Our synod is a cooperative of congregations
Our congregations and ministries and rostered leaders are remarkably independent and resourceful in taking up the mission of the church of Christ. But just as a congregation as whole can do more together than any member individually, so congregations in synod can do together what no one congregation could do alone. Imagine the parts of a bicycle wheel.
The tire: Congregations and ministries of our synod are the places where the “rubber hits the road,” where the gospel is proclaimed in word and sacrament and service. Congregations and ministries through the contributions of their faith community members call rostered leaders and raise up lay leadership, secure a meeting space, and proclaim the gospel where they live, and contribute significantly to ministry to the world well beyond their local areas.
The spokes: Congregations contribute to the synod cooperative in a number of ways. Congregational participants serve on synod council and its numerous committees. Congregations set aside a percentage or a given amount of offering to the synod cooperative (what we have called “benevolence”). Financially gifted congregations and congregations with fewer financial resources contribute what they are able to the synod cooperative in an intricate network of “spokes” for the support of the whole.
The hub: The synod office with the Bishop’s Administrative Team and the Bishop’s Pastoral team is in place to receive, convert and return the contributions of the congregations and ministries into support where and when it is needed. This takes place currently in a number of specific ways.
Our synod cooperative provides for the formation and training of leadership:
Our synod cooperative provides the training needed to shape and educate pastors, diaconal ministers, and lay leadership. Our synod cooperative, in partnership with the British Columbia Synod, the Synod of Alberta and the Territories, and the Manitoba-Northwestern Ontario Synod, actively, prayerfully and financially supports our Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon. Our synod’s CTEL, (Committee for Theological Education and Leadership) plays an important role in supporting candidates for rostered leadership. When candidates have completed the formation requirements, The Western Examining Committee, (a committee of our four western synods), examines candidates who have completed their training and are seeking a call to serve in our church. Our synod bishop is integrally involved supporting the training of leadership for our synod.
Our synod cooperative provides support for congregations and ministries:
At times in our life as faith communities, our congregations and ministries need support from the synod cooperative. The Bishop’s Administrative Team provides administrative support for congregations and ministries. The Bishop’s Pastoral Team works on the ground to listen to congregations and ministries, to explore with faith communities where God may be leading in the future. One of the key support roles of synod office is to assist congregations in calling a rostered minister.
Our synod cooperative provides support for rostered ministers and lay leadership:
Our synod cooperative seeks to provide support to our local leadership.
- The Bishop’s Pastoral Team provides support on the ground for rostered ministers. The Pastoral team provides a listening ear and counsel as needed and makes provision for support through referrals to support staff.
- Bishop’s Administrative Team provides administrative support to rostered ministers.
- First Call Program: In the first three years of call for rostered ministers, our synod office, together with the three other western synods, works with the First Call Program to gather and support rostered ministers in their first years in ministry.
- Annual Leadership Conference: Our synod office annually gathers its rostered leaders for a study conference. For three days, rostered leaders gather for education, mutual support and encouragement. Speakers over the years have included: David Goa, Mary Solberg, Mark MacDonald, and many others.
- Area Clusters: Our synod through the Deans gather rostered ministers in geographically defined clusters for mutual support and cooperation.
Our synod cooperative fosters connectedness to inspire our sense of mission:
Our synod calls congregations to mission: to see each local congregation and ministry as a place of active mission for Christ; to envision a mission beyond our local faith communities into the communities in which we are placed; to envision the possibilities of mission when we find ways to work cooperatively.
In this area our synod is a part of a wider “wheel,” our national church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). With the four other Canadian synods, our synod supports our national church in prayer and with a significant percentage of our financial resources. Our national church fosters a sense of connectedness beyond our synod: provides a broader identity as church, enhances the unity of the church across the regional expressions of our church, and challenges us all to a vision of what it is to be church in our world in the 21st century.