Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Congregations of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) across the country have set aside September 29 and 30 to connect with their communities through a National Lutheran Open House. With special programs, free barbecues, concerts, fun fairs, church tours, and car washes, the members of the Lutheran churches simply want to show their communities who they are, what they do and what they believe.
“How often do people drive by a church and wonder what goes on in there?” asks LCC’s president, Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan. “The goal of the National Lutheran Open House is to give people the opportunity to find out!”
Lutherans have a long history in Canada. A Norwegian Lutheran pastor conducted the first recorded Thanksgiving Service in 1620 on the shores of Hudson Bay. Missionary activity in the mid-19th century from Lutheran churches in the US, followed by waves of immigration from Europe, swelled the number of worshippers over the last 100 years. Lately, Lutherans from Africa, one of the fastest growing regions of the church, are finding a home in Canada’s churches. Worldwide, there are more than 65 million Lutheran Christians, and more than 600,000 in Canada.
“Our congregations are as diverse as the neighbourhoods in which they are located,” noted Dr. Mayan. “We’re already your neighbours, and we’d like to say ‘Hi’.”
The Lutheran church is a direct result of Martin Luther, a monk and teacher, nailing 95 Theses on the door of City Church in Wittenberg, Germany each describing what he believed were practices of the Roman Catholic Church not based on the Bible. The Roman church disputed his contentions, refused to reform its position, and so was born the Protestant Reformation. Those following Luther’s teachings became known as Lutherans. This year, October 31 marks the 490th anniversary of Luther’s actions.
Martin Luther maintained that forgiveness of sins was a gift of God which could not be bought or earned and was received by faith, also a gift from God. The sole authority for this teaching is the Bible.
Lutheran Church–Canada was founded in 1988 by Canadian congregations of the St. Louis-based The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. With more than 325 congregations from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island, it is the second largest Lutheran church body in Canada.