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Volume 34 Number 2 | March/April 2019

Who do you say that I am? INSIDE • I believe in God, the Father Almighty • And in Jesus Christ, His Only Son • And in the Holy Spirit • God in Three Persons

Update: CLWR Emergency Responses

Rebecca Abbo returned to find a damaged and empty house in Yongoro village, western Central African Republic. (IMAGE: LWF / P. MUMIA)

After years of war, displaced farm families in Central African Republic are returning home to find their homes burned and farming tools missing. In South Sudan, food supplies are intensely strained as host communities struggle to support tens of thousands of people who have been internally displaced — many women, children, and the elderly.

Your gifts are the reason we can act quickly. Thank you.

This spring, we're partnering with Canadian Foodgrains Bank to launch two new emergency responses to help vulnerable families in South Sudan and Central African Republic get through a desperate food shortage and begin to rebuild.

Help us respond at

Contents Features Volume 34 Number 2

March/April 2019

I believe in God the Father Almighty And in Jesus Christ His Only Son And in the Holy Spirit A Beautiful Body

6 9 12 15

Departments Table Talk

God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity God in Three Persons Page 5


In Review

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World


Presidential Perspective

Thinking of Sin but Lightly


News Section International News


Classes begin for LLDP • ILC welcomes Tanzanian diocese into membership • ILC commends Dr. Collver for faithful service, names Interim General Secretary • Wittenberg installation a ‘global event’

National News The Canadian Lutheran is the national publication of Lutheran Church–Canada, published in Winnipeg six times per year: January/ February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December under the auspices of the Board of Directors (Committee for Communication and Technology). ISSN #0383-4247 Member: Canadian Church Press Editor: Mathew Block Advertising: Marlene Mohr Region News Layout: Marion Hollinger Subscriptions: $20/yr E-mail:

All material and advertising should be in the office of The Canadian Lutheran five weeks prior to publication date. Advertising rate card available upon request. The Canadian Lutheran 3074 Portage Ave. Winnipeg, MB R3K 0Y2 Telephone: 204-895-3433 FAX: 204-832-3018 E-mail: Materials published in The Canadian Lutheran, with the exception of Letters to the Editor, news reports, and advertising, receive doctrinal review and approval before publication. Contents of supplements are the responsibility of the organization purchasing the space. ©2019 Lutheran Church–Canada. Reproduction of a single article or column for parish use does not require the permission of The Canadian Lutheran. Such reproductions, however, should credit The Canadian Lutheran as the source. Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.


Board of Directors meet and greet members in Alberta • Email Server Problems Resolved

West Region


Fall youth retreat a success • LWML–Canada’s Parkland zone fall rally encourages those attending • Multiple generations meet in Penticton • Western Region Mission and Ministry Council inaugural meeting• Servant of Christ Award recipient

Central Region


Higher Things retreat in Regina • A special confirmation • Faith, Atikokan welcomes new pastor • Church building closes but congregation will continue • Pancake supper raises funds for community project

East Region 


Community Cupboard fills local need • New Gift Coordinator for LCC East Region • CLTS hosts annual golf tourney • Five things you can do to appreciate science and love the Bible • Last container to Haiti has shipped

Mission News


Special Transfiguration Fund paints Nicaraguan Churches • Mission Exec on hand for formation of Honduras Synod

Education News


Rev. Kim accepts call to CLTS • New issue of Lutheran Theological Review • Creative Missions at Grail Quest Books • CCSCF to host conference on Technology and Theology Transitions


41 3

“Three Angels,” by Andrei Rublev (c. 1411-1425) is a well-known traditional depiction of the Holy Trinity. The icon is based on the story in Genesis in which three visitors appear to Abraham near the oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18). The cover art for this issue is a detail from Albrecht Dürer’s “Adoration of the Holy Trinity” (Landauer Altar), 1511.



Table Talk

God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity


ew mysteries in the Christian faith can be said to rival that of the nature of the Godhead. We confess God to be three distinct Persons and yet one God. But how can God be three and yet one? Like all good Lutherans, we ask: “What does this mean?” The early church wrestled with the same question. In fact, it took several centuries for Christians to unpack what the Scriptures teach about the nature of God. The fruits of these efforts are summarized in the great ecumenical creeds: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the (too often neglected) Athanasian Creed. The first two of these creeds teach us much about the unique identities of the Persons of God. The Apostles’ Creed explains that God is three Persons: the Father who created heaven and earth; the Son, Jesus Christ, who redeemed us; and the Holy Spirit. The Nicene Creed provides greater insight into the relationships between the Persons of the Holy Trinity: the Father begets the Son, we read, Who is “of one substance with the Father.” Of the Holy Spirit, “the Lord and giver of life,” we learn that He “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” We must be careful not to misunderstand the words “beget” and “proceed” to mean the Son and the Holy Spirit came into existence after the Father. The authors of the creeds were clear that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have always existed together from eternity (“before all worlds”). Nor should we think the words imply different levels of power or prestige. “In this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another,” explains the Athanasian

Creed. “But the whole three Persons are coeternal with each other and coequal.” The Trinity may relate to each other in different ways, but they are all equally—and in perfect unity—God. Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have different relationships with one another, they also relate to humanity in different ways. The 2017 Explanation to Luther’s Small Catechism summarizes their unique roles in this way: “The Scriptures ordinarily speak of the Father as creating us, the Son redeeming us, and the Holy Spirit sanctifying us.” While one Person takes centre stage in each of these activities, all three nevertheless work together in these and every other activity. In creation, for example, it is God the Father who makes heaven and earth (Genesis 1, Deuteronomy 32:6). But God the Son is there also, as the Word which speaks everything into existence and sustains it (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-17). God the Holy Spirit participates too as the breath upon the deep (Genesis 1:2), the breath which gives life to creation (Genesis 2:7). The three Persons work in different ways, yet all together, all for one purpose. The creation of humanity makes this cooperative work in the Godhead even more explicit. “Let us make man in our image,” God says, addressing the other Persons of the Trinity. These words “us” and “our” are among the first hints in Scripture of the triune nature of God—a mystery that only deepens the more we read. We must be careful not to misunderstand this text or other parts of Scripture as if they implied there were three different gods who simply cooperate together. Scripture makes it clear elsewhere that the

by Mathew Block

Trinity, in a way incomprehensible to human reason, is one eternal being: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The Athanasian Creed explains: “The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God.” In this issue, we explore the unique nature and work of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Rev. Warren Hamp discusses God the Father (page six), Rev. Dr. Stephen Chambers the Son (page nine), and Rev. Kurt Reinhardt the Holy Spirit (page twelve). But while we study the three Persons of the Trinity individually, we must not imagine them as working independently one from another. Instead, as St. Athanasius has written, we must remember that in all things the Trinity works together, every act proceeding “from the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit” in perfect unity. In every act—creation, redemption, sanctification—God works as One, because He is One. The Persons are distinct and yet of one substance. They operate in different ways and yet always in concert. Those wishing to reflect more deeply on the Trinity do well to start with the Athanasian Creed. Athanasius spent his life defending and explaining the Bible’s teachings on the nature of God. The creed, while not written by Athanasius himself, faithfully reflects the fruits of his studies as well as others. At the same time, let us not treat the mystery of the Trinity as something simply to be studied. The Trinity is God, and God is to be praised, thanked, and adored. “The Trinity in Unity and United in Trinity is to be worshipped,” says the Athanasian Creed. God help us to worship Him as we ought.



I believe in God the Father Almighty What does it mean that God is our Father?

by Warren Hamp

“The Creation of Adam” (Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo, c. 1512


ome would accuse the church of being typically patriarchal in naming God as “Father.” The assumed ‘male-ness’ of God is purported to be another example of men running the show, so to speak—making God in their image. Yet since God is Spirit, He is neither male nor female in the human sense; but He is our Father. This is the manner in which God reveals Himself. Moses asks the people of Israel: “Is not He your Father, Who created you, Who made you and established you?” (Deuteronomy 32:6). Jesus teaches us to call God ‘Our Father.’ He is not called ‘Master’ (though He is the Lord). He is not like the false gods, the ‘Baals’, who lord it over people and demand to be appeased in some way. He is the Father Who gives, the Father from Whom all good comes. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

The Father is God Who has made heaven and earth. With His Son and the Holy Spirit, He is the Creator of all that is, and ever will be. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). The Father is the Maker of heaven and earth. There is nothing that is which He has not made. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). Yet God the Father is not a mass-producer. He is our personal God. We confess in the Catechism that “God has made me and all creatures; given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.” David prays to the Father in his psalm: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). Our Father is not distant, but has singly and personally created each one of us. His creation is ongoing; His preserving is what keeps us alive in this world, and in the world to come.

Since God is Spirit, He is neither male nor female in the human sense; but He is our Father. This is the manner in which God reveals Himself.



Luther writes in the Large Catechism that “He causes all created things to serve for the uses and necessities of life. These include the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, day and night, air, fire, water, earth, and whatever it bears and produces…. They also include whatever else there is for bodily and temporal goods, like good government, peace, and security.” God’s fatherly care is all-encompassing. He leaves nothing out that we and our world need. “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:15-16). Your Father is directing all things in this world for your care. I had a good earthly father. He arranged our house and life so that his children would have all the gifts we really needed to live and learn, to love and to be loved. But God in heaven is “our Father by Whose name all fatherhood is known, Who does in love proclaim each family Thine own” (LSB 863:1) Maybe you didn’t have a great earthly father. That happens in this sinful and broken world. If that is or was the case, your Father in heaven is and remains your true, loving Father. Isaiah reminds us that though earthly father or mother forsakes us, God remains our constant, true Father: “For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name” (Isaiah 63:16). This is not something we take for granted. While God is the Maker and Creator of all people, that is not what really makes Him our Father and us His children. In a true sense, all human beings are created as children of the Father in heaven. But we don’t stay that way. Like the younger son in Jesus’ famous parable, we run away from the Father’s house, from the place we should have in the Father’s family. In our sin, following after Adam in his disobedience, we are rebels, we have left the family. We have no inherent right to call God ‘our Father.’ Yet like that same son in the parable, the Holy Spirit draws us to repentance, to see our “God the Father – Arise” (Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Kraków): Stanisław hopelessness apart from the fatherly care of our Wyspiański, 1904. God. He calls us home, by Baptism and Holy Word. We are called to come home, not to make it up the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! to God, not to earn our way into His fatherly care. Father!’” (Romans 8:15). He is the Father Who is waiting for us, drawing us to So God is your Father only because He is Jesus’ Himself through His Son. He wants us not as servants Father. And Jesus makes Him to be your Father. Jesus or slaves, but as daughters and sons, in Christ. St. Paul makes those who have spurned the Father’s love to be makes that clear: “For you did not receive the spirit those who receive His love again. From His blessed of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received cross He prays specifically for us: “Father, forgive THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019


them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). seen until the resurrection and the world to come, we Our God is not against us, but for us. That is, He truly already have begun, by His grace, to be recognized as and actually wants us in His ‘kids’. So Jesus tells us: His eternal family. Jesus “In the same way, let your tells you that very clearly: light shine before others, “For this is the will of so that they may see your my Father, that everyone good works and give glory who looks on the Son and to your Father who is in believes in Him should heaven” (Matthew 5:16). have eternal life, and I And since we are will raise him up on the children of God the Father, last day” (John 6:40). We we are also sisters and call God ‘Our Father’ then brothers. We belong to a because, as Luther writes family that will never end, in the Small Catechism, where all have a place, He “tenderly invites us where each of us is the to believe that He is our apple of our Father’s eye. true Father and that we We already live, by His are His true children, so grace, as that family within that with all boldness and His holy church. confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask We all believe in one true their dear father.” God, Who created earth That God is our Father and heaven, the Father means that we are His Who to us in love has the family. “See what kind of right of children given. love the Father has given He in soul and body feeds to us, that we should be us; all we need His hand called children of God; provides us; through all and so we are” (1 John snares and perils leads us, 3:1). We are being remade watching that no harm in the image of His Son, betide us. He cares for us by by the forgiveness of day and night; all things sins and the working “The Creation of the World.“ (illustration in the Luther Bible): are governed by His might. Lucas Cranach, 1534. of the Holy Spirit. And (LSB 954:1) looking like the Son, we also begin to bear again the image of our Father. Although the fullness of Rev. Warren Hamp is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in our being children of the heavenly Father will not be Kitchener, Ontario.

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And in Jesus Christ His Only Son by Stephen Chambers


hen Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”, several answers came to the fore. “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14). The disciples’ answer to Jesus’s next question was of course much better, recognizing that He occupied a different level entirely than any of those other emissaries of the one true God. “But who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked, and the answers Peter gives in each of the Gospels are pretty similar. “You are the Christ,” Peter says in Mark (8:29); “the Christ of God,” in Luke (9:20); “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” in Matthew (16:16). In all three responses, Peter nails the question. Jesus is indeed the Christ, which means “the anointed-one.” He is the one chosen and set-aside by God to rescue His people from their sins. Notice, though, the slightly different ways in which that fundamental truth gets expressed. In Mark it’s enough to stick with just the bare title: Jesus is “the Christ.” In Luke we learn who it was that anointed Him: Jesus is neither self-appointed nor chosen by any human authority but is “the Christ of God.” And in Matthew that affirmation leads to an even fuller confession of the relationship between Jesus the chosen one and God who sent Him: Jesus is not just an ordinary guy chosen by any old god; as “the Christ,” He is also “the Son of the living God.” In a way, you see, the way we too answer the question who Jesus is depends on how much information, and what sort of information, we need to provide. When we consider the various ways in which the Church has confessed Jesus to be the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, we see that the answers tend to become longer and more detailed over time. Is it an orthodox, true, and valid confession to say simply that Jesus is “the Christ,” as Peter does in Mark? Of course! But even that seemingly simple title “Christ” is jam-packed with rich theological meaning, stemming from its root in the Hebrew title “Messiah”—a word which captured the fullness of Israel’s confidence in the restoration that she trusted the Lord to bring. There’s no way we could fully unpack THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019 9 “Christ Crucified”: Diego Velázquez, c. 1632

Detail from “The Good Shepherd” (St. John the Baptist Anglican Church, Ashfield, Australia): Alfred Handel, c. 1933. (Image credit: Toby Hudson, Wikicommons).

the richness of the term “Christ” in such a short article as this! And the same is true of all of the titles that Jesus’ followers apply to Him throughout the Gospels. In the first chapter of John, for instance, no fewer than eleven titles are flung at Him. Some are pretty familiar, such as “Christ.” Others are less common, such as “Word,” “Light,” and “Only-begotten.” A couple, like “Prophet” and “Teacher,” might even seem at first glance to be somewhat inadequate. Yet every single one of these titles confesses an important facet of Jesus’s identity. Each of them, in viewing Him from a different angle, exposes something unique not only about His role here on earth but also about His relationship to the other Persons of the Trinity. That’s why no single title ever displaces any of the others. As Paul confesses in one of His letters, Jesus, the Son of God, fulfils all of God’s promises to His chosen people: “However many promises God has made, the ‘yes’ is in Him!” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Even so, some particular aspects of Jesus’s identity and role within the Trinity have become particularly foundational to our common Christian faith. We see this when we consider the way we confess Him in the



creeds in weekly worship. In both the Apostles’ and the Nicene creeds, the same three titles are applied to Jesus. He is the Christ, the Son of God, and the Lord. As we also see again and again in the New Testament, none of these titles is really “explained” in the creeds. The presumption is that Christians will have already been taught what each of them means before they begin to confess them in worship. Interestingly, though, both creeds do indeed give us a sketch of what Jesus did as Christ, and Son of God, and Lord, to save us. Details differ, but both creeds zero in on the same three clusters of events, starting with Jesus’s conception and birth. In the Apostles’ Creed, which stems from the second century, the twin elements responsible for His dual nature are covered quickly in two short lines: Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.” In the Nicene Creed, which took shape two centuries later, the parallel affirmation occupies nine lines. Why? Not because there’s anything unorthodox or misleading about what we say in the Apostles’ Creed, but because a fuller confession became necessary to combat the spread of heresy. Arianism, for example, claimed that even though Jesus was God’s son in some sense, He

did not fully share in the Father’s divine nature. To after being raised from the dead. Until the appointed counter this false teaching, the Nicene Creed affirms time arrives, when He will at last “come again to judge that Jesus was “begotten, not (merely) made”; that He is the living and the dead,” He reigns over all things from “of one substance with the Father”; that he is every bit a position of power and honour “at the right hand of as much “God,” “Light,” and “true God” as the Father the Father.” There, He is our advocate and defender, Himself is; and that this oneness of identity and purpose the head of the Church, and our forerunner—the One was evident already in who went on ahead of the fact that He, the Son, us through suffering and was the agent “by whom death, taking away both all things were made.” the sting of the grave What a densely packed and the punishment set of closely reasoned of hell, so that we too confessions this is! can rise and ascend and Beyond His birth, the enjoy the fullness of only parts of Jesus’s earthly the Father’s kingdom ministry that mattered to f o r e v e r. B e c a u s e o f the compilers of these creeds eve r y t h i n g t h a t t h e took place right at the end: second Person of the His crucifixion, suffering, Trinity has done for us death, and resurrection. in all three phases of his This is exactly the same mission, we are glad to pattern we encounter in confess with Peter that most of the New Testament “there is salvation in no summaries of Jesus’s work. one else, and no other Other elements come and name under heaven… by go, but Jesus’s suffering, which we can be saved” death, and resurrection on (Acts 4:12)! the third day are always Who, then, do we at the core of the most say Jesus is? Both the important passages. Paul Scriptures and the in fact insists that Jesus’s creeds overflow with death and resurrection are titles and descriptions “of first importance”— of His identity, work, elements of faith that He and significance. And Himself had received and all of it is, as the Nicene preached, and that His Creed puts it, “for us hearers too had received, human beings and for and “stood” in, and our salvation.” For us were being saved by (1 He’s the Christ, the Corinthians 15:1-4). It’s Son of God, and our exactly the same for us. It’s Lord. For us He became true that writers often bury incarnate, suffered and their less important points died, rose and ascended. in the middle of their work, And for us He rules on the principle that people and will return. It’s find it easier to remember all true, it’s all for us, the first and last elements and it’s all part of the of a list. But the opposite glorious inheritance is true of our creeds. The “Christ Pantocrator” (Saint Catharine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt): that’s ours within the central section of both of c. 6th century. orthodox boundaries of them, dealing with Jesus’ the historic Christian cross and empty tomb, are the core of our faith not only faith. Such richness. And such a Saviour! rhetorically but also theologically. As Paul urged Timothy, we too constantly “remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead” (2 Timothy 2:8). Rev. Dr. Stephen L. Chambers is Professor of Exegetical Finally, the creeds point us forward as well as back Theology and Academic Dean at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton. by affirming that Jesus was raised up into heaven, too, THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019


And in the Holy Spirit

What does the Holy Spirit do?

by Kurt Reinhardt

“He calls me by the Gospel.”


in turns us away from God—separating us from Him which leaves us facing the world, death, and hell on our own. The Holy Spirit turns us back to Him—to live in communion with Him—where He is our God to rescue and save us, and we are His people to glorify and praise Him. How does the Holy Spirit do this? He calls us by the Gospel. Picture yourself for a moment walking away from someone. With your head, mind, and heart looking away from that person, the only way that you would turn around and come back to him would be if he called out to you. The Father sent the Son into the World to bring us back to Him. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God that brings His Word to turn us around to the Son. The fact that we speak with our

breath is not an accident. It was part of the intentional creative act of our Creator and reflects something about Himself. We speak with our breath and our breath comes with our words because God’s Spirit carries His Word and His Word carries His Spirit. This is why you can’t speak the Word of God without the Spirit and why you can’t have the Spirit without the Word. No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. The Word is tied to the Spirit and the Spirit is tied to the Word. Again, this shouldn’t surprise us since the Spirit is tied to the Son and the Son is tied to the Spirit. This, again, is why no one in the Spirit can say that Jesus is accursed. And so you see, the Spirit always ties us to Jesus, as Jesus always connects us to the Spirit, and together they return us to the Father. You can’t have the Spirit apart from the Word of God. You can sit in your room or by the river or on the lake all you

The Spirit as true God is everywhere, as He gives the breath of life to all things, but He is personally found and does His special work with and only with God’s Word.



want, asking God to pour Him out upon you, but you will not receive Him without the Word. The Spirit as true God is everywhere, as He gives the breath of life to all things, but He is personally found and does His special work with and only with God’s Word. The good news is though, that if you hear God’s Word, you’ve received the Spirit. If the Word was spoken over you in the waters of Holy Baptism, then you have received the Holy Spirit. If the Gospel has been proclaimed to you, then the Holy Spirit has come to you. If you have taken the very Word made flesh into your mouth in His body and blood at the altar, then you have received the Spirit who is always tied to that Word. God does not leave us in doubt about His love for us, and neither does He leave us in doubt about His work and presence in our lives. He doesn’t Detail of “Cupola of Creation” (St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice): c. 13th century. leave us looking inward to our own thoughts or feelings to find the Spirit, or leave us looking He binds me to Christ and deepens my life in Him, He for evidence in special manifestations of His presence. conforms my life to Christ’s life, making Him manifest The Spirit is with the Word. Receive the Word and you in me. This is where the Spirit brings about all the receive the Spirit. Period. beautiful fruits in me that are truly Christ’s fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. None of these things are things “He enlightens me with His gifts” that I can bring about within myself. The branch cannot bear fruit apart from the life of the vine. The The Holy Spirit brings me to the Light of the Spirit is the One who grafts me into Christ so that I can world—the true light that enlightens everyone. The bear abundant fruit in Him. Apart from Him I can do gifts that He uses to enlighten me are the Ones that nothing, but in Him, all things are possible even for a He uses to bring Christ to me and me to Christ. These poor miserable sinner like me. are the Word gifts. There is the proclaimed Word of God, where the Spirit “He sanctifies and through the Law exposes my sin convicting me keeps me” of it, and through the Gospel reveals my Saviour God alone is holy by drawing me to Him. There nature—that is to say that is the Word in the Water, He is the only One who where the Spirit clothes is holy in Himself. He me with Christ making alone is the source of His me a child of God. There own holiness. Every other is the Word in the mouth created thing from angels of the pastor, where the down to you and me can Spirit removes my sins from me as far from me as the only be holy as God shares His holiness with us. We east is from the west, renewing me in my life in Christ cannot be the source of our own holiness because we with the Lord’s own Word of absolution. There is the are not holy by nature. We cannot create holiness in Word in the bread and wine, where the Spirit confirms ourselves or make ourselves holy. me in my life in Christ, as Jesus shares Himself with Some mistakenly believe that our holiness flows me by giving me His body and blood to eat and drink. from our behaviour. Holiness is not a matter of As the Spirit joins me to Christ and Christ to me, behaviour; it is a state of being. Holy living flows from He takes all that is Christ’s and delivers it to me. As holiness, not holiness from holy living. Although a

As the Spirit joins me to Christ and Christ to me, He takes all that is Christ’s and delivers it to me.



good tree is recognized by its fruit, it produces good our own unholiness, as He washes away our sin at fruit because it is a good tree. We receive holiness the same time. What He begins there He carries on from God as He shares His own with us. Satan and the throughout our lives as He continually renews us in our other angels who rebelled against God became evil and life in Christ, as He deepens us in its truth through the so acted accordingly because they cut themselves off Word and continues to wash away our sins in absolution. from sharing in God’s He confirms us in our holiness. The good baptismal reality as holy angels who continue children of God every to gaze on the face of time He unites us to the Father are holy and Christ at the altar, as He act accordingly because draws us there to receive they continue to share in Christ anew in His body His holiness. and blood. Here lies the answer In all of these ways to the question of why I the Holy Spirit is at receive the Holy Spirit wo r k t o ke e p u s i n more than one time in faith—that is, to keep us my life. Some will ask, connected to Jesus. The “If I received Him at early Lutherans were Baptism do I need to clear on the truth, that receive Him again at not only does the Holy Confirmation or for Spirit create faith where that matter week by and when He pleases, week or even daily as but He and He alone He comes to me with sustains it in us also. The God’s Word?” The Holy beautiful thing about our Spirit comes to us over salvation is that God and over again to share does it all from A to God’s holiness with us— Z. Nothing, absolutely to keep us holy. Like a Detail from “The New Jerusalem” (Melk Abbey, Austria): Johann Michael nothing, is left in this piece of metal held in Rottmayr, c. 1716. (Image credit: Uoaei1, Wikicommons). poor miserable sinner’s a flame—as long as the hands. What I do will metal remains in the flame it shares in the fire’s heat always end and fail but what God does endures forever. and light. Remove it from the flame though and it will This truth is one that I must keep in mind as a pastor cool down, losing both the heat and light of the fire. and encourage others to remember when it comes to The heat and light will linger for a time but kept away the faith of others, whether it’s reaching out to the from the flame long enough it will go dark and grow unchurched or restoring the wandering and lost. This cold. This is what happens with God’s holiness in us is the Holy Spirit’s work and so we must look to Him, when we are deceived into thinking that we can get by and Him alone, to be at work in and through us to do without the Word of God. what He wills when and where it pleases Him. The Holy Spirit makes us holy by connecting us to Jesus. He clothes us with Christ in Baptism so that Rev. Kurt Reinhardt is pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church Christ’s holiness becomes our holiness. He takes away in Kurtzville, Ontario.

Spirit of my Faithful God 1. O Spirit of my faithful God Come dwell within me by the Word; For sin has left my heart so flawed, I cannot choose Christ for my Lord. 2. O Spirit of the Holy One Come purge me with your cleansing fire, Lest I remain a wrath-doomed son, Beset by sin’s unbound desire.



3. O Spirit of the Lord of Life Come breathe in me your living breath, Or gasping out my final strife I’ll close my eyes in endless death. 4. O Spirit of the One in Three Come bear me to the Father’s heart, That in Your love-filled unity By grace in Christ I share a part. Rev. Reinhardt

A Beautiful Body by Kurt and Linda Lantz


he had been limping around with Foot Drop for three years, so Linda knew it would be a difficult journey, but out of love for her husband, Rev. Kurt Lantz, she resolved to make it happen. For their twentyfifth wedding anniversary they would make the return trip to their honeymoon destination in Atlantic Canada and even take in the one province of Canada which they had never visited, Newfoundland and Labrador. As their marriage had always been a co-operative effort to serve the Church, they offered to conduct communion services for the far-flung members of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) on the island of this province known as the Rock. Then, just prior to their departure, Rev. Mark Smith, who had been serving the St. Andrew’s Lutheran mission posts in the Maritime Provinces, moved to Winnipeg to take up his call as LCC’s Director of International Mission. There was no question that the Lantzes would adapt their travel plans in order to help fill the vacancy and conduct services also in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. It was particularly meaningful for Linda to visit these LCC supported missions after

her years of service on the East District Department for Outreach. Sharing the body and blood of Christ together at the same altar grants physical evidence for our senses to the heavenly reality of our one communion as the Body of Christ. With a few days to themselves before their return home, the Lantzes stayed a couple of nights at the Marshlands Inn in Sackville, New Brunswick where they had stayed on their honeymoon twenty-five years earlier. The day of the wedding anniversary, when headed out for supper, Linda caught her toe while leaving the inn, but with no feeling through the deteriorated nerves of her foot not much was thought of it. A month and a half later it became obvious that something was seriously wrong. Rev. Lantz picked up his wife when she was done her day’s work at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario and took her to see the doctor. He immediately sent them to the Emergency Department at the hospital. Even with aggressive antibiotic treatment, the infection that had begun in her injured toe would THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019


not slow down. Her left leg was amputated below the knee just four days after admission. Linda’s ten weeks in the hospital provided a lot of time to consider what other losses might result from the loss of her limb: loss of her work at the seminary; loss of communion at the altar rail in her congregation; loss of participation at Lutheran Women’s Missionary LeagueCanada events; loss of connection to extended family, to the members of her church, and to the families at the seminary where her work gave such joy. The Church would surely fill any void left by her amputation, but would Linda still be able to feel a part of the Body of Christ or more like an amputated member? The temptation to despair comes often and with weight. St. Paul assured Christians who did not feel they had much to offer the Church that they were still indispensable members of the Body of Christ. “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body” (1 Corinthians 12:15). The fear of losing your place in the body of Christ as you age or lose any of your faculties is very real. Yet the glory of the Body of Christ is in each member individually, which makes the whole anatomy of the Church all the more beautiful. The sick, the elderly, the poor, and the children are all beautiful members of the Body of Christ because Christ is in each of them through Holy Baptism regardless of what they can or cannot do for themselves or for others. It is more likely that their contributions to the working of the body are hidden rather than non-existent. The hours spent in prayer, the patient endurance under the cross, the support and appreciation for those who serve them in the Church are just as necessary and powerful a contribution as any made on an offering plate, at an organ bench, or on the mission field. St. Paul continued, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have



no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (12:21-22). It was through the interconnected workings of the members of the Body of Christ, that the comfort of St. Paul’s words touched Linda’s heart. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (12:26). A long line of area pastors came to serve her with spiritual care, including Holy Communion. Many of the Niagara Circuit pastors, whom Rev. Lantz served as Circuit Counsellor, took on extra responsibilities and services so that he could spend more time with his wife during her recovery. Rev. Lantz asked the chairman of Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Catharines, Ontario whether he might be allowed to make adaptations to the church-owned parsonage. Their options were limited since the Lantzes did not have the resources to purchase their own home, nor could the congregation afford to pay a housing allowance. The congregation determined that they would make any needed renovations so the Lantzes could stay in the parsonage. The East District Board of Directors agreed to provide a Church Extension Fund loan to the congregation if all of the other circuit churches would agree to help the congregation raise the money to pay it back. As Rev. Lantz looked around the table at the monthly Niagara Circuit Pastors’ Conference (also known as a Winkel), he perceived through watery eyes colleagues who have borne similar crosses as their own wives suffered various afflictions. All of the pastors and seminary professors present immediately stated that their congregations and the seminary would eagerly participate in raising any needed funds. An Epiphany Celebration of Food and Music was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake with choirs and musicians from circuit churches providing a beautiful concert and an opportunity for people to lovingly give. St. Paul notes at the end of his discourse on the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12 that not all are apostles, prophets, and teachers, but all are members of the Body and have gifts with which to serve. Countless cards poured in so that Linda could not keep them all in her hospital room. Visitors from different congregations in the circuit in addition to her own provided companionship and a reminder that she had not been amputated from the Body of Christ. One of the most moving experiences was when the seminary faculty, staff, students, and their family members crowded

into her ward room, spilling out into the hallway to sing Christmas carols. When they all had left with a hug, tears filled the eyes and Linda wondered how she would ever be able to thank all the people for what they have done. The members of the beautiful body of Christ have served Linda in their regular vocations as well. A former student of Brock University who attended Rev. Lantz’s Bible studies at Lutheran Student Fellowship, Niagara, is one of Linda’s physiotherapists. A member from Grace Lutheran Church, St. Catharines worked on the parsonage renovations as a carpenter for Stay P u t Re n o v a t i o n s , owned and operated by a member of Christ L u t h e ra n C h u rc h , St. Catharines, who is passionate about providing accessibility renovations to help people stay in their homes. These members of the Body of Christ are not just earning a paycheck to provide for their families, but exercising their Christian vocations also as the eyes and hands of the Body of Christ, serving to help other members realize that they too are still part of the Body. Thousands of dollars toward the parsonage renovations have poured in from all over Lutheran Church-Canada, from

people known and unknown, people whom God has arranged as members of the one Body. Resurrection Lutheran Church has been able to complete all the renovations necessary to get Linda home. They have repaid the CEF loan in full and designated the remainder of the donations for further adaptations that would make Linda’s life at home more comfortable. This sudden crisis for one member, revealed the whole body invigorated with the love of Christ, working together so that Linda could return home, begin returning to work at the seminary, and continue her recovery with confidence in the Lord’s care so that she will one day soon (perhaps for Easter) join her church family again at the communion rail in the very real fellowship that we have with one another through the Body and Blood of Jesus. The members of Resurrection Lutheran Church have also been overwhelmed by the loving support of the church at large, which has enabled them to care for their pastor’s family, and continue their own ministry of the Gospel in their community, reaching out to the students at Brock University, and participating in the formation of pastors and church workers through their close support of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary. Every time a donation is made to someone in need, every time food is brought over to the house, every time you visit someone who feels disjointed, the anatomy of the Body of Christ displays its beauty, and each member sees the reality that makes them indispensable. St. Paul is not the only one who recognizes a beautiful body when he sees it.

Every time a donation is made to someone in need, every time food is brought over to the house, every time you visit someone who feels disjointed, the anatomy of the Body of Christ displays its beauty, and each member sees the reality that makes them indispensable.

With much love for the whole Body of Christ and each member individually, Kurt and Linda Lantz THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019


International News

Classes begin for Lutheran Leadership Development Program

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver teaches on World Lutheranism and the Ecumenical Movement.

GERMANY - In mid-February, students from across the world converged on Wittenberg, Germany for the inaugural classes of the Lutheran Leadership Development Program (LLDP). Studies ran from February 18-March 1, 2019. “It’s a joy to welcome our first cohort of students, our dear colleagues and brothers in the ministry” said Rev. Dr. Naomichi Masaki, Director of the LLDP and a professor with Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana (CTSFW). “We pray for God’s richest blessing on each of them as they begin their studies. May the Lord make fruitful use of what they learn over the next two years as well as the time they spend with each other and teaching faculty, to encourage solid confessional Lutheran witness in their respective churches.” In total, eight students were present in Germany, with four other LLLDP students unable to attend the first set of classes due to visa difficulties. The initial class of twelve includes pastors, bishops, and other church leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana, the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa, the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, and the Malagasy Lutheran Church. Dr. Masaki taught a course on the “Theology of the Lutheran


Confessions,” while Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, General Secretary of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) taught “World Lutheranism and the Ecumenical Movement.” “Wittenberg is a natural place to hold the first round of classes in the Lutheran Leadership Development Program, given the city’s history as the birthplace of the Reformation” explained Dr. Collver. “Here in Wittenberg, students will have the opportunity to study Lutheran history up close.” During their studies, students visited nearby Reformation sites, including Martin L u t h e r H o u s e, M e l a n c h t h o n House, St. Mary’s Church, and the Castle Church. Excursions to other Reformation sites, such as the Wartburg, Eisleben, Erfurt, and Torgau were also planned. Classes in Wittenberg were held at the International Lutheran Center at the Old Latin School. The building was first constructed in 1564 as a school for boys, and is situated just across

from the City Church—St. Mary’s— where Luther preached regularly. After an extended period sitting derelict, the building was purchased in 2006 and underwent extensive renovations over several years under the care of the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg—a joint project of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (SELK), and Concordia Publishing House (CPH). Today the International Lutheran Center provides a welcoming space for visitors and locals in Wittenberg to learn, grow, study, meet, retreat, and hear the Gospel. T h e L u t h e ra n L e a d e r s h i p Development Program is a twoyear certificate program which aims to provide Lutheran church bodies around the world an opportunity to develop leaders who are competent in both solid confessional Lutheran t h e o l o g y a s we l l a s p ra c t i c a l skills in leadership and resource management. The program is a project of the International Lutheran Council, working in cooperation with the LCMS, CPH, and CTSFW. Students in the LLDP meet three times a year over a two year period for a total of twelve courses. Additional course work, writings, and examinations take place at a distance. The next round of classes will take place at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana from July 8-19, 2019.

Rev. Dr. Namoichi Masaki and LLDP students enjoy a meal together.


International News

ILC welcomes Tanzanian diocese into membership GERMANY - On February 27, 2019, the International Lutheran Council (ILC) welcomed the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania – South East of Lake Victoria Diocese (ELCTSELVD) as a Recognized Organization observer member. Their acceptance was formally declared in Wittenberg, Germany following a decision of the ILC’s Executive Committee. “We are so joyful that we have been accepted as a member of the ILC in an observer status,” said ELCT-SELVD Bishop Emmanuel Makala. “Through our authorized decision-making Assemblies, we have found that the ILC is a safe place for encouragement and learning.” The Pastors’ Committee of ELCT-SELVD voted unanimously to seek membership in the ILC on January 24, 2019. “We understand that there is a big contradiction between the teachings and practices of African churches and much of world Lutheranism today,” Bishop Makala continued. “We pray for and witness to those who would change the church into a secular entity focused solely on human rights rather than on being the Church.” For that reason, he said, the ELCT-SELVD is grateful for the work of the International Lutheran Council. “The ILC remains faithful to the Scriptures and the Confessions. We remain also in that understanding and will not abuse our consciences.” Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, ILC General Secretary, welcomed Bishop Makala and the ELCT-SELVD warmly. “It is a joy to welcome the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese into the ILC family,” said Dr. Collver. “Bishop Makala is a faithful leader of the church and we look forward to the ELCT-SELVD’s participation in the life and work of the International Lutheran Council.” The decision to seek affiliation with the ILC has been a natural progression for the ELCT-SELVD, with Bishop Makala having been a regular guest at ILC world events over the

past five years. Most recently, Bishop Makala and another member of the ELCTS E LV D a r e participating in the ILC’s Lutheran Leadership Development Program. The ELCTS E LV D ’ s decision Bishop Emmanuel Makala and ILC General Secretary t o a f f i l i a t e ELCT-SELVD Albert Collver. with the ILC received praise from other African Lutherans as welcome into the ILC. “It was such well. “I would like to express my good news for all of us to be accepted sincere congratulations to Rev. Dr. as members of the ILC,” he said. “We Emmanuel Joseph Makala, Bishop of are looking forward to being active the ELCT-SELVD, because you have and faithful members; faithful to the been accepted as a member of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, administering International Lutheran Council,” said sacraments as instituted and mandated General Secretary Teshome Amenu to us by Jesus Christ.” of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church While the South East of Lake Mekane Yesus. “This is a historic and Victoria Diocese is a member of the special moment because this agreement Evangelical Lutheran Church of was made in Wittenberg, Germany, Tanzania, it is also an independently where Martin Luther nailed his 95 constituted legal entity, allowing it Theses and called the church back to to affiliate with the International the authority of the Holy Scriptures Lutheran Council. The diocese has five hundred years ago. Let us remain approximately 23,000 members, 72 faithful to the Holy Scriptures and congregations, and 72 pastors. The Lutheran Confessions!” diocese was established in 2012 and Rev. Dr. Daniel Mono, a District officially inaugurated in 2013 as a Pastor in the ELCT-SELVD, also result of rapid growth in the region. expressed joy at their diocese’s BIBLES CURRICULUM BOOKS & SO MUCH MORE! Serving Canada’s Christian Community THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019


International News

Wittenberg installation a ‘global event’ Paul has a vision in which a man GERMANY - On February 24, from Macedonia comes and begs him 2019, Rev. Dr. Wilhem Weber was to come to them. installed as Managing Director of Now, Dr. Weber said, “we come the International Lutheran Center at here to Wittenberg, and we are the Old Latin School in Wittenberg. astonished to see [church] buildings The event was attended by guests not much filled with life. It is a great from around the world, with Africa concern, but it also shows the great especially well-represented. responsibility we have.” “I am very grateful that on this, my special day, you are here as well,” said Dr. Weber to those gathered for the installation. “Just like Paul we are always tempted to say ‘No, I’m too young, or I’m too this, or I’m to that.’ We need the encouragement of the brothers. That is why we take hands and say, ‘Praise the Lord. We will do this together because He has joined us, not just as acquaintances but as members of the same family— God’s family, His people.’” Dr. Weber has formerly served both as Bishop of the Lutheran Church in South Africa (LCSA and as Rector of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Pretoria. The installation service was Rev. Dr. Wilhelm Weber. conducted by Rev. Dr. Hans-Jörg “The Gospel was blooming in all Voigt (Bishop of the Independent its brightness” long ago in Germany, Evangelical Lutheran Church in he said. “Look what they’ve got now. Germany and Chairman of the Perhaps wealth, yes. But what about International Lutheran Council) that which really makes the heart come and Rev. Dr. Albert Collver (General to rest? Have they got that? We need to Secretary of the ILC and Senior pray that God will give grace.” Managing Director of Wittenberg’s Dr. Weber’s work with the International Lutheran Center). International Lutheran Center will Dr. Weber’s sermon for the serve as a vehicle for Christian outreach installation was entitled “From to return to the heartland of the Macedonia to Wittenberg,” drawing Reformation. It “gives Confessional on Acts 16:6-15. In that passage, St.

Lutherans a chance to bring the pure Gospel anew to Germany, Europe, and to the world,” noted Deputy Bishop Helmut Paul of the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA). “It is a great opportunity and yet also a great responsibility.” The FELSISA deputy bishop was one of a number of African guests present for Dr. Weber’s installation, with Lutheran leaders from Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa, and Tanzania all in Wittenberg for classes with the Lutheran Leadership Development Program. Dr. Weber welcomed these guests, explaining that the work of the International Lutheran Center, like the work of the Church more generally, is something done in partnership with others. “[God] does not only work with individuals like Paul,” he said. “He also works with the communion of saints, the congregation of believers.” “That’s what you are,” he continued. “God wants us to work together in this…. We are not to just stay alone, but rather to seek the communion of the faithful— and, together, to do what God has entrusted to us: namely, be faithful witnesses to Him.” The International Lutheran Center is a joint project of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Concordia Publishing House.


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International News

ILC commends Dr. Collver for faithful service, names Interim General Secretary WO R L D - The International Lutheran Council (ILC) has named Darin Storkson as Interim General Secretary, taking over for Rev. Dr. Albert Collver who announced his resignation as General Secretary in early March 2019. In a farewell letter to members of the ILC Executive Committee, Dr. Collver cited a desire to pursue other opportunities. “I appreciate your service on the Executive C o m m i t t e e, ” h e w ro t e t o h i s colleagues, “and believe that the ILC is important for worldwide Lutheranism. I wish you all well.” Dr. Collver first joined the ILC as its Executive Secretary in October 2012. T h e E xe c u t i ve C o m m i t t e e received his resignation with great regret. “Dr. Collver’s service to the International Lutheran Council and world Lutheranism has been extraordinary, with far reaching results and accomplishments,” noted Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt, Chairman of the ILC. “We thank him for his invaluable work, and we pray every blessing upon him as the Lord places him in his next field of service to the church.”

Rev. Dr. Albert Collver speaks at the ILC’s 2018 World Conference in Antwerp, Belgium.

Dr. Collver’s tenure as General Secretary saw the International Lutheran Council dramatically increase its presence on the world stage. During his service, the ILC entered into an international informal dialogue with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; officially incorporated, and adopted new

Darin Storkson at the ILC’s 2018 World Conference in Antwerp, Belgium.

bylaws; welcomed 20 new church bodies into membership over two successive world conferences; and launched the Lutheran Leadership Development Program, among other accomplishments. On March 19, the ILC Executive Committee appointed Darin Storkson to serve as Interim General Secretary. Prior to this, Storkson served as ILC Deputy General Secretary. He began working with the ILC in 2017. “Darin Storkson brings great knowledge of the work of the International Lutheran Council, having served with Dr. Collver for some time,” noted ILC Chairman Voigt. “He will ensure the important work begun in recent years not only continues but thrives. May God bless him in this new role, and through him the witness of confessional Lutherans worldwide.” Storkson has a strong background in international affairs, formerly serving as a diplomat with the International Committee of the Red Cross, a foreign direct investment consultant, and a director in various international roles for The Lutheran C h u rc h — M i s s o u r i S y n o d f o r fourteen years.



National News

Board of Directors meet and greet members in Alberta LEDUC, Alta. - Approximately 100 people attended an Open House on Thursday, April 4 at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Leduc, Alberta. The event was held as part of the Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) Board of Directors meeting and invited members of LCC to share their perceptions of the present relationship between the congregation and the synodical leadership. Board members also sought input regarding "congregational needs" moving forward, to be considered in their strategic planning. The event started with an opening devotion by President Timothy Teuscher; followed by an introduction of board members and synodical staff. After the introductions, attendees were able to speak with members of the LCC Board of Directors and staff on an individual (one-on-one) basis. The open house format for encouraging dialogue, was changed from what was advertised as a Town Hall setting. The Board of Directors wishes to apologize for failing to communicate clearly the format they would use for

the meeting, which left a number of people confused, angry, and hurt. The meeting format was changed to be less formal. Individuals who participated expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to speak directly with Board members and to pose questions on a variety of issues. The event lasted for more than two and a half hours and board members, staff, and other representatives fielded questions on various subjects. Some of

Email Server Problems Resolved


n early March, Lutheran Church– Canada’s email servers experienced intermittent email problems. As a result, some emails were not received during this time and others received prior to the problem may have been lost. Problems with


the server are now resolved. However, if you sent an email to The Canadian Lutheran or to any other recipient with a lutheranchurch. ca email address and have not received a response, it’s possible your email was lost. Please write again.


the responses discussed at the event included: Missions and Outreach; Regions and Circuits; Resources; Communication and Transparency; Care and Concern for Pastors/Church Workers; Community; Congregations with Vacancies; Areas of Concern; and Additional Ideas.

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West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia Laura Goerz, editor

Fall youth retreat a success CALGARY - The theme of the ninth annual Calgary fall youth retreat was “The Best Defense.” Thanks to a very active committee (Heather Graham-Navis, Trevor and Michelle Heumann, Rev. Eric and Kayla Moffett, Monica Schultz, and Deaconess Miriam Winstanley), the event was well organized. Thanks was also given for Christine Heumann and those who helped her in Best Defense Youth at the Calgary fall youth retreat the kitchen, as well as all the youth chaplain was Vicar Mark Rekken, and leaders who attended (about 40 and he led the group in Evening and people in total). Morning Prayer, accompanied by the This year, for the first time, one music team, which was made up of of their own was the speaker, and committee members. Thanks also Rev. Eric Moffett did an excellent to Amy Scheetz for volunteering as job with the main sessions. The an iBod, to seminarian Shiekh Lief

Mauricio for leading a Bible study group, and to Bruce Winstanley for teaching the youth some self defense. The theme verse was from 1 Peter 3:15: “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Rev. Moffett’s sessions and the accompanying Bible studies (written by Miriam) equipped the youth to be able to give a defense to those who would question their faith. Watch for an announcement about plans for the next retreat in November 2019. Michelle Heumann

LWML–Canada’s Parkland zone fall rally encourages those attending DRUMHELLER, Alta. - O n September 22, 2018, thirty ladies and two guest pastors braved the elements (winter came early) for LWMLC Parkland Zone’s Fall Rally in Drumheller. The theme was Encourage—“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). At a short morning business meeting Amanda Wolf-Armstrong was elected the new president and Karen Jans the new vice president. Attendees heard from their zone delegate (Karen Jans) about her experience at the LWMLC National Convention in Winnipeg this past July. They also heard from the ABC District Young Women’s Representative, Amanda Wolf-Armstrong, about her time at the convention. A wonderful lunch was served, which included pulled pork sandwiches, several different types of salads, and many desserts. Rev. Scott Gamble from Grace Lutheran Church, Drumheller led a Bible study entitled “Encourage One Another.” The focus was on the three ways to encourage: Call to/Exhort,

Build Up, and Comfort. program. The major There was much group projects that were discussion on various done were building a questions: Share a pig pen and painting time when someone’s the inside of a church. encouragement The guest speakers made a big difference talked about the little to you. What is things we take for encouragement? Why Guest speakers Amanda-Wolf granted; for example, is encouragement so Armstrong and Anita Wolf. we may grumble about important in the Bible? doing laundry, but we should be The rally guest speakers were grateful we have clothes to wash. Amanda Wolf-Armstrong and Anita Angels of East Africa are planning Wolf, who spoke about Angels of East and have started to build Angels Africa (www.machinegunpreacher. Truck Stop and Training Center. org). Angels of East Africa is a nonThis project is designed to educate, profit aid organization that was teach a skill and a trade, and sustain established to provide a better future itself. A love offering of $293 was for orphaned children of war in collected for Angels of East Africa. Southern Sudan. Amanda and Anita A beautiful harvest wall hanging spoke about a mission trip they took was made and donated by Fay to Uganda and South Sudan this past Schatschneider to raise money for May, where they took many supplies LWMLC mites. When one donated with them to donate, including items to mites at the fall rally, they got to for the welding shop, farm tools, put their name into the draw to win clothes, school supplies, and knitted the wall hanging. balls that could be filled up with After long and many goodbyes, the water. On the mission trip they spent ladies hit the snowy roads to head home, time with children playing, reading, and look forward to the Parkland’s teaching them the “Jesus Loves You” Zone Spring Retreat in April. song and helping with the feeding Melissa Henke-Lambert THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019


West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia Laura Goerz, editor

Multiple generations meet in Penticton PENTICTON, B.C. - Four times each school year, the students of Concordia Lutheran School meet with members and friends of Concordia Lutheran Church for a time they call “Prayer Friends.” They pray for each other as well as do other activities such as singing or a craft. Both students and adults deeply appreciate these meetings,

and it’s wonderful to see these cross-generational connections being made through the ministry of Concordia Church and School. This year the group has expanded a bit by having members o f n e i g h b o u r i n g L u t h e ra n Church–Canada congregations join them, which has added to the richness of the time together. Ashley Hunter

Multi-generational prayer friends.

From the regional pastor I have a confession to make have a confession to make. I have a weight problem. The weight problem I am thinking about started about this time last year. I was concerned about what I should take and the maximum amount of weight I could carry on an 800-kilometer walk. Ten percent of body weight is the recommendation. Now, I am not a small person: I can carry a fair amount of weight. I discovered on my first test run, however, that I couldn’t carry that amount of weight. I pared the weight down to what I thought I could handle; that is, until I met my first 7-kilometer mountain climb. At the end of the first day even my feet felt too heavy to lift let alone a sack full of supplies! I had a weight problem. I have an even greater weight problem. The weight of sin and the rest of the gang that comes along with it—guilt and shame—burden me down. I confess with St. Paul, “I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-25). There is a roughly-hewn pole with a rugged iron cross raised on it, located at the highest point on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The place is known as La Crux. It is one of the most visited places on the Camino attracting people from all over the world. It is the place where, for more than a thousand years, people have come to place their burden symbolically by placing a rock at the base of the cross. Today the accumulation of rock has formed a mountain on top of the mountain top. It was for me a stark reminder of Jesus’ atoning work for all those who are weighed down by sin. The Scriptures direct us to look to Jesus’




cross, to His atoning work for us. St. John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8–10). I have a confession to make. I have a weight problem. The solution for my weight problem is Jesus’ cross. His atoning work removes my sin and the weight of guilt and shame. Jesus invites all those with a weight problem to come to Him saying, in the eighth chapter of Matthew, “Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). Along the Camino road I met up with a woman in her eighties. She virtually flew by me. I noticed how small her sack was. At the rest stop I asked her how much weight she was carrying in her sack. She said, “Here, pick it up.” It was as if the sack were packed with popcorn. This was obviously not her first Camino. How I wanted to learn from her. I asked her how she trained for walking the Camino. She responded, “Dear boy, I don’t train, the Camino is my life, I walk it all the time.” I have a confession to make. I have a weight problem. But thanks be to God He has taken my sin and its weight from me. I have Holy Absolution. My sack has been emptied and I am set free to walk life’s journey without the burden of sin and guilt and shame. The forty days of the season of Lent is sometimes said to be the Christian’s training program with its call to repentance and faith that receives the atoning work of Christ. It would be truly sad if that were true. What would our life be like if instead every day was lived out on the Camino walk of confession and absolution? Rev. Robert Mohns

West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia Laura Goerz, editor

Western Region Mission and Ministry Council inaugural meeting CALGARY - On Friday and Saturday, January 18-19, the inaugural meeting of the Western Regional Mission and Ministry Council (RMMC) took place at Foothills Lutheran Church. The council members enjoyed the hospitality of Rev. David Bode, Deaconess Miriam Winstanley, and a host of hardworking congregational members who provided transportation, billeting, and meals. The Council is a newly-created organization of Lutheran Church– Canada (LCC) which consists of the regionally-elected circuit counsellors and circuit lay leaders. The primary work of this council, as described in the LCC Handbook, is to assist the regional pastor in delivering synodical services to the congregations of the region. The inaugural meeting began with Divine Worship led by Rev. David Bode, preacher Regional Pastor Robert Mohns, and organist Deacon Miriam Winstanley. Twentyone of the possible twenty-four council members representing the voices of every geographic area of the Western Region of Lutheran Church–Canada were able to take part in this inaugural meeting. Council members reviewed their position description. They identified areas of work and organized themselves into seven smaller work groups: Mission and Ministry Assistance (including RMMC Budgeting); Congregational Services; Social Ministry; Church Worker Development; Communication and Convocations; Schools; Youth and Young Adults. The new structure of LCC is dependent upon congregations and circuits working together in a close collaborative relationship. The initial focus for the work groups is to identify both the needs and resources that are available in the western regional congregations and circuits. Congregations and Circuits are encouraged to communicate to the RMMC the resources and people

RMMC Members (not in order): Rev. Ron Abresch, Sonja Bland, Rev. David Bode, Rev. Rod Buck, Rev. Fraser Coltman, Stephen Glanfield, Deanna Friesen, Rev. Laverne Hautz, Rev. Mark Hennig, Michelle Heumann, Rev. Russ Howard, Rev. Andy Kahle (not pictured), Betty Marzke, David Mitchell, Rev. Rob Mohns (acting chair), Tiffany Player, Rev. Michael Schutz (secretary), Rick Slater, Rev. Alan Visser, Charles Von Hahn, Dieter Witzke, Rev. Ken Eifert (not pictured).

currently involved in their mission and ministry projects and their needs going forward. Congregational leaders are asked to share that information within their circuits and with their circuit lay leader and circuit counsellor. The work groups will also identify additional skill sets and people needed

to come alongside the council to help accomplish their work. O n S a t u r d a y, t h e R M M C welcomed Rev. Dr. James Gimbel, President of Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton who led two introductory leadership training sessions for the council members.

Servant of Christ Award recipient L L OY D M I N S T E R , A l t a . On Sunday, December 16, 2018 at First Lutheran Church, Vera May William was presented with The Servant of Christ Award on behalf of the Alberta-British Columbia District by Rev. John Haycock. Vera May is the daughter of the late Reverend Herbert and Mrs. Brase, the founding pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lloydminster. She is married to Ted William and they have three children, seven grandchildren, and nine greatgrandchildren. Vera May has always been a loving and devoted servant of Christ in her work at First Lutheran. At 86 years of age, she is still involved with Lutheran Women’s Missionary League-Canada, the Sarah Circle, Va c a t i o n B i b l e S c h o o l , B i b l e study, and an ardent supporter of Concordia Seminary in Edmonton. She is welcoming to all who come

Vera May William

through the doors at First Lutheran, a n e n c o u ra g e r t o m a ny, a n d demonstrates the love of Christ in all she does. Darlene Hafso



West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia Laura Goerz, editor

Preacher wife’s book offers vignettes, commentary into parsonage life CALGARY - There’ll be two opinions about A Peek into the Parsonage. Those who have been associated with pastors (wife, children, siblings) will suggest, “Yup, I could have told you that.” Those outside of parish goings-on will mutter, “Wow, I had no idea!” Elaine Wolters has compiled vignettes about her life in the parsonage, going back more than 50 years when her husband, Mel, was ordained. The 345-page soft-cover is an enlightening sample of her family adventures in their parishes in Churchbridge, Saskatchewan; Neepawa and Minnedosa, Manitoba; Canmore, Alberta.; and Fairview and Hines Creek, Alberta. Readers will hear about the felons who wanted gasoline for their car, but instead Pastor Mel found out they were “wanted.” He called the police, who nabbed them. We’ll sympathize with the bride and groom whose best man fainted and then was hauled off to the hospital. And we’ll join them

on a trip up the Alaska Highway and then the Dempster Highway to the northern reaches of the continent. On this one, I’ll give away the plot—the villain was sharp-edged gravel, which caused endless flat tires. Author Wolters ends each escapade with a Bible verse to sum up her feelings. Once, a wobbly church member, complete with whisky on his breath, stopped by after too many preChristmas celebrations. She calmly fed him a few cookies, pulled on a coat, and then walked him the few blocks to his house. She ends the tale with Luke 21:34: “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness….” The Wolters both grew up in southern Idaho, near the Snake River. They have returned there in retirement near the town of Jerome. Mel attended Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield,

New pastor for Bethlehem, Edmonton

(back, l-r) Revs. Daniel Deyell, Jeff Dul, Warren Steckelberg, Curtis Boehm, Mark Dressler, Rod Buck, Mike Keith, Garry Dombrosky; (middle) Revs. Jan Pastucha, Harry Ruf, James Fritsche, Cliff Haberstock, Glenn Schaeffer, Vern Raaflaub; (front) Revs. Scott Lyons and Mark Hennig

EDMONTON - On January 20, B e t h l e h e m L u t h e ra n C h u rc h celebrated the installation of their new pastor, Rev. Scott Lyons. The service was led by Rev. Mark Hennig, with Rev. Rod Buck preaching. Sixteen pastors participated in vestments, with several others


present in the congregation. The service was followed by a light lunch. Everyone at Bethlehem is excited to welcome Pastor Lyons, his wife Linnea, Noah, Elissa and Ethan into their congregation.


Illinois, beginning in September 1962. After years of instruction, plus a year-long vicarage in Sidney, Montana, he was ordained in July 1967 and received his first pastoral call to Churchbridge, Saskatchewan. With three small children, he and Elaine headed north and he remained in Canada for all of his ministry years. A few of Elaine’s tales deal with their adjustments as new Canadians, but she doesn’t dwell on the differences. The Wolters fit in well north of the 49th parallel. In their Idaho retirement, beginning May 1997, the Wolters became involved with Lutheran relief organizations. They took trips into disaster-affected areas of the United States. The book details their experiences there also. In about 1999, I met up with Pastor Mel in Calgary where he told a story that didn’t make it into Elaine’s book. In retirement he did extra preaching in “vacant” Lutheran churches. One was in Hailey, Idaho, near Sun Valley, just north of where he lives. I believe it was a Christmas Eve service in a small Lutheran Church there. He looked up from his pulpit and thought he should recognize the family at the back. After church, he met Hollywood’s Bruce Willis and Demi Moore and their children. It was preacher Mel’s brush with fame. Dorothy Mauthe (Box 1164, Neepawa, MB R0J 1H0) is selling the book. The $35 cost includes shipping/handling. Mark Kihn Editor’s Note: In the 1970s, Mark Kihn, along with his five siblings and parents, were members at Our Saviour Lutheran in Minnedosa, Manitoba. Pastor Mel led the church as a mission congregation. As a teenager, Mark got a first-hand “Peek into the Parsonage.” Send news, photos, articles and announcements to:

Central Regional News

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, NW Ontario Elaine Stanfel, editor

Higher Things retreat in Regina REGINA - Mount Olive Lutheran Church hosted a Higher Things youth retreat February 21-22 under the theme “The Christian Soldier: Warfare in the Two Kingdoms.” Rev. Dr. Harold Ristau was the guest speaker for the event. Dr. Ristau is Assistant Professor of Theology at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (St. Catharines, Ontario) and a former Chaplain and Major in the Canadian Armed Forces. He deployed to the Middle East on several occasions, and has spoken widely on the ethics of war and soldiering. Drawing on Romans 13 and the Church’s confessions, Dr. Ristau discussed the vocation of soldiers, the nature of God-given authority, and the responsibility of Christians to protect and serve their neighbours. He also discussed the ways in which Christians equip themselves with the armour of God for spiritual warfare in daily life.

Higher Things is a recognized service organization of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Group photo from the retreat

A special confirmation PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - Willow Vo g e l g e s a n g w a s confirmed January 13 during the Divine Service at Redeemer Lutheran Church. This was an extra-special confirmation for Ronnie Mensch, who had been Willow’s Sunday school teacher from her first day of kindergarten. Willow was the only student beginning December 2008 for several years and is the first student that Ronnie has taught right through, including preconfirmation classes.

Faith, Atikokan welcomes new pastor

(l-r) Revs. Keith Blom, James Wood, Steve Bar tlett, Dan Barr, Brad Julien, Brian Falkenholt, Dan Repo. Confirmand Willow Vogelgesang receives a hug from Ronnie Mensch, with Rev. Richard Mensch looking on.

ATIKOKAN, Ont. - Rev. Daniel Barr was installed as pastor at Faith Lutheran Church on Saturday, March 9. A light luncheon downstairs in the church hall followed the service. THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019


Central Regional News

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, NW Ontario Elaine Stanfel, editor

From the regional pastor


hat’s your favourite day in the church year? Some of my favourites are the quiet joy of the faithful few celebrating Christ’s taking on our flesh on Christ-Mass Day and His flesh being pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities on Good Friday. Many love the candlelight and hymns of Christmas Eve or the lilies and alleluias of Easter Sunday. But for me a new favourite last year was the Easter Vigil. I have to admit, I am a somber, melancholy sort of soul. I love the minor keys of Lenten hymns, the constant hammer strokes of “repent” from works of death in the three-year lectionary this year, or Christ’s victory over sin, death, and Satan (in the one-year lectionary). So, for me Lent is a time I greatly cherish. I get too “hangry” for my family to live with me if I should fast during the 40 days (Quadragesima) of Lent. But inwardly I am renewed by the extra helping of God’s Word at Lenten mid-week services, and this year I am enjoying some Lenten disciplines like chanting the Litany and Athanasian Creed daily, and listening through the New Testament on the Bible Gateway app. Lent is a blessed time of repentance and renewal in our Saviour whose cross has accomplished all that is needed for life and salvation. I’m also a fidgety sort with attention challenges. So for me the extra liturgical practices are a joy and help me focus, such as the ashen cross on your forehead, more opportunities to receive Christ’s body and blood unto salvation, and liturgical ceremonies like palm branches and pounding three spikes into a life-size cross during the singing of “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.” All of these instruct me body and soul in the mystery of Christ’s death on my behalf—and yours! Godly traditions and ceremonies teach and remind us of profound truths, and they provide important transitions too. After the solemnity of Holy Thursday services (where the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood is instituted on the night in which He was betrayed, and our altars are stripped in remembrance of the beginning of our Lord’s suffering that night); after the silent sober-mindedness of Good Friday’s nails; the joy of Easter is kind of a shock to the system. But last year the pastors of the Wascana circuit (where I formerly served and still reside) discovered the Church’s



transition point from our mourning into dancing: the Easter Vigil. Though it is an ancient practice and the conclusion of the “Three Days” (Triduum)—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday—we have not practised it much in North American Lutheran circles. You may have noticed that on Holy Thursday everyone departs in silence without a Benediction. Maybe you’ve even connected the fact that Good Friday is supposed to begin, just as we left the night before, in silence often without an Invocation of God’s holy name and also concludes without a Benediction. The reason for this is that the Easter Vigil, which begins in the evening as the sun sets on Holy Saturday, is the conclusion of this three-day service. The service has many parts, but one of the highlights was the lighting of vigil candles by all from the Paschal Candle (lit from a bonfire outside the church building). Led by the Paschal Candle we all entered the darkened sanctuary at dusk. The first hour of the service is a series of Scripture readings of the story of salvation from Creation and the Fall to the expectation of salvation of the exiled Israelites with the Three Men in the Fiery Furnace. Since the service starts at dusk, the sanctuary gets darker and darker as the readings progress. I was convinced that I would get terribly distracted but in the darkness with your small light your mind is not distracted from the Word of God on this most holy night of our Lord’s rest in the tomb. It continues with a section on baptism (at which catechumens would be baptized or confirmed in ancient times—we will have one confirmation this year). And, finally, the naked altar is dressed again and the lights are flipped on to the proclamation that Christ is risen and we receive Christ’s victory in His body and blood. What a somber and joyous occasion it was. It enriched my observance of Holy Week and is a tradition I look forward to this year! A blessed Holy Week and Easter be yours in Christ our Lord, Pastor David Haberstock P.S. Here is a link explaining last year’s Vigil: https://

Central Regional News

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, NW Ontario Elaine Stanfel, editor

Church building closes but congregation will continue

Pancake supper raises funds for health centre

BROADVIEW, Sask. - A service for disposition of a church building took place at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, January 27. The congregation will continue as part of the larger parish with Peace (Grenfell) and Zion (Wolseley) but will meet in local nursing homes where many of the members abide, and with the other congregations. Rev. Jason Schultz presenting the $525 raised at the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper to Allison Duncan of the Galloway Health Centre Handivan Project.

OXBOW, Sask. - A wonderful turnout for the pancake supper at St. Peter Lutheran Church on Shrove

Tuesday, March 5 raised $525 for the Galloway Health Centre Handy Van Project.

Layettes for CLWR NIPAWIN, Sask. - The Lutheran Church Women at Zion Lutheran Church made layettes to send to Canadian Lutheran World Relief at their October 2018 meeting.  Audrey Adelman

Don and Lou Richter assist Rev. Gerald Andersen with the disposition.

T h e c u r re n t b u i l d i n g , u s e d by t h e congregation since 1959, was formerly an armoury.

(l-r) Wanda Snorro, Rosella Fengstad, Darlene Stark, Lottie Smith

"I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." (John 11:25-26). THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN March/April 2019


Central Regional News

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, NW Ontario Elaine Stanfel, editor

Installation at Churchbridge CHURCHBRIDGE, Sask. - Rev. Geoff Johnston from Adelaide, Australia, was installed as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church on a very cold afternoon, February 3. He has served the Lutheran Church of Australia in four parishes, two in Queensland and two in South Australia. His wife Kelly and daughter Mia have accompanied him to Canada; their three adult sons will remain in Australia during his tenure here. Rev. Johnston looks forward to sharing the ministry with the people of Churchbridge on the Canadian Prairies, not quite the “Outback” of Australia! Following the service, everyone gathered for a potluck supper in honour of this special day. Ellen Spilchen

(l-r) Revs. Andrew Cottrill, David Haberstock (Regional Pastor), Geoff Johnston, Barry Wood (Circuit Counsellor), Dan Moeller.

Chili cookoff still a hot event

Pastor installed at Regina congregation

Congratulations to the Chili Masters from Trinity Lutheran Church for winning the cookoff and taking home the coveted clown trophy.

THUNDER BAY, Ont. - Aurora Lutheran Bible Camp’s fifth annual Chili Cookoff was a great success! This year’s event was hosted by Calvary Lutheran Church on February 20. For anyone keeping

track, in five years there have been five different winners. The organizers thank everyone for coming out to support Camp Aurora.

REGINA - The installation of Rev. Arron Gust as pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church took place February 24. (back, l-r) Revs. Irwin Pudrycki, Todd Guggenmos, Daryl Solie; (middle) Revs. Bryan Rosnau Jim Chimirri-Russell, Lucas Albrecht; (front) Ted Giese, Arron Gust, David Haberstock.

Send news, photos, articles and announcements to:



East Region News

Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Ilene Fortin, editor

Community Cupboard fills local need KITCHENER, Ont. - Historic St. Paul’s in the downtown core has come to the end of another season for the Community Cupboard outreach program. Each year we open with the approach of winter in November This year April 8 was our last Monday providing free food and winter clothing items weekly to hundreds in need in our community. The English as a Second Language program runs right alongside Community Cupboard in an adjacent large room. The season started with a frontpage story on the Cupboard including a great photo in the Kitchener Record newspaper. The journalist did a nice job in helping to “tell our story” and through this

increased awareness the Community Cupboard’s donor base grew. When organizations and individuals come together to support such a program, organizers find opportunities for working cooperatively while learning and caring about their neighbours. The Community Cupboard is even known in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. One of the guests tells her family back home about being able to get help with weekly food items. The Ebytown Brass concert in November raised $3,500 to go towards the weekly purchase of a variety of food items. Even with the limited support of the local Foodbank which provide fresh and frozen food items and well as dry goods like soups and pastas, the Community Cupboard still spends an average of $4,000 per week on grocery products.

On March 25, the Community Cupboard was scheduled to welcome the local Member of Parliament, Raj Saini, to see firsthand the service God has blessed us Historic St. Paul’s to carry out. By God’s good grace and the generous donations of churches, organizations, and individuals Community Cupboard had another

very blessed Community Cupboard season (the ninth) and is well positioned to go into their tenth season this fall—good news to go along with the best news: Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! For more information, visit www. Jeff Scott

Rev. James Keller and MP Raj Saini chatting before doors open for Community Cupboard.

Now you can also support the Community Cupboard with e-waste. Year-round intake of old smart-phones, tablets, desktops, iMacs, iPods, or iPads (broken or working) are sold as e-waste. All proceeds go to support the 500+ food hampers which are given out each week from November to April. For more information on how to contribute e-waste, please contact: Reg Sargent at 226-647-8337; 519590-1863 (cell) or visit A box is also available in the narthex at Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.



East Region News

Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Ilene Fortin, editor

New Gift Coordinator for LCC East Region On February 4-8, KITCHENER, Ont. David concluded an - David Faerber joined i n t e n s i ve one-week Lutheran Foundation c o u r s e on planned Canada on January 15 to g i v i n g , and he is work as Gift Coordinator working closely with for the East Region. the Foundation’s other David is a Lutheran gift coordinators as he David Faerber Church–Canada deacon develops his knowledge. and previously served Please encourage and welcome David as a called Lutheran teacher and as he begins this new chapter in his principal at Grace Lutheran School life, and may God bless David on in Pembroke, Ontario. David brings this journey. extensive knowledge of Lutheran If your congregation is interested Church–Canada, and knows many in hosting a free seminar about of the East Region’s pastors and Christian Estate Planning, check members.

the seminar schedule on the website or contact David at dfaerber@ or call 1-800465-8179, ext 6. sourced in part from Lutheran Foundation’s quarterly report Lutheran Foundation announced its new Foundation website in January. Navigation has been greatly simplified, and users will find extensive information dedicated towards individual donors, congregations, and LCCaffiliates. Have a look at www.

From the regional pastor A look in the Lenten mirror s I write this, we are in the midst of another Lenten season. Growing up, Lent was always my favourite time of the Church Year. I found it to be the most genuine and spiritual. Mid-week services in Lent did not suffer from the same distractions as did Advent. Lent is a time to be brutally honest about ourselves. Lent can be like that first look in the mirror in the morning. We see ourselves for what we really are, not what we might pretend to be. And no amount of time spent to pretty ourselves up can change it. When we see ourselves before the holy and almighty Lord and compare what He demands with what we deliver it can be a frightening sight. And we are helpless to do anything about it. Lent reminds us of that fact. But it also reminds us of the One Who was able and did do something about our sinful condition. And so God invites us through His prophet Joel (2:13) to “Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” So we poor miserable sinners and wandering sheep are brought back by the grace of God to His fold. He turns us around to head back to Him. It is Christ alone Who can change the face in the mirror—change us from a lost sinner to a forgiven child of God—change us from one condemned to eternity in hell for our sin to one redeemed to life eternal in heaven.




That is His promise to all and His gift for all who believe in Him. And so He has given us His blessing of forgiveness for the repentant. He has washed us to drown the Old Adam that the new man in Christ might arise. He puts His Holy Word into our ears to strengthen us in faith. He puts His very Body and Blood, crucified and risen for us and our salvation, into our body. And in all this, He works a change. God no longer sees us as a poor miserable, condemned sinner. Rather, He sees and embraces us as a lost son who is back home. He sees us through the cross of Christ and His Son. He sees us through Christ and declares that we are His holy children, welcomed into His eternal Kingdom. And so we eagerly long for the joys of Easter and the resurrection. And we pray: Just as I am, without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. Just as I am; Thy love unknown Has broken ev’ry barrier down; Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. Amen. Rev. Marvin Bublitz

East Region News

Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Ilene Fortin, editor

CLTS hosts annual golf tourney FENWICK, Ont. - Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary’s annual golf tournament will take place on Monday, June 3 at Sawmill Golf Course, beginning at 11:30 a.m. (shotgun start at 1:00 p.m.). The $110-per-person registration fee includes barbeque lunch (sausage, hamburger or hot dog, and a nonalcoholic beverage), green fees, golf cart, steak dinner, dessert, and prizes. Register online at https:// Please register your foursome together. If you are registering separately or you wish to be assigned to a group, complete registration for yourself, indicating your golfing group preference, or contact Linda Lantz (details below). If you are unable to complete the online registration, please contact Linda for manual registration.

We are also collecting prizes. If you would like to make a donation to the prize table, please send it to the former East District Office (275 Lawrence Ave., Kitchener) or to the seminary (470 Glenridge Ave., St. Catharines). Prizes need to be in by

May 31. If you would like your prize donation picked up, please contact Linda Lantz at (905) 688-2362, ext. 22 ( Linda is also looking for committee members to help with the tournament.

2018 tournament winners (l-r): Jeff Scott, Ray Nikyuluw, Don Larman, Steve Ritter.

Five things you can do to appreciate science and love the Bible KITCHENER, Ont. - The annual Holy Cross Lutheran Church Men’s Retreat gathered at Guelph Bible Conference Center on March 1-2 to take time for fellowship and to hear Rev. Charles St-Onge speak about Science and the Bible. He is the author of Five Things You Can Do to Appreciate Science and Love the Bible from Concordia Publishing House. Re v. S t - O n g e s h owe d h ow Christianity is a “scientific” religion, and how “it has laid the groundwork for modern technology while other religions and philosophies

stunted it.” He discussed “how to respond to criticisms of the faith by those impacted by scientism and to understand how an atheistic,

scientific worldview will not make a more moral world but in fact one that is less just and more chaotic.” You can hear an audio interview of with Rev. St-Onge on Issues, Etc. at http:// i s s u e s e t c. o rg / g u e s t / charles-st-onge/. Re v. S t - O n g e i s pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church, Montreal (LCMS, SELC District). He has a B.Sc. from the University of Waterloo; M.Sc. (Eng.) from Queen’s University, Kingston; M.Div. from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne; and a Masters in Theology in Science and Religion from the South African Theological Seminary.



East Region News

Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Ilene Fortin, editor

Last container to Haiti has shipped ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - After 14 years the Haiti Lutheran Mission Society (HLMS) has stopped shipping containers of goods to Haiti. The reasons are increasing—ridiculously high—import duties by the Haitian government, fewer available funds, and aging volunteers. By far the main reason is the duties charged. Earlier container costs were reasonable, but the last two containers were unreasonable in costs. The last container costs were $1,300 for paperwork plus another $8,000 in duties (all in U.S. dollars). Adding in our shipping costs put the total at

$29,455. The value of the goods still exceeded the costs, but money and time are now not well spent. Over the years these goods helped the people in Haiti in many diverse ways. The main item shipped was clothing. In total close to one million pieces of clothing were shipped. So have been shoes, kitchen items (including more than 1,000 lbs. of cutlery over several containers), toiletries for hygiene, school supplies, bedding, sewing machines and material, tools, chairs, sleeping mats, wood for rebuilding, and many other useful items. The

largest items shipped were diesel truck engines and a small bulldozer used to clear earthquake ravaged yards. The goods were especially appreciated after a weather disaster. A side benefit of handing out goods was the people would then often listen to Christian messages. The voodoo priests made many demands, but the Christians just gave things away. This did not go unnoticed. These items certainly helped many people survive better. The society thanks everyone who made a donation of goods or funds which made these shipments possible.

Container History From 1994-2004 the society was basically project-oriented. Rev. Revenel Benoit of the Lutheran Church of Haiti would make a request and the HLMS board would deliberate over it and send funds as per their wishes and ability. Things took a turn in September 2004 when a tropical storm—the likes of which had not been seen in 40 years—hit northern Haiti and sent seven feet of water rushing into the city of Gonaives. Our society felt that we could not sit idly by and not try to help our brothers and sisters in dire need. We gathered goods together and sent our first container (20 foot) in January 2005. We barely had enough to fill it. The following year we repeated those

efforts. While we had sent a few skids of goods down with Canadian armed forces when they were part of a United Nations peacekeeping contingent, these two 20-footers were the start of a humanitarian side to our society. The following year we managed to fill a 40-foot container and all subsequent containers have been 40-foot, with the last seven or eight being high cube—an extra foot higher or 13 percent more. In September 2008 another severe storm hit Gonaives and the water rose to nine feet this time. Although levels were higher than the first, fewer lives were lost. Our response was to send a second container that fall. This was repeated in 2009. We also shipped separately a huge D-8 bulldozer in

the fall of 2008 which cost the society approx $85,000 but yielded the Lutheran Church of Haiti more than $400,000 (USD) in revenue. On January 12, 2010, while society members (and brothers) Wally and Howard Bogusat were in the city, the earthquake struck Portau-Prince and the surrounding area. The society’s response that year was to send three containers. The years 2011-2017 saw two containers per year shipped, one in the spring and one in the fall. Various organizations were used to handle the ingress of our container with the government recognizing our humanitarian efforts. That changed in the fall of 2017 when they began treating our goods as goods to be resold. Duties charged almost doubled the costs for our society and it has been decided to end container shipping. In the end, 25 containers were shipped! Were they to be stretched out end-to-end, they would take up 960 feet (almost a fifth of a mile) all stuffed with good used items. from a report in Haiti Lutheran Mission Society Spring 2019 Newsletter

Marjorie Wilde retires from LCC, East District Corporation KITCHENER - Many readers will know Marjorie from her work on the East District Church Extension Fund and in accounting. She has been a mainstay in the East District office for more than a decade and a half and her skill, efficiency, and knowledge has impressed us all. She will be deeply missed. Marjorie’s last day was March 29.


May God richly bless all the days of your retirement, Marjorie!


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Mission News

Special Transfiguration Fund paints Nicaraguan Churches

NICARAGUA - For over twelve years, Faith Lutheran Church (Kitchener, Ontario) has cultivated a Christ-centred relationship of service and cooperative outreach with congregations of the Lutheran Church Synod of Nicaragua (ILSN). In the past, Faith, joined by other Lutheran teammates from congregations across Canada, has sent work teams for construction projects, VBS and women/family events. Often two teams are sent each year. In 2018, after heeding advice from the Canadian government,

Lutheran Church - Canada declared a suspension on Canadian mission teams visiting Nicaragua following internal strife in Nicaragua. It was a sad decision to accept because when Canadian teams cannot return to Nicaragua, there is less face-to-face fellowship, sharing of resources, and funding for continuing ILSN programs. Fearing that fewer teams would affect ongoing maintenance of churches buildings, Faith’s church council responded by setting up a special offering on Transfiguration Sunday to raise funding for paint so ILSN churches could refresh these buildings. A total of $640 USD was needed to paint one church inside and outside. The timing was perfect as one of Faith’s members planned a vacation in Nicaragua and could deliver the funds within a week of the offering. Through God’s grace,

the Transfiguration Fund totalled almost $1,500. The congregation’s Social Ministry budget added another $500. The Nicaraguans wasted no time to respond once the funds arrived in mid-March. These pictures show congregational members working with mission team staff at the church in Somotillo near the Honduran border. A second church in El Realejo just outside of Chinandega was painted next. A third house church in Villa Nueva received paint to refresh the worship room in the pastor’s home where services are held.

The situation in Nicaragua remains tenuous but God has not forgotten those whom He loves. Faith Lutheran Church in Kitchener continues its servanthood at home and to the brothers and sisters of the ILSN.

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Mission News

LCC International Mission Executive on hand for formation of Honduras Synod HONDURAS - In early February, Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) International Mission Executive Rev. M a r k S m i t h m e t w i t h representatives of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) and Lutheran Church Synod of Nicaragua (ILSN), along with members of the local mission, for the annual Central American FORO (forum) in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. At the FORO meeting on February 1, all the necessary legal documents were signed and the members present witnessed the formation of the Evangelical Confessional Lutheran Church of Honduras (ECLCH).

Members of the Central American FORO

LCC, the LCMS, and the ILSN have worked for several years to support the mission in Honduras. These three

Founding members of the Executive Board of the Evangelical Confessional Lutheran Church of Honduras.

established church bodies, along with members of the mission in Honduras, formed the Central American FORO several years ago to discuss ways in which they could work in harmony to support the mission-field. For the past two years, the FORO has worked toward attaining legal status for the mission with the Honduran government. LCC gives thanks and praise to God for all the people involved in this historical and blessed event, and call upon the Lord to continue to richly bless the ministry of His Church in Honduras.

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Education News

Rev. Kim accepts call to Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary ST. CATHARINES, Ontario In March, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary announced that Rev. Min Kim (St. Albert, Alberta) has accepted a call to serve as Assistant Professor of Theology at the seminary. Rev. Kim will complete his current contract as chaplain in the Canadian Forces and take up the position in the summer of 2020. Rev. Kim (48) is a native of Korea who moved to Canada in 1995. He is a graduate of Seoul Theological University (B.A. Theol. 1995) and Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines (M.Div., 2002). He is pursuing a Th.D. at Trinity College (University of Toronto) where he is studying the theology of Martin Luther. Rev. Kim has served as pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Beamsville, and St Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Smithville, ON (2002-05); pastor of Korean Lutheran Church, Toronto (2005-

08); District Inter-Cultural Missionary for the Greater Toronto Area (2008-09); and as a vacancy pastor for various congregations during his subsequent fulltime graduate studies. Since 2014 he has been a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces, currently serving at CFB Edmonton. Rev. Min Kim. Re v. K i m i s married to Kay, with whom he has two children (Paul, Gloria). In addition to speaking Korean, he is fluent in English and competent in French. Rev. Kim will take over from Professor Esko Murto, who is returning to his native Finland

in June 2019 to serve a parish pastorate. The call to Rev. Kim was extended on February 4, 2019, following a meeting of CLTS’ Board of Regents.

New issue of Lutheran Theological Review CANADA - The latest issue of Lutheran Theological Review (vol. 29) is a themed issue dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. The publication of the volume was delayed until early 2018 in order to include essays from significant conferences in the jubilee year. Lutheran Theological Review is an annual journal published by the two seminary faculties of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC). It provides a forum for LCC professors and pastors to publish their research, and for the seminaries to provide resources to stimulate the minds of our pastorate and laity. Free copies are sent to every pastor in LCC, and paid subscriptions are available. The full text of the current issue and all back issues is available online for free at

This issue includes two pieces by Rev. Dr. Jobst Schöne: “Luther without Fake News” and “The Reformation of Worship: Liturgy as Confession of Faith.” Rev. Fredrik Sidenvall p rov i d e s a n e s s ay entitled “Luther’s Understanding and Exercise of Authority in his Preaching: An Analysis of His Christmas Sermons from the Perspective of the Psychology of Attachment,” along with a response by Fr. Timothy Scott. Rev. Dr. John R. Stephenson writes on “The Reformation of Repentance,” while Rev. Dr. James E. Keller on “Luther, the Ninetyfive Theses, and Ecumenism: That They May Be One in 2017.” Rev. Dr. Thomas M. Winger provides

two pieces: “The Reformation of Salvation: Biblical Reflections on the Reformation” and “The Reformation of Sanctification: Biblical Reflections on the Reformation.” Also included are two sermons by Rev. Dr. Naomichi Masaki on LUke 24:13-27 and Rev. Esko T. Murto (Luke 24:28-35).



Education News

Creative Missions at Grail Quest Books ST. CATHARINES, Ontario Students arrive at our seminaries from all sorts of backgrounds and careers. We are sometimes unaware of the vast array of skill sets that these students bring to church life, whether they pertain to competencies involving administration, business, computers, art, or something else. Sometimes seminarians are quite imaginative in the ways in which they use these skills in the parish or missions. Our seminaries look for ways to support and enrich these abilities for the sake of the larger Church. For instance, one student at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (CLTS) and his wife—authors Joshua and Kasandra Radke—created a publishing company several years ago called Grail Quest, which publishes a variety of Christian fiction and non-fiction. Of course, many titles are not explicitly Christian. This includes a new novella, A Book for Ernest, about a boy in a futuristic Orwellian setting who undergoes a metaphysical crisis. The same is true of The World of the Wuzzlewoods, a story about the adventures of wooden toys carved

from magical trees. These works whet the appetite for spirituality, and carry the hope that the reader will make the subtle connection with biblical themes, spiritual values, and the Gospel. Many agnostics won’t read a Bible tract that you may offer them but are nevertheless curious about what Christians have to say and how we view the world. Many of the titles in Grail Quest don’t “fit” into the categories established by mainstream

publishing companies, which makes such smaller companies increasingly attractive to younger generations who are interested by more alternative arts. Are we surprised that solid Lutheran teaching deeply rooted in Holy Scripture, our Lutheran traditions, and our Lord’s Sacraments translates itself to such creative endeavours? By no means! Those who best appreciate our doctrine often express the richest of missionary zeal in sharing the Good News of God’s unconditional grace and love found in Jesus Christ with the world around them. Just as a healthy diet results in healthy living, a diet of wholesome theological education has practical and meaningful impact on how we communicate that Gospel to the unchurched. Grail Quest is a great example of how such enthusiasm for Christ and his cross translates itself into relevant missions to communities that appreciate imaginative thinking and creative writing. Find out more about Grail Quest Books at Rev. Dr. Harold Ristau is Assistant Professor of Theology at CLTS in St. Catharines, Ontario.

CCSCF to host conference on Technology and Theology

EDMONTON - The Canadian Centre for Scholarship and the Christian Faith (CCSCF) at Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE) invites participants t attend its eighth annual conference. The


theme for 2019 is “Technology and Theology.” The keynote speaker is Dr. Craig Gay from Regent College (Vancouver, B.C.) who will speak on “Downsized: Modern Technology and the Diminishment of the Human”.


Dr. Gay’s lecture is open to the public and free to attend, taking place Friday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m., with reception to follow, in the Tegler of Concordia University of Edmonton. This conference is presented in collaboration with the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Research Cluster at CUE. On Saturday, the conference will also feature a panel discussion dealing with these matters. P l e a s e re g i s t e r a t h t t p s : / / Post-Secondary students are eligible for a free grant to attend at conference/grant/ and there are also grants for pastors at http://

In Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Fire-breathing family fun

by Ted Giese


ow to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third film in the animated How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, wraps up the loose ends for Hiccup, Astrid, and the dragon-loving Vikings of Berk. It also provides a satisfying conclusion to the story of Toothless the dragon, Hiccup’s trusty black-coloured Night Fury, and the plight of the beleaguered hunted dragons. This installment opens with Hiccup, Toothless, Astrid, and assorted friends and dragons rescuing a group of dragons trapped by opportunistic warlords and returning them to the Isle of Berk. But the community is clearly overrun with rescued dragons and Hiccup’s utopian idealism is placing a strain on his people. The remainder of the film is a story of growing up and making responsible decisions while fighting off a deadly dragon hunter, Grimmel the Grisly, who is bent on hunting Toothless—“the last” of the Night Fury dragons. The villain Grimmel is the least important part of the film and only serves as a plot-advancing mechanism. He’s never really a credible threat, and that’s okay because he is the catalyst for important story developments. His baiting of Toothless using a white-coloured female Night Fury, which everyone refers to as a Light Fury, spurs Hiccup’s search for the dragon’s hidden world which would allow the people of Berk to live in peace with their dragons. Introducing the Light Fury provides an opportunity for romance for Toothless which in turn adds an increased amount of pressure for Hiccup and Astrid to finally make good on their talk of marriage. The search for the hidden world of the dragon also forces Hiccup to grow into the role of Chieftain of his Viking community and face his feelings of inadequacy while honouring his father Stoick who

had started the quest to find the hidden world. These plot points are all more interesting and enthralling than the threat posed by Grimmel the Grisly. But hasn’t that always been the case with these films? The heart of the films has never been the villains but the relationships and a continued coming of age narrative. In this film the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless c o n t i n u e s t o d eve l o p m a i n l y because of Toothless’ romance with the Light Fury. Hiccup, who had gone down this road himself with Astrid, provides support, advice, and encouragement to Toothless while at the same time giving the young dragon more freedom to act on his own. In the last film he learned that adults like his father Stoick and mother Valka actually know more than he does, and he must make his final steps into adulthood himself. In 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, Hiccup idealistically believed he could reason with the villain Drago Bludvist before learning that his father’s advice that he couldn’t reason with the villain was true. He learned this the hard way. When diplomacy failed and Hiccup was about to be

killed his father stepped in to die in his place. Audiences who remember the events of the previous films will be rewarded, as these details give more weight to Hiccup’s struggle as he leads his people. Another interesting aspect of this film is that while Hiccup was almost entirely an idealistic dreamer in the first How to Train Your Dragon, the character pendulum has swung in this film. He is not a rebel fighting against the traditions and ways of his people; he is now the Chief with the authority his father once exercised in the community. In this way, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a rather unconventional film presenting a positive view of authority and the struggle a good leader faces as they balance being true to their vocation with the needs of those they serve. After watching the film, Christian families may want to take the opportunity to review the Fourth Commandment with their children: “Honour your father and your mother.” What does this mean? Martin Luther tells us that “we should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2018


honour them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.” Hiccup has not always kept this commandment in previous films, but he does so more consistently in The Hidden World. This is part of his growth as a character. T h ro u g h o u t t h i s f i l m t h e secondary characters in Berk provide support to Hiccup as Chief showing their love as they serve, obey, and honour him. From Astrid with her encouragement, to Tuffnut with his advice, to Gobber with his kindly deference, they are shown as people who cherish Hiccup as Chief. Snotlout is the only one who disputes Hiccup’s leadership, but even though he thinks he should be next in line as Chief, he isn’t a villain conspiring with Grimmel and the Warlords. Snotlout is just too prideful and unaware of how poor a leader he would actually be. Christian families may also want to take the opportunity to review the Sixth Commandment with their children: “You shall not commit adultery.” What does this mean? Luther writes: “We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honour each other.” While Hiccup and Astrid are clearly presented as a couple, there is never a hint of engaging in premarital sex. It is only after they are married that they start to have children. This is refreshing. The parallel story of Toothless’ romance with the Light Fury follows a similarly traditional pure and decent pattern. How to Train Your Dragon 2 introduced the notion that Gobber was gay, this film doesn’t dwell on it. There are a couple moments where Gobber seems infatuated with the reformed dragon trapper Eret, Son of Eret, but these moments are mild and may easily be missed. How to

Train Your Dragon 2 spent a fair amount of time depicting Ruffnut ogling Eret, but this is not the case in The Hidden World. Ruffnut is still a dunderheaded character, but he portrayed in a purer and more decent way. Taken together these three films provide a positive story of a young boy growing into a man: a character who has to learn what it means to be part of a family and what it means to wield authority. Hiccup learns from his failures and grows in virtue. Overall this new film is funny, touching, and, for those truly invested in the series,

audiences is that if people learned how to live in harmony then the dragons would return and there would be a blissful age of dragons and humans living together. While Christians know that in this life there will always be a need for confession and absolution, for the forgiveness of Jesus, they may want to take this notion presented at the end of the film and talk to their kids about the hope they have together in Christ Jesus for the new heaven and the new earth promised by Him in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). Utopia may never be achieved in this world but we know that in the world to come, true harmony will be experienced by all who are in Christ Jesus. The animation in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World i s g re a t , the dragons are fun and colourful, the music is wonderful, and the voice work is above average for these kind of films. It may not be the best film in the series but it ties them together in a satisfying and fulfilling way. There could have been a little less action so that some of the minor characters could have a bit more screen time and character development, but this is a small complaint: with two television series, Dragons: Riders of Berk (2012–2014) and Dragons: Race to the Edge (2015–2018), these characters have had a lot of room to breathe and grow. Families and audiences who have watched these films and shows for years will likely be very happy with director Dean DeBlois’ conclusion to his How to Train Your Dragon trilogy.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a rather unconventional film presenting a positive view of authority and the struggle a good leader faces balancing being true to their vocation with the needs of those they serve.


even emotional. Hiccup lets go of his childhood and becomes a responsible adult and this maturing is never presented in a trite way. It will come as no surprise that by the end of the film the villain is vanquished, the dragons are safe and sound in their hidden world, and the people of Berk, while relocated to a new island, understand that Berk is more about people than a place. While How to Train Your Dragon as a film franchise basically grows up with The Hidden World, it doesn’t completely lose its utopian notions. The final thought provided for


Rev. Ted Giese is lead pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Regina; a contributor to LCMS Reporter; and movie reviewer for the “Issues, Etc.” radio program.


Go and Tell…but how?

Rev. Daniel Barr from Zion/St. Luke’s (Augsburg/Eganville, ON) to Faith (Atikokan, ON).

Talking about what we believe can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially when we hear that ethics and morality naturally exist in society and there is no need for the truth that comes from the Gospel. But the Great Commission exists—we have been called to share and the Good News is worth talking about!

Christ the King Lutheran Church (Port Rowan, Ontario) resigned from membership. Rev. Mark Danielson from Trinity (Fisherville, ON) to Emeritus.

LHM resources are available from Lutheran Laymen's League of Canada. 1-800-555-6236

Rev. Geoff Johnston from Lutheran C h u r c h o f A u s t r a l i a t o Tr i n i t y (Churchbridge, SK). Rev. Daniel Kitsch from St. Paul (Tavistock, ON) to Candidate Status. Rev. Scott Lyons from Hope (Victora, BC) to Bethlehem (Edmonton, AB). Rev. Thomas Prachar from Central District President to Emeritus.

Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) has partnered with The Barna Group, a research firm that studies faith and culture, particularly in the Christian church. Together LHM and Barna have compiled research and created tools to help prepare you to have Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age. Find the Outreach Essentials courses Everyday Opportunities, Eager to Share and Prepared to Respond at

Rev. Jeremy Richert from St. John’s Magrath/St. Matthew (Milk River, AB) to Holy Cross (Dakota Dunes, SD LCMS South Dakota District) Rev. Dr. Glenn Schaeffer, Candidate to St. James (Grand Rapids, MI LCMS Michigan District). St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (Nelson, BC) closed.

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Rev. V. Roy White to LCMS Northwest District. Rev. Paul Zabel from East District President to Emeritus. Zion Lutheran Church (Surrey, BC) has changed its name to Hillside Christian Church.


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Deacon Deloyce Weist from Bethel Lutheran School (Sherwood Park, AB), removed by peaceful release.



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Presidential Perspective

Thinking of Sin but Lightly President Timothy Teuscher


n the familiar Lenten hymn, “Jesus, Refuge of the Weary” (LSB: 423.2), we sing these words: “Do we pass that cross unheeding, Breathing no repentant vow, Though we see You wounded, bleeding, See Your thorn-encircled brow?” As I was contemplating those words, the thought struck me: “That’s it! That’s the bottom line!” Why, for instance, is church attendance across our nation at an all-time low? Why are many members of congregations in Lutheran Church–Canada no longer in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day? While there are undoubtedly a number of different factors for this sad state of affairs, at the end of the day there is really only one reason: as the Holy Week hymn, “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted” (LSB: 451.3), puts it: “Ye who think of sin but lightly Nor suppose the evil great.” Remember what Jesus said when He began His public ministry? “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). And at the end of His earthly ministry He tells the apostles the same thing: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:46-47). Ye s , r e p e n t a n c e a n d t h e forgiveness of sins—that is what the church is about, and what it must always be about, whether it be in the context of the church’s worship life or its mission to the world. So we recall those familiar words from the Small Catechism: “In this Christian


Church [the Holy Spirit] richly and daily forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers.” But why bother going to hear the words of Holy Absolution and receive this forgiveness through the voice of your pastor? Why bother going to Holy Communion where we hear those words of Jesus— “This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins”—and then receive this forgiveness as you drink of His blood? Why bother if sin is dismissed as some old-fashioned, out-of-date notion that is no longer applicable to our so-called enlightened and sophisticated age? Why bother if sin is regarded as nothing more than errors in judgment or minor mistakes that we all make from time to time, but certainly not violations of the commandments of the Most High God which call forth His “temporal and eternal punishment” as we confess at the beginning of the Divine Service? Yes, why bother “if you think of sin but lightly, breathing no repentant vow”? On this subject, ponder and take to heart the words of two Lutheran theologians from the past century. First, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s oft-repeated comment on what ails us modern-day Christians. He writes: “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline,


communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” Hear also the words of Herman Sasse: “The great danger of the church of all ages is that she preaches repentance to the world and at the same time becomes a castaway because she forgets that all true repentance must begin at the house of God, with the repentance of the church. We should learn from church history that up to now every new day in the church of Christ has begun with a movement of repentance. Christianity itself once entered world history as a mighty movement of repentance. And the Reformation, with Luther’s first thesis and the saving message of the justification of the sinner through faith alone, is the greatest example in the history of the church for this truth. At that time people did not yet believe that the world could be renewed by world conferences. Today we believe that by conferences and organizations, by pronouncements and radio speeches we can spare ourselves the bitter way of sorrows of contrition and repentance—until God’s mighty hand one day will also crush those means and teach us that the church lives by the means of grace, and by nothing else.” Forgiveness comes through the recognition of sin. So let us not treat sin lightly—treat grace lightly—but instead seek mercy in the One who receives repentant sinners.

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