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Highlights from the ELCIC National Convention, July 2019  

National Church Council Elections:

The following were elected to Church Council positions:  

Bishop Susan Johnson, Re-elected, 2019 - 2025  

*Jane Gingrich, elected BC Synod (Rostered), 2019-2025    

* Kathleen Jensen, elected ABT Synod, (Lay), 2019-2025    

* Linda Sander, elected MNO Synod, (Lay), 2019-2025  

* John Nilson, elected SK Synod, (Lay) 2019-2025  

* Pat Lovell, elected EAST Synod, (Lay), 2019-2025    

* Kimberlynn McNabb, elected EAST Synod, (Rostered), 2019-2025  

Linda Grainger, elected Secretary   Gene Blishen, elected Treasurer        

The newly elected join the following members and officers:  

Iris Kristjansdottir SK Synod (rostered), 2017-2022  

Bruce Cook EAST Synod (lay), 2017-2022   Curt Satre  BC Synod (lay), 2017-2022  

James Hendricksen ABT Synod (rostered), 2017-2022  

Chris Bishopp MNO Synod (rostered), 2017-2022  

Sheila Hamilton  Vice-chair  

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Important Resolutions that were passed  

1.      Affirmation of Relationship of Full Communion We enjoy full communion partnership with Anglican Church of Canada, just as our counterpart in the USA, the Evangelical Church in America enjoys a full-communion partnership with the Episcopal Church in the USA. A motion of was passed that affirms that a relationship of Full Communion exists among all four churches (governed by either Called to Common Mission – USA, 1999 & 2000 or the Waterloo Declaration, 2001).  This this affirmation shall have full effect upon the completion of a similar action in each of our three partner churches.  

2.    Journeying with Indigenous Peoples “We need to heal the wound that we opened,” Indigenous guest speaker Janine Windolph said. Windolph works as an educator, filmmaker and storyteller as well as the  curator of community engagement at the Mackenzie Art Gallery. She continued, Non-Indigenous people are very important in the journey of reconciliation. It’s just understanding how and where we can support these conversations. It’s not easy, but it just starts with having conversations and moving forward in whatever way. We will make mistakes, but it is important to find someone who can and will guide you.”  

3. Delegates to convention approve Reimagining our Church: Public Ministry in the ELCIC The 2019 National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) approved the document Reimagining Our Church – Public Ministry in the ELCIC.  This document explores the meaning and implications of the term “public ministry” – that ministry does not happen inside the church walls but outside in the community and public square where the church is not an island onto itself but works in collaboration with other organizations and people working for the common good. It lifts up the role of laity as well as redefining the roles of deacon, pastors, and bishops.   An immediate outcome of accepting the document and related motions is that the ELCIC now recognizes that “ordination” is the rite which marks and celebrates the acceptance of a first call into public ministry not only of a pastor but also of a deacon, or a bishop.  

4.  Becoming Greening Faith Communities Delegates at the 2019 National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) took action to encourage congregations, faith communities, ministry organizations, areas, and synods to participate in the ELCIC Stewardship of Creation: Greening Faith Communities program as an expression of commitment to stewardship of creation.    The Convention directed National Church Council to investigate what would be required for the ELCIC to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to report to the 2022 National Convention.   Recognizing that there is growing concern about the ecological impact of the production, consumption and disposal of many plastic products, particularly single-use plastics, the convention passed a resolution that encourages congregations, faith communities, ministry organizations, areas, and synods to reduce the use of simple-use plastic products. It also encourages individual members to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic.  

5.  Resolution on respect for LGBTQ2SIA+ persons Convention delegates passed a motion affirming, “that women and men, transgender and non-binary people, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, beer, two-spirit, asexual, and heterosexual communities - regardless of age - deserve to have their individual identities, titles and pronouns respected and upheld within their communities of faith.”   The motion also calls on the National Church to engage in practices that more fully engage all people, and speak out against instances of hatred and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.  

6.  A Common Word Muslim leaders and scholars have invited Christians into a process of Muslim-Christian dialogue and engagement—which is based on love of God, and love of neighbor—through the publication of a document, “A Common Word between Us and You.” The Convention passed a motion for the ELCIC to join other national and international Christian churches and leaders as signatories to this document.  In partnership with the Anglican Church of Canada, our church will jointly initiate a program of resourcing and supporting Christian-Muslim engagement in receptive communities across Canada, based on the model of “A Common Word,” and the various expression of it.  

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Other Convention Highlights  

Opening worship begins with an extended Rite of Confession…  …taking time to be honest about the broken relationship between the Indigenous people of Canada and the rest of us…what needed to be confessed and where healing is needed. (Please see Pastor Vida if you would like a copy of this Confession.)  

Reconciliation with creation; National Convention presenters challenge delegates to reflect on personal choices and responsibilities

Dr. David Sauchyn, University of Regina and Dr. Mary Vetter, Luther College presented on the topic of Reconciliation with Creation – an in depth discussion on the mix of science, faith and the journey of global reconciliation. Dr. Vetter is a former biology professor with expertise in the field of botany and plant taxonomy, while Dr. Sauchyn specializes in prairie hydroclimate and climate change science. Dr. Sauchyn highlighted for delegates the serious matters of global warming, providing intellectual insight with various examples/models of the potential combinations of science, technology and Christian faith.  “When it really comes down to it, climate change is much more than a scientific problem,” Dr. Sauchyn claimed. “Climate change is a social problem, it’s a spiritual problem, and it’s a social justice problem; we need wisdom to tackle it. And science doesn’t give us wisdom. It only gives us data and information.” Dr. Vetter amplified on this, “Science itself cannot give us the wisdom for reconciliation. We need scripture, faith, empathy, experience and scholarship across all disciplines…We love to complain about climate change deniers, but the fact is, we are all in denial. It is going to take some kind of way of understanding, some other way of knowing – other than science – to put us on a trajectory where we can lessen our effect on the world, the atmosphere and on creation.”  

The Call to Journey Faithfully with Those Who Are Dying

At the 2015 ELCIC National Convention, delegates passed a motion asking the ELCIC's National Church Council (NCC) to review the ELCIC's current policy on assisted death. In response, NCC established a Task Force to encourage conversations across our church regarding the needs of people in times of death and dying, and to review our current resolution and make recommended updates. The task force’s final report was submitted at the September 2018 National Church Council meeting. Following the conclusion of the task force’s work, National Church Council brought forward four motions for consideration at convention: ·        

Motion #8: The Call to Faithfully Journey with those who are Dying: An ELCIC Resolution ·        

Motion #9: Resources for Spiritual Care – affirming that offering spiritual care is a calling of the whole faith community …we are the embodiment of God’s comfort, love, grace and strength during the dying journey. ·          

Motion #10: Access to Palliative Care - We affirm that we support just access for all to dignified, quality palliative care. We see the provision of such care as an intrinsic human responsibility toward the suffering person because of the inestimable worth and dignity of every human being, created as we are in the image of God, and because of Jesus’ command to care for the sick (Matthew 25:36). ·        

Motion #11: Access to Mental Health Care Services – affirming the need to advocate for better access to Mental Health Care Services.  

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News from our Full Communion Partner The Anglican Church in Canada elected a new primate at their General Synod in July -  The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls, Bishop of Huron in Ontario      The information in this report is adapted from Convention Daily Highlights page on the ELCIC website