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.

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ELCIC National Convention Delegates Encouraged to be Joyful Witnesses

Speaking with conviction and warmth, Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) led a Bible study with delegates of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) Twelfth Biennial National Convention, taking place June 25 to 28 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Bishop Hanson drew his theme “Living at the Intersection of Fear and Hope,” from John 20:19-23, where Jesus appears to the disciples after his resurrection. Here the disciples are hiding in fear when Jesus arrives and says, “Peace be with you.”

Bishop Hanson said that the church is often fearful, as the disciples were. It can withdraw, and become possessive, distrustful, and anti-neighbourly. He said that in times of fear, the church can distort itself into a fortress, a military outpost, a retreat centre called “Nostalgia,” or a competitor in a consumer market.

Instead of giving in to these pessimistic worldviews, Bishop Hanson said, the church should adopt a “hermeneutic of joy,” even in the midst of organizational challenges like declining numbers.
“I don’t know the world is particularly interested in our internal conflicts,” he said. “I think it would be a powerful witness if we learn how to engage in respectful discussion…that in our differences, we come together joy in the presence of the crucified risen Christ.”

Bishop Hanson suggested that to get to this point, the church should “Go with the flow—of the Spirit poured out.” He suggested that hallmarks of a Spirit-filled church are a restored community, confident hope, and unity within diversity. He quoted Acts 1:8: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”

Delegates responded enthusiastically to Bishop Hanson’s study. His jokes about slideshows and convention culture were met with laughter and applause. At the end of the study, delegates laid hands on
one another while Bishop Hanson prayed for them to be joyful witnesses in the world.

Presiding Bishop Hanson is the national leader of the ELCA, composed of approximately 4.7 million members in over 10,000 congregations. The ELCIC and the ELCA are partner churches within the Lutheran World Federation. The two churches share some projects and initiatives, including the Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal, the Book of Faith program, which encourages Biblical literacy, and a recently in the area of Global Mission.

Over 400 Lutherans are meeting in Vancouver at the ELCIC’s National Convention. Full agenda details and a live link to the proceeding are available on the National Convention website: https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2009-Vancouver/default.cfm

—————————————————————–
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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Lutherans resolve to pray, advocate for peace in the Holy Land

Following a Friday evening session punctuated by passionate dialogue, delegates of the 2009 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Convention passed a multi-point resolution to support peace in the Holy Land. ELCIC’s Twelfth Biennial National Convention is taking place June 25 to 28 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

“This resolution seeks peace with justice for both Israelis and Palestinians and the continuation of the Christian witness in the Holy Land,” said Tom Brook, National Church Council (NCC) member, who introduced the resolution. “The National Church Council feels it’s important that our church community express our support to continue our journey with our partners at this special moment of possibility and opportunity.”

The resolution recognized the ongoing divisions between Muslims, Jews and Christians in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. It lamented violence and oppression in that area, and directed the ELCIC to support a secure state of Israel and a viable state for Palestinians. The resolution also called for all ELCIC members to work for peace by praying, educating, and accompanying peace builders.

In 1948, the United Nations established the State of Israel, leading to war and displacement of 700,000 Palestinians. The Six Day War in 1967 marked the beginning of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which continues to expand. Several peace processes have stalled, and extremism is increasing in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

ELCIC’s resolution called for the Government of Canada to play a more active, constructive, and balanced role in creating conditions for peace in the Holy Land. Among other points, the resolution called for the government to support a shared Jerusalem, oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, and to support aid and policies that build the Palestinian economy.

The Rev. Dr. David Pfrimmer, a public policy expert who also introduced the resolution, noted that the resolution affirmed policies already stated by the Canadian government. He also remarked that the ELCIC’s resolution is in line with similar statements made by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The resolution inspired much discussion on the convention floor. Some delegates spoke against the resolution, stating, among other things, that its comments on Israeli and Palestinian statehood were beyond the scope of the ELCIC. Many others spoke for the resolution and described personal trips to the Holy Land where they had witnessed injustice.

The ELCIC has many relationships and partnerships with the Holy Land, specifically with the 12 congregations and 6,000 members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), which is a member of the LWF, alongside the ELCIC.

The bishop of ELCJHL, the Right Rev. Dr. Mounib Younan, is a special guest at the convention. Bishop Younan was consecrated as the third Palestinian bishop of ELCJHL in 1998, and serves as vice president of the LWF, Asia Region, and the president of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches.

During a morning Bible study, Bishop Younan spoke passionately about the church’s role in promoting peace and justice in the Holy Land. He described the work of organizations, including Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, which address the needs of Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the area.

Bishop Younan also addressed two afternoon forums where he shared challenges of living in Palestine. He said he spends half of his time organizing permits so that Palestinians can work in Israel, visit family members, and even attend funerals. He also stated his concern about the declining number of Christian Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories.

When asked what the ELCIC could do to support peace in the Holy Land, Bishop Younan replied, “You have to speak the truth. I did not come here so that you would become pro-Palestinian. It’s not my aim that you would become pro-Israeli. We want you to be pro-truth, pro-justice, pro-reconciliation.”

Over 400 Lutherans are meeting in Vancouver at the ELCIC’s National Convention. Full agenda details and a live link to the proceeding are available on the National Convention website: https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2009-Vancouver/default.cfm

—————————————————————–
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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Anglican Leader Encourages Lutherans to Imagine Bold Step Together

“What bold step can our churches take together?” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) asked delegates at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) National Convention to consider during an evening Bible study on June 25. The Bible study is the first of three Bible studies taking place throughout the convention, which is being held June 25 to 28 in Vancouver, BC.

The Primate led delegates through Luke 4:16-21, where Jesus reads parts of Isaiah aloud in a Nazareth synagogue. It begins, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.”

Archbishop Hiltz said the text sets out a framework for mission, and he encouraged delegates to describe how they saw related signs of hope in their congregations. Then he challenged them to imagine the next “bold step” that ACC and ELCIC could take in their mission together.

ELCIC and ACC have been in a full communion relationship since the Waterloo Declaration of 2001. The declaration outlines how the two denominations are similar and allows for clergy to lead each other’s churches. Confirmations have been mutually recognized since 1995.

Both Archbishop Hiltz and ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson have worked to deepen cooperation between Anglicans and Lutherans since they were elected leaders in 2007. They organized a joint meeting of their churches’ management teams and a joint meeting of relief and development staff. Their churches also work cooperatively through KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives and the Canadian Council of Churches.

Already the churches have started to collaborate. Archbishop Hiltz and Bishop Johnson have written joint letters on issues of poverty and homelessness. They also issued joint Easter and Christmas webcasts, including a “blooper” reel showing their personal connection, fostered in monthly check-in phone calls.

“We were elected on the same day and we began our work on the same day,” Bishop Johnson told the convention. “It has been incredibly helpful to me to have someone to share joys and miseries and struggles with.” Archbishop Hiltz said the same was true for him.

Archbishop Hiltz asked delegates to write down and share their ideas for “bold steps.” He will review and forward them on in time for the next meeting of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission, which he previously co-chaired.

Anglican presence is strong at this Twelfth Biennial ELCIC National Convention. Archbishop Hiltz is attending as a special guest, and Anglican Bishop Colin Johnson of the Diocese of Toronto is attending as a member of the National Church Council. Two ACC staff—Web Manager Brian Bukowski and Web Writer Ali Symons—have also been seconded to help out with convention communications.

In her report to convention, Bishop Johnson described several joint projects with the ACC. In July 2008 she attended the Lambeth Conference, the meeting of all Anglican bishops in the Anglican Communion. As well, in September 2008 she and Archbishop Hiltz led an Ottawa, Ont. march in support of the Millennium Development Goals.

Over 400 Lutherans are meeting in Vancouver at the ELCIC’s National Convention. Full agenda details and a live link to the proceeding are available on the National Convention website: https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2009-Vancouver/default.cfm

—————————————————————–
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 National Bishop Delivers State-of-the-Church Address to National Convention

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson recounted a whirlwind of “firsts” and shared her signs of hope for the church as she delivered her Report of the National Bishop to delegates, special guests and visitors attending the Twelfth Biennial National Convention taking place June 25-28 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Bishop Johnson recalled her work over the last two years which saw her visit South America, the Holy Land, and Canterbury, England, to strengthen relationships with partner churches. To five synod conventions and the Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering, so she could listen to members’ hopes and concerns for the church. And to council and organizational meetings that revealed the need for economizing and restructuring in the face of financial challenges.

“This biennium has been an amazing new experience of learning and growing,” Bishop Johnson said. “Some of it has been inspiring, fun, joyful, and wonderful. But there have been lots of challenges.”

One challenge facing the ELCIC is a sheer matter of numbers. The church today has roughly 24 per cent fewer baptized members than it had when it was formed in 1986. Another challenge has to do with financial realities which are affecting the church on many levels.

“The National Church is running on about a third of the purchasing power we received in 1986,” Bishop Johnson reported to more than 400 voting delegates and visitors. “The synods and the National Church have continued to try to do all the same mission and ministry with fewer dollars and fewer staff. But we know that we can’t go on like this.”

Noting that there were many signs of hope, the theme of this year’s convention, Bishop Johnson noted that the church is looking at ways to restructure and partner with other churches and organizations so the ELCIC can continue to fulfil the mission to which God is calling the church. Strategies being considered or underway include: talking with the Anglican Church of Canada about possible collaboration in program areas; joining the administration of the ELCIC and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Global Missions programs; and the appointment of a Resource Generation Task Force charged with developing strategies for increasing revenue. In addition, the National Office has cut staff by 30 per cent in the past two years.

“We are trying to address our challenges with as much creativity and courage as we can muster. But this convention is about signs of hope, and there are abundant signs of hope for our beloved church!” Bishop Johnson said. “All across the ELCIC, I see examples of individuals, congregations, and ministries trying new and exciting ways of being In Mission for Others. We are partnering with Canadian Lutheran World Relief to tackle development work and refugee concerns. The youth of our church have made Stewardship of Creation the National Youth Project, challenging themselves to be leaders in their communities.

“In spite of the difficulties and challenges, I am full of hope because I know that this is God’s church and that it is God’s leadership and vision and faithfulness that will see us through our challenge and help us to grow into the vision for ministry that God has for us. And because of this, we will be a blessing to our hurting world.”

Over 400 Lutherans are meeting in Vancouver at the ELCIC’s National Convention. Full agenda details and a live link to the proceedings are available on the National Convention website: https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2009-Vancouver/default.cfm

—————————————————————–
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

ELCIC National Convention Commences; Exuberant Opening Worship Sets Tone for the Rest of Convention

Bold singing, droplets of water, and parasols with chiming bangles provided a joy-filled levity to opening worship at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) Twelfth Biennial National Convention taking place June 25-28 at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver.

ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and Bishops from each of the five Synods processed among worshippers with cedar branches sprinkling water on delegates and visitors as a celebration of Baptism. The parasols, decorative in nature, drew focus to the altar, the font and the ambo, and also offered a frame to the worship space in the UBC War Memorial Gymnasium. Later in worship the parasols would serve as stations for the Eucharist.

The convention choir, comprised of volunteering delegates and visitors, was directed by Lorraine Reinhardt from Augustana, Vancouver. The group ably provided special music and leadership in singing to the gathering. Energetic piano and cello music accompanied the assembly.

Bishop Johnson preached at opening worship and reflected on the church as family with all the related joys, sorrows, hopes and tensions that families carry with them. Preaching on the Gospel of Mark 10:35-45, the Bishop reflected on the story of the disciples James and John who asked to sit at the right and left hands of Jesus.

“James and John were asking for personal recognition,” she says, “It is a big temptation to serve ones self rather than God. We need to be recovering one day at a time from the human condition of self serving.” That self serving attitude created animosity among the disciples and caused jealousy and envy. Noting that God was able to use James and John, who were flawed and imperfect people, the Bishop declared that God can use us too. “We are called to serve God by serving others.”

Also highlighting the festive service was the presence of Martin Luther’s side-kick, “Philipp Melanchthon”, delightfully portrayed by Rev. Richard Hergesheimer from First Lutheran, Vancouver. Respectfully interrupting the service from time to time, “Melanchthon” would read a section of the Augsburg Confession, related to the portion of the worship service being celebrated. Melanchthon, who died in 1560, was the author of the Augsburg Confession, which is foundational to the Lutheran Church.

The exuberant opening worship set the tone for the rest of the convention to fulfill its thoughtful theme, “In Mission for Others – Signs of Hope”.

Over 400 Lutherans are meeting in Vancouver at the ELCIC’s National Convention. Full agenda details and a live link to the proceeding are available on the National Convention website: https://elcic.ca/In-Convention/2009-Vancouver/default.cfm

—————————————————————–
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

Final preparations for ELCIC National Convention underway at UBC campus

As Lutherans from across Canada prepare to meet in Vancouver for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) Twelfth Biennial National Convention, final preparations are underway at the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus where delegates will gather. Over 400 delegates, visitors, staff and special guests will be a part of the convention business meetings and worship services, which will officially start on Thursday, June 25 and conclude Sunday, June 28.

Special guests in attendance will include The Right Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, The Rev. Robert Bugbee, President of Lutheran Church-Canada, and The Rev. Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and President of the Lutheran World Federation. Special guests bring greetings from their churches and represent just a few of the church bodies with whom the ELCIC shares ministry and history. Younan, Hiltz and Hanson will also each lead delegates in a Bible study as part of the convention agenda.

Delegates will have full agendas ahead of them once the National Convention is underway. Business on the agenda will include: approving national budgets for 2010 and 2011; a resolution on the Holy Land which would see the ELCIC supporting and working for justice and peace in the region through prayer, education, advocacy and accompanying; as well as additional motions from congregations and individuals that are presented at convention through the Committee on Reference and Council. Elections will also take place for vacancies on National Church Council, Group Services Inc. Board of Directors and for individuals to the Court of Adjudication and Nominating Committee.

Other highlights at the National Convention include forums which will take place as part of the Friday afternoon agenda. The workshops, which centre on each of the ELCIC’s five organizing pillars (Effective Partnerships, Compassionate Justice, Spirited Discipleship, Focus Framework and Diverse Faces) adopted by National Church Council in March 2008, are designed to be interactive and include strategies for helping members express faithful mission through their congregations and in their local context.

Information and highlights on the National Convention, as it happens, can be found online at: www.elcic.ca/In-Convention/2009-Vancouver

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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 / 204.782.8618
tgallop@elcic.ca

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

Read more

Final Countdown to Convention before the start of the 2009 National Convention

Some final highlights and information about the 2009 ELCIC National Convention before it’s start next Tuesday, June 25 in this week’s Countdown to Convention.

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Countdown to Convention E-newsletter

Just two weeks to the start of the 2009 ELCIC National Convention. Find out how to get there, how to keep in touch and what will be taking place while we gather. It’s all in this week’s Countdown to Convention.

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Countdown to Convention E-newsletter

Three weeks to the start of the 2009 ELCIC National Convention. Countdown to Convention has all the highlights to keep you up-to-date on what’s taking place at this year’s gathering.

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