Susan C. Johnson, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, greeted the assembly with words of reality and promise.
She thanked Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson for monthly phone conversations that are not only fun but a “lifeline” in her role as bishop.
Johnson told the assembly the ELCIC is undergoing a cultural shift from “a church in mission for ourselves” toward “a church in mission for others.”
The Canadian church is like the canary in a mine, she said, feeling the effects of denominational decline first.
Since its formation in 1986, the ELCIC has lost 20 percent of its attendance and has one-third the amount of purchasing power, she said. As a result, the church is looking at structural renewal, including the size and frequency of its national convention and the number of synods it can afford to maintain. Although the future is “uncertain and scary,” Johnson said, “this is God’s church.”
Showcasing her former profession in choral music, she led the assembly in singing the doxology.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers