Communiqué - Mennonites and Lutherans Begin Conversation
February 24, 2002
Representatives of the Mennonite Church (MCUSA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) met in Goshen, Indiana February 21-24, 2002, to begin the first in series of dialogues between the two denominations. Included in this round of conversation were reflections upon the Protestant Reformation, the experience of each church in the North American context, and the role and authority of confessional writings. A key element in the dialogue will be an examination of the persecution of Anabaptists by Lutherans and others, and the healing of those painful memories.
In coming months we expect to explore each church’s hermeneutic for interpreting Scripture, the role and authority of Church structures, and the relationship between Church and state. In the course of the next three years topics will include baptism, the Lord’s Supper, nonresistance and non-violence, pacificism and the Gospel of peace, anthropology and free will, and other topics. Throughout the dialogue members of congregations will have opportunities to meet with and discuss these issues as we seek to deepen levels of trust and cooperation between our two church bodies. It is our hope that our deepening fellowship will strengthen both faith communities for mission in the world.
Mennonites participating in the dialogue are: Dr. Thomas Finger, Dr. James C. Juhnke, Dr. Gayle Gerber Koontz, and Dr. John D. Roth. Lutherans participating in the dialogue are: the Rev. Dr. Janyce Jorgensen, Pr. Russell Meyer, Pr. Paul Schreck, and the Rev. Dr. David Truemper. The second meeting of this dialogue will be convened in Chicago, Illinois, October 31-November 3, 2002.