, along with special guests, visitors and volunteers, The convention agenda was filled with worship, prayer, elections, motions, special presentations and fellowship, culminating with the closing worship service Saturday afternoon.

The service began with ecumenical guests and ELCIC Synod Bishops gathered around the baptismal font inside the worship space at the university, giving thanksgiving for Baptism, before processing in while singing Will You Let Me Be Your Servant.

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, delivered the sermon, focused on Jesus’ message of The Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5.

“We are blessed, not by what we do, but by what God has done for us,” Bishop Eaton said. “God has blessed us, set us free, and calls us to serve those, to restore creation, to be reconciled with the first peoples of this land, and to understand that multi-religious neighbours are actually children of God as much as we are. And that blessing them is a way that we bless God. This is a marvelous and liberating promise.”

Bishop Eaton also offered her reflections on the mission and ministry of the ELCIC.

“The ELCIC is such a model for me and so many others in my Church,” Bishop Eaton continued. “Particularly the lead you are taking in Care for Creation, and trying to restore a relationship with Indigenous people here, as well as Welcoming the Stranger. Don’t ever give up, because you are blessed now. Not because of what we have done, but because of what God has done for us. God has enlisted us to be a blessing to the rest of the world.”

Following the sermon, those assembled participated in a Blessing of the National Bishop, before proceeding to the installation of National Church Council. Bishop Johnson presided over Holy Communion before officially closing the 2019 ELCIC National Convention.
News, photos and video highlights from the gathering are available on the National Convention website: https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2019-Regina/default.cfm

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Becoming greening faith communities

Delegates at the 2019 National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) took action to encourage congregations, faith communities, ministry organizations, areas, and synods to participate in the ELCIC Stewardship of Creation: Greening Faith Communities program as an expression of commitment to stewardship of creation.

The Convention joined the 2017 Lutheran World Federation Assembly in “affirming the fact that the global ecological crisis, including climate change, is human-induced. It is a spiritual matter. As people of faith, we are called to journey together toward a healthy relationship with the earth,” and in “affirming its commitment to implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “

The Convention directed National Church Council to investigate what would be required for the ELCIC to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to report to the 2022 National Convention.

Recognizing that there is growing concern about the ecological impact of the production, consumption and disposal of many plastic products, particularly single-use plastics, the convention passed a resolution that encourages congregations, faith communities, ministry organizations, areas, and synods to reduce the use of simple-use plastic products. It also encourages individual members to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic.

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Delegates pass recommendations from the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission

Friday morning’s plenary session included the Report of National Church Council, including the recommendations from the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission (JALC), which came in the form of three motions in the Bulletin of Reports.

Rev. Jeff Smith, Eastern Synod rostered member of the NCC, and Pat Lovell, Eastern Synod Lay member of the NCC, presented the motions – all of which were carried by delegates.

The motions – found on page F-33 of the Bulletin of Reports – are as follows:

Motion 2 – Report of the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission

That the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada accepts the Report of the Joint Anglican- Lutheran Commission (JALC) with deep gratitude for JALC’s witness and initiative and that this convention renews the JALC mandate to 2022 for a commission of similar size and composition which includes some new and some existing members and that the commission shall host a joint meeting of the Commission and the Lutheran-Episcopal Co-ordinating Committee once in the triennium.

Motion 3 – A Common Word

That the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada expresses its gratitude for, and accepts the gift of, A Common Word between Us and You. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada joins other national and international Christian churches and leaders as signatories to A Common Word between Us and You and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, in partnership with the Anglican Church of Canada, will jointly initiate a program of resourcing and supporting Christian-Muslim engagement in receptive communities across Canada, based on the model of A Common Word and the various expression of it.

“Muslim leaders and scholars have invited Christians into a process of Muslim-Christian dialogue and engagement, which is based on love of God, and love of neighbor,” said Pat Lovell. “This motion builds on the actions of our 2015 convention, where we adopted Welcoming the Stranger, and honours our witness to the Muslim community in our Statement to Muslims in 2017. Further, it helps us to live into our own Interfaith Guidelines, approved at the same 2017 convention.”

Motion 4 – Affirmation of Relationship of Full Communion

Based upon the witness of the Memorandum of Mutual Recognition of Relations of Full Communion (Niagara Falls ON, 2018), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada affirms that a relationship of Full Communion exists among the four churches governed by either Called to Common Mission (USA, 1999 & 2000) or the Waterloo Declaration (2001) and that this affirmation shall have full effect upon the completion of a similar action in each of our three partner churches.

Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse (former Co-Chair of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission and past Co-Chair of the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee) spoke in affirmation of Motion 4, while praising the work done by the JALC.

“This is truly an historic recommendation to our respective churches. This is a movement that is being observed globally. It is giving much encouragement and putting much wind in the sails around full communion relationships globally and ecumenical relationships globally. I hope the delegates recognize that we have done something truly historic.”

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Service, mission, theology and unity are foundational, says LWF General Secretary

“God’s mission has never been about numbers. It has instead always been about the wonderful story of liberation, transformation and the promise of new life,” said Rev. Dr Martin Junge, general secretary of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in a presentation to the 2019 National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) on Friday, July 12, 2019, meeting in Regina.

Junge reminded the convention of the four foundational pillars on which the LWF is grounded. These were developed by first Executive Committee of the LWF when they came together in 1947, right after Second World War.

He then explained how service, mission, theology and unity are the foundational pillars still shaping us today.

The first one related to the suffering of people because of war. Today, the LWF serves more than 2.3 million refugees worldwide. It is one of the largest faith-based implementing partners of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

The second calling of our communion relates to cooperation among churches in mission. “One of the crossroads at which we stand as a global communion of churches today is to go beyond this one-directional perspective,” he said.

Things have changed: our largest member church today is in Ethiopia. The second largest is Tanzania. Churches struggling with their viability and sustainability can be found today both in the South and in the North.

“Our communion needs to grow into a new reality, in which each church will always and at all times understand itself as one being at both the giving and the receiving end, learning from each other, adding value to each other.”

The third calling that brought LWF member churches together at the time of its foundation was the theological work. “Churches realized how theology had been used to promote discrimination and to whitewash violence and oppression,” Junge said.

“A church on its own, is a church at risk”, he noted. “And this is particularly true as it relates to the ‘grammar’ of its witness, hence, for its theology. This is why we have been working together, to understand what informs our understanding of Scripture.”

The fourth pillar is about unity. Junge reminded the convention that, “To be Lutheran is to be ecumenical!”

He pointed out that, “We are not … where we should be, sharing the gifts of God at the table that is never ours but God’s alone. I invite you to continue supporting our joint ecumenical journey. This, too, is a way of journeying together for the sake of reconciliation.”
“The church has a past, but it doesn’t belong to the past,” he concluded. “It belongs to the present and has a future, because of God. God continues making things new, on this very day, nurturing and guiding God’s people as they live their baptismal vocation in everyday life.

“Sisters and brothers, there is no other time to be the church, than the current times. And therefore, there isn’t a better time to be the church, than this one.”

The ELCIC is a member church of the LWF, a global communion of 148 churches in 99 countries in the world and its over 75 million members.

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