October 19, 2014 Leave a comment
Today our ELCIC, AB & T Synod East & West Central Conference convention was held at Bethel Lutheran Church in Camrose. There were two fine, engaging presentations made by Rev. Dr. Marc Jerry on “Word & Sacrament Ministry,” based on the ELCIC Study Guide On Word and Sacrament Ministry.
In trying to ensure that all of our parishes and congregations are served with a ministry of word and sacrament; and with a growing shortage of ordained pastors; our ELCIC is now wrestling with a proposed new practice of licensing a layperson for sacramental ministry at a specific parish or congregation.
At the conclusion of these presentations, there was opportunity for small group discussion on various questions and issues around this proposed new practice.
In our group, among other things, three questions that we discussed were: i) would a lay person in a congregation or parish have the same respect and authority as a pastor by the congregants/parishioners? ii) What about the long-term spinoff consequences of such a practice for our clergy as well as for our seminaries? E.g. would such a practice reduce the number of clergy being ordained and prospective students going into seminary to be trained and prepared for ordained ministry? iii) What would the implications of such a new practice be for ecumenical relations and dialogues-especially with our full communion partner, the Anglican Church of Canada?
The two conferences also spent time apart from each other to carry out their respective business meetings of the conference. In the East Central meeting, there were changes made to bylaws, and resolutions approved.
Of course, there was also time scheduled in for good food and fellowship, meeting, greeting and story sharing with familiar and new folks, as well as a closing Holy Communion Service with the installation of a new dean for the West Central Conference and Council members of both Conferences.