The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
(ELCIC) is Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
's largest Lutheran denomination, with 152,788 baptized members in 624 congregations, with the second largest, the Lutheran Church–Canada, having 72,116 baptized members. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation
The Lutheran World Federation is a global communion of national and regional Lutheran churches headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The federation was founded in the Swedish city of Lund in the aftermath of the Second World War in 1947 to coordinate the activities of the...
, the Canadian Council of Churches
The was founded on September 27, 1944 at Yorkminister Baptist Church in Toronto Ontario Canada. The Canadian Council of Churches provides an agency for consultation, planning and common action. It was founded to co-ordinate the growing number of Canadian co-operative ventures in social services,...
, and the World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches is a worldwide fellowship of 349 global, regional and sub-regional, national and local churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service. It is a Christian ecumenical organization that is based in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland...
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada came into being in 1986 through the merger of two predecessor bodies the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada was a Lutheran Christian denomination active in Canada from 1966 to 1985. Prior to gaining autonomy, its congregations comprised the Canada District of the American Lutheran Church. The first presiding officer of the ELCC was the Rev. Dr Karl Holfeld...
(started in 1966 by Canadian congregations of the American Lutheran Church
The American Lutheran Church was a Christian Protestant denomination in the United States that existed from 1960 to 1987. Its headquarters was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Upon its formation in 1960, the ALC designated Augsburg Publishing House , also located in Minneapolis, as the church publisher...
) and three synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...
s of the Lutheran Church in America
The Lutheran Church in America was a U.S. and Canadian Lutheran church body that existed from 1962 to 1987. It was headquartered in New York City and its publishing house was Fortress Press....
, called the Canada Section
. (In 1988 these two US church bodies ceased to exist as they merged into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...
, the ELCIC's sister denomination in the United States.)
- 1987 Ottawa, Ontario
- 1989 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- 1991 Edmonton, Alberta
- 1993 Vancouver, British Columbia
- 1995 Winnipeg, Manitoba
- 1997 Toronto, Ontario
- 1999 Regina, Saskatchewan
- 2001 Waterloo, Ontario
- 2003 Camrose, Alberta
- 2005 Winnipeg, Manitoba
- 2007 Winnipeg, Manitoba
- 2009 Vancouver, British Columbia
- 2011 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
The Church derives its teachings from the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...
and the Book of Concord
The Book of Concord or Concordia is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century...
which includes the three ecumenical creeds of the Christian Church—that is, the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...
and the Athanasian Creed
The Athanasian Creed is a Christian statement of belief, focusing on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Latin name of the creed, Quicumque vult, is taken from the opening words, "Whosoever wishes." The Athanasian Creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century...
. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is in full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada is the Province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French name is l'Église Anglicane du Canada. The ACC is the third largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, consisting of 800,000 registered members...
under the Waterloo Declaration
The Waterloo Declaration or Called to Full Communion is an accord reached in 2001 by the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. It was reached in 2001 at the Anglican Church's General Synod which was held at the University of Waterloo.-External links:* at the...
. Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary is a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada affiliated with the nondenominational Wilfrid Laurier University, located in Waterloo, Ontario.-History:...
and Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon
Lutheran Theological Seminary Saskatoon is a degree-granting theological school affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan.The seminary was originally created to prepare candidates for Lutheran ministry in Western Canada. It is owned by the four synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada...
are the seminaries owned by the church.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is composed of five synods (similar to a diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...
in Anglican polity). The presiding officer and chief pastor of each synod is a bishop.
- The British Columbia Synod
- The Synod of Alberta and the Territories
- The Saskatchewan Synod
- The Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod
- The Eastern Synod
The Eastern Synod is one of five synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, consisting of more than 200 member congregations and 78,000 baptized members. The territory of the Eastern Synod runs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their office is located in Kitchener,...
This structure is identical to the synod structure of the ELCA, except that the Canadian synods cover one or more entire provinces, whereas some ELCA synods cover the whole or part of a metro area and some cover several states. Like the ELCA a presiding bishop
The Presiding Bishop is an ecclesiastical position in some denominations of Christianity.- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America :The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the chief ecumenical officer of the church, and the leader and caretaker for the bishops of the...
serves as its head, but in the ELCIC, this bishop is known as the "National Bishop." Although episcopal in structure, the church does not have cathedrals as such, though the largest parish church in a city may well have that de facto function with respect to major worship services involving the whole Lutheran community.
- Rev. Donald Sjoberg, 1986–1993
- Rev. Telmor Sartison, 1993–2001
- Rev. Raymond Schultz, 2001–2007
- Rev. Canon Susan Johnson
Susan Johnson is the current National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada . She is the first woman to hold the post....
In 2006, the Eastern Synod voted to allow individual pastors and congregations to conduct blessing of same-sex unions, prompting a dispute between the synod and the national church over which body has the authority to make such a decision. The national church had previously voted against blessings, and the ELCIC's full communion partner, the Anglican Church of Canada, had voted to defer a decision. On June 23, 2007, at its National Convention, the ELCIC voted, by a 200-181 vote margin, against authorizing the Synods to devise individual mission strategies in regard to ministering to people who live in committed same-sex relationships, including the possibility of blessing such unions. The Eastern Synod Council, while affirming its jurisdiction in the matter, agreed to hold its decision in abeyance pending a decision by the national church. In July 2011, the National Convention of the ELCIC adopted a new social statement on human sexuality and approved a motion allowing pastors whose conscience permits, in consultation with their congregations, to preside at marriages for same-gender couples.