Convention votes to provide for diaconal service on boards, commissions, and committees


VANCOUVER – Delegates to Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) National Convention in Vancouver voted Saturday to bring members of the diaconate onto synod’s boards, commissions, and committees.

LCC’s bylaws identify deacons as members of Synod, along with pastors and congregations. They further identify deacons not as laypeople but rather as rostered workers, along with pastors. Up to this point, however, the language of LCC’s bylaws have only made allowance for pastors and laypeople to serve on synodical boards, commissions, and committees, effectively leaving deacons ineligible to serve in these capacities.

To rectify that situation, LCC’s Convention resolved Saturday that deacons become eligible for service in these synodical agencies. The Commissions on Constitutional Matters and Structure (CCMS), Theology and Church Relations (CTCR), and Adjudication (CA) have all had membership requirements expanded to allow for the election/appointment of deacons. Where previous language regarding membership in the CCMS and CTCR called for “two pastors” (in addition to two laypersons), the bylaws now call for “two rostered workers… at least one of whom must be a pastor.” The CA’s membership requirements have similarly been updated to call for two rostered workers, at least one of whom must be a pastor (in addition to a lay person appointed by each district president).


Convention Essayists calls to prayer

Rev. Kurt Reinhardt presents at the 2014 National Convention.

Rev. Kurt Reinhardt presents at the 2014 National Convention.

VANCOUVER – Saturday saw Rev. Kurt Reinhardt take the stage for the first part of his keynote lecture “Come to Him Who Answers Prayer – As Dear Children Ask their Dear Father.” In it, Rev. Reinhardt noted that God’s family is meant to be a speaking family. We were created to be in conversation, with God and with each other. But in sin, humanity stepped away from the conversation. Yet God in love restarts the conversation. He reintroduced Himself to man. That reintroduction begins with the Prophets, but it finds its ultimate manifestation in His Son. And the Son came that we might believe that God is our loving Father—bringing us back into God’s Family through baptism.

As He does so, He helps us relearn to speak—to relearn how to be in conversation with Him. We learn to speak as we are spoken to—our prayers are formed by God speaking to us. Filled by our own importance, we fail to listen to God, effectively ending the conversation. We must first listen to God before we try to pray, Rev. Reinhardt explained. He wants to speak to us, but we must let Him lead the conversation.

From that foundation, we learn to speak together as God’s Family. Christian prayer is always family prayer, praying for one another that we may be one as God is one. And we pray together not because more people are somehow better able to convince God to do what we want: He heard Elijah even though he was all alone. Instead, we pray for others when they ask us because through this God is calling us into His work. God calls us to pray together so that we can pray with one voice.

Rev. Reinhardt will return Monday to continue his essay. Following the convention, video of his presentation and the text of his speech will be made available online.


Moncton shooting tragedy remembered at LCC Convention

President Robert Bugbee leads the Convention in prayer for Moncton.

President Robert Bugbee leads the Convention in prayer for Moncton.

VANCOUVER – During its Saturday afternoon session, the national convention of Lutheran Church–Canada passed a resolution expressing its sorrow over the recent shooting tragedy in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Noting that “tragedy has again struck our land with the senseless killing of three members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) together with other victims in Moncton, New Brunswick this past,” the convention resolved that “congregations of Lutheran Church–Canada be encouraged to pray for God’s protection on those who work in law enforcement in our country, and to beg His comfort for the families and co-workers of the officers who lost their lives in Moncton.” The convention further called on the President of Synod “to convey our sorrow and condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the line of duty.”

In adopting the resolution, the convention noted that “our Synodical family cannot help but be reminded of the sorrows endured by the families of RCMP Constable Peter Schiemann and his colleages in a similar tragedy at Mayterthorpe, Alberta.” Constable Schiemann was the son of Rev. Don Schiemann, President of the Alberta-British Columbia District of Lutheran Church–Canada.

Following the resolution, President Robert Bugbee of LCC interrupted convention business to call for a time of prayer. In his prayer, he asked for comfort for the grieving. He also thanked God for the public witness of Rev. David Milette and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Moncton in the face of this tragedy, as they seek to share God’s love with the hurting.


Convention elects Synodical Vice Presidents

President Robert Bugbee, First Vice President Nolan Astley, Second Vice President

President Robert Bugbee, First Vice President Nolan Astley, Second Vice President

VANCOUVER – On Saturday, the National Convention in Vancouver elected the synodical Vice Presidents of Lutheran Church–Canada. The elections came the same day President Robert Bugbee was acclaimed to another term.

Rev. Nolan Astley was reelected to serve as Vice President for the East District and Rev. Thomas Kruesel was reelected to serve as Vice President for the ABC District. Rev. Mark L. Smith was newly elected as Vice President for the Central District, succeeding Rev. Rudy Pastucha. Rev. Pastucha had been appointed to serve as Vice-President for the Central District in mid-2013.

Subsequent votes determined the position each of the presidents will fill during the new triennium. Rev. Astley will serve as First Vice President, Rev. Kruesel as Second Vice President, and Rev. Smith as Third Vice President.


President Bugbee acclaimed to another term

President Bugbee addresses the convention.

President Bugbee addresses the convention.

VANCOUVER – On the morning of June 7, Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee was unanimously acclaimed as President of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) for another term.

President Bugbee is scheduled to address the convention regarding his reelection on Sunday afternoon.

Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee was first elected President of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) in 2008. He was acclaimed without opposition to a second term in 2011. Since 2010, President Bugbee has also served as Vice-Chairman of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies of which LCC is a member.

Born in Ohio in 1955, President Bugbee earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in German language and literature from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, in 1977. A portion of his undergraduate studies took place at the University of Bonn, Germany. In 1981 he earned the Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. During his seminary career he also participated for one year in an exchange program with the Lutherische Theologische Hochschule, Oberursel, Germany. More recently, the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, awarded him the degree Doctor of Divinity honoris causa in 2010.

As LCC’s national bishop, President Bugbee has traveled and spoken extensively, both in Canada and abroad. He writes regularly for The Canadian Lutheran magazine, and has been a contributor to such publications as Tägliche Andachten and Concordia Pulpit Resources. He is strongly concerned with the strengthening of local congregations through a vigourous and faithful pastoral ministry, with primary emphasis on clear, Biblical preaching and teaching.

Prior to accepting the call to serve as LCC President, Rev. Bugbee served as senior pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Kitchener, Ontario from 1994-2008. He previously served congregations in London, Ontario; St. Catharines, Ontario; and Albertville, Minnesota. He also served in the former Ontario District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as a circuit counselor (1983-1985), as a Vice President in what became the LCC’s East District (1985-1988, 1994-2000), and briefly as a national Vice President of Lutheran Church-Canada (1988-1989) after its organizing convention.

Pastor Bugbee married the former Gail D. Longaven in 1981. A gracious God blessed their union with four children. Although he is frequently traveling, he and Gail maintain their permanent residence near the LCC national office in Winnipeg.


Convention Opening Worship draws hundreds

The processional at the beginning of the worship service.

The processional at the beginning of the worship service.

VANCOUVER – Approximately 450 people attended the opening worship service of Lutheran Church–Canada’s national convention, held at Holy Rosary Cathedral. The event featured multi-language worship in Scripture, prayer, and song. The First Reading (Acts 1:12-26) was read in Mandarin, the Epistle (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11) was read in Korean, and the Gospel (John 17:1-11) was read in Spanish, with English translations printed in the bulletin. Later in the service, the prayers were read in these languages as well as several others, and congregants sang one hymn simultaneously in Chinese and English.

President Robert Bugbee was celebrant and preacher, with Rev. Mark Chiang serving as liturgist and Rev. Wayne Zhang as co-celebrant. President Bugbee’s sermon focused on the first reading, reminding congregants that the ascended Jesus is still working in His Church. And He doesn’t restrict Himself to grand miracles, either; He works through simple earthly things too—like the Apostles selecting a replacement for Judas, for example. Or a Canadian church body holding its national convention.

The choir sings from the loft.

The choir sings from the loft.

The service was gifted with a the musical gifts of a number of great singers and musicians. Three choirs in total participated in the event. The Convention Choir came from St. Paul’s Lutheran (Chilliwack, B.C.) and was directed by Christine Millar, the Oculus Choir was directed by Ben Ewert, and the Pastoral Choir was formed by the Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island Circuits. Rob Goddard served as trumpeter for the service and Michael Dirk served as organist.

Others taking part in the service included Rev. Sanghun Kim and Vicar Eduardo Rodriguez as lectors, Rev. Paul Roggow as Processional Marshal, and Ian Oliver as Crucifer. The Convention gives its thanks to the committee which organized the worship service: Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan, Rev. Fred Rink, and Rev. Paul Roggow.

The opening worship service was recorded and will be made available online at a later date.


LCC set to begin national convention


VANCOUVER – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) is gearing up for its triennial national convention, taking place June 6-9, 2014 on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The event will see approximately 250 lay and clergy representatives from across the nation gather together to conduct the business of the church, including the election of synod’s president and vice-presidents.

The first session of the national convention will take place Friday, beginning at 4:00 p.m. That evening, conference participants will travel to Vancouver’s Holy Rosary Cathedral, where they will be joined by hundreds of local Lutherans to celebrate the convention’s opening Divine Liturgy. The cathedral seats 700 and is expected to be full. LCC’s President Robert Bugbee will preach at the event, focusing on the convention’s theme: “Come to Him who answers prayer” (Psalm 65:2).

Elections will begin on Saturday (a full list of presidential and vice-presidential nominees is available online here). Also occurring on Saturday are a number of workshops on such topics as church relations, prayer, Bible reading, intercultural ministry, LCC’s missions, finding sustainable funding, and congregational outreach. These workshops are free and open to the general public.

Also on Saturday, Rev. Kurt Reinhardt will take the stage to begin his plenary presentation on prayer, entitled “As Dear Children Ask Their Dear Father.” Rev. Reinhardt will return to complete his presentation on Monday. On Sunday, Deacon Jennifer Shack will present on “The History and Biblical Foundation of the Diaconate in LCC.” Find out more about the essayists and their topics here.

For more information on the business of the convention, including resolutions and overtures, please refer to the Convention Workbook and Today’s Business, all available online here. All business sessions are open to the general public. For more information on the convention, see the official agenda here.

There are a number of ways to keep up to date with convention news online. Be sure to regularly visit the convention’s website at, where you can watch a live-stream of proceedings (due to technical limitations, the opening worship service will not be live-streamed). The daily newsletter and more will all be posted on the convention website. Major news stories will also be posted online at

Lutheran Church–Canada has 65,000 members in more than 300 congregations across the nation, served by approximately 250 active pastors and 100 deacons. LCC is a member of the International Lutheran Council. A number of its international partner churches have sent representatives to bring greetings to the convention.


Workshops announced for National Convention


VANCOUVER – On Saturday, June 7 at 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union Building on the campus of UBC, Lutheran Church–Canada’s convention is offering seven workshops open to both delegates and members of LCC congregations. Signs will direct you to the workshop rooms.

Paid parking is available in the nearby parkade.

1. Keeping it Straight: the CTCR reports: Rev. Warren Hamp, chairman
LCC’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations has had a busy triennium. Discover how they have served God’s people as they provide guidance in matters of theology and relationships with other church bodies

2. Prayer: “Come to Him who answers prayer.”: Rev. Laverne Hautz
The Lord taught us how to pray. How do we put His teaching into practice?

3. Bible reading: It’s a matter of life: Rev. David Smilek
Being immersed in God’s Word is being immersed in His grace. Daily Bible reading can change your life!

4. Intercultural Ministry: Connecting for Christ across cultures: Rev. Gerhard Wilch
Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who are new to Canada is a continuing challenge. Learn ways to connect with new (and old) Canadians from different cultures.

5. God’s mission around the world: Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel
LCC has a part in God’s mission to “make disciples of all nations.” Find out how our role is expanding by God’s grace.

6. Finding and sustaining the funding : Allen Schellenberg (Lutheran Foundation Canada)
Lutheran Foundation Canada presents ideas on short-term and long-term congregational funding and financial stewardship

7. Congregational Outreach: It’s a different world but the same message: Rev. Paul Roggow
Do you need an “evangelism committee” or simply find ways to engage with your community?