Canadian Lutherans re-elect Bugbee

Delegates to the 10th triennial Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) convention, meeting June 6-9 in Vancouver, British Columbia, re-elected by acclamation President Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee to his third three-year term.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee speaks to those attending the June 6-9 Lutheran Church—Canada convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, just after delegates elected him by acclamation to his third three-year term as the church body’s president. (Gabor Gasztonyi)

The Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee speaks to those attending the June 6-9 Lutheran Church–Canada convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, just after delegates elected him by acclamation to his third three-year term as the church body’s president. (Gabor Gasztonyi)

Bugbee, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was unopposed on the ballot — as was the case for his re-election in 2011.

A total of 205 attendees, including 99 voting delegates, gathered for the 2014 convention on the campus of the University of British Columbia. The convention theme was “Come to Him who answers prayer,” based on Psalm 65:2.

Reflecting on his re-election this year, Bugbee noted that when he first entered the ministry, he “never expected to serve as president of Synod, an honor which has been bestowed on me three times by our convention. I deeply appreciate your kindness, dear brothers and sisters.

“I cannot say that I understand it exactly and I’m not even sure I agree with the action you’ve taken in re-electing me,” he told convention delegates, “but I do deeply appreciate it. And I am willing once again to embrace it.”

Since 2010, Bugbee also has served as vice-chairman of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of 35 confessional Lutheran church bodies including LCC and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

“In some small way,” Bugbee continued, “I hope that the task God is entrusting to me for the coming three years will help our pastors and our people see the glory in the Gospel and in the work you share in ‘Alfalfa Junction,’ or whatever your town happens to be called. Thanks again for the honor you have done me with this election. God in Christ pour out on you all His joy and grace and blessings.”

Also re-elected were the Rev. Nolan Astley of Kitchener, Ontario, vice-president for the LCC East District, and the Rev. Thomas Kruesel, Campbell River, British Columbia, vice-president for the Alberta-British Columbia District. The Rev. Mark L. Smith of Plumas, Manitoba, was newly elected as vice-president for the Central District. Astly will serve as LCC first vice-president, Kruesel as second vice-president and Smith as third vice-president.

Convention essayists were the Rev. Kurt Reinhardt, Kurtzville, Ontario, and Deacon Jennifer Shack, Hamilton, Ontario. Reinhardt’s essay was titled “As Dear Children Ask Their Dear Father” and Shack’s presentation was on the history and biblical foundation of the diaconate in Lutheran Church–Canada.

Shack’s essay was relevant to a number of resolutions on the diaconate that convention delegates adopted. Delegates voted June 7 to make provision for deacons to serve on the church body’s boards, commissions and committees. And the next day they adopted a resolution “to study and provide for diaconal voting at Synod and District convention[s].” Presently, the LCC voting structure allows for equal pastoral and lay representation at conventions, but does not include allowing deacons to vote.

LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison brings greetings on behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to the 2014 Lutheran Church—Canada convention. (Gabor Gasztonyi)

LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison brings greetings on behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to the 2014 Lutheran Church–Canada convention. (Gabor Gasztonyi)

Among international guests at the LCC convention were the Rev. Dr. Chul-Hwan Kim, president of the Lutheran Church in Korea; the Rev. Vannarith Chhim, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia; the Rev. (Bishop) David Altus of the Lutheran Church of Australia; the Rev. Dr. David Wendel of the North American Lutheran Church; and LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.

Harrison addressed the convention on Pentecost Sunday, June 8, calling attention to what were likely Martin Luther’s last written words before his death — “We are beggars. This is true.” He referred to “Luther’s great gift to Christianity, the realization that we are but beggars before God, and our salvation, our life in Christ is all gift.”

He also noted that on the first Pentecost, the apostles urged their listeners to “repent and believe the Gospel. Repent and be baptized, every one of you.”

“Today is a great moment for us,” Harrison said to the LCC convention audience. “You know the challenges. But we have opportunities everywhere.” He spoke of “doors [that] are wide open, and we’re walking through them with you” — particularly in Central and South America, India, Indonesia and in Africa, where “enormous church bodies … want our theological integrity.”

He then led the assembly in what he called “a little liturgical response with you.” After Harrison listed each of 23 items describing LCC-related ministries, opportunities, individuals and partnerships, the response was “thanks be to God.”

The last of those was “for the LCMS,” after which Harrison said, “And we thank you for being Lutheran Church–Canada, [among] our dearest and most cherished brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Lutheran Church–Canada has some 65,000 members in more than 300 congregations across Canada, served by about 250 active pastors and 95 deacons.

For more about the 2014 LCC convention, visit canadianlutheran.ca.

Posted June 17, 2014

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