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LUTHERAN www.CanadianLutheran.ca

Volume 35 Number 6 - November/December 2020



Your gifts have the power to change lives this Christmas! Find a copy of our new 2020 Gifts from the Heart catalogue inside this issue of The Canadian Lutheran, or visit www.clwr.org/GFTH to donate online.

www.clwr.org/GFTH | 1.800.661.2597

Contents Features www.canadianlutheran.ca Volume 35 Number 6

November/December 2020

“The Word Became Flesh”: Seen & Unseen Christmas Light, Christmas Peace A Lamp to My Feet: Reading The Word of God Daily

6 8 11

Departments Table Talk

Newborn Hope


From the Regional Pastors



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

West: It’s Good to Be in a Rut! Central: Prancing Ponies Before the King East: A Newborn Child Can Change the World President’s Ponderings Singing the Angels’ Christmas Song

20 24 28 42

News Section International News


ILC welcomes second Tanzanian diocese into membership

National News


LCC joins letter opposing Bill C-7 • LCC Six Month Financial Report • LCC holds first Special Convention • Questions Concerning The Church & Mental Suffering, New Resource in Church Worker Wellness

West Region


Outdoor services in Torrington • Bethlehem Lutheran decommissions building • Rev. Wendel Ritz installed • Pageant of Christ’s Birth

Central Region


Central District LWMLC embraces technology • “But I am baptized!” • “Socktober” sock drive • Pastoral Installations

East Region


Lutherans gathering together during difficult times • Installation of Rev. Peter Gatluak • Honouring a long-time Sunday School superintendent

Mission News


HLMS says thanks for COVID-19 support • Deaf Ministry Pioneer called to rest • Hurricane Iota impacts Nicaragua

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.

Education News

©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.

In Memorium




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


LCC Seminaries at Work • CLS, Classes, and COVID-19 • Looking ahead...What’s New at CLS? • CLTS welcomes new Professor • From Africa to Canada... • A Bumper Crop of New Students

Supplement LLL Canada


MEDIA in Mission

News from Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada and Lutheran Hour Ministries


Partnering with You in HIS mission


THEfor CANADIAN We were made this LUTHERAN November/December 2020 3


n the past year we have been presented with so many new opportunities and relationships that despite the struggle of the pandemic we are calling

DO THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS CAUSE YOU CONCERN? • Christians are less involved in spiritual conversations today than we were twenty-five years ago. • Spiritual conversations are painful and awkward. • Many churches and communities are shrinking instead of growing. In The Reluctant Witness author Don Everts shares his surprising and sometimes embarrassing stories which will assure you that spiritual conversations can actually be delightful. In The Spiritually Vibrant Home you are invited to contemplate what the Bible says and what research reveals about everyday households of faith. You may be surprised to learn that vital practices of spirituality, hospitality and community make for delightful places for living and thriving. Both The Reluctant Witness and The Spiritually Vibrant Home are filled with original research from the Barna Group and biblical teaching put together by Lutheran Hour Ministries’ author Don Everts. The result is fresh insights and best practices for fruitful, everyday conversations and practical steps for LHM resources are available nurturing a vibrant household of faith. from Lutheran Laymen's League of Canada. info@lll.ca www.lll.ca 1-800-555-6236

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Life Insurance “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 For us as Christians, our belief in the resurrection, along with the assurance that God has promised us everlasting life, brings a great comfort. It is also comforting to us when we have something sound that can be left behind when we die. Life insurance policies provide that kind of comfort. Did you know you can gift an existing policy to your Church or any LCC synodical family organization? If you have an existing policy that was used to cover your mortgage and it is no longer needed for that purpose, perhaps consider transferring it as a gift to the church, making the premiums a charitable gift as well. Whether transferring an existing policy or opening a new one, different options are available based on the tax benefit you desire. A Regional Gift Coordinator can assist you in determining what would work best based on your goals. Contact your Regional Gift Coordinator today for more information on this wonderful act of Stewardship.

www.lutheranfoundation.ca 4

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

Table Talk

Newborn Hope

by Mathew Block


ou are out walking in a place you do not know well. The sun has set. A chill wind begins to blow. You want to go home, but do not know the way. You are at the mercy of the night. Of the cold. If only someone would light the way… This is the picture Isaiah paints of the world before the birth of Christ (Isaiah 9:2). The people “walked in darkness,” he says. They “dwelt in a land of deep darkness”—prisoners of the night. There is no sun. No warmth. It is a hard and barren world. Christina Rossetti, writing two and half millennia later, describes something of the same bitter landscape in her poem “A Christmas Carol.” In a bit of poetic license, she imagines the birth of Christ as having taken place in “the bleak midwinter.” The first verse of the poem sets the stage: In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan; Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter Long ago. It is into this dark and sinful world—symbolized here as the harshness of deep winter—that our God comes. “Heaven cannot hold Him,” Rossetti says, and yet He comes all the same. The wonder of the Incarnation is confessed in stark, simple terms: “In the bleak midwinter / A stable-place

sufficed” to house “the Lord God Almighty / Jesus Christ.” Our God comes. He comes into the deep winter of our sin. He comes to warm our cold hearts—to make alive that which is dark and barren. He comes to make Spring, like Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, bounding into a world of “always Winter, never Christmas.” Because at last it is Christmas; the fulfillment of generations of prophecy is at hand. Jesus has come! The Child of Mercy has been born! God has descended to dwell among us! “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” Isaiah writes. “Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.... For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given” (Isaiah 9:2,6). This newborn Son shines on our benighted world, freeing us from the depths of winter’s grip. Like the dawn, He bursts forth in light. He brings peace. He brings joy. He brings salvation. He also brings hope, hope that you will need during what may prove to be a very bleak winter indeed. The pandemic may rob you of much that is good this season: time spent with friends and family; time spent together in worship with your local congregation; and more. But one thing that cannot be taken from you is Christ Himself. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” St. Paul writes. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor

powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39). This God loves you so that He took on flesh for your sake; He will not be frightened away by a virus. This God loves you so that He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross for your sins; He will not be stymied by social distancing measures. No tomb can shut Him in. No locked door can keep Him out. He comes. Yes, He comes to you now just the same as always, with gifts of love and hope and peace beyond all mortal understanding. In this issue, we reflect anew on the miracle of that coming. Kelly Klages invites us to deeper meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation— to marvel that the Word of God became flesh like us (see page six). Rev. Mark Smith reminds us how the light of Christmas overcomes darkness, even the darkness of war (see page eight). And Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel encourages us to remember that Christ—the incarnate Word of God—comes to us not merely once a year, but again and again in the pages of Holy Scripture (see page 11). I pray that the good news of Jesus Christ—the coming of God to be with you, to die for you, to rise again for you—will take on new meaning for you this Christmas. May the miracle of the birth of Christ bring you peace. And may it also grant you newborn hope to carry you through the midwinter of this world.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


You came to us among the blooms of spring And filled our hearts with newly-planted joy; Your infant eyes toward the sun, they bring The faith and wonder of a little boy. At Christmas, in the cold of winter’s night The Christ awoke among the stars to see The deepest dark, that everlasting light And endless spring be won for you and me.

(for Micah, born Ascension Day 2009)

For Who is like the Lord? Yes, who indeed, Yet glory here with frailty is masked; So in this incarnation we concede That Who is our Lord like? may well be asked. He’s like so many precious little ones Who lay concealed among the reeds within The river; like so many mother’s sons That have no reservation at the inn.

I feared the curse; I feared the labour pain That plagues the daughters (and the sons) of earth; But dreams would come to still my fears again While waiting on the advent of your birth. No messenger from heaven came to me, Yet on one word of promise I could dwell: Lo, I am with you always—may it be, The God who calls Himself Immanuel.

I love you, baby boy, and marvel how Our Lord is mirrored in your flashing eyes; You bear His mark upon your heart and brow, His infant life is in your smiles and cries. May I reflect Him in some little way With sacrificial love and mercy mild, For peace on earth was given Christmas Day When Love incarnate looked on us, and smiled.

Eternal Word, descending and enshrined Within the softness of a baby’s cry; But you, my son, will always bring to mind The day our Lord ascended to the sky; We were not orphaned on the day He rose To heaven’s glories; now He can be near As Mommy’s kiss upon your cheek, as close As light, and swirling snow, and winter cheer. You are my gift, and all good gifts are sent From God the Father, glorious above; And all these gifts a little while are lent As I was given you to hold and love. Now, not one birth we celebrate, but two: The one true good and perfect Gift to men The Father sent to come deliver you, To see you born, and washed and born again.


THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

Photographs: Kelly and her husband, Rev. Alex Klages, with their son, Micah.

Two Births

Though faithful mother-love is well, it knows Its own temptation, and can stand at odds With truth, and gilded cradles will oppose The edict You shall have no other gods. One mother, one alone, did what was good In worshipping the baby born to her; One child’s nativity was understood Aright, when blessed with incense, gold, and myrrh.

“The Word Became Flesh”: Seen & Unseen by Kelly Klages


wrote the poem on the previous page after the birth of my oldest son on Ascension Day 2009. I was sitting in church that evening, listening to my husband preach the Word, and went into labour! Micah (whose name means “Who is like the Lord?”) was born to us shortly before midnight. Some of the major themes in the poem are Christ’s Incarnation and Ascension, and what links the two: the enduring presence of Jesus, for us, guaranteed through His Word. One of the most astounding things that strikes a believer about the Incarnation of our Lord is that God, our God, has a human face. The closeness of our God in Christ to His people is remarkable. He not only shares our skin, but also our human suffering, sorrows, and humiliations. He came to earth as a baby, entered fully into our human existence, was seen and touched. John writes in his Gospel: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory...”         And yet near the conclusion of the same Gospel, the Evangelist records the words of Jesus to Thomas: “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” For us, Christmas is not really about seeing the face of the Christ child. It’s about acknowledging the truth and beauty of His incarnation. We give thanks for the witnesses who proclaimed the physical reality of God-with-us. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life...” (1 John 1:1) But we are not the eyewitnesses. We are the doublyblessed receivers of the incarnate Word—preached, read, received in the Lord’s Supper. We do not see, but we hear, and in this hearing is our salvation. Peter puts it this way: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Many of the dark and dry periods of hardship we experience in this life have to do with things that are hidden. Perhaps things or people we love have been taken away from us in some way. Maybe we are forced into long periods of waiting and frustration. We may know the truth, but it is buried under feelings that are proclaiming the opposite to us. We long to see with our own eyes the fulfillment of our hopes and desires, while God is calling us to wait and trust Him. My baby was born on Ascension Day. We often associate that biblical event with leave-taking and “hiddenness,” and think of the loss that the apostles and the whole world sustained. Jesus, however, ascended with words of hope and promise. His Ascension was to fill all things, to be even more intimately present to His growing Church throughout the world through the apostolic ministry of the Spirit-filled Word of God. Advent, too, is about walking by faith and not sight, knowing that God is never far from us, and He is coming soon. Having begun a good work in us, His people, will He not bring it to completion? Christmas reminds us that long, painful, difficult Advents do come to an end in the face of the revealed Christ. God keeps His promises. His truth and the trustworthiness of His Word are the only things that matter in the end. And when we are blessed with those visible, tangible glimmers of the good that is yet to come—we give thanks. And our eyes at last shall see Him Through His own redeeming love For that child so dear and gentle Is our Lord in heaven above And He leads His children on To the place where He is gone. - LSB 376:4

Kelly Klages is a writer and artist living in Morden, Manitoba THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


Christmas Light,

Christmas Peace


n Christmas Eve more than a hundred years ago in a Belgium battlefield, the world stood at war on the Western Front. On one side of this bloody conflict huddled the British soldiers; on the other side, the Germans. As the sun began to dip and the fierce fighting of the day began to die down, the German soldiers laid down their weapons and


THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

by Mark Smith

began to decorate their trenches with Tannenbäume and Christmas wreaths. They lit candles and started to pray. As night approached, messages from the Germans were sent to the British troops that read: “If you don’t shoot, we won’t shoot.” Not long afterwards, the Germans began to sing Christmas carols. One of them caught the attention of

the British troops, and all was quiet as they listened to the Germans sing. Although the hymn was in German, the British knew it well: Silent Night, Holy Night! All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child. Holy Infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace. When the Germans finished singing the carol, the British troops began to sing it in English. In the midst of one of the bloodiest battles in human history, there was a moment of peace, a short truce amongst enemies as they reflected upon the holiness of this night. For all too brief a moment, soldiers on both sides set aside their hatred and enmity, and recognized that they had something in common, something far greater than their nation and homeland: they shared a common faith in Jesus Christ. Once the singing stopped, the soldiers began to shout out Christmas greetings to one another. And soon after, something remarkable happened: soldiers from both sides crawled out of their trenches and walked to the middle of the battlefield. There the two sides met and greeted one another, wishing each other a Merry Christmas. And then they made it so by exchanging gifts with each other: food, drink, tobacco, and military souvenirs. They even playing soccer on the battlefield. The “No Man’s Land” between the two armies was filled with men that night celebrating their Saviour’s birth, worshipping as one the incarnate Son of God. More than a century ago, the Light of Christ shone into the darkness of a sinful war and brought peace, the kind of peace that only God can bring to our sinful world. On that holy night, earthly enemies understood that they were brothers in Christ. For one silent and holy night, these soldiers were able to sleep in heavenly peace. The Christmas truce of 1914 lasted through Christmas Day, and in some areas lasted through the twelve days of Christmas. Unfortunately, it was not to last. Once word of the unofficial truce reached headquarters on both sides, commanders were irate that something like this had occurred—something that could derail the war effort. They disciplined those they felt were responsible, and issued strict orders forbidding future communication with the other side. Even newspapers were ordered not to publish anything about this event. Nearly a week later, however, The New York Times dismissed the order and published an article about it on the front page. British and German publishers followed suit, publishing pictures that were taken at the event and calling it a Christmas miracle. Sadly, the powers that be dismissed the light and peace of the event, and ordered the darkness of war to continue—a war that would

rage on for four more bloody years leading to the loss of millions of lives. Yet for one night in Belgium, the Light of Christ shone into the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it. The Light of Christ shone into the hearts and minds of the soldiers on the battlefield and filled them with the peace of God, a peace which surpasses all human understanding. That peace brought a halt to battle so that both sides could give glory to God in the highest and praise Him for the gift of His Son. And what a gift! The Son of God took on flesh and became one of us and tabernacled among us. Jesus Christ came into our darkness to shine the Light of God into the world, the Light which now leads us down the path of salvation—a salvation which He Himself won for us on the cross, a victory which brought us peace with God. More than 2,000 years ago, the Son of God came into the world He created, and yet the world did not know Him. He came to dwell amongst His own chosen people, yet they did not receive Him. St. John tells us that that though Jesus is the Light of God, the people loved the darkness more than the Light because their works were evil. We see this love for darkness displayed in the aftermath of the Christmas truce of 1914. The Light of Christ brought peace that Christmas Eve, but the peace did not last because the powers that be loved the darkness of sin more. Their sinful nature

in the midst of

one of the bloodiest

battles in human history,


wa s a mom e n t o f

peace, a short truce

amongst enemies as they reflected

upon the holiness of this Night.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


The Holy Spirit

craved and loved worldly power and material wealth more than peace and harmony, more than their neighbour, more than God. Instead of embracing the peace of God, they turned their backs on it and led others to do the same, resulting in the death of millions. But we must not simply condemn these acts without recognizing that we too are tempted to love the darkness of sin rather than the Light of Christ. We too are lured by our sinful n a t u re t o e m b ra c e the material treasures and worldly pleasures offered by sin rather than the grace and peace that Christ Jesus offers. We too face spiritual attacks on our faith and doubt from the instruments of darkness, which blind us to the Truth of God—leading us not to take faith and church too seriously—and urge us to ignore our neighbours in need. We too are tempted to turn our backs on the path which God has set before us. These temptations are all too common in this dark and sinful world. And all too often we fall prey to these temptations, embracing the darkness rather than the Light. Yet this is why Jesus has come into the world. He says: “I have come into the world as Light, so that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). Christ Jesus came into the world to deliver us from the darkness of our sin and to lead us into the Light of His salvation. He came to forgive, and to grant us peace with God. And that is exactly what He has done for all who believe in Him. Jesus has shone His Light on us. The Light of His Holy Word shines into the darkness of our hearts and minds, creating faith to believe in Him—to trust that by His death and resurrection our sins are forgiven and that we now have peace with God. And His Light gives us hope, hope that clings to His promise that He is always with us, that He will guide and direct our lives, and that He will grant to us everlasting life. And now that He has given us this Light and this peace, He warns us not to allow the darkness of this

world and our own sinful flesh to lead us away. To protect us from the darkness, Jesus gives us His Holy Word to be a lamp to our feet and light to our path. Whenever we are tempted by the darkness, God calls us to turn to the Light of His Word. The Holy Spirit uses that Light to guide our path to Christ Jesus—to repentance and the forgiveness of sins, and to the strengthening of our faith in the salvation already won for us. It was this Light which led soldiers more than a century ago to join together in worship of the Son of God made flesh. The same Light calls us now to do the same. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will fill our hearts and minds both now and always with the Light of Christ and with the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding.

uses that Light to guide our path to





the forgiveness of sins, and to the strengthening of

our faith in the

salvation already won for us.


THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

Rev. Mark Smith is Lutheran Church– C a n a d a ’ s E xe c u t i ve f o r N a t i o n a l a n d International Missions.

A LAMP TO MY FEET Reading the Word of God Daily B

by Leonardo Neitzel

eginning in 2011, Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) began publishing resources and encouraging individuals and congregations to read through the Bible yearly, biennially, or triennially. The theme of LCC’s national convention that year was “In Your Light We See Light” (Psalm 36:9). Several years later in 2017, LCC joined The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and the North American Lutheran Church in producing a joint three-year schedule of daily Bible readings which ran from 2018-2020. During this time, many congregations and individuals have become newly engaged in Bible reading, with uplifting and gratifying outcomes. The increase of Bible apps along with online Bible studies and devotional resources has been a blessing to young and old people alike, as they use their devices to study God’s Word. Electronic media has taken God’s Word to people outside and beyond the church. Just like the humble donkey which carried Jesus in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, electronic media has proven a powerful tool for bring the Word of God into the lives of many. Having the Holy Scriptures readily available in so many languages has helped countless people from many cultures to come to the knowledge of Jesus and walk in His Light. The church has also made good use of electronic Bibles in worship services and Bible studies. It has expanded her ministry of the Word and in mission. Christians have benefitted greatly from Bible apps in particular, especially during these critical times related to COVID-19. With Advent and the new calendar of the Church year arriving, it is timely to consider our own journey and our family’s journey through God’s Word over the past three years, and to renew our commitment to restart our reading plan for the New Year. There are several methods and plans for Bible reading. We are encouraged to read God’s Word regularly, to feed and drink from the Source of Life. We are nurtured and strengthened in faith, and the Holy Spirit causes us to grow in our Christian life and witness to stand on God’s truth and share it. We need THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


to be reminded always that tools are just tools. These are useful as long as they bring us into God’s Word. Jesus says: “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Methods of Bible Reading There is not just one way of studying God’s Word. Methods vary greatly. Some people choose to simply read portions of Scripture regularly; some take notes about the reading; others write down personal applications and prayers related to the day’s reading; and still others develop a more comprehensive practice as they survey the contextual, exegetical, and doctrinal elements involving the text. LCC congregations can encourage small Bible study groups, either face-to-face or via electronic media such as Zoom or Skype. Some groups focus on the lessons for each Sunday of the church calendar. Others pursue thematic studies of the Scriptures, or follow published studies. These are a great start, and can be expanded by participants into personal study and reflection on the texts assigned for each day of the week of the lectionary readings. You can find these texts on pages 299-304 in the Lutheran Service Book. There are many right ways to study Scripture. But there is also a wrong way. The wrong way is to approach the Bible without reverence and humility, relying more on your own understanding than on the power of the Word itself. The wrong way is when you distort God’s Word—for example, by taking a historical prophecy and assuming it’s personally about you. The wrong way is when you try to make Scripture say more or less than what it actually says—when you force


THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

it to accommodate to your worldview. God’s Word says what it says. It cannot be changed, added to, or subtracted from. It is God Himself speaking to us. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Challenging but Rewarding Reading and meditating on God’s Word, and spending time in prayer and fellowship with God on a regular basis (either individually or corporately) requires discipline and perseverance. We know some of the challenges individuals and families face today as far as setting time aside for family devotion, the reading of Scripture, and prayer: work, children’s daily schedules, caring for a family member, and many other obligations can make it difficult to set time aside for much. But time spent in God’s Word doesn’t make our lives more difficult. Instead, when we spend time in Scripture, we are reinvigorated to face the challenges of everyday life. We find we have more energy and encouragement to carry on with our chores. We do well to learn from the example of Martin Luther. Faced with the demanding schedule of his daily life, he wrote: “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Examples abound of faithful Christians throughout history who have made meditation on God’s Word and prayer their regular routine. They found, as we will find, that this practice brings with it abundant blessings—both in this life and in the life to come. Make time for God’s Word. Shortsighted are those Christians who argue they cannot make time for the Lord of Life. The first Psalm encourages us: “Blessed is the man . . . [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its

season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3). Only through God’s light are we made able to see light.

Conclusion God’s discloses His Word to us in terms of Law and Gospel. Through His Law, He reveals and exposes our spiritual diseases, our sins and shortcomings in life. Through His Gospel, He shows us the remedy for that sin—the healing which flows from the cross of Jesus and His victorious resurrection. In His Law, God shows us the way of death eternal. In His Gospel, He shows us the way of eternal life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God to all who believe.

Blessed are those who immerse themselves in God’s Word, who listen to the voice of Jesus and follow. Take to heart the promise Jesus made to the Samaritan woman at the well. He said to her: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). We find that water in the words of Scripture. May we be granted the same blessing.

Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel is Lutheran Church–Canada’s emeritus Executive for Missions and Social Ministry.

Suggested Steps in Reading God’s Word Here are few helpful steps you may wish to follow as you dig deeper into God’s Word. 1. Read the Bible text chosen for the day. 2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your meditation: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). 3. Read an introduction to the book of the Bible you will be reading. The introductions in the Concordia Self-Study Bible and the Lutheran Study Bible are good resources in this regard. 4. Consider the various contexts surrounding the text or book being read. Ask: what can the geographical, historical, social political, textual, and grammatical contexts tell you about the text? 5. Consider the genre of the text: Is it a story, comparison, allegory, parable, prayer, poem, sermon, or vision? Who is the writer? Who is speaking in the text? Examine sentences, paragraphs, period, word meaning, and so forth. 6. Remember the analogy of Scripture (the idea that “Scripture interprets Scripture.”) Examine parallel passages and cross-referenced texts in the Old and New Testaments, which speak

on the same or related topics, to help shed light on the current text. As time allows, the diligent student wants to dig deeper and deeper into the whole counsel of God revealed in His Word. 7. Summarize the central doctrine of this text, and any false beliefs condemned. 8. Ask: What are some Law and Gospel themes in this text that can be applied to my life? What doctrines is the Holy Spirit teaching me here? a. Law (Malady): In what way does the Holy Spirit warn me of my weaknesses and challenges here? What pitfalls is He warning me to avoid? How does the Holy Spirit call me to make a u-turn and repent? b. Gospel (Remedy): In what ways in this text does the Holy Spirit point me to God’s grace, revealed through Jesus’ life, suffering death, and resurrection? How does it point me to Christ and to His comfort for me? 9. Application: What are some encouraging teachings I can take from this text today? How shall I respond to God’s Word for me today? 10. Closing prayer.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


International News www.canadianlutheran.ca

ILC welcomes second Tanzanian diocese into membership

ELCT-LTD Bishop Ambele Mwaipopo. (Map Data © 2020 Google.) WORLD - The Board of Directors of the International Lutheran Council held online meetings September 21, 2020, during which time the board voted to accept the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania – Lake Tanganyika Diocese (ELCT-LTD) into membership. “As we evangelize, we have come to realize that the ILC is the faithbased organization with which to cooperate, for it can help strengthen us to witness of the Good News of Jesus Christ boldly,” said ELCTLTD Bishop Ambele Mwaipopo, noting the ILC’s strong confessional Lutheran theology. “The ILC can play a role of nurturer so that the ELCTLTD keeps in the right direction.” The ELCT-LTD, which is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), counts more than 10,000 members, 35 pastors, and 22 congregations. It grew out of mission in the ELCT in two Tanzanian administrative regions, namely Rukwa and Katavi, and was formally constituted in 2014. The ELCT-LTD was registered as a legally autonomous diocese in 2015. “It’s a joy to welcome the Lake Tanganyika Diocese into membership,” said ILC Chairman


Hans-Jörg Voigt. “We look forward to encouraging and learning from one another in the years to come, and to building a deep and abiding spiritual relationship. May God continue to bless the ELCT-LTD as it carries out its vital ministry in Tanzania.” Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, General Secretary for the ILC, also expressed joy over the Tanzanian diocese’s acceptance into membership. “We thank God for this new partnership between the International Lutheran Council and the ELCT-LTD,” he said. “I look forward to getting to know Bishop Mwaipopo and his diocese better as time goes forward.” The ELCT-LTD has been accepted as a Recognized Organization member, a category which allows organizations other than independent church bodies (for example, councils, districts, dioceses, organized movements, and individual congregations) the opportunity to partner with the ILC. It joins the ELCT’s South East of Lake Victoria Diocese, which was also accepted as a Recognized Organization member of the ILC in early 2019. The September meeting also saw the ILC’s board discuss additional membership applications, and

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

make plans for the 2021 ILC World Conference, tentatively scheduled for September 21-24, 2021 in Kenya. Because of current uncertainties s u r r o u n d i n g t h e C OV I D - 1 9 pandemic, final decisions on the feasibility of an in-person conference will be made in early 2021. The board also heard regional reports, as well as reports on ILC programming, like the Lutheran Leadership Development Program (LLDP), which is currently paused during the coronavirus crisis. Reports on supported projects in Nigeria and in Wittenberg, Germany were also received. During the meeting, the Board approved the appointment of Rev. Dr. Joseph Tom Omolo to fill a vacancy on the ILC’s Seminary Relations Committee. Dr. Omolo is Principal of the School of Theology at Neema Lutheran College, the seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya. He joins Dr. Jun-Hyun Kim (Lutheran Church of Korea); Dcn. Dr. Cynthia Lumley (Evangelical Lutheran Church of England); Rev. Dr. Sergio Schelske (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina); and Rev. Dr. Roland Ziegler (Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod).

National News www.canadianlutheran.ca

LCC joins letter opposing Bill C-7 CANADA - Lutheran Church– Canada (LCC) President Timothy Teuscher is a signatory to an open letter by Canadian religious leaders opposing Bill C-7. Bill C-7 seeks to expand access to euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. “We the undersigned remain inalterably opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide, the intentional killing of human beings, euphemistically being called “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID), but which is more accurately, and tragically, nothing less than murder.” The letter is clear that there is no wish to increase pain and discomfort for the dying, with the signatories instead calling for a “robust palliative care system available to all Canadians” as a “much more effective response to suffering and to protecting the sacred dignity of the human person.” The letter notes that the expansions currently being considered in Bill C-7 have a particularly harmful impact on persons with disabilities. “Offering euthanasia or assisted suicide to those living with a disability or chronic illness, but who are not dying, suggests that living with a disability illness is a fate worse than death,” the letter says. “This will create certain pressures to accept such lethal procedures, putting the lives of these Canadians at greater risk.” And this isn’t just the opinion of the signatories either: the letter notes that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, concluded the same thing following her 2019 visit to Canada. “I am extremely concerned about the implementation of the legislation on medical assistance in

dying from a disability perspective,” she writes. “I have been informed that there is no protocol in place to demonstrate that persons with disabilities have been provided with viable alternatives when eligible for assistive dying. I have further received worrisome claims about persons with disabilities in institutions being

civilized society. The course on which we have embarked has resulted in the perverse reality that doctors and other health-care professionals who, on basic religious or ethical principle, refuse to administer a lethal injection could be subject to sanctions, even to the point of losing their license.” The letter goes on to say that “we must embrace those who suffer, and offer exceptional care to those who are confronting illness and death; to deploy our expertise and resources in Religious Leaders in Canada oppose Bill C-7 confronting complex cases “An Act to amend the Criminal Code” (medical assistance in dying) of care, rather than choosing lethal procedures that are incompatible with the dignity of both the patient and the health-care professional.” “This is a defining moment in Canada,” the letter concludes. “Let us take this moment with careful and complete deliberation, so we can become/be a society of care, compassion, and inclusion for all.” LCC President Timothy Teuscher joins a wide variety of other religious leaders in Canada in signing the letter, including leaders from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical traditions, among other others. The letter has also pressured to seek medical assistance been signed by Mormon, Jewish, and in dying.” Muslim faith leaders. The faith leaders’ new letter In recent years, LCC has joined also warns against the expansion of several other open letters by Canadian euthanasia to minors and the mentally religious leaders on end-of-life issues, ill. “With our world-renowned health including in 2015 and 2017. Canadian care system now endorsing euthanasia Lutherans care deeply about life issues, as a “solution” to human suffering, and mark Sanctity of Life Sunday we will be undermining the creativity every year in January. Earlier this year, and resolve that is needed to confront The Canadian Lutheran also published some of the most complex cases of a feature exploring Canada’s current care,” they write. “We are, in effect, end of life legislation. imposing the institutional taking of For more information on Lutheran human life as a solution to human prolife activities, visit the websites suffering. This is not just deeply of Lutherans for Life (USA) and troubling; it is unacceptable for a Lutherans for Life-Canada.

We Can and Must Do Much Better

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


National News www.canadianlutheran.ca



OUR MISSION The mission of Lutheran Church–Canada is to organize, equip, and motivate its members to confess, proclaim, and give witness to the saving work of Jesus Christ, to the glory of God. We do this together in grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, so that believers may grow in their faith and unbelievers be brought into the body of Christ.

WALKING TOGETHER AS A SYNOD Committed to a common confession and mission, congregations of Lutheran Church–Canada join with one another as a Synod to share an ecclesiastical bond and to support and work with one another. In this way, we seek to serve our Lord Jesus Christ, the members of His body, and the world which stands in need of the Word and the impact of His redeeming love.

PUTTING OUR MISSION INTO ACTION Our work together as a Synod can only be accomplished with the generous financial support of our members. Through your tithes and offerings, a portion of all gifts laid upon the altar of local congregations is remitted to LCC. In total, these gifts make up almost 68% of LCC’s overall revenue and are critical for funding the vital work we do together.

LCC 2020 ANNUAL BUDGET - $3,305,217


The chart represents how our budgeted revenue is being allocated.

Guided by our mission, we are blessed to be able to work in the following areas. •



• •



3% 5%


18% • •


Sustaining and revitalizing our congregations. Supporting our mission work in Canada through outreach and works of mercy. Supporting our mission work internationally through theologial training, social ministry, and education. Supporting theological education in our seminaries to train our future pastors and church workers. Providing ecclesiastical leadership and pastoral care. Building community by collaborating with synodical members and partners.





THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

National News www.canadianlutheran.ca

BUDGET & ACTUAL REVENUES/EXPENSES Six Month Fiscal Period (February – July 2020)

BLESSED BY FAITHFUL GENEROSITY We give thanks to God for the generous mission remittances already received from many of our congregations in support of the important work we accomplish together as Synod. As illustrated in the table below, up to the end of July, LCC had received $863,844. As of November 13, 2020, mission receipts have increased to $1,526,611. Thanks be to God! Given the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has presented, including the renewed suspension of in-person worship services in a number of locations across our Synod, we continue to be blessed by your faithful generosity. Our domestic mission budget has received strong financial support from the East and Central District Corporations. International Missions continues to receive very positive financial support from CLMS, LWMLC and the Schwan Foundation.


12 Month Budget

6 Month Budget

6 Month Actual

6 Month 2019 Actual

Congregation Remittances





Designated Specific





Endowment Income





Investment Income













Rental Income Total Revenues


12 Month Budget

6 Month Budget

6 Month Actual

6 Month 2019 Actual

Domestic Missions





International Missions





Ecclesiastical Services





Higher Education










Congregational Services


















Total Expenditures Surplus (Deficit)

Surplus (Deficit) - The current operating deficit of ($180,446) is not as large as the ($291,420) deficit that LCC was experiencing over the same six month period in 2019. It is important to mention however, that very positive mission remittances from congregations last year enabled LCC to finish 2019 in a surplus position. We pray that the Lord may bless LCC and its congregations with similar results in 2020.

OUR HOPE IS IN THE LORD Christ’s ascension, commission, and promise remain unchanged, regardless of the tumultuous and uncertain times in which we live. As such, LCC continues with your help and support, to carry out our common objectives of conserving and promoting the unity of the true faith and strengthening congregations in giving bold witness by word and deed. Prepared by Dwayne Cleave, LCC Administrator. THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


National News www.canadianlutheran.ca

LCC holds first Special Convention NATIONAL - The first Special Convention of Lutheran Church– Canada (LCC) was held October 17 via Zoom, with 77 voting delegates and 26 advisory delegates in attendance. LCC President Timothy Teuscher called the meeting to order and Vice-President Thomas Kruesel led the assembly in an opening prayer. Following a few housekeeping matters, Arnold Drung, chairman of LCC’s Board of Directors, offered preliminary remarks concerning the Board’s recommendation to change Statutory Bylaws to allow the 2021 Regular Convention to be moved to 2022 as a result of uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Rev. William Ney, Chairman of the Commission on Constitution Matters and Structure (CCMS), proceeded to review a number of rulings and opinions by the commission concerning this matter. Rev. David Bode, Chairman of the Resolutions Committee, presented two resolutions to the group. The first was a change in Statutory Bylaw that would allow the Board of Directors to move the convention to a future date as a result of unforeseen concerns. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 73 to 2. The second resolution dealt

with the election of Board members for an additional year and a one-year extension of those serving on various commissions and positions. This was adopted by a vote of 75 in favour with none opposed. The Board was scheduled to make a final decision on the date of the next Regular Convention during a November meeting this year. After the convention was adjourned, Vice-President Kruesel again led the assembly in a closing

prayer, and President Teuscher offered these closing words to those in attendance: “I thank all of you for your participation in this Special Convention, and to members of the Commission on Constitution Matters and Structure and the Communications Committee. A special thanks to Alex Steinke, our Communications Director; to Ian Adnams, who served as our convention consultant; and to Iris Barta, our office manager, who did much of the heavy lifting of putting this convention together.

I would also like to take this time to commend the people and pastors of our Synod in their efforts over the past number of months in seeking to provide worship services in our congregations during this COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the work of the Regional Pastors and our Communications Committee during these unusual and uncertain times. This, after all, is of the highest priority and must always be our chief concern; as the Large Catechism reminds us: ‘Everything in the Christian church is so ordered that we might receive forgiveness of sins through the Word and the Sacraments.’ And to that end I would encourage all of you in the words of the Collect of the Day for tomorrow, October 18th, the festival of St. Luke the Evangelist: “May the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments put to flight the diseases of our souls that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.” For those who were unable to tune in to the Special Convention livestream, the recording of the meeting remains accessible online at: www.lutheranchurchcanada.ca/ eventscalendar/sc2020/.

Questions Concerning The Church & Mental Suffering, New Resource in Church Worker Wellness and accessibility of online resources dealing with mental wellness, as well as other types of resources, to assist and support pastors and church workers as they serve in ONLINE - Church worker wellness their vocations. The latest resource is one of the many issues that has on this front is a Q&A style interview been magnified amid the COVID-19 with Rev. Dr. Harold Ristau entitled: pandemic, especially as it pertains to Questions Concerning The Church matters of mental and spiritual health. And Mental Suffering. Harold Ristau (PhD, McGill University), serves as Associate Professor at Concordia Lutheran Ongoing efforts areSeminary being made Readers should note that sensitive Theological in St. Catharines, Ontario. to As both parish pastor and military chaplain, Ristau has ministered in various multicultural settings providing pastoral ministry and crisis counsellingthe in uniqueavailability contexts. He is an author of a wide range ofsubject books, including At Peace continue to improve matter is included in the with War: A Chaplain’s Meditations from Afghanistan, which received a CDS commendation


THE CHURCH & Mental Suffering


for its benefits as a training tool in preparing military personnel both mentally and spiritually for overseas deployments. He has also written extensively on spiritual warfare and

resilience. He is married with 5 children. THE CANADIAN Lspiritual UTHERAN November/December 2020

resource, including discussion of topics like suicide and suicidal ideation. Discretion is advised. Dr. Ristau serves as Associate Professor at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario. As both a parish pastor and military chaplain, Dr. Ristau has ministered in various multicultural settings, providing p a s t o ra l m i n i s t r y a n d c r i s i s counselling in unique contexts. To access this new resource, visit: www.lutheranchurchcanada.ca/ resources/church-worker-wellness/.

West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia - Michelle Heumann, editor

Outdoor services at historic church in Torrington

TORRINGTON, Alta. - On a quiet peaceful acreage, just a few miles southeast of Torrington, stands an old country church surrounded by a grove of tall evergreens. Zion Lutheran was formed in 1906 and moved to several spots until it found its dwelling place here in the early 1930s. This haven had an agenda of activities and services until 1955, when its members and those of Good Hope Lutheran amalgamated to become Trinity Lutheran Church, located in the hamlet of Torrington. The rural property and church has remained Trinity’s, and for many years the congregation has hosted an annual outdoor church

service and picnic on the grounds, usually on Father’s Day. This year, a picnic wasn’t possible because of pandemic guidelines. But as measures relaxed slightly in June, the members of Trinity were excited to realize the little church yard could be used for a reunion of God’s holy people—a place where social distancing and worship could easily coexist. The first outdoor service was on June 14, 2020, and continued every Sunday thereafter. People brought lawn chairs and blankets, or chose to remain in their vehicles, but the message of the Triune God was received by all, and His love and grace once again filled this little

church yard—not just for one day, but throughout the spring, summer, and into the fall of 2020. The weather was favourable for all the services and attendees suggested that, after hearing the Word proclaimed in that peaceful spot, among the trees, birds, and fresh air, future spring and summer worship services also be held there. With the arrival of colder weather and snow, the congregation will return to Trinity, with new procedures and regulations in place. But the outdoor services on the grounds of Zion Lutheran were a terrific opportunity for fellowship, worship, and praise in a beautiful, serene, and God-filled space. Susan Hastie

Bethlehem Lutheran decommissions building VANCOUVER, B.C. - On September 20, 2020, Bethlehem Lutheran Church held their last service in the building at 15th and Sophia Street. Rev. Fred Rink shared that “there are so many memories attached to this building and it is with sadness that we leave. We leave, however, as we came, which is with Christ. We remain the church, His called and gathered people. Jesus’ gifts remain the same, His steadfast love never changes, and His Word and Sacraments have great power.” While the congregation continues its search for another location, the members will worship with the congregation of Killarney Park Lutheran Church. Rev. Fred Rink

Members carry out altar items during the decommissioning of the church building.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia - Michelle Heumann, editor

IT’S GOOD TO BE IN A RUT! From the Regional Pastor, Rev. Robert Mohns


hat’s the difference between a rut and a ditch? About six feet. This was the advice given to young drivers such as myself who lived in the Red River gumbo of southern Manitoba. The temptation for novice drivers when driving the back roads was to try to keep out of muddy ruts. On several occasions, that tragic mistake resulted in the death of a driver after slipping off the road at high speeds and into the ditch. We often view life in a rut as bad thing, a boring thing. That’s the whisper of Satan, who would have us perish in the ditch of unbelief, sin, and eternal death. He is constantly tempting us to seek a better way to live our life. Advent instructs us that the difference between a rut and ditch is six feet. It warns us that trying to find our own path through this world leads to death. Advent bids us keep in the ancient rut, which stretches as far back as the dirt of earth has existed. This is the dirt that the Lord created and by it separated the waters. It is the same dirt God populated with vegetation and every living creature. It is the same dirt that the Lord used to form our first parents and into

which He breathed His Spirit. It is the same dirt upon which He spoke His benediction, saying “It is very good.” And indeed, the earth and everything God created was perfect and beautiful beyond compare. However, our first parents did not stay in the rut of that blessed estate. Those novices were sucked into the ditch by the lie of the serpent. In the midst of life, death entered the world, and since then all humanity has buried their loved ones six feet under the dirt in a grave—for the wages of sin is death. Ever since then fear has overtaken humanity. The seas churn and mountains rumbles and spew. Gentle breezes turn to hurricanes and tornadoes. Beautiful cloud formations turn into blizzards, and gentle, lifegiving rains turn into torrents and flooding. Shouts of joy and songs of praise, and the comforting presence of friends and family, transmit deadly pandemics. In our day, we know profoundly that sense of fear of life in the deep, dark ditch of sin, death, chaos, evil, brokenness, and hopelessness. Into this world of deep, deadly ditches comes the Son of God, born of woman. Fully God, fully human. Conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of

the flesh of His mother. God enfleshed in the same dirt He created and of the same dirt common to all humanity. He came from the glories of heaven to redeem those born under the curse of the law. In the shed blood of the Son of Man that flowed freely from Calvary’s cross down upon the dirt, God has reconciled the whole world to Himself. Advent warns us that the distance between a rut and ditch is six feet. But far greater is Advent’s message of comfort and hope. To live in the rut is to live in the benediction of God. It is to live a live that is truly “very good.” This ancient rut runs deep with hope and joy, peace and comfort, which have sustained the saints of all generations. It is good to live in the rut. In it is God’s protection and deliverance. It is good to live in this rut because the direction of this rut leads home. It is good to live in the rut, in the ancient, holy Christian faith, delivered to us by the prophets and apostles. I pray that God would, by the working of His Spirit, keep us in this rut. May God open all our senses to the wonderment that accompanies the sights and sounds, scents and emotions, that this season of comings offers, and enliven our praise and worship to the glory of His Holy Name.

Alberta pastors meet in convocation RED DEER, Alta. - In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wetaskawin Circuit pastors met and quickly discovered the need for pastors to come together to share their experiences, challenges, and practises. The circuit pastors began planning for an Alberta-wide convocation focused on pandemic preparedness and pastoral practise. Invitations were sent out the Alberta pastors, and


during the summer they were invited to provide written responses to a number of questions related to their experiences and challenges during the last few months. On September 16, approximately 35 pastors from all the circuits in Alberta came together at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Red Deer. The day consisted of an opening Divine Service of the Word, followed

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

by pastors sharing their experiences and practises during the pandemic. The pastors shared their challenges and questions, and sought and received counsel and encouragement from their brothers. The consensus among the attending pastors was that this convocation, the first of its kind, was helpful, and encouraged that more convocations be planned in the future. Rev. Robert Mohns

West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia - Michelle Heumann, editor

Rev. Wendel Ritz installed at Trinity Pincher Creek PINCHER CREEK, Alta. - On August 9, 2020, recent Concordia Lutheran Seminary graduate Wendel Ritz was ordained and installed at Trinity Lutheran Church. Rev. Mark Lobitz, who was Rev. Ritz’s vicarage supervisor, preached on Psalm 23. Photographed: Rev. Scott Gamble, Rev. Mark Rekkan, Rev. Peter Van Katwyk, Rev. Dr. James Gimbel, Rev. Wendel Ritz, Rev. Richard Williams, Regional Pastor Rev. Robert Mohns, Rev. Andy Kahle, Rev. Mark Lobitz

Virtual VBS at Foothills Lutheran Church

CALGARY, Alta. - Normally Foothills Lutheran runs two weeks of Vacation Bible School, with many children coming who have attended the congregation’s preschool ministry. In early January, church staff put together an outline for this year’s program (this is the sixth year that staff have written a program in-house) and began recruiting volunteers. Registration opened in early March, right around the time shut-downs began as a result of COVID-19. The commitment was made to keep planning as though VBS was going to happen, with early May as a decision point. By then it was clear that in-person VBS could not take place. Foothills had been livestreaming services, doing Confirmation and Bible studies on Zoom, and supporting Sunday School families with weekly resources and notes of encouragement, so rather than let this annual outreach effort fall by the wayside, Rev. Eric Moffett challenged the staff to consider delivering VBS online.

The program was “God’s Promises for Me,” studying promises made to God’s people in the Old Testament and seeing how they are fulfilled in Christ. The staff felt that this year, in particular, children needed to be encouraged to see God’s promises for them, and how they have all been kept in Jesus, their Saviour. Rev. David Bode took charge of openings, including a theme song (for which he wrote the text), and other music. Three levels of lesson videos were filmed: one for preschoolkindergarten, taught by Mrs. Betty Ann Chandler; one for grades 1-2, taught by Dcn. Miriam Winstanley; and one for grades 3-5, taught by Rev. Eric Moffett. Each day’s lessons included an Old Testament promise paired with a New Testament application aimed at making the promise personal, so the children could see how Jesus came to keep it for them. Organizers thank Hannah, who filmed and edited the videos. The crafts volunteers, Stacey and McKenna, designed crafts and filmed instructions for grades 1-2 and 3-5, and Mrs. Chandler produced the crafts for children in preschool-kindergarten. Families registered before June 15 were invited to pick up craft bags prepared and packed by volunteers, and those registered after June 15 received a supply list and instructions. All videos were uploaded onto YouTube and ready to go prior to the

July 13 launch. A page for each day’s video links was sent to registered families and made available on the website. These pages included questions for discussion in the family, and a choice of three daily challenges for the children. Some children sent in videos of them doing their challenge, a picture of their craft, or an email to tell the staff what they’d done. Because the videos were available through the summer, some families chose to do a week of mornings, a week of afternoons, one VBS day per week, or to defer VBS until later in the summer. As of July 13, a total of 83 children had registered, including some from B.C. and Ontario, and links were shared within the circuit and beyond. Foothills is grateful for the technology which has allowed this outreach effort to continue, and for the support of LCC Communications (with thanks to Alex Steinke for the great banner image). One piece of feedback to the staff meant a lot: “I am just so blown away by the huge amount of work, care, and love you put into making virtual VBS. To be honest, I was a little weepy when we started watching the videos this morning. All through the pandemic closures, we’ve tried to maintain composure at home to help the kids through each change, but somehow VBS is so hands-on that it tipped the balance for me. But you made it so beautiful! I was just so very touched.” Dcn. Miriam Winstanley

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


West Region News

Alberta and British Columbia - Michelle Heumann, editor

The Pageant of Christ’s Birth

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE, Alta. - The past months have seen unprecedented events and challenges. When faced with government and Alberta Health restrictions, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church made the difficult decision to cancel all annual outreach and fellowship events. After much prayer, the coordinators of the annual Pageant of Christ’s Birth, which usually takes place in December, met with the chair of the church council to see if there was a way to still present the annual pageant in a way that followed regulations. The

decision was made to produce a new pageant video, as the existing one was fifteen years old. A cast of cohort groups was organized in less than two weeks, and costumes, makeup, and props were all organized in a socially distant way. God blessed filming with a beautiful warm afternoon and evening on August 22, 2020. A total of 49 cast members, ages two to eighty-two, participated in filming of the pageant, including prayer support, directors, filming crew, onsite costume, and makeup helpers/checkers, lighting, sound,

and animal transport crews. The set was a hayfield, and a nurse from the congregation checked temperatures and kept a list of people on site. A surprise visitor arrived in Rocky Mountain House from B.C. for the filming: Rev. Theo Reiner, who had been the church’s pastor in the early 1980s, and who brought the soundtrack of the Pageant from Chicago to Immanuel Lutheran forty years ago. To hear how God enabled willing hearts to continue to tell His story, Rev. Reiner was asked to share the story of how God used one determined church member and pastor to bring the pageant here. Archie Richardson recorded Rev. Reiner as he shared the early history of the Pageant, and how God has the pageant to bless this community and beyond! Now the congregation has a new video of the Pageant of Christ’s Birth, plus Rev. Reiner’s pageant monologue. It will be exciting to see how God unfolds the next step: how to present the Pageant of Christ’s Birth to the community right before Christmas. Save the dates of December 11-13. More details will be announced on Immanuel’s website (rockylutherans. com) and through local media. Karen Stelmaschuk

Trinity and Killarney welcome new Youth Director VANCOUVER, B.C. - On Tuesday, September 1, 2020, congregational leaders from Trinity Lutheran Church (Richmond) and Killarney Community Lutheran Church (Vancouver) welcomed Samantha Neeb as their new Youth Director. She will work with young people, from preschoolers through young adults, with a focus on teenagers. Samantha moved to B.C. from Ontario. She was commissioned during Trinity’s 11:00 a.m. service on September 13 Ewald Wuschke Photographed: Rev. Wayne Zhang, Samantha Neeb, and Rev. Dr. Steven Harold.


Contact Rev. Robert Mohns, Regional Pastor

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

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

Central Region News

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

Central District LWMLC embraces technology CENTRAL REGION - Who knew the pandemic would last so long? The women of the Central District of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League-Canada (LWMLC) were missing the connections that Society and Zone events granted them. The chance to share a Bible study and fellowship had disappeared. Or had it? When the National LWMLC Board decided to host their triennium seminar on Go-to-Webinar, the LWMLC Central District decided to follow their example. After consultation with the national board, and with training by the LWMLC I.T. person, Central District planned a substitute Spring Renewal. The district held a webinar June 27, 2020 entitled “Rejoice in Hope,” based on Romans 12:12—“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be

constant in prayer.” Rev. Ken Maher from Collingwood, Ontario (a former LWMLC Central District pastoral counsellor) presented a Bible study

based on the theme. Alex Steinke, Communications Director for Lutheran Church–Canada, was guest speaker for the evening, providing an overview of how LCC churches are using technology to reach their congregations during the pandemic. Steinke also shared information about the virtual Vacation Bible School events taking place across Canada this summer. Those who took part in the webinar were thrilled

to experience the connections this technology offered them. Building on the success of “Rejoice in Hope,” the LWMLC Central District held a second webinar, this time a Bible study, on August 29. Rev. Dr. Richard Beinert (Winnipeg) presented on “Prayer, Mental Health, and Spiritual Growth: Using the resources of our faith during times like these.” This study provided participants with spiritual resources they could use to alleviate the despair that comes with feeling confined. It was another successful webinar with great positive feedback on the subject. A third webinar has been scheduled for December 5. Rev. Robert Grout will lead a Bible study on “Advent: Wait, Mystery, Redemption.” Lydia Parker, VP Communication, Central District LWMLC

“But I am baptized!”

Participating in the baptism were (l-r): Eric and Kira Kjear (godparents); William and Aimee Schedler (parents); baby James; and Rev. Mark Just.

MOOSEHORN, Man. - On August 15, 2020, James William Schedler was baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, with a small group in attendance at the Schedler family farm outside of Moosehorn, Manitoba. Rev. Mark Just of Immanuel Lutheran in Winnipeg officiated the outdoor baptism. Reflecting on the importance of Baptism, Rev. Just points Christians to this note in the Reader’s Edition

Baby James is baptized into the family of God.

of the Book of Concord: “We read in the Large Catechism that, ‘Baptism is not our work, but God’s Work. It is a priceless treasure God gives and faith receives or grasps. God’s Word of Gospel-promise makes Baptism what it is. Baptism gives us great comfort and strength when our sins accuse us, when we realize how we stand guilty before God. Then, says Luther, the Christian is to say, ‘But I am baptized!’”

Even in these uncertain times of COVID-19 we cling all the more to what and Who is certain: Christ Jesus and Him crucified. The work of the Church continues to take place as we baptize, teach, and preach the Word. The parents of James, Bill and Aimee Schedler, witnessed the baptism along with James’ sponsors, Eric and Kira Kjear. Rev. Mark Just

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


Central Region News

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

Prancing Ponies Before the King — A CHRISTMAS DAY MEDITATION

Psalm 2 From the Regional Pastor, Rev. David Haberstock

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King.” - LSB 397


t is accomplished. It was planned from the foundation of the earth (Ephesians 1:3-4). So why do nations still fret (Psalm 2:1)? Why do they stamp their feet like prancing ponies or petulant pre-schoolers, slamming doors like tantrumming teens yelling at their parents, “I hate you. You’re ruining my life. I wish I’d never been born.” But the slammed door does not change the facts; the angry teen has been born. Likewise, the kings of the earth can plan all they want (Psalm 2:2), but it does not change the facts; Christ has come. The kings of the world can’t change what the Lord has planned or what the Lord has done. For our Lord’s birth and death have carved out for Him a bulwark, a people, a nation, a Church, a mountain, in the midst of His rebellious creation, by which He saves some from the raging flood of their sin. So why do we, the Church, fret and pout at the times and trends? Is not our Lord in charge? Has He not established His Church? Has He not established her as chief amongst all the religious powers (Isaiah 2:2)? Has He not set His King on His holy hill (Psalm 2:6)? Has He not raised up the mount of His


salvation in the sight of all the nations (Psalm 98:2; John 12:32; 3:14)? Of course He has! This mountain of God alone has salvation, for it alone has the Lord of heaven and earth seated on it and in it (Psalm 2:6). The Bible has many images of God. He is like a caring mother (Isaiah 66:13), crying for her lost children and longing to gather them into her embrace and protect them (Matthew 23:37). But we dare not forget that He is also a great King whose will cannot be thwarted (Psalm 2:4-6). He lives in the heavens. His position is unassailable by any human foe. Even though worldly rulers might seek to pour out their wrath against Him or His Church, they cannot touch Him. They cannot thwart His plans. Though they ready themselves for war against the Lord and His anointed (Psalm 2:2), though Herod and so many rulers since have tried to slaughter and stamp out Christ and His Church (Matthew 2:16-20), the living One of heaven laughs (Psalm 2:4). He turns up His nose and ridicules them for their foolishness. The flood of words from His mouth terrifies and sets the powerful of our world into fits (Psalm 2:7-9).

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

His intense desire for our salvation established His king on His holy hill. By His declaration it has happened. It is as if He were saying: “Though you set yourselves against Me, I have established My Son for you. And lifted Him above you. You are His, O nations of the earth, to do with as He pleases. And as My Son, He does what pleases Me.” Therefore, He judges you in love. From His cross-crowned hill, He said of you: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). But make no mistake. This Child, this Son of God is just. He will judge your sins (Psalm 2:10-12). He has already made His declaration from His holy hill. “Forgive them,” He said. So be wise. Turn to Him. Serve Him in love. Kiss this baby boy born for you this day (Psalm 2:12). Embrace and love Him in your heart. Trust in His declaration of forgiveness for you, for the righteous judgement of His Father is in Him. It burns for the Day of His return, and that judgement is mercy for those who take refuge in Him. So this day, you who hope in Him have His eternal blessing and the wonders of His love.

Central Region News

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

Rev. Peter Knelson installed in Bergheim

Central Regional Pastor David Haberstock installs Rev. Peter Knelson at St. Paul’s Lutheran.

Rev. Peter and Laurel Knelson with Central Regional Pastor David Haberstock (left) and the St. Paul’s church council president, Darryl Stephens (right).

BERGHEIM, Sask. - On September 28, 2020, Rev. Peter Knelson was officially installed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bergheim. Lutheran Church– Canada’s Central Regional Pastor David Haberstock officiated. St. Paul’s is a small country church northeast of Saskatoon in the Rural Municipality of Aberdeen, with a real country and family feel. The church was founded in 1912. In 2009, the parish under Rev.

Angus Schneider left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and joined LCC. The congregation is excited to welcome Pastor Peter and Laurel—and are anxiously awaiting Baby Knelson! St. Paul’s is a small congregation with a big heart, and is blessed to share Rev. Knelson with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Warman. The children of the congregation love Pastor Peter’s YouTube children’s lessons. Leanne Wedewer

Rev. Peter Knelson and Central Regional Pastor David Haberstock outside St. Paul’s Lutheran in Bergheim.

“Socktober” sock drive

Peace Lutheran held a “sock drive” to help the homeless in Winnipeg.

WINNIPEG - Peace Lutheran Church strives to have an ongoing m i n i s t r y o f p re s e n c e i n t h e community of North Kildonan in Winnipeg. Reaching out has been difficult this year due to the restrictions put in place to combat the pandemic. In a last-minute decision, the Board of Evangelism decided to go ahead with a sock drive to assist with the third annual Socktober campaign at Main Street Project, a community health centre that serves Winnipeg’s most vulnerable. This program collects new or gently used socks to help keep the feet of the homeless community they serve warm, dry, and healthy during the winter months.

The sock drive was advertised in the church newsletter, on the church sign, and also through the Facebook page of the local city counsellor. The church was also registered with Main Street Project as a community drop off point. In total, the congregation was able to collect 240 pairs of socks in a safe manner. Projects like this are not difficult to set up or manage, notes the congregation. They help the church stay connected to the community and to keep members of the church family engaged in living out their faith by remembering those in need. Teresa Miller-Dotzlaw, Board of Evangelism

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


Central Region News

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

Rev. Jason Schultz installed in Moose Jaw MOOSE JAW, Sask. - On October 4, 2020, Rev. Jason Schultz was installed at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Moose Jaw. Rev. Dr. John Kreutzwieser, the congregation’s retired former pastor, served as liturgist, with Lutheran Church–Canada’s Regional Pastor David Haberstock preaching and performing the Rite of Installation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional potluck dinner following the service was not possible. Instead, muffins and beverages were safely served in a standing-only format. People were free to mingle at a safe distance inside the fellowship hall or were invited to take their treats and visit at a distance in the parking lot. It was a safe but great event to welcome Pastor Jason, Regan, and their children into the congregation. Patti Kreutzwieser

Rev. Dr. John Kreutzwieser, Rev. Jason Schultz, and LCC Central Regional Pastor David Haberstock

Retirement parade for Rev. Kreutzwieser

Cars line up for a retirement parade honouring Rev. John Kreutzwieser.

MOOSE JAW, Sask. - In June, the members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church wanted to give their retiring pastor, Rev. John Kreutzwieser, a celebration to mark his faithful service. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the usual celebrations of a potluck or cake were not possible.

So they did the next best thing—a surprise parade! Congregation members met in the church parking lot on June 30, 2020, with their vehicles, signs, and balloons. The church secretary, Barb Dick, was given the task of keeping the Kreutzwiesers at home. At the

appointed time, about thirty vehicles paraded past Pastor John’s home, with horns blaring, people waving, and signs being displayed. The vehicles made a loop through the neighborhood to parade past the house twice. It was a send-off to be remembered. Lydia Parker


Contact Rev. David Haberstock, Regional Pastor

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

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

East Region News

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

Lutherans gathering together during difficult times EAST REGION - One positive amidst all the negatives surrounding COVID-19 is that many Christians (who are not immuno compromised) are eager to find safe venues to meet since so many events have been cancelled. This past July, several families met to worship, learn, and play at a two-day outdoor retreat. Led by Rev. David Smilek and Rev. Harold Ristau, the topic was “Surviving COVID-19 and its Implications for Christian Life and Worship.” In addition to teaching and worships, a non-stop campfire, multiple ziplines, and a hammock village provided fun for all ages. Government restrictions limited the number of attendees and activities but didn’t stop believers gathering around the Word. Many families who were able to participate were previously registered at the second annual Lutheran Catechetic camp, which was to take place at Camp Pioneer, New York, but which was cancelled. These Lutheran families have been meeting together in camp settings for

Lutheran families gather to worship, learn, and play in a two-day outdoor retreat.

the last five years, bound together not only by a common confession of faith in the Lord, but a common concern for their children remaining solid in the teachings of the Lutheran Church at a time when many Lutherans are falling away from Christianity or being tempted to join other denominations. Their numbers continue to grow. This fall, a follow-up retreat was held led by Rev. James May, a

missionary and visiting professor at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (CLTS - St. Catharines, Ontario), who spoke on the topic “How are confessional Lutheran missions different?” The event was so popular that more one-day retreats are being planned. The events are sponsored by CLTS. For more information, contact the seminary. Elise Ristau

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/.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


East Region News

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

A NEWBORN CHILD CAN CHANGE THE WORLD From the Regional Pastor, Rev. Marvin Bublitz

Ask anyone who has had a baby and you will learn about all the sorts of questions strangers ask.


he Lord blessed my wife and me with four children, and I remember strangers in the grocery store asking my wife when she was due. I secretly wondered if they were planning to join us in the delivery room. Then there were the strangers who asked if they could touch her belly! Of the many questions asked, the one that has always stuck in my head is: “Why would you bring a child into a world like this?” The questioner would then spout a long list of problems: war, murder, robbery, rape, lies, betrayal, drive-by shootings, drug deals gone badly… the list is endless. These things are often too commonplace to shock us when we hear about them in the news. But why would anyone want to bring a child into that sort of world? As a young, soon-to-be father, the question caused me all sorts of turmoil. Each time the question was asked, I shuddered at the thought of what I was doing, bringing a child into this den of iniquity. What would my children and grandchildren have to endure?


I found myself spending more time in prayer, asking my Father for comfort and direction. Soon, I came to realize a deep truth: it was the Lord who blessed us with the addition to our family. The next time I was asked, “Why would you bring a child into a world like this?” I responded: “I hope my child might be someone who makes a difference in a world like this. I pray God will use him or her to bring about change, serve others, and show His love in the dark world around us.” A newborn child brings many changes in the family—but each newborn also brings changes to the world around him or her. We can find many such examples in Holy Scripture of how God used His children to serve others. There was the boy who had a colourful coat who became a slave, and whom God raised to be second to the pharaoh. Through him, the Lord saved many from starving. Then there was the infant who was placed into a basket on the river by his mother for safety, as his sister watched over him. The Lord used him to lead His people to the promised land. This one newborn changed the world for a whole nation. Moses led them through the wilderness, and came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. There are many more to consider: King David, Solomon, Samson, Ruth, and Mary, the mother of our Lord, just to name a few. What changes

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

God brought into this dark world through His servants, and what light He brought into the darkness of this sin-filled world. This brings us to the greatest Newborn and the changes He brings. His was a simple birth. Actually, it was less than simple. It was a birth to be pitied by our standards, without a caring doctor or well-trained nurses to help the mother. There was no warm bed with clean sheets and no family gathered near. Instead, His mother laid Him in a manger. Yet this was God’s plan for the Saviour of fallen mankind, and this simple birth brought Light into the world. He is the Light that shines in the dark world of sin. This Newborn changed not only the world but eternity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). This Newborn changed your world and eternity. Now He sends you out as lights into the world to take His message and love to all. Rather than spending eternity in the outer darkness of hell, through the Light of the world, you are welcomed into the promised land of heaven.

East Region News

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

Installation of Rev. Peter Gatluak

A choir celebrating the installation of Rev. Peter Gatluak.

HAMILTON, Ont. - On September 20, 2020, Rev. Peter Gatluak was installed as associate pastor at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Hamilton. While already having served at that location for some time, first with Rev. Jim Schnarr (2008-2012) and now with Rev. Mark Koehler, the installation of Rev. Gatluak marks a new beginning for the Pilgrim congregation and Rev. Gatluak as they work to expand their outreach to the local Sudanese community. Previously, Rev. Gatluak had also served as a called missionary-at-large of the East District. Now under the new LCC structure, Rev. Gatluak is a called Associate Pastor at Pilgrim and missionary to the Sudanese people. In support of that work, Lutheran Church-Canada is providing Pilgrim with assistance. Rev. Gatluak came to Canada on November 10, 1999. He went to Centennial College in Scarborough,

Rev. Peter Gatluak (fourth from left) and other pastors after the installation

and then entered Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (St. Catharines, Ontario), concluding his theological education with a vicarage at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burlington. The East District Board of Directors called him to Sudanese Lutheran mission work at Pilgrim, with his installation having taken place on May 24, 2009. Rev. Gatluak is married to Mary, and they have six children. The installation as Associate Pastor was a happy occasion, though quite unique as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. People from both the English and Sudanese congregations worked together to make the event possible, taking in stride the extra work required to meet regional public health regulations. The service was held in the parking lot behind the church, masks were worn, and people were properly spaced. The Sudanese community came prepared

Thanksgiving at Pilgrim Lutheran

to serve food following the service, but, due to provincial restrictions being altered just days before the event, food had to be served in to-go containers instead, which people received in their car upon leaving. The Lord provided a comfortable, sunny day for the occasion, and the Word of the Lord was proclaimed in a service led by Rev. Koehler. Rev. Duane Peters preached on the centrality of the Good News in Jesus Christ and the work of God through the holy Pastoral Ministry. The Rite of Installation was led by Rev. Kevin Walrath, counsellor for the Hamilton Circuit, with circuit clergy as well as Sudanese pastors from around the region participating and giving encouragement. The congregation gives thanks to God as the work already begun continues. Rev. Kevin Walrath

HAMILTON, Ont. - The altar at Pilgrim Lutheran Church is decorated every Thanksgiving by Lori and Shannon Rez, in a family tradition that has been passed down from Lori’s mother, Vera Laszlo, who started doing this in the 1970s. Vera passed away in 1997, and Lori and her daughter Shannon continue to do it. Each year, the produce used in the display is donated to a food bank. Grace Hawes, Altar Guild Committee Photos by Antonietta Sanders

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


East Region News

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

St. Peter’s community outreach STRATFORD, Ont. - As part of the congregation’s community outreach, a Little Library box was installed at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on September 26, 2020. This project was led by Susan Murray, the Missions chair. It was built by Murray Henderson, painted by Wayne Wharran, decorated by Heidi Lantz, and installed by Warren Riehl and Brad Murray. Anyone who passes by can help themselves to Christian literature from the Little Library just by opening the red doors. Susan Murray says that

“all materials are meant to be taken with no expectation of their return or exchange.” Both adult and children’s literature is stocked in the library box. The congregation of St. Peter’s was delighted to resume in-person worship on June 2, following appropriate pandemic guidelines. Warren Riehl, Chairman of Properties, assisted by his wife Dolores, partitioned off seating to allow for proper distancing during. From March until June, services had been broadcast by the pastor, Rev. Matthew Fenn, over the internet. Rob McEwen

Faith Lutheran honours long-time Sunday School superintendent KITCHENER, Ont. - On October 4, 2020, Jacquie Couch, long-time Sunday School superintendent at Faith Lutheran Church, was honored for more than fifty years of servanthood. Jacquie has held several positions at Faith over the years. She became a youth group leader along with her husband John when Rev. Raymond Mantynen asked, and one youth in the group was former Central District President Tom Prachar. “John and I joined the ‘Faith family’ in 1966,” Couch said. “I taught kindergarten at public school, but wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and be part of my children’s Christian education. I started teaching Sunday school. My favourite Bible verse is Joshua 24:15—“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” To this day, Jacquie’s family continues to join her and John at worship. Jacquie explained how her mother, a registered nurse, had been involved at the Lutheran Church in New Hamburg, influencing Jacquie’s

involvement. “She stored and packed relief goods in our family basement. We all helped. She kept important paperwork in a gray bag, a bag which she passed along to me. I used it all these years to keep my paperwork together for Sunday School. It will retire with me.” “Letting children know ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world’ is a valuable lesson,” Couch says. Involving them teaches skills they will need to serve the Lord in their adult lives. “For our Sunday School opening, children eagerly passed out books and lit the altar candles. They recited the Apostles’ Creed and Ten Commandments with their meanings during openings. They sang during the openings and closings,” which trained them for confirmation and worship. “I share this tribute with many dedicated individuals,” Couch says. “Pastor Warren Hamp guided us each month with a lesson study. I thank him, our pianist Connie

Bender (long serving too!), and all our dedicated teachers over the years who went the extra mile to make lessons meaningful. Thanks also to parents who brought their children to Sunday school each week and supported mission projects.” Jacquie Couch stresses she could not have done these things all by herself. But the evidence of her faithfulness is clear every time she sits down in church. Jacquie’s reward surrounds her with the very children of Faith who now bring their own children to worship. Jane Ford


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

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

Mission News www.canadianlutheran.ca

HLMS says thanks for COVID-19 support HAITI - The Haiti Lutheran Mission Society (HLMS) is thanking Canadian Lutherans for their support of Haitians during the COVID-19 pandemic. “You, our faithful supporters, have continued to bless our mission,” writes Andrew Jackson, HLMS treasurer, in response to the gifts and prayers offered. “It seems that all this love and help from you through our saving Lord Jesus Christ made a difference. The effects of COVID-19 have been just a little less harmful in Haiti, due to the generous gifts you donated which help buy soap, masks, and food for many in need.” “What has been surprising to me is to watch how many of your blessings continue to flow in week after week, long after our appeal letter,” he says. “Since July we have received nearly $11,000 of your gifts. This is a true blessing.” The best way of saying thanks, he says, is the smiles of Haitians grateful for the gifts of their Canadian brothers and sisters in Christ.

Rev. Dr. Robert Bauer signs the name of Jesus.

Deaf Ministry Pioneer called to rest EDMONTON - Rev. Dr. Robert Bauer, a long-time advocate of the Deaf and pioneer of Deaf Lutheran ministry in Canada, passed away on September 3, 2020. Ordained in 1956, Dr. Bauer would be instrumental in reaching out to the Deaf community. He helped to found Cross of Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Edmonton. Built in 1962, the church is Canada’s oldest church for the Deaf. A full obituary for Dr. Bauer and account of his ministry is included on page 39 of this issue.

Hurricane Iota impacts Nicaragua NICARAGUA - I am pleased to inform you that the hand of God was protecting our beloved Nicaragua. The hurricane hit the Caribbean Coast fairly hard, and part of the regions of Jinotega, Matagalpa, and Rivas were impacted by minor flooding. Some hills collapsed and caused landslides, which caused the death of at least six people. In the region of León and Chinandega, it caused losses of crops. Somotillo and Villa Nueva were flooded and the road was completely covered with water. But after the storm comes the calm. Our pastors and deaconesses

and mission workers are safe and sound, with God’s help. Since the rains throughout the country have decreased, the rivers are returning to their normal flow. We finally saw the beautiful sun warming us again, which we had not looked at for fifteen days. At last the calm arrived, but this season has not ended yet, and the weather forecast alerts us of another possible hurricane that will follow the same route as the previous one. Only God can help us. Heavenly Father, merciful and gracious God, continue to protect Your

people in Nicaragua dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Iota. Be with all aid workers as they tend to the physical needs of all people. Guide and direct Your Church that she may bring comfort and aid to those in need. And strengthen the faith of Your people that they may be comforted with the peace that only You can bring at this time; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Roberto Jose Mission Centre in Chinandega Translation and prayer by Rev. Mark Smith

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


Education News www.canadianlutheran.ca

LCC Seminaries at Work


here do pastors and deacons come from? They don’t grow on trees, get harvested in the forestlands of northern Canada, or come as a result of fracking, refineries, and pipelines. They are called to believe and belong to the family of our Father through the water and Word of Holy Baptism, and are nurtured through Sunday school, family devotions, Catechism class, and the worship life of congregations like yours. Often those who are serious about a life of discipleship begin to feel a tug or nudge from God to consider service to Christ and His Church and ministry. Potential pastors and deacons are often identified early in life for their serious commitment to matters of faith and life, and their sense of inquiry into the Bible and theology that might remind people of Jesus’ visit to the Jerusalem Temple and His inquisitive and instructive conversations with the religious leaders of His day. It is a powerful thing when a pastor, teacher, parent, or church leader notices a unique level of interest, and prays for that youth, providing encouragement and support for consideration of training for ministry. The two seminaries of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) look for applicants who have a strong Christian faith, including active participation in worship and the ordinary rhythms of a local Lutheran congregation. Since the seminary education is at a graduate level resulting in a M.Div., a Master of Theological Studies, or a Graduate Certificate in Diaconal Studies, the seminaries require students to hold a Bachelor’s degree and proficiency in the two biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew), which are often included in undergraduate work or taken through separate coursework. Student populations are small at both seminaries, allowing a very hands-on and personalized opportunity to be mentored in faith and servant leadership for ministry. This context creates a closely-knit community of learning where students benefit from unique mentor relationships. Pastoral students generally study two or three years on campus prior to a year of vicarage (internship), followed by a year back on the seminary campus. Deacons can complete their academic and internship work in two full years of hard


THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

work. MTS students can also complete their work in one to two years. Deacon and pastoral students are also involved in local congregations as “field work” students. The seminaries also contribute to other services in LCC: participation on the Commission on Theology and Church Relations documents and discussions; speaking and leadership at conferences and conventions; and writing and scholarly contributions to the Lutheran world and beyond. The seminaries together produce a peer-reviewed journal, the Lutheran Theological Review. Both seminaries are led by committed regents who provide fiduciary governance. Both seminaries are accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. Both seminaries are continually working on process and programme improvements. Both seminaries are committed to employing committed faculty and staff who further the mission of Christ and His Church. Both seminaries are taking steps to fill faculty vacancies with highly qualified and committed Lutheran servants of Christ. The partnership between the church and its seminaries is critically important. The partnership between the two seminaries allows smaller faculties and programmes to provide a solid education for future ministers in LCC. We encourage each congregation to select a Sunday, possibly during the Epiphany Season of the Church year, to focus on the seminaries that partner with Lutheran Church– Canada. LCC’s seminaries prepare pastors, deacons, and the laity for theological leadership in Canada. Both seminaries are small and independently chartered and funded, but receive support from the congregations of LCC, from member donors in LCC, direct endowment revenue from donors to the seminary endowments, from LCC directly, and finally a small amount from student tuition. The seminaries depend upon donations and support from Lutherans across Canada to fund the mission and work on academic, parish, and life formation that helps serve in local congregations and communities. A heartfelt thank you goes out to those who support the seminaries’ missions in a variety of ways. Rev. Dr. James R. Gimbel

Education News www.canadianlutheran.ca

CLS, Classes, and COVID-19

Looking ahead...What’s New at CLS?

EDMONTON - Though COVID-19 cases rise in Alberta, Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS) continues to hold classes following approved AHS precautions. The seminary is also prepared to shift things online if necessary. CLS shared in a Facebook update, “The semester has flown by; as it continues through the final four weeks of class, we recognize that God has blessed us throughout this journey.” As COVID-19 cases and masking requirements increase, CLS anticipates that they will be able to safely adapt and continue to accommodate in-person classes given the number of students.

EDMONTON - Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS) eagerly anticipates the arrival of their new professor, Rev. Dr. Sam Thompson, whose travel from India has been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. D r. T h o m p s o n h a s a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, and has served as Missionary to Nepali and Bhutanese refugee immigrants in St. Louis, Missouri (2012-2016); as Pastor and school manager at Zoarhill Lutheran Church, Trivandrum (2008-2010); as pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and Immanuel Lutheran Church, Trivandrum (2001-2006); and has experience working among street children in Bangalore and Mumbai, and Hijiras in Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai (1997-2001). Though the seminary will have five full-time students on campus and two on vicarage in the Spring, CLS has also had significant conversations with six others who plan to begin in the Fall. One of the major seminary projects is preparing for the upcoming accreditation evaluation and review. CLS is nearing the end of the seven-year accreditation cycle (the longest term possible for a small school) and is gearing up with a 96-page report and other details for the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) reaccreditation visit from February 8-11, 2021. Please remember the seminary’s faculty in prayer, as well as everyone who helps support, teach, and uplift students. Pray that God would grant the board, faculty, and staff wisdom and insight as they continue to form servants for Jesus’ sake; and that He would open doors for Dr. Thompson to travel to Canada soon.

CLS hosts Fall Quest Course ONLINE - This fall, Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS) hosted its latest Quest Course: “The Body of Christ/ Communion of Saints.” Rev. Dr. James Gimbel, President and Professor of CLS hosted the online course spanning four week nights over October and November of 2020. A total of 44 participants (and one unborn child) took part. This is, the seminary noted, just “a small sample of the communion of saints, the Holy Christian Church, the body of Christ that we profess that the Holy Spirit works to create.” If you missed one or all sessions in the series, they are recorded and can be viewed (or viewed again) on CLS’ YouTube Channel. Quest classes are open to all at no cost. If you would like to register or learn more about future Quest courses, contact Joshua Time at aassist@ concordiasem.ab.ca or 780-474-1468 ext. 225.

CLS launches new website EDMONTON - Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS) recently launched a new website. Visit: www.concordiasem. ab.ca for information about faculty, academic programs, Quest courses, newsletters, and more.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


Education News www.canadianlutheran.ca

CLTS welcomes new Professor

A Bumper Crop of New Students

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (CLTS) has announced that Rev. Dr. Thomas Korcok has accepted the call to serve as Associate Professor of Theology. Dr. Korcok has been serving as a visiting professor at CLTS this fall semester, and so will transition seamlessly into his new role in January 2021. Dr. Korcok is a 1987 graduate of CLTS, and pastored congregations in Ontario for twenty years. He previously taught Catechetics as a guest instructor at CLTS from 2004-2008. He earned his M.Phil. at the University of Glasgow and his Ph.D. at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He has been a reserve chaplain in the Canadian Forces since 2009. Dr. Korcok is the author of Lutheran Education: From Wittenberg to the Future. He has been a Professor of Theology at Concordia University Chicago since 2014. He recently established their Center for the Advancement of Lutheran Liberal Arts. He previously taught religion at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York.

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - In the first half of this calendar year, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (CLTS) accepted a bumper crop of entering students—the largest number in a decade or two. Ongoing travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic, however, mean that only one of these students is able to be on campus: Daniel Cunningham from the Oshawa area. “We are pleased to be able to have seven of our students in the building for face-to-face teaching and daily chapel services,” said Rev. Dr. Thomas Winger, seminary president. “In our large building it is not difficult to maintain physical distance while still strengthening our personal ties with one another.” Unfortunately, several new students have been unable to obtain student visas yet, and some American students have not been unable to cross the border for classes. As a result, Dr. Winger explained, “every class has at least a few students participating through Google Meet. Like most universities in Canada, we’re making special allowances for this virtual participation until the present crisis is over.” Incoming professor Dr. Thomas Korcok is making the acquaintance of most new international students online via his Introduction to Theology class. These students include Vijay Samuel of India, Bright Kusi of Ghana, Dr. Eduardo Farias (a Brazilian who currently resides in the United States); and Aaron Parkhurst in New York. One additional new student in the MTS program is Rev. Edivar Govaski, a native of Brazil who is serving a Lutheran Church–Canada parish in B.C. Additionally, a young Minnesotan who recently graduated from a Concordia College, has delayed entrance given current pandemic restrictions. Another young pastor from Brazil will begin studies once he gets a visa. And a young Quebecker is eligible to begin at any time.

From Africa to Canada... ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Rev. James May has served as a guest instructor for the fall semester. A Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod pastor, Rev. May has served 14 years as a missionary in Africa. This year, he began a doctoral programme at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. For more information on his work, visit lutheransinafrica.com.


THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

LLL Canada

MEDIA in Mission

News from Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada and Lutheran Hour Ministries


Partnering with You in HIS mission


We were made for this


n the past year we have been presented with so many new opportunities and relationships that despite the struggle of the pandemic we are calling this season a blessing. Early on in the days of lockdown and church closures we were approached by one of our partner/friends, Pastor Cody Cooper. Our relationship with Pastor Cody started while he was serving in the remote community of La Ronge, Saskatchewan, and was rejuvenated after he moved to Meadowvale, Alberta, just before the pandemic hit Canada. Pastor Cody is extremely creative in serving his new congregation and offered to help us reach young children in the new world of worship at home by offering Kid’s Lectionary Learning activity pages. We started sending the pages out to the churches who promote The Lutheran Hour in their bulletins and we quickly received requests from individuals all across Canada wanting to share the materials with their Sunday school families. Not only have the activity pages become an eagerly anticipated tool for families but the relationship between our office and your congregations has been strengthened through the weekly check-ins and feedback you are sharing about how we can serve you now and as we navigate through our new world. We could not have created that connection on our own, and we are so thankful for the way Pastor Cody has blessed us with his talent and time. As the days at home stretched out further before us, our conversations with Pastor Cody turned to the isolation everyone was experiencing and how that can amplify feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Our fear was that the endless days of isolation would be particularly dangerous for people already struggling with depression and suicide ideation. Sharing ideas with individuals from within the church and mental health community we released social media tools designed to reach out in two stages. The first component addressed the topic of suicide and how close it can be to us as members of the same family of Christ. The second component provided social media

Media in Mission 2020

tools for us as Christians to share with our friends and acquaintances online. Our goal was to encourage our brothers and sisters to shine a light while including concrete actions of love. Communications Director for LCC, Alex Steinke, picked up these tools and promoted them within The Canadian Lutheran and on LCC social media groups which helped our message reach a wider audience. You can find all these resources and more at www. lll.ca/social-isolation/.

1 THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020 35

The ongoing work in Nicaragua

In January, during a trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica as part of Lutheran Church–Canada missions Team Zion, I was able to once again see the Nicaraguan Lutheran Hour Ministries team in action. In Spanish LHM is referred to as CPTLN (Cristo para todos las naciones) and is well-known and respected within the León area where they have their office. As a part of Team Zion I have been visiting the mission field in Nicaragua for ten years and have noticed that not all the pastors and deaconesses in Nicaragua are taking advantage of CPTLN and its resources. Team Zion has worked with the LLL in Nicaragua for many years, doing our part to connect the two organizations in a joint effort of sharing the gospel and brotherly love. During this year’s mission visit we arranged with Ricardo Arguello (Ministry Director for CPTLN Nicaragua) to host the Team Zion kick-off meeting and dinner at the LLL office in León—demonstrating partnership and bringing together 30 Nicaraguan pastors and deaconesses, 26 Canadians and the CPTLN staff and volunteers. For some of the Nicaraguans this was their first time at the LLL office and it was a wonderful evening for brothers and sisters in Christ to have fellowship together while we did our planning for the week. During our visit, a workshop demonstrating some of the latest Lutheran Hour Ministries resources was hosted at the Mission Center in Chinendega. The workshop was coordinated in partnership with Nicaragua Synod president, Marvin Donaire, and LCC Mission

Lisa Jackson and a young member of Team Zion demonstrate the Moses craft to be used during the Vacation Bible School in Nicaragua.

Executive, Rev. Mark Smith, to strengthen the relationship between our organization and the church. All pastors and deaconesses were invited to attend, and I shared with them the Spanish resources for “How to talk about your faith” as an example of tools that can be shared with active and engaged laypeople in their various congregations. The end of my time in Nicaragua coincided with Pastor Mark Smith’s LCC mission oversite visit to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. We discussed the opportunity of facilitating a workshop later this year, bringing the CPTLN team in Nicaragua to the Mission Center to speak about all the different resources available for pastors and deaconesses. Pastor Smith asked us to coordinate the workshop as part of Lutheran Church–Canada’s continuing education program. At this time, the workshop had to be postponed from its scheduled date of June 2020 due to the global pandemic and travel restrictions.

Above: Pastors, deaconesses, Team Zion , CPTLN staff and volunteers eat together at the LLL office in León. Right: Lisa Jackson, Managing Director for LLL Canada, presents the layperson resource, How to talk about your faith, to the pastors and deaconesses of the Nicaragua Synod at the Mission Center in Chinandega, Nicaragua.


Media in Mission 2020

Additional support for francophones


ev. Dr. David Somers has been a partner with the Lutheran Laymen’s League for many years, allowing us to provide French language resources for Francophone Lutherans across Canada as well in outreach efforts all over the world. At our budget planning meeting in June, the LLL–Canada board of directors voted to formalize our support for French outreach ministry by making a financial commitment to support Rev. Somers for the next few years. The decision to strengthen our partnership with Dr. Somers will allow us to make more dynamic resources and ensure that the ministry is sustainable. Pastor Somers reported in the September/October 2020 edition of The Canadian Lutheran that the pandemic and resulting distance protocols has created new avenues for outreach to the Lutheran francophone communities. One of the projects we have embarked upon, as a part of this new partnership, is a French-language Facebook page that will serve as a vehicle for the many translated Lutheran Hour Ministries materials. Facebook,

Media in Mission 2020

YouTube and other digital formats are valuable connection tools that will allow us to share existing and new materials to a much larger audience. We officially launch the French Lutheran Hour Ministries–Canada Facebook page on the first day of Advent. Advent devotions in French will be available for reading and sharing in daily segments, similar to what is done on our English Facebook pages. To capitalize on the expected momentum over Advent and Christmas, Pastor Somers has created a list of resources needed to support the ongoing spiritual well-being and instruction of francophone Lutherans. Together we are prioritizing, translating, formatting and digitizing to ensure that Pastor Somers has what he needs to continue his work. You can support this important work in your donations to LLL–Canada by indicating that your gift is for “French Ministries.”


Helping serve remote First Nations during a lockdown


ate in the summer both the BC Mission Boat and the Lutheran Association of Missionary Pilots (LAMP) approached us to help with keeping commitments in the communities they serve. Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions both organizations were limited to the amount of face to face interaction they could have with their contacts in remote First Nations. We were happy to provide both support and resources to the organizations in different ways. BC Mission Boat included copies of the Lutheran Hour Ministries children’s booklets Learning to Pray and The Bible Tells Me So in care packages that were packed and taken by ferry up the B.C. coast. Community leaders received the kits and distributed the co-branded bags to families that had been planning for a visit from teams who have been coming to support them in their faith for several years. LAMP faced a similar challenge, as a few of their

teams from the United States were unable to enter Canada when the border closed to manage the spread of COVID-19. Executive Director of LAMP, Ron Ludke, asked if we would help by assembling 500 care packages that could be flown into remote areas in Northern Canada. With much love, we put together a kit that included a snack, a craft kit and a copy of the Lutheran Hour Ministries booklet The Bible Tells Me So. The packages were sent to a LAMP volunteer in Winnipeg and from there they were picked up and flown into 30 different communities. We included copies of 30 Days of Household Devotions for community leaders and several CREW Ministry music CDs for use on their local radio stations. Did you know that Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) has partnered with Barna Group to produce research-based insights about faith and culture? “This research allows LHM to provide timely and relevant resources that meet people where they are at. It enables us to gain a hearing for the Gospel in an inviting and contextual way—guiding those who seek toward faith.” Rev. Dr. Tony Cook, LHM’s VicePresident – Global Ministries. For more information reach out to us using the contacts below. Partner with us, and be part of Media on a Mission! LLL Canada

Although we aren’t always together, the team of staff and partners got together for a picture this fall. L-r: Davian Hart, Social Media; Lisa Jackson, Managing Director; Amelia Hatzitolios, Artist; Sharon McKie, Community Engagement Manager; Barb Fooks, Bookkeeper.

384 THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

Partnering with You in HIS mission

Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada 270 Lawrence Ave., Kitchener, ON, N2M 1Y4 1-800-555-6236 • info@LLL.ca • www.LLL.ca LLL Canada’s mission is to assist in the proclamation of the Gospel by creating, distributing and promoting resources through various media and equipping Christians for outreach. Board of Directors: President, Gordon Schoepp, Onoway, AB; Directors: Marilyn Jacobi, Kitchener, ON; Joel Haberstock, Coldstream BC; Stephen Braaten, Regina, SK.; Brian Wardle, Kitchener, ON. Media in Mission is published by Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada, provider of Lutheran Hour Ministries resources.

Media in Mission 2020

In Memorium

Rev. Dr. Robert (Bob) Bauer, a well-known advocate for the Deaf, passed away peacefully into the arms of His Lord on September 3, 2020 at the age of 90. Dr. Bauer was born on January 27, 1930 just outside of Stony Plain, Alberta. A farm boy at heart, some of his fondest memories were of growing up in the country, his large family, riding his horse to school, and his mother’s strong faith. His father’s untimely death almost led him to withdraw from higher education, but his brothers Herb and Walter convinced him to stay in college. Dr. Bauer received his first degree from Concordia College in Edmonton, where he met his wife Ellie. He studied for the pastoral ministry at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Vicarage service among Deaf minority congregations in the southern United States launched his interest in this specialized ministry. Ordained in 1956, Rev. Bauer served as a missionary for western Canada for several years, travelling weekly to Calgary, Saskatoon, and Regina to hold services. As other missionaries were placed in the West, he focused on serving the Deaf community of Edmonton. He and other friends built a chapel near the Alberta School of the Deaf. In 1962, Cross of Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Edmonton was dedicated, and bilingual services have been conducted there ever since. In the early 1970s, Dr. Bauer and members of his congregation founded Pax Natura Society for the Rehabilitation of the Deaf, a Lutheran social service outreach program. The program operated Pax Natura Ranch near Clyde, Alberta, which taught life skills in a rural setting. The Society also operated a halfway house near the University of Alberta, offering supervised

independent living to Deaf clients transitioning into the community. In addition to pastoral ministry to the Deaf in his community, Dr. Bauer also served as mentor for seminary and Deaf Institute of Theology students; as an acting parole officer and court interpreter; and as a volunteer chaplain for Edmonton Ex-Service Women and the Legion of Frontiersmen. Dr. Bauer’s accolades included inclusion in Who’s Who in Alberta, and awards spanning six decades from various organizations, including Alberta Rehabilitation Council for the Disabled; Canadian Association of the Deaf (including the “Man of the Year” award); Canadian Bible Society; the Good Samaritan Society; the Government of Alberta’s Achievement Award; International Lions Club; and Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. In 2000, he was bestowed an honourary Doctor of Divinity degree by Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton. Dr. Bauer’s ministry spanned sixty years, until at the age of 86 declining health prompted a move from his family home to several care facilities. His final days took place at the Royal Alexander Hospital in Edmonton. Even in these final years, he made a lasting impression on staff, continuing to preach, teach, and socialize. Dr. Bauer is survived by his wife, Eleonore (Ellie), with whom he celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary in August. He is also survived by children: Kathy, Martin (Tammi), Chris (Sheonagh), and Jean (Dennis); and grandchildren: Jesse, Iain (Jenny), Breagh, Georgia, Angus, Jakob, and Karl. This past summer he had become the proud great grandfather of Wallace. Dr. Bauer was predeceased by his seven siblings (Charlotte, Herb, Esther, Bernie, Walter, Emily, and Ed), with only his elder sister Helen surviving him. His extended family of nephews, nieces, and other relatives number in the hundreds. Current pandemic restrictions made a public funeral impossible, so a private service was held in early October. Donations in honour of Dr. Bauer’s life and service may be sent to

Cross of Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Edmonton, Alberta (11460-60 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6H 1J5).

Rev. Dr. Carl Edward Borchardt passed on to glory on March 28, 2020. Dr. Borchardt was born on May 8, 1938 in Langenburg, Saskatchewan to Rev. and Mrs. A.O. Borchardt. He was baptized by his father on May 26, 1938, and was confirmed on May 29, 1952 at Christ Lutheran Church. He earned his A.A. in St. Paul, Minnesota; a B.A. in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and a B.Div, M.Div, and Ph.D. at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. In July 1965, Dr. Borchardt married Dr. Darlene Mund. Together they welcomed three children: Lisa, Carl, and Mark. After being ordained by his father, Dr. Borchardt was installed as pastor of parishes in Birch River and The Pas, Manitoba. Other areas where he would serve include the Peace River, Alberta area; Regina, Saskatchewan; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta; and Vancouver, B.C. In total, Dr. Borchardt served in fulltime ministry for forty years, during which he held various positions at the synodical, district, circuit, and community levels, including on The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Commission of Appeals, the Church Extension Fund, and the Manitoba-Saskatchewan District’s Board of Adjudication. He also served as a pastoral advisor for the Lutheran Laymen’s League, as a pastoral representative with the Luther League, and as circuit secretary, in addition to other service to the church. Among other community achievements, Dr. Borchardt was also inducted into Saskatchewan’s Baseball Hall of Fame. A funeral service for Dr. Borchardt was held at Cochrane Funeral Home

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


in Cochrane, Alberta on April 3, 2020. A living tree has been planted in memory of Dr. Borchardt. He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Darlene, and children.

Rev. Paul John Borchardt passed away on March 22, 2020 at the age of 88 years in Roblin, Manitoba. Rev. Borchardt was born on April 25, 1931 to Alvin Otto Borchardt and Anne Sophia Ring in Langenburg, Saskatchewan. He attended school in Langenburg (1937-1945), Concordia College in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1945-1951), and Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri (1951-1956). Rev. Borchardt married Donna Mae Huseth in August 1955 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was ordained on July 8, 1956 in Langenburg and installed as pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church on August 1 of the same year. Over his ministry, he served five churches: St. Matthew’s Lutheran (Roblin, Manitoba) and Grace Lutheran (Zorra, Saskatchewan) from 1956-1992; Grace Lutheran (Birch River, Manitoba) from 19561962; Hope Lutheran (Grandview, Manitoba) from 1962-1983; and St. John’s Lutheran (Shevlin, Manitoba) from 1966-1978. Rev. Borchardt also served on the Board of Regents of Concordia Lutheran Seminary from 1989-1992. Rev. Borchardt retired from ministry in July 1992 and married his second wife Donna Bauer Diehl. Rev. Borchardt is survived by five children, 16 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren: his son Paul (Marlene) and their children; Ben, Chris and Rebecca), daughter; Elizabeth (Gus) Tomaras and their children Ioannis, Pavlos, Elias and Ioanna, daughter; Ruth (Scott) Boucher and their children Grace and Eric, daughter; Rachel (Clifford) Leshchyshyn and


their children Matthew and Lauren, daughter Esther (Dave) Maludzinski and their children Sarah, Laura and Zachary, sister; Florence, brothers Al (Jean) and Carl (Darlene). He was predeceased by his father Alvin Otto Borchardt, mother Anne Sophia Ring, second wife Donna Bauer Borchardt, first wife Donna Huseth Borchardt, daughter Debra Mae Borchardt, and son David Alvin Borchardt. Current pandemic restrictions have made a public memorial service impossible, but a memorial service is hoped to be held at a later date at St. Matthew’s Lutheran in Roblin. Memorial donations may be made to Canadian Lutheran World Relief (www.clwr.org).

Rev. Murvyn (Murv) Renwick Kentel passed away peacefully at home at the age of 89 years on December 12, 2019. Rev. Kentel was born January 25, 1930 in MacNutt, Saskatchewan and raised on a nearby farm. He enrolled in the cadets in 1945, but when World War II ended, he decided to study for the ministry. His studies took him first to Concordia College in Edmonton and then to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where his studies were completed on June 3, 1956. He later completed his Master of Divinity degree while serving as a pastor. Rev. Kentel seved his vicarage in St. Catharines, Ontario, where he met his wife of 62 years, Shirley Ann Yungblut. He served as a pastor in Delhi/Tillsonburg, Ontario; Regina, Saskatchewan; Augusta, Missouri; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Stony Plain, Alberta; Calgary, Alberta; South Africa; and Kelowna and West Kelowna, B.C. He was also considered an expert in homiletics, and taught numerous students through Concordia Seminary in Edmonton.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

A memorial service for Rev. Kentel was held December 20, 2019 at First Lutheran Church, conducted by Revs. Rod Buck and Keith Reisdorf. Memorial gifts in honour of Rev. Kentel can be made to The Lutheran Hour or to First Lutheran Church in Kelowna.

Rev. Ronald Paul Tabbert was called home to glory on August 19, 2020. Rev. Tabbert was born on October 15, 1945 in North Dakota. He was baptized on April 21, 1946. After high school, he studied at universities in Minnesota and Indiana. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri in 1971. Rev. Tabbert served his vicarage in Lincoln, Nebraska, and was ordained in Minot, North Dakota on June 6, 1971. He served congregations in Wisconsin (seven years) and Tennessee (eight years) before coming to Grand Cache, Alberta in 1987. In 1992, he arrived to serve the community of Golden, B.C. While still residing in Golden in 2016, he began leading worship and preaching in the East Kootenays—Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Elkford, and Invermere. He took a leave of absence from ministry in 1992 in order to teach English in Estonia, and often returned there over the years to visit friends. Rev. Tabbert continued to offer pastoral ministry even into his retirement and was, at the time of his death, in the midst of planning a confirmation service for a young man whom he had catechized over the past year. A graveside funeral for Rev. Tabbert was conducted on August 26 at the Golden Cemetery.

Transitions Rev. Adrian Kramer, St. John’s (Ballarat, Victoria, Australia) to St. Peter (Oxbow, SK)/St. John’s (Frobisher, SK). Installation: TBA Rev. Dr. Thomas Korcok, Concordia University (Chicago, Illinois, USA) to Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (St. Catharines, ON).


Reminder: Up-to-date Calls/Transitions information can be accessed any time at: www.canadianlutheran.ca/calls-transitions

Looking for the 2020 Index for The Canadian Lutheran? The 2020 Index for The Canadian Lutheran magazine can be viewed and downloaded as a PDF at CanadianLutheran.ca!

2020 Index The following is an index of articles which appeared in The Canadian Lutheran during 2020. TABLE TALK BY MATHEW BLOCK

LCC welcomes new administrative assistant, Angela Honey! The synod office of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) welcomes a new administrative assistant to the team, Angela Honey. Angela, originally from Alberta, has resided in Atlantic Canada for the past thirteen years and is pleased to be returning to the prairies. Angela and her husband, Matthew, were most recently coffee shop owners in St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick. After over a decade of running the shop, Angela described the pair as feeling ‘over caffeinated’ and they were blessed to be able to sell the café to the manager as they began their search for new purpose and vocation. “We were both excited by the opportunity for me to work for Lutheran Church–Canada and after much prayer decided to make the move to Winnipeg,” Angela said. “While we are sad to leave our seaside friends we look forward to the many opportunities that God will provide in this new adventure.”

@thecanadianlutheran @lutheranchurchcanada

@canlutheran @lcc_missions

• Singing in a Strange Land Vol. 35 No. 1 January/February • A Long Lent Vol. 35 No. 2 March/April • Seeing Jesus Vol. 35 No. 3 May/June • Together, One Vol. 35 No. 4 July/August • A Word of Peace in Troubled Times Vol. 35 No. 5 September/October • Newborn Hope Vol. 35 No. 6 November/December FEATURES • Canada Today: Understanding the Times by Michael Schutz Vol. 35 No. 1 January/February • Misguided Mercy: Understanding Canada’s End of Life Legislation by Leah Koetting Block Vol. 35 No. 1 January/February • Online Churches, Robot Priests: Contemporary Technology and the Church Today by Mathew Block Vol. 35 No. 1 January/February • Concerning the Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Statement from the President of LCC by Timothy Teuscher Vol. 35 No. 2 March/April • LCC Congregations Reach Out: Online Ministry During the COVID-19 Crisis by Michelle Heumann Vol. 35 No. 2 March/April • The Death of Christ is Our Life by Johann Gerhard Vol. 35 No. 2 March/April

• Lutheran Spirituality by Esko Murto Vol. 35 No. 2 March/April • Lord, Teach Us to Pray by Thomas M. Winger Vol. 35 No. 2 March/April • Praying the Lord’s Prayer in a Pandemic: An Extended Prayer in Response to COVID-19 by Mathew Block Vol. 35 No. 2 March/April • A Brief Guide to Home Devotions Using the Lutheran Service Book Vol. 35 No. 2 March/April • The Good Shepherd by Jim Chimirri-Russell Vol. 35 No. 3 May/June • Parables by Stephen Chambers Vol. 35 No. 3 May/June • God’s Gift of Literature By Mary J. Moerbe Vol. 35 No. 3 May/June • Who is my Neighbour? by John Arthur Nunes Vol. 35 No. 4 July/August • One in Christ: Lutherans and Canada’s First Nations People by Randy Heide Vol. 35 No. 4 July/August • Sharing the Gospel in a Multicultural and Religiously Diverse World by Javed Khan Vol. 35 No. 4 July/August • The Enduring Word: Lutherans and Bible Translation by Mathew Block Vol. 35 No. 5 September/October • Gentleness and Respect: Scriptural Strategies for Respectful Discussion by Terry Defoe, Garth Huber, and Brian Wonnick Vol. 35 No. 5 September/October • Called During COVID: Becoming a Pastor in Challenging Times by Adam Chandler Vol. 35 No. 5 September/October

• Two Births by Kelly Klages Vol. 35 No. 6 November/December • Christmas Light, Christmas Peace by Mark Smith Vol. 35 No. 6 November/December • A Lamp To My Feet: Reading the Word of God Daily by Leonardo Neitzel Vol. 35 No. 6 November/December INTERNATIONAL NEWS • Prominent Christian rapper becomes Lutheran Vol. 35 No. 1 January/February • Unity talks begin between South African Lutherans Vol. 35 No. 1 January/February • Finnish Lutherans under investigation for upholding biblical teachings on sexuality Vol. 35 No. 1 January/February • LCC, LCMS, and NALC continue dialogue Vol. 35 No. 1 January/February • LCC military chaplain conducts Religious Leader Engagement with Latvian archbishop Vol. 35 No. 3 May/June • New Constituting Convention for Cambodian Lutherans Vol. 35 No. 3 May/June • Lutherans around the world respond to COVID-19 Vol. 35 No. 3 May/June • President of the Malagasy Lutheran Church passes on to glory Vol. 35 No. 3 July/August • Burkina Faso: “We Are Very Discouraged…” Vol. 35 No. 5 September/October • ILC welcomes second Tanzanian diocese into membership Vol. 35 No. 6 November/December

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Lutheran Church–Canada


THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020


President’s Ponderings

Singing the Angels’ Christmas Song by President Timothy Teuscher


or centuries, the Christmas song of the angels has sounded forth week after week in the liturgy of Christ’s church: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth” (Luke 2:14). These words from the account of our Lord’s birth begin the canticle or hymn of praise known as the Gloria in Excelsis (Latin for “Glory in the Highest”). But why do we sing this Christmas song of the angels throughout the year? Now, it may sound strange to say that we observe Christmas year round. And yet, that is precisely what we are doing when we sing the Gloria in Excelsis. Just as Christmas celebrates the coming of God in the flesh for our salvation from sin and death, so that is also what we celebrate every week throughout the year as our Lord comes to us in His holy Word and in the blessed Sacrament. No wonder that the Christmas song of the angels has also become our hymn of praise to God. The shepherds, having heard the angel’s proclamation of the birth of the Saviour and having seen Him themselves, “returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them”(Luke 2:20). So too we now do the same: “We worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory.” The Gloria continues with a confession of faith in Christ, “the only Son of the Father,” focusing especially on His saving work as the Lamb of God: “You take away the


sin of the world.” And what clearer expression of the central truth of the Christian faith, of Christmas, is there than that? This is precisely what the angel announced to the shepherds when Jesus was born and what is still proclaimed to us today: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). The Gloria then concludes as it began with another joyful expression of praise and doxology to the Holy Trinity: “You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.” Some might consider the Gloria old-fashioned and out-of-step with our so-called sophisticated age and time. That is not surprising. After all, what the Gloria proclaims is completely out-of-step with the sinful, unbelieving world in which we are living. As St. Paul puts it, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). How can we mortal, sinful human beings adequately express the greatness and goodness of God for the salvation of us sinners, something into which even “angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:12)? Although of ancient origin, the Gloria in Excelsis is as relevant now as it was to the early church which incorporated it into their worship. It is as timely today as it was when the angels first sang it to lowly shepherds.

THE CANADIAN LUTHERAN November/December 2020

It lifts our eyes and hearts and minds away from the things of this sininfested world—like the fears and anxieties we have all been experiencing over the past number of months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic— and bids us look instead to “the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). Its focus on the saving work of the Son of Mary and Son of God is the surest antidote to all our feeble and inadequate attempts to make ourselves right before God. After all, Christ alone does that. And He, together with the Holy Spirit, dwells in the glory of the Father—both His Father and now also “our Father who art in heaven.” Such is the divine truth and reality that we not only hear and sing about at Christmas, but throughout the year, week after week: the Christmas song of the angels, the Gloria in Excelsis. Martin Luther expresses it this way: “We poor people, to be so cold and sluggish in the face of the great joy that has clearly been prepared for us! This great blessing exceeds by far all the others works of creation; and yet our faith in it is found to be so weak, although it is preached and sung to us by angels, who are heavenly theologians and who were so glad for our sake. Their song is very beautiful and describes the entire Christian religion. For giving glory to God in the highest heaven is the supreme worship. This they wish and bring to us in the Christ Child.”

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The Canadian Lutheran November/December 2020