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Ninth Biennial Convention
Augustana University College, Cambros AB
June 12 - 15, 2003

Sing to the Lord a New Song
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Report of National Church Council

  1. Vision for Mission

    National Church Council appointed a Task Force to Review the 1999 Vision for Mission document and to make recommendations to the Council about changes to the mission program. In the absence of an Assistant to the Bishop with responsibility for Mission, the task force determined that it was premature to recommend changes until there could be input from such a staff person.

    The Rev Etienne Fomgbami from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon, will complete his three year program as the ELCIC Good News Partner with participation at the Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Winnipeg in July. Rev Fomgbami has traveled extensively across the ELCIC sharing his Simply Share the Good News evangelism program with our church. National Church Council joins with all ELCIC members to wish Etienne, his wife Jeanne and their children God's richest blessings as they await the birth of their newest family member in May and as they return to Cameroon this summer.

  2. ELCIC and partner churches

    The ELCIC enjoys a partner relationship with seven churches within the Lutheran World Federation:

    1. Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Cameroon;
    2. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea;
    3. United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina;
    4. Lutheran Church in Peru;
    5. The Salvadoran Lutheran Synod;
    6. The Lutheran Church in Guyana; and
    7. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan

    At the 2001 Convention, the Saskatchewan Synod entered into a companion synod agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina (IELU) and subsequently the Eastern Synod has completed a similar agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana. This summer, the remaining synods will enter into companion synod agreements as well: BC Synod with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Peru (ILEP), ABT Synod with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Colombia and the MNO Synod with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon. The national mission staff continues to provide facilitation and some financial support to the program.

    At this convention, Rev Nehemias Parada, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia will be present to sign the Companion Synod agreement with the Synod of Alberta and the Territories.

    At the September 2002 meeting of National Church Council, action was taken to endorse the KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives position on Palestine and Israel. (For information about that position see www.kairoscanada.org). Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan was advised of the position taken and endorsed by National Church Council.

  3. Lutheran World Federation

    At the writing of this report, there are only four short months remaining until the ELCIC welcomes the Lutheran World Federation Tenth Assembly to Winnipeg. In 2000, the ELCIC invitation to host the Assembly was accepted and preparation began to welcome up to 2000 delegates, guests, visitors, press and volunteers to Winnipeg for the 10-day event. From July 21-31, 2003, ELCIC members will have the unique opportunity to extend hospitality to the representatives of 136 LWF member churches from 76 different countries.

    The ELCIC delegates to the Assembly are Bishop Raymond Schultz, Rev Susan Johnson and Ms Christie Morrow (youth representative). The five synod bishops are included as special guests as is Archbishop Michael Peers of the Anglican Church of Canada. In addition, David Pfrimmer (Lutheran Office for Public Policy), Donald Storch (Secretary), Faith Rohrbough (President, Lutheran Theological Seminary), Richard Crossman (Principle/Dean, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary) and Gordon Jensen are advisors to the ELCIC delegation.

    The theme for the Assembly is For the Healing of the World. Ten Village Groups will discuss various aspects of the theme at five different times during the Assembly. Their deliberations and discussions will be fed into the plenary sessions and will inform the work of the LWF during the six-year period until the next Assembly. ELCIC members are encouraged to discuss the same ten themes using Village Voices, a resource prepared and distributed by the Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW) to facilitate engagement in the theme. ELW and the Global Hunger and Development Appeal distributed the resource to each ELCIC congregation and encourages feedback from discussions be sent to the National Office to be shared with the ELCIC delegates.

    The Assembly Planning Committee, an international group appointed by the LWF has completed its work of planning the schedule and theme related aspects of the Assembly. The ELCIC was represented on this committee first by Robert Granke and after Mr Granke's resignation of the position of Secretary, by Rhonda Lorch. Christie Morrow represented the ELCIC as the youth representative to the Committee.

    The Assembly Local Committee has been working to ensure that the ELCIC commitment to provide warm, Canadian hospitality for all of this summer's guests is met. National Church Council sincerely thanks the committee members (below) for the planning and preparation for this event.

    Rhonda Lorch Local Committee Chairperson
    Heidi Wilker Logistics
    Paul Johnson Worship
    Jerry Roehr Hospitality, Transportation, Security
    Kenn Ward Communication
    Ron Heimbecker, Lois Dudgeon Volunteer Recruitment and Management
    Toni Walker Registration
    Agnes Smith Tourism
    Mark Koenker, Ruth Vince Pre- and Post-Assembly Visitation Program
    Ruth Jensen, Fikre Tsehai Ombudsman (Visas and entry into Canada)
    Stephen Sauer Youth
    Bob Osborne Anglican Church of Canada representative
    Leon Gilbertson, Lee Luetekehoelter Sunday Celebration Event
    Dianne Gervais, Debbie Beyer (MNO Synod) Congregation participation in Sunday event
    Barb Fast Logistics Coordinator for Sunday event
    Tom Lurvey Luther Exhibit
    Jim Halmarson Technical implementation
    Donald Sjoberg Fundraising Appeal

    The opportunity to serve as the hosts for the Tenth Assembly has been a blessing to the ELCIC but has also brought its challenges. The strain on the financial and human resources of our church has been significant. National Church Council thanks the many ELCIC members who have committed funds and/or time to the hosting effort.

    Beside the Assembly, the ELCIC continues to participate in the life of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Bishop Schultz is a member of the LWF Council and Rev Susan Johnson is an advisor to the LWF Committee on Ecumenical Affairs. Retired Bishop Telmor Sartison sits on the LWF Communication Committee. Ruth Vince, Executive Director of the Evangelical Lutheran Women serves as the North America Regional Liaison to the LWF Desk for Women in Church and Society. Rev Dr Gordon Jensen is a member of the LWF Department of Mission and Development Ad hoc Committee on Lutheran Understanding of Mission. As mentioned elsewhere in this report, former ELCIC Secretary Robert Granke is the Director of Lutheran World Service in Geneva.

  4. Lutheran World Federation Regional Office in North America

    The LWF Regional Office in North America (RONA) has seen staffing changes in the last biennium. Rev Arthur Leichnitz, the former LWF Regional Officer in North America, accepted a position as the Assembly Coordinator located at the LWF headquarters in Geneva. Former ELCA Vice-President Kathy Magnus was named Regional Officer in 2001. The Regional Officer facilitates meetings between the churches of the North American region, represents the Lutheran World Federation in our region and promotes and supports the work of the LWF in the regional churches. The LWF report from Ms Magnus appears as Appendix #8, Page X-27 National Church Council is pleased to welcome Ms Magnus to Camrose and her first ELCIC Convention.

  5. Public Policy

    July 1, 2001 marked the birth of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. KAIROS is a coalition of Canadian churches, church based agencies and religious organizations dedicated to promoting human rights, justice and peace, viable human development and universal solidarity among the peoples of the Earth. The ELCIC is a member of KAIROS and the Director of the Lutheran Office for Public Policy, Rev Dr David Pfrimmer, sits on the Board of Directors. ELCIC members sit on each of the six program committees.

    At the request of National Church Council, the National Bishop wrote a letter to Prime Minister Chritien (September 2002) expressing ELCIC opposition to Canadian support of unilateral military action by the United States against Iraq and ELCIC support for Canadian efforts to press the government of Iraq to comply with United Nations resolutions regarding weapons inspections. Also at NCC request, the Lutheran Office for Public Policy wrote to Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister Robert Nault (October 2002) asking the government not to proceed with the passage of the First Nation's Governance Act until it has the endorsement of the First Nations.

  6. Relationship with Canadian Lutheran World Relief

    Since the 2001 convention, the ELCIC and CLWR have enjoyed a highly cooperative relationship. The development of a set of protocols that clearly define the interaction between the ELCIC Treasurer, the GHDA Coordinator and the CLWR staff has facilitated regular meetings between ELCIC and CLWR staff members for joint planning meetings and communication efforts. (Appendix #9, Report of CLWR, Page X-35)

    In the last biennium, National Church Council appointed Janet Morley and Rebekah Eckert to the Board of Directors of CLWR and renewed the appointment of Anne Strand to a second term.

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