Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
(Eglise évangélique luthérienne au Canada)
On 1 January 1986 the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (ELCC) and the Lutheran Church in America-Canada Section (LCA-CS) merged to become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). The merger process began in the early 1970s with three major bodies participating: ELCC, LCA-CS and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in Canada (now Lutheran Church-Canada, LCC). In the late 1970s the LCC withdrew but the ELCC and the LCA-CS set 1985 as the target date for their merger. The national office of the church is in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is in the centre of the country, east to west. Many of the members of this church are of Scandinavian and German ethnic origin, though many other backgrounds are also represented. While English is the major language of worship, German continues to be significant, and the ELCIC also worships in at least 15 other languages each Sunday, reflecting the cultural mosaic of Canada. In the earlier years and up to the decade after the second world war, the church not only provided a meaningful cultural link for immigrants but also assisted in the integration of immigrants into the Canadian mosaic.
Though small numerically, the church has contributed significantly to the development of Canadian society, especially through its colleges and schools, thousands of whose graduates have gone into the mainstream of Canadian society and continue to bring leadership with a Christian perspective into the various facets of Canadian culture - in the sciences, politics, medicine, business and educational fields. The ELCIC operates two seminaries, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary in Waterloo, Ontario, and Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In addition, the Bible schools have contributed a significant number of missionaries who have taken their skills to various parts of the globe to share the gospel and aid in development.
The ELCIC is a member of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, which includes 10 other Canadian church bodies. Through KAIROS, together with the Anglican Church of Canada, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the United Church of Canada, and other members, the ELCIC works in such areas as aboriginal rights, corporate issues, ecology, global justice, human rights, and refugee and migrant issues. The ELCIC is also a supporting member of Project Ploughshares, an ecumenical peace centre of the Canadian Council of Churches. Through such involvements, there is a growing sensitization of the ELCIC membership in matters of social justice in Canada and around the world. There is strong support for the international development and relief work of Canadian Lutheran World Relief, in partnership with the Global Hunger and Development Appeal of the ELCIC, and the Lutheran World Federation. In 2003 the ELCIC hosted the LWF tenth assembly in Winnipeg.
Believing that theology must undergird all aspects of its life and mission, the church is working with all its members towards a greater awareness of the relation of theology to personal, corporate and community life.
Since 2001 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is in full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada. In 2006 the ELCIC and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland signed an agreement which will allow for pastors and deacons from either church to exercise their calling in either country.