2. Tagung der 11. Synode der EKD, Ulm, 25. bis 29. Oktober 2009
Grußwort der Evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche in Kanada, Bischöfin Susan Johnson
28. Oktober 2009
Dear friends in Christ - It's a joy and privilege to be here with you this day.
Greetings from your sisters and brothers in Christ from coast to coast to coast that make up the part of the family of God that I serve - the elcic.
Our church is probably a medium sized church by LWF standards - 162,000 spread over 5 times zones in Canada. We were formed from a merger of 2 Lutheran churches in Canada in 1986. The church is currently divided into 5 synods or dioceses. Our church is striving to live out our vision of being a church in mission for others.
This vision marks a major cultural shift for our church. For us, saying we want to be a church in mission for others is in some ways confessing that we have for too long been a church in mission for ourselves - with too many resources spent on maintaining our own people and our own structure.
We are trying to live out this renewed commitment to mission through 5 focus areas - compassionate justice, diverse faces, effective partnerships, focused framework, and spirited discipleship. At the same time, we are facing many challenges as a church including declining membership and declining finances.
Sometimes the future survival of our church seems threatened.
However, at unsettling as they are, this time of scarcity is forcing us to learn to work in new ways and to depend more and more on our partners.
You will recall that one of our focuses as a church is effective partnership. Our personnel and financial challenges are forcing us to work with our partners in new ways - we are working more intentionally with our full communion partner, the ACC. We are working in the area of Global Mission with our sister church, the ELCA and sharing many other resources. We are depending more on our joint work ecumenically both in Canada and internationally.
Maybe in the end this is what God has been calling us to do all along! The Holy spirit can work in mysterious ways, even through scarcity!
But that is the whole point after all. We are starting to learn that we need to be operating out of a position of abundance instead of scarcity.
The final reality is that this is God's church and God has blessed us with many gifts - in creativity, faithfulness, and resources. But you know all about this, you have been working in effective partnership within and through the EKD for many years!
Let me take this opportunity to Thank you for your partnership in ministry, and in particular the mission and ministry we share as expressed in this new partnership agreement which we signed earlier today
May god continue to bless you and your churches and strengthen your mission and ministry. amen