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May 6, 2008

Commissioning of Frances Schmidt, ELCIC Missionary for Peru, takes place in Winnipeg on May 10, 2008; All are invited to combined ordination / commissioning service

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) announces that Frances (Fran) Schmidt has been called to serve as the new long-term missionary in Peru. All are invited to the combined ordination and commissioning service on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Winnipeg.

ELCIC Mission in the World (MW) received a request from the Peruvian Evangelical Lutheran Church (ILEP) to send a missionary to serve with ILEP and provide training in Lutheran liturgy and church music, in addition to serving part-time as pastor of an ILEP congregation in Lima.

Schmidt’s seminary training and experience as a parish worker and church musician have prepared her for this position but it was her participation in global experiences in Peru and India for Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) Saskatoon students which stirred her motivation for cross-cultural international ministry. “I felt very at home in Peru and was overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Peruvian people. I find the sharing of ideas, beliefs and mutual exchange between different cultures to be very rewarding. While in India, I learned how important it is to offer education and training in other cultures that honours their context.”

Fran Schmidt was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She obtained a Honours Bachelor of Music degree from Lakehead University in 1993. Following graduation, she taught private voice lessons. In recognition of her gift for music, Schmidt has received awards for voice performances at music festivals in Ontario and Saskatchewan. From 2001-2003, Schmidt was the Parish Assistant at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Winnipeg, and, while attending LTS, she worked part-time as the Music Coordinator for Zion Lutheran Church in Saskatoon, 2003-2006. For her seminary internship, 2006-2007, Schmidt served with Tri-County Ministry, a cooperative rural ministry of ten congregations in the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She is graduating this year with a Master of Divinity with Honours degree.

Following Schmidt’s participation in the ecumenical orientation program for mission personnel in July, she will travel to Bolivia for full-time Spanish language training for a few months. Schmidt will move to Lima, Peru to begin her placement with ILEP by the end of 2008.

ILEP is a small but growing church with 13 congregations and two mission areas. ELCIC MW provides support for the ILEP pastor in the Iquitos mission area through Amazon Mission Sponsorship. Retired ELCIC missionary Rev. Katharine Bergbusch was the previous pastor in Iquitos for three years as she concluded her thirteen years of service in Peru in 2007. ELCIC MW provides opportunities for individuals and congregations to engage in world mission through the Mission and Missionary Sponsorship Program. For more information, go to www.elcic.ca/mission/world.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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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