Although we are part of one of the largest Christian groups in the world, we Lutherans aren't very well known in Canada. Part of the reason for this, is that there aren't very many of us. Active and inactive, we comprise about two percent of Canada’s population.
The ELCIC is a young denomination. We began in 1986, through the merger of two Lutheran groups which in turn resulted from other mergers before that. In 2007 our ELCIC claims loyalty from about 182,000 baptized members. You will find us in many of the country's major cities, in southwestern Ontario, sprinkled across the Prairies and in pockets in the rest of the country such as Nova Scotia's South Shore.
We call ourselves evangelical because it is a word deeply rooted in our history. Notice the word "angel" in the middle? In the Bible, angels are God's messengers. The word evangelical means "those who share good (or God's) news." Although we're no angels, we try to share God's grace by the way we live.
Evangelical is the name that has been used to describe us as far back as the 1520s, long before it took on other connotations in North America. It describes the church that organized around the teachings of Martin Luther with the gospel as the centre of those teachings.
We call ourselves Lutherans because we base our beliefs on the teachings of Martin Luther, an Augustinian priest who lived in the sixteenth century. Luther wasn't trying to start a denomination; he was trying to reform the Church.
The first Lutheran services in Canada were conducted in Churchill, Manitoba, in the fall of 1619, by the Rev. Rasmus Jensen, a chaplain who accompanied an ill-fated Danish expedition searching for the Northwest Passage.
For much of our history in Canada, we have been a church of immigrants. When we met together, we often used the language we brought with us because it was more comfortable for us to worship God that way. Hearing about God's love in words we understood made us feel more at home in a strange land.
Today English is the primary language used in the ELCIC. However, some of our congregations still use the languages we brought with us, from Danish, Norwegian, and German to Chinese, Vietnamese and Eritrean. Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, which celebrated its 65th Anniversary on March 17, 2014 was founded by mostly German-speaking refugees from Eastern Europe. We continue to offer weekly worship and pastoral ministry in both English and German.
No matter what language we speak, however, we hope to provide you with a gracious welcome, and that you will experience the love of God among us.
Historic Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, original location on Bernard Avenue, Kelowna, is now home to the French Cultural Centre of the Okanagan.
Please get in touch and we'll get back to you soon.
2091 Gordon Drive, Kelowna, BC V1Y 3J2
Office Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 9am to noon, and afternoons by appointment.
In case of Pastoral Emergency, please call the church office and leave a message. Thank you!