June 26, 2008

The Worship Conference Begins!

Posted in Highlights at 2:11 pm by elcic2

 

We began in Wallenberg Square, part of the Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) in downtown Montreal. Gathering before the liturgy began, the assembly watched local break dancers and visited, happily renewing old friendships, Anglican, Lutheran, Prince George to Philadelphia, excited about the next few days. As the music died and the dancers faded away, we were invited to gather together for a time of prayer, remembering Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who worked hard to save many Jews from the Nazis during WWII, and is remembered as righteous among the nations by Israel. For his efforts he was arrested by the Soviets and disappeared forever in their injustice system. So we prayed mightily for never again, and then confessed that indeed it had happened again, in many ways, in many places, even now in some parts of the world.

We gathered around the fountain to remember and give thanks for the gift of baptism, receiving absolution, wet and graceful forgiveness, and then processed along the sidewalk to the sound of drums, drawing some curious looks from passersby and from young and old enjoying the cathedral lawn in the middle of that cement jungle. The opening Eucharist was a rich and diverse experience, containing many elements of both order and chaos combined in creative and very imaginative ways. The preacher was the Rev. Dr. Gordon Lathrop (from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Amercia – ELCA), a renowned liturgical scholar. The presider was our local host, Bishop Barry Clarke, the Anglican Bishop of Montreal, and the Rev. Dr. Mark Harris, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)’s Eastern Synod, was present also, representing Bishop Michael Pryse, our ‘local’ ELCIC host. The role of Assisting Minister was confidently and pastorally fulfilled by Bonnie Weppler, recently returned to Canada after ten years of service as an ELCIC long-term missionary in Papua New Guinea. The meal was wonderful, a deep sense of joyful community in Christ.

After the liturgical celebration of community in Christ we paraded once more, informally, but back to the courtyard, breeze ruffling the trees, fountain splashing happily, a long, leisurely time of healthy foods, beverages to suit the tastes of all, and rich, rich fellowship. It was all a great beginning to the 2008 National Worship Conference of the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

– blog post and pictures by Rev. Paul Johnson, Assistant to the Bishop, National Office of the ELCIC

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