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Lutherans elect new president

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rev. Robert Bugbee
(Photo: Chris Bruer)

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA—Delegates to Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) 8th convention elected Rev. Robert Bugbee, 52, to serve as the church body’s third president in its 20-year history. The pastor was elected the first day of the church body’s convention in Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 6. Rev. Bugbee currently serves Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Kitchener, Ontario. Before accepting the call to Holy Cross in 1994, he served congregations in London and St. Catharines, Ontario, and Albertville, Minnesota.

The pastor is no stranger to the administrative side of the church, having served on LCC’s first Board of Directors from 1988-89 as a vice-president, and as a vice-president of LCC’s East District from 1994-2000.

In his acceptance speech (see www.lutheranchurch.ca/synod2008) Pastor Bugbee said it was both “heartwarming” and “a little frightening” to be elected to the church body’s top post—a position he “did not hope for.”

A 1981 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, the pastor said he feels “a certain grief” in leaving his life as a full-time pastor and asked for prayers as he faces “a steep learning curve” as LCC president.

He described LCC as a “small family” in a vast land, charged with the “huge” task of reaching out with the Gospel among Canadians who “are growing more secularized.”

But Jesus, Bugbee said, has promised us “an open door that no one can shut” (Rev. 3:8). Jesus knows our failings, he said, but also our “gifts and graces” and our “capacity to show love and to speak the Good News into thirsting hearts.”

Pastor Bugbee and his wife Gail (nee Longaven) have four children: Lauren, a funeral director at Waterloo, Ontario; Ian, serving with the U. S. Navy; Jill, an undergraduate student at Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario; and Nathanael, a recent graduate of secondary school.

The president-elect will take office in September, succeeding Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan, who did not seek re-election after serving four three-year terms.

Winnipeg-based Lutheran Church–Canada was established in 1988 when the Canadian congregations of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod voted to form an autonomous Canadian church body. The church currently has 319 congregations across Canada and 76,000 members. It has helped establish, and supports other Lutheran churches in Nicaragua, Cambodia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Honduras and Ukraine.

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