National Bishop’s Report

One of the highlights of yesterday’s session was the report of our national Bishop Susan Johnson.  She reflected back on her 4 years in office by referring to what her original vision for the church had been.  She wanted to be a part of a church that took seriously what it means to be “In Mission for Others”.  She noted that we had been by looking at the work we do through CLWR and gave example of particular churches and their work with refugees.  She also highlighted our participation in the KAIROS Day of Action to change the climate for Indigenous  rights.  She wanted to be a part of a church that used its resources to be in mission for others and pointed to the work of the structural renewal task force of evidence of our efforts in that regard.  She wanted to be a part of a church that is generous.  She then pointed to a new resource produced by the ELCIC that would allow congregations to become better at that, called the ELCIC Praise Appeal.  She wanted to be a part of a church that takes partnership seriously and pointed out that in addition to our work with organizations like KAIROS and CLWR, we had also been working hard with groups like the Anglican Church of Canada, The ELCA, and our newest partner Mennonite Church Canada.  She wanted to be a part of a church that was passionate about its relationship in God in Christ.  She then once again spoke of something she has been working very hard on, a call to spiritual renewal.  She encouraged us to pray, read, worship, study, serve, give, and tell.  Finally she concluded by saying that she wants to be a part of a church that knows how to love, and its members treat one another with Christian love, pointing out using the words of Barbara Brown Taylor, “the truth is that the Holy Spirit can work with hundreds of people at the same time. I have seen it happen over and over again in large rooms full of people who have come together to make decisions or seek direction. One by one, they come into the room with their own agendas. Some of them come fearfully, ready to defend themselves. Then someone says a prayer, people begin to talk, and for no apparent reason positions begin to shift. People listen to each other and take each other seriously. They become creative together, coming up with ideas none of them had thought of on their own. It is as if a fresh wind blows through the room and clears everyone’s heads. You can call that anything you want. I call it an act of the Holy Spirit.”

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