New National Bishop of ELCIC ordained, consecrated, and installed

Amid the roar of thunderous applause filling the sanctuary of Lutheran Church of the Cross, Winnipeg, Rev. Susan C. Johnson was acclaimed as the fourth National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) on September 29, 2007.

National Bishop Susan Johnson at the Sept. 29 service
National Bishop Susan Johnson at the Sept. 29 service

“Receive Susan as a messenger of God, pray for her, stand with her in witness to Christ,” said retiring Bishop Raymond L. Schultz, presiding at the service. “Receive her as a messenger of Christ,” he continued, “a fellow servant in God’s everlasting household of peace. Thanks be to God!”

Over 300 people filled the church, located in downtown Winnipeg. The service began with a lengthy and brightly coloured procession of vested clergy who were greeted with the hymn, Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty.

“This is the day the Lord has made,” declared Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) as he delivered the sermon. “Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

The newly installed Primate, who was also elected to his position in June at the ACC General Synod said he was, “humbled and honoured by the opportunity,” to preach at the ordination and consecration service for Bishop Johnson. “I hope this marks the beginning of a long and happy relationship as partners in ministry. Called… not only to provide leadership in our respective churches but to call them, by our example, into yet Fuller Communion in the service of the Gospel and in the Spirit of Jesus who prays we all may be one, as he and the Father are one.”

As part of the service, Bishop Johnson was presented with four signs of ministry.

Don and Lois Johnson, parents of Bishop Johnson, presented a Bible and asked her to, “remember to learn and live the Holy Scripture as a trustworthy steward of God’s holy mysteries.”

Bishop Michael Pryse of the Eastern Synod, place a pectoral cross around the new bishop’s neck and called on her to remember her service to Christ, “crucified, risen and passionate for the life of the world.”

Archbishop Hiltz presented the bishop’s staff and asked Bishop Johnson to remember that she shepherds, “Christ’s flock on behalf of God.”

The bishop’s ring was presented by Dr. Joy Johnson, Bishop Johnson’s sister, who noted that the ring was a sign of her office and prayed that Bishop Johnson’s love, word and witness to the church would be God’s love, word and life for our time.

A full festival choir, complete with clarinet, oboe, flute, french horn, bassoon, and percussion accompanied the clearly celebratory hymns that were selected for the occasion. The hymns and songs were from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the ELCIC’s new hymnal.

Breaking with the well-structured service, Bishop Johnson addressed those in attendance, thanking all who took part in the service for the joyous celebration as she declared that she will, “do all [she] can to move [the ELCIC] into the future.”

The entire service was video-taped and it is hoped that a commemorative DVD (approximately 10 minutes in length) will be available for purchase. Further information will be forwarded once available.

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