Rev. Timothy Teuscher and LCC Board of Directors
3 P.M. (CST) Sunday, January 28, 2018
Live streamed from Saint James Lutheran Church, Winnipeg
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ONLINE – Video from Lutheran Church–Canada’s 2017 convention is now online. The video includes both the opening worship service and all six business sessions.
The eleventh synodical convention, held in Kitchener, Ontario, was broadcast live online on Livestream and Facebook, but that video eventually expired after several weeks online. That footage has now been re-posted on YouTube.
Watch the video of the opening worship service and business sessions of the convention below:
Opening Worship Service
CANADA – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) has released the new versions of its Statutory Bylaws, Synodical Bylaws, and Synodical Constitution which were adopted by the 2017 synodical convention.
The amendments to these documents were previously released in the official convention proceedings, but the finalized version of the documents are now available to download.
Amendments to the statutory bylaws were passed by a 77.3% majority during the convention (a 2/3 majority was required). Download LCC’s new Statutory Bylaws here.
The Synodical Bylaws passed at convention without opposition. Download LCC’s new Synodical Bylaws here.
Amendments to the Synodical Constitution passed at convention with 92 votes in favour and 2 against. Changes to the Synodical Constitution also require ratification by LCC congregations before they are put into effect (congregational resources for that vote are now available). Download the Synodical Constitution here.
CANADA – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) has released a package of resource materials for congregations as they prepare to vote on changes to the synodical constitution adopted at the 2017 synodical convention.
“These proposed changes in structure were all adopted by the 2017 LCC Convention by a strong majority,” explains LCC First Vice President Nolan Astley in an executive summary on the congregational ratification process. “Because some of these changes require amendment of the Constitution of LCC, a congregational ratification vote is necessary to approve the changes to the constitution. In order to be adopted the constitutional amendments must be approved by two-thirds of the congregations participating in the ratification vote.”
The resource package now released by LCC provides congregations with the tools they need to participate in the ratification process. The package includes:
- An Executive Summary on Constitutional Amendment Ratification
- A detailed letter to congregations explaining the changes
- The final draft of the Synodical Constitution as amended
- A Comparison Document showing the Synodical Constitution before and after amendments
- The Ballot for Congregational Votes
“The Board of Directors of LCC, together with the Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure, urges member congregations to give prayerful consideration of these amendments to our Constitution and exercise their right to vote,” writes Vice President Astley in his Executive Summary.
Congregational votes on the proposed changes must take place on or before April 16, 2018. Ballots may be submitted electronically or by mail, but those sent by mail must be postmarked no later than April 17, 2018.
“The official Proceedings… are provided as the official record of the decisions, elections, and activities of the Convention,” notes Rev. Paul Schallhorn, outgoing Synod Secretary. “I encourage all members of the Synod who receives these Proceedings to make them available to the members of their respective congregations and others so that the information contained herein may reach as many as possible.”
The Proceedings are available as a pdf download here. Physical copies of the Proceedings are also available upon request from Lutheran Church–Canada’s synodical office in Winnipeg.
KITCHENER, Ontario – On October 15, Lutheran Church–Canada meeting in convention elected Rev. Thomas Kruesel to serve as LCC’s Vice-President. He joins Rev. Timothy Teuscher, who was elected President on October 14, 2017.
Rev. Kruesel has served as LCC’s Second Vice President since 2011, and served as Third Vice President from 2009-2011. As a result of convention’s decision to adopt Resolution 17.1.01, synod will only have one Vice President going forward. Vice President Kruesel was elected on the third ballot.
The convention also elected officers for LCC’s Board of Directors: Arnold Drung, Cindy Sholdice, Grace Henderson, Cam Pelzer, Kirsten Guggenmos, Deacon Suzanne Eberhard, Rev. Warren Hamp, Rev. Alex Klages, Rev. Kurt Reinhardt.
The results of these and other elections are spelled out in a newly released “Report on Elections” from LCC President Robert Bugbee, presiding officer of the 11th synodical convention. Download the report here.
Elections at convention were delayed by the need to first complete discussions on restructuring, as many of the changes being contemplated would impact the make-up of members for these groups.
Despite working diligently—and even continuing past the scheduled adjournment time for convention—delegates were unable to complete elections for all positions. Facing that possibility, the convention passed a resolution declaring any unfilled positions by the time convention ended vacant, and directing those entities authorized by LCC’s Handbook to appoint members to fill the vacancies. These agencies are to take into account the convention’s ballot results in making such appointments. (In other words, if a particular candidate had a high vote total and was close to being elected at adjournment, the relevant entities would be encouraged to appoint such a candidate as opposed to one who had received few or no votes.)
The following candidates were all elected by convention, though the results of these votes were not tabulated at the time convention was adjourned. Remaining vacancies are also noted.
Commission on Constitutional Matters and Structure
Gary Gilmour, Mark Hersey, Arlene Kish, Rev. William Ney
(other spaces to be filled by appointment)
Commission on Adjudication
Rev. Dr. Kevin Fast, Rev. Jeremy Richert
(other spaces to be filled by appointment)
Commission for Nominations and Elections
Milton Joneson, Rod Johnson, Sharon Schieman, Rev. Keith Hoveland, Rev. Lorne Reddemann, Rev. Michael Meleg, Rev. Robert Morley, Rev. Paul Williams
Commission on Theology and Church Relations
(no one elected at adjournment; spaces to be filled by appointment)
Because the seminaries of St. Catharines, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta are separately incorporated entities, LCC is not legally able to directly elect directors to their Boards of Regents. Nevertheless, the seminaries have agreed that candidates chosen at the convention should be forwarded as nominees to the seminaries, which will then appoint directors, guided by convention’s ballot lists.
KITCHENER, Ontario – During its 2017 synodical convention, Lutheran Church–Canada welcomed guests from several international partner churches.
On October 14, the convention received greetings from Rev. Dr. Hans-Jörg Voigt, Chairman of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) and Bishop of LCC’s partner church in Germany, the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK). “It is my prayer for Lutheran Church–Canada that our Heavenly Father will always look kindly on your church,” he said, “and that He will answer our prayers for the well-being and extension of confessional Lutheranism worldwide.” Bishop Voigt brought, as a symbol of the unity between the two churches, a copy of the SELK’s worship agenda as a gift. “We are one Church in a spiritual and theological sense, by celebrating the Lord’s Supper, by celebrating worship,” he explained.
Rev. Dr. Curtis Leins, Presiding Pastor of The American Association of Lutheran Churches (a member church of the ILC), likewise brought greetings on October 15.
A day later, Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver brought greetings on behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s President Matthew Harrison and the people of LCMS. Dr. Collver also serves as Executive Secretary of the ILC. “Although the LCMS and LCC share a tremendous history together, it is the friendships that develop between our churches which help facilitate joint work, cooperation, and future opportunities,” he noted. “Know that Lutheran churches around the world pray for you because of your confession. Your neighbors to the south, The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod prays for you, as do the churches of the International Lutheran Council.”
President Milton Winston Tejeda Huatuco of the Lutheran Church in Peru (a member church of the ILC) also brought greetings on October 15, introducing LCC to the work of the Peruvian church. Roberto José Zepeda, longtime office manager of LCC’s Mission Centre in Chinandega, Nicaragua, also brought greetings, thanking Canadians for their continued support of the Nicaraguan church. Finally, Bishop Torkild Masvie of the Lutheran Church of Norway (a member church of the ILC) also brought greetings.
The final day of convention, October 16, saw greetings from the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod-USA (a member church of the ILC), brought by Rev. Mark Dankof, representing Bishop Ralph Speers. The convention also received written greetings from several other churches, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, Japan Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina, the Free Evangelical-Lutheran Synod in South Africa, the Lutheran Church of Australia, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia. The text of these greetings were published throughout convention in issues of Today’s Business.
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.
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.”
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.