Magazine article The Christian Century

ELCA to Try Again on Pact with Episcopalians

Magazine article The Christian Century

ELCA to Try Again on Pact with Episcopalians

Article excerpt

Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, stung by this summer's defeat of a proposal for closer ties with the Episcopal Church, have tapped Martin E. Marty, one of the denomination's most respected figures, to head a team to draft a new proposal for bringing the two churches into "full communion" with one another. Marty, a prolific author who is considered a national expert on religious history, is a professor of American religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Christian Century senior editor.

"As of today we have begun the process of developing a revised proposal for full communion with the Episcopal Church," Daniel F. Martensen, the ELCA's director of ecumenical affairs, announced in a November 26 statement. Marty will head a three-member team to redraft the failed Concordat of Agreement hammered out in official talks over the past decade and a half by Lutheran and Episcopal theologians. Other members of the committee are Todd W. Nichol, associate professor of church history at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Michael Root, who teaches at the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France.

The concordat, approved overwhelmingly by delegates to the Episcopal Church's General Convention in July, failed by six votes to win the two-thirds vote necessary for approval at the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly in August. At the same time, delegates also told church leaders to continue working toward finding an acceptable means of establishing full communion between the two sacramentally oriented mainline denominations.

Full communion would make permanent a series of links between the 2.5-million-member Episcopal Church and the 5.2-million-member ELCA, including mutual recognition of each other's ministries and ordinations and increased possibilities for joint parishes and combined communion services. …

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