A NEWS RELEASE
From National Office of the ELCIC
Winnipeg, July 26, 2005 (ELCIC)--With a declaration by Bishop Raymond Schultz during the closing worship service on Sunday, July 24, the Tenth Biennial Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada was officially closed. Over 400 delegates had deliberated, prayed and voted on matters before the National Church during the four days of convention which took place at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
The following provides a summary of events at the convention. Further and more detailed information is available on the ELCIC website: http://www.elcic.ca - this site will continue to be updated in the weeks to come.
Motion Before Delegates on the Blessing of Same-sex Couples: After much thoughtful, considerate and respectful discussion, reflection and prayer the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) voted to defeat a motion before delegates at the Tenth Biennial Convention to allow a local option for pastors to perform blessings for same-sex couples. The motion was voted on by secret ballot in the afternoon of the third day of convention. Of the 408 votes cast, five ballots were spoiled, 183 voted yes and 220 voted no. By a motion passed on the floor earlier in the day, delegates needed to pass the resolution by a two-thirds majority in order for the motion to carry.
Election of National Bishop: Delegates of the Tenth Biennial Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) reaffirmed their faith in the leadership of current National Bishop Raymond Schultz as they re-elected him on the third ballot. The third and final ballot resulted in 401 votes cast by the 406 eligible and registered delegates. 202 votes were required to provide for the majority vote necessary for election. Bishop Schultz received 214 of the votes. Runners up on the third ballot included Rev. K.G. Johnson who received 84 votes and Synod Bishop Stephen Kristenson with 71 votes.
Vice President and National Church Council Elections: National Church Council member, Dr. Roger Kingsley, was elected to the position of Vice President of the ELCIC. Dr. Kingsley was elected on the fourth ballot after obtaining the support of the majority with 200 votes. Newly elected members to the National Church Council members include: Rev. Trish Schmermund and Robert Schmidt of the Alberta and the Territories Synod, Judy Kochendorfer of the British Columbia Synod, Rev. Mark Koenker of the Manitoba/NorthWestern Ontario Synod, Heidi Hesselink of the Saskatchewan Synod, and Rev. Douglas Reble, Elizabeth Hachborn and Teddy Pope of the Eastern Synod. Dr. Kingsley's election to vice president created a vacancy on National Church Council which will be filled by appointment.
Church to Church for Christ (C2C4C): Bishop Schultz officially welcomed the arrival of twelve members of All Saints Lutheran Church, Ottawa and their pastor, Greg Kjos. These individuals form the group, Church to Church for Christ (C2C4C) and they made a brief stop in Winnipeg as part of their 5000 km journey from Ottawa to Vancouver in an effort to connect with youth groups and congregations across the country and raise funds for ELCIC’s Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR).
Worship, Praise and Recognition of Contributions to the Church: Throughout the convention and at opening, closing and daily Eucharist, delegates united in Christ’s name as they worshiped, prayed and sang together. Attendees were treated to the gift of Dr. Mark Mummert, Seminary Musician at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, through his service as music director. At the Saturday night Hymn Festival, recognition of service was bestowed on outgoing members of National Church Council, retiring ELCIC Vice President Rev. Susan Johnson, and Rev. David Pfrimmer who left the position of Director of the Lutheran Office for Public Policy to pursue the position of Principal Dean at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. At the Hymn Festival, Elaine Nelson was invested as 2005 Companion of the Worship Arts, and the LutheransWrite Canada 2004 award winners were announced.
Convention Renewal Still Requires a Four-Year Process: Delegates voted that Article X in the ELCIC Constitution - which describes the frequency, function, composition and responsibilities of ELCIC's National Convention - could not be repealed and transferred to the administrative bylaws. The transfer would have meant that changes to the convention, already in discussion across our church, could be made at only one convention. By maintaining this Article, any major change will require two readings, two conventions, four years.
Strategy for Stewardship Approved: Delegates confidently approved a Stewardship Strategy that will serve the ELCIC for the next five years. Building on the structure of a Strategy introduced in 2000, National and Synod representatives will provide resources, speakers, workshops and encouragement to congregations across the church. New is an emphasis on the mentorship of new stewardship leaders.
Youth Are the Church of Today: In their message as members of the Convention’s Youth Assembly, ten active youth from all five ELCIC synods tried to address ways to increase youth participation in our churches. Some suggestions were "increased emphasis on youth services", "There has to be more than talk.", "increased and continued support of youth leaders", "Youth need to know that they are needed and valued." Although they were not granted vote at this convention, the Youth Assembly attended most sessions, met regularly to discuss what they had seen and heard, and finally addressed the convention. "We will take this experience and share it with others," one representative assured, "Youth are not the church of tomorrow, but the church of today." A motion allowing future Youth Assemblies to have vote will receive second reading at convention in 2007.
GHDA Coordinator Celebrates and Challenges: Global Hunger and Development Appeal Coordinator, Rev. Paul Johnson, shared news of a 20% increase in undesignated giving to GHDA over the past year. "I think that perhaps the Holy Spirit used the tsunami to open first your hearts and then your wallets." He went on to state, "I believe that this church is capable of a million dollar year for GHDA."
Special Guests Bring Greetings and Offer Their Thoughts on Convention: The 2005 ELCIC National Convention was blessed to have in attendance many special guests who brought greetings and provided their personal thoughts on what it meant to be In Mission for Others (the theme of the convention) and the importance of ecumenical relationships. Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) spoke of the important connection between the ELCIC and the ACC. "We may be helpful to one another as we address issues related to unity in our respective and shared futures." Rev. Alan Eldrid, Pastor-President, United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina and Uruguay, referred to the relationship that has been fostered between the churches as the "bridge of trust." Rev. Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and President of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), preached at the closing Eucharist.