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We Commit to Upholding the Dignity of All People

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson has written a letter to the church affirming the commitment to upholding the dignity of all people and to standing with our LGBTQ2+ siblings in Christ, both inside and outside of our church.  It was posted to the ELCIC website on September 20, 2018.

A pdf of the letter can be found here. The text of the letter follows.

Dear members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC),

Then [Jesus] took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:36–37, NRSV)

Grace and peace to you.

On Sunday, we will hear how the followers of Jesus were arguing about who was the greatest. When confronted, they are silent. Jesus takes a child into his arms, and directs the disciples to welcome everyone with a sense of the holy in each person.

From the margins of society, Jesus draws people into his arms and into the centre of our communities; and asks us to reconsider our attitudes, our assumptions and our ways of welcoming. I am reminded of how tempting it is for leaders and communities to argue about who is important and who is not; to make decisions about who is in and who is out; and to magnify the significance of our own experience of normal. Even after we have committed to following Jesus, to treating people fairly and to being inclusive, there is much work to be done to turn our commitments into true and meaningful action.

In 2011, the ELCIC National Convention adopted a Social Statement on Human Sexuality, which calls us as a church to the following commitments.

We commit to upholding the dignity of all people. We recognize the image of Christ in every person and serve that person as Christ himself. In meeting diverse people, we begin with a core sense of respect for the value of each person as a unique child of God. We commit to following Jesus by welcoming everyone.

We commit to engaging in practices that more fully enable all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to live as members of the body of Christ and as co-workers in ministry, and to help nurture disciples in the image of God. We recognize we are affected by the biases of our predominantly heterosexual culture. We commit to keep on learning.

We commit to engaging the diverse faces of the world in which we live. We recognize that meeting diverse peoples and forming a truly inclusive community is a journey of discovery that will include moments of discomfort and anxiety. We commit to using these moments to help us grow as disciples.

The ELCIC finds itself in an increasingly pluralistic context which invites us to think anew about how we preach and live the gospel. As we continue to learn and grow as God’s people, we gain new understanding of our world. When we name our complex history, it can assist us in repairing those broken relationships and moving us towards being a more inclusive church. Language becomes an important vehicle to proclaim God’s justice and well-being and reflects hospitality and welcome to all.

In March 2018, the ELCIC’s National Church Council approved new Inclusive Language Guidelines. Women and men, transgender and non-binary people, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, two-spirit, asexual, and heterosexual communities deserve to have their individual identities, titles, and pronouns respected and upheld. While it isn’t required to know all of these terms, it is critical that we have a general understanding of the range of identities we have been gifted with by God and reflect that in our use of language with one another.

Just as the church wonders how to uphold dignity, so do our communities and our societies.
Recently, in different parts of Canada, there have been conversations regarding what curriculum will be used in schools as appropriate sexual education. Concerns are being raised about possible future use of the notwithstanding clause that may affect our LGBTQ2+ siblings. In the face of these conversations and concerns, how do we help each other to deepen respect for each other?

I am conscious that persons whose sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity means living as a minority in a predominantly heterosexual and gender-binary culture, the risk of painful, harmful and/or dangerous experiences remains far too high. The ELCIC does not support conversion therapy to change a person’s sexual orientation; or any other form of treatment that is hostile to a person’s identity. Rather, we sense a deep need for safe opportunities to listen to diverse experiences, to learn from each other, and to honour people’s God-given identity. We are called to form families, communities and societies where all are welcome and where all make a meaningful contribution. We are committed to standing with our LGBTQ2+ siblings in Christ, both inside and outside of our church.

This church lives by faith and grace. Living faithfully means trusting in God’s grace boldly, and taking risks. This church is yearning to see how God will be active in our future, and how God will use us as agents of reconciliation in our broken world.

Yours in Christ,

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

 

The Rev. Dr. Richard Bott Elected 43rd Moderator

To Be Installed on Friday, July 27th

The Rev. Dr. Richard Bott was elected 43rd Moderator at General Council 43 of the United Church of Canada held in Oshawa, Ontario. Credit: United Church of Canada

~ The following was posted on the United Church of Canada website on July 26, 2018.

The United Church of Canada has elected the Rev. Richard Bott, 49, from Vancouver as its 43rd Moderator from a field of 10 nominees. Meeting in Oshawa, Ontario, over 300 commissioners (delegates) from across the country have gathered this week to decide on a wide range of church business that includes the election of the Moderator, who will be the church’s spiritual leader for the next three years.

The Rev. Bott recently served as the minister for Pacific Spirit United Church in Vancouver and was in the process of moving to a new congregation. But that changes now that he has been elected Moderator, which is a full-time position in the church.

Born in Marathon, ON, the Rev. Bott has served churches in Ontario and British Columbia. He is well known for his skills as a leader, writer, and educator. An early adopter of social media, he manages a Facebook group of over 700 United Church ministers.

Looking ahead to the next three years, the Rev. Bott says, “I am excited about the possibilities that are in front of the church and hopeful that we are going to live into them together.”

Unlike leaders in other denominations, the Moderator does not set policy or doctrine. Those decisions are arrived at by committees of clergy and lay people in the church who bring them to one of the triennial General Council meetings, where they are voted on by people chosen from all regions of Canada and from Bermuda. The Moderator-elect will be installed as the new Moderator on Friday, July 27, at the closing worship service of the meeting.

Following his election, the Rev. Dr. Richard Bott answered questions about his vision as he becomes the next Moderator of the United Church.  See http://ow.ly/Qg6N30l9bEu.

Moderator Richard Bott preached on the feeding of the five thousand from John 6: 1-14 at the closing worship service of General Council 43.  An article on the closing worship can be found on the GC 43 website.  The closing worship can be found on the recorded GC43 livestream.  It begins with the passing of the final motion of the meeting.

United Church General Council 43 Has Voted To Enact All Remits

Photo: United Church/Flickr/Creative Commons

“This is a really significant moment in the life of our church,” said United Church of Canada Moderator Jordan Cantwell before commissioners at General Council voted to enact all of the remits regarding changing the church structure.

An overwhelming 91 per cent voted in favour of enacting the three-council model. After the court decided to enact all of the remits, the moderator prayed:

“Holy, disturbing, grace-filled God, this has been such a long, sometimes difficult, often joyful and exciting journey for us as we wrestle with the changes going on around us and within us as a church and how to respond faithfully.

We thank you that even in the midst of our fears and anxieties and uncertainties, that you have accompanied us as you always do, that you have granted us courage to act even in the presence of our fears.

To respond to faith and hope even when we are uncertain what the future will entail. That you have taught us how to walk together in courageous, hope-filled footsteps.

May we have the strength and vision to live into these changes, to live into this new structure, joyfully, with creativity, knowing that we are always and forever a work in progress.

We give you thanks that you are always and forever working with and through and around us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

~ from the UC Observer Magazine facebook page

For more information about General Council 43, go to its website.

Bishop Will Lead Worship

Our Parish Welcomes Bishop Barbara Andrews
on Sunday, July 15th

While our pastor/priest/minister, the Rev. Brian Krushel, is on sabbatical and vacation this summer, several people from all three of our denominations has led or will be leading worship.  The Right Reverend Barbara Andrews, the Suffragan Bishop of the Territory of the People, is our Anglican Bishop.  She will lead worship and preside at the Eucharist in both Trinity Shared Ministry (9 am) and the Church of Saint Paul (11 am) on Sunday, July 15th.

Although Bishop Barbara has a very formal role within the Anglican Church of Canada, she has a delightful sense of humour and a warm presence.  To learn a bit more about her, a biography will be found on the Territory of the People website.

For those in the North Thompson with an Anglican background, this service would certainly be an opportunity for you to experience your Anglican roots since one of the Anglican orders of service will be used.  Everyone is always welcome to attend our services.

During the rest of the summer, two people will be leading worship.  The Rev. John Boyd, an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, visits us from Kamloops on July 29, August 5, and August 26.  Linda Ervin, a commissioned diaconal minister in the United Church of Canada living in Penticton, will lead worship on July 22, August 12, and August 19.  As is our practice, communion will be served each week in the Church of St Paul and on the first and third Sundays in Trinity Shared Ministry.

Our Two Congregations Gather

For Our Annual Parish Worship Service and Picnic
June 24th at 11:00 am
at the Church of St Paul

Providing the weather cooperates, the congregations of Trinity Shared Ministry and the Church of St Paul will hold the annual Parish Worship Service on the lawn beside the Church of St Paul.  Rev. Keith Peterson will be presiding.  Following worship, the traditional picnic of hotdogs, salads, and desserts will be held with folks choosing to sit inside or out.

This year, the Trinity Shared Ministry congregation is hosting which means they are responsible for the hotdogs and all the trimmings; Church of St Paul, the salads.  Desserts and picnic snack foods are welcome from either congregation.  Bring a lawn chair!

Volcanic Eruption in Guatemala

United Church Mission and Service Fund Accepting Donations

A resident cries after she was safely evacuated from her home near the Volcan de Fuego, or “Volcano of Fire,” in Escuintla, Guatemala.
Credit: AP Photo/Luis Soto

The Fuego Volcano, located 27 miles southwest of Guatemala City, erupted on June 3, 2018.  Initial reports indicate 75 people have died, around 50 people were injured, and almost 200 people are missing.  These numbers are expected to rise.  The health of 1.7 million people may be affected by ash inhalation and acid rain.

Mission & Service partner ACT Alliance, in part supported by contributions from The United Church of Canada, is responding on the ground. ACT Alliance is focused on food security, water, sanitation, health, nutrition, shelter, and psychosocial support.

Please pray for those affected by this emergency.  The Mission & Service Fund is also accepting donations.

~ Information is from the United Church of Canada website.  Explanations on how one might donate are also found there.

 

Melissa M. Skelton

Elected the 12th Metropolitan and Archbishop
of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC and Yukon

Melissa M. Skelton, Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster was elected Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC and Yukon on the first ballot at 9:40am, Saturday, May 12, 2018. That office comes with the honorific, “Archbishop”.

Archbishop Skelton is the first woman to be elected an Archbishop in the Anglican Church of Canada and the second woman in the Anglican Communion with the title Archbishop.

The Ecclesiastical Province of BC and Yukon is one of four Provinces that comprise the Anglican Church of Canada and is made up of six dioceses:

  • Yukon
  • Caledonia (northern British Columbia)
  • Territory of the People (central British Columbia, formerly The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior {APCI} and prior to that, Cariboo)
  • Kootenay (the eastern part of British Columbia including the Okanagan)
  • British Columbia (Vancouver Island and the coastal islands)
  • New Westminster (the urban and suburban communities of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley including the Sunshine Coast, from Powell River to Hope).

Twenty-one of the twenty-four members (which includes the six bishops of the Provincial House of Bishops) of the Provincial Electoral College were present via telephone conference electronic voting to cast their ballots. This vote was historic not only because the first woman was elected Archbishop it was also the first election held entirely by electronic means. Three members of the Provincial House of Bishops: the Right Reverends: Logan McMenamie (BC). Larry Robertson (Yukon) and Melissa Skelton (New Westminster) had previously agreed to stand for election.

Archbishop Melissa Skelton will replace the Right Reverend John Privett, currently Bishop of the Diocese of Kootenay who had resigned as Metropolitan effective April 30, 2018, and will subsequently complete his ministry as diocesan bishop May 31, 2018.

~ excerpts from a post by Randy Murray
to the Diocese of New Westminster website on May 17, 2018
Read the entire article here.

Power In the Spirit

Daily On-line Devotionals from Lutherans Connect

for the First Two Weeks of Pentecost

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit” by Ninian Comper,
Image by Lawrence OP

Many of us desire to spend more time in spiritual practice than we do, but often find it challenging to make space for it in our lives. In the summer months, many faith communities transition into a time of less programming and it can become easy to fall out of spiritual practice.

In the spirit of our online seasonal devotional projects, Lutherans Connect invites you to make space for reflection during the first two weeks of the Pentecost season of the church. To assist you, we will offer a meditation every other day, bringing together scripture readings, poetry, songs and reflections, from a range of ecumenical traditions.

This Pentecost we explore the biblical theme of ‘power’ when associated with the Holy Spirit. In our contemporary world, we often think of power as that which exerts authority over something or someone, or that which dominates or oppresses. By contrast, the biblical ‘power’ invoked with the Spirit in Scripture is often a translation of ‘at the hand of’. It is used as well to translate words for ‘great strength’, a strength that is deeper or greater than human beings can commonly understand. This Pentecost we will explore how the Holy Spirit works in us to transform us when we are able to listen and dwell in its mystery and presence, when we are able to rest in God’s hands.

Starting on Pentecost Sunday, May 20th and going for fourteen days until Saturday, June 2nd, we will explore specific biblical moments when the ‘power of the Holy Spirit’ has served a role in transformation. At the same time, we will also investigate stories of our own world where having authority and controlling influence has caused damage and destruction, as well as observing the efforts being made by individuals and communities to transform their reality and restore right relationships. Together we will prayerfully reflect on how the Spirit works in our own lives, to effect transformations small or large.

The first link to the devotional will appear this Sunday and on the Lutherans Connect Facebook page every day following until June 2nd. Join us! And may the power of the Holy Spirit rest in you this Pentecost and always.

~ from the Lutherans Connect facebook page

You may also access the blog here.