Five Protestant churches — including our Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America — will decide this summer whether to narrow gaps that have
existed between the denominations since the Reformation.
Positive votes on two ecumenical proposals would declare full communion between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church, and between the ELCA and three Reformed churches — the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reformed Church in America and the United Church of Christ. For full communion to be declared, each church must vote positively on the proposal before it.
The Lutheran asked four ELCA synod bishops to write articles that focus on the "pros" and "cons" of the proposals.
The ELCA vote will be taken at its assembly in Philadelphia Aug. 14-20. The ELCA can adopt both, one or none of the proposals.
What does full communion mean?
• Each church confesses a common faith.
• Members may commune in each other's church and transfer memberships.
• Clergy can be exchanged if desirable.
• Joint efforts in evangelism, witness, service (starting congregations, producing materials, etc.) are possible.
Yes (By Guy S. Edmiston, Jr., Bishop, Lower Susquehanna Synod)
During 1962 two unrelated events occurred that would affect my life. I was ordained by the United Lutheran Church in America, and dialogues were initiated between Lutheran and Reformed churches in North America.
No (By Paull E. Spring, Bishop, Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod)
I'm committed to the unity of the church. I recognize that the Reformed churches share with Lutherans a common Reformation heritage regarding the primacy of God's grace. I know that in Europe it is now possible for Lutheran and Reformed churches to deepen their relationships, both in teaching and in practice.
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