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Eighth Biennial Convention
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, Ontario
July 4-8, 2001

National Church Council

A. Canadian Lutheran Character and Identity

Explore, promote and preserve our Lutheran identity and Canadian character.

"We commit ourselves as church to worship the Triune God through Word and Sacrament."

"We commit ourselves as church, through prayer, study, and conversation, to discern what it is for us to live faithfully under the cross in this time and place…"

Evangelical Declaration, commitment # 1 & 2

  1. ELCIC Constitution and Bylaws

    An important part of preserving our Lutheran identity includes the process of an ongoing review of our constitution and bylaws. At this convention, we will be required to take action on a number of constitution and bylaw related matters.

    Amendments to the ELCIC Constitution require two readings at regular conventions of the ELCIC. A two-thirds majority is required for approval.

    The ELCIC Bylaws may be amended at any convention by a two-thirds majority of the delegates present and voting. At least one day shall elapse between the first presentation and convention action, unless unanimous consent to the amendment is given.

    Administrative Bylaws

    There are two parts of the ELCIC Administrative Bylaws that are presented to this convention for amendment:

    1. The changes to Part III, Section 1, 2 and 5, relate to proposed changes brought forward to NCC by the synod bishops. They provide clarification on the ELCIC understanding of ordination, and provision for ordained ministers on the faculty of Lutheran Theological Seminary to be assigned to the roster of one of the four western synods (see motion #1, page G.1).
    2. Part III, Section 12, as mentioned in the 1999 convention Bulletin of Reports, has been under review for some time now by the synod bishops, Bishop Sartison and Secretary Robert Granke. The bylaw currently does not provide a clearly defined process for the discipline of ordained ministers and does not clearly define conduct unbecoming a pastor.

    Following extensive consultation involving the synod bishops, the ELCIC Bishop and Secretary, and ELCIC legal counsel, NCC approved a new section 12 in March 2001 related to the discipline of ordained ministers and is proposing that the convention adopt the amendment (see motion # 2, page G.1).

    Particular attention should be given to the structure of the investigating and discipline committees, as well as to the important principle that both of these processes are the responsibility of the synod, with assistance from the national church as required.

    Flowing from the proposed changes to Bylaw, Part III, Section 12, are manuals that provide rules for synod investigating and discipline committees. There is also a manual regarding the discipline of ordained ministers that includes a description of grounds for discipline and a definition of grounds for conduct unbecoming an ordained minister.

    The manuals related to discipline were approved by NCC in March 2001 (Appendix 7). This convention has the responsibility of dealing with the proposed changes to the bylaws as outlined in motion #2. NCC has the responsibility of developing policy documents such as these manuals.

    ELCIC Constitution

    Appendix 8 includes the proposed amendments to the ELCIC Constitution that were given first reading at the convention in 1999. According to our amending formula, these proposals are before this convention and will be given a second reading. Again, they will be considered approved if they receive a two-thirds majority (see motion # 3, page G.4).

    ELCIC Corporate Bylaws

    Changes to the ELCIC Corporate Bylaws as registered with the Canadian government are the responsibility of the NCC. During this biennium, NCC approved minor editorial changes to wording related to the "Benefit and Pension Plan", formerly Committee of Pensions. References to "divisions and offices" were also deleted. In 1999 NCC also took steps to include a bylaw that provides for the removal of a "director" (member of NCC).

    Synod Constitutions

    It is the responsibility of NCC to consider and approve any changes to the constitution and bylaws of the synods. The NCC subcommittee on Constitution and Bylaws completed a review of changes approved by the synod conventions, and NCC approved the changes in March 2000.

  2. Long Range Planning

    During the past biennium, NCC continued the process of determining strategic directions for the period from 2000-2001 and then identifying recommendations for presentation to the ELCIC in convention.

    In March 2000, Council moved to focus on three strategic directions:

    • strengthening our relationship with the Anglican Church of Canada;
    • enhancing collaborative working relationships within the ELCIC and in ecumenical/interfaith activities; and
    • family ministry.

    National staff were requested to adjust work priorities to reflect these directions.

    In September 2000, Council adopted a proposal regarding these strategic directions, which is included as motion # 4, page G.4. These directions, if approved, are to affect the period from 2001 to 2003. If approved, NCC and national staff will be required to ensure adequate human and financial resources for each priority area.

    Further, NCC took steps to name the Task Force on Strategic Planning as a standing committee of council, and to make provisions for an annual review of the strategic priorities at the March NCC meetings.

  3. Guidelines for On Leave from Call Status

    In March 2001, a proposal was received from the ELCIC Bishops related to a new set of guidelines for "On Leave from Call Status." Appendix 9 is a copy of these guidelines that was approved by NCC.

  4. Governance

    NCC continued to refine its governance model, or how it carries out its business as the "national board" for the ELCIC. In September 2000, NCC adopted a set of operating principles that are now utilized as a reference for council as it implements its mandate (Appendix 10).

  5. Communication

    Based on the communication principles approved by NCC, a number of steps were taken during the past few years to enhance communication related programming.

    At a staffing level, the Reverend Kenn Ward assists the ELCIC Secretary in addressing issues related to the media and internal communication matters. During the year 2000, the Reverend Mark Koenker was engaged by the ELCIC in Mission for a three year contract to develop strategies, approaches and material related to communication specific to Mission in the World activities. A new approach to Directed Giving has been adopted, and a revised strategy related to the sponsorship program has been implemented. It is gratifying to see that many "good news" stories about the ELCIC in Mission are gaining visibility, prominence and increased support.

    Since 1999, two actions related to Canada Lutheran were taken by NCC. One step was to adopt an editorial policy for Canada Lutheran. The other was to assign responsibility of approving the Canada Lutheran budget to the ELCIC Treasurer and one other ELCIC Officer.

    You will note from the report of the Editor of Canada Lutheran that there were a number of changes made to the format of the magazine and the quality of paper used. Editor Kenn Ward continues to seek creative ways of improving the readership of this important communication tool within the ELCIC. The Canada Lutheran report is attached as Appendix 11.

  6. Conventions

    In response to an invitation from the Synod of Alberta and the Territories, NCC adopted a motion to hold the 2003 ELCIC National Convention in Camrose, Alberta from June 11-15, 2003.

    Council also received a suggestion from the Eastern Synod Council that related to using the word "Assembly" as a way to describe the national gathering currently referred to as convention. There is no recommendation to this convention from NCC. It is planned that this discussion will continue under the auspices of the new National Council following this convention.

    NCC also continued to reflect on such issues as the size and frequency of conventions. While there is no recommended action at this time, dialogue between the national church and the synods will allow for a further exploration of more cost effective and efficient decision making structures for the ELCIC. National Church Council and the Officers acknowledge the concerns about the ever increasing cost of the national convention.

  7. Worship resources

    The ELCIC is participating in the development of new worship resources in collaboration with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Funds have been made available to provide for ELCIC involvement. Specific individuals with expertise in this area have been identified and are already attending to this task.

  8. Presiding Bishop

    Periodically, NCC has considered the matter of an appropriate title for the ELCIC National Bishop. There have been attempts to find a descriptive title that distinguishes the National Bishop from the synod bishops. In early 2001, NCC received a suggestion from the Eastern Synod Council to consider the use of the term "archbishop."

    In September 1999, NCC agreed to recommend to this convention that the title of the national Bishop be changed to "Presiding Bishop" (see motion # 5, page G.4).

  9. Decade to Overcome Violence

    The World Council of Churches has declared 2001-2010 as the decade to overcome violence. In response to this important issue, NCC took the step in 1999 to affirm its support of the goals of the decade.

    In action related to the issue of "violence," NCC took steps in March 2001 towards the development of ELCIC policy recommendations on the matter of violence. A proposal is anticipated during 2002.

  10. Relationship with Lutheran Church-Canada (LC-C)

    Following a decision at the 1999 ELCIC national convention, an invitation was extended to Lutheran Church-Canada to join a relationship of interim sharing of the eucharist for a period of five years.

    This matter is now before the LC-C Presidents and will be considered over the course of the next few years.

  11. Women in Ministry

    In 2001, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada celebrates the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women. A number of actions were taken by NCC to observe this important event.

    Encouragement was given to all expressions of the ELCIC to observe this anniversary. A number of activities were planned, including some that will take place in the context of this convention agenda.

    One of the more significant steps taken by NCC was to commission a study of Women in Ministry, for release in 2001. The study was completed in early 2001 and was presented in executive summary form at the March NCC meeting. A full report is now being finalized and will be available for circulation by the middle of the year. NCC is highly appreciative of the study and will set aside time at future meetings to consider a number of recommendations that were included in the report to council.

    Also included is a summary of activities related to the ELCIC Women's Desk (Appendix 12).

  12. Elections

    This convention is one that includes the election of Officers. Motions # 6 & 7 (see page G.5) are coming before you for consideration at this time.

    The first relates to the matter of the election of the Treasurer. It was unanimously approved by NCC in March 2001 that Ms. Doreen Lecuyer be nominated to serve as the ELCIC Treasurer.

    The second matter relates to the election of other Officers. Motion # 7 is a recommendation from Council that would allow for those who feel unable to serve if elected to declare that if elected they are unable or unprepared to serve.

    NCC has also determined to undertake a process of election renewal for presentation to the 2003 convention. Included in this process is consideration of a pre-election nomination process for Officers, overlapping terms of office for Officers, and the re-election process for incumbents.


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