ELCIC Group Services President Receives Recognition

ELCIC Group Services Inc. (GSI) President, John Wolff, was recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Plan Sponsors at the Third Annual Benefits Canada Awards which took place November 5 in Toronto, ON. The Benefits Canada Awards honour individuals and organizations who have demonstrated leadership and innovation in pension investment and administration, and who have contributed to the retirement security of Canadian employees and their families.

Wolff was nominated for the award by peers in the pension and benefits industry; award recipients are then chosen by a panel of judges. His recognition is the result of the cumulative dedication and focused efforts of the GSI Board and staff, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Office, and all the congregations and members of the ELCIC.

"The expertise John brought to the board of GSI was exactly what was needed during these challenging market and economic times," says Hildy Thiessen, executive director of GSI. "He’s been extremely committed to the work of the board and has contributed countless hours."

At the 2009 ELCIC National Convention, Wolff reported that in spite of the $16 million unfunded liability that was recorded on December 31, 2003, GSI continues to maintain its pension promise to ELCIC retirees, and the original funding timeline has been reduced from 15 years to 10 years, targeting a fully funded position by the end of 2013.

Prior to his election as president and chair of GSI in October 2007, Wolff served on the GSI Investment Committee and chaired the committee in 2005 and 2006. The investment strategy during those years enabled the pension plan to recognize market gains, which contributed to the reduced funding timeline. The decision to immunize the Retired Benefit Account in 2007 protected the assets from the recent market downturn.

During his time as president, which ended October 2009, Wolff saw GSI face new requirements from pension regulators for more protection due to the uncertain markets and economy. The ELCIC Pension Plan was the first to comply with new legislation in setting up a letter of credit. In May 2009, the ELCIC Pension Plan entered into an annuity contract with Sun Life, taking advantage of a market anomaly and realizing a significant gain in the Pension Plan, while eliminating 90% of the mortality risk and any residual interest rate risk under the immunization strategy. With continued contributions from ELCIC congregations the ELCIC Pension Plan will be fully funded within four years.

GSI is responsible for facilitating, providing and administering employment benefits and retirement income programs and services for the employees of the ELCIC, its member congregations, other entities associated with ELCIC.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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

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LWF Council Unanimously Adopts Statement Asking Forgiveness from Mennonites; Mennonites Welcome Move Toward Reconciliation, Says MWC General Secretary Miller

The Council of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has approved a statement that prepares for a significant action of reconciliation with churches of the Anabaptist family.

With this endorsement, the statement "Action on the Legacy of Lutheran Persecution of ‘Anabaptists’" is recommended for adoption at the July 2010 LWF Eleventh Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany. The statement expresses "deep regret and sorrow" for the legacy of violent persecution of Anabaptists, and especially for the ways in which Lutheran reformers supported this persecution with theological arguments. It asks forgiveness, "from God and from our Mennonite sisters and brothers," for these past wrongs and also for the ways in which later Lutherans have forgotten or ignored this persecution and have continued to describe Anabaptists in misleading and damaging ways.

The statement then makes commitments with respect to how the violent history of persecution by Lutherans will be remembered, and how the Lutheran confessional legacy will be interpreted from now on in light of this action.

This LWF action was based upon the work done by the Lutheran-Mennonite Study Commission, 2005-2009. Their report "Healing of Memories: Reconciling in Christ," was received by the Council, which commended the Commission for "its thorough and important work."

Receiving recommendations from the Program Committee for Ecumenical Affairs today, the Council also agreed that the International Lutheran Council (ILC) is informed about the report and statement, and that ILC’s participation is invited in affirming regret and sorrow over the Lutheran persecution of Anabaptists.

The Council requested the LWF General Secretary to send this report and statement to the LWF member churches for information, study and discussion, and possible responses. Both documents would also be made available to pre-assembly delegates for discussion at their meetings.

Celebration and Prayer

After the unanimous vote, Rev. Dr Larry Miller, general secretary of the Mennonite World Conference (MWC), welcomed the action in a spirit of celebration and prayer. The July 2009 MWC Assembly meeting in Asuncion, Paraguay, had warmly received the news that Lutherans might take such an action and had promised to "walk with" Lutherans in their process. Miller said that this request for forgiveness would require that Mennonites also would change.

"You are not applauding for yourselves," said Miller. "You are applauding for the grace of God in our midst. Mennonites have learned from Lutherans that we are justified by faith alone, because we know that justification produces not only relations between oneself and God but also communion between the churches."

LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko congratulated the Commission for its work, and expressed his hope that the Stuttgart Assembly "would be a landmark," in view of the anticipated action. "Our children will be proud of this day," Noko remarked. He noted that Lutherans and Mennonites already are working together around the world; this action would move such cooperation to a new level.

Referring to the MWC global conference in Asuncion, attended by the LWF general secretary and his assistant for ecumenical affairs Dr Kathryn Johnson, Noko added, "[We] wept like children in Paraguay when we saw how the Mennonites would embrace us."

The dialogue reconciliation process began in 1980 during the 450th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, when representatives of Mennonite churches raised questions about how they could join in celebrations of a document which explicitly condemned Anabaptists and their teachings.

In 1980, the LWF Executive Committee expressed sorrow for the pain and suffering caused by the condemnations and called on member churches "to celebrate our common Lutheran heritage with a spirit both of gratitude and penitence.

In 2002, the LWF Council established the Lutheran-Mennonite International Study Commission in partnership with the MWC.

During its work, the Commission had discovered that the history of persecution consistently intervened in their efforts at theological discussion. Telling the history together would in itself be an act of reconciliation.

More information on the 2009 LWF Council meeting is available on the LWF Web site at: www.lutheranworld.org

(Information from Lutheran World Information-LWI)
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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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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Rev. Martin Junge Named General Secretary of Lutheran World Federation

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council elected the Rev. Martin Junge on October 26 to a seven-year term as the eighth LWF General Secretary. The election occurred during the LWF Council meeting which is taking place October 22-27 at Chavannes-de-Bogis, near Geneva, Switzerland. The former president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (Iglesia Evangelical Luterana en Chile – IELC) becomes the first representative from the Latin America and Caribbean region to hold the highest position at the LWF Secretariat.

Junge will succeed Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko at the end of October 2010. Noko, who became the first African to serve as LWF General Secretary in June 1994, was affirmed as general secretary in 1997 and re-elected in 2004.

The seven-member search committee for a new general secretary was headed by the former president of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Rev. Iteffa Gobena and included Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. The ELCIC is one of the LWF’s 140 member churches.

Bishop Johnson, who is currently in Geneva for the LWF Council meeting, congratulated Rev. Junge on his election and noted, "We look forward to working together with him in this new capacity and welcome his as a friend of the church in Canada."

Since September 2000, Junge has been the area secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean at the LWF Department for Mission and Development (DMD). His key achievements as DMD area secretary include the strengthening and refocusing of the LWF’s programmatic work in the region, and the implementation and structuring of the advocacy program launched by Latin American LWF member churches to deal with the problem of illegitimate foreign debt in the region.

Since 2008 Junge has been pursuing a diploma in the management of not-for-profit organizations at the "Verbandsmanagement Institut” (VMI) of the University of Freiburg in Switzerland.

From 1996 to 2000, Junge was President of the IELC. Following his 1989 ordination as an IELC pastor, Junge served in two congregations in Santiago de Chile from 1989 to 2000. He studied Protestant theology between 1980 and 1986 at the Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany.

General secretary-elect Junge is married, with two children.

The general secretary conducts the business of the LWF in collaboration with the cabinet, made up of the directors of departments and units appointed by the council. The position holder is responsible for the implementation of the Council and LWF Assembly decisions. The next assembly is in July 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany.

More information on the Lutheran World Federation is available at: www.lutheranworld.org

(With files from Lutheran World Information.)

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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

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ELCIC Responds to Southeast Asia Disaster

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 relief operations in the aftermath of multiple natural disasters that have struck Southeast Asia in the past week. CLWR is working in partnership with other members of the ACT International alliance to address people’s basic needs in the affected region and support rehabilitation efforts.

To assist with immediate needs, the ELCIC is forwarding $5,000 from its Emergency Disaster Response Fund to CLWR, the ELCIC’s partner in international relief and development. The fund, established by an anonymous gift, allows the ELCIC to allocate funds immediately when an emergency occurs.

In the Philippines, the government’s national disaster coordinating council says a total of 1.87 million people are affected by Tropical Storm Ketsana.  Up to 375,000 people are staying in 600 evacuation centres. ACT partners have initiated plans to address the needs of urban poor families through distribution of relief goods including food, water, clothes, candles, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, pots and pans.
 
The same storm system also severely damaged areas of Vietnam leading to the evacuation of 52,000 households. To date, 162,000 houses have been damaged and 6000 houses totally destroyed. Response activities are likely to focus on early recovery and rehabilitation, as people appear to be meeting their immediate relief needs, together with response by Government and other organizations. ACT partners will give priority to water and sanitation (rehabilitation and flood-proofing hand pumps, latrines, wells and hygiene promotion), repair and upgrading shelters, and restoring livelihoods (providing seeds and seedlings).
 
In Indonesia, a 7.6 Richter Scale quake has inflicted heavy damage on the Padang region. The death toll has reached over 1000 people, and is expected to rise further. Thousands are still trapped in several buildings in Padang city. A total of 10,062 houses in the district have collapsed. Around 19 public facilities are badly damaged; 50 schools are badly destroyed. ACT partners already in the damaged areas are beginning to address shelter, water, food and medical needs. More detailed reports on specific aid needs are expected in the coming days.
 
A series of four tsunamis struck Samoa as well as nearby American Samoa and some of the smaller islands of Tonga on Tuesday morning, local time, following a massive undersea quake about half an hour earlier. A State of Disaster was declared by the government and assistance requested from foreign missions and the United Nations. The Samoa Council of Churches has highlighted the need for food, drinking water and clothes.

Contributions for this emergency response can be made at http://www.clwr.org/donate or by calling toll-free 1.800.661.2597. Updates will be available at: http://www.clwr.org/What-We-Do/SouthAsia.cfm

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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 Study of Human Sexuality Now Available; Church Members Invited to Participate in Feedback Process

A much anticipated Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) Study of Human Sexuality is now available for individual and congregational use. The study, prepared by the ELCIC Human Sexuality Task Force, is intended to engage members of the church in dialogue and respectful conversation as part of a consultation process to generate feedback and inform the process of drafting a social statement. The study seeks to generate discussion on personal discipleship, local ministry contexts, and the mission of the wider church.

In March 2006, the ELCIC’s National Church Council (NCC) directed the National Bishop, "to appoint a task force to prepare a proposal for the development of a social statement on human sexuality." While the task force has had significant responsibility in preparing study documents and working towards the drafting of a statement, their primary role is to ensure wide consultation across the ELCIC. In 2008, the task force surveyed delegates at Synod conventions on the relative importance that might be placed on particular aspects of a human sexuality study.

According to ELCIC guidelines, a social statement is a theological and ethical document that provides a foundation for understanding God’s living word in the light of the changing realities of the modern world, and seeks to provide the social analysis and theological basis for the collective ELCIC understanding of a continuing crucial issue that arises out of the mission of the ELCIC. A social statement usually focuses on a broad social theme rather than a specific issue.

The Study of Human Sexuality consists of seven sessions and is designed to be used by a wide audience. Following the completion of each session, groups and individuals are invited to offer their feedback to the task force.

"Congregations, councils, and individuals are encouraged to consider opportunities and groups that could be enriched by participating in this study," says Judy Wry, chair of the Human Sexuality Task Force.

Wry notes that the sessions are provided in a study-type structure to lead an individual or group through each topic and includes a call to begin and end with prayer. Each session proposes that much time be dedicated to discussion.

The study is available online (see below for details). A printed copy of the entire study will be mailed to each congregation.

All feedback from the study will be carefully reviewed by the task force and inform the development of the first draft of a social statement. The draft social statement, when available, will be distributed widely for consultation; feedback from the draft statement will inform revisions that will lead to a proposed social statement. Following a review of the statement, it is intended that NCC will present it to the 2011 ELCIC National Convention. Delegates to the 2011 ELCIC convention must endorse the final draft before it becomes a social statement.

"I urge all members of the ELCIC to participate in this study," says National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. "The success of the process to develop a social statement depends on the input of as many members of our church as possible."
 
All feedback from the study must be submitted by February 28, 2010. Feedback will be collected online, and via email and post. Go online (if this does not work for you, please go onlint to the ELCIC website – www.elcic.ca – and click on the link to Resources, and then scroll down and clink on the link to Human Sexuality) for further information, the study and a link to provide feedback.
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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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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ELCICs National Church Council Meets; Focus on Faith, Future and Feedback

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) met in Winnipeg from September 10-12, 2009. Council members conduct the business of the church between National Conventions and provide direction to the ELCIC’s National Bishop Susan C. Johnson on how the ELCIC can best live out its call to be a church In Mission for Others.

With committee meetings taking place on Thursday afternoon, the formal portion of the meeting began on Thursday evening with a service of Holy Communion. National Bishop Johnson presided at the service, Rev. Nolan Gingrich (British Columbia Synod ordained representative) preached, Saskatchewan Synod Bishop Cindy Halmarson shared the reading, and Marie-Laure Collet (Eastern Synod lay representative) assisted.  

Several new NCC members were in attendance following their election at the 2009 National Convention in June, including: Marie-Laure Collet, Jeanie Stann (British Columbia Synod lay representative), and Sheila Hamilton (vice-president).

Dwelling in the Word
Four NCC members led brief 5-minute Dwelling in the Word sessions where they each shared a memory or reflection on a scripture passage that is important to them. Usually detailing a very personal experience, Dwelling in the Word sessions have been a highlight of NCC meetings this year and were also part of the 2009 ELCIC National Convention.

Members sharing their personal faith stories at this meeting included: Tom Brook (Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod lay representative), Rev. Roger Haugen (Saskatchewan Synod ordained representative), Rev. Doug Reble (Eastern Synod ordained representative), and Barb Stolee (Synod of Alberta and the Territories lay representative). Several of these sessions will be available online at: www.elcic.ca/National-Church-Council/default.cfm

Dwelling in the Word sessions are in response to NCC’s vision which includes fostering a climate of Spirited Discipleship and sharing one’s own personal faith stories both with one another and in wider, more intentional ways. Dwelling in the Word is a key component of the ELCIC’s involvement in the Book of Faith initiative (www.bookoffaith.org) and is one way to invite others in your organization or congregation to become more deeply engaged with the Bible. ELCIC members are encouraged to find opportunities to share their stories of faith and dwell in the Word.

Study on Human Sexuality
NCC members received an update on the development of a church-wide Study on Human Sexuality by taskforce chair Judy Wry. The taskforce is in the final stages of preparing the study, which is a means of encouraging dialogue and allowing individuals throughout the church to contribute to the development of a social statement through feedback on the study. The study is expected to be available on October 1. Once it is released, the study will be available online, and a printed copy will be mailed to each congregation. Feedback from this study phase will be received until February 28, 2010.

Group Services Inc. Continues to Tackle Pension Deficit; Looks Forward to Future
Hildy Thiessen, executive director for Group Services Inc. (GSI) and John Wolff, outgoing chair of the GSI board, shared with NCC members an update on the progress GSI has made towards tackling the pension deficit five years earlier than initially planned. A sound investment strategy helped the fund weather the current economic downturn and enables GSI to pay off the $16-million deficit by 2013.

Thiessen and Wolff shared with NCC members their response to a question that came forward at the June 2009 ELCIC National Convention regarding the origins of the deficit and how the ELCIC Pension Plan went from a surplus position at the valuation date of December 31, 2000 to the unfunded liability position at the next triennial valuation of December 31, 2003. This information has also been posted on the GSI website: www.elcicgsi.ca.

Citing several factors, including: a cumulative 3-year loss on investments, expected return on investments not earned and the impact of a decrease in the annual discount rate, among other factors, Thiessen noted the importance of, “never getting comfortable because [markets] can turn around very quickly.”

With the end of the pension deficit in sight, Thiessen shared with NCC members how GSI will strategically turn its focus to active members and what this means moving forward. Future funding for active members is something the GSI board will look at when they meet in November 2009.

“We are trying to find a win-win outcome so congregations can get some relief when 2013 comes,” said Wolff, noting that there will be an education component of the strategy moving forward.

ELCIC Group Services Inc (GSI) is responsible for facilitating, providing and administering employment benefits and retirement income programs and services for the employees of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), its member congregations, other entities associated with ELCIC.

Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW) Continue to Forge New Path
Ruth Vince, executive director of Evangelical Lutheran Women Inc. (ELW) spoke to NCC members about the ongoing changes in strategic direction for the women’s group of the ELCIC. Specifically, Vince mentioned changes to ELW’s publication Esprit that involves the discontinuation of the Bible Study within the magazine, although it will be available as a separate item to both magazine subscribers and non-subscribers who are interested in utilizing this resource.

Vince spoke about the new event-based programming model that will be supported by a change in its current governance structures. Changes are reflecting the issues and concerns expressed by ELW participants over the last several years. The Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synodical ELW will be piloting the new format with National ELW staff working closely with them to refine and work out details as they move forward.

National Convention Evaluated
Members of the council spent time on Friday and Saturday reviewing the 2009 ELCIC National Convention and discussing learning opportunities for future conventions.

Overall, NCC members noted how the written evaluations from convention attendees were very positive and how the addition of new items such as dedicated Bible study times, having worship incorporated into the overall convention business agenda and afternoon forums contributed to the convention’s positive ratings.

NCC members also discussed how others at convention expressed a different experience; leaving some attendees feeling isolated, frustrated and silenced. Through a process of reviewing convention governance practices, including petitions from congregations, and the terms of reference for the Committee of Reference and Counsel, NCC members committed to making decisions regarding appropriate procedures for the 2011 National Convention which ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson further outlined in a Letter to the Church issued on September 17. The letter from Bishop Johnson can be viewed online at: www.elcic.ca/From-the-Bishop/documents/Sept17-Letter.pdf.

NCC Adopts New Resource Generation Strategy
Using statistical information gathered from annual parochial reports and information on how money flows through the ELCIC, an environmental scan of financial trends in the church was conducted in 2008 by a task force commissioned by the National Bishop. This information provided a general understanding of future stewardship trends and concerns for the church and, most notably, highlighted a largely unrecognized possible financial crisis for the church.

Resource Generation Task Force members used the information along with benchmark information from other denominations to develop a strategy that was approved by NCC. The Resource Generation Strategy details steps to address the financial issues looming before the ELCIC. The strategy includes: a church-wide dialogue initiative on faithful stewardship, a renewed call to proportional giving throughout all expressions of the church, a communication strategy, conversations between synods, seminaries and the National Office and a focus on planned and major gift giving.


Structural Renewal Taskforce Reports

At the March 2009 NCC meeting, a motion was passed to appoint a task force to begin considering restructuring proposals for the ELCIC. Sheila Hamilton, chair of the task force provided a report to NCC members. The nine task force members met recently to begin developing a framework for the process.

“We are planning a very consultative approach,” said Hamilton who noted that the task force will be looking to generate some very specific feedback on the development of a tangible strategy, which will be brought forward to the 2011 National Convention.

Next Meeting
NCC members will meet next in March 2010. For further information on NCC, visit their web page at: www.elcic.ca/National-Church-Council/default.cfm.
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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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 Human Sexuality Task Force Releases Study on October 1, 2009

After much investigation, deliberation, and prayer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) Human Sexuality Task Force is set to release its study on October 1.

In March 2006, the ELCIC’s National Church Council (NCC) directed the National Bishop to “appoint a task force to prepare a proposal for the development of a social statement on human sexuality.” While the task force has significant responsibly in preparing study documents and draft statements, their primary role is to ensure wide consultation across the ELCIC. In 2008, the task force surveyed Synod convention delegates on the relative importance that might be placed on particular aspects of a human sexuality study.

The study that will be released in the coming weeks is intended to be part of the consultation process. It is divided into seven sessions and has been written with the ELCIC’s context in mind. Congregations are encouraged to generate opportunities to use the studies for conversation. The study may also be used by individuals.

"I very much encourage individuals and congregations to get involved in the study," says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. "The feedback individuals and congregations will provide are crucial to the success of the social statement process."

Members of the task force also note that feedback is critical to the process; all feedback will be reviewed and will inform the crafting of a draft social statement. The social statement process insists that a draft social statement is also distributed widely across the church for further consultation. It is also hoped that engaging in the study sessions will generate discussion meaningful to local contexts.

A social statement seeks to provide the social analysis and theological basis for the collective ELCIC understanding of continuing crucial issues that arise out of the mission of the ELCIC. A social statement is designed to focus on a broad social theme rather than a specific issue.

Once it is released, the study will be available online, and a printed copy will be mailed to each congregation. Feedback from this study phase will be received until February 28, 2010.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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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Letter to the Church from ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson

The following is the text from a letter to the Church from ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson:

Dear Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! At the September meeting of our National Church Council (NCC), a significant amount of time was spent evaluating the National Convention held in Vancouver this past June. This included reviewing the evaluation forms that delegates submitted at the close of convention.

For the majority of delegates the experience was a positive one – the worship, learning, celebration and business contributed to their experience of a church In Mission for Others: Signs of Hope. Yet others expressed a very different experience of convention, one in which the business sessions of convention, and in particular the governance procedures used, left them feeling frustrated, isolated and silenced.

I want you to know that we have heard these concerns and initiated a process to review Convention governance practices, in particular practices regarding petitions from congregations, and the terms of reference for the Committee of Reference and Counsel. NCC is committed to making decisions regarding appropriate procedures for National Convention 2011 in order that there is plenty of time to communicate appropriately with congregations and delegates well in advance of the next convention.

I ask for your continued prayers for the leadership of our church as together we strive to be a church In Mission for Others. Let me leave you with the blessing which was used as one of the theme verses for this past convention.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:13)

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada – In Mission for Others

For a pdf version of this letter, please view online at: https://elcic.ca/From-the-Bishop/documents/Sept17-Letter.pdf

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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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2010 Youth Gathering theme announced; "Hands On" event will bring together Lutheran and Anglican youth from across the country

In a ground-breaking event featuring Lutheran and Anglican youth from across the country, the National Planning Committee (NPC) for the 2010 gathering announces "Hands On" as the theme of next year’s gathering which is taking place August 19-22, 2010 in London, Ontario. Drawing from the text in Isaiah 64:8, "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand", the gathering will explore how God calls us to use our hands to help shape the world around us.

Hands On 2010 is considered to be a ground-breaking youth gathering as it is the first time the national gathering will be jointly planned by both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). Hoping for more equal representation of youth from the two churches, the name of the gathering will also be officially changed from Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLYG) to Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) gathering.

"I’m so excited to be a part of this gathering," says Rev. Christie Morrow, NPC chair. "We would like to personally invite Lutheran and Anglican youth from across Canada to join us in London, Ontario where together we will explore how God has been at work molding and shaping us so that our churches, communities and the world will see the work of God’s hands through our youth."

Information on the gathering, as well as regular updates and the pre-registration booklet will be available on the Hands On 2010 website – www.clay2010.ca. For those who have no way of receiving the information electronically, please contact Rev. Paul Gehrs (204.984.9156) at the ELCIC National Office to have a hard copy of the registration materials mailed out.

Youth gatherings take place every two years with a new location each time. The last youth gathering was held in 2008 in Whitehorse, Yukon. Over 1000 participants made the journey from all parts of Canada to take part in the national event.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches. The ELCIC is in Full Communion with the Anglican Church of Canada.

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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Convention Ends with Energetic Worship and Call to Love

Gathering under dramatic green and white banners, delegates and guests at the Twelfth Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Convention celebrated an enthusiastic closing worship session on June 28.

The large crowd sang heartily as the worship team processed in with tall jangling parasols and candles, which transformed the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) War Memorial Gym—the convention’s main venue—into a sacred space. A liturgical dancer accompanied the procession, while cello, guitars, flute, and choir added a lively musical backdrop.

National Bishop Susan C. Johnson warmly welcomed those assembled and acknowledged the Musqueam people, whose traditional land includes the UBC campus.

Bishop Michael Pryse, Eastern Synod, preached passionately on Mark 5:21-43, where Jesus resurrects Jairus’s daughter and heals the hemorrhaging woman. Bishop Pryse said both Jairus and the woman pushed boundaries and approached Jesus with great faith. He challenged delegates to return home in the same spirit.

“We come together to dream new dreams and hatch new plans,” he said. “We do all this knowing that in a few short hours we will be sent out to be the hands and feet of Christ in the various contexts that we have come from.”

Using an image from the National Bishop’s opening sermon, Bishop Pryse again compared the convention to a family gathering. “Every member of the family bears some responsibility,” he said. “Each of us will have part in determining this gathering’s net effect on mission to and for the world.” He encouraged delegates to return to their churches with a spirit of unity and love.

Later in the service, Bishop Johnson installed members of the National Church Council, including new ELCIC vice president Sheila Hamilton. The convention’s chaplains, Jane Freeman and the Rev. Samuel Voo, led the assembly in prayers for these workers. All then joined in the Eucharist.

Bishop Johnson declared the convention ended and sent the delegates out into the sunny Vancouver morning with a Romans 12 passage used at several worship sessions: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.”

Over 400 Lutherans met in Vancouver at the ELCIC’s National Convention from June 25 to 28. Full agenda details and highlights are available on the National Convention website: https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2009-Vancouver/default.cfm

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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