The Joint Assembly of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is a watershed moment in the full communion relationship of the two churches. This is the first time the national governing bodies of the two churches are meeting together. While it is a time to celebrate 12 years in full communion, the gathering also aims to challenge both churches to do more, as the theme says, “together for the love of the world.”
There are 291 Anglican delegates and 274 Lutheran delegates. When they all gather in the Canada Hall of the Ottawa Convention Centre, they will sit at 84 tables. They will meet, eat and worship together, but they will separate into the Anglican General Synod and the ELCIC National Convention for matters that require votes by each legal body.
The gathering will officially begin with a eucharist service in the Canada Hall today at 1:30 p.m. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Susan Johnson, national bishop of the ELCIC, will then deliver a joint report. A community building session next is intended to help people get to know each other while stimulating their creativity with some art projects. The evening sessions will include the keynote address from the Rev. Dr. Christopher Duraisingh and a presentation on homelessness and affordable housing.
In the following four days, Anglican and Lutheran members will spend their mornings together. After morning devotions on Thurs. and Fri., July 4 and 5, there will be greetings from representatives of the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran World Federation, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the World Council of Churches. Members will hear reports from the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission, aboriginal groups, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and Canadian Lutheran World Relief, as well as a presentation on responsible resource extraction. Finally, members will be asked to approve a joint assembly declaration on the issues of homelessness and responsible resource extraction.
On the morning of Sat. July 6, there will be a public witness event devoted to the issue of access to clean water, particularly in aboriginal communities. That evening all will come together for a banquet.
The event will close with a summation, reflections and a eucharist service on Sunday morning.