The 2009 ELCIC National Convention continues today at the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver. View the agenda online.
Friday Morning Eucharist with the Prelude / Gathering Verse “People of God you are called…” The refrain and verses were written and composed by Brendan Lord for the National Convention. Each day an additional verse is sung by a cantor. For this morning delegates gathered standing together around the Communion Table.
The Music of Worship was led by the octet of Clifford Reinhardt, Lorraine Reinhardt, Greg Mohr, Stephanie Olson, Eric Olson, Kyle Harland, and conducted by Brendan Lord.
Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop Fred Hiltz presided at the Eucharist, Manitoba / Northwestern Ontario Synod Bishop Elaine Sauer preached for the assembly, and Melanie Millang served as Assisting Minister.
Liturgical Director Robyn Simpson Mohr and Sacristan Barb Lyseng assisted many delegates who served as Communion Assistants.
Delegates begun Business Session #3 on Friday morning with the results of the second ballot for Vice President. 319 votes were cast. There was no election on the second ballot which means that the top five names (typically it is the top four but there was a tie for fourth highest number of returning votes) will make up the third ballot for Vice President. The five names on the third ballot include:
- Sheila Hamilton
- Rev Dan Haugen
- Rev Steve Kristenson
- Rev Tim Posluzny
- Rev David Saude
Delegates are waiting for the biographical information on the five individuals. Voting will begin after the information has been distributed.
On the third ballot for Vice President of the ELCIC, delegates at the Twelfth Biennial National Convention elected Sheila Hamilton. Of the 332 ballots cast, Hamilton received 201. Hamilton has been involved as chair and vice-chair of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, a facilitator for the ELCIC Taskforce on Theological Education, and local chair of the Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering, among many other positions both within the church and in other areas. Hamilton was not able to be at the National Convention but upon receiving the news of her election noted, "I'm honoured to be elected and look forward to serving the church in a new way for me."
National Convention welcomed Bishop Munib A. Younan, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELJHL). In introducing him, ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson called Younan, “A much respected bridge-builder and peacemaker.”
The Christian church in Jordan is a mere 2% of the population, yet it is in their witness, not their numbers that hope can be seen. There is enormous emphasis on education for all children, and the teaching of peace and co-existence is fundamental. They promote the full equality of women and strive to instill the values of human rights for all. Educational ministry is a great sign of hope in the ELCJHL.
Younan spoke passionately about signs of hope in the seemingly hopeless circumstance that Palestine and Israel find themselves in today. “There is now a Jewish, Muslim, Christian council – it is the first of its kind, and it is a miracle! It gives hope in a hopeless situation.” Still, there is so much work to be done, he says.
Advocating for religious leaders to teach the grassroots people to live together, the faithful need to lead the politicians to peace and coexistence, Younan says, “We must acknowledge the value of other groups and lay the foundations for mutual respect.”
The prophetic voice of the church is one that calls for justice, says Younan, quoting from Micah 6:8. It is time to confess the sins of hate and be willing to forgive. There are signs of hope and we need to be ready and willing to move away from fear that paralyzes us.
Delegates and visitors acknowledged the deep faithfulness and passion of Bishop Younan with a standing ovation.
ELCIC Group Services Inc. (GSI) announced it will pay off a $16-million deficit in the churchÕs Pension Plan Retired Benefit Account five years early, thanks to a sound investment strategy that's weathering the current economic downturn. The news was delivered to thunderous applause by GSI board chair John Wolff as he presented the Report of ELCIC GSI to delegates, special guests, and visitors attending the Twelfth Biennial National Convention June 25Ð28 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
"As of today, we have a remaining unfunded liability of $5.6 million, and the benefit plan is 90 per cent funded," said Wolff. The remainder of the deficit is expected to be eliminated by 2013 instead of the initial deadline of 2018. (read more)
Modeling the new, enhanced partnership agreement between the ELCIC and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and Executive Director Robert Granke co-presented the Report of CLWR.
The new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was unanimously approved by the boards of both the ELCIC and CLWR, "connects with the work of the church in two main areas - Compassionate Justice and Effective Partnerships," says Bishop Johnson, "and enhances the ability of the ELCIC to respond to our mission to service in the name of Christ."
CLWR is an agency of the ELCIC and Lutheran Church-Canada. "And as such," says Granke, "it receives its mandate from the two church bodies."
With the implementation of the new MOU, the ELCIC's Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) will end as of this convention but its work continues through the new agreement.
"There is so much potential," says Granke. "And with God's guidance and your support, we will experience so much more in our call to be In Mission for Others."
The Report of Evangelical Lutheran Women, Inc. (ELW) was presented by Pam Radunsky, president, and Ruth Vince, executive director, who shared with delegates a new vision and strategy for ELW that is meant to not only address the stereotype that ELW is just a group for grandmothers, but also maximize being a Christ-centred community.
"ELW has spent several years gathering information," says Vince, "and feels it is fully equipped to move forward in faith."
In regards to changes to the organization, Radunsky noted that there will be new opportunities for people across the church to get involved in ELW events that will be taking place across the country.
As well, there will be changes to the organization's magazine, Esprit, which will see it shed it's Bible study.
Voting delegates unanimously approved the proposed 2010 and 2011 church budgets. The budgets, reflecting a mere 1 per cent increase in expenditures, were presented by ELCIC Treasurer Ken Hartviksen during his Report of the Treasurer. Both budgets are balanced budgets.
“We don’t see the future with complete clarity, but this is our best forecast,” said Hartviksen. “We expect benevolence and interest income to decrease, so we must be responsible stewards by trying to contain and minimize costs.”
The National Office has already implemented several significant cost-saving strategies, including cutting its staff by 30 per cent over the past two years, and co-leasing office space with Canadian Lutheran World Relief.
During Hartviksen’s report, delegates also adopted the 2008 financial statements and approved Ernst and Young as auditors for 2009.
Following a Friday evening session punctuated by passionate dialogue, delegates of the 2009 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Convention passed a multi-point resolution to support peace in the Holy Land. ELCIC's Twelfth Biennial National Convention is taking place June 25 to 28 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
"This resolution seeks peace with justice for both Israelis and Palestinians and the continuation of the Christian witness in the Holy Land," said Tom Brook, National Church Council (NCC) member, who introduced the resolution. "The National Church Council feels it's important that our church community express our support to continue our journey with our partners at this special moment of possibility and opportunity."
The resolution recognized the ongoing divisions between Muslims, Jews and Christians in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. It lamented violence and oppression in that area, and directed the ELCIC to support a secure state of Israel and a viable state for Palestinians. The resolution also called for all ELCIC members to work for peace by praying, educating, and accompanying peace builders. (read more)
Read the full motion: An ELCIC Resolution on the Holy Land
Friday Night Prayers for Healing concluded a full day of National Convention business. Rev. Randall Meisner served as Presider, Synod of Alberta and the Territories Bishop Ron Mayan as Preacher, and Robyn Simpson Mohr as Liturgical Director / Assisting minister.