Joint Statement from The Lutheran Church—Canada and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Dec. 9, 2022
On November 21–22, 2022, representatives from The Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) met in Windsor, Ontario, Canada to discuss the work and scope of the LCMS English and SELC Districts in Canada. LCC representatives included the Rev. Dr. Timothy Teuscher (LCC President), the Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee (Pastor of First Lutheran Church, Windsor, LCC Past President, and meeting host), and the Rev. Marvin Bublitz (East Regional Pastor). LCMS representatives included the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison (LCMS President), the Rev. Dr. Jamison Hardy (LCMS English District Bishop/President), the Rev. Waldemar Vinovskis (SELC District President), and the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Shaw (LCMS Church Relations Director).
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss improving mission outreach, especially regarding new ethnic-specific congregations and mission starts, in light of the May 1988 protocol document between the two church bodies. The 1988 agreement encourages LCMS congregations in Canada to join the LCC, but also allows for new LCMS congregations and mission starts in Canada subject to the mutual consent of both church bodies. Foundational for the discussion was the shared commitment to proclaim the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, confess the faith based on complete agreement in the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, empower all LCC and LCMS congregations in Canada to fulfill Christ’s mission through lively Word and Sacrament ministry, demonstrate mutual respect for all, and do all things decently and in good order.
The group reviewed the history of LCC and LCMS work and relationships in Canada, and considered current challenges. The LCC deferred for future conversations three LCMS English District requests: to relax the protocol requirement to encourage LCMS congregations in Canada to join the LCC and thereby leave the LCMS, to consent to certain English District congregational mission starts, and to consent to three growing ethnic ministries having their own congregations.
The group reached three important agreements. LCC and LCMS leadership committed to:
- A three-year meeting cycle for protocol review, joint planning, and fraternal understanding, (1) meeting in the USA with an LCMS Council of Presidents’ engagement, (2) meeting in Canada, and (3) meeting in Canada with a joint pastoral conference for LCC pastors with LCMS SELC and English District pastors serving in Canada. Some joint meetings were previously conducted.
- Mutual planning of pastoral care for possible mission starts, independent Lutheran congregation vacancies, etc. In December, 2022, Presidents Teuscher and Harrison will collaborate further toward this end.
- A Koinonia Project event in February 2023 in Canada to address joint matters in light of the May 1988 protocol document, with special attention to new ethnic-specific congregations and mission starts. With LCC and LCMS Presidents, English and SELC district presidents and all affected pastors present, this facilitated koinonia event will be based on a united confession and love in Christ, and aim to enhance understanding of perspectives on mission and ministry, and to empower lively Word and Sacrament ministry in LCC and LCMS congregations in Canada.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (lcms.org)
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, with nearly 2 million baptized members in some 6,100 congregations coast to coast, is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ.