Countdown to Convention #3

Lutherans from across the ELCIC will meet in Saskatoon for the 13th Biennial National Convention taking place July 14-17. As we count down the weeks to convention we will highlight what’s new, what to watch for, how to keep informed and news to know in the weekly newsletter Countdown to Convention.

Countdown to Convention is now available online.

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Countdown to Convention #2

Lutherans from across the ELCIC will meet in Saskatoon for the 13th Biennial National Convention taking place July 14-17. As we count down the weeks to convention we will highlight what’s new, what to watch for, how to keep informed and news to know in the weekly newsletter Countdown to Convention.

Countdown to Convention #2 is now available online.

Read more

Countdown to Convention #1

Lutherans from across the ELCIC will meet in Saskatoon for the 13th Biennial National Convention taking place July 14-17. As we count down the weeks to convention we will highlight what’s new, what to watch for, how to keep informed and news to know in the weekly newsletter Countdown to Convention.

Countdown to Convention is now available online.

Read more

Emergency Appeals Issued to Assist those Affected by Wildfires in Alberta and Flooding in Manitoba

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), through its partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), is appealing to its members for financial support for humanitarian aid to assist Canadians displaced by wildfires in Alberta and flooding in Manitoba.

A wildfire, along with strong winds, forced the sudden mandatory evacuation of 7,000 residents of Slave Lake, Alberta, during the early morning hours of May 16, 2011. Similar fires are threatening other communities in the region.

In Manitoba, flooding on the Assiniboine River and in the Interlake region has led to critical situations in several communities. An unprecedented controlled breach of a dike near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, put 150 homes at risk in the hopes of preventing an uncontrolled release that would have put hundreds more at risk.

CLWR is issuing an appeal for funds to support humanitarian efforts which could include: help relocating those affected to safe areas; providing emergency shelter; providing food; and supporting congregational programs that provide assistance which fills potential gaps already provided by governmental emergency services. Based on currently available funds, $5000 for the Alberta wildfires and $5000 for Manitoba flooding is being committed to relief for each of these domestic disasters. The ELCIC and CLWR work in effective partnership with lead agencies which are providing front line services.

ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson is also calling for members to pray for the people who are threatened by the wildfires and flooding. She has prepared the following suggested prayer: "God of the Universe, you have created this world in which we live and have called it good. And yet at times the forces of nature seem out of control. We pray for all those who are affected by the flooding in Manitoba and the wildfires in Alberta. Help them, and us, to put our trust in your love and care. Motivate and equip those who are reaching out with hands and hearts to serve those in need. In our faithful prayers, in our generous response, help us to be a church In Mission for Others. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen."

Donations for the appeals may be made in the following ways:

1. ELCIC members are asked to donate to the appeals by making a designated offering donation for “2011 Alberta Wildfires” or “2011 Manitoba Flooding” through their congregation.
2. Donations may also be made through CLWR:

After May 18, online at www.clwr.org/donate. In the process of completing the form, you will come to a pull-down menu that allows you to designate a specific project. Choose “2011 Alberta Wildfires” or “2011 Manitoba Flooding.”
By calling CLWR’s toll-free number: 1.800.661.2597 or locally at 204.694.5602.
By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR and mailed to: CLWR, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6. Please indicate in your correspondence that you wish to contribute to the “2011 Alberta Wildfires” or “2011 Manitoba Flooding.”

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

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ELCIC Structural Renewal Task Force Report Now Available; Recommendations Focus on Equipping the Church to be In Mission for Others

Following two years of thoughtful analysis and church-wide consideration, the final report from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) Structural Renewal Task Force is now available. The report and an accompanying Frequently Asked Questions document can be downloaded from the ELCIC website at: https://elcic.ca/Structural-Renewal/default.cfm.

The report emphasizes a focus on mission and equipping the church to be In Mission for Others through a framework that is flexible, affordable and sustainable, and offers the following recommendations: that the ELCIC be re-organized into three synods; existing conferences be reconfigured into ‘areas’ (also known as groupings of congregations) and supported by leadership teams; conventions of the National Church be smaller in size; and that both National and Synod Conventions be held triennially.

National Church Council (NCC) received the Structural Renewal Task Force report and recommendations at its April 2011 meeting and adopted the motion: That the National Convention approve the recommendations of the Structural Renewal Task Force in principle and authorize the National Church Council to move forward with the implementation process.

"Delegates to National Convention this year will be asked to vote on approving the recommendations of the Structural Renewal Task Force in principle only," says Sheila Hamilton, chair of the task force. "There will be no changes to structures as a result of this vote but rather implementation teams for synods and the National Church will be formed to look at the details of how to best implement the recommendations." Hamilton explains that these details would need to be brought before Synod Conventions in 2012 and the 2013 ELCIC National Convention for approval before the actual restructuring process could begin.

The ELCIC Structural Renewal Task Force was appointed in 2009 by NCC. Through participation at Synod Council meetings, Synod Conventions and a church-wide survey, the task force has focused on obtaining as much input as possible as they considered what kind of structure best suits the changing demands of the ELCIC’s mission and ministry.

Further information on the work of the ELCIC Structural Renewal Task Force can be viewed online at https://elcic.ca/Structural-Renewal/default.cfm.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

Pastoral letter marks 10 years of Anglican-Lutheran full communion

A new pastoral letter marks the 10th anniversary of full communion between Anglican and Lutherans in both Canada and the United States. In 2001, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) signed the Waterloo Declaration. The same year the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church (TEC) signed Called to Common Mission.

The pastoral letter reflects on these full communion relationships and is signed by Bishop Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the ELCIC; Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the ACC; Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA; and Archbishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of TEC.

Simultaneous celebrations of full communion will be held on May 1 at 3:00 p.m. EST at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Fort Erie, Ont. and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Buffalo, N.Y. National Bishop Johnson will preside at St. Paul’s Anglican and Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach. Presiding Bishop Hanson will preside and Archbishop Hiltz will preach at Holy Trinity Lutheran.

Anglicans and Lutherans in Canada and the United States are encouraged to mark this celebration in their own communities.

The full text of the letter follows. A PDF version is also available online: www.elcic.ca/Documents/ERPastoralLetterMay12011.pdf

Grace to you and peace.

Ten years ago, when Lutherans and Anglicans in Canada and in the United States embarked on journeys of full communion with one another, we pledged our commitment to unity in Christ for the sake of the mission of Christ’s church. On this anniversary, we rejoice and give thanks for those places of cooperation and ministry that our agreements have enabled. We are mindful that our commemorations in Buffalo and Fort Erie this day take place during the great Fifty Days of Easter. As the Resurrected Lord breathed his Spirit onto his disciples and commanded them to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, we continue to ask for God’s Holy Spirit to empower us continually to live together into that call.

We have chosen a place near the border between our countries to celebrate our historic agreements, to provide a unified witness to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus, to share our commitment for renewal in Christ’s Church and God’s creation, and to serve our neighbor in need.

As we continue this journey, we call upon our pastors, bishops, and denominational and congregational leaders to active engagement in God’s mission and an increase in their capacity for multiplying ministry in the world.

We recognize God’s call to serve and protect Earth in the face of unprecedented global threats to our air, land, and water. Principles of justice call us to live more sustainably as individuals and in community, and to work for systemic changes that support care for God’s creation and for our neighbors. We acknowledge that our economy is based upon a worldview that sees creation as “resource” rather than sacred, of intrinsic worth, and “very good.” As a result we often plunder creation, and the well-being of low-income and minority communities, as well as other-than-human communities, suffer. We call upon our congregations and institutions to advocate for and embody a more sustainable, compassionate economy. We also challenge our congregations and institutions to make choices and support policies to reduce our collective consumption of energy, thereby reducing the pollution and climate change that stems from the burning of fossil fuels. We call upon our four churches to work together in matters of environmental justice.

As people of faith, we have a strong tradition of helping our neighbor in need. These acts of charity are an integral expression of our faith and help meet the immediate needs of people living in poverty and those hit by disaster. Now is the time to work for justice as well, to advocate for more substantial long-term solutions that will create an anti-poverty agenda which we can all support. We will continue to encourage members of our congregations to meet immediate needs but also ask them to join together and pressure our governments to focus seriously on reducing poverty. We must continue to advocate for decent employment and to enhance our social safety net — and to ensure that all have the opportunity to access both. Working together on matters of poverty and economic justice is an area where our four churches can forge an important common witness.

Meeting along the border of our countries, we are painfully aware of the issues of immigration and of people who lack lawful immigration status along other borders in the world. In our own context, we are mindful of those who have migrated to our countries to join their families, to work, or to seek refuge from persecution or violence. Countless families are separated by stringent immigration laws. As Christians, we are compelled by Christ’s life and teachings to welcome the stranger as neighbor, serving, as Christ did, those who are marginalized. In our national and international ministries with and for migrants and refugees, we continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

We acknowledge that almost all of us are immigrants ourselves: we live in nations built on land taken from others. Our churches have long involvement in mission and evangelism among First Peoples. Sadly we have an equally long history of marginalization and oppression, often through church-run boarding schools, whose main goals were assimilation and the eradication of First Peoples’ culture and heritage. As we atone for the past, we call upon our churches to continue processes of dialogue, healing, and reconciliation. Today, the definition of Evangelism and Mission has transformed into partnerships with First Peoples and their ministries walking side by side with Christ.

We are also aware that our own full communion arrangements reflect this border between our two countries: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church in Canada are in full communion, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church are in full communion. We ask our four churches to explore ways to formalize our relationships and deepen the partnerships between all four of our churches. On the basis of Called to Common Mission and the Waterloo Declaration, we look forward to the development of fuller relationships that will lead to a common mission, ministry, and witness in the world.

We put our trust and hope in Christ, who has led us thus far in these relationships. With boldness we venture now with a time of breaking new ground, planting more seeds, and tending them in the spirit of authentic partnership in the Gospel. With humility we offer all our labors to the Lord, hoping they take us and all our brothers and sisters in Christ towards a fuller realization of that unity for which he prays.

In the words of the Waterloo Declaration, “We rejoice in our Declaration as an expression of the visible unity of our churches in the one Body of Christ. We are ready to be co-workers with God in whatever tasks of mission serve the Gospel. We give glory to God for the gift of unity already ours in Christ, and we pray for the fuller realization of this gift in the entire church.”

In the words of Called to Common Mission, “We do not know to what new, recovered, or continuing tasks of mission this Concordat will lead our churches, but we give thanks to God for leading us to this point. We entrust ourselves to that leading in the future, confident that our full communion will be a witness to the gift and goal already present in Christ, ‘so that God may be all in all.’”

Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Anglican Church of Canada

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, The Episcopal Church

National Bishop Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

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Lutheran and Anglican leaders offer joint Easter greetings

""""""In a new online video, National Bishop Susan C. Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), offer joint Easter greetings to their churches.

In the ninety-second video, the leaders acknowledge the recent suffering in Japan and the conflicts in North Africa.

"We place our hope and our trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, hanging on the cross, rising from the grave, drawing near to his disciples, making himself known to them in the breaking of bread and the opening of the scriptures," said Archbishop Hiltz.

The leaders also reflect on the signing of the 2001 Waterloo Declaration. "We also want to acknowledge and celebrate the relationship between our two churches as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of our full communion agreement," said Bishop Johnson.

2011 also marks the tenth anniversary of full communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church, USA.

On May 1, 2011, the four churches will celebrate this landmark year with parallel services in Fort Erie, Ont. and Buffalo, N.Y. Lutherans and Anglicans will gather to mark the anniversaries and honour the possibility for future collaboration.

In a March 9, 2011 letter, Bishop Johnson and Archbishop Hiltz invited, "the people of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to pray for each other and for this holy endeavour." Communities are encouraged to host their own celebrations, on the Second Sunday of Easter or sometime thereafter, in their own churches.

The video greeting can be viewed here: https://elcic.ca/From-the-Bishop/default.cfm. It can also be downloaded to share with your congregation and community.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

ELCIC National Church Council spring meeting highlights; Joint time with ACC Council of General Synod focuses on "growing together"

Signifying an important step in deepening the Full Communion relationship between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), the executive councils of the two churches met in Mississauga, Ontario from March 30 to April 3, 2011.

Joint sessions focus on “Growing Together”
Throughout the three days of meetings, the two councils came together at various times under the theme “Growing Together,” and participated in joint Bible study, Eucharists, and several working sessions.

Friday’s joint session together included an overview of the history of the Waterloo Declaration. The two co-chairs of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commissions (JALC) “graded” each of the nine commitments highlighted in the agreement. ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and ACC Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, were given high marks for being, “a model for how this [work] is coming together.” The joint commission encouraged further work in the areas of diaconal ministry and in the inviting of, “pastors and priests to participate in the laying on of hands at the ordination of pastors or priests in each others churches.”

On Saturday morning, NCC and COGS members worked in small groups to discuss opportunities around the joint 2013 convention and what future work could done together. A wide range of input was shared as groups reported back. Feedback included emphasis on the congregation level to assist with further “communication and education” around full communion and suggestions of opportunities where the ELCIC and ACC could work together more closely.

Sunday morning the councils gathered to share results of their respective meetings. While the NCC moves towards National Convention in July of this year, much of the work of COGS revolves around tasks assigned at General Synod 2010.

National Church Council’s March 2011 meeting
NCC convened Thursday and Friday after lunch for the remainder of both days, and again on Sunday morning. Council heard reports from the National Bishop, Synod Bishops, Officers, Committees and attended to a significant amount of work in preparation for the 2011 ELCIC National Convention in July.

ELCIC Secretary retiring at 2011 National Convention
Council commended Don Storch, ELCIC Secretary, for his years of service as an officer of the church. Storch indicated he will not be seeking re-election to this position at the 2011 ELCIC National Convention. First elected as a lay delegate from British Columbia, Storch has served on NCC since September 1997.

Unfunded liability further decreased
Group Services Inc. (GSI) Executive Director Hildy Thiessen and Board Chair Jackie Dojack, provided a report to NCC. By December 31, 2010 the unfunded liability had been further reduced to 2.7 million. Thiessen noted the unfunded liability is on track to be completely eliminated in approximately two years. The board of GSI is now focusing its efforts on enhancements for plan members.

Report of the Synod Bishops
Throughout NCC’s time together, Council received updates from the ELCIC’s five Synod Bishops through their ‘environmental scan’ of activities in their respective regions.

Bishop Ron Mayan, Synod of Alberta and the Territories spoke of the synod’s involvement in The Evangelizing Church Project, which has just entered into its third year and involves a number of missional seminars focused on natural church development, unlocking growth and vital church planting.

The Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod recently hired a new staff person to oversee young adult ministry. Bishop Elaine Sauer expressed her hope for developing innovative approaches to reaching and working with young adults, and for helping them in their faith development.

Saskatchewan Synod Bishop Cindy Halmarson spoke of how the synod’s mission statement, Inspiring Ministry–Upholding God’s People is directing ministry within the synod. The synod is seeking to express a common witness and hopes that intentional ministry opportunities will be inspired.

Bishop Greg Mohr reported that one of the primary goals for the British Columbia Synod is to focus on renewal and re-development of congregations. Through a special gift earmarked for a “Renewal and Re-development Fund”, the synod will establish a group of approximately 10 people, lay and rostered, who will be trained in the areas of missions, vision processes, human resources and stewardship, to serve as congregational resources.

Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse spoke of the synod’s “celebration year”. 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the 100th anniversary of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. The synod and seminary have been jointly hosting a variety of special events reflecting on the past, celebrating the present and looking to the future with hope for what is to come.

Council receives Proposed ELCIC Human Sexuality Statement
Judy Wry, chair of the Human Sexuality Task Force presented the Proposed ELCIC Human Sexuality Statement to Council. The proposed statement is the result of four years of work, involving: a study guide, church-wide feedback process, a draft statement which allowed for further feedback opportunities, and the proposed statement. The Public Witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: A Policy on How the Church Addresses Social Issues (1991) was used to guide the development of the proposed statement. Council heard that all task force members signed off on the proposed statement.

NCC adopted a motion to “approve and recommend for adoption to the 2011 National Convention the Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality”.

The members of the Human Sexuality Task Force were commended for their work over the last four years.

Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee
Council heard a report from the Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee who were asked to prepare motions arising from the Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality.

NCC approved and recommended for adoption to the 2011 National Convention the following three motions.

1. Motion on the Unity of the Church
MOVED that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following affirmation as representing the position of this church and communicate this action to congregations, partner churches in Canada, sister churches in the Lutheran World Federation and other Lutheran church associations in Canada.

An Affirmation Concerning the Unity of the Church

As a confessional Lutheran Church which bases its life and teaching on the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada affirms with the confessors at Augsburg in 1530 that “it is enough for the unity of the church to agree concerning the teaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments” (AC VII).

We affirm that the church ought not be divided because of disagreement over moral issues, no matter how distressing such disagreement might be. We believe that any attempt to divide the church because of disagreements over morals, polity or liturgy is an unacceptable confusion of Law and Gospel, which will lead inevitably to a distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We encourage ELCIC members, congregations and synods and churches who share our commitment to the scriptures, creeds and confessions and who disagree with one another over issues of morals, polity (including standards for ordination or consecration) and/or liturgy to remain in dialogue and unity with one another and maintain unity in the gospel and the sacraments as St Paul recommends in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. We encourage all Lutherans to work for and nurture the unity of the confessional witness to the Gospel which is essential to the Lutheran tradition. We ask those persons, congregations, synods and/or churches who are in disagreement to refrain from actions that will divide the body of Christ.

2. Motion on Presiding at or Blessing Marriages
MOVED that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following policy statement:

It is the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada that rostered ministers may, according to the dictates of their consciences as informed by the Gospel, the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, preside at or bless legal marriages according to the laws of the province within which they serve. All rostered ministers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are encouraged to exercise due diligence in preparing couples for marriage. All rostered ministers serving congregations are encouraged at all times to conduct their ministry in consultation with the lay leaders in the congregation and with sensitivity to the culture within which the congregation serves.

3. Motion on Standards for Ordination and Consecration
MOVED that convention actions NC-1993-16 and NC-1989-96 be rescinded and that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following policy:

It is the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada that sexual orientation is not in itself a factor which disqualifies a candidate for rostered ministry or a rostered minister seeking a call. Candidates and rostered ministers are in all cases expected to adhere to the qualifications and standards as set out in the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and of the synod within which they serve. Synods and congregations are expected to evaluate candidates for ordination or consecration and rostered ministers for call in accordance with a conscience informed by the Gospel, the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

Council receives Structural Renewal Report
NCC members considered the Report of the Structural Renewal Task Force. The task force had been asked by NCC to look at renewal possibilities with a view to: equipping the Church to be In Mission for Others and developing a structural framework which is flexible, affordable and sustainable.

The report proposes: the ELCIC be re-organized into three synods; existing conferences be reconfigured into “areas” (groupings of congregations) supported by leadership teams; conventions of the National Church and synods be held triennially; and National Conventions be smaller in size.

In a Letter to the Church (https://www.elcic.ca/news.cfm?article=258) issued Sunday, April 3, NCC acknowledged their deep appreciation for the, “careful church-wide consultant and thoughtful analysis which are reflected in the report.”

NCC adopted the motion: That the National Convention approve recommendations of the Structural Renewal Task Force in principle and authorize the National Church Council to move forward with the implementation process.

New guidelines resulting from Full Communion ministry
NCC members adopted two new sets of guidelines that stem directly from the work of the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission. Guidelines for Anglican and Lutheran Bishops, Priests and Pastors: Regarding Confirmations in Shared Ministry Congregations and Guidelines for Anglican and Lutheran Clergy Service Appointments in Each Other’s Churches were approved. The first identifies standards for confirmation in shared ministry parishes, single-tradition congregations and in joint Anglican/Lutheran parishes with candidates from one or both traditions. The second motion updates a previous 2003 motion with language to include rostered ministers.

Last Sunday in February designated Diaconal Sunday within the ELCIC
Recognizing that the ministry of diakonia (service) is a vital dimension of the church’s witness and of rostered diaconal ministry as a valuable expression of church leadership, NCC members approved a motion to designate the last Sunday in February as Diaconal Sunday in the ELCIC.

Resolution on Indigenous Rights recommended for adoption at convention
NCC members approved and recommended for adoption to the 2011 National Convention a motion encouraging right relationships with indigenous peoples. The motion calls on the church to promote “right and renewed relationships between non-indigenous and indigenous peoples within Canada,” and to affirm that, “recognizing and implementing indigenous rights is essential to being the kind of society Canada strives to be.”

Eucharist and tree planting
COGS and NCC members joined together for a final Eucharist at the end of the joint meetings. Bishop Johnson and Archbishop Hiltz provided a joint homily.

After the service, members processed behind bagpiper Teddy Pope (NCC member) to the front of the grounds at the Queen of the Apostles Renewal Centre. A Green Mountain Sugar Maple tree had been planted to symbolize the churches’ work of “growing together.” Bishop Johnson and Archbishop Hiltz placed fresh soil around the tree. Then COGS and NCC members poured water, which they had brought from their home communities, on the newly planted tree. The maple tree, donated by Sheridan Nurseries, is expected to grow 80 feet. ACC and ELCIC leaders hope the tree will stand as a visible sign of church unity.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

New ELCIC election resource assists members in engaging in personal and public reflection on important federal election issues

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) is making available a new election resource to assist members in becoming actively involved in the May 2 Federal Election.

The new resource, titled 2011 ELCIC Compassionate Justice Election Resource, helps members engage in the federal election as responsible citizens and spirited disciples by providing questions that might be asked of candidates and their policies on topics such as poverty, climate change, human trafficking and international development.

“It is a right, responsibility and a privilege to be able to choose our leaders through a democratic process,” says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. “I encourage all members of the ELCIC to consider prayerfully what it means to be In Mission for Others around important election issues.”

The resource, which also provides background information on the work of the ELCIC and its partners, encourages members “as people of faith,” to reflect on the values of “compassion and justice” to inform consideration when casting a vote.

The ELCIC’s Constitution (Article IV, section 2.g.) identifies that one expression of the church’s mission is to, “study issues in contemporary society in the light of the Word of God and respond publicly to social and moral issues as an advocate for justice and as an agent of reconciliation.”

ELCIC members are encouraged to use the 2011 ELCIC Compassionate Justice Resource to assist in public discussion, personal reflection and prayerful consideration on how to create a society that is rich in compassion and justice.

The 2011 ELCIC Compassionate Justice Resource can be found online at: https://www.elcic.ca/Documents/ELCICElectionResource.pdf.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

A Letter to the Church from National Church Council

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) has been meeting in Mississauga, ON from April 1-3, 2011. The following is the text of a letter to the Church from members of NCC. A pdf version of the letter is available online.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Grace and peace to you.

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. —Ephesians 4:1-3

The National Church Council (NCC) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has been meeting in recent days (April 1-3, 2011). As we began our work, the Council was deeply aware of the responsibilities commended to us by the church and we are grateful to all who have held us in their prayers.

Many of you have been anticipating our efforts as you have participated in the work of our committees and task forces. All of NCC’s work will be reported out in the Bulletin of Reports. For now, with a view to openness and transparency, NCC would like to share with you some decisions around two matters: Structural Renewal and Human Sexuality.

Structural Renewal Task Force: Report

National Church Council considered the Report of the Structural Renewal Task Force. The Task Force was given the responsibility to look at possibilities for renewal with a view (1) to equipping the Church to be In Mission for Others and (2) to developing a structural framework which is flexible, affordable and sustainable.

The report proposes that the ELCIC be re-organized into three synods, that existing conferences be reconfigured into “areas” (groupings of congregations) supported by leadership teams, that conventions of the National Church and synods be held triennially and that National Conventions be smaller in size.

As soon as the final text of the report is available, it will be published online and included in the Bulletin of Reports.

Council deeply appreciates the careful church-wide consultation and thoughtful analysis which are reflected in the Report.

NCC adopted the following motion: That the National Convention approve the recommendations of the Structural Renewal Task Force in principle and authorize the National Church Council to move forward with the implementation process.

Human Sexuality Task Force: Social Statement

National Church Council considered the Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality. This proposed statement was prepared according to the vision and process articulated in The Public Witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: A Policy on How the Church Addresses Social Issues (1991). Both documents are available on the ELCIC website: https://www.elcic.ca/.

The Statement has three sections: “Encountering the World in Which We Live” names, without judgment, some of the current issues of sexuality that face our world; “Facing God and Being Church” seeks to find common language to articulate the faith and theology which guide our life together; and “Doing Ministry” seeks to stimulate conversation about mission and ministry at the local and global level.

NCC adopted the following motion: That NCC approve and recommend for adoption to the 2011 National Convention the Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality.

NCC is grateful to the members of the Human Sexuality Task Force for the care and integrity with which they went about their work and for the breadth of their consultation.

Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee: Three Motions

National Church Council asked the Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee to review the Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality and to prepare appropriate motions arising from the statement.

Council is grateful for the sound scholarship and pastoral sensitivity the Committee brought to their work.

NCC approved and recommended for adoption to the 2011 National Convention the following three motions:

        1. Motion on the Unity of the Church

MOVED that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following affirmation as representing the position of this church and communicate this action to congregations, partner churches in Canada, sister churches in the Lutheran World Federation and other Lutheran church associations in Canada.

An Affirmation Concerning the Unity of the Church

As a confessional Lutheran Church which bases its life and teaching on the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada affirms with the confessors at Augsburg in 1530 that “it is enough for the unity of the church to agree concerning the teaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments” (AC VII).

We affirm that the church ought not be divided because of disagreement over moral issues, no matter how distressing such disagreement might be. We believe that any attempt to divide the church because of disagreements over morals, polity or liturgy is an unacceptable confusion of Law and Gospel, which will lead inevitably to a distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We encourage ELCIC members, congregations and synods and churches who share our commitment to the scriptures, creeds and confessions and who disagree with one another over issues of morals, polity (including standards for ordination or consecration) and/or liturgy to remain in dialogue and unity with one another and maintain unity in the gospel and the sacraments as St Paul recommends in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. We encourage all Lutherans to work for and nurture the unity of the confessional witness to the Gospel which is essential to the Lutheran tradition. We ask those persons, congregations, synods and/or churches who are in disagreement to refrain from actions that will divide the body of Christ.

2. Motion on Presiding at or Blessing Marriages

MOVED that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following policy statement:

It is the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada that rostered
ministers may, according to the dictates of their consciences as informed by the Gospel, the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, preside at or bless legal marriages according to the laws of the province within which they serve. All rostered ministers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are encouraged to exercise due diligence in preparing couples for marriage. All rostered ministers serving congregations are encouraged at all times to conduct their ministry in consultation with the lay leaders in the congregation and with sensitivity to the culture within which the congregation serves.        

3. Motion on Standards for Ordination and Consecration

MOVED that convention actions NC-1993-16 and NC-1989-96 be rescinded and that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following policy:

It is the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada that sexual orientation is not in itself a factor which disqualifies a candidate for rostered ministry or a rostered minister seeking a call. Candidates and rostered ministers are in all cases expected to adhere to the qualifications and standards as set out in the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and of the synod within which they serve. Synods and congregations are expected to evaluate candidates for ordination or consecration and rostered ministers for call in accordance with a conscience informed by the Gospel, the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

National Church Council recognizes that there are other areas of exploration that arise from the proposed statement which may require further study or action such as: “Stewardship of Media”, “Oppose Sexual Exploitation”, “Act for Justice” and “Create Safe Spaces” (items drawn from the third section of the statement).

A Call to Prayer

NCC is keenly aware that our commitment to a common faithful journey may sometimes challenge us or lead us into places of unease or hurt or pain. At the same time, we seek, as best we are able, to maintain the unity of the Spirit and to support one another on the journey.

At the National Convention, there will be many reasons for celebration and rejoicing: our National Bishop has called us into a time of spiritual renewal; our relationships with other Christians continue to grow; we are renewing relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people; we are making an important witness around matters of justice; we have a wonderful 25th anniversary to celebrate; and much more.

We invite your prayers for congregations and leaders preparing for convention; for the officers of the church; for NCC; and for all who will gather at our 2011 ELCIC National Convention in Saskatoon to consider the important matters set before us and to experience spiritual renewal.

Please consider the substance of this letter and take the opportunity to study the various documents to which this letter points. As you have opportunity, please take the time to offer a word of thanks to the many people who have sought to do the church’s work, on our behalf, between conventions.

Grace and peace to you.

National Church Council
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Documents:
– A Letter to the Church from NCC: https://www.elcic.ca/Documents/NCCLettertotheChurch-April32011.pdf
– The Public Witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: A Policy on How the Church Addresses Social Issues (1991): https://elcic.ca/Documents/ThePublicWitnessoftheEvangelicalLutheranChurchinCanada.pdf
– Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality: https://elcic.ca/Human-Sexuality/documents/PROPOSEDELCICSocialStatementonHumanSexuality.pdf

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 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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