Thursday, January 13, 2011

Integrity USA celebrates 10 Years of "Common Missions" with ELCA

This month, Lutherans Concerned/North America and Integrity USA celebrate the tenth anniversary of the "Called to Common Mission" agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church (ECUSA). On January 6 , 2001, the two denominations formalized a relationship of "full communion," recognizing mutual commitments to the essentials of the Christian faith and acknowledging the faithfulness and validity of each church's confessions, ministries, and ministers. Among other things, the full communion relationship allows for joint worship and the sharing of clergy, and facilitates common commitments to evangelism, witness, and service.

Max Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of Integrity USA, said "Together, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America include nearly seven million members and over seventeen thousand parishes. We are blessed by this partnership, and by the partnership between Integrity USA and Lutherans Concerns/North America. Together, we are striving to make God's love tangible everywhere, both within our churches and in the wider world. Over the past decade, both of our denominations have made tremendous strides in extending a warm welcome to all of God's children. That really is something to celebrate."

Ross Murray, Deputy Director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, said "I have appreciated the partnership between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church because it has created a way for congregations to be served, the gospel to be preached, and the sacraments administered. The work of both Lutherans Concerned and Integrity has been strengthened through this partnership. We have certainly learned from one another and bolstered one another."

At this ten-year mark, Integrity USA and Lutherans Concerned/North America celebrate our mutual ministries by, with, and for the sake of the whole people of God, including people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We celebrate our common mission and true Christian unity, for which only the Gospel is sufficient and to which each of us-without exception-is called in Baptism.

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