ELCA NEWS SERVICE
March 5, 2010
Lutherans in Canada, United States to Engage in Global Service Together
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) will engage in mission and ministry overseas together as part of a new agreement between both denominations.
The Global Mission program unit of the ELCA embraces the "accompaniment" methodology, which calls for the ELCA to build mutually supportive relationships with Lutheran churches overseas.
Under the new agreement, the ELCIC will embrace the accompaniment model for its global service and has developed a new program called "ELCIC Global Mission."
The Rev. Carla Blakley, a pastor in the ELCIC, began her work as ELCIC assistant to the bishop for global mission in January. Blakley said she recently visited with ELCA Global Mission staff in Chicago.
"I'm thrilled" about the new partnership, said Blakley. "In a situation where churches are dividing over issues, we are forging a strong partnership for work in the world. It is God's work in God's world that can be done together. I was so graciously received in Chicago, and there's such a nice atmosphere of 'let's work together.' It's a win-win situation," she said.
"It is very unique for two churches to share deeply in global mission," according to the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for ELCA Global Mission. "We are looking forward to developing the organic implementation of this agreement and the programmatic collaboration between both churches."
The 65 synods of the ELCA have "companion relationships" with more than 120 international Lutheran churches. ELCA congregations and individual members visit and host their companions. Together Lutherans explore the complexities of building cross-cultural relationships and engage in mutually dependent mission and ministries.
Each of the five synods of the ELCIC also shares companion relationships with Lutheran churches overseas.
As part of the agreement, the ELCA and ELCIC will work together to "facilitate" these companion relationships and form new church-to-church relationships.
Global service will be another key element in the agreement. The ELCIC is no longer recruiting mission personnel directly. ELCIC members interested in global service can now work with ELCA Global Mission staff.
The ELCA has about 250 mission personnel in 50 countries serving in a variety of positions, such as teaching at educational institutions, working at medical institutions and in church administration. ELCIC members who qualify for global service may be placed by ELCA Global Mission staff to volunteer or serve in compensated positions.
The ELCIC will also participate in ELCA global events and program committee meetings.
"The ELCA and ELCIC are still working on defining the relationship within the framework of the agreement," said Malpica Padilla. "ELCA Global Mission is taking more responsibility for the administration of the ELCIC Global Mission engagement in the areas of supervision for new mission personnel, companion synods relationships and volunteers from Canada serving through ELCA Global Mission programs."
The ELCA and ELCIC are members of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a global communion of 140 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing 68.5 million Christians.
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Information about the ELCIC partnership with ELCA Global Mission is at http://www.ELCA.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Global-Mission/ELCIC-ELCA-GM-Partnership.aspx on the ELCA's Web site.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com