Friday morning’s third plenary session for the 2023 ELCIC Special Convention / Assembly 2023 included presentations from the two remaining task forces that had not yet made their reports and recommendations to Lutheran delegates.
The ELCIC Task Force on Carbon Neutrality, as well as the Task Force Addressing Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia both shared introductions to their reports, before providing an opportunity for delegates to reflect on the task force recommendations and submit questions which will be answered later on in the convention agenda.
Delegates to the 2023 ELCIC Special Convention have now heard from all four task forces, all which were formed out of convention action at the 2019 ELCIC National Convention. Each task force has four sessions on the overall agenda – an opportunity to introduce the task force and their work, time for question and answers, table conversation, all which will lead up to a final session where the task force recommendations will form motions for consideration by convention delegates.
During the Friday morning plenary session, Louis Giguere, Adele Buckley and Rev. Jeremy Langner presented on behalf of the Task Force on Carbon Neutrality. Rev. Lindsey Jorgensen-Skakum, Rev. Steve Hoffard and Haiden Werboweski presented on behalf of the Task Force Addressing Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. The work of the task forces has been supported by national office staff members Carmen Ramirez and Rev. Paul Gehrs.
“Your children and your grandchildren need you to do this,” Buckley shared. “There isn’t anything else we can say; it just has to happen. So we hope that in recognition of this you will choose to do this thing that lets us neutralize our carbon within the church.”
Rev. Langner spoke on reducing emissions, including the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. He emphasized the importance of reducing consumption, increasing efficiency and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions. Rev. Langner shared his personal assessment from his home congregation, Abundant Life Lutheran in East St. Paul, MB., indicating his greenhouse gas inventory through an emissions calculator.
The presentation from the Task Force Addressing Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia included the reading of Luke’s Parable of the Prodigal Son. It also including video messages from Rev. Lionel Ketola, Rev. Lori Pilatzke and Rev. Ralph Carl Wuschke, who expressed their feelings of harm and neglect from ELCIC policies and practices against 2SLGBTQIA+ peoples.
“We are enlivened by your care and work for justice and hope in our church and world,” Werboweski said. “Our task force is also deeply indebted to those who trusted us with their stories as queerly beloved children of God. We would like to uplift that our recommendations have come from listening to and honouring their sacred stories.”
The written report and recommendations from the Task Force on Carbon Neutrality can be found in Appendix 19 of the Bulletin of Reports, and the report and recommendations from the Task Force Addressing Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia can be found in Appendix 18 (https://elcic.box.com/s/f09yav5aleu58wriv77n8fyqhl3lo82y).