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LCC President recommends Interim Pastoral Leader for Alberta and British Columbia

June 12, 2015 3 Comments
First Vice President Nolan Astley.

First Vice President Nolan Astley.

UPDATE – LCC’s Board of Directors has acted on President Bugbee’s recommendation and appointed Rev. Nolan Astley to serve as Interim Pastoral Leader for Alberta and British Columbia. READ MORE HERE

CANADA – Lutheran Church-Canada (LCC) President Dr. Robert Bugbee has announced that he will recommend the Synod’s First Vice President, Rev. Nolan D. Astley, as the Interim Pastoral Leader for LCC congregations in Alberta and British Columbia.  This recommendation will be acted on by the LCC Board of Directors when it meets in a conference call on June 25.

Prior to the ABC District’s convention in late May, LCC’s Board of Directors presented the Alberta-British Columbia (ABC) District’s Board of Directors with a suggested convention overture regarding District leadership in light of the ongoing crisis. The overture proposed the separation of the pastoral and corporate functions of the District President, noting that the current situation requires District leadership to focus strongly on corporate and legal issues. LCC’s Board of Directors and President would be tasked with appointing an Interim Pastoral Leader to provide ecclesiastical oversight in Alberta and British Columbia, freeing the District President to focus on corporate and legal responsibilities.

On May 22, the ABC District convention voted overwhelmingly to adopt this resolution.

President Bugbee noted he considered a number of candidates before recommending Vice President Astley for the position of Interim Pastoral Leader. “There are compelling reasons for this recommendation,” President Bugbee explained. “Pastor Astley spent most of his parish ministry years in the ABC District; he understands the history there and knows many leading lay people and pastors extremely well.”

“At the same time, his move to Ontario in 2009 means he had absolutely no involvement in decisions which led to the financial crisis in ABC District,” President Bugbee continued. “Congregations, pastors, and deacons in Alberta and British Columbia can have confidence that this man will bring God’s healing Word to bear on the confusion and estrangement many of them feel toward the church. He will not be working on the corporate or business side. But while the Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO) and others seek to devise a plan to address people’s financial needs, Pastor Astley will lead the way in trying to restore trust and a heart for working together in the future.”

Rev. Astley has served as the Senior Pastor of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kitchener, Ontario since leaving Alberta nearly six years ago. “I want to speak a special word of affection and love for God’s people at Holy Cross Church,” said President Bugbee. “Many of their members came together in a special Voters’ Assembly to consider the Synod’s request; their great heart for their brothers and sisters in the west was very much in evidence. This was a touching thing to see.”

“In addition, I want to acknowledge the willingness of Pastor Roland Syens of Holy Cross,” President Bugbee continued, “as well as that of Susan Astley and her family, to make the necessary adjustments for the periods when Pastor Astley is away from parish and home.” The president noted that, at the conclusion of a lengthy discussion, Holy Cross members voted 94-10 to grant the leave of absence to their Senior Pastor.

“We’ll all be feeling our way as we attempt to launch this arrangement,” added President Bugbee. He noted that Rev. Astley will divide his time between Holy Cross Church and the work out west, and that the starting date is somewhere around September 1, when the new triennium in the ABC District officially begins.

In ecclesiastical and pastoral matters, the Interim Pastoral Leader will provide supervision for the newly elected ABC District President, Rev. Dr. Glenn Schaeffer, the District’s vice-presidents, and circuit counselors. In keeping with the decisions of the ABC District convention, Dr. Schaeffer will have primary responsibility for corporate and administrative matters, though the Synod does envision him carrying out some ecclesiastical tasks as assigned by the Interim Pastoral Leader.

“Now we will await what I hope will be a final ratification of all this by the LCC Board of Directors on June 25,” the Synod president noted. “After that, it would be my intention to send a pastoral letter to all LCC congregations, pastors and deacons in Alberta and British Columbia.” The letter is intended to explain details of the new arrangement.

Meanwhile, President Bugbee asks that “all members of Synod’s family across the country would pray that the healing Lord will help, not only those in leadership, but especially those wounded members, families and congregations still trying to cope with the sorrows they feel.”

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  • Roger Beasse

    Will there be A truth and reconciliation with the new appointed Lutheran Church Canada-ABC leadership now that President Nolan Astley. is replacing President Don Schiemann?