“We are not just a church and a communion that looks back to the events of our founding, we are a church that God is calling into a challenging and uncertain future, but with the promise that God’s hand is leading us and God’s spirit is guiding us,” said Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson in her report to delegates at the ELCIC’s 16th Biennial National Convention.
Bishop Johnson’s report on Thursday, July 6 featured highlights and updates from the past biennium, as well as reflections on the ELCIC’s emphasis on the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) theme adopted for the reformation, Liberated by God’s Grace, which the ELCIC has also used as its theme.
The ELCIC’s National Office strategic priorities formed the framework for the Bishop’s report. The National Office lives out the call to be a church In Mission for Others through four areas of focus identified by the ELCIC’s National Church Council and affirmed at the 2013 National Convention. These areas include: Spirited Discipleship, Compassionate Justice, Healthy Church and Effective Partnerships.
“This has been a time for us to realize that we have come of age as a church,” said Johnson. “We are not just a church and a communion that looks back to the events of our founding, we are a church that God is calling into a challenging and uncertain future, but with the promise that God’s hand is leading us and God’s spirit is guiding us.”
Johnson lifted up some of the major commitments the ELCIC continues to work on, including: reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, care for creation, peace in the Holy Land, homelessness and affordable housing, and responsible resource extraction.
Partnerships were a theme throughout Johnson’s report. “I know that I do not work alone, but rather I am part of a team of leadership across our church and with our partners,” she said. “For that shared leadership and collegial support, I give thanks to God.”
Johnson concluded her report by quoting Romans 5:5 and reflecting on her last 10 years as National Bishop. “Hope does not disappoint us,” she said. “I’ve learned this from being involved in The Lutheran World Federation and realizing we are not a small church! We are a medium size church… We are Liberated by God’s grace. We are blessed with a hope in Jesus Christ that will not disappoint us. We are being strengthened to meet the challenges ahead. We are called to be people of faith for people in need… we are a church In Mission for Others.”
The report of the National Bishop was received with a standing ovation by convention delegates.
A video of the Bishop’s Report to Convention is available online: https://youtu.be/2SsdSKRZcNM
Information and highlights from the ELCIC’s 16th Biennial National Convention are available online: www.elcic.ca/In-Convention/2017-Winnipeg
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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