Tuesday, July 2, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hundreds of members of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are converging on Ottawa for an unprecedented joint national gathering of the two churches, where they will tackle issues like resource extraction, homelessness, and how to live out their mission in a time of diminishing church membership.
The Joint Assembly, which takes place July 3-7 at the Ottawa Convention Centre, will be the first time the two churches have held a fully integrated national gathering since entering into a relationship of full communion in 2001.
“It’s an exciting and historic moment for our churches,” says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. “This is a meeting quite unlike any other meeting that has happened in the past.”
As full communion partners, Canada’s Anglican and Lutheran churches commit to work closely together in all respects—even exchanging clergy and establishing joint congregations—while still remaining separate church bodies.
“The whole point of full communion is to assist us and strengthen us in mission and ministry so that we can reach out in love and service to the world that God so dearly loves,” says Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
The Anglican and Lutheran delegates, who come from every part of Canada, will meet under the theme, “Together for the love of the world.” In that sprit, they will be asked to endorse a joint declaration demanding action addressing the fact that 400,000 Canadians have inadequate housing or none at all. They will also be asked to take action on the question of responsible resource extraction, in light of the documented negative effects mining and oil projects have on the environment and on aboriginal communities.
Participants in the Joint Assembly will gather on Parliament Hill on Saturday, July 6 at 8:30 a.m. to offer a public witness to the importance of all people, especially Canada’s First Nations peoples, having access to clean drinking water.
Delegates from both churches will also discuss proposals to restructure the way in which the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada function, since both churches have experienced the same decline in membership as many other mainline Canadian churches.
The Joint Assembly will welcome a number of international, ecumenical, and interfaith guests, including the heads of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Anglican Communion, The Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches.
The Anglican Church of Canada (anglican.ca) has been a self-governing member of the worldwide Anglican Communion since 1893 and has 545,000 members in nearly 2,800 congregations across the country. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (elcic.ca), established in 1986, has 145,000 members across Canada in nearly 600 congregations and is a member of the Lutheran World Federation.
The Joint Assembly’s proceedings will be constantly updated and live streamed at jointassembly.ca. For more information, to arrange an interview, or to apply for accreditation to cover all or part of the Joint Assembly, please contact:
Sam Carriere, Director of Communications, Anglican Church of Canada
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications and Stewardship, ELCIC