History of the Canadian Association of Lutheran Congregations (CALC)
CALC began informally on 7 October, 1991 when a group of about 50 laypersons and pastors, representing 15-20 Lutheran congregations in western Canada, gathered together in Calgary with a vision for a kind of Lutheran church different from what they were experiencing. Those involved included Pastor Ken Wilsdon, Pastor Verne Roste, Pastor Norm Miller, Pastor Terry Sauder, Olive Kieler, Philip Brose (lawyer), and several other laypersons. Those who came together desired to establish a middle-of-the-road, theologically conservative church with an emphasis on Scriptural authority and the Lutheran Confessions. A model was seen in the center ground previously held by the former Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada (ELCC). A motion was made that an association be formed, with the older ELCC constitution being used as a model, and, as well, a motion to pursue federal incorporation. A steering committee was formed to develop a constitution and bylaws. The participants' vision for a new Lutheran Synod included such values as the importance of autonomy for local churches, conservative social ethics positions, a commitment to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inerrant Word of God, a commitment to the church's evangelistic mandate, and an openness to the sovereign working of God's Spirit. An information meeting was held in March 1992 in Calgary.
On the 30th and 31st of October, 1992, a constituting convention was held in Calgary, attended by over 100 delegates. Thereby, an unincorporated national church body, calling itself the Canadian Association of Lutheran Congregation was established, composed of congregations and individuals wishing to come together for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Saviour and risen Lord, to hold fast to Scriptures, rightly to administer the sacraments, and to live lives of faithfulness and service, all in accordance with Lutheran tradition, teachings and confessions.
Rev. Vernon Roste was the president of CALC from the beginning of the life of the church body. He guided the organizing and the development of CALC for two years before the constituting convention. Part of his duties took him to Ottawa with Edmonton lawyer Phil Brose where they guided the Charter Bill for the organization through Parliament.
The original petitioners for an act to incorporate CALC, as well as being the provisional governing body, were Garth Wagner, Harold Stedel, Olive Kieler, Rev. Vernon Roste and George Cooper. In June 1994, CALC was granted its federal incorporation. Ms. Deborah Grey who brought Bill S-5, an act to incorporate the Canadian Association of Lutheran Congregations, forward for second reading concluded her speech in the House of Commons as follows: "This association seeks a return to Lutheran roots with its emphasis on Scripture, missions and Lutheran theology".
CALC's original purpose was (and still is) to offer a new home for congregations and clergy who were uncomfortable with liberal theological trends within the ELCIC - the opportunity to join a Canadian Lutheran ministry that is familiar, evangelical and conservative within the greater Lutheran family.
For a more extensive history, click here to download the brochure, "CALC - Proud History of Canadian Lutherans Who Chose to Take a Stand".
Past presidents of CALC have been: