Rev Raymond Schultz, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, writes a regular column for each issue of Canada Lutheran.
ELCIC congregations are welcome to republish this material in their church publications. Please acknowledge its original publication by including the credit line:
Canada Lutheran, Month, Year, Volume# and Issue#
More of Bishop Ray's writing can be found in From the Bishop including texts from sermons and addresses.
I'm looking forward to the upcoming biennial convention with great enthusiasm.
This church has grown and matured in its ecumenical and international activity over the past two years, so we have an exciting report to make! We have participated in a World Council of Churches assembly in Brazil, the 60th anniversary of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) gathering in Sweden, the beginning of an LWF renewal process, an ecumenical international water campaign, advocacy of Canadian government humanitarian funding on behalf of Augusta Victoria Hospital, an agreement for sharing of pastors with the church of Iceland, and maintenance of our numerous partner church relationships. The dimensions of these and many other ministries will be highlighted at the convention.
Relationship building is a big component of the national ministries of this church, but local members have few opportunities to meet many of the parties involved. We plan on telling most of our story through the voices of our related partners in order to make these relationships more visible. These include CLWR, synod partners, stewardship education and our schools and seminaries. How better to assess effectiveness than to let the subjects of our ministries tell us how our ministries have been received?
A new bishop will be elected! The National Bishop is both the chief executive officer of the church and its chief pastoral leader. It is a position that requires a combination of administrative, theological, devotional and visionary gifts in order to lead this church forward both in organizational development and in faithful mission. This is not merely a political election process, but the pastoral call meeting of the national congregation of the ELCIC! The same process of prayer, discernment and openness to the Spirit will be exercised in this as in any pastoral call.
Other key elections include the secretary and treasurer. The secretary's first term is ending and the treasurer is retiring from office. We have been led by the wisdom and experience of these key leaders. I hope and pray for more gifts of the same calibre.
Thanks to ten years of guidance from the Evangelical Declaration, this church has a clear-eyed view of mission both inside the church and within global society. This clarity of vision has guided the National Church Council (NCC) in setting strategic priorities and focusing the activities of the National Office. The declaration contains a clear set of core values by which to evaluate proposals and assess work done. NCC is proposing we continue to follow that vision for another ten years.
We will worship, first with the Anglicans, then among ourselves. New resources from Evangelical Lutheran Worship and excellent leadership, as always, will mediate grace to us through Word and Sacrament, and draw us to God in prayer.
And there will be goodbyes. Some elected members are retiring from office, and some have terms expiring. Katherine Bergbusch is finishing her ministry. It will be my time to make my farewells.
And there will be thanksgiving for all God has done among us these past two years. I find all this very exciting—don't you?
Bishop Raymond Schultz
Canada Lutheran, June 2007