ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 19, 2009
ELCA Assembly Hears ELCIC Bishop's Words of Solidarity
MINNEAPOLIS (ELCA) -- The futures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are similar, said the Rev. Susan Johnson, ELCIC national bishop.
"Sometimes the future looks very uncertain and very scary," Johnson said, "But the final reality is that this is God's church."
Johnson spoke to the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly Aug. 19.
The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 17-23 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. About 2,000 people are participating, including 1,045 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is "God's work. Our Hands."
The ELCA and the ELCIC are facing problems of decreased membership and a decrease in financial resources. Johnson said that the two churches also share similar visions of the mission of the church as being in service to others.
"I want to mark that both of these visions mark cultural shifts, major cultural shifts for our churches," she said. "For us (the ELCIC), 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 to ourselves; with too many resources spent on maintaining our own people and our own structure."
Johnson also thanked the ELCA for the partnerships created through the Book of Faith Initiative, global mission and "collegial relationships between bishops."
There have been tremendous benefits to our churches as a result of shared experience, Johnson said.
Johnson, a former college choral director, also led the assembly in singing the Common Doxology.
More information on the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at http://www.elca.org/assembly on the ELCA Web site.
More information on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada can be found online at http://www.elcic.ca on the Web.
* Carrie L. Draeger is a senior communication major with a concentration in journalism at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash. This summer she is an intern with the ELCA News Service.
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