Bishop's Blog

June 03, 2015

I don’t remember Lois and I having a lot of hard rules for our children when they were growing up. One firm rule we did have – and for the whole family – is that we tell the truth. Telling the truth is the basis of any whole and healthy relationship.

For the past three days I have...

full post »
May 15, 2015

It’s a common experience. You’re at the check-out, items totalled, credit or debit card at the ready; and then comes “the ask.” “Would you like to make a donation to support ... ?” 

Last week I read the results of a recent survey done by Ipsos Reid. Of those surveyed,  44 per cent felt pressured to give when asked for...

full post »
March 19, 2015

On any given Sunday, visitors to a random sampling of Eastern Synod congregations could worship in one of 11 different languages - English, Mandarin, German, Finnish, Swedish, Hungarian, Latvian, Danish, Lithuanian, Cantonese or Estonian. We are a people of rich ethnic diversity - an immigrant...

full post »
March 16, 2015

Dear Sisters and brothers in Christ,

In 2014 you and the other members and congregations of the Eastern Synod donated a total of approximately $1,450,000 in undesignated benevolence offerings.  This money not only finances the ministries of the Eastern Synod, but it provides our...

full post »
February 06, 2015

Who among us was not shocked by the late October murders of Corporal Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu?  For me, the experience was all the more sobering.  I was part of a church leader’s delegation that had been in and out of these very halls...

full post »
December 16, 2014

The late Canadian artist William Kurelek, a man of deep faith, created a series of paintings published under the title A  Northern Nativity.  Each painting depicts a Christmas Eve image of the Holy Family in a contemporary, Canadian, equivalent of the Bethlehem stable.  We see Mary, Joseph and...

full post »
October 30, 2014

Who among us has not been shocked by the events of the past few days in Ottawa and outside Montreal?  For me, the experience was all the more sobering.  I was part of a church leader’s delegation that had been in and out of these very halls of Parliament the day before all the violence.  We were meeting with Canadian...

full post »
October 22, 2014

At our 2014 Synod Assembly we gave second reading to approval of a new constitution for the Eastern Synod. This constitution mirrors the path charted in the ELCIC’s structural renewal process. A primary structural change involved dissolution of the synod’s eight regional conferences and the...

full post »
November 28, 2013
Our 2011 ELCIC National Convention, after exploring the meaning of treaties as sacred covenants, passed a resolution that commits our church to encouraging right relationships between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada. At this year’s Synod Assembly we will consider approving a Biennium Reconciliation Initiative... full post »
November 28, 2013

Several years ago, at a meeting of the American Academy of Religion, theologian John Cobb presented a lecture based on a paper he wrote in 1976 entitled "Can the church think again?" I wasn't present to hear the lecture; but the title certainly caught my attention, as did the storm of controversy which followed its...

full post »
November 28, 2013

One of my favourite stories from the Gospels is the story of the wedding feast at Caana.  And I’m sure you are all acquainted with Mary’s line to Jesus after it has been discovered that the bar had run dry. No doubt with great sadness, and perhaps some embarrassment, she reports to him, "They have no wine." And we all know...

full post »
November 28, 2013

Each year the rostered ministers of our church are invited to provide a confidential report to their synod bishop. This past week I have had the privilege of prayerfully reviewing the submissions.  I find it very helpful to review them "en masse" as it gives me a broader perspective concerning the collective well-being of...

full post »
November 28, 2013

Lent is a season that I’ve come to respect and appreciate more and more each year.  That does not mean, however, that I find it an easy season to deal with.  Lent is a call into the wilderness, an invitation that isn't easy for us to accept. “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” There is no “sweetness...

full post »
September 11, 2012

In my report to the July 2012 Eastern Synod Assembly I commented as follows concerning the plight of smaller congregations who were experiencing the stress of diminished numbers. I spoke as follows:
The best experts in these questions tell us that smaller congregations who face such challenges – and most of us ARE...

full post »
May 17, 2012

Dear Friends,

Our conference deans and ministry directors recently brought forward a proposal for a synodical covenant.  This is an attempt to make explicit the relationship that exists between congregations on the one hand and the synodical administration on the other.  It grew out of the context of our...

full post »