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July 12, 2008

ELW Quadrennial Convention Commences; Attendees Encouraged to "Be Bold"

Gathering together boldly to express their faith, joy and love in a time of concern for the future of their organization, the women of the Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW) Inc., as well as a few men, are at University of Calgary campus for the 2008 ELW Quadrennial Convention. The convention is taking place July 10-13.

Throughout the convention delegates, visitors and speakers have been reflecting on the meaning of the gathering theme, Be Not Afraid . Ruth Vince, ELW executive director, shared with attendees how over the last four years the ELW National Office and Board have been exploring new ways and opportunities to be a Christ-centred organization for the women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). God is leading us, she said, we need to be willing to get out there and answer the call.

Theologian, consultant and author, Kelly Fryer, is the keynote speaker for the 2008 ELW Quadrennial Convention. During three separate speaking opportunities Fryer challenged convention attendees to Be Bold and Not Afraid when considering where God is calling the ELW. God's people are bold people who do bold things, said Fryer. Yet we can be slow to change. And what makes us change... it is an act of the Holy Spirit at work, she continued as she encouraged the ELW to seek out opportunities for the Holy Spirit to be on the loose.

On Friday evening, delegates attended the Starry, Starry Night Banquet honouring dream-weavers and mentors within the ELW. Prior to convention, ELW congregational groups were given the opportunity to purchase stars in recognition of individuals who had been important in their lives. Funds received for the stars were designated to the Jackie Schmitt Leadership Fund. Over $10,000 was raised and a visual display of stars was one of many memorable highlights of the evening.

Business sessions were purposely kept brief to allow more time for workshops and visioning activities. Motions brought forward for voting included:
that 80% of the Praise Offering received annually, up to $100,000, be designated to the mission and ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada,
that the ELW continue to support the Chamanculo, Mozambique (Human Rights and Health Project for Women) project for the next quadrennial (2009-2012),
and that the 2008-2011 National ELW Board be empowered to make the decisions necessary on behalf of the entire organization to ensure legal and financial responsibilities, as well as obligations to staff, are carried out with the best business practices in mind.

A motion to concur with the 2009 Proposed ELW General Fund Budget was defeated. Delegates voted 39 in favour, 42 against the motion. Concern was raised around mainly two areas of the proposed budget. The budget proposal introduced an annual support gift which would require the National Board to look at restructuring and membership models, as well the budget assumed that Esprit, the magazine of the ELW, would no longer be a resource in its current form. With the defeat of the motion, delegates were asked to provide their recommendations for amendments to the budget. The comments were recorded and it will now be the responsibility of the incoming ELW Board to review those comments and revisit the proposed budget at their fall 2008 meeting.

Delegates voted on the new executive and board for the 2008-2011 term. Pam Radunsky, a current Co-ELW President at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudbury, ON was voted Board President of ELW. Radunsky was an ELW Board Member from 1996-2004 serving as Director-at-Large and Vice-President respectively.

The ELW convention continues till Sunday, June 13 and will conclude with a Closing Worship Service with ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson presiding.

The ELW is a Christ-centred community of women nurturing faith and spiritual strengthen as people of God in mission. ELW is a non-profit organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC.)

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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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