Brief Musings on the ELCIC National Convention

Brief Musings on the ELCIC National Convention

After almost a week since the closing of our ELCIC national convention at the UBC campus in Vancouver, here’s my brief “take,” pro and con.

As numerous delegates and dignitaries intimated, national conventions of a church body as small as the ELCIC has the atmosphere of a family reunion. And, like family reunions, the upside is that we all get to see each other and catch up on what’s happening in our lives—old friendships are renewed and new friendships are born, this is koinonia at its best, and a taste of the realm of God coming in the present tense. However, sin, the age-old nemesis, is an all too present reality, with sibling rivalry in high gear and devolving into sibling hostility.

As far as the “official” proceedings went, I lament the absence of two old-timer experts on parliamentary etiquette and constitutional expertise—Professor Vincent Eriksson, and the Rev. Dr. Lo Schwabe. I think, had they been present, we may have avoided a whole lot of procedural wrangling and chaos, accomplishing far too much anger, frustration and the overall sense of accomplishing precious little. I don’t think the proceedings helped to heal the distance between alienated clergy and congregations and the national leadership of our denomination—and that is a sobering, sad reality to take away from a convention with a theme of “signs of hope.”

Speaking of hope, and signs of it, I think I walked away renewed in hope vis-à-vis my interactions one-on-one, and in small groupings at coffee breaks and mealtimes than anywhere else. I do have hope for this church on a parish level and in what Luther called the mutual consolation of the brethren (and sisters). Here I think the parables of Jesus on such minute elements as mustard seeds, yeast and salt are instructive—the realm of God is often hard to see, starts out small, but grows almost invisibly all around us. The far away parish in outer gopher gulch Alberta is a sign of the realm of God—we should never forget that, because many, maybe most of our members originally grew up in parishes like that!

A couple of final upside thoughts: First, I loved the opportunity to visit Regent College’s fine bookstore, and made a few purchases. I was quite impressed with the bookstores quality and quantity of inventory. It’s a good place to “get lost” for an afternoon. Second, I did enjoy and appreciate some of the fine music in our daily worship services. Our congregation is “musically challenged,” so the opportunity to sing new hymns, and listen to a choir accompanied by guitar, percussion, keyboards, strings, flute, etc., was a real blessing for yours truly.

About dimlamp
I am, among other things, a sojourner, a sinner-saint, a baptized, life-long learner and follower of Jesus, and Lutheran pastor. Dim Lamp: gwh photos:

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