As the regional expression of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, in faithfulness to the Lord of the Church, this synod shall facilitate and advance the mission of this church within its territory.
Guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, it shall carry out this mission by shepherding its congregations and ordained ministers, and by engaging in other forms of ministry which proclaim God’s Word and serve to bring reconciliation to the world.
The mission of this church, as an expression of the universal church and as an instrument of the Holy Spirit, is to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people in Canada and around the world through the proclamation of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments and through service in Christ’s name.
(Taken from Article IV of the Synod Constitution)
I don’t know what feelings that word “church” stirs up for you. For me, church is a very important part of life. I know that churches get some bad press from time to time, and I must admit that I have seen church people at their worst.
But I have also seen church people at their best. and their best is far more significant than what you may have heard about church people at their worst.
For me the biggest bonus of being an active member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (the ELCIC) is the constant reminders I get that I am not alone. Sometimes I get really discouraged. I begin to think that maybe life is a crazy crap shoot after all and that we are all a bunch of losers who are kidding ourselves.
That’s when I need to be part of the church. Sooner or later, someone in the church reminds me that love and hope are still alive; that God is still in charge.
A healthy and healing Lutheran congregation is formed by people who are about important things like that. They believe that life has a purpose and that God has something to say about how life is lived. In their congregation, they are actively learning, serving, sharing and providing needed support in a variety of ways.
One of the best ways to learn about Lutherans is to attend one of our worship services. Our way of worshiping can be a bit bewildering for a visitor. Getting used to the way we do things takes some time and practice.
If you stick with it, our way of worship can be a rewarding experience, especially if you make worship attendance a regular and routine part of your life. More than one person, caught in a moment of crisis, has discovered comfort and healing through the familiar routine of worship and the words learned and remembered through repetition.
Even in the smallest of our congregations, Sunday morning worship is usually only the start of a busy week of activities. For those who get involved, some of the best things in their lives happen through their congregation.
We are welcoming many new members these days. Many parents are rethinking what their children are learning about right and wrong and what life is really all about. Married and single adults are also discovering that Sunday School is not just for kids and people with kids. A growing number of congregations have adult classes which explore a whole range of interesting subjects.
A number of women enrich their lives through Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW). ELW provides an opportunity for women to gather to study God’s Word, develop leadership skills, share talents and creativity and express their faith through action.
Many of our congregations offer rewarding experiences for youth as well. Every two years, one ELCIC event attracts more ELCIC people than any other. This is the Canadian Lutheran Youth Gathering (CLYG). Lutheran teens travel from every part of the country to meet for several exciting days. For some, it is a time that will forever change their lives.
Local congregations are not the only place where you find the Lutheran church in action. Our chaplains serve in most of the places you would expect to find chaplains – on campuses, in street ministries, food banks and shelters, in hospitals, prisons and the military.
Young people and adults have expanded their horizons by attending one of the ELCIC’s educational institutions. We have two schools: Luther College High School in Regina, and Luther College at the University of Regina; Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute in Outlook, Saskatchewan as well as campus ministries at the University of Alberta – Augustana Campus, University of Alberta – main campus, University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge. We also operate two seminaries: Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Waterloo, Ontario.
Lutheran church camps are scattered across Canada. While many of them concentrate on children’s programs, several camps also offer camping opportunities for adults and families.
A growing number of congregations regularly sponsor retreats. Our camps are one of the places used for these retreats. Usually a retreat is an opportunity for a group of people to get away for a day or two to take time to get a little closer to God and to each other.