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PRESS RELEASE NO. 02
Lutherans Present Themselves to LWF Assembly
Role of a Small Church in a Diverse Nation
22 July 2003 - A
lively combination of music, drama, comedy and special effects
highlighted a presentation by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Canada (ELCIC) to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)Tenth Assembly
in Winnipeg, Canada last night (July 21).
Titled “The ELCIC Presents Itself,” the show attempted to give
LWF delegates an impression of the role played by this small
Lutheran church in a vast and diverse nation.
The ELCIC is hosting the LWF Assembly during its gathering in
Winnipeg from July 21 to 31. This marks the first time the Assembly
has ever met in Canada.
“We’re a very small church in a very large country,” said
Richard Nostbakken, the show’s creator. “But people in our
congregations can trace their roots back to most of the countries
represented in this gathering. So the ELCIC is a microcosm for the
The 50-minute show featured several videos blending sound and
imagery to portray the vastness of Canada and its ethnic diversity
through a rapid-fire series of montages. A video of the ELCIC was
backed up by a musical quartet led by Vancouver musician Steve
Maddock playing a jazz rendition of “Our Love is Here to Stay.”
The group also performed a jazz medley leading up to an entrance
parade of the six synod and national bishops of the ELCIC. Next came
a game show parody titled “Church or Consequences,” which, amid
the comedy, provided information about ELCIC programs. A rousing
hand-clapping jazz finale ended the evening’s performance.
Earlier in the program, a group of drummers and singers representing
Canada’s First Nations people performed for the Assembly. A native
elder offered a blessing to the gathering and participated in a
ceremonial exchange of tobacco with ELCIC National Bishop, Raymond
Headquartered in Winnipeg, the ELCIC is Canada’s largest Lutheran
church with roughly 188,000 baptized members in 627 congregations.
It came into being in 1986 through a merger of two predecessor
Lutheran roots run deep in Canada. Lutherans have been continually
present in this country since 1750, when a group of German Lutherans
settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Nostbakken, an artist from Regina, Saskatchewan, said his show
sought to give an impression of Canadian Lutherans from a range of
ethnic backgrounds. Fifteen different languages ranging from Finnish
to Chinese, are in use in ELCIC congregations today.
The ELCIC belongs to the LWF, as well as the Canadian Council of
Churches and the World Council of Churches. It is in full communion
with the Anglican Church of Canada, following the signing of a joint
declaration in Waterloo, Ontario, in 2001.
Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is taking place
21-31 July 2003 in Winnipeg, Canada, under the theme "For the
Healing of the World." It is being hosted by the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).
There are around 820 men, women and youth participants in the Tenth
Assembly including 380 delegates from the
133 churches with full membership and three associate members. The Assembly is the highest
decision-making body of the LWF, and meets normally every six years.
Between Assemblies, the LWF is governed by its Council that meets
annually, and by its Executive Committee.
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