National Bishop Susan C. Johnson

Rev Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, writes a regular column for each issue of Canada Lutheran.

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National Bishop's Turn

Doing Our World Justice

Our commitment to social justice can be reflected in every expression of our church.

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8) For me, this reading summarizes our call to discipleship, the way we are to follow Christ in our daily lives. On a rainy Monday in May, the National Office team had a staff day, an opportunity for continuing education and relationship building. We carpooled over to the offices of Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR). We met our colleagues in person, many of whom had just been voices on the other end of the telephone. We learned about their work, and we had the opportunity do hands-on service in sorting and checking We Care children's and school kits.

As I checked each kit against the list of prescribed items and wrapped and labelled them, I couldn't help but think about the faithful individuals who were reaching out in a tangible way to people they did not even know across the world. I thanked God for the generosity of our members and then prayed for peace in Israel and Palestine, where this particular shipment was headed.

In many ways, our volunteer time at CLWR was just a gesture, but for each of us, it was a way to concretely show our commitment to being a church In Mission for Others.

Our church continues to lift up the work of compassionate justice as being one of the most important things we do. We do this working in a variety of effective partnerships.

With other Canadian churches in KAIROS, we work in areas of aboriginal rights, anti-poverty, corporate issues, ecology, global economic justice, human rights, and refugees and migrants. We work with the Canadian Council of Churches and their Commission for Justice and Peace in areas of just peacemaking, economy of life, strengthening public health care in Canada, and undoing racism in our churches. We are working with Evangelical Lutheran Women and the Anglican Church of Canada in the area of homelessness. And we work through the Global Hunger and Development Appeal and CLWR, providing disaster response and development aid and helping in the support and settlement of refugees in Canada.

But doing justice is not something we only do as a National Church or with other national and international partners. Every disciple and every expression of the church is called to do justice. We are called to become involved, hands-on, in responding to the needs of our neighbour and in working to bring justice to our communities, nation, and around the world.


For more information about social justice initiatives and resources supported by the ELCIC, visit:

- the Canadian Council of Churches at
- Evangelical Lutheran Women at I highly recommend the ELW resource No Place Like Home.

- The Global Hunger and Development Appeal at
- Canadian Lutheran World Relief at

Bishop Susan C. Johnson

Canada Lutheran, June 2008