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    • This summer is one of every second summer in which our Eastern Synod gathers in convention. But our assembly at Wilfrid Laurier University July 5 – 7 will be something different than a typical business meeting of a typical secular corporation. It is true that church conventions are the times in which pragmatic church business is conducted in which we elect leaders, approve budgets, consider future directions and vision, and address any outstanding concerns and issues affecting the larger church. But where in typical business meetings the focus is on “us” (delegates, members, etc.,) at church business meetings, the focus is on God. That’s why our assembly begins, continues, and ends with worship. We who gather acknowledge the power, presence and activity of God in our midst and in the world; God, who forgives us, holds us in grace, and calls us to continue a mission that Jesus began some two thousand years ago. Yes, the church is an incorporated entity and has a charitable number according to the laws of Canada. But its true identity is a beloved people of God called to mission for others. Its witness in the world as an agent of healing love and as a sign of God’s gracious presence is of paramount importance.
      For me church assemblies and conventions have always been a renewing and refreshing time spent with others in our Lutheran family from across the Eastern Synod, not only in business sessions, but especially as we gather for worship, learning and mutual conversation.
      As we gather at St. Matthews for our regular annual congregational meetings (budget meeting in December, ministry programs meeting in June) may we also rightly acknowledge God whose church this is. May we appreciate, worship and trust in God, who in Jesus, leads the Church, and whose Spirit guides it. We pray that we may be given the strength to put aside our private agendas, our persistent anxieties, and low grade pessimism about the future of the Church, and instead “put on Christ” who promises to walk with us and support us as we move forward into the future.
      “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
      and do not rely on your own insight.
      In all your ways acknowledge him,
      and he will make straight your paths.”
      Proverbs 3: 5-6

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