Episcopalians and Lutherans throughout the Midwest came together in Kansas City on March 25, 2022, to celebrate 20 years of our Call to Common Mission.
Approximately 40 clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Dioceses of Missouri, West Missouri, Kansas, and Western Kansas gathered with the Central States Synod ELCA online and in-person at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Kansas City. One in the Spirit, One in the Lord featured a worship service, presentations, and discussion about the past, present, and future of our historic shared ministry agreement.
On January 6, 2001, The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America entered into a relationship of full communion on the basis of the document “Called to Common Mission,” culminating thirty years of dialogue with one another. In full communion, both churches retain their autonomy and structures but agree to work together for joint mission and witness in the world. In accord with procedures established in “Called to Common Mission,” clergy and laity may move freely between the two churches.
This 20th anniversary celebration included presentations by:
- The Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander, former Bishop of Atlanta and Dean of the School of Theology at the University of the South.
Bishop Alexander provided historical perspective of Episcopal and Lutheran theology, explaining how both traditions began with essentially the same ideas and have been dedicated to similar definitions of church throughout our histories.
“We have determined that our commonalities are far greater than our differences, Bishop Alexander said, “and are not matters that need to get in the way in our service to Christ.”
- The Rev. Stewart Lucas, Pastor of The Church of the Nativity and Holy Comforter in Baltimore, Maryland.
Rev. Lucas shared the challenges and blessings of his “Lutherpalian” congregation, which is the successful combination of Episcopal and Lutheran parishes into one church.
“It’s been the greatest surprise and delight of my ministry,” Rev. Lucas said. “It forced all of us to do deep reflection on why we do church, and what it is that we love about church. Worship comes out of our theology.”
- Mitzi Budde, D.Min., Head Librarian and Arthur Carl Lichtenberger Chair for Theological Research at Virginia Theological Seminary.
Professor Budde is a member of the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee and discussed the many specific and creative ways we continue to develop and carry out our Call to Common Mission on local, diocesan, and national levels.
“It’s not something that’s completed,” Mitzi said. “It’s a doorway that beckons us into the call of the church.”
The Rev. Susan Candea, Bishop of the Central States Synod, ELCA; The Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson, Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri; and the Rt. Rev. Cathleen Chittenden Bascom, Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas welcomed the crowd, led a short worship service, and provided some reflection on the event.
This article originally appeared on the website of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.