ELCIC Aims to Become 'Church for Others'

By Mikelic, Peter | Anglican Journal, April 2004 | Go to article overview
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ELCIC Aims to Become 'Church for Others'

Mikelic, Peter, Anglican Journal

This month, the Anglican Journal welcomes a new column entitled Concerning Lutherans, modelled after a similar column in Canada Lutheran magazine entitled Concerning Anglicans. Written by a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Peter Mikelic's first column gives readers a snapshot of our Lutheran partners since the Anglican and Lutheran churches in Canada agreed to full communion in 2001.

JULY 6, 2004, will mark three years since the historic ratification of the Waterloo Declaration between our two church bodies. What have we in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) been doing since? In the tradition of the Reformation, we continue to discern the Spirit's leading in the songs we sing.

Last month's Anglican Journal noted that we Lutherans are also struggling with the issue of same-sex blessings. At the November meeting of National Church Council, a call went out that every parish participate in Spirit-led deliberations on the subject.

The hope of our national bishop, Rev. Raymond Schultz, is that we become "a church for others." Over the decades, he said, we have been "so parochial, so ethnic and so domestic in our mission agenda, that we've let many opportunities for mission slip through our fingers." Just as the church accepted Gentiles in the first century, slaves and blacks in the 18th and women in the 20th, the Spirit might well be directing us to receive gays and bless their unions in this century. Each of our five regional synods is making preparations to debate this issue at their respective biennial assemblies this summer as groundwork for next year's national assembly in Winnipeg.

Meanwhile, we Lutherans rejoice in the rich diversity of our parish life. Originally founded as First Swedish on Dec. 16, 1903, Augustana Lutheran Church--a Vancouver parish in the synod of British Columbia--recently celebrated its centennial.

Messiah Lutheran church in Camrose, Alta.

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