The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs
The leaders of The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have issued a joint statement following 12 years of full communion.
A Word to the Churches
from the heads of
The Anglican Church of Canada
The Episcopal Church
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Twelve years ago Anglicans and Lutherans in Canada and Episcopalians and Lutherans in the United States and Canada embarked together on a journey of full communion, by which we fully recognize each other “as churches in which the gospel is truly preached and the holy sacraments duly administered” (Called to Common Mission). With joy we can point to many ways in which our churches have drawn more closely together in the service of the gospel. We would highlight just a few:
In the United States:
We celebrate also those things we have been able to do together as full communion partners across the Canada-U.S. border, and the four of us look forward to participating in the Joint Assembly in Ottawa in July. That chance to be together will be in addition to a meeting that happens among us each year. As the heads of our respective churches, we gather for a time of prayer, discussion, and fellowship. At our most recent meeting, held last December in Chicago, we reflected on the accomplishments of more than a decade of full communion.
We also recognized that in many ways we are still at the very beginning of our relationship as full communion partners, and that our full and mutual recognition of each other’s ministries and sacraments “marks but one step toward the eventual visible unity of the whole Church catholic” (Waterloo Declaration). There is so much more we can be doing as churches in full communion, both within our respective countries and across the international boundary. We invite you to consider a few of the possibilities before us:
When the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America came into full communion in 2001, we acknowledged that “we do not know what new, recovered, or continuing tasks of mission this Concordat will lead our churches” (Called to Common Mission). Similarly, when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated full communion that same year, we declared ourselves “ready to be co-workers with God in whatever tasks of mission serve the gospel” (Waterloo Declaration).
As we continue the journey as full communion partners, may we have the courage and determination to follow where the Holy Spirit is leading our churches, and the strength and steadfastness to be faithful in serving God’s mission in the world—together.
Bishop Mark Hanson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Anglican Church of Canada The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church Bishop Susan Johnson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
A Word To The Churches:
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org