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International guests mark installation of Lutheran president

Monday, September 29, 2008

Following the Rite of Installation performed by President Emeritus Ed Lehman (right) and President Emeritus Ralph Mayan (left), the newly-installed president, Rev. Robert Bugbee, receives LCC's pectoral cross

KITCHENER, Ont. – Worshippers from as far away as Germany joined Lutheran Church–Canada for the installation of its third national president. In a music-filled evening service, Sunday September 28 at St. Matthews Lutheran Church in downtown Kitchener, Rev. Robert Bugbee, 53, elected in June, accepted his new responsibilities. The Rite of Installation was conducted by presidents emeritus Rev. Dr. Edwin Lehman (1988-96) and Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan (1996-2008).

Participating in the service were clergy from B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Germany. Rev. Dr. Wilhelm Torgerson, from Wittenberg, Germany is a Canadian-born pastor responsible for the development of a Lutheran visitor’s information centre in the city where the Reformation began in 1517.

The red stole worn by the new president during the service was crafted by Joanne Huras of Our Saviour Church, London, Ontario, and presented to Pastor Bugbee at his ordination and first installation in 1982.

Reflecting the tradition in the European church, President Bugbee preached the sermon during the Installation Service. His words to the church and to Canada centred on the theme “Jesus Christ is Lord.” He told the congregation of more than 500, “The Christian Gospel is not some modern message of ‘acceptance’ or ‘inclusivity’ where God always says ‘Yes’ to anything people choose to think or do or believe. This Gospel is the concrete, liberating Word of God’s Christ, whose real life and real death and real resurrection cover over the sins of humankind.”

The service featured musicians from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Kitchener where Rev. Bugbee served for 14 years. Two choirs, soloists and a band and string quartet performed specially chosen music. Paul Walrath, from Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, was organist.

Almost 100 viewers across Canada watched the event on-line—a first for Lutheran Church–Canada. At one point, the service from Kitchener was the most-watched webcast on Ustream.TV.

Joining the Toledo, Ohio-born president at the service were his wife, Gail, children Lauren, Jill and Nathanael. His son, Ian, is currently at sea serving in the US Navy. Other family members from Michigan and Ohio included his mother and step-father, Violet and Robert Whalley, and 97-year-old grandmother Olive Stratton.

A copy of the Installation Sermon is available here.

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