The 15th Biennial National Convention of the ELCIC began today at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.
View the convention agenda here.
Under the banner, “Liberated by God’s grace,” the 15th Biennial National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) opened with water and word, bread and wine, a butterfly, Bishops, prayers, and songs.
Almost 250 delegates, over 100 visitors and numerous volunteers were in attendance as opening worship commenced with a procession entering the worship space from the four directions, with all paths leading to the waters of Baptism.
With water poured into the font from the synods, the words of the prophet Isaiah rang out: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water.”
The choir shared that the convention room is holy ground as the gathering gave way to the Word. Everything done and said in the convention space was proclaimed to be done and said on holy ground. Isaiah’s words were shared once again, “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water!” And as if that news wasn’t good enough, the worshipping community was reminded, in the words of the letter to the Ephesians, that it is by grace that we have been saved. (read the full story)
Marking great progress responding to a world in need, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan Johnson offered a passionate message of hope for the future in her report to delegates at the ELCIC’s 15th National Convention.
Her remarks on Thursday, July 8 set the tone for the convention, which runs from July 9-12 at the Shaw Conference in Edmonton, Alta. The theme of the event, “Liberated by God’s Grace,” is also the theme of the upcoming international commemoration of the Lutheran Reformation’s 500th anniversary.
As an example of how the church will lift up this theme over the next two years, Bishop Johnson described the proposed ELCIC Reformation Challenge under consideration at the convention.
The challenge would include providing scholarships to students attending schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, welcoming and assisting refugees to Canada, planting trees in Canada and around the world, and giving generously to the Lutheran World Foundation Endowment Fund.
“Not only will the ELCIC Reformation Challenge make a difference in our world,” Bishop Johnson said. “It will make a difference in our church as we work together and stretch ourselves in generosity as a church in mission for others.”
The bulk of her report outlined strides made forward by the ELCIC in four strategic directions set out at its 2013 convention: spiritual renewal, healthy church, compassionate justice, and effective partnerships. (read the full story)
Revisions to the current constitution and bylaws will help the ELCIC function more efficiently and effectively. At the 2013 ELCIC National Convention, delegates approved a first reading of the constitution. A second reading of the constitution will be brought forward at this convention, as well as a reading of the bylaws which were introduced but not yet voted on at the last convention.
In her report to the convention, Bishop Johnson explained that such things are ways we are trying to be a healthy church. “For one thing we are trying to keep things more flexible by moving things out of the constitution and into the bylaws,” she said.
“We are also trying to respond to the reality of rapidly decreasing attendance rates at National Convention by changing the representational structure for conventions, having delegates elected by synods and keeping the numbers smaller so that we can bring the costs down by using smaller venues.” She noted that at an all time high, 470 delegates attended convention in 1989. This year’s convention had 248 registered delegates, the lowest ever for the ELCIC.
At the Thursday evening business session delegates had the opportunity to talk over their thoughts, questions and concerns in round-table discussions as they prepared to formally discuss and vote on these matters later in the convention.