A SLICE OF LIFE IN THE CLC
Snapshots of congregations from around the Church of the Lutheran Confession
Our gracious God has been with and remains with Resurrection Lutheran Church in Calgary. Calgary is a city of 1.5 million people (1950 population—133,073). It is the fourth-largest city in Canada, lying some two hundred miles north of the Canadian border with Montana.
Calgary is the oil and natural gas center of Canada, with many head offices downtown. Over the last few years, this sector of the economy has been affected by low prices and lack of pipeline capacity. Agriculture and the fact of Calgary’s being a major rail center also play an important part in the economic life of the city and province.
Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics. It is home to the Calgary Stampede, a famous rodeo and festival which normally takes place every year in early July, though this year it had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.
Calgary is located some 80 miles east of Banff and 115 miles from Lake Louise (both in Alberta), which are some of God’s most beautiful sites in the Canadian Rockies.
Many of the founding members of Resurrection came from German-speaking parts of Romania and eastern Europe. One of the men, whom our Lord called home some years ago, served in the Second World War on a German destroyer which was sunk by the Allies early in the war. He spent the remainder of the conflict in a French concentration camp. After the war ended he and his family came to Canada in search of a better life.
Resurrection Lutheran started out as a German-speaking congregation. Worship, Bible class, and Sunday school were held in German. Later, English services and other English activities were begun. At more recent Christmas Eve worship services, we had the lessons read in German, Swedish, and English by laymen. Pastor Steven Karp served at Resurrection for many years.
Over the years at Resurrection, one of the major emphases has been to build up the church library. There are Bible commentaries, devotional books, books on creation/evolution, children’s books, books on the Reformation, and so on. We also have added DVD’s on many different Christian topics, and CD’s of Christian music. We still have material on cassette tapes that see good use. This has served as a great blessing to the members and friends of the congregation, enriching their Christian knowledge and strengthening their faith in Christ Jesus. This has also helped members feel more confident in speaking to others about Christ and what He means to them. It also helps them offer Christian support and encouragement to one another, as well as to family and friends. During this present time with COVID-19, the library has been especially well used. We have dropped off material at the homes of members and friends, and they have found that a real blessing.
We also make available to members and friends of the congregation tracts, booklets, and pamphlets, along with weekly devotions.
Over the years, Resurrection has held Saturday school, Sunday school, “Christmas for Kids,” and “Easter for Kids.” We have hosted grief seminars as well as other seminars and workshops on various Christian topics. These have given us many opportunities to speak of the love of God in Christ Jesus, to answer questions which people have about the Christian faith, and to introduce young and old to Him Who died and rose for them.
For many years we have distributed flyers in various neighborhoods around the church, telling of upcoming events. Canvassing efforts have given us opportunities to tell of Christ, and to invite people to the activities at Resurrection.
Our website, designed and maintained by Ben Reim, posts the weekly sermon and other information. In addition, weekly devotions and other materials are emailed or mailed to people in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and Tennessee in the United States, as well as to people in other parts of Alberta and in the province of Ontario, Canada.
What are our plans for the future? As Calgary is a large city with many new neighborhoods, we would like to begin Bible Studies in these areas. Our plan is to canvass an area in an effort to gather a group that would be interested in such a study. We continue to pray that God the Holy Spirit would open hearts and homes to hear His Word of life.
I also have the call to serve Grace Lutheran Church in Live Oak, Florida. Currently we alternate, serving about three months at each location.
In both congregations we have dedicated laymen who lead the services when I am serving the other congregation. We thank God for these men and indeed for all the members of the two congregations who are willing to be served in this way. Yes, God continues to bless the preaching of His Word so that people are brought to faith in Christ and continue to confess Him as their Savior and Lord. We are also thankful to our gracious God for Pastor David Reim of St. Paul, Vernon, British Columbia, for helping at Resurrection on occasion when I am in Florida.
Thank you for this opportunity to tell you a little about God’s work at Resurrection Lutheran in Calgary, Alberta. Please remember the congregations at Resurrection in Calgary, and Grace in Live Oak, in your prayers. Also pray that our Lord would continue to send forth laborers into His harvest.
Douglas Priestap is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Live Oak, Florida, and Resurrection Lutheran Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.