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September 2, 2008

2008-2010 ELCIC National Youth Project Calls on Youth to be Leaders in Congregational Efforts to Become Greener Churches and Greener Communities

In a letter from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)'s Conference of Bishops, congregations are being encouraged to, consider opportunities for partnership and intergenerational engagement in meaningful ministry that is offered by the 2008-2010 ELCIC National Youth Project (NYP) which calls on the youth of the church to be leaders in their congregation's efforts to become a greener church and to create greener communities.

NYPs run for a two-year duration in-between Canadian Lutheran Youth Gatherings. It is because of the efforts of youth within the ELCIC on the 2006-2008 NYP that Lutheran youth in Bolivia will be able to gathering nationally. Funds raised for Project Reunion (pronounced ray-youn-YON , Spanish for gathering) were donated to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia and will be used to bring together youth for fellowship and solidarity.

The 2008-2010 Stewardship of Creation NYP was announced at the 2008 Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering which took place in Whitehorse August 14-17, 2008.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Friends in Christ:

In 2007, the ELCIC in convention declared that we commit ourselves as a church to answer the call to respect the integrity of God’s creation through an environmental stewardship initiative engaging our National, Synodical, congregational and individual member expressions. (motion #NC-07-11)

We are writing today to share with you that, as an expression of this Stewardship of Creation Initiative, the 2008-2010 ELCIC National Youth Project calls on the youth of the church to be leaders in their congregation’s efforts to become a greener church and to create greener communities. Youth are challenging each other to work with congregations and community partners in caring for the earth. In various contexts, this may mean bringing ideas to church council, to a committee such as church in society or property, to the local ELW, to the Sunday School, and/or to environmentally active groups in your neighbourhood.

We are asking you to consider carefully the opportunities for partnership and for inter-generational engagement in meaningful ministry that are being offered by this initiative.

The intention of this National Youth Project is not to raise funds for a nationally chosen ministry. As such, success will not be measured in dollars tracked by the national office. Rather, success will be local groups discerning God’s mission to care for the earth in their area.

Every three months, the ELCIC will be providing devotions and possibilities for living out this project. These are intended to stimulate creativity rather than limit possibilities. Ultimately, local groups discern and name their own goals. Information will be distributed on the ELCIC youth website: www.youth.elcic.ca. This will also be the place to share your story.

When approached by the youth of our church, we encourage you to be receptive to their ideas, and open to the possibility of being partners in this project. Prayerfully consider how God is calling you to participate with your young people in this National Youth Project. In discerning and working together, the action of convention and the action of our youth will truly be an action of the whole church.

Please share this letter at your September Council meeting. Recognize that you are not being asked to make a financial commitment. You are being asked to be open to the calling of the Spirit and to help find fertile soil for seeds that are sown. Please listen to the youth as leaders and disciples in your midst, please share your wisdom, experience, enthusiasm and faith, and please be partners in telling the story of Christ in word and in deed.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your leadership in helping the ELCIC to be, and to become, a church In Mission for Others.

[Jesus] said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.
Mark 4:30-32 (NRSV)


Yours in Christ.

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Rev. Gerhard Preibisch, Bishop
British Columbia Synod

The Rev. Ronald B. Mayan, Bishop
Synod of Alberta and the Territories

The Rev. Cynthia Halmarson, Bishop
Saskatchewan Synod

The Rev. Elaine Sauer, Bishop
Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod

The Rev. Michael J. Pryse, Bishop
Eastern Synod

A pdf version of the letter, which can be posted in your congregation or printed for distribution is available online at: http://elcic.ca/Documents/documents/2008NationalYouthProject.pdf

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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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