3/6/2017 9:15:00 AM

CHICAGO (March 6, 2017) – In the preeminent U.S. observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (Oct. 31, 2017), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Conference of Bishops’ Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Committee and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Committee gathered March 2 for a Lutheran-Catholic service of Common Prayer. The service followed the Common Prayer liturgical guide, developed for the joint ecumenical commemoration held in Lund, Sweden, on Oct. 31, 2016, co-hosted by The Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church.

“For 500 years Lutherans and Catholics have been divided into two camps, each believing that the other was not only wrong but alien,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA. “Yet we know that people are yearning for reconciliation. The Lutheran-Roman Catholic joint prayer service, one of the fruits of 50 years of dialogue between our two churches, was a beautiful celebration of what we hold in common. We could see each other again as brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that our increasing unity is a witness to our culture.”

During the service – in a significant moment that underscored 50 years of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue – a joint statement was presented and signed by the committee chairs, the Rev. Donald P. Kreiss, bishop of the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod; and the Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Mass.

The statement mirrored the joint statement signed by Pope Francis and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and Lutheran World Federation president, during the service in Lund.

For more on this article and to read the joint statement visit ELCA.org

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