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Interim Pastoral Leader to conclude service in Alberta and British Columbia

August 4, 2016 No Comment
Rev. Nolan Astley.

Rev. Nolan Astley.

WINNIPEG – Rev. Nolan D. Astley, the Interim Pastoral Leader for Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) congregations in Alberta and British Columbia during the past year, will officially conclude his work in this role on September 1, 2016.

The Interim Pastoral Leader arrangement was implemented after the 2015 Alberta-British Columbia (ABC) District convention resolved overwhelmingly to request LCC to exercise direct ecclesiastical supervision for an unspecified period. Because of challenges facing the new District President and Board of Directors, as well as the frustrations felt by individual people and congregations, the long-time practice of exercising such supervision through the elected District President was deemed troublesome at that time. Rev. Astley was appointed by action of the LCC Board of Directors after securing congregational approval at Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Kitchener, Ontario) where he has served as senior pastor since 2009.

“We have monitored this special arrangement for many months now,” commented LCC President Robert Bugbee. “Some weeks ago, the LCC Board of Directors, considering all the factors involved, concluded that we’re reaching the point where we need to release Pastor Astley back to his congregation full-time. The Synod across Canada owes a huge debt of gratitude to the members of Holy Cross, to Assistant Pastor Roland Syens, and—perhaps most of all—to Mrs. Susan Astley and their family for sharing a gifted pastor, husband and father with us for this demanding assignment. I really don’t have the words to tell Pastor Astley how valuable this help has been.”

President Glenn Schaeffer.

President Glenn Schaeffer.

The transition comes after consultations with the ABC District’s Vice Presidents and Board of Directors. Beginning in early August, ABC District President Glenn E. Schaeffer will begin carrying out the routine demands of an ecclesiastical leader, including assisting calling congregations. Rev. Astley will finish up in several special cases of need as they move toward being resolved. President Schaeffer assumes his place on the LCC Council of Presidents this fall.

“Lutheran Church-Canada has not involved itself with the corporate and legal issues of the ABC District, where LCC had no jurisdiction,” President Bugbee observed. “Pastor Astley’s separation from legal and business issues enabled many people to welcome his presence without being distracted by the financial difficulties besetting the District.” President Bugbee went on to note that Rev. Astley “spent rather little time in the District office, feeling compelled to make the most of his trips out west connecting with people in the field.” Rev. Astley divided his time between this work in the west and his Kitchener pastorate since August of last year.

President Glenn Schaeffer is well known in the ABC District, having served as a mission executive for many years before his election as President in 2015. Prior to that work, he served congregations in Cobourg and Barrie, Ontario, and completed a doctoral program in missiology at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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