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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Formed in the waters of baptism

Holy Baptism is the incorporation of individuals into the one body of Christ .... All baptized persons are shaped into one body without the labels associated with denominations or local parish membership. ... As a result, our bond with Christ and to each other as formed in the waters of baptism is a fundamental starting point for discussions or actions that promote ecumenical dialogue and engagement ....

The most faithful way to begin to promote and live out an ecumenical engagement is to root it in the worship life of the congregation. ... It is in this setting that we are most likely to envision God working in, through and with us—continuing to break down the barriers and divisions that we have erected.... Baptismal feasts such as the Baptism of Our Lord, Holy Trinity Sunday, All Saints’ Day or Pentecost ... would allow focus on baptism in the liturgy with an Affirmation of Baptism liturgy as well as through prayers, hymns and preaching ....

If worship inside the church walls is in fact a reflection of what is to happen outside the church walls, then the next step in ecumenical engagement is to shape daily life to point back to the covenant that God made with each Christian in the waters of baptism. ... Sharing our call to serve others and seek justice and peace in the world may be an uncomplicated entry point into ecumenical engagement ... such as developing ecumenical partner parishes in order to volunteer in soup kitchens, house the homeless, extend pastoral care for the homebound, and unite in prayer services for the church and local needs ....

Often young members of congregations are more adept at overlooking differences and finding similarities ... engaging in activities that cross denominational lines at an early age sets a foundation and teaches that living out one’s baptismal call is to strive for unity, not division. ...

As early as the 15th chapter in Acts, the church has been on the verge of splitting.... Christians have given in to the ease of dividing rather than muscling through tough debate and dialogue. ... Just as baptism is an in-breaking of the kingdom on earth, our faith-filled response to baptism in ecumenical engagement is a reflection of the kingdom as we all actively wait for the day of Christ’s glorious return.

This week's front page features:
 

Page by page: Keeping a journal can help you live through life’s most difficult times—and heal. (Photo at right.)

No generation gap: Farmer keeps the faith ... and the farm.

Musical potluck: Artist shows his Lutheran roots.

An oasis in Cairo: Ministry provides opportunities for Sudanese refugees.

Also: Sunday.

Also: Experiential worship.

Also: The Curse and the Blessing.


Discuss your mother memories:

In honor of Mother's Day and to complement the article "With just one word" by Brenda L. Peconge, we're inviting readers of The Lutheran to share their "mother memories" in this discussion forum.

Join the discussion > > >

This week on our blog:

Andrea Pohlmann blogs about elder wisdom.

Elizabeth Hunter (right) writes about true peace.

Amber Leberman blogs from the Oregon Synod Assembly.

Julie Sevig writes about the joy of singing with children.

Sonia Solomonson blogs about commercial sexual exploitation.

Check out our blog > > >

Introducing The Little Lutheran:

We at The Lutheran think it’s important to nurture the faith of the little ones in our midst. We developed The Little Lutheran for toddlers age 6 and younger to help them learn about God’s love for them and the world in which they live. We want them to know Jesus as friend and savior too.

Meet The Little Lutheran > > >

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Share your evangelism tips:

Reader George C. Weirick challenged the staff of The Lutheran: "Tell us about programs that work or unusual or new evangelism methods."

Send us your tips via email, with a brief description (two or three paragraphs), along with contact information for those wanting more background.

The staff reviews submissions and publishes the best as a regular item on the “Currents” pages.

Members: Respond online > > >

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December issue

DECEMBER issue:

Advent: Waiting together

More...