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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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...
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...
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I am writing to encourage you to support the 2012 ELCIC Praise Appeal. Bishop Johnson recently sent you a communiqué about this appeal and I wanted to make it very clear to you that I am in full and complete support of the request that...full post »
“The problem with us is that we’re trying to answer questions that nobody is asking!” So said my dear friend David Pfrimmer, the Principal Dean of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, in a conversation several years ago. The converse reality was simply and sadly assumed, specifically that we weren’t addressing the real questions...full post »
Look deeper for a new spiritual dimension
In just a few short days the aisles of our churches will have been fully transformed into the road to Bethlehem; our chancels into stables and our altars into mangers. And we ourselves - God willing – will also have been changed – if only for a few moments - into reverent...full post »
Sometime this month, most of our churches will experience a strange but predictable transformation. Centre aisles will become dusty roads and chancels will become stables. Children will magically morph into bath-robed and towel-headed shepherds, foil-crowned magi and tinsel -winged angels. Someone will be Mary and another...full post »