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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Ecumenical joint baptism in Connecticut

For more than 10 years three Lutheran congregations and one Episcopal parish in Bristol, Conn., have held a joint Thanksgiving service. Last year Mark Hansen, priest of St. John Episcopal Church, suggested that — in the spirit of the developing relationship between the two denominations nationally and locally — baptism be included in the service.

So on Nov. 26, one Lutheran and four Episcopal infants were baptized at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Two Lutheran (St. Andrew and Gloria Dei) and two Episcopal (St. John and Trinity) churches participated.

In his sermon, retired Episcopal Bishop Alexander Stewart spoke of the two denominations' relationship as similar to buying a duplex house. Each would have separate space as well as joint space they could share.

"The Lutherans will rake the leaves, and the Episcopalians will run the snow blower," he quipped. On a serious note Stewart said, "Historically we share our biblical heritage. While we are not what we shall be, we are working toward it. Our presence together is a reminder of our true Thanksgiving, Jesus Christ."


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