The assembly voted 1,007-11 to establish full
communion with the Moravian Church in America. "We've fulfilled the
goal of reaching out in several directions at once," Anderson said
after the vote on Following Our Shepherd to Full Communion. The 1991 Churchwide Assembly established this ecumenical posture as ELCA policy.
"The Moravian Church in America is gratified by this vote," said Burke Johnson, president of the Moravian Church's northern province. "It is a further sign of our unity, and we ask that God will lead us as we move forward in our life and ministry together. We're all related by blood, but it is not our own blood."
The Moravian Church's northern and southern provinces approved the proposal in 1998 by near unanimous votes. The church has 50,000 members.
Moravians trace their heritage to the Unitas Fratrum, or Unity of the Brethren, which was organized in 1457 by Czech followers of John Hus, a Roman Catholic priest and professor at the University of Prague. More than 100 years before Martin Luther, Hus sought to reform the church and make worship available in people's common language. He was burned at the stake in 1415.
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