is a tradition within Christianity that began in the Protestant Reformation in
With a membership estimated at around 80 million members worldwide,
Lutheranism is the third-largest Protestant movement, after Anglicanism and
Pentecostalism. The Lutheran faith is based on doctrines first
articulated by Martin Luther in his attempt to reform the Roman Catholic
Church. Luther conducted the first Lutheran worship service and ordained
the first Lutheran minister in 1525. Approximately 100 years later,
Lutheran congregations started to spring up in North America.
The central doctrine, justification by grace through
faith alone for the sake of Jesus Christ, concentrates on God's favour to every
person and not on each person's actions toward God. Lutherans believe
that the understanding of God’s favour depends upon proclamation and
interpretation of the Word. Preaching is the Lutheran church's hallmark. Lutherans celebrate the sacraments of Baptism
(washing with water) and Holy Communion (sharing bread and wine). A
Sacrament is a rite commanded by God that carries God’s grace.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)
came into being in 1986. There are 111,570 baptized believers in 519 ELCIC
congregations. The ELCIC is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The ELCIC is in full communion with
the Anglican Church of Canada under the Waterloo Declaration,
signed in 2001, and is a member of the Lutheran World Federation,
the Canadian Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.
Lutheran leaders are called pastors, who serve local
congregations. Pastors may also take specialized training to equip them
to serve as chaplains on university campuses, in street ministries, food banks
and shelters, in hospitals, prisons and the military.
Since 1986, the ELCIC has ordained women into
ministry. More than 140 women in total have served on the roster of the ELCIC
and predecessor bodies since 1976. Women presently serve in all types of
ordained ministry including parish pastor, senior pastor, synod and national
staff, seminary faculty, chaplaincy and as overseas missionaries, and they
currently represent about 13% or 112 of the 852 pastors on the roster. The ELCIC Women of Faith Fund provides annual grants
that encourage and facilitate the Christ-centered ministry of women within the
ELCIC and In Mission for Others. This fund was established in 2011 in
recognition of the “significant contribution of the women of the Evangelical
Lutheran Women (ELW) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)”.
Many of our congregations offer rewarding
experiences for youth as well. Every two years, one ELCIC event attracts more
ELCIC people than any other. This is the Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth
gathering. Lutheran and Anglican teens travel from every part of the country to
meet for several exciting days. For some, it is a time that will forever change
Young people and adults have expanded their horizons
by attending one of the ELCIC’s educational institutions. We have two schools:
Luther College High School in Regina, and Luther College at the University of
Regina; Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute in Outlook, Saskatchewan as well as
campus ministries at the University of Alberta – Augustana Campus, University
of Alberta – main campus, University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge.
Seminaries in Waterloo and Saskatoon train lay and clergy leaders.
Lutheranism is a movement that seeks to maintain our
essential tradition and respond to cultural changes. It is a dynamic,
lively gathering of people who seek to live grace-filled lives, centered in
God’s Word and Sacrament, loving God and neighbour.
"What is Lutheranism" as well as "The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)" was written by Rev. Marty Tuer, a
pastor in the ABT Synod, and is used here with permission.