LWF General Secretary Junge Lauds Joint Witness of Canada’s Lutherans and Anglicans
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has lauded the full communion of Canada’s Lutheran and Anglican churches, marked in an unprecedented Joint Assembly highlighting the connection between Christian unity and service.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) held their first fully integrated national gathering in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, 3-7 July.
The churches entered into a relationship of full communion, called the Waterloo Declaration in 2001, which means they work closely together in all respects, exchanging clergy and establishing joint congregations, while remaining separate church bodies.
An LWF member church since 1986, the ELCIC has 145,000 members in 600 congregations in Canada. The ACC has 545,000 members in nearly 2,800 congregations across the country.
“What we see happening here in Canada between your two churches is also a great encouragement regarding one of our major commitments as a global Christian World Communion: the unity of the body of Christ,” LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge told the Joint Assembly.
“What you are doing here in Ottawa … won’t only go back to Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. It will travel across the oceans and do something in Geneva, London, Dar es Salaam, Jerusalem, Hong Kong and Buenos Aires.”
The Joint Assembly drew hundreds of Lutherans and Anglicans under the theme “Together for the love of the world.” Delegates from the two churches tackled issues such as responsible resource extraction, homelessness and how to engage in mission amid declining church membership.
Junge said the theme of the Joint Assembly illustrated that Lutherans and Anglicans in Canada share a commitment to joint witness.
“In a world wounded as it is, and in a context in which God’s creation bleeds and suffers as it does, I am grateful for the direction that the commitment for unity is taking,” said Junge.
ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson said that “the whole point of full communion is to assist us and strengthen us in mission and ministry so that we can reach out in love and service to the world that God so dearly loves.”
For ACC Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the joint assembly was “a meeting quite unlike any other meeting that has happened in the past. […] It’s an exciting and historic moment for our churches.”
In a youth organized service on 6 July that included traditional aboriginal drums, hundreds of Lutherans and Anglicans gathered on Parliament Hill to worship and raise awareness about protecting Canada’s water supply.
“It’s a strong sign to our church and our country that we are being led by the strong voice of the youth, who are crying out for justice,” said Johnson, who helped lead the service with Hiltz.
The ACC archbishop emphasized the value of raising issues such as the lack of clean drinking water in Canada’s First Nations communities together: “One
voice alone is kind of ragged, but together we’re a much stronger sound.”
Globally Lutherans and Anglicans continue their cooperation and dialogue, Junge said, indicating that the new Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee meets for the first time in September to reflect together on possible areas of cooperation. “There will be conversations about this Joint Assembly,” he added.
(With contribution from ELCIC Information)
Source: lutheranworld.org (Jul. 9, 2013)