Posts Tagged ‘Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’


Stop read no further until you have read

Fall out Chapter Two! and if by chance you missed the beginning of our epic tale… Read Chapter One

One month later, the morning after a full moon.

            The basement suite Bronwyn rented in the Shire was technically one bedroom, even freed (or forced?) from my celibate vows; I could not find it in myself to attempt a move from the couch. I sit cross legged on the floor meditating, as she is on a call in the kitchen. Acknowledge and place aside as Lao taught me.

Tariq and Lao have tried to have us meet for our usual ministerial tea, but shame is keeping me away. The parishners of St. Clare’s officially left the Holy See, the Bishop lost the flock once they heard that the land was to be sold, they are a true parish house network sans paid clergy. Some notes and cards of support, encouragement and simply “we love you” have arrived at Bronwyn’s they simply do not seem to care what official denominational oversight says to them.

The DNA came back from the traitor kill as inconclusive, but it was more than likely a parishners that could not handle their minister transitioning. Bronwyn is working the case.

The rising morning sun is glowing through the too small window slits the Holy Mystery kissing her creation good morning.

Bronwyn’s phone conversation is ending, and my mind is not yet centered, but my heart is getting there. The defrocking still rests on me, like the loss of a lover, my bride has been stripped from me by someone else’s volition for the simple crime of living the marriage vows as my bride called me to.

“Tuck, I need you.” Bronwyn said.

I uncross my legs and rise slowly, grab the flannel jacket and pull it on over my gray casual shirt. Bronwyn looks again at my cleanly shaved head, she is still adjusting to the loss of the tonsure on my journey, but there seemed no need for that simple sign of an office I no longer was permitted to hold. “Game is afoot my dear Watson?”

She glowers at me. Detests she does comparing out work to Holmes and Watson, I wonder if she would dislike it as much if she was Holmes and I was Watson? “Another Bible kill.” The short hand the SPS has picked up around the traitor killing, which means that the case is not as simple as they first thought, which means Bronwyn will get some of her team to begin looking for past murders within Canada that may fit the pattern (if there is one) because this many staged murders is definitely not normal for Sherwood.

Off to the Fit we go.

En route to the scene, this time a church, it gets more awkward. “Lao and Tariq keep calling, when are you going to meet with them?”

“And say what, oh by the way thank you for inviting me to ministerial but you see I have no credentials.”

“Bullocks, and you know it, Tuck. So some bloody institution doesn’t like the way you minister, the people who call you Friar still see you as such, what is more important the children of God or the Institution of Man?” Bronwyn said. And yes that is the question that needs to be answered isn’t it? One question that surprisingly I am struggling with because even with having pushed the boundaries of church life for so long, who knew that it would be some stodgy old Bishop that would manage to get the Holy See to act so rapidly and decisively on something that usually takes years to achieve when it comes to ending a clerical life.

And the more important question is why should the acceptance of a dying institution even matter to me?

Speaking of dying institutions, it is an Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada congregation we pull up to. The crime scene tape is around the front of the building where one would normally see the church sign, but there is only the two stakes for the wood sign and obvious signs of a fire.  Not good.

I follow Bronwyn, most of the SPS is used to seeing me around, but they are still adjusting to me without my robes, she secured special consultants dispensation for me from the Chief to be able to continue my work. The one win I had experienced this past month.

The smell hits me first in the night air, the smell of singed flesh, and my toast from the breakfast joins the grass outside the entrance doors. Bronwyn chuckles, as she dabs some perfume under her nose and offers me the vile, it does work to cover up the smell.

I think that is a body. .  . and a Bible covered in blood a soot,

what is it open to?


emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Francis of Assisi (circa 1182-1220)

St. Francis of Assisi (circa 1182-1220) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is funny, for those who have followed my musings, other blogs, let’s be honest my whole writing career I have made a living off of being the progressive voice, the one always for inclusion. This weekend the family had to come to a hard decision, we will admit that we originally felt the pangs of just saying to hell (stronger words came out of my mouth, with tears) with God‘s fan club after yet another time of being ripped asunder.

I will be the first to admit that I enjoy pushing the envelope, why? Simple, because my understanding of the Gospel of the Living Cosmic Christ, is a story of a man, backed by his family, unwilling to bend on living out the love of God.

I surrendered my discernment with the UCC because of them deciding the differently abled were not welcome within our local congregation.

Surrendered my lay ministry in the ELCIC because of the local church spiritually and emotionally abusing my children.

We thought about returning to Anglicanism, but the parish of my baptism made it quite clear that children were not allowed to come to Christ.

The more evangelical sects question our family life, which quite frankly is none of their business.

Yet it was this past weekend within a congregation I had made the mistake of akin to a Franciscan Community simply because I like to see the best in people, and never give up for the simple reason that I truly believe that faith is not simply an individual enterprise, or a community participation, but both-and, a truly interdependent enterprise. So without the church then there can be no faith.

What brought me to the brink of this crisis, my family even, simple the charismatic-non-denominational/LBC that deemed it necessary to spread lies, see it came as a shock. A note that I had been deleted from their facebook group, usually thinking its a glitch but then noting that my wife had been deleted as well. Wife took it upon herself to contact the pastor, and this is where true character of people shine through. We were kicked off, because of me, wifey guilty by proxy, and why do you ask was I kicked off?

Simple, I had made the error of following other members leads and advertising their home based businesses (for me though it was spiritual direction which I had posted in other group pages), inviting church members through the page out to our home bible study (which was posted in other group pages, and was done at the behest of some friends in the church asking us to), and the mistake of asking if anyone during this season was interested in a contemplative service and if so who needed to be contacted within the church to make it happen. Oh, and at the behest of friends, contacting the church office to have the bible study ran in the bulletin (which has happened at multiple churches before, and many churches still advertise for us). For these transgressions we were deleted, and I was to be presented with a formal letter from the board to desist or else.

The pastor claimed that the board had contacted me on numerous occassions and I was “blatantly” ignoring their wishes. The kicker? Yep, you are right, at no point no one had contacted me, explained anything, the mysterious board of this church is hard to fasten down because there names are not public, and there is no easy way to contact the church. After almost eight months of attending the amount of words the pastor has actually spoken to my family can be counted on less than two hands, and that is including the time on a women’s spiritual retreat when she judgmentally told my wife that she had no relationship with Jesus.

The reason these simple postings of invitation, and query where creating a stir? Simple, according to them I am not a leader in the church, as such have no authority to teach, and by posting on the social media (Facebook) page of the church I was trying to ascertain the church endorsement of these activities.  The funny thing is they would rather find a way to cause a family harm, distress, and drive them away…rather than simply on the first post of “offense“ simply responding saying “Hey Ty anything like this needs to go through the board, this is who you contact“ or even taking the post down, and private messaging a person.

But they would rather abuse their power of the inner sanctum, and pretend they are the ones who know all, the sad part at this point in the journey, we are now simply done with this protestant pissing match of authority. Jesus called us to make disciples, to make disciples is to gather together, grow together, learn together, to have the open house and open arms that Christ taught us to have (that St. Francis of Assisi and many have restored the church to in times).

But the response was to simply remain silent, for none of this would have come to light if my wife had not contacted the pastor, an admin on the page to get this plot of lies exposed. The sad part is that after wife informed the pastor that whatever she was selling was b.s. and not to worry because our family would never be back to this nest of vipers, the pastor tried to add her as a friend on Facebook, ballsy or sad irony you decide.

So the spiritual pilgrimage of our family continues, we are simply looking for a spiritual home where the spiritual gifts of all of us from my little 5 year old princess, to my almost 7 year old preacher, my wife and me can be utilized in building God`s Reign here on earth to transform this world into the Imageo Dei.

So we have moved back from our stance on we are done with church, to rather we are done with Protestant churches, the politics and one up man ship, fear of power loss, money loving is just too much to take.

I had made a phone call to a local catholic parish to inquire about Children`s church at the parish, they had undertaken a discernment process to see if the church desired to have the children separate from their families during service, and if so what form should it take. I had done as my wife has asked me to do each time we chat with a new church, our son is blessed with Cerebral Palsy, and we wanted to make sure there was no issue, the lovely secretary at St. Mark`s simply responded, `why would that be an issue.` I explained that many churches we have attended had an issue with the differently abled, her reply was simple “all are welcome here, except those that want to make others unwelcome for we are all God`s children“ the response is something I held to this weekend during the prayerful discernment for it was simply such a community answer.

So now, we are praying for where God is guiding us within either a Roman Catholic Parish or Othodox. We are a wounded family, but it is in the wounds that we experience the resurrection with our Lord Christ. Our pilgrimage is taking a Sabbath for us to cleanse our spirits, but we know there is a community out there that will embrace us…trust in God, this Advent season is one of peace, hope, faith, joy, and love…for we await the miraculous birth of  a wee babe that will transform the world again.

So here we await… the miracle to be birthed anew.

 


The church that does not change and grow is one that stagnants and dies.  Sadly one, that after a monumental, Gospel lived change like the ELCIC just experienced, continues to focus on a minority voice within the church and project these emotions onto all others is one that is using language to set up a death.  What of those that are overjoyed that themselves, loved ones, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, can now fully be realized as the blessed beloved creation of God and there is no longer any barriers to answering the call God has set on their lives?

My challenge to the ELCIC in the days ahead, is to speak the story, fine, but as a body of Christ you have made a choice to embrace the new love, so live into it…and yes, like with any healthy change in a body, some of the bad cholesterol, and flab has to go away.

The actual text of the e-letter for your reflection follows.

Friends –

The November E-Message is found in the attachment below and is pasted into the body of this e-mail as well.  As always, make use of this as you see fit.  Blessings!  +RBM

 

Bishop’s E-Message for November 2011

No one knows better than the Synod staff and I that individuals and congregations in our Synod are wrestling mightily with the ELCIC National Convention decisions of this past July. I have said – and I believe it is no exaggeration – that our Church changed forever in July. Folks in our Synod are dealing with various levels of uncertainty and anxiety as they seek to determine what the Convention decisions mean, and how they will be lived out, in the local context of their congregations.  As I said in my September E-Message, this is necessarily each congregation’s work to do, as difficult as some may find that. In all of this, though, we must not let ourselves be sucked under in a whirlpool of despair.  The world of faith does not revolve around the ELCIC’s decisions, nor does our own faith.

The late Henri Nouwen once said that we cannot confess our belief in God the Father Almighty, Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord,  and the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life without at one and the same time confessing our belief in the one, holy catholic, and apostolic church.  This is something for us each and all to pause and ponder. When all is said and done, Jesus Christ is Lord of the church.  Whether the visible church is faithful or unfaithful, Jesus Christ is never anything but faithful to his body.

So while I am dealing on a daily basis with the plight and pain being experienced across our Synod, I am also reminding myself of Paul’s call to us to think higher, better thoughts: “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) I love this ELCIC that adopted me when my family and I chose it. I love the goodly fellowship I have experienced in community with all of you.  I may not be the happiest camper in the ELCIC tent right now, but I have enough wisdom and experience to know that this is the family of God into which I have been reborn and to which I will belong to my last breath. Not because it is perfect, and not because it always gets it right, but simply because I meet Jesus here in company with all of you.

Our colleague, Pr. James Hendricksen (St. Paul’s – Ellerslie) launched a website (http://1000reasons.ca) in October called “A Thousand Reasons”… a thousand reasons to give thanks for the ELCIC. I have a thousand reasons all on my own, and they have names and faces: yours.  So, my friends, we work with what is currently on our plate, but (I pray) not forgetting for a single second that “The Church’s One Foundation IS Jesus Christ Her Lord.”  Grace and peace, faith and hope, be with you all!

+Ronald B. Mayan, Bishop
Synod of Alberta and the Territories,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

+Ronald B. Mayan, Bishop
Synod of Alberta and the Territories
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
10014 – 81 Avenue
Edmonton, AB.  T6E 1W8
E-mail: rbmayan@elcic.ca
Synod Website:
www.albertasynod.ca

 


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone
1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National
Office of the ELCIC

ELCIC National Convention Delegates Approve Social
Statement on Human Sexuality

Saskatoon, 16 July 2011–Following more
than two hours of debate, delegates of the 2011 ELCIC National Convention
approved a Social Statement on Human Sexuality. The results came late in a day
and were done by written ballot, with 213 votes in favour of the motion and 134
against. 

The document is the
result of a four-year process involving: a study guide, a church-wide feedback
process, a draft statement that allowed for further feedback opportunities, and
the statement. The statement analyzes the current social problem, provides
theological and ethical foundations, and applies insights from the first two
sections to the contemporary situation.

Convention delegates first considered the statement Thursday
evening during a Committee of the Whole session. The Human Sexuality Task Force
introduced the 14-page report and responded to questions and comments from
delegates.

Delegates returned to
debate the matter in a Friday morning business session, and long lines of people
approached the plenary hall microphones to speak for and against the motion. As
on Thursday, comments covered a wide range of subjects, including the
interpretation of scripture, church tradition, theology, and human rights. Many
shared personal stories and many quoted the Bible.

“The statement is honest,” said a delegate in favour of the
statement. “The church is conflicted but the statement full of love and
grace.”

Another delegate said that
the social statement acknowledged homosexual orientation as a genetic reality.
“Our loving God gave them these characteristics,” he said. “The least we could
do is love them the way God does.”

Speaking against the statement, one delegate noted, “Nowhere in
the Bible do I see anything in support of same-sex relationships.” He continued,
“One day we will stand before God and we will be judged not by the UN
Declaration of Rights or the Canadian charter, but by God’s holy laws.”

Others said the statement was not
appropriate at this time for the church. “It’s so ambiguous no one understands
it,” said a delegate. “This isn’t our solid ground that we stand on. After ten
years of debate, we still do not have a consensus. We don’t have anything but
divisions.”

In this midst of this
conversation, delegates considered several motions that proposed to alter the
process of the vote. Delegates approved, almost unanimously, a motion to vote by
written ballot instead of public voting by raising cards. The delegate who
proposed the motion said this more private method would help people to vote
according to their consciences.

Delegates defeated another motion that requested a two-thirds
majority to pass the motion instead of the usual majority of 50 per cent plus
one vote. They also defeated a proposed amendment to provide more material in
the statement’s footnotes.

After the
allotted hour-and-fifteen-minute session during Friday morning’s session, the
question had not yet been called. National Bishop Susan C. Johnson, chair of the
meeting, proposed that delegates return from dinner one hour early to finish the
discussion and vote. She requested that those lined up at microphones maintain
their order until the later session.

After other business and a meal, convention resumed the
discussion in a similar tone. Many people stood up to express earnest opinions
both for and against the statement.

Following an hour of debate, and with people still lined up at
the microphones, a delegate asked for the question to be called.

Delegates voted on whether to call the
question and the results were announced as 166 in favour and 162 against. As
convention moved on to consider the adoption of the social statement, a steward
announced that there had been an error with the previous count and the majority
of delegates had voted not to call the question.

After a brief time of reflection, Bishop Johnson sited
Bourinot’s Rules of Order and ruled the decision to call the question stood
since delegates had proceeded in good faith according to information from the
stewards. A motion was made to challenge the chair, but delegates upheld the
decision of the chair.

The original
vote to approve the proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality resumed, and
after voting, delegates heard a presentation and several announcements. They
then finally stood to sing hymns together.

At around 7:30 p.m., Bishop Johnson announced the statement had
been adopted by a vote of 213 to 134, plus two spoiled ballots. Following the
announcement and prayer, Bishop Johnson acknowledged the ongoing divisions in
the church and celebrated the continued unity that the church has in Christ.

The ELCIC Social Statement on Human
Sexuality is available online at:
elcic.ca/Human-Sexuality/default.cfm.

Over 500 Lutherans and special guests are
meeting in Saskatoon at the ELCIC’s 13th National Convention. Full agenda
details, highlights, and a live link to the proceedings are available on the
National Convention website: elcic.ca/In-Convention/2011-Saskatoon.

—————————————————————–
The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination
with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the
Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World
Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is
intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner
they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina
Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B
3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or
unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short
message.


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone
1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National
Office of the ELCIC

Delegates to 2011 ELCIC National Convention
Approve Motions on Unity, Same-Sex Blessings and Qualifications for
Ordination

Saskatoon, 17 July 2011 — Delegates of the 13th Biennial
ELCIC National Convention approved three highly anticipated and vigorously
debated motions related to the ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality.
Delegates approved an Affirmation Concerning the Unity of the Church; a policy
statement allowing rostered ministers to preside at or bless legal marriages,
including those between same-sex couples, according to the laws of the province;
and a policy paving the way for the ordination and installation of gay and
lesbian pastors.

These motions, put forth by National Church Council
(NCC), were drafted by the ELCIC Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee “to allow
us to move forward if the Social Statement on Human Sexuality was approved,”
said committee member and Saskatchewan Synod Bishop Cindy Halmarson. The social
statement itself was approved during Saturday’s business sessions, following
more than two hours of debate.

Affirmation Concerning the Unity of
the Church (Motion #26)


Passed
by a vote of 204 to 133, the affirmation states that the church should: not be
divided because of disagreement over moral issues and that ELCIC members,
congregations, synods, and churches who disagree with one another remain in
dialogue and unity; maintain unity in the gospel and the sacraments; refrain
from actions that will divide the body of Christ.

Delegates offered a
wide range of perspectives during the debate from serious reservations to
gratitude.

“I speak against the motion,” said one delegate. “The fruit
of the spirit are love, peace and joy, and since we have discussed this issue,
there has been no peace, love, or joy.”

“We are losing the heart of our
people, and it shows in their giving,” expressed another delegate. “You can not
legislate the hearts of the people we are serving.”

One church member
expressed her appreciation for the work of the committee and NCC for putting
forth the motion and offered this comment: “I have consulted with theologians
and biblical scholars, and they have verified that in the original language ‘to
love one another as I have loved you’ there is no ‘except’ or ‘but.’”

Delegates cast their votes as the last order of business on Saturday
night. “I want to commend you for the respect and patience you’ve shown,”
concluded National Bishop Susan C. Johnson following the announcement of the
vote results.

Motion on Same-Sex Blessings (Motion
#27)


Passed by a vote of 192 to
132, Motion #27 allows ELCIC rostered ministers to preside at or bless marriages
according to the dictates of their consciences and according to the laws of the
province in which they serve, including those of same-sex couples.

Early
in the debate, a delegate made a procedural motion to table the discussion until
the 2013 National Convention. “I believe the motions we have passed are a good
framework to build on. I am suggesting we take a bit of time to let this
document breathe before we take further steps,” he said.

The motion to
postpone failed, and debate continued.

“I’ve heard several people say
that this issue has been dealt with, but the status quo is unacceptable—to love
the sinner and hate the sin,” said one delegate. “That is hate, discrimination,
exclusion and alienation. That is saying I can ride the bus but sit at the back.
That is not love. That is not what Jesus would do.”

“I have serious
misgivings about how this might play out in practical terms,” expressed a
delegate. “The day will come when a couple will ask to be married in a
congregation that won’t participate in that kind of service. What will be the
ramifications?”

Another speaker encouraged delegates to open the door
for the congregations who do wish to participate in same-sex blessings. “I speak
in favour of this motion even though I know I won’t be performing these
marriages,” he said. “My congregation has made its position clear: it is not a
place they are prepared to go. As a pastor, I can marry couples because I have
been called by that congregation. I marry in their name, and it behooves me to
consider their wishes. I would be surprised if these marriages happen in five
per cent of our congregations. But the question is, can we still work with the
congregations that will do this? Let them do their ministry as we do ours.”

National Bishop Johnson led the delegates in song (Lord Listen to
Your Children Pray
) as ballots were cast.

Motion on Rostered
Ministry (Motion #28)

Passed by a vote of 205 to 114, Motion #28
states that sexual orientation is not in itself a factor that disqualifies a
candidate for rostered ministry. The motion rescinds two past convention actions
that disallowed self-declared, practicing homosexuals to be approved for
ordination and call.

“I thank you for your love and patience during this
debate. On behalf of my congregation, I speak against the motion,” said one
delegate. “It is against God’s will and Gods word, the Bible.”

“When I
look at my experience of 20 years, I can’t see that anything good has come from
church’s current policy on this issue,” said Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse.
“I’ve seen the terrible results of this policy: broken people, broken families,
broken congregations, substance abuse, broken lives. That’s what happens when
you demand celibacy of those who don’t have the gifts to live celibate lives.
This motion provides the opportunity for willing congregations to consider these
candidates.”

“I urge you to not vote for this,” expressed a rostered
delegate. “Will congregations be allowed to ask a candidate’s orientation? Are
we opening a can of worms for congregations that are on the orthodox side? Will
pastors have to hide their orientation to get a job? Is this a decision that’s
made too soon?”

At the end of the debate, one rostered delegate
broke her silence. “I rise to speak in favour, and I do so praising God, for I
am fearfully and wonderfully made. God made me gay, and I celebrate God’s gift,”
she said. “This church has nurtured me and helped me become the person I am. As
I prepared myself to take this call, no one ever asked me about my sexuality,
but we were told we could stay if we were celibate or silent. Today I break my
silence on behalf of my sisters and brothers who cannot speak. I implore that
gifted gays and lesbians may be embraced, empowered and sent.”

Over 500
Lutherans and special guests are meeting in Saskatoon, July 14-17 for the
ELCIC’s 13th National Convention. Full agenda details, highlights, and a live
link to the proceedings are available on the National Convention website: elcic.ca/In-Convention/2011-Saskatoon.

—————————————————————–
The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination
with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the
Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World
Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is
intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner
they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina
Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B
3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or
unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short
message.


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone
1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National
Office of the ELCIC

ELCIC National Convention Commences; National
Bishop Reflects on Call to be Disciples


Saskatoon, 14 July 2011 — More than 325 delegates and over 150
visitors joined their voices and hearts in worship to open the 13th Biennial
National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) on
Thursday, July 14 at TCU Place, Saskatoon, SK.

ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson preached at the opening
worship service.

In her sermon,
Bishop Johnson reflected on the convention theme Covenant People: In Mission
for Others
and reminded delegates that they are all, “joined to God in the
covenant of baptism, and through God we are joined to each other and called to
live our lives as disciples of Jesus.”

Delegates were reminded of the promises made through the
covenant of baptism which was affirmed at the beginning of the opening worship
service. The promises include: to live among God’s faithful people; to hear the
word of God and share in the Lord’s supper; to proclaim the good news of God in
Christ through word and deed; to serve all people, following the example of
Jesus; and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.

Bishop Johnson asked delegates to reflect
on how they were doing in living out these promises. “How are you doing in
continuing to deepen your discipleship and your relationship with God?” she
continued.

During her travels and in
conversations across the church, Bishop Johnson said she was sensing that some
are experiencing a spiritual hunger that is being met from very different
sources.

“We have been so influenced
by our consumer-driven culture that we stuff ourselves with possessions, and
positions, and status, rather than turning to the pure spiritual milk that will
sate our hunger,” she said.

“Christianity isn’t an institution, but rather a movement whose
missionary focus is always directed outward into the world,” she said. “The
things that we do within our communities of faith bear significance only
insomuch as they serve and support that outward movement.”

Bishop Johnson reiterated a call to spiritual renewal
that she has been sharing across the church for several years and reminded those
gathered at the opening worship service of the call to follow Jesus. “I feel
very strongly that God is calling us to a deeper and more spirited discipleship
and to a closer daily walk with our Lord,” she said.

Outlining a new initiative titled the Call to Spiritual Renewal,
Bishop Johnson offered a list of seven actions to assist in deepening
discipleship, including: Pray, Read, Worship, Study, Serve, Give, Tell.

“I know it’s not easy,” she shared. “But
take heart. Take heart in the fact that the disciples had moments of doubt,
misunderstanding and abject failure – and they had Jesus with them in the
flesh.”

“Jesus is calling,” she
concluded. “Let us joyfully follow.”

Opening worship closed with Bishop Johnson declaring the
church-wide assembly in session.

The
altar used for worship and present throughout convention was built from wood
reclaimed from prairie grain elevators by local artist David Kenyon Fast. Learn
more about this project here: grainelevatoraltar.blogspot.com.

Over 500 Lutherans and special guests are
meeting in Saskatoon at the ELCIC’s 13th National Convention. Full agenda
details and a live link to the proceeding are available on the National
Convention website: elcic.ca/In-Convention/2011-Saskatoon
.

—————————————————————–
The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination
with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the
Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World
Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is
intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner
they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina
Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B
3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or
unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short
message.


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone
1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National
Office of the ELCIC

ELCIC National Bishop Encourages Love, Renewal and
Action in Report to Convention


Saskatoon, 15 July 2011 — ELCIC National Bishop Susan C.
Johnson encouraged delegates to let the Holy Spirit lead them through the coming
days of convention as she delivered her Report of the National Bishop to
delegates, special guests and visitors attending the 13th Biennial National
Convention taking place July 14–17 at TCU Place in Saskatoon, SK.

“We have several challenging days of work
ahead of us,” said Bishop Johnson. “What I ask is that we treat each other with
Christian love, as faithful followers of Jesus, who love this church. This is my
hope and my prayer for our church as we enter into these days of
convention.”

The Bishop’s report
outlined much progress over the past four years in working to be a church In
Mission for Others
, particularly in light of the 60th anniversary
of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Through its support of The Lutheran
World Federation and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), the ELCIC helps care
for more than 500,000 refugees on a daily basis.

This past April, the National Bishop saw this work first-hand
when she travelled to Ethiopia’s Al Barre refugee camp, home to some 13,000
Somalis. “The work that we are doing in the areas of water, environment and
livelihood activity is truly amazing,” she said. “The work is professional, the
workers are passionate, but the job doesn’t end there. People can’t stay in
refugee camps forever. They need to be resettled in a new land, reintegrated
into the local community or repatriated into their original homeland.”

Bishop Johnson spoke to the need for
continued refugee sponsorship through CLWR and offered some inspiring stories of
ELCIC congregations that have made a commitment to welcoming refugees into their
communities. “Consider how you can participate in this very concrete way of
being a church In Mission for Others,” she said.

Looking to the future, the Bishop discussed several new
initiatives being launched at convention, including the church’s Call to
Spiritual Renewal. Over the past few years, Bishop Johnson has been encouraging
members to strive for a deeper discipleship, which includes regular attendance
at worship, daily prayer and scripture reading, yearly involvement in a program
of study, regular service to the community, regular and proportional giving, and
commitment to sharing the good news with those around us. “I feel strongly that
God is calling us to a closer daily walk with our Lord,” she said. “And I invite
each of you to participate in this Call to Spiritual Renewal.”

In addition to Spiritual Renewal, Bishop
Johnson called delegates to commit to the inaugural Praise Appeal. Part of the
ELCIC’s Financial Resource Generation Strategy, this church-wide appeal offers
the opportunity to highlight different aspects of church ministry. This year the
Praise Appeal will give thanks for the ministry of women in the church, looking
back on the ministry of Evangelical Lutheran Women Inc. and looking forward to
the new forms this ministry may take.

“If you haven’t organized a Praise Appeal Sunday yet this year,
I urge you to do so and support the work of the wider church,” Bishop Johnson
said. “Thank you for all of your support and encouragement, and your partnership
in ministry. It is an honour and a privilege to serve as your National
Bishop.”

Over 500 Lutherans and
special guests are meeting in Saskatoon at the ELCIC’s 13th National Convention.
Full agenda details and a live link to the proceeding are available on the
National Convention website: elcic.ca/In-Convention/2011-Saskatoon.


—————————————————————–
The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination
with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the
Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World
Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is
intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner
they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina
Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B
3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or
unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short
message.


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone
1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National
Office of the ELCIC

Responses to Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on
Human Sexuality Mixed but Respectful


Saskatoon, 15 July 2011 — Members of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) Human Sexuality Task Force responded to questions
Thursday night from convention delegates regarding the proposed Social Statement
on Human Sexuality. The document is the result of a four-year process involving:
a study guide, church-wide feedback process, a draft statement that allowed for
further feedback opportunities, and the proposed statement.

Task force chairperson Judy Wry presented the three-part
document, developed according to an ELCIC policy for social statements. The
statement analyzes the current social problem, provides biblical theological
foundations, and applies insights from the first two sections to the
contemporary situation.

Beginning in
2007, the task force first surveyed ELCIC synods for input, then incorporated
feedback into a study document that was widely distributed. The more than 500
responses were reviewed and the task force prepared a first draft. This again
was distributed widely and feedback was incorporated, with final theological
review by the bishops.

In her
presentation to convention delegates, Wry said the task force’s work was
informed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s 2001 process, previous
ELCIC synod work, and a related 1970 statement of the predecessor church.

Convention then entered into a session for
Committee of the Whole whereby it departed from parliamentary procedure to allow
delegates time for questions and comments.

Responses to the proposed social statement covered a wide range
of topics, including the definition of family, the role of scripture in drafting
the document, the definition of marriage, the intent of the statement, and
issues of morality and salvation. Many delegates thanked the task force for
their work.

Some delegates
criticized the statement, arguing that its recommendations and purpose were
unclear. Others said that the statement departed from traditional Biblical
interpretation or did not adequately incorporate scripture.

“Scripture is not given enough weight here,” said one
delegate. “The authority that we have quoted is civil law or human rights. Not
enough authority is drawn from scripture.”

Other delegates urged for the proposed statement to be
adopted.

“I appreciated the breadth
and how it captured the complexity of situation,” said one delegate. She praised
the task force for addressing broader issues of human exploitation and the
idolatry of sexuality in current culture.

Some delegates spoke to how the statement had already led to
change in their communities. One pastor shared a letter from a person in her
congregation who found the statement “bold, sensitive, forward-thinking and
inclusive.” After reading the proposed statement, this person asked to have her
children baptized in the church.

Wry
fielded questions and comments with support from other task force members. After
task force member Rev. Sonja Free closed the session in prayer, ELCIC National
Bishop Susan C. Johnson thanked delegates for the “respect and love” that
characterized the discussion.

During
Friday’s business sessions, delegates will have an opportunity to debate the
specific motions put forward by National Church Council relating to the
statement.

Members of the Human
Sexuality Task force members are Bishop Steven Kristenson, Rev. Dr. Richard
Crossman, Rev. Sonja Free, Rev. Jim Hill, Nadine Smith, Rebecca Ulrich, and Judy
Wry. Rev. Paul Gehrs provided staff support.

·        The Proposed Statement on Human Sexuality is available
online
.

—————————————————————–
The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination
with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the
Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World
Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is
intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner
they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina
Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B
3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or
unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short
message.


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone
1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National
Office of the ELCIC

National Bishop Susan Johnson Re-Elected on Second
Ballot

Saskatoon, 15 July 2011 — On the second ballot for National
Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), the Rev. Susan C.
Johnson was re-elected by delegates at the 13th Biennial National Convention for
a second four-year term.

In her
address following the announcement, Bishop Johnson thanked delegates for
trusting her with the call to National Bishop. “Four years ago you honoured me
with this election,” she said, “and I feel just as honoured today.”

Bishop Johnson acknowledged the support she
receives from colleagues, the conference of bishops, church partners and others
throughout the church, and shared with delegates that she knows she doesn’t,
“work in a vacuum.”

“I covet your
prayers,” she said, “and I thank you very much for the trust you have placed in
me.”

Bishop Johnson is the fourth
bishop to serve the ELCIC. This will be her second four-year term as National
Bishop. She was first elected in 2007.

Over 500 Lutherans and special guests are meeting in Saskatoon
at the ELCIC’s 13th National Convention. Full agenda details and a live link to
the proceeding are available on the National Convention website:
elcic.ca/In-Convention/2011-Saskatoon.


—————————————————————–
The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination
with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the
Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World
Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is
intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner
they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina
Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B
3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or
unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short
message.


My speaking notes from today, for those in attendance you know that there was quite a bit more meat than what is presented here:

Reading:
Gospel of Matthew 10:40-42

Some may be familiar with the idea of
a Recovering Catholic, it is essentially like anyone in a 12 step recovery
movement.  For my family, we prefer the
term recovering Christian. We hear the words of Christ echoed in today’s
gospel, and know that we are striving for that freedom in our own lives.

Theologically we have journeyed
through various religions, and churches- Mennonite, United, Presbyterian, Roman
Catholic, Rainbow, Anglican, Franciscan, Ignatian, Alliance, Nazarene, Lutheran
Brethren, Restoration, to name but a few when we came to rest in the ELCIC. Yet
each one has left us thirsty, looking for the Christ to give us the cold water,
to welcome openly the young and young at heart, to be able to see that which is
unseen, and to be able to be that prophetic voice for change, be in that
mission for others.

We as a family have travelled the
roads, struggled with doctrine and dogmas, balked and embraced traditions that
fed our spirit and built community, questioned, ministered, served, taught,
wrote, reflected, meditated and prayed. The conclusion is a simple calling as a
household, to make our corner of the world a little bit better.

Let me say clearly, the moves the
ELCIC is making to remove hierarcy, broaden the circle of ministry, and
removing sexuality and sexual orientation barriers to God, we fully support and
embrace.

Yet we know in our souls as a family
we fit more of Matthew Fox’s description, Post-Denominational, rather than any
of the other labels.  We are mystics,
seeking the Holy, to drink deeply of the River that populates the many wells.
The reason: Simply, we do not hold to the root of traditional Christianity, a
heaven/hell dynamic, a “righteous” over wrongness, or that we are abhorrently
evil worms.

Look around at the 8-10 churches that
call this half block home, we are not that different, yet each building sits
quasi-full on a Sunday Morning because we identify with our label more, than
choosing to follow the way of Christ as seen in his LIFE.

My family is choosing to discover what
it means to live the life of Christ. We believe what the stories say, God is
love, Her creation is called blessed, and beloved, and very good. We have free
will out of this goodness to choose to act in love, or selfishness. To choose
to offer the life giving water to quench another’s thirst or to hold it back,
wrapped in dogma from our family called humanity.

As a family we have entered prayer. We
came to rest at Prince of Faith, to begin to heal, lick our wounds from
denominational over Christ strife. It was where our individual faiths became a
family faith truly. Our children declared their love of the Holy Mystery. Where
good friendships have been formed that we hope will endure. Theologically we being
here as members though, are coming to a close in our journey, for it is akin to
trying to keep a triangle peg in a square hole. So please pray about whether or
not you wish to be apart of council, or the webmaster or even the lay pastoral
assistant.

We thank you, we commend you on the
journey we will be back to visit, and we are praying for our brothers and
sisters within the ELCIC for the transition you are going through. We pray that
as followers of the living Christ, we can dig deep into our souls and ask the
hard formation questions on what makes church? What does it mean to follow
Christ, not to get tripped up on what is or has or has ever been, but to truly
see the world through Christ’s eyes.

Look
into our collective soul,

What
do you follow?