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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Lutho-palian' font

The inscription on the pool-sized baptismal font is a verse from Revelation 22:1-2: "The angel showed me the river of the water of life ... flowing ... through the middle of the street of the city." It's a fitting description.

The font, a gift from the ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, sits in the refurbished Episcopal Cathedral in the middle of West Philadelphia, Pa. This water represents new life in Christ — and a new partnership between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church.

The font was not the Lutherans' only contribution to the cathedral. Gordon Lathrop, a professor of liturgics at the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, has been an adviser to the cathedral's dean, Richard Giles, and is often a co-presider at blended "Luthopalian" services.

Roy Almquist, Southeastern Pennsylvania bishop, says the synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania work closely together. The synod and diocese cover nearly the same territory and contain similar numbers of congregations. Candidates for the Episcopal priesthood often study at Philadelphia Seminary too.

Joint initiatives include a Bishops Advisory Council of Lutheran and Episcopal clergy and laity focused on issues related to Called to Common Mission, the full communion agreement; and the Philadelphia Liturgical Institute at the Episcopal Cathedral, where students of worship renewal find guidance from Giles and Lathrop.


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