Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan Johnson thanked convention delegates for a rich conversation after many of them used an open mike opportunity to react to the National Church Council’s (NCC) Strategic Plan for 2013-2017. Everyone was aware of the projections of 64 congregations closing by 2020 and a plunge in revenue to the national church estimated at about $400,000. Yet speaker after speaker spoke hopefully about the future thanking the Bishop and NCC for their candor and leadership. Delegates talked about concentrating on the abundance of God’s grace, paying attention to the resources we do have, daring to be intentionally optimistic and taking some risks.
The Strategic Plan begins with the ELCIC’s vision “to be a church In Mission for Others” and builds on four goals for service: practicing spirited discipleship, nurturing a healthy church, practicing compassionate justice, and practicing effective partnership.
In response to concerns in the church about mutual trust and accountability, NCC has committed itself to developing and promoting a culture for this by modeling good leadership and improving communications as it develops and articulates a common vision for the church.
As NCC works on the specific tasks it has set for itself, members should notice a continuing and growing Call to Spiritual Renewal not only as individuals but also encouraging energy for Spiritual Renewal for communities as well.
Compassionate justice will be practiced through an ambitious agenda that touches on relationships with indigenous people, stewardship of creation, resource extraction, justice and peace in the Holy Land, homelessness and affordable housing, and addressing issue of injustice identified in the Social Statement on Human Sexuality.
NCC will also continue to enhance the church’s many partnerships internationally, regionally, and in Canada.