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June 7, 2012

ELCIC Saskatchewan Synod Convention Meets in Convention

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's (ELCIC) Saskatchewan (SK) Synod met in convention June 1-3 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Over 200 delegates, visitors, guests and volunteers came together for three days of worship, workshops and business sessions.

Opening worship was held Friday afternoon. ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson preached and Synod Bishop Cindy Halmarson presided.

In her report to delegates, Bishop Halmarson noted that this year marked her 10th year in the office of bishop. This is a covenant we have made with one another, she said. It's a covenant I take very seriously.

Bishop Halmarson commented on the unique landscape of the SK Synod. She noted that the greatest opportunity for the synod was in terms of the growth taking place in communities throughout the synod. I can't think of a community [in our synod] that doesn't have new people coming in, she said.

Rev. Dr. Gordon Jensen provided two workshops focused around what it means to be Lutheran Today .

[Being Lutheran] is a particular way of being Christian, said Rev. Jensen. The heart of Lutheranism is the phrase 'God is at the centre' - at the centre God is in charge and our lives revolve around God.

We are justified by God, and that means we are set forth to move out of the church and engage in the whole world, challenged Rev. Jensen. Instead of being curved in on ourselves, we are curved outward to be all about others. Our Lutheran theology calls us to be 'shakers and movers' and engage in justice for others. We are justified and liberated in order to serve.

Convention delegates were presented with motions on structural renewal, which were similar to motions before the Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta and the Territories conventions. Motions regarding amalgamation with another synod in the ELCIC were defeated by SK Synod delegates. Delegates did pass a motion that will see Synod Council initiate a process to review its constitution and by-laws to consider aspects of the structural renewal proposals that may have merit for [the] synod and might result in affordability, sustainability, and flexibility for more effective mission.

The convention's youth assembly was comprised of five youth from around the province and two youth assembly coordinators. Youth delegates participate fully in the convention proceedings at the SK Synod and have full voice and vote. In their reflections to delegates, youth challenged the church to put appropriate resources towards youth funding as a way of lifting up the voice of youth in the church.

We are a lot like you, said one youth. We have concerns for the church just like you. We have passions for the church just like you. We like to share, just like you. As we have come from all over with different ideas and passions, we work for a common goal - sharing the Good News.

All five ELCIC Synods will meet in convention in 2012. Four synods have already held their conventions this year. The Eastern Synod will hold their assembly in Waterloo, ON from July 5-8.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 145,376 baptized members in 594 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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