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ELCA bishop H. George Anderson (left) presides at the Eucharist celebrating full communion with ECUSA as ELCA vice president Addie Butler (right)looks on.
Click on the following links for other news and background information concerning "Called to Common Mission."
The following ELCA links may be of interest:
Regional and International Agreements 1972-2002
16 March 2005 - The Anglican Communion Office is pleased to announce a joint publication with the Lutheran World Federation as part of the LWF Documentation Series. This is a comprehensive volume that contains the texts of all the major Anglican - Lutheran ecumenical agreements between 1972 and 2002, bringing them together in one place.
The book includes, amongst other papers, not only the international agreements such as the Cold Ash Report on Episcope, and the recent Growth in Communion report by the Anglican-Lutheran International Working Group, but also regional agreements such as Porvoo, Meissen, Called to Common Mission, Waterloo and Common Ground from Australia. Anglican - Lutheran relations across the globe have taken huge steps forward in the period covered by the book, leading to relations of "full communion" in North America, and significant progress elsewhere.
Anglican-Lutheran Agreements, Regional and International Agreements 1972-2002 will be of value and interest to all students of ecumenism, representing, as it does, the consolidation of thirty years of ecumenical progress and breakthrough.
The volume can be purchased on-line for UK £12.77 at
Alternatively, order forms can be obtained from Terrie Robinson at the Anglican Communion Office:
by John Brooks and Jan Nunley
Dec 6, 2000 (ENS/ELCA) - The Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. (ECUSA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will inaugurate their new full communion relationship Jan. 6, 2001, in a service of Holy Eucharist at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The celebration will be jointly led by the presiding bishops of both churches: the ELCA's H. George Anderson and ECUSA's Frank T. Griswold.
The cathedral's official name is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. It is the seat of the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
The basis for the full communion relationship is contained in "Called to Common Mission" (CCM), a document adopted by both churches. The ELCA adopted CCM at its Churchwide Assembly in 1999. The Episcopal Church adopted CCM at its General Convention this past summer. The ELCA and Episcopal Church agreed to implement the relationship January 1, 2001.
Under CCM, the churches agreed to cooperate in a variety of ministries, and it allows for sharing of clergy under certain circumstances. It is not a merger of the churches.
The celebration service is expected to be about 90 minutes in length and may draw as many as 3,600 people, the cathedral's seating capacity. The event will begin with singing and processions at 10:30 a.m., followed by the service at 11 a.m.
First step forward
"Participants in the service have been carefully selected to represent the breadth of both our churches," said the Rev. David Perry, the Episcopal Church's deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. "Many of our ecumenical partners will be present, friends of both churches.
"For Episcopalians, this is really the first step forward in the realization of our unity in Christ," Perry added. "We haven't done anything like this before."
"With this worship event, this celebration of the fact of full communion, we bridge an ecumenical chasm between Anglicanism and Lutheranism," said the Rev. Daniel F. Martensen, director of the ELCA Department for Ecumenical Affairs. "The bridge has been under construction for nearly four decades; it spans not only two U.S.A. communions, but also continents. Our engagement in common mission of proclamation, witness and service is now strengthened."
Anglican participants in the service will include the Rev. John Peterson, secretary general of the Anglican Communion; the Rev. David Hamid, director of ecumenical affairs and relations in the Anglican Communion Office; Canon Jim Rosenthal, director of communications for the Anglican Consultative Council; Archbishop Michael G. Peers, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada; the Rev. Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director of Faith, Worship and Ministry for the Anglican Church of Canada; and the Rev. James Cowan, Anglican Church of Canada co-chair of the Joint Working Group on full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
Lutheran participants in the service will include the Rev. Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF); the Rev. Lowell G. Almen, ELCA secretary; the Rev. Theodore F. Schneider, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod; the Rev. Michael L. Cooper-White, president of the ELCA's Gettysburg Theological Seminary; Kristen E. Kvam, chair of the ELCA Department for Ecumenical Affairs advisory committee; Lily R. Wu, ELCA Church Council; and Jutta Anderson, wife of the presiding bishop.
The service will be broadcast with live audio and still photos from http://www.FaithAndValuesMedia.org on the Internet. There will be links to this site from the ELCA and Episcopal Church web sites.
Live video will be available via satellite for individuals with a satellite dish and for groups gathered at downlink sites. Satellite coordinates are C Band, Galaxy 11, transponder 8.
Anderson will preside over the Eucharistic liturgy. Griswold will preach and preside over the renewal of baptismal vows, which will be done early in the service.
"There is no more fitting way to launch our shared mission and ministry than by hearing Christ's promise and welcoming his presence in this Eucharistic service," Anderson said.
"The heart of our mission imperative comes from our grounding in the baptismal promises that we share," Griswold commented. "Born anew in the waters of baptism, we will discover God's mission unfolding in surprising and enriching ways."
A procession of processions
The service will begin with a series of four processions. Representatives of synods and dioceses of both churches will form one procession. Other processions will include international ecumenical guests, members of the full communion dialogue and writing teams, and staff from both churches. Invited guests include a number of governmental leaders.
The internationally known St. Olaf College Choir will sing during the processions and during the service. The Minnesota college is one of 28 ELCA colleges and universities.
Dr. Addie J. Butler, ELCA vice president, Philadelphia, and the Rev. Ernestina R. Campbell, an ordained Episcopal deacon from Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, Calif., will be assisting ministers for the service.
Organists will include Martin D. Jean, who teaches at the School of Music and the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; John Ferguson, professor of organ and church music at St. Olaf; Douglas Major, National Cathedral organist and choirmaster; and Bruce Neswick and Eric W. Suter, cathedral organists. Cathedral choirs will sing during the service.
Each church has a limited number of tickets for the public, available through the ELCA's Department for Ecumenical Affairs and the Episcopal Church's Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.
The newly formed Lutheran-Episcopal Joint Coordinating Committee will gather on the Monday following the celebration to work out the details of the emerging relationship.
The ELCA, based in Chicago, is a 5.15-million member church with nearly 11,000 congregations across the United States and Caribbean. It is organized into 65 synods, each headed by a bishop. The Episcopal Church, based in New York, has 2.4 million members in some 7,400 congregations. The church has 107 dioceses, each headed by a bishop.
Information about the January 6 celebration in Washington, D.C., as well as the text of Called to Common Mission, is at http://www.elca.org/ea/ on the ELCA Department for Ecumenical Affairs Web page.
--John Brooks is director of ELCA News and Information. The Rev. Jan Nunley is deputy director of the Episcopal Church's Office of News and Information.
By Jan Nunley
July 8. 2000 (ENS - Denver) Once more, as at the 72nd General Convention, the triumphant strains of Martin Luther's Reformation hymn "A mighty fortress is our God" followed a dramatic step toward closer relations with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
This time, overwhelming passage of three resolutions in the House of Deputies cemented an accord spelled out in the document "Called to Common Mission," which commits the two churches to a full sharing of mission and ministry. The measures earlier passed the House of Bishops.
"Called to Common Mission" is a successor to the original Concordat of Agreement to establish full communion between the two churches. The Episcopal Church approved that document at its last General Convention in 1997, but the ELCA later narrowly turned it down.
No opposition was voiced during the short period of testimony that preceded the vote by orders on the main resolution adopting "Called to Common Mission" (A040). In the vote, only 5 deputations each in the lay and clergy orders opposed that resolution. Thirteen deputations were divided. To finalize the agreement, two enabling resolutions also were required. The step of suspending the Episcopal ordinal to enable Lutheran pastors to function in Episcopal churches was opposed by only 11 votes, with 12 divided. Admission of Lutheran clergy according to the Episcopal Church's constitution was opposed by only 10 votes, with another 10 divided.
The approval of "Called to Common Mission" completes more than 30 years of discussion between the two denominations about mutual opportunities for ministry. "It is not a marriage or a merger of our two churches," advised the Very Rev. Donald Brown, chair of the Committee on Ecumenical Relations. "Each church will retain its own liturgical, theological, and organizational uniqueness and integrity.
"We Episcopalians will still be inspired by the liturgical genius of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and Lutherans will still proudly claim the theological insights of Martin Luther. But most importantly and significantly, both our churches will be living into the reality of Jesus' prayer in the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John that all his followers might be one," he said.
The Rev. Jane Gould (Massachusetts), Episcopal chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has worked closely with ELCA chaplains for six years. She said that in her experience cooperation between the two denominations will not result in "Lutherpalians or Episcorans," but in a deeper understanding of what it is to be Episcopalian, Lutheran, "and even Christian."
During the voting, House of Deputies President Pam Chinnis remained mindful of opponents to the plan. She asked for the deputies to refrain from "outbursts" on one side of the issue or another, recalling a similar admonition by the Rev. John Coburn at the 1976 Convention vote on the ordination of women. "Let's do respect the feelings of those around us," Chinnis said.
Nevertheless, once the results were announced, the chaplain of the House led deputies in prayer for "this gift of action" on the Concordat and for "strengthening the patience and forbearance of those who experience a sense of loss in this decision." Representatives of the ELCA and the House of Bishops Ecumenical Committee were invited to the dais to address the House.
With the words of Luther's hymn helpfully projected on the convention hall monitors, the Episcopalians and their Lutheran guests joined in song.
--The Rev. Jan Nunley is director of communications for the Diocese of Rhode Island.
for full communion with Episcopal Church
14 April, 2000 (ENS) -- Despite some lingering resistance, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) reaffirmed its commitment to full communion with the Episcopal Church, noting that it has caused "great hope and thankfulness" throughout the 5.2-million member church, "as well as deep concern and opposition."
At its April 7-9 meeting in Chicago, the council took three actions related to the implementation of the agreement, "Called to Common Mission,"(CCM) endorsed by the Churchwide Assembly at its meeting last summer. It established a timetable for implementation, it responded to a resolution from the Eastern North Dakota Synod opposing CCM, and dealt with constitutional issues.
"My basic concern is that this council not interfere with the action of the Churchwide Assembly," said Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson. He warned against efforts that would " abandon governing documents" of the church.
The council established January 1, 2001 as the implementation date for CCM, avoiding suggestions from opponents of the agreement for a delay until the Churchwide Assembly in 2001, giving the church time to reconsider constitutional issues. They argue that CCM requires Lutherans, contrary to the church's confessional documents and tradition, to join Episcopalians in consecrating bishops to the historic episcopate.
At its March meeting the Eastern North Dakota Synod overwhelmingly approved a resolution that it "supports the right of its constituent members, congregations, pastors and bishops to freely accept or reject local implementation" of the historic episcopate. The council responded by reminding the synod that ecumenical commitments and relationships are made by the whole church and "are not legislated on a synod-by-synod basis."
The council also offered guidance to other ELCA synods that may consider proposals similar to the one emerging from North Dakota. "While resolutions of a synod assembly seeking changes in this church's governing documents are in order, resolutions of a synod assembly pledging to support or undertake actions in violation of this church's governing documents are not in order," the council said. Synods should find other methods to "address their concerns and seek particular decisions." Council members said that it is appropriate for congregations and synods to express their opinions without advocating a violation of the church's governing documents.
The Rev. David Perry, the Episcopal Church's ecumenical officer, said that the tone of the meeting was "very positive" despite some very "tough" discussions. He said that "there is no sign that the Lutherans will abandon their decision." And it was clear, he added, that there is "genuine excitement" with the possibilities for mission the proposals envision.
"The hard work begins after we pass CCM," he warned, "because both churches will need to develop new skills at partnership and mutual accountability in our pursuit of mission together." While there has been an increasing level of cooperation, "we have been able to go only so far."
--by James Solheim and John Brooks
Evangelical Lutheran Church approves full communion with Episcopal Church
April 14, 2000 - After 30 years of ecumenical dialogue, and having narrowly rejected the measure in 1997, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) approved a proposal for full communion with The Episcopal Church at its Churchwide Assembly held this August in Denver.
The proposal, "Called to Common Mission," was endorsed at the ELCA's assembly by a vote of 716 to 317, just 27 votes more than the two-thirds majority needed to approve the measure. Among other things, the proposal could make it possible for the ELCA and Episcopal Church to exchange clergy and commits them to work together on future mission and service projects.
In approving the proposal, the ELCA agreed to accept the "historic episcopate," the concept that those who ordain new pastors are from a line of bishops stretching back to the earliest days of the church.
On their side, Episcopalians have agreed to suspend a 17th century rule about who can be considered a priest and agreed to accept the ministries of all current ELCA pastors and bishops.
Next year the Episcopal General Convention will meet, also in Denver, to ratify the fellowship proposal. A similar document was approved by the Episcopalians, but the Lutherans rejected it by by a six-vote margin in 1997.
The matter of the historic episcopate had become the focal point of debate on the fellowship proposal. Debates prior to the assembly and at hearings revealed disagreement over this aspect of the proposal. While a number of Lutheran churches around the world have the historic episcopate, it has never been a part of American Lutheran church life, and numerous voting members of the assembly said they did not believe the church needed it.
"This is the wrong way to do the right thing," said Linda Danielson of the ELCA Southeastern Iowa Synod, who said she favored fellowship with Episcopalians, but not if the ELCA was required to adopt this understanding of the episcopate or office of bishop.
Others argued that full communion was necessary to strengthen the mission of the church. "We need partners who are across the street from us," said the Rev. Stephen Bouman, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod. "We need your help," he said to the assembly, adding "Give us our partners."
The ELCA was formed in 1987 by a merger of three Lutheran church bodies, some of whom had already experienced previous mergers, blending various strains of Lutheranism. Some suspect the document is a way of providing bishops with more authority in the church, though drafters assured the assembly that under the agreement this would not be the case.
Proponents argued that the measure enables the ELCA to be an ecumenical "bridge," because in 1997 the 5.2-million-member denomination also declared full communion with the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA). And this year -- just a few hours before the Episcopal decision -- endorsed full communion with the Moravian Church in America.
The Rev. Robert Isakson, bishop of the ELCA New England Synod, said Lutherans can be "sought out for what we bring to the ecumenical table." Since debate over the ministry and the role of bishops has frequently troubled ecumenical relations, Isakson said, "Lutherans are uniquely positioned to break this logjam."
Following the vote, the Rev. David Perry, ecumenical officer of the Episcopal Church, read a statement from Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold which said he received the decision "with rejoicing and thanksgiving." Griswold said "the promise of our deepening life together offers real hope for the broken world. The test of our full communion will be our faithfulness to the gospel in mission and witness, in prayer and fellowship at God's altar. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in the days ahead." -- ELCA News Service
The following ELCA links may be of interest: