From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans Address National Workshop on Christian Unity May 15-18

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date 24 Apr 2000 13:13:50


April 24, 2000


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Three ecumenical leaders of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will help present seminars during the
National Workshop on Christian Unity.  Each seminar will be repeated
three times May 15-18 at the Galt House Hotel, Louisville, Ky.
     The Rev. Duane H. Larson, president of Wartburg Theological
Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, will discuss the Lutheran-Catholic "Joint
Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" which was signed Oct. 31,
1999, in Augsburg, Germany, by representatives of the Lutheran World
Federation and the Vatican.  He is past chair of the advisory committee
of the ELCA Department for Ecumenical Affairs.
     The seminar, "Reception: Challenges and Opportunities," will focus
on the impact the agreement may have on relations among Protestant
churches and between Catholics and other Protestant churches.  Bishop
William Boyd Grove, ecumenical officer, United Methodist Church's
Council of Bishops, Albany, N.Y., will lead the seminar with Larson.
     Dr. Michael J. Root, professor of systematic theology, Trinity
Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, will look at the ways ecumenical
dialogues have addressed the topic of "authority in the church."
Another topic will be the World Council of Churches' study, "The Nature
and Purpose of the Church."
     The seminar, "Authority in Ecumenical Discussions," will consider
ecumenical conversations about decision making, bonds of communion and
accountability as they serve the unity and mission of the Church.  Root
will present the seminar with the Rev. Ellen Wondra, associate professor
of theological studies, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Rochester,
     The Rev. William G. Rusch, director, Faith and Order Commission,
National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., is former director
of the ELCA Department for Ecumenical Affairs.
     Rusch will present the seminar, "Convergence/Consensus on Baptism:
The Ecumenical Implications," with the Rev. Dagmar Heller, executive
secretary, Faith and Order, World Council of Churches, Geneva,
Switzerland.  They will examine the extent of consensus on a Christian
sacrament in discussions between and among churches.
     In 1991 the ELCA adopted "A Declaration of Ecumenical Commitment,"
which states that the church's ecumenical goal is a relationship of
"full communion" with all those churches that confess the Triune God.
Its ecumenical activities are coordinated through the ELCA Department
for Ecumenical Affairs.
     Full communion is a common confessing of the Christian faith; a
mutual recognition of Baptism and a sharing of the Lord's Supper,
allowing for joint worship and an exchangeability of members; a mutual
recognition and availability of ordained ministers to the service of all
members of churches in full communion, subject only but always to the
disciplinary regulations of the other churches; a common commitment to
evangelism, witness and service; a means of common decision-making on
critical common issues of faith and life; and a mutual lifting of any
condemnations that exist between churches.
     The ELCA entered into full communion relationships with the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church in America and United
Church of Christ in 1997 and with the Moravian Church in America in
1999.  In July The Episcopal Church will consider a proposal for full
communion that the ELCA approved in 1999.
     The ELCA is in dialogue with the African Methodist Episcopal
Church, Orthodox churches, Roman Catholic Church and United Methodist
Church.  It maintains a Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations.
It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, National Council of
Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and World Council of Churches.
     The National Workshop on Christian Unity is an annual meeting
comprised of several ecumenical networks meeting separately and
together.  The workshop involves Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical Officers,
the Lutheran Ecumenical Representatives Network, the National
Association of (Roman and Eastern Catholic) Diocesan Ecumenical
Officers, and Ecumenical Colleagues, which includes the American Baptist
Churches in the U.S.A., Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ and United
Methodist Church.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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