The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Lutherans who have led the way

Empie, Knutson, Krych, Reumann, Lindbeck and Quanbeck

Many have contributed to Lutheran ecumenical endeavors over the years. Any attempt to list them all or recognize all of their achievements would be doomed to failure. Meet just a few of those in the ELCA and predecessor bodies who worked tirelessly toward church unity.

Paul C. EmpiePaul C. Empie
(Feb 10, 1909-Sept. 4, 1979)

Well known for his ecumenical leadership, Empie helped arrange the first meeting of the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue even before the Second Vatican Council had concluded its work. He co-chaired that dialogue from the first round in 1965 until his death in 1979. He also headed the U.S. Lutheran-Eastern Orthodox Dialogue and the U.S. Lutheran-Reformed Dialogue.

Emphasizing that he wasn't a professional theologian, Empie said the final report of the dialogue had to make sense to him or no one would understand it. He pushed for clarity and for the visible unity of the church.

Empie was also active in the Lutheran World Federation, chairing its Department of World Service from 1952 to 1970, and serving as general secretary of its U.S.A. National Committee from 1967 to 1972. He was also one of the architects of the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A., and helped to found Lutheran World Relief, an inter-Lutheran aid and development agency. He was co-founder and president of Lutheran Film Associates, which produced such films as Martin Luther, Question 7 and A Time for Burning. Previously, Empie was superintendent of the Lutheran Home for Orphans and Aged in Germantown, Philadelphia (1937-1941), and founding pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Philadelphia (1932-1937).

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February issue


Embracing diversity