The Rev. Timothy Teuscher of Stratford, Ontario, was elected to his first term as president of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) at the church body’s 11th convention, Oct. 13–16 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
Teuscher, first vice-president of LCC’s East District and pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Stratford, was elected on the second ballot, receiving 63 percent of the vote.
He will succeed the Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, who had announced early this year that he would not stand for re-election.
Bugbee has been LCC president since 2008 — he ran unopposed in 2011 and 2014 — and has served several terms as vice-chairman of the International Lutheran Council. He will continue as LCC president until Teuscher’s Jan. 28 installation and then will return to parish ministry as pastor of First Lutheran Church in Windsor, Ontario.
Also elected was the Rev. Thomas Kruesel of Campbell River, British Columbia, who will serve as LCC’s sole vice-president as a result of restructuring measures adopted by delegates. Kruesel has served as second vice-president since 2011, and was third vice-president from 2009 to 2011.
In remarks to the convention Oct. 15, the day after his election, Teuscher shared advice to him from the late Rev. Dr. Albin Stanfel, who was, at the time, president of LCC’s Ontario District. Stanfel advised Teuscher, then a young pastor, to allow his name to stand if he was ever nominated for a district or synod position and to let the church decide if he should serve.
Teuscher said he felt not as qualified as some to serve as president, and noted the challenges LCC has faced over the years and the increasingly hostile culture — reasons that might give anyone pause before accepting the church’s top post.
“And yet, in spite of all these questions and issues and concerns and reasons to decline to serve in this office, there stand those words of Dr. Stanfel: ‘Let the church decide.’ And so it is with much hesitancy, reluctance, with a great deal of fear and trepidation, and after much prayer and seeking advice and counsel … that I humbly bow to the will and decision of the convention and accept my election to serve as president of our synod.”
Teuscher asked “for your patience and prayers, your understanding, your support, your counsel and your advice.”
Structure changes, fellowship
Under the convention theme “Christ Alone, Christ Forever,” delegates voted to restructure the Canadian church body so that congregations will be regrouped into regions and will relate directly to synod rather than through the previous three districts.
Other changes include moving from a three-year to a four-year convention cycle, with each congregation to be represented at future conventions by a pastor and a lay representative.
In other business, delegates voted unanimously to establish altar-and-pulpit fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland. The church body emerged out of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland “as a result of that church’s departure from historic Christian teaching,” according to an LCC news report.
Founded in 2013, the Mission Diocese included 32 member congregations as of 2016.
Reformation highlights, greetings
The convention marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, with Bible studies focusing on texts prominent during the Reformation and a Reformation concert featuring J.S. Bach’s Cantata 199 and Felix Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony as performed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra.
Each delegate received a copy of Saints of the Reformation, a book published by LCC to recognize the 500th anniversary.
Among those bringing greetings to the convention was the Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III, director of LCMS Church Relations, who spoke on behalf of LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.
“Although the LCMS and LCC share a tremendous history together, it is the friendships that develop between our churches which help facilitate joint work, cooperation and future opportunities,” Collver said. “Know that Lutheran churches around the world pray for you because of your confession. Your neighbor to the south, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, prays for you, as do the churches of the International Lutheran Council” (ILC). Collver is executive secretary of the ILC.
For more information about Lutheran Church–Canada, visit lutheranchurch.ca.
Posted Dec. 19, 2017