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Central District in convention

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More than 270 convention delegates, guests and members gathered at Saint James Lutheran Church in Winnipeg, Monday, April 24 for the opening worship of the Central District’s 7th convention as a district of Lutheran Church–Canada. Leading the liturgy was Rev. Richard Beinert and Rev. Rod Buck officiated at the Lord’s Supper. In his sermon based on Psalm 89, Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan, president of Lutheran Church–Canada spoke of God’s faithfulness. He said that just as the rainbow after the flood was a sign of God’s promise to His creation, the cross of Christ is the ultimate faithful fulfillment of His promise of a saviour. Noting the convention theme “Proclaiming His Faithfulness...as a Light to all” (Matthew 5:14-16) he noted that “All God’s children reflect the light of Jesus Christ in their vocations,” the president stated. “Let it shine in your world, in your arena of activity.”

Following the service, members of Saint James provided an opportunity for fellowship in the church basement.

FIRST SESSION

Business sessions began for the 117 voting and 14 advisory delegates, Tuesday, April 25. The orientation included showing a newly-produced DVD telling the story of Central District mission work and showing how mission offerings to are used in Proclaiming His Faithfulness.

ESSAY (Bible Study)

Dr. Harald Tomesch, president of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary presented the first of three essays in the Gospel of John. He began by drawing attention to the various details in a nativity painting, “Adoration of the Shepherds” by Rubens. He suggested that we should look at the details of John’s gospel in the same way he pointed to details in the painting. Dr. Tomesch drew attention to various figures in the painting and drew parallels on how we search, understand and interpret scripture.

He described John’s account of the life of Christ as a “maverick” gospel, distinctive and unique from the other three evangelists. He noted that John creates narrative by calling upon knowledge of the past, for example “In the beginning was the Word” harkens back to the first words of Genesis. John also foreshadowing, using words and concepts in early sections of the gospel in later sections. In his overview, he presented patterns, themes and structural elements of the Gospel of John.

ELECTIONS

President

Rev. Tom Prachar

Regional Vice-presidents (Board of Directors)

Clergy
Regina – Rev. Michael Keith
Saskatoon – Rev. Rudy Pastucha
Thunder Bay – Rev. David Haberstock
Winnipeg – Rev.James Scholz
Yorkton – Rev. Raymond Maher

Regional Lay members
Regina – David Buck
Saskatoon – Wayne Gust
Thunder Bay – Michael Maunula
Winnipeg – Carl Bittner
Yorkton – Larry Miller

Lay Member-at-large: Vic Rhyorchuk

Concordia University College Board of Regents

Edna Schutz (acclamation)

PRESIDENT

In his report, President Prachar encouraged delegates saying “We are already the salt and light of the world because we are made so by our baptism and our relationship with Christ.”

He thanked the delegates for “me the opportunity to serve you again as your district president. I have learned much in the past size years and hope to continue to grow in wisdom and experience in the next triennium.”

The newly re-elected president confessed that he has “made more mistakes than I can count,” but that he continues to hold fast to the church’s doctrinal and confessional practices. “What I have told the Lord is that I will serve as long as He asks, to the best of my ability. When the Lord decides it is time to move on, He will make it possible.”

BUSINESS

Delegates adopted the minutes of the 2005 Central District Annual Meeting, the report from the treasurer which included appointing auditors, and the work program for the next three years.

The committee’s final resolution asked the Board of Directors to review the funding designated for Synod. Delegates adopted the resolution.

Delegates also ratified the constitutions of eight congregations and adopted resolutions amending the district handbook regarding convention representation of pastors, church worker conferences, and annual meeting minutes.

Recognizing the growing number of Lutheran immigrants coming into the district, delegates adopted a resolution asking the district’s mission and congregational services director to become involved in assessing needs and identifying resources to support these believers as they grow in their Christian faith. Another resolution adopted by the convention asked the district to establish a task force to look into establishing a lay leadership program for the further instruction of immigrant congregation leaders.

Delegates accepted a report from the committee responsible for reviewing all items in the workbook that recommended a standardized format for future circuit reports.

In light of budget constraints, a resolution came to the floor recommending that the position of district president become half-time. The discussion continued until a delegate called the orders of the day. The resolution will come back to the floor tomorrow.

REPORTS

Executive staff from Lutheran Church–Canada presented an overview of current projects. The report included financial data from congregations, districts and synod, detailing income and disbursements. Other areas reported upon were the constitutional changes, Lutheran schools, the work of the Commission on Theology and Church relations, missions, Worker Benefit Plans and communications.

Based upon ongoing work by the district’s Board of Directors in strategic planning, those who led the board’s planning sessions presented “Moving Forward.” Dwight Lawrence and Patti Kelm, members of Celebration Lutheran Church, Regina, showed some historical data, statistics and data from the church and society. The goal was to provide a forum to identify challenges, increase understanding of our society and what challenges there are to proclaiming the Gospel. In group discussions, delegates identified three internal and three external challenges facing the district. Results and actions will be discussed Wednesday.

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