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[ Welcome from Bishop
people are going to be blessed"
from local Anglican and Lutheran congregations
At its June
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
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.
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
> 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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