Stories of Faith in Action – Your Offering at Work highlights ELCA ministries that span this country and the globe, some of which illustrate the way challenges can lead to God-given opportunities. You are part of each of these stories – through your faithful, regular offering, a portion of which is used to fund ELCA ministries beyond the congregation, which is called Mission Support. Combined with gifts from other ELCA members, Mission Support advances the work of your congregation, your synod and the work we do as a wider church. Thank you!
Journeying Toward Unity
As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaches in 2017, Christians in the U.S. and around the world are taking steps toward unity. In the U.S., “Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry and Eucharist” – an ecumenical document that marks a pathway toward greater unity between Catholics and Lutheran – was released in Oct. 2015.
“Five hundred years ago, wars were fought over the very issues about which Lutherans and Roman Catholics have now achieved consensus,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. “The declaration is so exciting because it shows us 32 important points where already we can say there are not church-dividing issues between us, and it gives us both hope and direction for the future.” The statements in the “Declaration on the Way” were received and affirmed by the ELCA Conference of Bishops, the ELCA Church Council and the Bishops Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In January 2016, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity invited Lutheran churches across the world to use a jointly developed Common Prayer in preparation to commemorate the Reformation anniversary in 2017.
The piece is the first jointly developed liturgical order prepared by a liturgical task force of the Lutheran Catholic Commission on Unity of the LWF and the Pontifical Council. It is based on the recent study report “From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017” and is calling Catholic and Lutheran communities to joint prayer in this commemoration.
“This common prayer marks a very special moment in our common journey from conflict to communion,” wrote Martin Junge, LWF general secretary, and Kurt Koch, Pontifical Council president, in a joint letter to church leaders. “We are grateful for being able to invite you to participate in this journey in witnessing to the grace of God in the world.”
A portion of your offering supports national ecumenical work as well as the work of The Lutheran World Fedation, a global communion of 145 churches in the Lutheran tradition representing more than 72 million Christians in 98 countries worldwide. The ELCA is the communion’s only member church from the United States. For more Stories of Faith in Action, visit www.ELCA.org/Resources/Stories-of-Faith-in-Action