Pact Celebrates Unity of Lutheran and Episcopalian Churches

January 1, 2001

Source: Los Angeles Times

On January 1, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that a unity agreement between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will be formally signed on Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral. The Called to Common Mission pact "allows members of the two denominations to receive communion in each other's churches and call either an Episcopal priest or a Lutheran minister their pastor." The agreement stems from the recognition that "both denominations have more in common than not. Both emerged from the 16th century Reformation with a shared basic theology," with the Lutheran tradition originating in Germany and the Episcopalian one originating in England. The two will "retain their separate identities and, structures; "one of the few noticeable changes will be...more joint services between the two denominations. At a recent joint service in San Marino, the Rt. Rev. Frederick H. Borsch said, "at a deeper level, we have come together today to establish that we are one church." Many see the pact as "the beginning of a new effort by churches to minimize their disagreements." Father Rafael Luevano of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange hopes that his church will eventually join the united denominations, too. The joining of Lutherans and Episcopalians in a Sunday church service in Seal Beach marked "a historic and symbolic joining of two denominations."