September 14, 2013
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) met in Winnipeg from September 5-7. Council members conduct the business of the church between National Conventions. The following is an overview of highlights from the meeting.
Council welcomes new members
The Council welcomed several new members to the meeting that were elected at the 2013 National Convention (July 4-7, Ottawa), including: Vanessa Bergeron, Saskatchewan (lay), 2013-17; Bruce Cook, Eastern (lay), 2013-17; Cameron Harder, Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario (rostered), 2013-17, Marc Jerry, Alberta and the Territories (rostered), 2013-17, Brian Wilker-Frey, Eastern Synod (rostered), 2013-17; Judy Wry, Alberta and the Territories (lay), 2013-17.
Report of the National Bishop
ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson shared her excitement for the start of the fall NCC meeting as she spoke about carrying over the exciting from Joint Assembly in July, and “the energy that was created by the two churches [ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada] being together.”
“I celebrate what I see to be new life coming up in our church,” she continued. “I’m just buoyed up and encouraged by that. Yet, at the same time, I recognize we need to continue the energy to move in that direction, rebuilding relationships and trust.”
Bishop Johnson spoke of the reality that the whole church has to face around resources and capacity. “We have a fiduciary responsibility as the leaders of this church that we grapple with these things and help people make decisions for the future.”
Reflection and Moving Forward
NCC members spend time at the meeting reflection on the actions and outcomes of the 2013 Joint Assembly and National Convention. This involved looking at comprehensive feedback that was provided by those in attendance at the national gathering this summer.
NCC members also considered the feedback that was provided during “table group discussions” held at National Convention. Delegates to National Convention were asked to spend some time in together at their tables discussing their thoughts on the demographic and financial projections for the church; their ideas for moving forward; what they consider to be signs of a new church and signs of hope within the ELCIC; and in relation to the strategic plan what might be missing that the National Church should emphasize.
It was noted that much of the feedback for both of these pieces was “hope-filled.” Participants considered how the church can be more outward focused and be more of a public witness.
National/Synod Convention Cycle
National Church Council approved a motion regarding the implementation of constitutional changes regarding national and synodical conventions. The proposed changes are dependent on approval by their respective convention bodies, but if approved, would result in the following:
- In 2014, Synod Conventions will do first reading of constitutional changes (this has already taken place in the Eastern Synod).
- In 2015 at the ELCIC National Convention, there will be a second reading of constitutional changes and delegates will also address the proposed administrative bylaw changes.
- Synod Conventions would do a second reading of constitutional changes and address proposed administrative bylaw changes at their 2016 conventions. 2017 will see National Convention in its current configuration.
- At the 2018 Synod Conventions, delegates for the 2019 National Convention will be elected.
- 2019 would see the National Convention in its new configuration (and now in a three year cycle).
- Synod Conventions would take place in 2021 (and now occur every three years).
NCC members participate in ELCIC Praise Appeal
An offering was held during the opening worship service of NCC. Almost $1,500 was received and will be directed to the ELCIC Praise Appeal. This national appeal supports the ministry of the wider church.
The next meeting of NCC will take place March 6-8, 2014.