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Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada ] Thank You ELCIC ] Winnipeg ]
[ Welcome from Bishop Schultz ]

"Our people are going to be blessed"

Children from local Anglican and Lutheran congregations

At its June 2000 meeting in Turku, Finland, the LWF Council decided by a significant majority to hold the Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 2003. The secret ballot vote was between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany. This is the second time, after Minneapolis, USA (1957), that a meeting of the highest decision-making body of the LWF will be taking place in North America.

Accepting the responsibility placed upon the Canadian church by the LWF governing body, the then ELCIC National Bishop, Telmor Sartison, expressed gratitude for the choice taken. During a plenary presentation by an ELCIC team prior to the vote, Sartison likened the hosting of an LWF Assembly to a "coming home.…the most humbling implication of such a choice by the Council being that the LWF member churches would be coming to our home. That means a lot to me, to us."

That all the member churches of the LWF will be coming to Canada is a great opportunity for the host church as well as for the guest member churches, Sartison said in an interview with Lutheran World Information (LWI) shortly after the Council's decision. "Our people are going to be blessed by seeing and knowing people from different cultures. A forum such as the Assembly helps all churches to have a better realization that Christ embodies a larger and more universal outlook than our horizons."

Sartison, who retired in 2001, said such a large meeting is an opportunity also for the host church to know itself better. The various synods and congregations will work together to prepare for such an event, and inevitably they will also involve other Christian churches which, according to the Canadian Lutheran bishop, is a tremendous way of learning.

Sartison's successor, Raymond Schultz, says the Assembly will be an opportunity for host church members to experience what it means to be part of a global communion of churches. He noted that Canada, a nation of 31 million inhabitants, is built on the contribution of immigrants and Aboriginal peoples. "For the Healing of the World" in the local context of Canada "means integrating all these people into one society," Schultz told LWI during a visit to the LWF Geneva Secretariat in February 2002.

The ELCIC has some 189,000 members, representing less than one percent of Canada's population. Nearly 50 percent of Canadians are Roman Catholics, followed by the United Church of Canada (comprising Methodists, Congregationalists and many Presbyterians) and then the Anglican Church of Canada.

On 6 July 2001 in Waterloo, Ontario, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the ELCIC formally adopted The Waterloo Declaration, hailed as a major step forward in expressing the visible unity of the Church.

> Click here for a dialogue between the ELCIC National Bishop,
   Raymond Schultz, and ACC Primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, about
   their churches' experience with the gift of full communion.

The other LWF member churches in North America include the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad (Canada) with 12,000 members, and two U.S. churches, the 5.1 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Diaspora, with 5,000 members.

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