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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Kieschnick, Blaire greet assembly

Gerald B. Kieschnick
Gerald B. Kieschnick

Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod President Gerald B. Kieschnick said he observed that the ELCA is “no stranger to the joys and sorrows of parliamentary procedure.” When he closed his eyes at the ELCA assembly, he felt certain he was at an LCMS convention, he added.

Kieschnick brought greetings Friday following nearly four hours of assembly discussion and votes on the ELCA Studies on Sexuality. He told the gathering, “We have been praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit upon your assembly gathered here.”

Admitting that the LCMS “is no stranger to internal struggle,” Kieschnick said, “We in [the LCMS] are sensitive to the struggles experienced within the ELCA, including the strongly held, opposing positions in your church on issues acted upon by this assembly this very day. ... It’s clear that our two churches don’t always share the same understanding of what is meant [by allegiance to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions].”

Noting the difference in decisions made by the LCMS and the ELCA, he closed by praying “that we will be able to come to harmonious conclusions regarding the authority and interpretation of the word of God, so the distance between us will not be widened, but will be bridged.”

No communion ‘painful’

“I thank [Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson] for his suggestion of the possibility of a joint declaration on the eucharist to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation,” said Stephen Blaire, chair of the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops. “I will bring that to the bishops’ committee.” He added that it was “very painful to come to the moment of communion and not share.”

Blaire said he wanted to underscore something else Hanson had said: “ ‘Our unity in the body of Christ is God’s gift and our task.’ The body of Christ needs to be built, and that is the work of the Holy Spirit.”

Saying it was his second ELCA assembly, Blaire closed by saying, “I’m very enriched in my Catholic faith from the Lutheran perspective.”


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