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Seeds planted by East District sprout in Quebec

May 2, 2012 One Comment

Rev. Frank Morgret speaks with students at Université Laval in Quebec City.

by Rev. Dr. David H. Somers

QUEBEC CITY, Que. – What happens to the generous offerings gathered by appeals such as the East District’s 125th anniversary special offering? Both ventures in outreach, two projects in Quebec yield different answers. In Quebec City, building on the co-operation of a half dozen or so Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) members who happened to move to the city within months of each other, worship services were begun. An application for seed funds for exploratory outreach from the 125th anniversary offering for $3,640 was made and approved by the East District in mid-2008. No church building was available, but a 19th century prison-become-private library was. This is where monthly Lutheran services were held. The grant covered one year of monthly trips by Missionaries David Somers (Montreal, Quebec) and Razafy Razafindrakoto (Sherbrooke, Quebec) to lead Divine Service, as well as funds for newspaper ads. The local community covered rental costs and subsequent transportation costs. In an unrelated development, Lutheran services were also started at the Valcartier base by the two LCC chaplains then stationed there.

The LCC mission in Quebec City carries on. During the summer of 2010 the Quebec community decided to continue meeting and to organize locally, assuming more responsibilities and taking initiative instead of merely responding to Missionary-at-large (MAL) directives. This step was encouraged following the work-related moves of members from the Sherbrooke Lutheran Mission to Quebec City (a young family of three and a single woman), as well as by the arrival of a member from our sister church in France (with whom we had been in contact two years before when he was studying in Trois-Rivières, Quebec). A sign of the further organization was choosing a name: Église Évangélique Luthérienne de la Sainte-Trinité and becoming a Recognized District Mission. Part of the formative process is the decision to not presently request any funding from District mission funds.

Since September 2010, the mission has developed in two more ways: one was the move to the Université Laval chapel, not only a switch from the library reading room venue in Old Quebec to a more churchly worship space, but also the creation of a visible Lutheran presence for the student population. The free-of-charge and regular availability of the new venue permitted the addition of another worship service per month (second and fourth Sundays). Those services plus the monthly Lutheran service led by the military chaplain at nearby Valcartier army base chapel allow for three services per month for the Lutherans of Quebec City. It must be said though that all does not unfold neatly in reality and the mission is fragile. In just a three month period, three scheduled services were canceled for various reasons. We do not know how long a LCC military chaplain will be in nearby Valcartier, nor how long we will have use of the university chapel but are certain of a space until at least summer 2012.

The mission has grown slowly—if not always surely—at a rapidity not seen in the early years of Lutheran francophone missions.

Nonetheless, in the past year the mission has grown slowly—if not always surely—at a rapidity not seen in the early years of Lutheran francophone missions. In June 2011, just when a 5-member family was being transferred away, news was received of the pending arrival of a retired Lutheran couple moving to Quebec City, in large part to support the mission. By November, they had arrived. A contact who had periodically attended services in Montreal but was making the transition to Quebec City, came seeking information about the mission. Then, in January 2012, a Malagasy Reformed couple who had become faithful communicants at l’Église Luthérienne de l’Ascension (Montreal, Quebec) announced their move that month to Quebec City.

Meanwhile, after a long process, we were allowed to put up posters at the university, publicly announcing the Lutheran presence there—a first step for campus outreach. Communication is done by email via the MAL in Montreal, and all services and activities and developments are announced as they come up. This is not only cost-efficient, but also practical, since many of the members are regularly out-of-town. Hopefully, a monthly Bible study will be started and perhaps even another service. A generous LWML-C new-mission-project grant in January 2012 will help the continuance of outreach in Quebec City.

——————–

Rev. Dr. David H. Somers is a Missionary-at-large in Montreal, Quebec.

One Comment »

  • Freda Klassen said:

    Praise be to God!!

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