The 2011 ELCIC National Convention commences today at the TCU Place in Saskatoon, Sk. View the agenda online.
Today's highlights include:
ELCIC National Convention Commences; National Bishop Reflects on Call to be Disciples
More than 325 delegates and over 150 visitors joined their voices and hearts in worship to open the 13th Biennial National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) on Thursday, July 14 at TCU Place, Saskatoon, SK.
ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson preached at the opening worship service.
In her sermon, Bishop Johnson reflected on the convention theme Covenant People: In Mission for Others and reminded delegates that they are all, “joined to God in the covenant of baptism, and through God we are joined to each other and called to live our lives as disciples of Jesus.”
Delegates were reminded of the promises made through the covenant of baptism which was affirmed at the beginning of the opening worship service. The promises include: to live among God’s faithful people; to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper; to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed; to serve all people, following the example of Jesus; and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth. (read the full story)
ELCIC National Bishop Encourages Love, Renewal and Action in Report to Convention
ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson encouraged delegates to let the Holy Spirit lead them through the coming days of convention as she delivered her Report of the National Bishop to delegates, special guests and visitors.
“We have several challenging days of work ahead of us,” said Bishop Johnson. “What I ask is that we treat each other with Christian love, as faithful followers of Jesus, who love this church. This is my hope and my prayer for our church as we enter into these days of convention.”
The Bishop’s report outlined much progress over the past four years in working to be a church In Mission for Others, particularly in light of the 60th anniversary of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Through its support of The Lutheran World Federation and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), the ELCIC helps care for more than 500,000 refugees on a daily basis.
This past April, the National Bishop saw this work first-hand when she travelled to Ethiopia’s Al Barre refugee camp, home to some 13,000 Somalis. “The work that we are doing in the areas of water, environment and livelihood activity is truly amazing,” she said. “The work is professional, the workers are passionate, but the job doesn’t end there. People can’t stay in refugee camps forever. They need to be resettled in a new land, reintegrated into the local community or repatriated into their original homeland.”
Bishop Johnson spoke to the need for continued refugee sponsorship through CLWR and offered some inspiring stories of ELCIC congregations that have made a commitment to welcoming refugees into their communities. “Consider how you can participate in this very concrete way of being a church In Mission for Others,” she said. (read the full story)
First Ballot for Bishop
The first ballot for Bishop was held on Thursday night after delegates returned from dinner break.
The process for electing a National Bishop is by ecclesiastical ballot, which is set out by the ELCIC's Administrative Bylaws. The first ballot for bishop is blank. Anyone who appears on the roster of ordained ministers is eligible to be elected as bishop. An election can occur on the first ballot if an individual receives 3/4 of votes cast. If the first ballot does not result in election, it is considered a nominating ballot. A full overview of the election process for a bishop can be viewed online: elcic.ca/Documents/HowaBishopisChosen.pdf.
Delegates received the results for the first ballot just shortly before 9:00 p.m.
As no individual received 3/4 of the votes cast on the first ballot, there is no election. The election results from the first ballot now become the nominating ballot for the second ballot. The next ballot for National Bishop will take place Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Responses to Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality Mixed but Respectful
Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) Human Sexuality Task Force responded to questions Thursday night from convention delegates regarding the proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality. The document is the result of a four-year process involving: a study guide, church-wide feedback process, a draft statement that allowed for further feedback opportunities, and the proposed statement.
Task force chairperson Judy Wry presented the three-part document, developed according to an ELCIC policy for social statements. The statement analyzes the current social problem, provides biblical theological foundations, and applies insights from the first two sections to the contemporary situation.
Beginning in 2007, the task force first surveyed ELCIC synods for input, then incorporated feedback into a study document that was widely distributed. The more than 500 responses were reviewed and the task force prepared a first draft. This again was distributed widely and feedback was incorporated, with final theological review by the bishops.
In her presentation to convention delegates, Wry said the task force’s work was informed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s 2001 process, previous ELCIC synod work, and a related 1970 statement of the predecessor church.
Convention then entered into a session for Committee of the Whole whereby it departed from parliamentary procedure to allow delegates time for questions and comments. (read the full story)
- The Proposed Statement on Human Sexuality is available online.