Although we are part of one of the largest Christian groups in the world 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 Evangelical Lutheran Church In Canada, or ELCIC, a young denomination that began in 1986 through the merger of two Lutheran groups, is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination, with 95,000 baptized members in 519 congregations.
ELCIC congregations can be found in many of the country's major cities in southwestern Ontario, sprinkled across the Prairie provinces, and in pockets in the rest of the country such as Nova Scotia's South Shore.
We call ourselves evangelical, a word that is deeply rooted in our history, going as far back as the 1520s. It means "those who share good (or God's) news," and describes the Church that centers around the good news of God’s love for our world, and the teachings of Martin Luther.
Luther, a German Augustinian priest, lived in the sixteenth century. He was trying to reform the Church from within. Yet, his attempts were not appreciated by his superiors, and finally the Church split. Over time the meaning of ‘evangelical’ took on other connotations in North America.
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 Lutheran history in Canada, we have been a church of immigrants. When gathering 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 foreign land.
Today English is the primary language used in the ELCIC. However, some congregations still use their original languages: from Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and German to Chinese, Vietnamese and Eritrean.
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kelowna was founded by mostly German-speaking refugees from Eastern Europe. On March 17, 2024 we will celebrate our 75th anniversary!
We continue to offer worship and pastoral ministry in both English and German. However, no matter the language, we hope to provide you with a gracious welcome, and that you will experience the love of God among us.
The historic Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church on Bernard Avenue, Kelowna.