LCC Convention Votes to Restructure

Delegates discuss restructuring during the 2017 synodical convention.

KITCHENER, Ontario – Lutheran Church-Canada has voted at the 2017 synodical convention in Kitchener, Ontario to restructure the church body, accepting changes to the church’s statutory bylaws, constitution, and synodical bylaws.

The Convention adopted Resolution 17.1.01 “To Adopt the Proposed Changes to the Statutory Bylaws of Lutheran Church-Canada” by ballot on October 14, with 77.3 percent of votes in favour. The vote required 2/3 majority of the convention to be adopted.

Resolution 17.1.02 “To Adopt the Proposed Changes to the Constitution of Lutheran Church-Canada” was passed on October 15, with 92 voting in favour and 2 against. The changes to the constitution now go to LCC congregations for ratification. A 2/3 majority of voting congregations is required for the constitution to be amended.

On the morning of October 16 the convention voted to adopt Resolution 17.1.03 “To Adopt the Proposed Changes to the Synodical Bylaws of Lutheran Church-Canada.” Three related resolutions (Resolutions 17.1.06, 17.1.07, and 17.1.08) on implementing the new statutory bylaws, synodical constitution, and synodical bylaws were all adopted.

The votes—taking place over three days—followed debate of restructuring more broadly by the convention. Discussion of restructuring began the morning of the second day of convention. Rev. William Ney, Chairman of the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure (CCMS) first presented on the process which led to the current restructuring proposal. Rev. Nolan Astley, LCC’s First Vice President, spoke on the recent difficulties in the church which have highlighted the need for a restructuring of the synodical family, especially as regards legal and corporate matters. Delegates then took several hours for open discussion on restructuring before moving to consider the first resolution on the subject.

The action comes following two years of restructuring consultations across the country, after the three districts meeting in convention all requested the CCMS propose recommendations for restructuring at the 2017 synodical convention.

Under the new structure, congregations will relate directly to synod, with congregations to be grouped in up-to-eight regions, the boundaries of which are to be determined by the Board of Directors in consultation with the congregations. To simplify the transition, regions will for the time-being follow the boundaries of the districts. Delegates to the 2017 synodical convention have requested districts to make opportunity for the election of regional pastors and circuit counsellors during their 2018 conventions. Synod will cease to relate to the district corporations beginning in 2019.

Other changes include the move to a four-year convention cycle, with provision made for every congregation to be represented at future synodical conventions by a pastor and lay representative.

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President Elect addresses convention

President Elect Timothy Teuscher addresses delegates on October 15.

KITCHENER, Ontario – Rev. Timothy Teuscher gave his first address as President Elect to the convention of Lutheran Church–Canada on October 15.

He began by noting advice the late Rev. Dr. Albin Stanfel, then President of the Ontario District, had given him as a young pastor—advice to allow his name to stand if ever nominated for positions in the district or synod, and to let the church decide.

But now that the church had decided to make him president, he confessed, he was left wondering: “Why should I be the one to serve in this office when there are others far more qualified to do so than I am?”

“I think of President Ed Lehman, President Ralph Mayan, President Robert Bugbee,” he continued. “I cannot even hope to adequately follow in their footsteps.”

He also noted the challenges our synod has faced over the past number of years, and the increasingly hostile wider culture in which we find ourselves—reasons that might give anyone pause before accepting the presidency of the church.

“And yet, in spite of all these questions and issues and concerns and reasons to decline to serve in this office,” said, “there stand those words of Dr. Stanfel: ‘Let the church decide.’ And so it is with much hesitancy, reluctance, with a great deal of fear and trepidation, and after much prayer and seeking advice and counsel… that I humbly bow to the will and decision of the convention and accept my election to serve as president of our synod.”

“I ask for your patience and prayers, your understanding, your support, your counsel, and your advice.”

He cited C.F.W. Walther in his closing remarks, noting that we must remain true to the historic faith though others might run after the spirit of the times. Others might trust in their own abilities and wisdom, Walther explains, but we instead must trust rather in the grace and mercy of God.

“To that end,” said President Elect Teuscher, “may God bless us and our poor, little Lutheran Church–Canada. Amen.”

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LCC declares fellowship with Finnish Lutherans

CANADA – Lutheran Church–Canada has declared altar and pulpit fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland.

The action was taken during LCC’s synodical convention meeting in Kitchener, Ontario, and was adopted unanimously. It comes following discussions between representatives of the two church bodies revealed doctrinal unity, with LCC’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations recommending the declaration of fellowship.

The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland emerged out of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland as a result of that church’s departure from historic Christian teaching. The Mission Diocese was founded in 2013, and is headed by Bishop Risto Soramies. As of 2016, it has 32 congregations.

The Mission Diocese of Finland, along with other Nordic Lutherans, has established closer relations with confessional Lutherans in the International Lutheran Council (ILC) in recent years, applying for membership in the ILC and conducting fellowship talks with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in England and the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (SELK). Both the ELCE and SELK are partner churches of Lutheran Church–Canada and fellow members with it of the ILC.

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Convention 2017: Opening Worship Service draws hundreds

LCC President Robert Bugbee preaches during the opening worship service.

KITCHENER, Ontario – Approximately 335 people gathered October 13, 2017 at Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for the opening worship service of Lutheran Church–Canada’s eleventh synodical convention in Kitchener, Ontario. Attendees of the divine service filled the pews and overflowed into the gymnasium of the church.

Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, President of Lutheran Church–Canada, served as celebrant and preacher for the event. His sermon, which was entitled “Christ, First in Everything,” drew on Colossians 1:15-20.

Serving as co-celebrant and confessional pastor was Rev. Larry Gajdos, pastor of Historic St. Paul’s. LCC’s three Vice-Presidents Rev. Nolan Astley, Rev. Thomas Kruesel, and Rev. Rudy Pastucha served as additional liturgists, while Rev. Gerson Flor (Chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces) and Rev. Peter Gatluak (Hamilton Missionary) served as additional lectors. Matthew Gajdos and Kyle Zehr of Historic St. Paul’s served as crucifer and banner bearer respectively.

Reflecting the worldwide mission of the Church, the first two Scripture readings were read in languages other than English. Rev. Flor read in French while Rev. Gatluak read in Nuer (English translations were provided). The congregation was also blessed with two pieces by an Urdu-language choir, directed by Rev. James Luke.

Their musical contribution was complemented by music sung by the Kitchener-Waterloo Choir, directed by Rev. Ron Mohr, as well as organ music by Paul Walrath. Additional music of note were two congregational hymns composed for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. “Though All Our Life is Like a Scroll,” written by Wilfred L. Karsten, was commissioned by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and Concordia Publishing House to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, while “C’est plus qu’un bain pris dans une eau,” written by Yves Kéler, was the winning entry in a Reformation 500 French-language hymn contest organized by Lutheran Church–Canada.

Convention organizers wish to thank the members of Historic St. Paul’s for their hospitality in hosting the event and their assistance in organizing the worship service. Thanks are also due to the 2017 Synodical Worship Committee: Rev. Robert Bugbee, Rev. Ken Maher, Rev. Ron Mohr, Paul Walrath, Ian Adnams, and Rev. Larry Gajdos.

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Delegate Bulletin #3

Lutheran Church Canada

11th Synodical Convention

Delegate Convention Bulletin 3

We are looking forward to our time together in Kitchener. The following information will help you as you plan for your arrival.

Travel

  • Flying into Toronto

If you indicated you required airport transportation on your registration, you will have a reservation on Airways Transit shuttle service.

  • Thursday, October 12. Greeters are not on duty but you have a reservation with Airways Transit. Follow the directions below to catch the shuttle.
  • Friday, October 13, look for convention volunteer greeters in sapphire blue t-shirts. They will help direct you to your transportation. If you don’t see the greeter go directly to the Airways Transit desk in your arrival terminal.

 

  • Terminal 1 – Air Canada

After exiting the baggage claim security doors turn right and proceed to the escalator near POST E. Take the escalator down to the Ground Transportation Level. The Out of Town Van Services Desk is on your left at the bottom of the escalator. http://airwaystransit.com/terminal_one.shtml

  • Terminal 3 – Westjet

After exiting the baggage claim security doors turn right and proceed to Out of Town Van Services Desk located on the Arrivals Level between doors C & D. http://airwaystransit.com/terminal_three.shtml

 

  • Flying into Kitchener/Waterloo Regional Airport

If you are flying into the Kitchener area your transportation to the convention is booked on Airways Transit. A volunteer greeter will be on hand for arrivals on Thursday, October 12 only. Look for the sapphire blue t-shirt.

 

Passengers should meet the driver curbside at the Terminal main exit. Airways Transit vans are white with the company name in red and black.

 

  • Driving

Recent construction of an LRT track in downtown Kitchener and in front of the hotel has changed turns and routes. You can no longer turn left from King Street and access the hotel’s front arrival area on Benton St. If you are arriving from the 401/Hwy 8 there may still be construction closing King Street. If so, follow the detours turning right onto Montgomery then left onto Weber to Ottawa Street. Turn left onto Ottawa, past King St. and then turn right onto Charles and proceed to Benton Street where you will turn right. The hotel entrance will be on your right. If there is no construction continue up King to Ottawa and turn left, then right at Charles.

Parking

Parking is free for the convention. Hotel guests will receive a parking tag with in and out privileges. If you are a day visitor, take a parking ticket at the entrance dispenser and bring it to the Information Desk and exchange it for an exit pass.

 

  • Return to airports

The convention is providing Airways Transit shuttle service to those leaving on October 15 and early October 16. Two coaches will take the balance of the attendees to Toronto leaving at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, October 16.

 

Departures from Kitchener will also have a coach service leaving at 5:45 p.m., Monday October 16.

 

If you are not departing until October 17 or later, Airways Transit will provide your transportation from the hotel. We will post a list of suggested departure times based on the flight departure time and the airport you provided on your registration.

 

  • Hotel Check-In

The Crowne Plaza has a reservation for each person who requested accommodation. Balancing arrival and departure dates we have done our best to honour roommate requests and special needs. Although check-in time is 3 p.m. the hotel will try to accommodate earlier check-ins depending on room availability.

 

The hotel will ask for ID and a credit card against which to charge incidentals. We strongly urge you not to charge anything to your room. If because of flight times you are checking in Thursday, October 12 or leaving October 17 you will be responsible for meals not included in the convention. A $30 travel meal allowance is included on the Convention Expense Voucher which you can download HERE or receive upon registration.

  • Convention Registration

Registration for the convention opens at 1 p.m. Friday, October 13 on the second floor of the hotel tower. Follow the signs. You will receive a nametag, tote bag, convention information and the latest edition of The Daily Nail convention newsletter and the most recent Today’s Business.

 

  • Resolution Committee Hearings

The three convention Resolution Committees will hold open meetings beginning at 1 p.m. in the Kitchener rooms on the second floor adjacent to the Registration area:

  • Committee 1 Synodical Structure                                                                      Kitchener 1
  • Committee 2 Parish Services/Higher Education/Church Relations               Kitchener 2
  • Committee 3 Finance and Administration                                                       Kitchener 3

 

  • Opening Divine Service

Following the first business session at 4 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 p.m. we will gather at Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for the convention Opening Divine Service. The church is a five-minute walk from the hotel. A mini-van will transport those who have identified mobility issues on their registration. It will leave from the hotel main entrance at 6:45 p.m.

You are encouraged to bring an umbrella in case of rain.

  • Emergency Contact

The Convention Office telephone number is 204-797-6032.

The hotel telephone number is: 1-519-744-4141

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Marlene Mohr (convention@lutheranchurch.ca) or 204-895-3433/1-800-588-4226 ext 210.

LCC holds 2017 synodical convention

KITCHENER, Ontario – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) will hold its eleventh synodical convention October 13-16, 2017 in Kitchener, Ontario, with business sessions and the opening worship service being broadcast live online.

This year’s convention comes at a historic time for Lutherans, as 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Tradition states that Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. That event is widely considered the spark which ignited the Protestant Reformation. As delegates gather in Kitchener for LCC’s synodical convention, they will be taking time to observe Reformation commemorations as a result, including through a special Reformation concert the evening of October 14, 2017. The concert will feature J.S. Bach’s Cantata 199 and Felix Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony as performed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra.

Delegates to the 2017 convention have a full slate of work to accomplish, including the election of a new synodical President, voting on plans to restructure Lutheran Church–Canada, and considering the establishment of relations with a new partner church. Information on these and other resolutions the convention will debate are available in the 2017 Convention Workbook.

The first business session will begin on Friday, October 13 at 4:00 p.m. (EDT), with an orientation for delegates. The opening worship service will take place later that day at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). See the full convention schedule here.

Watch on the synodical convention website here. The event will also be broadcast live online via LCC’s Facebook page.

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Audio from Restructuring Webinars now online

ONLINE – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) held two webinars on September 28, 2017 to unpack the details of the proposed new structure for Synod, which will be voted on during LCC’s upcoming national convention in October. A recording of the presentation is now available to download for those who were unable to attend the webinars live.

The audio is a composite from both webinars, and has been condensed to focus on the presentation made by LCC First Vice President Nolan Astley. It also includes introductory remarks by Rev. William R. A Ney, Chairman of the Commission for Constitutional Matters and Structure, and an opening prayer from LCC President Robert Bugbee.

The audio is about one and a half hours long, and just over 40 mbs in size. Download it here.

More than fifty people participated in the webinars, representing a good portion of delegates who will attend the forthcoming convention in Kitchener. President Astley paused throughout his presentation to welcome questions of clarification in relation to the proposed changes to LCC’s handbook.

Those listening to the presentation are encouraged to have a copy of the proposed changes to the handbook to follow along. The documents are all available in the Supplement to the Convention Workbook released earlier in September.

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Upcoming Webinars on LCC’s Proposed New Structure

ONLINE – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) will be hosting two webinars on September 28, 2017 to unpack the details of the proposed new structure for Synod, which will be voted on during LCC’s upcoming national convention in October.

The webinar is a joint production of LCC’s Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure (CCMS) and the Board of Directors (BOD), who in July agreed to work together to prepare a final restructuring proposal for the consideration of the convention.

LCC’s First Vice President Nolan Astley will be the presenter for the webinars, with CCMS Chairman William R.A. Ney helping to lead discussion. “The new structure we are recommending Lutheran Church–Canada adopt takes into account two years of consultation at the grassroots level,” explained Rev. Ney. “We hope that this presentation will help convention delegates and LCC members more widely to get a clearer understanding of the structure we are proposing, and how it will better serve the needs of our church body moving into the future.”

Vice President Astley agreed. “Our focus with these webinars is to help delegates better understand the restructuring plan before them—to make sure everyone understands clearly what they are being asked to vote upon,” he said. “For that reason, the sessions will be focused primarily on unpacking the details of the proposed structure, with debate and decision-making on the proposal reserved for the convention itself.”

The first presentation will take place September 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m (CDT). The second presentation option is from 8:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. (CDT). Register to attend here. Video from the presentation will be uploaded at a later date.

Earlier this month, the joint working group published the results of their work. The proposed new structure is also included in a recently released supplement to the convention workbook.

The upcoming webinars can be viewed from a variety of devices, including smart phones and computer. Participants also have the option to listen to audio by phone rather than through their computer system (this option is made available when you join the webinar, along with an access code.)

Attendees are strongly encouraged to ensure their system meets basic system requirements for the live-stream well in advance of the actual meetings. You can do so by visiting this “Get Ready for Your First Webinar” page, which will test your system to ensure you’re ready to run the online convocation. The same page also allows you to join a Test Session to familiarize yourself with the system and to ensure settings like audio are properly configured. You will also find troubleshooting advice should you experience any technical problems. You can find details about attending via smart phone and general system requirements here.

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A Note to Convention Delegates from LCC President Bugbee

Lutheran Church–Canada President Robert Bugbee has issued the following note to convention delegates on recent materials shared by LCC. You can also download the letter as a pdf here.

Friends in Christ,

A helpful colleague wrote last weekend seeking clarity about materials shared with delegates (and with the wider church) in recent weeks. The concern was that, in the flurry of documents, it might all be a bit confusing. So I’ll try briefly with these lines to make a few things clearer:

The Convention Workbook, which you received in early August, is the usual collection of reports from officers of the Synod, boards, commissions, auxiliary organizations, etc. It also includes the original batch of “overtures,” that is, requests from congregations and other entities that the Convention take a certain action.

The Workbook Supplement, sent out on September 15, is really “Workbook—Volume 2”. We’ve never had this before. It was needed because of our delayed schedule of a Convention in October rather than the usual June. As a result of this later Convention, many typical deadlines fell in the summer. In the Workbook Supplement you will find an expanded report, for example, from the LCC Board of Directors. You’ll also find an extra batch of overtures that came in from congregations, a District Board of Directors, as well as from the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure (CCMS) and LCC Board of Directors (BOD). The CCMS included also the texts of the amendments it is proposing to the LCC Handbook – in other words, to the Statutory Bylaws, Constitution and Synodical Bylaws as the CCMS’ recommended way of restructuring our church. Finally, the Workbook Supplement contains as a resource document the version of the Act and Bylaws proposed some months ago. The CCMS wants delegates to understand that this resource document is no longer their recommended means of accomplishing the restructuring of our Synod, but it was included as a courtesy, since it is referred to in a late overture from Faith Lutheran Church in Saskatoon. The “Foreword” page of the Workbook Supplement will provide an overview.

Soon you will receive the first edition of Today’s Business, which will publish the recommended actions of the Resolutions Committees which met September 8-9. In other words, these resolutions are what the Committees propose the Convention should do with the various overtures contained in the Convention Workbook and its Workbook Supplement.

“What should I read to prepare?” Ideally, you ought to read as much of the Convention Workbook and the Workbook Supplement as you possibly can to be “up to speed” for the Convention. To be sure, the proposed changes to the Handbook (in the CCMS overtures) may seem tedious. This is why there is a side-by-side comparison between the present Handbook and the proposed changes, sometimes including a little explanation on the right to explain why a specific change is being recommended.

One other thing: Last Tuesday, September 12, an “Official Notice” went out to all the members of the
Synod (pastors, deacons and congregations). You do not need to read this, because everything it
contains is already included in the Workbook Supplement. This communication was sent because the
Handbook requires a 30-day advance notice to the church before changes can be made to the Statutory
Bylaws located in the LCC Handbook. And this notice was sent to all members on the Synodical roster,
not just to Convention delegates.

I hope this helps a little bit for your preparations. I treasure your prayers and “homework” as our days
together in Kitchener draw near.

Sincere greetings in Christ,

Robert Bugbee, President
Lutheran Church-Canada

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