Full Communion 10th Anniversary

Did you know that May 01 was the 10th anniversary of the agreement that established full communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church and thereby launched a relationship of shared mission and ministry between our two denominations?

This relationship, known as full communion, is described in Called to Common Mission: A Lutheran Proposal for a Revision of the Concordat of Agreement adopted by both churches. The document states: "We do not know to what new, recovered, or continuing tasks of mission this Concordat will lead our churches, but we give thanks to God for leading us to this point. We entrust ourselves to that leading in the future, confident that our full communion will be a witness to the gift and goal already present in Christ, 'so that God may be all in all' (I Corinthians 15:28)."

Full communion is not a merger of the churches, but an agreement in which the churches pledge to celebrate commonalities and respect differences. They engage in joint worship, may exchange clergy, and share a commitment to evangelism, witness and service in the world.

We experienced the relationship of full communion on Sunday, May 22, when the Rev. Martha Francis presided at worship and delivered the homily. And, Grace Lutheran has a long history of a relationship with our sisters and brothers at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church here in the Montrose area. One example of the relationship between St. Stephen’s and Grace Lutheran is our coming together with other congregations and groups to plan the annual Pride Worship Service since its founding many years ago. So, please give thanks for our sisters and brothers at St. Stephen’s as we journey together in service to the community.

On a personal note, I am thankful for the full communion agreement whenever I visit my home town of Brady, Texas. There is no ELCA church there and the closest one is over 30 miles away in another town. However, there is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brady which I have visited several times. Because of full communion, I can share worship and the sense of community with the congregation at St. Paul’s. I can participate in the Liturgy, hear the Word proclaimed and share the Eucharist, coming away feeling blessed. So, I give thanks for our sisters and brothers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brady and hope you take a moment to say a prayer of blessing for all our sisters and brothers in Christ whatever their denomination and wherever they may be.


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