Common Mission with Episcopalians firm locally and nationally
Leaders expressed support and encouragement for continued expression of the full communion between our traditions following both the 122nd Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (EDOW), held January 28, 2017 in D.C., and the Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee (LECC) meeting, held February 8-10, 2017 in Chicago.
“Continue to pray for and look for those opportunities where our two traditions… might join in Called to Common Mission,” said LECC Episcopal co-chair, the. Rt. Rev. Douglas Sparks, Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, in a video statement following the meeting.
Just such an opportunity was identified in action taken by EDOW as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is observed this year. “The resolution represents an invitation and encouragement to consider planning joint parish/congregation events that reflect on the continuing reformation manifest in our full communion partnership,” said the Rev. Thomas Prinz, chair of the ELCA Metro D.C. Synod’s Ecumenical Affairs Committee.
Resolved, that the One Hundred Twenty-Second Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington appreciates the faith and courage of Martin Luther, whose ninety-five theses on the “power and efficacy of indulgences,” posted on 31 October 1517, sparked widespread movements for reform of church and society.
Resolved, that the Convention celebrates the gifts that The Episcopal Church’s full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America provides to our parishes, schools, and people.
Resolved, that the Convention encourages each parish, school and university chaplaincy of the Diocese of Washington, in observance of the Anniversary, to invite a Lutheran congregation or institution to a worship service, educational or social event, service project, or other joint activity.
It has been 15 years since Called to Common Mission (CCM) was adopted, which describes a relationship off full communion between the ELCA and The Episcopal Church.* Emphasizing the role of LECC as “encourager,” Deacon Mitzi Budde of the synod roster who serves on the LECC “pointed to the crucial tasks of strengthening infrastructure necessary for implementing the full communion relationship,” according to a post-meeting report.**
“We look forward to proclaiming that Gospel together in lots of different ways,” said LECC ELCA co-chair, the Rev. Dr. Donald Kreiss, Bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod, in videoed comments.
* Six characteristics of the two church bodies define a relationship of full communion: (1) a common confession of the Christian faith; (2) a mutual recognition of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, allowing for joint worship and exchangeability of members; (3) a mutual recognition and availability of ministers; (4) a common commitment to evangelism, witness, and service; (5) a means of common decision making on critical common issues of faith and life; and (6) a mutual lifting of any condemnations that exist between the churches. Learn more from elca.org (link to pdf file).
** Link to the full text of the LECC report, “We Are Together Because We are Called to Do this Work” (pdf file).