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The best way get news and to follow the proceedings of the 2023 ELCIC Special Convention and Joint Assembly with the Anglican Chruch of Canada, is to go the the ELCIC Facebook page -

By the time you read this post, our National Church will have concluded at least four sessions of the special National Convention in Calgary. Delegates will have heard presentations from the several task forces: the Task Force addressing Ableism, the Task Force on Racism, White Supremacy and Racial Injustice, and the Task Force on Carbon Neutrality. There is much for the church to digest and live into from these presentations. As Dr. Mary Philip, associate professor of Lutheran Global Theology at Martin Luther University College said in her presentation: " is one thing to say we are an anti-racist church, we need to be an anti-racist church." 

The Convention began on Thursday evening with Bishop Susan's report and encouragement to the church.  She began by sharing a statistic. When she was elected Bishop 16 years ago, the membership of the ELCIC stood at 160,000. Today, it has shrunk by half and sits at 80,000. The stress of this decline is felt across our church. It is felt at the National Church, the Synods and individual congregations. 

However, Bishop Susan reminded us--drawing on examples from Scripture--that there is nothing wrong with being small. Scripture is full of examples of the importance of those called "little ones" or deemed to be small: the story of David and Goliath, the story of the small boy who shared his lunch and fed thousands, the story of the mustard seed. 

Bishop Susan highlighted for us how there are many churches in the global Lutheran communion of churches (LWF) whose membership is much less that 80,000, but who nevertheless are making a difference in their communities: the Lutheran Church in Argentina and Paraguay, the Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and the chruches of Peru, Columbia nad Guyana. They are all much smaller than the ELCIC and are engaged in vibrant ministries of sharing and being the gospel in their contexts. 

Bishop Susan spoke from her heart about the pride she takes in the work of the ELCIC.

I’m proud of what we do, and what we stand for:  we pray fervently, we work for justice passionately, and we face challenges head on and embrace the future with hope. We give thanks to God for the grace we’ve received and strive to share that grace with the world in great need. Sole Deo Gloria.

Bishop Susan also repeated the Apology to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community she had given at last year's online Convention. At the conclusion of her apology she recommended that the Convention pass a resolution for the ELCIC to adopt the apology as an entire church. The resolution was passed unanimously in the subsequent session. 

Today I apologize to the members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community for the ways that we have not lived up to our commitments and to the ways we have treated you in the past and even now. I want to acknowledge the harms that members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community have experienced in our church. . . I ackowledge the harm experience by those who still feel the need to be closeted and not live out their full identity in our church. . . With this apology I acknowledge the harms we as a church have caused and those harms we continue to cause . . . We have work to do and I cling to a hope that the entire church will learn from the past and work toward a future where all generations will feel acceptance, affirmation, and celebration for the gifts they bring our church as valued children of God.

Before ending her report, Bishop Susan also gave notice that the Church would be electing a new National Bishop at its next convention in 2025. In preparation for this important work, Bishop Susan will be calling our Church to spiritual discernment - which will entail prayer, discussion, and searching the scriptures as we wrestle the questions - what direction is God calling our church, our synod, our national church and who among us has the gifts to be National Bishop? We will hear more details about this process of discernment in the Fall.

Throughout her report, Bishop Susan led the delegates in singing a song she had taught them (you can hear it in the video clip on our home page), and left us these encouraging words: "We have each other walking with us, and we also have God who has promised to walk with us and face whatever challenges we have ahead of us."