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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Let the sharing begin

For some—like Gladys Moore, New Jersey Synod, and R. Guy Erwin, Southwest California Synod—Thursday’s 877-60 vote for interim eucharistic sharing with the United Methodist Church felt like a family reunion.

Moore and Erwin represent ELCA members who either were raised Methodist or have a “blended” family. “It’s a wonderful thing to finally integrate myself into this church,” said Moore, who was raised in the Methodist tradition and attended a Methodist college.

Others, like Joanna Norris Grimshaw, Central States Synod, and Joseph Rinderknecht, Northeastern Ohio Synod, had questions about Methodist theology and practices. “[Where] Lutheran churches are small, few and far between, my experience with United Methodists gives me pause,” said Grimshaw, adding that a United Methodist friend “is pretty iffy about infant baptism. I’d prefer not to have that view taught at the congregation where I serve.” Rinderknecht had questions about confession and “mystery” language.

David Housholder, Pacifica Synod, was grateful for Methodist partnerships in his community. “I can’t imagine a less offensive church on God’s green earth,” he said.

In his greeting, Bishop William B. Oden, the United Methodist Council of Bishops’ ecumenical officer, reminded the assembly: “The victory isn’t in the vote today. The victory is in going back to our churches and communities ... as this becomes incarnate in the lives of our two churches.”


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