ELCA NEWS SERVICE
January 7, 2011
ELCA, Episcopal Church Mark 10th Anniversary of Full Communion
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Ten years ago this week, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church launched a relationship of shared mission and ministry in a worship service and ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
This relationship, known as full communion, is described in Called to Common Mission: A Lutheran Proposal for a Revision of the Concordat of Agreement adopted by both churches. The document states: "We do not know to what new, recovered, or continuing tasks of mission this Concordat will lead our churches, but we give thanks to God for leading us to this point. We entrust ourselves to that leading in the future, confident that our full communion will be a witness to the gift and goal already present in Christ, 'so that God may be all in all' (I Corinthians 15:28)."
Two churches are considered to be in full communion when they "develop a relationship based on a common confessing of the Christian faith, and a mutual recognition of baptism and sharing of the Lord's Supper," according to information on the ELCA website. Full communion is not a merger of the churches, but an agreement in which the churches pledge to celebrate commonalities and respect differences. They engage in joint worship, may exchange clergy, and share a commitment to evangelism, witness and service in the world.
ELCA congregations and Episcopal parishes will mark the anniversary through special joint worship services. Many Lutherans will use prayer resources available on at http://ow.ly/3yOlQ on the ELCA website.
"As we observe the 10th Anniversary of Called to Common Mission, we are able to celebrate the shared mission and shared ministries that have enriched our church bodies," said the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, executive for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations. "From shared local ministries and shared ordained clergy to campus ministries, disaster relief, ministry education, global mission training, advocacy work, and many daily ministries in and with our full communion partners, we give thanks to God for the many ways that (the agreement) has blessed our churches."
Called to Common Mission acknowledges that the focus of the full communion agreement is on "shared mission," McCoid said.
"As we look to the future, we see the seeds of closer cooperation being sown through mutual mission assessment and planning. We have grown in understanding the traditions and structures of one another. We continue to see the importance of making our commitment to the common mission that our Lord Jesus has given to us," he added.
In August 1999, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted Called to Common Mission, followed by the Episcopal Church General Convention in July 2000. Both meetings took place in Denver.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org