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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 182,077 baptized members in 624 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.

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A NEWS RELEASE
From National Office of the ELCIC

ELCIC AND ELCI CHURCHES SIGN LETTER OF UNDERSTANDING

WINNIPEG, 22 September 2006--At the fall meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)'s National Church Council (NCC), the ELCIC and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (ELCI) signed a "Letter of Understanding" between the two churches which will allow for pastors and deacons/diaconal ministers from either church to exercise their calling in either country.

"Our two churches, while members of different regions of the Lutheran World Federation, have many attributes in common, not the least of which is size of membership," noted ELCIC National Bishop Raymond Schultz. "This relationship promises to go far beyond the exchange of clergy. I expect that we will learn new ways from each other to be effective agents for the gospel in the larger context."

Emphasis on strengthening the relationship between the two Lutheran churches has been a priority for a number of years. In June 2005, Bishop Schultz, the Rev. Paul Johnson, Assistant to the Bishop for Ecumenical Relations, as well as a delegation of several other individuals, were in Iceland to begin exploring the possibility of an agreement and identifying concrete opportunities for the two churches to collaborate.

ELCI Bishop Karl Sigurbjörnsson, as well as the Rev. Kristján Valur Ingólfsson, Project Director for Liturgy, and associate professor at the Theological Faculty of the University of Iceland, and the Rev. Halldór Reynisson, Project Director for Education in the Church of Iceland and the Chairperson of the Ecumenical Committee of the ELCI, spent a week in Canada during their trip. During that time they had an opportunity to visit Gimli, Manitoba and also the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as the focus of the visit from Iceland was on leadership for ministry, and preparation for it.

In his address to NCC during the signing of joint agreement, Bishop Sigurbjörnsson referred to an Irish blessing, "may the Lord bless you to the next milestone and beyond. " Commenting on the new agreement, he said, "I am grateful for the milestone that the ELCIC and ELCI are at now. Entering into an agreement will deepen our relationship. I pray that God will bless our journey beyond this milestone."

Iceland has a population of 270,000. The Lutheran church is an integral part of the way of life of the Icelandic people. This year the Church of Iceland is celebrating 950 years since the first bishop was consecrated in that country.

The ELCIC has similar agreements with the Evangelical Church of Germany and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Both the ELCIC and the ELCI are members of Lutheran World Federation.

View the Letter of Understanding between the ELCIC and ELCI here: http://www.elcic.ca/ELCICandELCIagreement.pdf

For more information, please contact:
Ms.Trina Gallop, Manager of Communications
302 - 393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

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