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.”

———————

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.

———————

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.

———————

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.

———————

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.

———————