Anglican, Lutheran leaders’ deliver State of the Union address

June 29, 2023

National Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), opened the Assembly 2023 plenary sessions today at the University of Calgary, in Calgary, Alberta with a state of the union address.

The Primate discussed gathering under the theme “Let there be greening”. She further explained how it was chosen before the pandemic began and had become even more important now, noting that the theme referred to “both the greening of the planet in light of climate change and the greening of our churches emerging from the pandemic and other challenges”.

Bishop Susan shared an overview of the important work achieved together. In 2019, the two churches adopted a Memorandum of Mutual Recognition of Relations of Full Communion affirming that a relationship of full communion exists among the four churches—commonly referred to as Churches Beyond Borders (ELCIC, ACC, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church) and governed by either Called to Common Mission (USA, 1999 & 2000) or the Waterloo Declaration (2001).

Partnerships were a key theme of the address, including the growing relationships of the two churches with the Moravian Church of Canada, partner churches in the Holy Land, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. The leaders discussed the recent visit to Ottawa with heads of the United and Presbyterian Churches of Canada to meet with Parliamentarians to discuss the deteriorating political situation in Palestine and Israel and their participation in a panel discussion at St. Paul’s University with other faith leaders and academics.

The address included the two leaders sharing highlights on the future vision of the two churches. In the coming days, Anglican delegates will receive the work of the Strategic Planning Group, “who through extensive conversations from coast to coast” will bring forward five transformational Aspirations to drive the future mission of the church, said Archbishop Linda.

Bishop Susan spoke of a new vision statement recently adopted by the ELCIC, “God’s grace and unconditional love calls us to be a diverse, inclusive community that celebrates all and upholds life giving relationships.” She also shared an overview of the four key areas of the ELCIC strategic plan, which include: Striving to be a Healthier Church; Seeking to cultivate Effective Partnerships; Encouraging Relational Leadership; and Leading with Compassionate Justice.

The leaders’ address highlighted how the full communion relationship between the two churches has continued to, “grow stronger as our churches, our synods and diocese, our waterloo ministries and our staff work more closely together.”

The leaders concluded their address by inviting delegates of the two churches to consider how they might start dreaming about “next steps” that the two churches could take “in this journey of full communion.”

Watch a recording of the State of the Union Address:

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”