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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Ecumenical greetings

Affirming the importance of partnership with the ELCA, Paul Johnson brought greetings from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.He is assistant to ELCIC Bishop Ray Schultz, who was unable to attend the assembly due to an illness.

Johnson named many of the ways the ELCIC and ELCA work together, including meetings with bishops from both churches once a year, with key leaders, and with farmers and ranchers. They also cooperate through Lutheran World Federation efforts (ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson is LWF president and Schultz is vice president).

“Thank you for your willingness to share with us,” Johnson said. “We have real gifts to offer you too, and we do so joyfully.”

Referring to the ELCIC National Convention’s defeat of a motion to allow pastors and congregations to provide blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples, Johnson said, “The vote was about 55 percent for and 45 percent against. But we had a rite for healing the next day,” where all could come for blessings, no matter what their politics, dogma or ideology.

That rite reminded those who attended the convention that there is “one body, one Spirit, one hope, one calling and one baptism,” he added.

LWF brings hope

“There’s a goat somewhere in the world this morning with your name on it,” Kathy Magnus, LWF North American regional officer told the assembly.

Magnus said the LWF gave a home and a goat to a woman, adding, “Our name is on that goat. Our name is the Lutheran World Federation. Our name is on wells, church buildings, lay evangelists and advocacy. It means we hold hands with 66 million Lutherans in the world. ... And remember, 66 million Lutherans do make a difference for the healing of the world.”

Magnus read greetings from Ishmael Noko, LWF general secretary, who said: “As many churches of different confessions struggle today with difficult ethical issues, let us as Lutherans be clearly affirmed in our faith that our unity in Christ is God’s own gift to us. ... It allows us to live together with differences of opinion, and it guides us to take decisions that help to avoid divisions in the church where human convictions and disagreements run deep.

“If the ELCA at this assembly can see itself not as a community of positions and views but as a church of those reborn in baptism to Christ, it can take all its decisions as means of strengthening that spiritual fellowship.”


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December issue

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