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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Fellowship brigade

Lutherans and Catholics in Iowa deliver a fire truck to Mexico

It felt as though we had driven back in time as I steered the shiny red fire truck along a rugged road in the heart of Mexico. I slowed as a herd of goats meandered to the side. In a distant field, a farmer plowed with a team of oxen.

We were 2,250 miles into our trip, but it seemed light years away from where we had begun in Wisconsin. With only 150 miles to go, I thought about how I'd gotten involved in this journey.

It began Reformation Sunday 1999, when my pastor at First Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, spoke about the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between Lutherans and Roman Catholics, which closed some divisions that separated us long ago. I recalled that a friend, Bob Buckley, and his church, St. Joseph Catholic, Marion, Iowa, needed help raising money to buy a fire truck for Santa Cruz Xoxocotlan in Mexico.

We thought that after nearly 500 years of enmity, perhaps it was time the churches did something together.


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