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CANADIAN

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LUTHERAN

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www.CanadianLutheran.ca Volume 35 Number 5 - September/October 2020

THE WORD O F THE LORD

ENDURES FOREVER


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Contents Features www.canadianlutheran.ca

VD MA

Volume 35 Number 5

September/October 2020

THE WORD O F THE LORD

ENDURES FOREVER

Cover Art by Alex Steinke

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 Design: Alex Steinke Subscriptions: $20/yr E-mail: editor@lutheranchurch.ca

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: 204-897-4319 E-mail: editor@lutheranchurch.ca 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. ©2020 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.

The Enduring Word: Lutherans and Bible Translation Gentleness and Respect: Scriptural Strategies for Respectful Discussion Called During COVID: Becoming a Pastor in Challenging Times

6 9 12

Departments Table Talk

A Word of Peace in Troubled Times From the Regional Pastors West: What’s Normal Anymore? Central: The Epidemic of Fear East: A Look Back President’s Ponderings The Paradox of Christian Faith and Life

5 20 24 28 42

News Section International News

15

Burkina Faso: “We Are Very Discouraged…”

National News

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LCC expands online resources • 2020 Special Convention News • The Canadian Lutheran celebrates 50 issues with editor, Mathew Block

West Region

19

Ordination of Rev. Adam Chandler • 2020 Ministry Wives Online Retreat • 50 Years of Blessings and Miracles

Central Region

23

Rev. Lowell Dennis retires • 40th anniversary celebration for a beloved pastor • Ordinations and Installations

East Region



27

Trinity Lutheran Church creates VBS in a box • Clarington ladies host bridal shower • Deacon publishes devotional book

Mission News

31

MISSIONS - International Updates • Essentially Serving: French Ministries in Confinement

Education News

34

Sabbath Conference 2020 • Call for Nominations - Honourary Awards and Degrees at CLS • CLTS issues Call for Honourary Awards

In Review: Tenet

39

Announcements

41

Supplement

35

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

@thecanadianlutheran @lutheranchurchcanada THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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Three new ProjectConnect booklets from Lutheran Hour Ministries are designed to help parents; grandparents and church workers guide children toward faith. Using three everyday household habits as outlined in The Spiritually Vibrant Home, the booklets provide practical applications for 1. Applying Spiritual Disciplines, 2. Extending Hospitality and 3. Engaging in Spiritual Conversations. Helping Your Child Have a Relationship with God invites you to partner with God in planning special moments, and responding to everyday moments, helping children learn how to pray to God and understand His Word. Helping Your Child Welcome Others points out that while God invites each of us into His family we can encourage that same trait in young children, helping raise friendly and welcoming children. Helping Your Child Grow Through Faith Conversations explores methods and topics for spiritual conversations with children while providing guidance for when and where to have these conversations.

LLL Canada

LHM resources are available from Lutheran Laymen's League of Canada. info@lll.ca www.lll.ca 1-800-555-6236

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801-1 Adelaide Street East, Toronto, ON M5C 2V9 Tel 416.869.1234 Fax 416.869.0547 www.garfinkle.com

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10 As we have been good stewards in life, we can be good stewards in death. A portion of the gifts that God has blessed us with over our lives can be left as a legacy to His church.

Trial and Appellate Counsel – Commercial Litigation Garfinkle | Biderman LLP

Gift of RRSP/RRIF

Partner

416.869.7618 jkriwetz@garfinkle.com

If you are an individual who has diligently saved RRSP’s throughout their life, and you are the second-todie, are you aware of the significant taxes to be paid on any remaining RRSP/RIF funds? Good news, make a charity (within the “Synodical Family”) a beneficiary of your retirement account(s), that way you eliminate the tax on the donated portion, retain ownership and use of the funds if needed, receive a favourable tax receipt for the portion of the funds you donate, and avoid probate fees by removing these assets from your estate. You can choose to donate all or a portion of your retirement funds by naming multiple beneficiaries. Ask how this can work for you by contacting your Regional Gift Coordinator today, helping His church with this wonderful act of Stewardship.

www.lutheranfoundation.ca 4

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020


Table Talk

A Word of Peace in Troubled Times by Mathew Block “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in Me.” John 14:1

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t’s easy to be troubled at a time like this. Health experts are warning that Canada is on the cusp of a second wave of COVID-19. The economy is faltering. People are out of work. Anxiety and stress are leading to new or worsened mental health problems for many—as is our decreased ability to spend time with family and friends. Yo u c a n a d d i n c r e a s i n g polarization and the rapid decline of civil discourse in North America to the list of troubles afflicting us today. Oh, and various international tensions on the rise. Perhaps you feel abandoned. Perhaps you feel like God has gone far away—that He isn’t listening to the cries of His people. That He isn’t listening to you. Jesus knew that His disciples— and we—would face moments like these. “I will not leave you as orphans,” He promises. “I will come to you” (John 14:18). And He does come. He comes in His Word when you hear the Scriptures read in church. He comes when you read them yourself. “Peace I leave with You,” He says. “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (14:27). Jesus does not ask us here to pretend we never face hard times; He asks us instead to trust in Him in the midst of these sorrows. “In the world you will have tribulation,” He says. “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (16:33).

Jesus knows your many fears and griefs, and He bears you up through all of them—just as He bore your sins upon a cross so many years ago. He has already overcome the world. He has overcome death and the devil and your own sin. He will guide you also through these troubled times. That word of peace is one we are called to share with the world around us. For in spite of the many challenges we face at this time, our mission as the Church remains the same as ever: proclaiming Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). It is the death of Christ which rescues humanity from death. It is the resurrection of Christ which promises new life. Our current situation may come with obstacles to the Church’s proclamation, but it does not fundamentally change the work itself. We are called to proclaim the Word of God—to proclaim the Gospel—to a world desperately in need of good news. This issue we bear witness to that Word in several ways. Our feature, “The Enduring Word” (page 6), reflects on the recent publication of a complete translation of the Bible into its 700th language. As part of the context of that piece, and in honour of the Reformation anniversary, we also consider Martin Luther’s landmark translation of the Bible into German, as well as the work of modern-day Lutheran translators of the Bible. Find out why Bible translation mattered so much to Luther—and why it matters today too.

Our second feature, “Gentleness and Respect” (page 9), encourages us to approach the discussion of controversial subjects in a scriptural manner. Our society is increasingly polarized and unwilling to engage in civil discussion. So how do we break that pattern and share the Word of God in ways that honour and respect one another? What does Scripture have to say about how we should handle difficult conversations—whether within the church or without? Our third feature, “Called During COVID” (page 12), highlights the challenges of beginning pastoral ministry in the midst of the pandemic. The current moment has forced all of our pastors to rethink the basics of how to reach troubled people with the Word of God; imagine now the uncertainty of beginning that ministry for the first time during COVID. We share one new pastor’s journey into pastoral ministry here. I pray that these reflections on the Word of God, as well as our other articles and columns this issue, will be a blessing to you in this time, whatever trials you may face. Remember: God is with you in your sorrows. He is with you in His Word. Let that Word be your peace. “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:5-7

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THE ENDURING WORD LUTHERANS & BIBLE TRANSLATION

by Mathew Block “The Word of the Lord endures forever.”

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hat phrase, drawn from Scripture, was the rallying cry of the early Reformation. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8). And again: “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Peter 22:24-25). What was true for the Prophet Isaiah, what was true for St. Peter, and what was true for the Reformers remains true today: the Word of the Lord endures forever. Rulers come and go, nations rise and fall, but “God’s Word forever shall abide” (LSB 657). And this Word isn’t a static thing either. It isn’t isolated to one place or people or time. God’s Word spreads. It expands. It grows, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection, unto the ends of the earth. So it is that Jesus commanded: “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). Christians continue to bring God’s Word to the ends of the earth, and this year has marked a major milestone in the history of that mission. Wycliffe Bible Translators reports that in these past few months of 2020, we have seen the complete translation of the Bible into its 700th language. In addition to the 700 languages which now have a complete Bible, many more languages have a portion of the

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Scriptures translated. The New Testament is available in a further 1,548 languages. Smaller selections of Scripture have been translated into an additional 1,138 languages. Still, there is much work left to be done: 3,969 languages do not yet have a complete Bible. What is more, there are an estimated 2,115 languages in the world (representing 171 million people) for whom a Bible translation project has yet to begin. Lutherans are among those working hard to translate the Word of God into other languages. That’s not surprising, given the history of the Lutheran tradition. In many ways, the emphasis on Bible translation today can be considered one of the greatest gifts of the Lutheran Reformation to the wider Church. It is certainly one which has borne remarkable fruit.

MARTIN LUTHER & THE TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE At the Diet of Worms in 1521, Martin Luther was brought before Emperor Charles V to answer charges of heresy. Asked to recant, he answered that he was unable.


“I am bound by the Scriptures,” he said. “My conscience is captive to the Word of God”—not Popes, not councils, and not (we may interpolate) the Emperor. Having made such a confession, Luther shortly took his leave from the city of Worms. His prince, Frederick the Wise, rightly guessed that Luther’s life would soon be in danger, so he arranged to have Luther kidnapped before hostile forces could lay hold of him. So it is that Luther was spirited away to Wartburg Castle, where he would be a (sometimes unwilling) guest for nearly a year. Here at the Wartburg, Luther’s conscience remained “captive to the Word of God.” So too did his thoughts and his work. Separated from his friends and his teaching, Luther devoted himself to translating the New Testament from Greek to German. It was eventually published in September 1522. A German edition of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) translated from the Hebrew followed in 1523, and the Psalms in 1524. Luther and his friends would eventually publish a complete translation of the entire Bible, including Apocrypha, in 1534. To be clear, Luther was not the first person to translate the Bible into the vernacular. Even the long-lived Vulgate (St. Jerome’s 4th century translation of the Bible into Latin) was itself a translation into the common language when it was first completed. Nor was Luther the first reformer in recent centuries to attempt to bring the Bible into a modern language; the 14th century reformer John Wycliffe had spearheaded a translation of the Bible into Middle English in 1382. Luther wasn’t even the first to translate the Bible into German. But he was the first to translate his Bible into a modern language and distribute it widely. The printing press had only been invented around 1440, meaning earlier attempts to make the Bible accessible to laypeople had been limited. By contrast, Luther’s Bible could be much more easily shared. Luther’s translations into German would go on to inspire numerous other translation projects. Hans Mikkelsen based much of his 1524 translation of the New Testament into Danish on Luther’s German. In 1526, Jacob van Liesvelt published a Flemish translation of the Bible, drawing heavily on Luther’s translation of the New Testament and the Pentateuch. In 1530, Antonio Brucioli would prepare the first Italian New Testament, with a complete Bible appearing in 1532. The first complete English translation of the Bible, meanwhile, was completed in 1535. It incorporated earlier work by the late William Tyndale (especially his 1524 New Testament and 1530 Pentateuch), with additional translations completed by Myles Coverdale. Tyndale and Coverdale were both deeply influenced by Luther’s translation work; Coverdale in particular relied directly on Luther’s German to help complete his translation. Eventually, much of Tyndale’s and Coverdale’s translations would be incorporated into the King James Version, which continues to influence

English translations of the Bible to this day. By 1540, a Lutheran convert named Oddur Gottskálksson published an Icelandic translation of the New Testament in 1540—the first book ever printed in Icelandic. In 1541, the first complete Swedish Bible was printed (building on the earlier 1526 publication of the New Testament), thanks to the long work of the Lutheran Archbishop Laurentius Petri, his brother Olaus, and Laurentius Andreae. In 1548, Mikael Aricola completed the first New Testament in Finnish. In 1569, the Spanish Lutheran, Casiodoro de Reina, would publish the Reina-Velera edition, which has held a comparable influence on Spanish-speaking Protestantism to that of the Luther Bible in German or the King James Version in English. And that’s just a sample. The 1500s saw multiple translations of the Bible completed. That emphasis on bringing the Bible into the common language of everyday people continues to be an essential part of Christian missionary work to this day.

SCRIPTURE ALONE— THEN AND NOW Why was it so important to Luther and those who followed in his footsteps that the Bible be accessible in the language of common people? It’s simple: they believed that Scripture was the means by which God brought people to salvation. We do not need personal revelations, or dreams, or visions; God has given us all we need, and that abundantly, in the words of the Bible. “I am content with this gift which I have, Holy Scripture,” he writes, “which abundantly teaches and supplies all things necessary both for this life and also for the life to come.” Luther knew and believed the words of St. Paul, who wrote that the Holy Scriptures “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). The apostle also says: “Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). In the Scriptures we encounter Christ—for it is in the Word of God (Scripture) that we meet the Word of God (Jesus). At their heart, the Scriptures exist to deliver Christ and His mercy to us. “He who would honour God and have God must have Him in and through His Word,” Luther writes. “Otherwise it is impossible to get Him, have Him, or know Him.” Again: “The Word comes to reveal Christ.” And again: “The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.” This is in fact what Christ Himself says of the Scriptures: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39). In Scripture, then, we find Christ. Or rather, we are found by Him, THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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as He calls us into the true faith through His Word in the mercy of the Holy Spirit. And found by Him, we receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life—gifts won for us through His death and resurrection. That’s news worth sharing. And it’s the reason why Christians—Lutherans included—continue to prioritize the translation of Scripture in their missionary work. The Lutheran hymnwriter, N.F.S. Grundtvig, puts it this way: “God’s Word is our great heritage and shall be ours forever. To spread it’s light from age to age shall be our chief endeavour.” That is also the goal of Lutheran Bible Translators– Canada (LBTC). “Our mission is to bring the Word of Christ to people in the language of their hearts—the language they can understand most fully,” explains Rev. Ron Mohr, Executive Director for LBTC. “That’s what Luther had in mind as he translated the Scriptures into German. So we Lutherans, following his lead, proclaim that Word which brings saving faith, that the sweet Gospel can take root deeply in minds and hearts.” The first translation workers associated with LBTC were two Canadian couples: Horst and Eugenie Schulz of Ontario; and Ted and Gloria Engel of Saskatchewan. Both couples initially served with Wycliffe Bible Translators before helping to found LBTC. The Schulz family served as support workers in Papua New Guinea on various language projects, while the Engels worked among the Pokomchi people in Guatemala. Martin and Joan Weber were the first missionary team sent by LBTC into the field. They are retiring this year after 38 years of dedicated service in Cameroon, having worked among the Kwanja people since 1982. Their work led to the publication of a Kwanja New Testament in 2006, as well as two threeyear lectionaries in two Kwanja dialects: Sundani in 2016 and Ndung in 2020. Lectionary translations are a priority in translation work, LBTC says, because they allow local congregations to hear all texts during worship services in their heart language. They also serve as a helpful stepstone towards the completion of a full Bible translation. In 1983, LBTC sent Robert and Jean Schmitt to serve as literacy workers in Sierra Leone, where they assisted with the Limba language project. They served four years there before moving on, but work in Sierra Leone continued, resulting eventually in the publication of the New Testament in three languages: Limba, Loka, and Krio—joint projects of LBTC and its American partner organization, Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT US). Rob and Eshinee Veith began serving as LBTC translators to Botswa in 2011, working on the Shiyeyi language project. They returned to North America

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in 2018 and now serve with LBT US. Their work on the Shiyeyi language project will soon result in the publication of a New Testament in that language. Rev. Mike and Kara Kuhn began serving in Cameroon in 2013, where they work on the Nizaa language. The publication of a completed New Testament is expected in the next few years, with work then continuing towards the translation of a complete Bible. LBTC has also supported translation work in the Dowayo language since 2011, in cooperation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon. The translation team for this project is made up entirely of Cameroonian pastors and laypeople. They hope to publish a three-year lectionary in the next few years, while continuing to work on a complete translation of the Bible thereafter. It’s important to note that even on those projects where an international missionary is involved, translation work today is generally a cooperative effort between the missionary and local speakers. LBTC has also sponsored the creation of Cameroon’s Bible House, a centre which will host multiple translation and literacy projects for the country. And that’s just the Bible translation work that LBTC has been directly involved with. Its American partner, LBT US, has 25 missionary families working with approximately 70 language communities. They have published 40 New Testaments, four whole Bibles, and three lectionaries. Groups like LBTC and their American counterpart also maintain connections with other major Bible translation groups, like Wycliffe, in order to prevent reduplication of effort and to ensure the greatest number of people possible benefit from Scripture translation projects. You don’t have to be a missionary to be part of that work either; you can support LBTC with your prayers and financial support. Contact LBTC’s office at 1-866-518-7071 or at pastor.r.mohr@lbtc.ca to request a bi-monthly prayer calendar to guide your prayers on behalf of LBTC. You can also donate to LBTC through canadahelps.org or by calling the office to set up monthly giving. We trust God to work through His Word because He has promised to do so. “So shall my Word be that goes out from my mouth,” declares the Lord. “It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). God promises to bring people to faith through His Word. That’s a promise that will last—and it’s a promise worth sharing. The Word of the Lord endures forever.

Mathew Block is editor of The Canadian Lutheran.


Gentleness & Respect Scriptural Strategies

for Respectful Discussion

by Terry Defoe, Garth Huber, and Brian Wonnick

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ontroversial topics in life are many and the list is long: global warming, science and faith, abortion, medically assisted suicide, politics, and more. The number of controversial subjects seems to be growing while, at the same time, civility is on the wane. Without giving it much thought,

Christians often choose sides, and individuals talk past each other. When conversations are handled poorly, polarization and division increase. On the other hand, when conversations are handled well— and for Christians, that means handled scripturally— even though divisions may remain, relationships are THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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maintained and understanding increases. It seems that the more controversial a subject, the less likely it is to be discussed respectfully. In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul encourages Christians to speak the truth in love (4:15). The Apostle Peter concurs, saying that when we as God’s people share information about our faith—or anything else for that matter—we are to do so with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Imagine a conversation where a controversial topic is raised and a point of view is expressed diametrically opposed to your own. What are your options? Which emotions are stirred up? Are you willing to pursue the conversation? Are you willing to share your own views? If so, how will you do that? Whether in church or in the wider society, we appreciate helpful (and scriptural) guidelines for establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. We seek respect and reconciliation.

Note the practical guidelines for respectful discussion found in this chapter of God’s Word:

Consider these thoughts:

• Paul commented, “I perceive that in every way you are very religious” (verse 22). Note that Paul was able to make this respectful observation based on the information about the city and its culture he had gained on his walkabout earlier.

• We value relationships and want to do our best to maintain and strengthen them. • We seek the truth and want to express it clearly and concisely. And, as Christians, we want to do this in love, remembering the admonitions in 1 Corinthians 13. • We want to put into practice Martin Luther’s advice, found in the Small Catechism, that, with God’s help, we speak well of our neighbor, and put the best construction on things (Explanation of the 8th Commandment). • We need to remember that, at the end of the day, the Holy Spirit leads into all truth (John 16:13). Most people handle the discussion of hot topics in characteristic ways, often responding quickly without giving their response much thought. Some avoid the subject altogether. Others jump right in and forcefully express their views, but wonder on further reflection, if that approach is counterproductive. The Book of Acts recounts a visit of the Apostle Paul to Athens (17:1634). After he arrived, he had some free time on his hands so he played tourist, wandering around the city, soaking up its culture. Paul wanted to learn as much as he could about Athens and its history. And what he learned, he filed away for later reference.

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• In verse 17, we are told that Paul “reasoned in the synagogue.” Dialogue is preferable to debate. • In verse 18, some in the crowd labeled Paul a “babbler.” Others said, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” Paul remained calm. • In verse 19, we find the respectful statement addressed to Paul, “May we know what this new teaching is…?” It is clear that Paul’s audience was now engaged in the subject. They wanted to know more.

• Paul piqued his listeners’ interest by referring to “some of your own poets” (verse 28). He purposely entered their world by making a knowledgeable comment about their culture. We should not be surprised by the varied responses Paul received. Some skeptics sneered (verse 32). Others said, quite politely, “We will hear you again about this” (verse 32). Significantly—and this is the most important part of the discussion for Christians—as a result of the discussion a few believed (verse 34). This seemingly minor aspect of the narrative turns out to be critical in terms of expanded ministry and further opportunities to preach the Gospel.

Consider the following: • Many in the church, both lay and clergy, avoid discussing controversial topics for fear of breaking relationships, and causing unnecessary conflict. We need to remember that agreement is not necessarily the goal. What we seek is mutual understanding. We do our best to separate the person from the issue. We do our best to set aside judgment. Our primary goal is not persuasion.


This is not a win/lose situation. It is not a contest.

further discussion at a later date. If appropriate, close with prayer.

• Remember that when the tables are turned and we are sharing the Gospel, we want to make sure that the listener understands that we are sharing information, and that we are not obligating them. Our goal is to provide information—critical information—and, again, leave the persuading to the Holy Spirit where it belongs. • Invite the other person to share first. Listen carefully and ask appropriate questions. Do not hesitate to ask for clarification. For example, communication can take the following form: “Here’s what I heard you say. Did I understand you correctly?” • After listening, feel free to share your own thoughts. Encourage your listener to ask questions of you. • There is no need to apologize for your views. Remember that success in this scenario is not that the other individual change their mind, but that you enable them to understand your point of view while maintaining the integrity of the relationship. • Listen carefully and patiently. Feed back to the other person what you heard them say. That allows them to clarify or correct your understanding of the situation. • Be sensitive to feelings and emotions. As the discussion progresses you will learn more about the other person—their beliefs, ideas, and attitudes. Their feelings are in a sense the “frame” containing the “picture” of what they are expressing. Tailor your conversation based on what you perceive.

Engaging in respectful conversation is a learned skill. Like any other learned skill, it takes practice to perfect. All of us need to feel valued. We want to have a say. We want to be heard and understood. Our goal is to maintain respect and increase understanding of the others point of view, without endangering our own faith. What does this look like?

• Be prepared to apologize should you cause confusion, or if it turns out that your opinion is misinformed. • End the discussion by thanking the other person for sharing their thoughts, and be open to

One Christian shares the following story: I took a cab downtown and struck up a conversation with the cabdriver. I asked him where he was from. I asked whether there were many Muslim people there. He told me that the majority were Muslim. I asked a few questions about his faith which indicated to him that I had taken the time to learn some of the basics. He asked me how I came to know these things and I talked about the research I had done over the years. We talked about his faith and what it meant to him. We talked about Jesus being mentioned in the Qur’an. As I was leaving, he said, “Thanks for being interested in my religion.” I was disappointed that our conversation ended so soon. Earlier, we mentioned that people of faith often respond to controversial issues by avoiding them or becoming defensive. These situations are actually opportunities not problems. The Holy Spirit is with us. With His help we can speak the truth in love. By His enabling we can speak gently and with respect. God’s Word will not return void; it will accomplish what He intends (Isaiah 55:11). We seek to live by our Savior’s words: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

Rev. Terry Defoe, pastor emeritus, is a member of New Beginnings Lutheran Church (Regina). Dr. Garth Huber is a faculty member in the physics department at the University of Regina. Brian Wonnick is a former Development Officer with Lutheran Foundation Canada. Dr. Huber and Mr. Wonnick are both members of Good Shepherd Lutheran (Regina). THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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CALLED DURING COVID B E C O M I N G A PA S T O R I N C H A L L E N G I N G T I M E S

BY ADAM CHANDLER WHATEVER GAIN I HAD, I COUNTED AS LOSS FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST. INDEED, I COUNT EVERYTHING AS LOSS BECAUSE OF THE SURPASSING WORTH OF KNOWING CHRIST JESUS MY LORD. FOR HIS SAKE I HAVE SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS AND COUNT THEM AS RUBBISH, IN ORDER THAT I MAY GAIN CHRIST. - PHILIPPIANS 3:7-8

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hat sums it up, doesn’t it? By gaining Christ we have lost the world for the world rejects Him. Yet, because we are in Christ, we gain the surpassing worth of knowing One through whom we gain more than the world: the riches of God’s grace. Though we live in the hope and promise of our Lord, we still suffer the loss of things present in this world. This fact has been all too evident in 2020. Social, physical, and economic stability have been lost by many people the world over. COVID-19 and its complications have wrought hardship. But God never abandons His people in times of

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distress and danger. He continues to serve and guide us even in times of tribulation. The Lord does not abandon His Church; He leads her beyond suffering and into salvation. God revealed this in Jesus Christ, whose suffering and death were not the end of His story. Through the power of His resurrection and ascension, Jesus raises us from the threat of death into His eternal kingdom. The triumph of Christ shines in the darkness of these despairing times. That’s something I’ve seen firsthand in these months since my transition from seminary student to serving as a pastor in my first call.


In all honesty, the government shutdown caught always must be part of the Church, but health concerns me by surprise, as I was not following the spread of prevented many from celebrating together. Some the coronavirus in the news. Writing a dissertation for asked whether the Supper could be given online. But the International Academy of Apologetics in addition participation in the bread is participation in the body to my coursework at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in of Christ—both the real flesh of our Lord and His body Edmonton occupied much of my time until spring break. as the Church. When the community of faith is unable Then, I took the opportunity to relax a bit, planning a to come together to partake of the same physical bread summer vacation before I would take up my first call. and cup the minister blesses, there should be a fast from Everything changed with the shutdown. the Supper. International travel was suspended. Seminary courses And yet, despite not being able to share in the Supper, moved online. Church services stopped. Most groups the Holy Spirit still calls, gathers, and enlightens the whole and individuals I knew had only limited contact with Christian Church on earth and preserves it in union with friends or family. Being single, the only family I could Jesus Christ in the one true faith where He daily and richly talk to was over the forgives the sins of all phone. The shock of believers, as the Small THE LORD DOES NOT ABANDON HIS sudden isolation was Catechism says. We devasting. Of course, are the Church even if CHURCH; HE LEADS HER BEYOND it wasn’t just me distance divides. We SUFFERING AND INTO SALVATION. experiencing all this. will always be made Many people were one in the Spirit. suffering, ripped Even if we are fasting from their normal routines and forced into minimal from the Lord’s Supper, God is with us and graciously contact with their social supports. forgives our sins. A mercy our Lord gave to us was streamed worship Easter was also an awkward time. Normally Easter services and devotions flooding the internet. Technology includes worshipping together and being with family, but now helped—albeit imperfectly—to spread the message for many this year that was impossible. As much as joy of God’s love to us in our lonely despair. We suffered wanted to enter the heart, the sobriety of Lent persisted. the loss of many things, but were comforted with the For two months after Lent ended, I had to keep reminding surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord and myself I could say “alleluia” again. God does not abandon being found in him through his Word. Many people His people, not even during a “long Lent.” Christ and the unable to participate in services online still met Christ in power of His resurrection is still present among us even His Word. God helped while we suffer the me through a daily loss of worshipping FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST, WE devotional on Job w i t h o u r c h u rc h which I was writing a m i l y. C h r i s t ’ s SUFFER THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS; fEaster and distributing triumph over BUT SINCE SUFFERING IS ITSELF online. I meant it the grave is present to help others, but I among us. The A THING OF THIS WORLD, IT WILL quickly found that suffering of the cross EVENTUALLY BE LOST AS WELL. is great, but greater God used it as much to ground me in His joy came with His promises. Studying resurrection. For the His promises brought some peace to my soul. sake of Christ, we suffer the loss of all things; but since The stability was short-lived. My roommate informed suffering is itself a thing of this world, it will eventually me he would be moving out months earlier than expected. be lost as well. Trying to keep the apartment would be difficult, so I too Time moved on and Sacred Convocation at the moved back in with family to finish off the semester. God seminary finally arrived. Graduating students, including tends to do extraordinary things through very natural me, would soon receive their first calls. It was awkward means. God provides us with the necessities of life navigating the building while distancing two metres including house and home, family and property. In many apart from each other, but being back together with my subtle ways, God provides for all of us. Even suffering brothers in Christ was great. A sense of pride welled up the loss of many social and financial supports in the within me as all of God’s hard work on me yielded my pandemic, the grace of God allows us to receive our daily first call. It was difficult to refrain from weeping in joy bread—regardless of how meagre it might be. But what when I heard the call from Hope Evangelical Lutheran about the bread of life? Church in Victoria, B.C. My faculty advisor also gave me One thing we have suffered deeply is the loss of the the verse 1 Peter 3:15, which touched my heart to its core. regularity of the Lord’s Supper. The sacrament is and Thank you, God, for it all. THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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Arranging the ordination, move, and installation was God which will never fall and never be dismayed—even difficult, but God works in all things for our good (Romans when distanced. 8:28). My grandfather had a medical emergency soon after I Visits, among other things, were few and far between received my call. To assist him and my grandmother, social as a result of coronavirus regulations. Getting to know distancing in the family had to be relaxed a bit (although people is difficult, with visits limited to just after the masks and frequent handwashing were a must). My service, and with masks making it difficult to recognize grandfather came out in good health and I ended up being people. Many of my parishioners still cannot come to able to spend time with my grandparents before moving services due to health concerns. Speaking with some of away, something I them on the phone, otherwise would not I h e a r h ow t h ey have been able to miss the blessed THE LORD DOES WHAT HE SAYS do. My ordination assurance of grace HE DOES, REGARDLESS OF OUR was held in my home in the Lord’s Supper. church, where I had Communion for the FEELINGS... HE IS ALWAYS PRESENT been baptized and homebound is also EXACTLY WHERE HE SAYS HE IS, confirmed by my limited, as many care AND THERE IS NO NEED FOR SOME grandfather. It was facilities continue to wonderful that he deny most, if not all, SPECIAL FEELING IN MY BONES could be part of my visitors. However, TO ASSURE ME THAT HE WORKS ordination as well. t h e c o n g re g a t i o n Trying to make continues to hold WONDERS FOR US AT THE ALTAR. living arrangements services, plan Bible from a province away studies, and works was difficult but God to stream services was still looking out to me. A member of my new parish online. Although we have hardships, we also have God. helped arrange an apartment, and I was able to book He does not abandon us. a moving truck that could (almost) fit my schedule. The Lord is ever-present with us in Word and Upon arrival in Victoria on July 1, I was greeted by a Sacrament. Through these means, He is constantly giving few members of my new congregation. It warmed my us grace. Our current situation is not ideal, but when heart to see the love of God’s Church welcoming me. I was there ever a time without hardship for the Church? made it in time for in-person services to start again, but Having lost much, we can still say with Paul: “Whatever precautionary measures for attendance and how to receive gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, communion remained firmly in place. I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth My first-time officiating communion was at my of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have installation service. It was nerve-wracking: this was the suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, body and blood of the Lord! It is the presence of God. But in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). even standing witness to the bread and wine become also the body and blood of Christ, there was no tingling of the spine or anything of that sort—and thank God for that! The Lord does what He says He does, regardless of our feelings. The bread became the body of Christ and the cup His blood independent of my own perceptions; it is not by our works or efforts that His grace is given but through His holy Word and Sacrament. He comes to us the same as He always does. God never abandons His Church. He is always present exactly where He says He is, and there is no need for some special feeling in my bones to assure me that He works wonders for us at the altar. Over the next few weeks, I began to get the lay of the land, talking with members in the parish. Everyone was generous with gifts and thank-you’s for taking up the call, although it was just as much my long-awaited pleasure to take it up. One of the things that my seminary experience has taught me again and again is that we must never underestimate the generosity of the Church. God Rev. Adam Chandler is pastor of Hope loves His people and, through His people in the Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Victoria, B.C. He continues to love us. The Church is the community of

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THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020


International News www.canadianlutheran.ca

Burkina Faso: “We Are Very Discouraged…” Lutherans struggle in Burkina Faso, a nation riven by rising terrorism, internal displacement, and food insecurity

B U R K I N A FA S O - T h e International Lutheran Council (ILC) is urging prayer for Lutherans in Burkina Faso, as the church there struggles in the midst of widespread violence and terrorist attacks. The nation of Burkina Faso has faced multiple terrorist attacks over the past five years, with targets ranging from military and police, villages, markets, schools, and churches. The United Nations reports that violence in the nation has led to the displacement of more than one million people as of August 2020—an increase of more than 453,000 since the beginning of 2020, and a dramatic change from early 2019 when there were 87,000 internally displaced people in the country. Today, five percent of the entire population is now displaced. More than 2,500 schools have been closed, and health care access has been significantly decreased in the areas most regularly affected, especially northern and eastern parts of the country. Members of the small Evangelical Lutheran Church in Burkina Faso (Église Évangélique Luthérienne du Burkina Faso – EELBF) have not escaped the growing violence. Over the past three years, the EELBF has seen twelve of its members killed in terrorist attacks. Several others have disappeared and remain missing. “We are very discouraged,” c o n f e s s e d P r e s i d e n t Ta n p o Tchiriteme of the EELBF. “We ask

for your prayers that peace would return. Pray also for those who have lost family members—orphans and widows—and for all of us.” Of the missing, he adds, “we hope that by the grace of God we will find them.” The displacement of people in Burkina Faso has led to the closure of multiple EELBF congregations and preaching points, complicating Gospelproclamation and practical care for members in the beleaguered nation. “Our sisters and brothers in Burkina Faso are suffering,” said Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, General Secretary of the International Lutheran Council. “I encourage Lutherans around the world to lift up the nation of Burkina Faso in prayer. O God, be merciful to a suffering people. Bring an end to the growing violence and grant your people peace. We especially pray for the pastors and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Burkina Faso. Grant them the peace which passes understanding, and give them strength and hope to proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—good news sorely needed in these difficult times.” Those wishing to support the work of the EELBF during the current crisis can donate via The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), which has supported work in Burkina Faso since 2000. Gifts should be designated for “Mercy Work.” Even before the rise of terrorism in the country five years ago,

Burkina Faso faced significant challenges. Burkina Faso remains one of the poorest nations in the world, with about 40 percent of the country living below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. As of 2018, the United Nations estimated that nearly one million people in the country needed food security support, and that more than 187,000 children under the age of five could be expected to face severe malnutrition. These challenges have been aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of displaced people, the extreme poverty, and the lack of access to health resources makes it difficult for people to practice safe hygiene and social distancing. As of August 24, 2020, the country has recorded 1,328 cases of the coronavirus, with 55 deaths. 223 cases remain active. The pandemic has not slowed instances of terrorism either. Since July 27, 2020 sixteen schools in the east part of the country have been burned down, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. On August 7, 2020, gunmen also attacked a cattle market in an eastern village, leading to the death of about twenty people with many others injured. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Burkina Faso is a member of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies. ILC News

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National News www.canadianlutheran.ca

LCC expands online resources NATIONAL - Lutheran Church– Canada (LCC)’s online content continues to expand, featuring new categorized resource material on its website. A new dropdown menu under “Resources” has been introduced, as well as topical pages designated for church worker wellness resources, communications resources, and more. It is the hope that these distinctions will create a more user-friendly experience for members regarding site-navigation. Ongoing dialogue between Synod staff and our pastors, church workers, and laity has been instrumental in the development of various new resources, especially as it pertains to supporting congregations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. LCC encourages members to continue to give their feedback as more resources are released going forward, to provide insight into the efficacy of these tools, and also to discuss any unique needs specific to your congregation.

In March of 2020 we began offering recorded services intended to assist congregations that were unable to provide ministry online amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June, we have opted to provide shorter devotional videos and services on the commemorations and minor festivals of the church calendar. We offer these videos not as a replacement to the ministry provided by your home congregation but as a supplemental resource.

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ADDITIONAL CATEGORIES: Congregational Resources, Devotional Resources, and Pastoral Letters.

These weekly sermons, written by various LCC pastors, are primarily intended for congregations without a pastor and for those unable to provide online services during exceptional circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Each written sermon is accompanied by the Collect of the Day, appointed Scripture Readings, suggested hymns, and prayers. We hope that this resource will be a blessing to our small, isolated, and vacant congregations.

These communications resources and tips are meant to equip LCC members who use their gifts in communications to faithfully serve their distinctive congregations and beyond. We hope that these easy-tonavigate tools will be helpful in the development and delivery of accessible and reliable communications within our congregations and within the church at large. Resources and tips cover topics like Video Production Hacks for Congregations; Working With Graphics; LCC Communications Quick Reference Guide; and more.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada and Lutheran Hour MinistriesCanada have released resources on suicide safety and the church, bringing to light an important issue that has unfortunately been magnified amid this pandemic and time of social isolation. It is our hope that by making these types of resources more accessible, we can equip LCC members to love and comfort each other with the love and comfort we ourselves have received from Christ our Lord and Saviour.

For pastors and church workers to function well in their vocation a few fundamentals are needed. After all, you cannot “pour from an empty cup.” This resource page is designated for resources to support our church workers, specifically as it pertains to spiritual and mental health. This new resource page is in its early stages, and more resources and tools will become available soon.


National News www.canadianlutheran.ca

2020 Special Convention News

News! NOTE: This issue of The Canadian Lutheran was sent to press before LCC’s 2020 Special Convention. Visit www.lutheranchurch.ca for up to date information. NATIONAL - In June of this year, the Board of Directors called for an online or virtual Special Convention of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) to be held on October 17, 2020. The purpose of this Special Convention concerns the amending of Statutory Bylaw 9.01 to allow for postponement of a convention if precluded by some extraordinary event, with it to be held as soon as feasibly possible. As outlined in the Handbook, L C C m u s t h o l d a Re g u l a r Convention every four years. Currently there is no allowance for unforeseen circumstances (like a pandemic) which could impact holding a Convention. Any change to the bylaws governing LCC must be adopted by a Convention. Anticipating an ongoing disruption of large gatherings due to COVID-19 continuing into 2021 (the next date for a Regular Convention) the Board of Directors is asking a Special Convention to change the bylaw to allow for more flexible scheduling if required. If such an amendment to Statutory Bylaw 9.01 is approved at this Special Convention, the Board of Directors intends to move the regular in-person convention, scheduled for June 11-14, 2021, to June 2022. If

such an amendment to the Statutory Bylaws is not approved by this Special Convention, the scheduled June convention will be moved to the fall of 2021 and be an online or virtual convention. Like many major corporations, LCC will conduct the Special Convention online using software developed specifically for this type of event. Delegates may speak when recognized by the chair and vote securely on the proposed resolution. Before calling for an online Special Convention the Board of Directors asked the CCMS for its opinion. The Commission ruled that there is nothing in the Handbook to prohibit an online convention. LCC’s legal counsel also confirmed that laws governing Canada’s non-profit sector allow for online gatherings of the membership or representatives to conduct business. The proceedings will be available online for anyone to watch live. LCC Communications will provide links to viewing sites in early October through InfoDigest and social media. All information pertaining to LCC’s Special Convention can be accessed via www.lutheranchurchcanada.ca/ eventscalendar/sc2020/ including the following: FAQs; SC2020 Notice; Overture 1.01; CCMS Rulings; Bulletin #1; SC2020 Workbook; and SC2020 Action Plan E. Comments regarding the resolutions were invited to be emailed to convention@lutheranchurch.ca,

to be forwarded to the Resolutions Committee. A Resolution Committee was appointed to scheduled to review the convention overture and comments received, meeting on October 15, 2020. The members of the committee are: • Rev. David Bode (chair) Calgary Circuit, West Region • Rev. Barry Wood Assiniboine Circuit, Central Region • Merv Rocheleau Northland Circuit, Central Region • Rev. Don Schieman London Circuit, East Region • Reg Tiegs Toronto Circuit, East Region Additional Communications: Through the convention organizing committee, the Board of Directors has established LCC’s Servant Leader Network (SLN) as the platform by which all delegates can discuss convention issues with each other. This type of forum was suggested as part of the evaluation of the 2017 convention submitted by delegates. The Servant Leader Network (SLN) is essentially an “intranet” (an internal website) for the people of LCC. Both formal and informal groups can be created by users to enable discussion, document sharing, event planning, and more within these groups. Almost all of the content on the site is available only to those who have an account and who are signed in. A very small amount of public-facing content may be created by administrators, but all user-created content will be visible only to those who are signed in to the site. User accounts are moderated; those who sign up for an account must have their account manually approved. For the purposes of LCC’s 2020 Special Convention, a group was designated within the SLN to provide a centralized place for discussion. An introduction and invitation to sign up for LCC’s Servant Leader Network is available on the Special Convention webpage. Please contact LCC’s Communications Director with any questions at communications@ lutheranchurch.ca.

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National News www.canadianlutheran.ca

The Canadian Lutheran celebrates 50 issues with editor, Mathew Block! This September/October 2020 issue of The Canadian Lutheran magazine marks the 50th issue of the magazine to be published under the editorship of Mathew Block. Block has a long history of communications work for Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) and Confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide. He came into office in November 2011, and the first issue of 2012 marked his first as editor—but his byline had appeared in the publication well before that! In addition to his role as editor of LCC’s national publication, Block currently serves as Communications Manager for the International Lutheran Council (ILC), a position he formerly held for LCC as well. President Timothy Teuscher expressed, “On behalf of the pastors, deacons, and congregations of LCC, I thank Mathew for serving as editor of our church periodical over these past number of years. Even more, I thank our gracious and merciful Lord for giving us such a sound confessional Lutheran lay theologian.” LCC team members look forward to continuing to work with Mathew Block on future endeavours!

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THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

On behalf of the pastors, deacons, and congregations of LCC, I thank Mathew for serving as editor of our church periodical over these past number of years. Even more, I thank our gracious and merciful Lord for giving us such a sound confessional Lutheran lay theologian. - President Teuscher


West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia - Michelle Heumann, editor

Ordination of Rev. Adam Chandler CALGARY, Alta. - On June 21, 2020, Adam Robert Chandler was ordained at his home congregation of Foothills Lutheran Church. Since travel was impeded due to the global pandemic, Candidate Chandler’s assigned congregation of Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church in Victoria graciously permitted him to be ordained in Calgary before being installed at Hope, allowing his extended family to attend.  Rev. Chandler’s grandfather (Rev. Eldon Ohlinger), great-grandfather (Rev. John Ohlinger), and great-uncle also served as Lutheran pastors in western Canada. With his mother having taught in a Lutheran preschool for seventeen years and his sister working for seven years in a Lutheran preschool, he is a fourth-generation church worker. Rev. Chandler was baptized by Rev. Ohlinger on his grandfather’s birthday, 31 years before;

the first infant baptism in the new sanctuary at Foothills Lutheran, where he was also confirmed and, now ordained. The stole Rev. Chandler received during the ordination service was a gift from his grandfather, who in turn received it as a gift from Foothills on the congregation’s 25th anniversary. The Old Testament reading was delivered by Rev. Ohlinger, who had been released from hospital after surgery less than two weeks earlier. The Epistle lesson was read by Regional Pastor Robert Mohns, and the Gospel lesson was read by Concordia Lutheran Seminary President James Gimbel. Rev. Chandler’s faculty advisor at the seminary, Rev. Dr. John Hellwege, delivered the sermon. Foothills’ senior pastor, Rev. David Bode, read a verse over Rev. Chandler at the ordination. This happened to be the confirmation verse of Rev. Chandler’s uncle who

died in an accident before he was born. His middle name, Robert, is in remembrance of his uncle. Also in attendance were Rev. Chandler’s baptismal sponsors and his first Sunday School teacher. Rev. Bode and Deaconess Miriam Winstanley served as liturgist and organist respectively. Rev. Chandler wishes to thank Foothills Lutheran for the monetary gift, which will go towards a desk for his home office in Victoria. Betty Ann Chandler

2020 Ministry Wives Online Retreat

Participants in the 2020 Ministry Wives Online Retreat.

WEST REGION - “Get Connected!” was the theme of the first-ever Ministry Wives Online Retreat, held May 1-2, 2020. Using Zoom, twentythree women from Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan met virtually to study material by Dr. Henry Cloud on the four types of connections in life: no connection, bad connection, fake connection,

and real connection (with God and with each other). They also delved into God’s Word to hear His thoughts about connection. Zoom allows for groups to be divided into virtual breakout rooms, and this is where most sharing took place. Friday night was a time of fellowship, followed by an online game of “Drawful,” hosted

by Michelle Gamble. There were lots of laughs as the women drew pictures, then guessed what others had drawn! Saturday morning and afternoon had one-hour sessions to discuss the teaching material by Dr. Cloud. Prior to the retreat, the women had watched related videos, looked up Bible passages, and thought about the discussion questions on their own. Saturday evening was a time of worship and prayer. Rev. Robert Marshall from Immanuel and Emmaus Lutheran churches (Tomahawk and Drayton Valley, Alta.) recorded an audio message for the retreat, related to the theme of connecting with God and with others. The organizers thank Sharon Marshall, Cindy Lunderby, Jazmin Kurtenbach, Donna Tufts, Michelle Gamble, and Rev. Robert Marshall for helping bring the idea of an online retreat to fruition. Deanna Hautz, Ministry West Region Wives Committee Chair

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West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia - Michelle Heumann, editor

What’s Normal Anymore? FROM THE REGIONAL PASTOR, REV. ROBERT MOHNS

T

his spring, in the midst of all the challenging questions and chaos brought on by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself driving in the countryside. My attention was drawn to things that I had viewed a hundred times before but never taken notice of. The tender shoots of newly planted crops, the black dirt, the slowly greening hayfields, calves frolicking about the land enjoying the first blushes of life outside the womb. There was something comforting, grounding in the normalcy of the scene. I was reminded of what God had spoken in His covenant with Noah: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). In the midst of a pandemic of “new normals” flooding our lives, we can take heart in the constancy of God’s Word for us. The term “new normal” seems to be a buzzword for our day. It extends beyond new hygiene protocols like physical distancing, mask-wearing, frequent hand washing, and the like. This pandemic of new normals includes mandates to grab hold of new worldviews, values, beliefs, and

ways of living in relationship with one another and with God. Perhaps you are feeling confused, anxious, fearful, or overwhelmed as you stand in the midst of the onslaught of new normals. What’s normal anymore? Why should it matter? God be praised that He has not left us alone in this pandemic to navigate our way through the chaotic onslaught of new normals. No, He has given us His holy Word. God’s Word is the one true norm by which all others are to be judged, as “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). In a few weeks, our congregations will observe Reformation Day. The Reformation restored the Word of God to the Church at a critical time. The Reformation happened during another pandemic, the Black Plague which decimated the world. It happened during a period of social upheaval. Luther’s world was chaotic and filled with challenges to the life and faith of God’s people. It was filled with war, uprisings, and revolts. It was filled with new thoughts, new inventions, and new social relationships.

Historians have often pointed to the development of the printing press as the reason why the Lutheran Reformation took off. Some today have also begun to suggest that equally important was the Black Plague pandemic. Whatever the case may be, it is evidence that our God continues to act to keep His Word front and center in the midst of His people, yes, even in the midst of the overwhelming chaos of our day. We trust that our gracious Lord will continue to act to save people in our day as he has done in the past, by His Word alone, by His grace alone, and by the free gift of faith in Christ alone. Friend, the world, such as it is, is filled with new normals, God’s people are blessed to have only one normal to focus on: God’s holy Word. May our gracious and merciful God continue to reform our hearts and minds, that His Word remains ever rooted there. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” - Colossians 3:16

Vancouver Island Circuit barbeque VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. - On the afternoon of June 28, 2020, members of the Vancouver Island Circuit and their families gathered for the first time since the pandemic lockdown for a barbeque and to give thanks for the service of circuit pastors Revs. Mark Smith and Tim Rumsch. Rev. Smith retired from ministry at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Parksville, on June 21, and Rev. Rumsch was scheduled to conclude his service September 1. Rev. Fraser Coltman

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THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

L to R: Rev. Mark Smith, Darlene Smith, Jackie Rumsch, Rev. Tim Rumsch, Rev. Erik Trovall, Jennifer Trovall, Rev. Paul Roggow, Rev. Al Dudiak, Rev. Phil Washeim, Shirley Dudiak, Rev. Fraser Coltman, Wendy-Lee Kruesel, Rev. Tom Kruesel, Rev. Kevin Platz, Jakob and Josiah Platz, Elisabeth Platz, and Rhonda Kelman


West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia - Michelle Heumann, editor

Celebrating ten years of ministry at Riverbend EDMONTON, Alta. - After the Sunday service on April 19, 2020, Rev. Sye Van Maanen was surprised with a virtual celebration to mark his tenth anniversary at Riverbend Lutheran Church (cake and ham included)! Rev. Van Maanen is well known for his love of ham, coffee, motorcycles, his wife and family, and his love for proclaiming the Gospel every Sunday. At the conclusion of the livestreamed service, the church’s other staff enlisted the help of members to make a surprise Zoom call to the

pastor. The online event was the best option available, given the COVID-19 restrictions. Members were delighted to see so many people join in, as it had been a month since the last meeting for worship in person.

The congregation gives thanks to God for providing such a steadfast and faithful servant in Rev. Van Maanen, and they pray God’s blessings on his ministry going forward. Kristin Ross

VBS 2020: God meant it for good PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. - In mid-July 2020, Hope Lutheran Church hosted its first-ever Staycation Bible Camp: a virtual, fully-online Vacation Bible School. The theme was “God Meant it for Good” and unpacked the amazing true story of Joseph. Participants discovered how, in spite of many ups and downs in his life, Joseph could declare in Genesis 50:20 “God meant it [all] for good,” and what that means for us today! The Bible Camp was made up of Bible stories and puppet shows that were fully developed, written, and performed by Rev. Laverne Hautz and Dcn. Stephanie Mayer, Director of Parish Services. The Camp also included a daily link to an online activity that connected with each day’s theme, most often a drawing tutorial. The final component of the camp was a time of music with classic VBS songs,

presented with help from Connie and Heidi Goetz, two young adults from the congregation. Segments of each day were recorded, edited, and processed by a dedicated tech team of congregation

members: Carl Schmidt, Paul Botelho, and Mike Goetz. The hour-long video (including all elements) for each day was uploaded to a private Facebook group during the week of July 13-17. Families were encouraged to join the

group, view the video for each day, and post their version of the day’s activity to foster communication and interaction. Invaluable communication and interaction were also provided by Janice Klassen and Francesca Fortier. The videos will remain in the Facebook group for the time being, giving families the novel opportunity to participate in VBS at a later date or at their convenience. Anyone is welcome to view the videos, which can be found through the VBS listings on the Lutheran Church-Canada website. The congregation is grateful for the opportunity to minister in a new way through online channels and that God provided the expertise to make this Staycation Bible Camp a reality. To God be the glory. Dcn. Stephanie Mayer

50 Years of Blessings and Miracles GOLDEN SPIKE, Alta. - June 28, 2020, was a day full of celebration and rejoicing at Zion Lutheran Church in Golden Spike as Rev. Ken Rodeman celebrated 50 years of ministry. Rev. Keith Hoveland led the worship service and Regional Pastor Rev. Robert Mohns preached and presented

a certificate from Lutheran Church– Canada noting the milestone. Rev. Rodeman has written an article highlighting the challenges he has overcome through God’s grace, and the blessings he has been afforded during his 50 years in the ministry. “I am truly amazed at how God called

such an unlikely candidate like me into the ministry,” he writes. “But I assure you, God isn’t done with me yet. He is still using and changing me. So I know there are more miracles and blessings to come.” Read the whole story at: www.canadianlutheran.ca.

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West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia - Michelle Heumann, editor

Grace in Osoyoos

Joseph in his new home, with the “weighty” gift.

OSOYOOS, B.C. - In addition to taking care of people spiritually, through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God and the administration of the sacraments, Grace and St. Paul Lutheran Churches in Osoyoos and Oliver also believe it is important to care for people physically. On February 29, 2020, a local man with connections to Grace Lutheran,

Joseph Arbour, lost his home and all his possessions in a fire. That same day, a member of Grace, Ruth Knippelberg, took Joseph into her home, where he remained for approximately two months. During that time, on the recommendation of the local fire chief, Rev. Darren Siegle started a Go Fund Me page for Joseph. This brought in about $3,000, and other gifts in kind were also offered. Joseph has now been able to replace his home with a 30-foot motor home, with an addition on the side, but he was still in need of funding to upgrade its electrical capabilities. To help him along, Grace and St. Paul raised approximately $2,300 for Joseph at a four-day garage sale— much of it in coins! Due to the weight of the money, Rev. Siegle had some fun the gift on

behalf of the churches. He reported to Joseph that he had 23 “pounds” to give him, and Joseph wondered why the churches would give him currency from the United Kingdom. However, the $2,300 weighed approximately 23 lbs on the bathroom scale. Joseph was taken aback at the sight and weight of the gift! Joseph said: “As a believer, I can have peace and joy through prayer. When I pray and give thanks to God, even when it’s hard to, we are promised to be given grace and our prayers will be answered. In the past year and half my faith, my prayers, and the prayers of others have upheld me. I have been tested and through people of faith, I have endured. I am so thankful, grateful, and humbled by the outpouring and finances given to me.” Rev. Darren Siegle

Drumheller congregation finds ways to gather and serve during pandemic DRUMHELLER, Alta. - As the first stage of re-opening Grace Lutheran Church began on July 15, 2020, several small groups met for outdoor communion services on the back lawn of the church. All Alberta Heath protocols were followed, and attendance was limited to five families or cohort groups at each service, adhering to social distancing measures. Members brought their own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on, and Rev. Scott Gamble ensured that everything was sanitized and all communion elements were served on disposable materials, with only the pastor coming into contact with the elements. Things have certainly changed for the church and the congregation

is blessed to have Rev. Gamble and so many volunteers providing an online church service each Sunday, finding new ways to keep the church family together in these uncertain times. As well, evangelism and community outreach are alive and going strong in spite of the pandemic, as Grace launched its fifth annual “New Shoes for School” program for the community. This year, the program provided forty-four pairs of shoes, with no child turned away.

With COVID-19 impacting so many, there was more of a need than ever as families struggled financially with sending their children back to school. The program was an incredible success. Lynn Hemming, Evangelism Chair, “thanks the members of Grace Lutheran Church who every year dig deep to support this cause.” She also gives “special thanks to several community members who gave us funds to help out this program.” Rosalie Nimmo

WEST REGION

Contact Rev. Robert Mohns, Regional Pastor

| rmohns@lutheranchurch.ca | 1. 855. 826. 9950 | 22

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020


Central Region News

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and NW Ontario - Michelle Heumann, editor

Rev. Lowell Dennis retires QU’APPELLE CIRCUIT, Sask. - Rev. Lowell Dennis, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Cupar and Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Southey, has retired from full-time ministry. Rev. Dennis was ordained in Brampton, Ontario, in June 1988 after attending Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines. After marrying Diane, he began serving his first parish in Luseland, Saskatchewan, in August 1988, before going on to serve Grace Lutheran Church in Regina, and Hope Lutheran Church in Winnipeg. In 1999, Rev. Dennis began serving the dual parish of Zion in North Southey and St. Paul in Cupar. Emmanuel in Southey joined

the parish in 2009, and there were three congregations until the fall of 2014, when Zion’s church building

flooded and the congregation there joined Emmanuel. Throughout his ministry, Rev. Dennis also served as a circuit counselor, a zone counselor for

three Lutheran Women’s Missionary League-Canada (LWMLC) zones, and a district counselor for the LWMLC. He served vacant congregations in the area, and as a counselor at Camp Lutherland. During the pandemic, he provided recorded worship service videos for the parish. Ac t i v e i n t h e l o c a l community as well, Rev. Dennis was a soccer coach, a volunteer at the public library, and served with Meals on Wheels. He sang in choirs, was on a bowling team, and was on the annual July barbeque festival team. For now, Rev. Dennis will continue serving the parish on a part-time basis as the process to call a new pastor proceeds. Diane Dennis

Online VBS at Good Shepherd

Dcn. Amanda Hastings illustrates a biblical story by making whipped cream.

REGINA, Sask. - Vacation Bible School looked a lot different this year at Good Shepherd Lutheran than it ever has before! As was the case for many churches as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Good Shepherd was forced to evaluate whether there was a need for VBS and what form it should take. “Being a parent myself, I wasn’t keen on trying to do a full day of VBS every day with my daughter as well as all the other things we were trying to fit into our summer,” says Director of Parish Services, Dcn. Amanda Hastings. “As a church worker, I wasn’t sure that I could hype up a week of at-home VBS

Volunteer Chris Raedeke is pelted with paper rocks in this VBS sketch.

when I myself was struggling with the concept.” But in a year of weird, why not change things up even more? Thus, instead of five simultaneous days of VBS, there were five weeks of VBS, each with one lesson for the week. Each Monday, Good Shepherd’s YouTube channel featured a Bible story told by Dcn. Hastings along with some memorable guests. These stories were bookended by music, object lessons, and videos highlighting the theme of each Bible story. Families were encouraged to pick up VBS kits from the church, which included a craft for each week and some additional materials that accentuated each lesson.

Although online VBS was not the original plan, the church is glad to have done it. A total of 27 VBS kits were distributed to families. This adds up to roughly the same amount of children who would have attended an in-person VBS at Good Shepherd, and does not include those children (and adults) who watched the videos without picking up a VBS kit. Given the success of the online VBS, Good Shepherd has opted to offer online Sunday school as well, which will be following a similar format, and is slated to begin September 20, 2020. Dcn. Amanda Hastings

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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Central Region News

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and NW Ontario - Michelle Heumann, editor

The Epidemic of Fear FROM THE REGIONAL PASTOR, REV. DAVID HABERSTOCK

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here is an epidemic of fear these days. It’s understandable given all the uncertainty we are facing and the challenges we’ve been wending our way through. Fear abounds. And it cuts both ways. There are those afraid of getting sick in the pandemic. There are also those afraid of what we are doing to ourselves and our society in trying to deal with this pandemic. But both ways there is fear. You might identify with one side more than the other, but I suspect you have a high degree of fear and concern these days. Fear has a purpose. It makes you sit up and take notice of danger. There are many dangers surrounding us every day. You need to be careful when walking in danger. Too much fear paralyzes you and keeps you from moving forward when your life may depend on it. Fear also gives rise to anger and hatred, which can lead to all manner of sin. The answer to fear is love, for love is the opposite of fear. Or, as St. John says, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Love combats fear. And St. John tells us, “we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). God loves you. You know this to be true, for He has claimed you as

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His own, placing His name on you in Holy Baptism. Christ our Lord has purchased you from sin, death, and Satan with His holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death so that you might be His and live under Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. As a Christian you abide each day in His love. Sin, Satan, and the world seek to rob you of this knowledge and cause you to fear everything but Him who is your salvation (Matthew 10:28). In general, daily Bible reading and prayer is a good tonic for the fears of the world that assail us. Bible reading reminds us of Him and pours His love into us and we cast our cares on Him in prayer. But at a time of increased fear, like our present age, you may need more powerful medicine. Love casts out fear. But how do you get a big dose of love? Certainly, you can hug your loved ones and declare aloud as much as possible that you love them. But the Love of God is what is truly needed to cast out fear in your life. The most powerful way to receive His love and comfort for you is by confessing your fears. You can do so in your daily prayers, but there is no more powerful way to receive the love of Christ that casts out fear than through private confession and absolution, which applies the peace and comfort of Christ’s salvation to you personally,

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

and after that to quickly receive the very presence of your loving Saviour in His Body and Blood. Being filled with the Love of Christ that casts out the spirit of fear, we can then be bold to love our enemies. Fear causes us to view even family members or friends with whom we differ as enemies, whereas love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). So when Christ our loving Saviour tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), He is giving us incredible wisdom. Imagine inviting your enemy over for a meal and lovingly preparing it for them all day, as you might for your own family on Christmas, and then spending hours with them at table breaking bread together and enjoying good wine. How can that not soften your heart or theirs? Well, Christ has done you one better, when He prepared a table for you in the presence of your enemies (Psalm 23:6). In our natural state you and I are enemies of God, but He prepared the cup of salvation for you, pouring out His blood on the cross, and feeding you His body and blood from the altar, thus making enemies into His beloved friends. Christ Jesus, cast out our fears with your perfect love for us so that we might live in you in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. Amen.


Central Region News

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and NW Ontario - Michelle Heumann, editor

Rev. Peter Knelson ordained and installed in Warman

Rev. Peter Knelsen (third from left) and pastors participating in his installation.

WARMAN, Sask. - St. John’s Lutheran Church in Warman is thrilled to have a new pastor to shepherd their flock. The congregation received the news on May 29, 2020, that Peter Knelson, a recent graduate of Concordia

Rev. Peter and Laurel Knelson.

Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, would be their new pastor. T h e c o n g re g a t i o n h a p p i l y welcomed Rev. Knelson and his wife Laurel into the community when they moved in mid-July. Soon after, Rev. Knelson was ordained

and installed on August 2. The congregation is excited to continue the ministry that God has given them in Jesus Christ, and they are thankful to God for providing a new pastor to lead them in the way of truth.

Rev. Joshua Kurtenbach ordained and installed at Our Saviour Lutheran Church

Back Row: Revs. James Chimirri-Russell, Lowell Dennis, Daryl Solie, Gerald Anderson, and Central Regional Pastor David Haberstock. Front: Joshua Kurtenbach.

FORT QU’APPELLE, Sask. The congregation of Our Saviour Lutheran Church (OSLC), along with friends and family of Rev. Joshua Kurtenbach and his wife Jazmin, gathered on July 26, 2020, for the service of ordination and installation. Rev. Kurtenbach accepted his first

call to OSLC after graduating in May 2020 from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton. Ordination and installation officiants were Revs. David Haberstock (Central Regional Pastor), Gerald Anderson, James Chimirri-Russell, Lowell Dennis, and Daryl Solie.

Rev. Joshua and Jazmin Kurtenbach.

Regretfully, the potluck which usually follows installations at OSLC couldn’t be held due to COVID-19 restrictions. The congregation plans to host a meal to welcome Rev. Kurtenbach and Jazmin once those restrictions have been lifted. Lavinia Henderson

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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Central Region News

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and NW Ontario - Michelle Heumann, editor

Rev. Travis Heide installed at Cypress Lutheran Parish SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. - The installation service of Rev. Travis Heide on July 19, 2020, brought to an end the twenty-two-month vacancy at Mt. Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in Swift Current. Mt. Calvary is part of the Cypress Lutheran Parish, which also serves Trinity Lutheran Church in Ponteix, Sask. The parish fondly remembers their previous pastor, Rev. Brad Julien, who celebrated his last services at Swift Current and Ponteix on September 9, 2018. Rev. Julien currently serves at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, where he also works with Street Reach Ministries (an arm of Lutheran Community Care Centre). During the vacancy, Regional Pastor David Haberstock served the Cypress Lutheran Parish, guiding them through numerous calls, while Pastor Emeritus Rev. Bryan Rosnau

From left to right: Todd Schultz (Congregational Chair at Mt. Calvary); Rev. David Haberstock (Regional Pastor); Rev. Travis Heide; and Rev. Randy Heide (father of Travis)

presided over monthly services at Swift Current and Ponteix, and made visits that were much appreciated. On March 11, 2020, the Cypress Lutheran Parish issued a call to thencandidate Heide upon graduation from Concordia Lutheran Seminary

in Edmonton. After accepting the call, he was ordained at his home congregation of Saint John’s in Warman, Saskatchewan. Rev. Travis Heide Photo: Cindy Schultz

40th anniversary celebration for a beloved pastor WINNIPEG, Man. - On Sunday, September 6, 2020, a special celebration was held at Holy Cross Lutheran Church for Rev. Dr. Harald Schoubye in honour of the 40th anniversary of his ordination. Rev. Schoubye was born in Berlin, Germany in 1955 and grew up in Winnipeg. He received his baccalaureate from the University of Manitoba, then went on to a M.Div., and with a divine call he was ordained in September of 1980. He completed a Master of Theology degree in Historical Theology in 1991, and a Doctor of Theology degree in

Exegetical Theology from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1996. Rev. Schoubye has served his Lord Jesus Christ at congregations and a seminary in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Missouri, Minnesota, and British Columbia. On November 29, 2015, he was installed at Holy Cross and has served the congregation faithfully to the present day. The congregation prays that God would continue to bless Rev. Schoubye and his wife, Cynthia, in all that they do for their Lord and Saviour. Larry Krause

CENTRAL REGION

Contact Rev. David Haberstock, Regional Pastor

| dhaberstock@lutheranchurch.ca | 1. 800. 663. 5673 | 26

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020


East Region News

Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada - Michelle Heumann, editor

Trinity Lutheran Church creates VBS in a box FISHERVILLE, Ont. - COVID-19 restrictions created an opportunity to do some out-of-the-box thinking for Vacation Bible School this year, and the team at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fisherville met this challenge by putting VBS in a box! The Bible lesson was “Easter Week,” and the kids learned about how one of the greatest gifts ever given came from a sad and terrible event: the gift of eternal life. Through crafts and lessons, the kids learned because Jesus died on the cross to save them from their sins, that He lives forever with them, and that He helps them get through the rough spots of COVID-19 and find the blessings all around them. A total of 35 VBS boxes were made, which the congregation gave out to children, grandchildren, friends, and neighbours in the community at the end of July. The VBS team prays that everyone can meet in person again for VBS in the summer of 2021! Tricia Miller, VBS team leader

SUBMISSIONS Send your news, photos, articles, and announcements to Michelle Heumann, Regional Editor: regionaleditor@ lutheranchurch.ca. For submission guidelines, visit www.canadianlutheran. ca/editors-and-submissions/. Olivia Miller with some of the crafts she created from her “VBS in a box.”

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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East Region News

Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada - Michelle Heumann, editor

A Look Back FROM THE REGIONAL PASTOR, REV. MARVIN BUBLITZ

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nce again we are at that time when we look back and consider the Reformation. Looking back can be a beneficial exercise. Recently, I have been looking back as my siblings and I have been going through my mother’s house to settle the estate. This has made me look back remembering things from childhood. One memory is Saturday morning cartoons. The one that stood out was Bugs Bunny standing at a cave saying, “Open Sesame.” Suddenly, the cave opened revealing a mound of golden treasure. I think I spent the rest of the day at every door saying, “Open Sesame.” I recall my older brother saying something like, “You don’t have the power, Marvin.” Those words are important for us to keep in mind. They cut to the heart and expose our thinking. We want the power. In a real sense that is what happened in the Garden of Eden when Satan enticed Eve to “be like God.” That same temptation hounds the people of God every day. In our sinfulness, we want to call the shots, tell everyone what to do, and run the show. We poor miserable sinners want the power. We will try to wrestle it from anyone we can—even God. When someone says something we don’t like or agree with, we claim the power to decide they are wrong. Now, think what that means for our relationship with the Lord. He tells us we are sinners. We each disobey Him, doing our own thing

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and ignoring His holy Word. We sin, but we don’t like to hear that, so we try to assume the power to declare what is right and wrong. Just look at society around us and you will see what I mean. Thankfully, the Lord does not leave us to wallow in our sinfulness. He continually comes to us with His Word of Law to convict and condemn the sinner. His desire is that the sinner repent and live. Sadly though, even when we are brought to repentance our power struggle does not end. It shifts to our setting the method of forgiveness. Think how often you have heard someone ask for forgiveness. Then the other person sets out various conditions to show they are truly repentant and deserving to be forgiven. In a real sense this is just a power grab, making oneself judge, jury, and God. Consider how the prophet Nathan replied when King David confessed his sin. Nathan declared, “The Lord has taken away your sin” (2 Samuel 12:13). There was no long list of things for David to do in order to prove repentance or earn absolution. It was God in His divine power who would earn this forgiveness, through a descendant of David. When His Word of Law drives us to the foot of the cross in repentance, all there is for us to say is “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” There is nothing we can say or offer to the holy God to earn His mercy and grace. Rather, He has shown us the extent of His mercy and grace upon a cross.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

We desire to be in heaven with our merciful Lord. Yet, once again, we want to have the power to determine when and how we get there. But it is the Lord in His divine wisdom and power who determines the length of our days, and He has determined how we enter. We can only enter through and for the sake of His Son. Jesus paid the price with His lifeblood, but so often people want to set their own terms of entrance. Throughout history we see many claim that you must do this or that if you hope to enter into the Lord’s eternal rest. This takes us to our consideration of the Reformation. As we observe its anniversary, we must ever do battle with our own sinful nature, a nature that wants to wrest for ourselves the power of salvation. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves worthy of forgiveness or salvation. God has done it all in His Son. If we try to add anything from ourselves, we are really saying, “Nice try Jesus, but you don’t have the power. I’ll handle my own salvation.” Those who reject Jesus this way will find the doors of heaven shut to them. As we commemorate the Reformation with its return to the true Gospel of salvation in Christ, let us give all praise to the Lord for all He has accomplished through His chosen servants, then and now. Let us rejoice in the true Gospel: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).


East Region News

Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada - Michelle Heumann, editor

Zion’s virtual VBS

One of the families enjoying Rev. Schnarr’s storytelling video over breakfast.

DASHWOOD, Ont. - During the week of July 20, 2020, Zion Lutheran held a virtual Vacation Bible School, and are leaving the

links available for the remainder of the summer. Twenty-eight families officially registered, with more than fifty

children participating in some or all of the activities. There were families from the local rural community, as well as families from various locations in Ontario (Timmins, Barrie, Tilsonburg, Belleville, London), one family from B.C., and a family from Oregon, Ohio. Zion is very grateful to Rev. Cam Schnarr, Trixie Wolff, and the staff at Beautiful Saviour in Winnipeg for generously sharing their resources and videos, which were enjoyed by all the families. The VBS team provided craft supplies for the families who registered, and the pastor’s wife, Elizabeth Trembulak, left remaining craft supplies and resources at the church for families to help themselves. Zion appreciates the support of Lutheran Church–Canada’s synodical office in promoting the program. Cindy Hamather and the VBS team

Clarington ladies host bridal shower

The groom’s sister fashions a ribbon hat for her future sister-in-law.

PORT PERRY, Ont. - The ladies of Clarington Lutheran Church, along with close family and friends, hosted a bridal shower on September 19, 2020, in honour of Mercedes Haggart. The group enjoyed games, food, and fellowship in a beautiful backyard

The soon-to-be newlyweds!

setting, allowing for proper physical distancing precautions in light of COVID-19 restrictions. Mercedes and her fiancé, Anders Robinson, are having a small wedding ceremony this October. The congregation also looks forward to

Mercedes’ baptism, which is scheduled to happen in October as well! The members at Clarington Lutheran are thrilled to welcome their new sisterin-Christ to their church family and to support the newlyweds as they begin their lives together.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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East Region News

Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada - Michelle Heumann, editor

Deacon publishes devotional book SARNIA, Ont. - Dcn. Brenda Ryan, a former Director of Parish Services, recently published a book, Journey through the Bible, to guide readers through the entire Bible in 406 days. Self-published through Friessenpress, the launch was held at her home congregation, Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sarnia, on February 22, 2020. Several other book talks and signings were postponed or cancelled d u e t o C OV I D - 1 9 . However, Ryan has found it interesting that people are seeking to find answers and digging into Scripture more than ever, and are calling her and requesting the book to assist them. Although no longer serving a congregation full time, Ryan says: “I did not love to serve God’s children because I was a called deacon, but I am a deacon, always, because I love to serve God’s children. Serving and encouraging is who I am.” In 2016, Ryan began writing devotions with a desire to share with people who needed to hear them, and in 2017 LWML-Ontario supported her attendance at Speak Up, a conference for Christian writers. This led her to begin a blog called started CoffeeTime with Brenda Ryan, where she posted a devotion every Monday morning. Currently there are more than 150

posts which have found readers in 57 countries. The book began in September 2017, when Ryan first posted a week’s worth of Bible readings along with words of encouragement

and points of interest for each day. “God is true to His Word, and the Holy Spirit works through God’s Word,” Ryan says. “I knew that even if I was not face to face with people, like when I served in

fulltime ministry, God would draw readers’ hearts to Him, He would reveal himself, and the Holy Spirit would work faith in the hearts of the readers. The first time I read the Bible all the way through, it changed my life, and I wanted that for others.” With an average three chapters each day, it took 58 weeks, or 406 days, to read through the Bible. Ryan also presented the Bible in chronological order so that similar points in history were presented together, like some of the events of the kings and major prophets of the Old Testament, as well as the same stories as told by multiple people in the New Testament. The journey through the Bible ended in October of 2018, while weekly devotions continued. There were challenges keeping the vast number of entries in proper format for future readers, so friends encouraged Ryan to offer the material in book form. In 2019, Ryan began doing just that. Ryan concludes: “It is my prayer that these devotions are available for those who are seeking the Lord, his truth, and salvation, and who desire encouragement in their faith.” With notes from Dcn. Brenda Ryan

EAST REGION

Contact Rev. Marvin Bublitz, Regional Pastor | mbublitz@lutheranchurch.ca | 1. 855. 893. 1466 | 30

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020


Mission News www.canadianlutheran.ca

MISSIONS - International Updates Planning is underway for Lutheran Church–Canada’s 2021 International Missions Budget, as well as the Project Proposals for CLMS and LWMLC. CLWR is still in the process of working on their Project Proposal with their Partner Organizations to support our Education and Feeding Programs in Nicaragua.

UKRAINE

Although Ukraine has closed its borders to non-essential visitors, the government has lifted most domestic travel restrictions, allowing Rev. Oleksiy Navrotskyy, LCC Missionary, to restart his monthly trips to the new mission station in Lviv.

NICARAGUA/ COSTA RICA

The Education Program resumed in August in areas that have a low number of COVID-19 cases, observing every sensible protocol to keep everyone as safe as possible. Most of the congregations have also resumed Divine Services and catechesis, while practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Rev. Edmundo Retana in Costa Rica has also been able to resume Divine Services and Bible Studies.

THAILAND

Thankfully, the ministries around Thailand have been able to continue uninterrupted. However, due to travel restrictions, theological education seminars that were scheduled for the summer and autumn have been postponed. LCC Missions hopes to resume these seminars as soon as travel is permitted and it is safe for our LCC instructors to enter the country.

CAMBODIA

In response to economic challenges caused by COVID-19, the Cambodia Lutheran Church provided food aid to more than 350 families throughout Cambodia, in partnership with Lutheran Church–Canada, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Garuna Foundation, Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation, and Lutheran Church of Australia. This project was a great blessing to these communities and gave the Church the opportunity to connect with people they otherwise would not have reached. A video highlighting the distribution of aid in Cambodia can be viewed on YouTube here: shorturl. at/fjDFO.

LCC Missions! Follow @ lcc_missions on Instagram! Check out our introductory video “LCC Missions 101” on YouTube!

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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Mission News www.canadianlutheran.ca

ESSENTIALLY SERVING French Ministries in Confinement

by David Somers

QUEBEC - Physical distancing protocols as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have created avenues for LCC’s francophone congregations that we may not have imagined or attempted before. The fears surrounding the threat of COVID-19 have opened the door for genuine inquiries about members’ and contacts’ wellbeing. People are more receptive to the church’s questions and concerns about their wellness of mind, body, and spirit—and even welcome this type of contact not just on a singular basis but regularly. Frequent phone calls and Zoom worship services; emailed daily devotions, weekly Bible studies, and sermons for

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adults; and sharing videos and worksheets on each Sunday’s Gospel lesson for children have become the accepted normal for our francophone churches in Quebec—as we continue the work we ought to do, through new mediums. The increased communication in depth and breadth has been well-received. Never before have our services been so consistently well-attended. Never before have so many families and their children been regularly following Sunday school instruction. Never before have we had so many catechumens at one time faithfully participating in Christian instruction with the full and active support of their parents.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

In the case of catechesis, all of the participating children are those of families that had rarely been seen in worship service in the past one to four years, but responded to the invitation to use this time in confinement as a chance to benefit from Christian education! Indeed, ten households that had all but disappeared from the church are back as regular participants! In hard-hit Quebec, as members, friends, families and colleagues have fallen ill and even passed away, requests for prayers increased, as did the congregations’ active response to them through phone calls, emails, and in the home. Our congregations continue to grow as


Mission News www.canadianlutheran.ca

praying communities, more than members of the church in France studies and YouTube services (since ever before. accepting Quebec’s invitation to join France was set up for confinement When time for re-opening the choir. Francophone Lutherans services before us, we could simply the churches in Quebec came in in Haiti and the USA have also been join what they had already been July, members began stepping up invited to sing along. doing for weeks). Confinement willingly and enthusiastically in In this horrible and cruel proved to be a great opportunity Christian charity, with patience pandemic, the Word has not only for members here to get to know and helpfulness—a demonstration persisted but transformed, enlightened, that church more intimately than of an esprit de corps at a level strengthened and energized us like ever before. Special editions of daily not previously so prolongedly never before in an across-the-board devotions were produced by that experienced among us. way. Proclamation of the Word is not church body and shared with us During the confinement, we bound, but is flourishing. It is indeed electronically. Then, as of Pentecost, have increasingly taken advantage true: “Built on the Rock the Church we had joint (Qc-Mtl) Zoom Sunday of the liturgical richness of the doth stand”—even when church Matins from Montreal (from my Lutheran Church through Matins buildings are closed, even when we living room). When the church and Vespers on Zoom with their cannot congregate and commune as building where we meet was opened particular hymns, and appropriate before, even when we cannot sing in July, services were held there prayers, such as the together in person. We can Suffrages. Pre-virus, the nevertheless worship as surely typical service twice a week as ever. in Montreal was one of So now the church three eucharistic liturgies. is being strengthened, if One example of the new challenged, and can faithfully opportunities to worship p r e a c h t h e Wo r d a n d is Quebec Lutherans’ administer the Sacrament joining Good Shepherd in in new circumstances. We Moncton, New Brunswick, are not paralyzed by new f o r T u e s d a y Ve s p e r s constraints, but energized commemorating the minor by them. The Word is no less festival of the week and effective in these times— catechetical instruction. indeed, all the more so, Rev. David Milette is the as more people are being liturgist and I offer the regularly fed and edified by meditation. Another aspect that abiding Word in times of this increased use of of trouble, a bulwark in the the liturgical wealth is the storm. We are not frozen in c o m m e m o ra t i o n o f t h e grief over the paradigm of saints and festivals of the how things used to be but, Never before have we had so Church—often forgotten— instead, pushed to the limits many catechumens at one during those services. For to joyfully, creatively, and example, in the month of fully be led forward in faith time faithfully participating August, the feasts of St. to the glory of God. in Christian instruction. Lawrence, St. Mary, and Most of Quebec’s St. Bartholomew, and the population is now on red martyrdom of St. John the alert until the end of October, Baptist were celebrated. These as the number of confirmed cases Sundays (with Zoom) and Mondays. services also serve as a way for skyrockets. The Church does not Overall attendance has been higher Good Shepherd to reach out to know what tomorrow will bring, but at the Zoom services than in-church the wider Acadian community certainly knows how to live today— services. In all, we have increased in French and allows Quebec as it always has. the number of weekly services from (and elsewhere) to support New three to five for the time being. A Brunswick: a weekly mission trip Rev. Dr. David Somers serves as virtual choir (another COVID-19 era Missionary at Large for Lutheran by Zoom! development) has been organized by Church–Canada’s French ministries Until Pentecost (and even now), a Montreal member. To celebrate the in the province of Quebec. we turned to our sister church Reformation this year, it has taken in France for weekly live Bible on an international flavour with THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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Education News www.canadianlutheran.ca

Sabbath Conference 2020 E D M O N T O N , A l t a . - F ro m M a rc h 4 - 6 , 2 0 2 0 , C o n c o rd i a Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton hosted the annual Sabbath Conference, with Lutheran Church–Canada church workers gathering both inperson and virtually. After the unfortunate cancellation of the 2019 conference, organizers were delighted to have seven in-person and four online participants, with an additional three online attendees for the annual business meeting. The conference explored the theme “Vocation and the Future of Church Work.” The main presenter was the Central Region’s Regional Pastor Rev.

David Haberstock. The Bible study leader was Rev. Curtis Boehm from Grace Lutheran Church in Edmonton.

The Sabbath Conference has met annually for approximately twenty years, primarily for the professional development and refreshment of

deacons and other professional church workers. The foray into a virtual conference this year was timely and was met with much enthusiasm by those who joined electronically from across the country. The organizers thank Concordia Lutheran Seminary for generously allowing the use of their facility and video equipment to make both the in-person and the virtual conference a success. Sabbath plans to meet again in 2021 with the expectation that it will be a fully virtual conference. Details of that event are still in the planning stages and will be forthcoming. Dcn. Dr. Jennifer Frim

Call for Nominations: Honourary Awards and Degrees at CLS EDMONTON - Though we are now in the season of fall, Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS) in Edmonton wants you to think about spring. Every spring at its Sacred Convocation, CLS has the opportunity to grant honourary awards and degrees based on nominations received from people like you. The recipients of these awards and degrees are selected by the faculty and Board of Regents after prayerful consideration of all nominations received. Through these honourary awards and degrees, CLS recognizes the

outstanding contributions of our clergy, deacons, and lay people. CLS is now accepting nominations for 2021’s honorary awards and degrees to be presented at its Sacred Convocation on May 28, 2021. Nominations close January 1, 2021. Nominations may be made for the honourary degrees of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.), Doctor of Letters (Litt.D), and Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). In addition to these degrees, the seminary also invites nominations for the Faith in Life,

Friend of the Seminary, and the Doulos Dia Iesoun awards. The specific criteria for each award or degree and nomination forms are available from Dcn. Dr. Jennifer Frim. For more information, contact: Dr. Jennifer Frim, faculty secretary Concordia Lutheran Seminary 7040 Ada Blvd. Edmonton, AB T5B 4E3 tel. 780.474.1468 ext. 223 fax 780.479.3067 email jfrim@concordiasem.ab.ca

CLTS issues Call for Honourary Awards ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Each May at its annual Call Service, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario has the opportunity to confer two major awards on worthy pastors or lay members of Lutheran Church– Canada (LCC). The recipient of the Friend of the Seminary award is nominated by the faculty or Board of Regents for making a significant contribution to the well-being of the seminary.

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The Delta Chi Medal, by contrast, is awarded by the seminary on behalf of the wider church. This “highest and most distinguished award” is “presented to an individual, either clergy or lay, whose life exemplifies service to Christ in his/her everyday living and vocation.” In nominating, one should consider the person’s service to the local congregation, the community, the synodical district, the church at large, church service organizations, and educational

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

institutions. “Delta Chi” refers to the initials of the Greek expression διάκονος χριστοῦ, which means “servant of Christ.” Anyone in LCC may nominate a candidate for the Delta Chi award. No current faculty or board member is eligible. Please submit your nomination in writing to the seminary or via e-mail to concordia@brocku.ca. The deadline for nominations is December 15, 2020.


The

LAMPlighter

Pray that it is so!

VOLUME 51 NO. 2 FALL 2020

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by Jeanne Johnson, volunteer missionary, KI and Wapekeka

he summer of 2020 would have been year 18 for my U.S. team to teach Vacation Bible School in the community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) (also known as Big Trout Lake), Ontario, and year eight for neighboring Wapekeka. With a core group of at least three, we have had a total of 61 people travel from various states and provinces to help teach

Bible camp, pray and witness God’s love to His people in the North. This year, the Canadian border was closed so we were unable to lead our Bible camp in the usual way. LAMP offered to provide a virtual platform for us to share our VBS with our two northern communities. With God’s help, the wonderful team from Nebraska, Indiana and Michigan put together a set of videos that taught God’s Word and His promises through the theme we had earlier planned, “The Armor of God.” We used a past LAMP curriculum of that title as a guide, offering five short videos in each of these areas: stories, prayer, music, puppets, crafts, object lessons, and a daily challenge. We kept things simple, not knowing what supplies the children would have, but the end result, we believe, was powerful.

A sample of the Bible storytime on video for the virtual classroom.

An “Armor of God” puppet show online.

While we don’t know how many in the community have watched the videos, we trust that God will use it all for His glory. (Internet service in these communities can be challenging, especially for something as lengthy as a video.) We do know that the former principal of the school watched it with her child, and others have seen bits and pieces. A friend in one of the northern communities mentioned on Facebook that her grandchildren were excited to learn more about God, but she didn’t know how to teach them. This was the perfect chance to point her to the Armor of God videos we had prepared. Even at home, one friend watched Day 1 with her seven-year-old granddaughter, continued next page THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020 35


www.lampministry.org

Pray that it is so, continued who immediately wanted to watch each day so she could learn more about the armor God gives us to wear and what that means. If you are interested in checking out our videos, just search for KI LAMP Bible Camp Team on YouTube.

While it was fun to do the filming and see the end results of each team member’s efforts, we are hoping and praying that we can return next year. In the meantime, we continue to keep in touch with our friends up North by regularly hosting a video chat. Inevitably, we hear the question, “Are you guys coming back next year?” We pray that it is so!

Team members explain the online format of clicking on the map markers to see the different lessons and activities.

KI and Wapekea team in action videotaping for virtual VBS. Child watching puppet show in her home in KI.

A time to pray Randy M. Heide, Missionary Pastor

A

s I sit here in the cabin at Sioux Lookout (mid-August) and think about what is different in this COVID-19 time, I am led to ask, “What is normal?” There is usually a hustle and bustle of over 100 volunteers with LAMP travelling to their northern communities through Sioux Lookout from the end of June to now. As the missionary responsible for northern Ontario and eastern Manitoba, I would typically be traveling as well to provide support to these teams and the respective communities that they serve. Instead, I listen to the crickets outside the window. Everything is different.

This particular trip arose from the need to make contact with our communities following our June deliveries of kits of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other health supplies for COVID-19 preparedness. LAMP had been approached by Samaritan’s Purse to partner with a group of organizations to ensure that the necessary supplies reached communities in need. Along with those PPE’s, we had brought children’s biblical books, Bibles, youth Spark Magazines, and prayer blankets for the communities to distribute. (I also squeezed in a socially distant continued next page


The

LAMPlighter A time to pray, continued prayer time with my airport contact since we were not allowed into the community). Because some of the communities we serve were not going to get a visit from one of LAMP’s staff missionaries, we asked Lutheran Laymen’s League to partner with us. They prepared 500 children’s packs containing the book “The Bible Tells Me So,” a craft, a cookie, and a note from LLL encouraging the kids as they learn about Jesus’ love for them. I added a “Jesus Loves Me” colouring sheet with a personal “Missing You” note from their friends at LAMP. This was something we could deliver to communities, and again, we added Bibles, Spark Magazines, and prayer blankets to the packages. While I wait in Sioux Lookout, there’s still work to be done. One of our lifetime northern friends is here with her husband who is in the hospital. I go to visit and pray for and with them. Did I mention pray? Yes, pray! Pray for the community as they struggle with many deaths this past winter and spring along with change. Pray for my friend and her husband as things will never be the same when he goes back home from the hospital in a wheelchair. Pray for her at the loss of her dad this spring, who was an elder and faith leader for the community. Pray for my friend’s daughter who attempted suicide after a relationship breakup. During this time, my friend introduced me to a young teen from her community, who had just been discharged from the hospital after attempting suicide, and to this teenager’s Kokum (grandmother) who was with her. Kokum was also visiting a sister who is 90 years old, brought out of her community to the hospital and not expected to be able to return home. So we prayed together. On the weekend, I will celebrate the addition of another two congregations and a team to our

Missionary Pastor Randy Heide giving PPE supplies to Sister Una in Norway House.

LAMP family. I will join Pastor Alex Timm at Dryden and Vermilion Bay in prayer, and I will meet with congregation members (outside after service at a proper social distance) to answer questions about the mission work of LAMP. They voted to officially support the community of Cat Lake and pray for its residents throughout the year. It is truly a time to pray. God our heavenly Father calls us to pray. Jesus shows us how to pray. The Holy Spirit lifts our prayers to the Father’s throne. And so, we pray during this season of Jubilee where God reminds us, He is the author and founder of our faith. He is the creator of all. He shall set the work before us to do in His time. So is everything different or it is normal? . . . It depends on who we think is in control.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)


www.lampministry.org

It has been a challenging year thus far, and we want you to know that your prayers and gifts mean everything. When you support our ministry, you have an impact on who we reach with Christ’s love. From all of us at LAMP and in the North, THANK YOU!

Even though times are different, Jesus’ love is shared through “care” packages for the children. South Indian Lake is only one of the many communities blessed by our supporters and teams!

LAMP Mission Statement

LAMP is a cross-cultural ministry sharing Jesus Christ with God’s people in remote areas of Canada. 4966-92 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6B 2V4 Donations can be made at our website Box 480167, New Haven, MI 48048 tel 800-307-4036 x fax 780-466-6733 38 THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020 Individual gifts are acknowledged with an official receipt for income tax purposes, and are tax deductible as allowed by law. Each gift designated toward a board-approved program will be used

www.lampministry.org

as designated, with the understanding that when any given need has been met, designated gifts will be used where needed most.


In Review: Tenet

C H R I S TO P H E R N O L A N ’ S

TENET by Ted Giese

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enet’s lead character, the Protagonist, is a soldier with clandestine special training who is recruited into a temporal cold war to stop the future destruction of time and the material world. In this mysterious palindrome of a film he receives a code word, “Tenet,” being told that it will “open the right doors, some of the wrong ones too.” Armed with this word and a gesture of interwoven fingers he embarks on a James Bond-esque globetrotting mission, complete with the glamorous damsel in distress; the billionaire villain and his henchmen bent on destruction; car chases; heists; secret identities; and a doomsday devise that must be found before the countdown runs out. The film’s twist is that linear time—where the past moves into the future along a straight line of cause and effect—is inverted thanks to technology which allows the future to move backwards into the past, reversing the normal line of effect and cause. Sound confusing? At one point, a mysterious character named Neil asks the Protagonist if his head hurts. Many in the audience might be inclined to respond “yes” too. The technology which reverses time also affects the properties of things in the physical world too—making oxygen poisonous to the lungs, for example, or making the heat of a fire so cold it can cause hypothermia. The dangerous impacts of the machine create a kind of tipping point, in which enough of time is affected that all the past and all the future collapse into each other, obliterating everything. A truly unpleasant man with the kill switch who must be stopped is the Russian arms dealer Andrei Sator. He holds

an “If I can’t have the world, no one can” kind of attitude, rushing to assemble the device to flip the switch and destroy everything that ever was or ever would be.

audiences something more with which to engage. This time, the mystery is built

THE SATOR SQUARE Director Christopher Nolan loves making puzzle movies, intricately assembled, and with carefully dovetailed “aha” moments—from 2006’s The Prestige, 2010’s Inception, to 2014’s Interstellar. Increasingly, Nolan seems interested in the way in which drama and tension can be heightened by what is observable and what is mysteriously hidden as time unfolds. This is why Tenet rewards multiple viewings. The second time through, viewers know what is about to happen and can see the puzzle pieces click together; all the dovetails join in real time. As many viewers lament the derivative

nature of films with a preponderance of remakes, sequels, and re-imagined properties, Nolan seems on his own unique trajectory. If Tenet is derivative of anything, setting aside the Bond-esque plot, it is derivative of his own earlier works—a kind of compilation of his previous tricks. Yet even here he continues to give

around the Sator square, an ancient Latin palindrome word square. A palindrome is a word that can be read the same forwards and backwards—an idea which fits perfectly into a film where past and future characters interact with each other and themselves in the present. A Sator word square contains five words which can be read backwards and forwards as well as up and down. All of the words in the Sator square show up in Nolan’s film indicating that their presence is not an accident: “Sator” is the name of the villain, “Arepo” the name of the forger, “Tenet” the code word for the Protagonist, “Opera” the location where the audience first sees inversion, and “Rotas” the location of the vault and time turnstile. Christian viewers may find the use of the Sator word square of additional interest, as it has long been purported to be a covert way in which Christians in the Roman army revealed themselves to each other. The word “Tenet” inside the square creates a cross. Likewise, in Nolan’s film, “Tenet” is at the heart of the salvation and of time itself—a biblical allusion to Christ and His sacrifice, which for Christians is the fixed centre point in time and history where forgiveness flows backward into the past and forward into the future.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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Historically, the Sator square, which is its own mysterious puzzle, has also been rearranged to reveal a hidden anagram in the form of a Greek cross: “Pater Noster,” with a mirrored Alpha and Omega. “Pater Noster” are Latin for “Our Father,” the first words the Lord’s Prayer. Alpha and the Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and are used in the Revelation of St. John to indicate Jesus’ temporal omnipresence, even His existence outside of time: “I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13).

SELFISHNESS/ SELFLESSNESS The emotional core of Nolan’s film Tenet centres around Kat, the entrapped wife of villain Andrei Sator. She is held against her will by her husband who thinks she purposely passed off a forgery of a Goya drawing by a man named Arepo. In reality, she had only mistakenly passed it off as genuine. She desperately wants to keep in contact with their son and is willing to help the Protagonist if it means she can get away from Sator with her son. While she begins the film as a Bond-esque damsel in distress, she becomes an increasingly important piece of the puzzle necessary to resolve the plot. The Protagonist is not, as might be imagined, the film’s emotional core. He and Neil seem to float backwards and forwards in time

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without deep underlying character motivations until the end of the film. Even then, it becomes clear that the film’s end is really the middle of a potentially bigger story. There are several things Christian viewers may want to think about in regard to Tenet. As Sator prepares to destroy all things in a nihilistic apocalypse, there is an interesting exchange between him and the Protagonist. Here Sator admits paying money for time in a kind of “deal with the devil” to extend his life. He also confesses knowingly bringing his son with Kat into the world even as he planned to annihilate it. During the conversation he says, “I think God will forgive me,” to which the Protagonist says, “You don’t believe in God.” This is where things get interesting: Sator, referring to his perceived power over time, responds that he is a “god of sorts.” This cuts to the heart of the story for Christian viewers: every motivation of Sator is curved in on itself. He is entirely selfish to the point of believing himself to be a god. Even his aforementioned conversation with the Protagonist is self-justification, not the product of a repentant heart seeking true forgiveness. By contrast, the motivations of Kat, the Protagonist, and men like Neil are centred on helping others. They are on a sliding scale of selfinterest, perhaps, but ultimately they are focused on the good of the neighbour and a willingness to sacrifice self for that good. As Christ says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Sator desires to lay down his life for no one but himself. Tenet’s sound design and sound editing have received some criticism. Often the swell of the music score, the ambient noise around the characters, and breathing apparatuses obscure the dialogue, making it hard to hear what is being said. Upon second viewing this isn’t poor sound mixing; it’s intentional. There are moments where the audience strains to hear

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

the dialogue just as the character in the moment would have to strain to hear what is being said. This is particularly evident in a scene where Sator, Kat, and the Protagonist pilot a catamaran. The sound of wind, waves, and the music envelop Sator’s and the Protagonist’s words, distracting viewers from what Kat is about to do. Nolan appears to use the sound design to create a sense of realism while also using it to distract and misdirect. There are other moments when it’s important to see that something is being said but what is being said is ultimately not that important. This is evident when the score drowns out a tour of Rotas, a vault-like facility for the storage of expensive items like art works and antiquities that the rich and powerful don’t want to pay duty or taxes on. While there may be creative reasons for Nolan’s manipulation of sound in the film, that doesn’t mean they won’t frustrate viewers. At some point there will be people who will watch the film with the subtitles on just to make out every word of dialogue. Easier to solve than the Sator square that inspired it, Tenet is an intriguing film filled with enough mystery and intricacy to entice and reward multiple viewings. This is a solid entry in Nolan’s growing portfolio of original stories. John David Washington provides a strong performance as the Protagonist, giving audiences someone to hold on to as everyone moves backward and forward through time. He also proves himself a believable action star. Audiences willing to go on a mind-bending adventure will be happy, provided they are willing to think about what they just watched. In this case, the analysis is half the fun.

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. For more of his movie reviews, check out the Movie Review Index at: www.lutheran-church-regina.com.


Transitions Rev. Tim Graff, candidate, to Redeemer (Didsbury, AB). Installation: October, 4 2020 Rev. Bradley Julien, Redeemer (Kakabeka Falls, ON)/LCCC Street Reach (Thunder Bay, ON) to Emmanuel (Southey, SK)/St. Paul’s (Cupar, SK). Installation: TBA

THE

Rev. Jason Schultz, St. Peter (Oxbow, SK)/ St. John (Frobisher, SK) to Emmanuel (Moose Jaw, SK). Installation: October, 4 2020 Rev. Mark D. Smith, Our Saviour (Parksville, BC) to Emeritus. Reminder: Up-to-date Calls/Transitions information can be accessed any time at: w w w. c a n a d i a n l u t h e r a n . c a / c a l l s transitions

HEBREWS 4:12

Rev. Timothy Rumsch, Faith (Courtenay, B.C.) to Emeritus.

WORD OF GOD

IS LIVING AND ACTIVE

SHARPER

ANY SOUL

THAN

TWO-EDGED SWORD

PIERCING TO THE DIVISION OF www.lutheranchurch.ca www.canadianlutheran.ca

Lutheran Church–Canada

@thecanadianlutheran @lutheranchurchcanada

@CanLutheran

@canlutheran @lcc_missions

AND OF

SPIRIT

OF JOINTS AND OF MARROW

AND

DISCERNING THE

THOUGHTS AND

INTENTIONS OF THE

HEART THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

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President’s Ponderings

The Paradox of Christian Faith and Life by President Timothy Teuscher

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he word ‘paradox’ refers to a statement that seems to be contradictory and yet is true. For instance: “The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.” And again: “The pursuit of happiness makes you unhappy.” Or further: “The more choices we have, the harder it is to choose.” The Bible is also filled with paradoxes, with apparent contradictions (at least according to our finite, limited, and sinful human reason) that are nevertheless divinely true. This should not be all that surprising; after all, God Himself has declared: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). And St. Paul says that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). The paradoxes begin with God Himself. So it is we confess in the Athanasian Creed that “the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God.” They continue with the person of Christ and those familiar words from the Small Catechism: “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord.” St. Paul puts it this way: “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). And the paradoxes reach a climax at the cross of Christ “when God, the mighty maker, died for His own creatures’ sin” (LSB 437:3). Consider also the paradoxes we see in this world as Christians. Jesus says:

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“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses His life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). And St. Paul says about himself: “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He also says concerning himself and his colleagues in the ministry: “We are treated as impostors; and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:8-10). We are called to believe, confess, teach, embrace, and meditate on these paradoxes, but many instead try to explain and rationalize them away. This is the common denominator of many, if not all, false teachings, stretching all the way back to the Garden and the Devil’s tempting word: “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1). I mention all this in light of a couple of things. First of all, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, consider the various paradoxes in the Holy Scriptures concerning pestilences and disasters. Is this pandemic God’s judgment upon a sinful and unbelieving people (see Deuteronomy 32:18-24)? Is it a sign of the end times and Christ’s second coming (see Luke 21:11)? Is it a result of God’s onceperfect creation having been marred by sin (see Romans 8:20-22)? Is it the devil’s work (see the Large Catechism’s explanation of the Seventh Petition of the Lord’s Prayer)? Do Christians and non-Christians alike suffer from this pandemic (see Luke 13:1-5)? Is the purpose of this pandemic to lead us to repentance and more fervent prayer (see 2 Chronicles 7:12-15)? Are Christians assured of deliverance from this pandemic (see Psalm 91:9-10)?

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN September/October 2020

The answer to all these questions is a paradoxical “Yes!” This year marks the 500 th anniversary of one of Martin Luther’s most famous and influential writings, ‘The Freedom of a Christian.’ It begins with a paradox based on 1 Corinthians 9:19: “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.” Here are a few tidbits from the Reformer in this treatise: “One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the Gospel of Christ, as He says, ‘If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed’ (John 8:36).” “It ought to be the first concern of every Christian to lay aside all confidence in works and increasingly to strengthen faith and grow in the knowledge, not of works, but of Christ Jesus, who suffered and rose for him. For no other works make a Christian.” “As our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbour through our body and its works, and each one should become as it were a Christ to the other, that is, that we may be truly Christians.” “A Christian lives not in himself but in Christ and in his neighbour. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbour through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbour.” How can we as Christians navigate our way through the many paradoxes connected with COVID-19? I suggest using Luther’s paradox as our guide: “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”


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