GHDA Issues Appeal to Assist with Relief Efforts in Burma; Forwards $10,000 to Assist With Immediate Efforts

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) is accepting donations to support relief efforts in the storm-ravaged areas of the low-lying Irrawaddy Delta in Burma (also known as Myanmar) following Tropical Cyclone Nargis on May 2-3. To assist with the immediate needs in the affected area, $10,000 from the GHDA Disaster Relief Fund has been forwarded to Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), a partner of GHDA, which will be passed on to those in most critical need through Action by Churches Together (ACT) International.

While news reports from the region vary and assessment of the devastation continues, it is estimated that the cyclone has killed tens of thousands of people and left up to one million homeless. ACT reports that Cyclone Nargis, the worst Asian cyclone since 1991, hit Myanmar triggering a storm surge and flooding in the five worst hit states, where more than half of Myanmar’s 53 million people live. Almost 5,000 square kilometres are under water in low-lying areas. Priority needs are for water purification tablets, plastic sheeting, basic medical kits, bed nets and food.

"Now is the time for us to act," says the Rev. Paul Johnson, GHDA coordinator. "We are a church In Mission for Others, a people called to respond to our Lord’s invitation to help the least of God’s children, those most in need of what we have in abundance. Your gift can make a huge difference."

To support relief efforts in Burma, donations can be made to GHDA – Burma Appeal as follows:

– Via the ELCIC Website: www.elcic.ca (click on the Donate Now link)
– By mail: GHDA, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6 (please indicate "GHDA – Burma Appeal" in the memo portion of the cheque)
– Through all ELCIC Congregations

GHDA’s Emergency Disaster Response Fund, established thanks to an anonymous gift, allows GHDA to allocate funds immediately when an emergency occurs and then replenish the Fund with donations to the church-wide appeal.

Further information about the work of ELCIC’s Global Hunger and Development Appeal can be viewed online at www.elcic.ca/ghda

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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

Commissioning of Frances Schmidt, ELCIC Missionary for Peru, takes place in Winnipeg on May 10, 2008; All are invited to combined ordination / commissioning service

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) announces that Frances (Fran) Schmidt has been called to serve as the new long-term missionary in Peru. All are invited to the combined ordination and commissioning service on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Winnipeg.

ELCIC Mission in the World (MW) received a request from the Peruvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (ILEP) to send a missionary to serve with ILEP and provide training in Lutheran liturgy and church music, in addition to serving part-time as pastor of an ILEP congregation in Lima.

Schmidt’s seminary training and experience as a parish worker and church musician have prepared her for this position but it was her participation in global experiences in Peru and India for Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) Saskatoon students which stirred her motivation for cross-cultural international ministry. “I felt very at home in Peru and was overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Peruvian people. I find the sharing of ideas, beliefs and mutual exchange between different cultures to be very rewarding. While in India, I learned how important it is to offer education and training in other cultures that honours their context.”

Fran Schmidt was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She obtained a Honours Bachelor of Music degree from Lakehead University in 1993. Following graduation, she taught private voice lessons. In recognition of her gift for music, Schmidt has received awards for voice performances at music festivals in Ontario and Saskatchewan. From 2001-2003, Schmidt was the Parish Assistant at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Winnipeg, and, while attending LTS, she worked part-time as the Music Coordinator for Zion Lutheran Church in Saskatoon, 2003-2006. For her seminary internship, 2006-2007, Schmidt served with Tri-County Ministry, a cooperative rural ministry of ten congregations in the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She is graduating this year with a Master of Divinity with Honours degree.

Following Schmidt’s participation in the ecumenical orientation program for mission personnel in July, she will travel to Bolivia for full-time Spanish language training for a few months. Schmidt will move to Lima, Peru to begin her placement with ILEP by the end of 2008.

ILEP is a small but growing church with 13 congregations and two mission areas. ELCIC MW provides support for the ILEP pastor in the Iquitos mission area through Amazon Mission Sponsorship. Retired ELCIC missionary Rev. Katharine Bergbusch was the previous pastor in Iquitos for three years as she concluded her thirteen years of service in Peru in 2007. ELCIC MW provides opportunities for individuals and congregations to engage in world mission through the Mission and Missionary Sponsorship Program. For more information, go to www.elcic.ca/mission/world.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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

Lutherans in Canada support first geriatric care centre in West Bank; Canadian funding to ease medical crisis in Palestinian Territories

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) are contributing $632,000 to improve access to essential health care in the Palestinian Territories. The much-needed funding will be directed to the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) in East Jerusalem, the only institution offering specialized medical services like cancer treatment and dialysis to Palestinians.

CLWR in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) initiated this call for aid following the health care crisis created by the international embargo blocking funds to Palestinian authorities after the election of Hamas in January 2006. In April 2006, the ELCIC and CLWR provided $60,000 USD to AVH for immediate relief and together they have encouraged both provincial and federal governments as well as members of the church and the general public to provide financial support for the provision of medical treatment among the Palestinian population.

“This support is very timely for the AVH,” says Robert Granke, CLWR executive director. “The improvements and expansion will enhance the capacity of the hospital to provide valuable services to Palestinians, including elderly patients and their families. The ELCIC and CLWR are pleased to receive this tangible support from the Government of Canada in response to the ongoing health care needs in the region.”

“We are very pleased with this development,” says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. “This contribution will help provide much needed assistance to the region. We are grateful for our partnership with CLWR and, through them, with CIDA, for helping make this possible.”

Funding will be used to increase access to quality health services for elderly Palestinians in need by enlarging the capacity of Augusta Victoria Hospital’s geriatric care ward from a 16-bed unit into a 28-bed unit. Since its inception in 1998 the demand for a bed is overwhelming, and at any given time there are no fewer than five people on a waiting list. In 2006, 29 patients were admitted to the sub-acute care unit – 12 men and 17 women. The average length of stay was 184.41 days. Construction will commence immediately and is expected to be completed by December 2008.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca
www.elcic.ca

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

Read more

Synod Convention Season Now Open!

While many may think that with the warming weather and longer days, the season of spring is now upon us, but every second year these signs also signal the beginning of Synod Convention season within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). The British Columbia (BC) Synod opened the season this year on Thursday, April 17 with their convention situated in among the mountain-views of Kelowna, BC at Christ Lutheran.

The Synod Bishop’s report was one of the first items of business on the agenda. Bishop Gerhard Preibisch noted, "there have been some significant changes in the BC Synod Office," during the past year. Rev. Dr. Gregory Mohr is now serving as Assistant to the Bishop; "a welcome addition to the office," said the Bishop.

Bishop Preibisch thanked congregations, lay people and pastors within the BC Synod who responded to the call to be In Mission for Others within the synod and their communities. "God has blessed many of us richly," said the Bishop, calling on delegates to the convention to consider doing more as, "we are a people rich in resources" and recommended that individuals and congregations review their proportional giving to the church and that all members of the BC Synod consider giving a planned gift to the church.

Elections for Secretary and Vice-Chair of the Synod were spread throughout the business agenda. On the fifth and final ballot, Rev. Cliff Reinhardt was elected to the position of Secretary and on the second ballot, John Boucher was elected to the position of Vice-Chair.

National Bishop Susan C. Johnson addressed delegates on Saturday afternoon thanking them for the opportunity to meet, talk and worship with them. Bishop Johnson shared an overview of National Church Council’s visioning work that took place in March 2008 and called on delegates to consider the, "huge mission field at our doorsteps, sometimes starting within our own families," indicating a call into deeper discipleship, "filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and [sharing that with] those around us."

In closing, Bishop Johnson thanked delegates for the support and encouragement received since being called to the National Office and noted the hope she sees for the future of the church, "we may not know for sure how things are going to turn out," she concluded, "but we do know that with God they will be good."

After significant discussion, a motion forwarded from the Synod’s Faith and Society Committee "to affirm that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities share the worth that comes from being persons created by God and are welcomed into the full life of the synod, in accordance with its constitution and by-laws, and its polices" was carried.

Motions to encourage congregations within the synod to review giving to the church, along with considering a planned gift to the church, were also discussed and carried.

Synod Conventions are held in the years between National Conventions. All five ELCIC Synods will hold their conventions or assemblies this year. Further details and dates are available on the ELCIC website: www.elcic.ca . The Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod will be the next synod to hold their convention which will start on Thursday, April 24 and takes place in Dauphin, MB.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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 Congregations and Individuals Encouraged to Celebrate GHDA Sunday on May 4

As we together celebrate Earth Day today, there are a number of ways in your community to celebrate, give thanks, and work together for a better future.

As Christians, we believe that the earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it (Psalm 24:1). So, as disciples, it’s about much more than Earth Day, it’s about earth year, and a life which acknowledges that God has entrusted this rich garden to us, not to use or abuse, but to tend lovingly, recognizing that the real meaning of ‘dominion’ is to point to the ‘Dominus’, the Lord, to whom it all belongs. It is God’s, not ours. But we celebrate that, especially when the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ makes it crystal clear that God loves creation, so much that God actually entered into and became part of it, for our sake, and for all.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s commitment to use what God has entrusted to us in the service of our most needy neighbours, and caring for God’s good earth, is carried out by Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) working effectively through many partners. GHDA is the means by which the ELCIC works together as a church to:

Provide immediate relief of hunger and other emergency needs
Assist people in the struggle to deal with the causes and effects of poverty through long-range development
Educate the church to understand and confront the causes of hunger
Promote social and economic justice as it relates to hunger, including support of and advocacy for government policy and programs
Promote a healthy and responsible stewardship of creation, recognizing that justice involves all the relationships which God has made possible in the gift of creation

All this, and much more, can be summed up in the final phrase of Article IV of the Constitution of the ELCIC: through service in Christ’s name.

GHDA Sunday is a way to help us focus on this particular part of that service, of our being In Mission for Others: A People Called to be and to give signs of hope. Attached here you will find a document:
https://elcic.ca/GHDA/documents/GHDASunday2008.pdf)
the major part of which is suggestions for a liturgy for Easter 7, GHDA Sunday, prepared and presented by Debbie Lou Ludolph, CWA, Director of Worship Ministries for the Eastern Synod of the ELCIC. You will also find suggestions for and links to many other resources, most of which, like this liturgy can be adapted and used at almost any time.

It is our hope and prayer that you will use this material to lift up GHDA in your parish, that this seventh Sunday of Easter will be a blessing to many, as we celebrate again the eighth day of creation, the Resurrection of Our Lord, and look ahead to many resurrection celebrations on many other Sundays. Thank you for your support of this important ministry which belongs to all of us as we strive to be spirited disciples of the risen Lord Jesus, in whom we live and move and have our being.

For more information on the work of GHDA, please visit: https://elcic.ca/GHDA/default.cfm
—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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

Preparing to Travel Light! – An Update on the 2008 Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering

To date about 700 people have registered for Travel Light , the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s 2008 Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLYG) taking place August 14 to 17, 2008 in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The deadline for submitting registrations is April 30. If you are working on your registration, the time has come to finish that task! If this is the first time you thought of going to Travel Light, there is still time! Thinking of inviting your Anglican neighbours to join you? There is still time for that too!

The ELCIC is aware that for youth groups, the adventure of going to Whitehorse is both an amazing opportunity to experience the north, and a logistical/financial challenge. Planning continues to have an exciting and inspiring event.

Currently, there is still space for registrations and we will likely be able to offer a bit of grace on the registration deadline. However, it will help the planning team if you contact the registrar and let her know that you are in the process of preparing registrations. Contact information is as follows:

Karen Schultz – Travel Light Registrar
email: registrar@youth.elcic.ca
phone: (306) 924-4416

Additional information and registration forms are available at: http://youth.elcic.ca/travelLight/index.htm

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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

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! I want to share with you some of the recent work of National Church Council (NCC). This past March, NCC spent time together visioning – worshiping, doing bible study, and asking ourselves, “What is the future to which God is calling the national expression of the ELCIC?” Through this process five organizing pillars emerged which we believe will guide and support us in our work as a national church as we continue to strive to be a church In Mission For Others. Those organizing pillars are: Effective Partnerships, Diverse Faces, Compassionate Justice, Focused Framework, and Spirited Discipleship.

I will be describing these pillars a little more fully in my presentations to Synod Conventions, but let me share with you some thumbnail sketches.

For years the ELCIC has worked in a variety of partnerships – so what do we mean when we start talking about Effective Partnerships? It’s a realization that we no longer have the resources to be able to do everything by ourselves, it’s a challenge to encourage us not to do things on our own, and it’s a change in mindset where we want to always ask the question, “Do we need to do this on our own?” If the answer is no, then the next question is… “who is the best partner or partners to work with in this area.” It’s good stewardship but even more so it’s a stronger witness to the rest of the world!

Diverse Faces means that we want to reach out into the communities where we find ourselves and invite people to participate in life in the gospel and life in the church. Diverse Faces says something about ethnicity for sure, but it also says something about being a place where people of every age are welcome and have a voice. Where women and men, young and old, play key roles in leadership and service. A place for people of all socioeconomic background, of all kinds of ability. It has something to do with being a place where all people can discover and share their gifts as together we strive to be In Mission for Others. This is going to say something about the way we do evangelism for sure. However, it is also going to push us to share leadership and we have to be prepared to accept that it will change us, just as our families change when we add new faces to the table!

Compassionate Justice means reaching out with compassion, providing humanitarian aid, advocating for those who do not have a voice including our creation. Some of the ways we’ve done this recently is through our Stewardship of Creation initiative and our partnership with the Anglican Church of Canada to launch a national campaign against homelessness. Much of the work of the Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) is done in partnership with other organizations. One of GHDA’s most important partnerships is with Canadian Lutheran World Relief and it is through that partnership that we as a church are able to respond to humanitarian emergencies, carry out international development, assist refugees and support alternative trade.

Focused Framework is not always the most exciting aspect of the mission of the church, but the reality is that addressing a number of structural and relational matters within our church will help us focus on being a church In Mission for Others. This is again partly to do with responding responsibly to decreasing resources, but it is mostly about clarifying relationships and responsibilities so that we can focus on becoming the church God is calling us to be. Some of the areas we think we need to look at include the size of NCC, the size and focus of convention, the number and sizes of committees, maybe even the number of synods.

We have also had to look at the size and focus of the National Office. This has involved the very difficult decision to reduce the size of our staff and has necessitated letting go a very bright and talented member of our national staff, the Rev. Ryan Andersen. It is not an easy or a pleasant thing to do, but it is part of what we are called to do to be good stewards of the resources you entrust to us. I want to clarify that while making this difficult decision we are still committed to ensuring that the important work of justice and stewardship continue in the life of our church.

Even as we attempt to face the realities and challenges of decreasing membership and resources, we know that God is calling us on a different trajectory. The reality is that there is a huge mission field at our doorsteps, sometimes starting within our own families. The final organizing pillar that NCC has adopted is Spirited Discipleship. We feel that God is calling us deeper into discipleship. We think God wants us to be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and to be able to show that to those around us. We think that God wants us to feel positive about our faith and our church. We think that our spirited discipleship needs to play out in all the ways we come together as church – in our worship, in our bible study, in the way we share our faith, in our compassionate justice – in all of the ways we are called to be In Mission For Others.

For the next period of time we in the National Office are going to be going through a lot of transition as we explore new partnerships and make decisions about what ministry areas we need to continue and what ministry we need to stop. There may be some bumps on the road – but we move ahead in confidence, hopeful for the future of our church, because we know that in the end it is God’s church. We may not know for sure how things are going to turn out, but we do know that with God they will be good. We will be blessed and God will help us to be a blessing to others.

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/April2008.pdf
—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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 Joint Easter Greeting from ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and ACC Archbishop Fred Hiltz

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC)’s Archbishop Fred Hiltz issued a joint 2008 Easter Greeting. A copy of the full text follows:

Dear Friends in Christ,

With gratitude for all that God has done for us in Christ, we join you in the journey of Holy Week. It takes us “from the glory of the palms to the glory of the resurrection, by way of the dark road of suffering and death.” (p 297, The Book of Alternative Services) As the days pass the drama heightens.

Through the liturgy we recall the last supper, the agony in the garden and the trial. On Good Friday we are following Jesus hour by hour, and moment by moment. As he hangs on the cross we cling to his words, forgiving all who look to him in faith, caring for his dear mother, thirsting for refreshment, longing for love’s redeeming work to be finished, commending his spirit into the hands of his Father. As he breathes his last there is silence – in our hearts and throughout the whole Church. Our Lord, as the Apostles’ Creed puts it, is “dead and buried.”

And then comes the night when the Church gathers in vigil awaiting the joyous message that, “He is risen! Alleluia.”

So begins the great 50-day festival of Easter. With joy we hear the stories of the Risen Lord greeting Mary Magdalene, inviting Thomas to believe, calling Peter to shepherd his flock, opening the scriptures and breaking bread at an inn in Emmaus, breathing upon the apostles and sending them into the world in the power of the Holy Spirit. As people of faith, we find ourselves in these stories.

For Holy Week our prayer is that as Christ gave himself for us, we may give ourselves to him through lives of faith and abiding commitment to his gospel of love.

For Easter our prayer is that we may know joy, peace, and hope in the Risen Lord, and that “by his grace, we will be enabled to show the power of his resurrection in all we say and do.” (Proper for Second Sunday of Easter, p 32, Evangelical Lutheran Worship)

In Him,

We are sincerely yours,

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Archbishop and Primate, The Anglican Church of Canada

View a pdf version of the greeting: https://elcic.ca/From-the-Bishop/documents/2008Easter.pdf

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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

Highlights From the Fourth Day of NCC Meetings

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s National Church Council (NCC) met in Winnipeg from March 5-8. On Saturday, council began their session at 9:00 a.m. with Opening Devotions by Tom Brook.

The first report of the day was from Ruth Vince, Executive Director of Evangelical Lutheran Women Inc. (ELW). Vince spoke to NCC about the upcoming ELW Board Meeting scheduled for March 27-30 where the board will be exploring possible outcomes from recent cross-Canada focus groups. Also on the horizon for ELW is the 2008 National ELW Quadrennial Convention, taking place in Calgary, AB July 10-13, 2008. NCC Council members praised Vince and ELW for the recent work being done on resources for the whole church. Both "What’s Enough" and "No Place Like Home" have been very well received in ELCIC congregations. Bishop Johnson thanked Vince for the partnership in ministry ELW has expressed with the ELCIC and applauded the continued courage of ELW to share, "signs of hope with the church in the midst of challenging times."

NCC reviewed the appointments of two ELCIC board positions on the Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) Board of Directors. Both Rev. Dr. Mark Harris and Rev. Dr. Faith Rohrbough were re-appointed to the CLWR board for a second term.

NCC members shared some final thoughts on the visioning work they had done earlier in the meeting. A motion to adopt the visioning directions in principle was carried unanimously. It was explained that the vision principles, organized around five areas of emphasis, will provide a framework for the work of the National Office. Highlights from the visioning sessions include the church continuing its emphasis on being a more outward-looking church, along with striving to articulate the ELCIC’s unique Lutheran role in living out the call to discipleship and how the ELCIC might answer that call through diverse and effective partnerships both within Canada and globally.

The next meeting of NCC will take place September 11-13, 2008 in Winnipeg. NCC meetings are also scheduled for March 5-7, 2009 and September 10-12, 2009. The meeting concluding with Closing Worship service. Bishop Susan Johnson presided and the Rt. Rev. Colin Johnson, Bishop of Toronto of the Anglican Church of Canada, delivered the sermon.

Photo highlights from the meeting are available on the NCC page of the ELCIC website: https://elcic.ca/National-Church-Council/default.cfm

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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

Highlights From the Third Day of NCC Meetings

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s National Church Council (NCC) met in Winnipeg from March 5-8. The council included an extra day during their spring meeting to allow time on the agenda to focus on visioning and strategic development.

Friday’s meeting commenced at 9:00 a.m. with Opening Devotions led by Tom Brooks.

Throughout the morning, NCC members continued their discussions and work on discerning the vision and strategic direction for the national expression of the ELCIC. Upon reconvening after the lunch break, council moved into the business session of their meeting.

Council heard the Report of the National Bishop who shared an overview of the work she has been involved in since coming to the National Office last September. In the report, Bishop Johnson noted, "the last few months have consisted of a plethora of transitions," and joked that the only thing that has stayed the same is her email address. A significant part of Bishop Johnson’s time has been invested in strengthening relationships with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, as well as spending time in each of the ELCIC synods.

From the Report of the National Bishop, the following motions were brought forward to council for consideration: A motion was approved to designate one Sunday a year as Mission in the World Sunday; Bishop Cindy Halmarson was appointed to serve on the Lutheran World Federation North America Regional Committee (replacing a position that was previously served by Bishop Johnson which became vacant when she was elected bishop); Updates were approved to the Church Extension Capital Fund (CECF) Handbook; and Council approved the theme of the 2009 National Convention – In Mission for Others: Signs of Hope, Bishop Johnson explained that the theme was based on Scripture verses Romans 15:13 and Matthew 5:14-16.

Council received a report from the ELCIC National Officers meeting that took place in January. In the report, the National Officers recommended that NCC review motion NC-07-34 concerning a referral to Faith, Order and Doctrine (FOD). It was noted that proceeding with the motion and referring it to FOD may complicate the work currently untaken by the Human Sexuality Task Force. A motion made to rescind motion NC-07-34 was carried unopposed.

Two nominations where presented to fill a position on council which became vacant following the resignation of Bob Schmidt. By ballot process, Barb Stolee was elected to fill the remaining term.

Gloria McNabb, ELCIC Director of Finance and Administration, presented the Finance Report. Council reviewed a revised operating budget for 2008 and the unaudited financial results for 2007. Both documents were approved. Ken Hartviksen, ELCIC Treasurer, presented the report of the Finance Committee. This committee advises NCC regarding policies that it should consider and presented financial policy recommendations to address issues either not covered by existing policies, or where existing policies were deemed dated or no longer effective.

Council heard reports from the five ELCIC Synod Bishops. The Bishop’s share highlights and concerns for their respective synods with council for the purpose of framing the council’s environmental scan. Visioning and mission initiatives are a focus in many synods. Several Bishops reported new mission congregations within their synods. Concerns about the need to find new models of leadership within congregations and providing care and support to congregations experiencing declining memberships were also shared. Bishop Johnson noted that she was, "encouraged by the signs of hope that were evident in the Synod reports, amidst the signs of challenges," and commended the Synod Bishop’s for the, "signs of creativity," they are displaying within their work in the Synods.

Hildy Thiessen, Executive Director, and John Wolff, Board Chair, for ELCIC’s Group Services Inc. (GSI) joined the NCC meeting.

At the September NCC meeting, a request was brought forward from GSI to identify whether there might be financial resources available to further assist with GSI’s work on addressing the pension plan solvency liability. NCC deferred the motion until an actuarial evaluation could be completed, which was done in the time period between the September and March meeting. Through an e-meeting of NCC, council approved $550,000 from the Employee Benefits Reserve Fund be transferred to GSI in support of the Pension Plan’s Retired Benefit Account solvency deficiency. Typically, pension regulators require payment strategies to be within a five-year horizon as predictions beyond five years tend to be less reliable. Due to a number of circumstances, the pension regulator responsible for GSI’s pension plan had not enforced this requirement until 2007. Recent legislation now allows an organization to use a Letter of Credit as a guarantee for the required contributions and to meet the criteria for the five-year funding period. NCC discussed and approved the securing of a Letter of Credit in the amount of $5,000,000 to provide additional security required by the pension regulators. It was noted that this is not an actual cash deposit to the pension plan but rather a "security backed up by assets," allowing GSI to meet the regulatory requirements.

Wolff noted that at the end of 2007, the pension deficit had been reduced to $9.6 million. This total was a decrease from the previous figure of $10.5 million that Wolff estimated at the September 2007 meeting of NCC. GSI estimates the pension deficit will be eliminated in eight years; in 2004, when the strategy was first put in place, it was estimated that this would take 15 years to address. "We have made significant progress," said Wolff, who thanked NCC for being so supportive. Wolff noted that through the assistance of the National Church, GSI has, "secured some pretty good guarantees for pensioners," adding that it is GSI’s utmost priority to ensure they meet their commitment to ELCIC retirees and pension holders.

The final agenda for Friday was the review of several pieces of correspondence to NCC. Council reviewed a letter to the National Bishop from the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission in which they encouraged the ELCIC’s National Bishop and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada to enter into discussions about the possibility of shared National Office space. Council approved a motion for the National Bishop to begin this discussion with ACC but noted that in light of the recent five-year renewal on the ELCIC’s current office space in Winnipeg, the discussions would be focused on a long-term strategy.

The session adjourned for the evening with closing prayers. Saturday’s session will be the final day of meetings and will commence at 9:00 a.m.

Photo highlights from the meeting are available on the NCC page of the ELCIC website: https://elcic.ca/National-Church-Council/default.cfm

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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, Manager 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