From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopalians: Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee monitors growing cooperation

Date Mon, 17 Jun 2002 15:44:03 -0400

June 17, 2002


Episcopalians: Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee 
monitors growing cooperation

by Terry L. Bowes

(ENS) The members of the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating 
Commission (LECC) and staff members from the ecumenical offices 
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the 
Episcopal Church met June 3-5, 2002 at the Episcopal Church 
Center in New York City for three days of intense and productive 

In regard to the by-law exception to ordinations by someone 
other than a bishop, authorized by the Churchwide Assembly of 
the ELCA in 2000, the commission was informed that to date there 
has been only one official request for exception. Currently, 
that request is under consideration by the synodical bishop in 
consultation with the presiding bishop of the ELCA. 

The LECC received with thanks the report of the diaconal task 
force, which outlined histories of various forms of the 
diaconate in the two churches, lifted up differences among these 
forms (such as training, liturgical versus service roles, and 
professional diaconate versus non-stipendiary roles), and 
outlined next steps, including the exploration of possibilities 
and realities for mission and developing a statement of agreed 
upon principles. In response, the LECC encourages further 
discussion of diaconal ministries in the ELCA and the Episcopal 
Church by the diaconal task force, the network of synodical 
ecumenical officers, and members of the two churches.

Role of bishops

During the course of the meeting, the LECC heard individual 
reports from the Reverend Marcia Clark-Johnson, ELCA associate 
director of synodical relations, from Bishop Donald McCoid, 
chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, and from Bishop Clayton 
Matthews, director of the Episcopal Church's Office of Pastoral 
Development, on a proposed joint training program for new ELCA 
and ECUSA bishops, and continuing education programs for 
experienced bishops of the two churches. Clark-Johnson, McCoid, 
and Matthews also shared information regarding separate studies 
on the role of bishops that have been inaugurated in the two 

The LECC affirmed that just as clergy of the two churches are 
interchangeable, so is membership. Confirmed members 
transferring from one church body to the other will be received 
by a rite of reception without the requirement of repeating 

On the afternoon of the second day of its deliberations, the 
LECC heard moving presentations on the response ministry of St. 
Paul's Chapel of Trinity Church, Wall Street, to the September 
11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Presenters 
included the Rev. Frederick Burnham, director of Trinity 
Institute, and Dr. Courtney Cowart, program associate for 
Trinity Church's Spiritual Formation Grants Program. In 
preparation for these presentations, followed by a visit to 
"Ground Zero" and St. Paul's Chapel, 12 of the 18 members of the 
LECC attended a midday "Peace Mass" at St. Peter's Lutheran 

Following a report from Ms. Emily Perrow, director of youth 
ministry in the Diocese of Connecticut and a member of the LECC, 
the commission agreed to urge the national youth ministry 
offices of the ELCA and ECUSA to move toward greater 
collaboration in planning and sharing regional and national 
youth events as an expression of common mission by the two 

Theological education

On the third day of the meeting, the LECC listened to a 
presentation by Bishop Stephen Boumann of the ELCA New York 
Synod, and by the Rev. William Hurst, director of the synod's 
diaconate program, on the history of the emergence of the 
synod's distinctive diaconal ministry and its significant role 
in the synod's strategy for ministry in the New York 
metropolitan area's Latino American communities.

For its next meeting, scheduled for February 2003 in Austin, 
Texas, the LECC will focus on emerging patterns of cooperative 
Lutheran-Episcopal theological education, with a special focus 
on Latino American ministry formation. There will also be 
reports on ways in which ecumenical studies are being integrated 
into the curricula of ELCA and ECUSA seminaries and divinity 


--Terry L. Bowes is a lay ELCA representative on the commission. 
She lives in Longmont, Colorado.

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