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Showing posts from 2016

A Project in Local Ecumenism - The Virginia Model - After 25 Years

By the Rev. Tom Prinz, LEIRN Board Member In the late 1980’s the accumulation of ecumenical dialogue documents and the well-publicized intention of denominations to seek concrete forms implementing a growing convergence among traditions, long considered hopelessly divided, prompted a Virginia Commonwealth wide Committee of Lutherans, Episcopalians and Roman Catholics to expand their mandate to promote an annual conference on issues of mutual concern, to consider a “covenant” as an instrument of encouragement among and within congregations and parishes. The group realized that for such a document to carry any impact the various judicatories themselves would have to be seen as committed to similar actions at the level of the local church.

The 1990 public signing and release of the then LARC Covenant (Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic) was preceded by a lengthy and comprehensive drafting process.

Judicatory heads were consulted individually and when assent had been achieved a meeting…

November Update

From Kathryn Lohre and Kathryn Johnson
DOTW Follow-Up/500th Synod Events
Kathryn J has been participating in several events concerning ecumenical aspects of the 500th Reformation anniversary.

On Sunday, she preached for a service at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, Iowa, which was based on the Common Prayer used at Lund but adapted to the local context in music, prayer, and participation. Both ELCA Bishop Michael Burk (Southeast Iowa Synod) and Catholic Bishop Richard Pates (Diocese of Des Moines) were present, and our own “Pastor Chris” had a key role in presiding and planning.

In September Kathryn spoke to the Theological Conference of the Rocky Mountain Synod, and in October was in Michigan for leadership retreat of the regional LARC group, whose worship also included a modification of the Lund liturgy.

In the works are plans for a study guide for The Declaration on the Way for local use and a brief liturgical resource to help pastors prepare, practically and theologically, for …

Sermon at Common Prayer

Below is the sermon preached by Dr. Kathryn Johnson, Director for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, at a common prayer service in Des Moines, Iowa on November 6, 2016 to inaugurate the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

This is truly a remarkable day!

It’s a time for thanksgiving, repentance, commitment and hope. We gather here amid so much that is familiar: well-loved hymns, a well-known text, prayers for one another and for the world, the greeting of peace. We know how to be with one another on such occasions, for over the course of our lifetimes most of us have had many opportunities for such common prayer for Christian unity. But today is distinctive; today is surprising. Today offers to us a strong sense of hope and new beginning, and it calls on us not to miss taking the next steps toward the doors cracking open before us.

We see the distinctiveness at once when we ask why we are here today: not during Week of Prayer for Christian Unity or on…

Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Witness on the Eve of the Reformation Anniversary

Join Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton on Thursday, Oct. 27, from 7-8 p.m. CDT for a live webcast that will explore ecumenical and interreligious witness on the eve of the Reformation anniversary.

What was the Reformation, and what does it mean for Lutherans and ecumenical partners?
What is “Declaration on the Way,” and why is it significant for Lutheran-Catholic relations?
What might ecumenical and interreligious relationships look like in the future, and what does this mean for our faith community?

Check back here for additional information concerning webcast participants and resources. We invite you to participate and join the conversation by using #ELCAwebcast on social media.

You are also encouraged to view the webcast with your congregation, group or committee. This may help conversation as you plan for and discuss your observation of the Reformation in 2017. Find additional information on how ELCA synods and congregations are observing the Reformation here.

Additional tickets available for Malmo


Additional tickets for the Malmö arena events on October 31, 2016 have been made available for LWF member churches. The Common Prayer service at the cathedral in Lund will be live-streamed into the arena, and then Lutheran leaders and Pope Francis will proceed to the arena itself for the second part of the day in the arena. 

Initial tickets for the arena events sold out almost at once. But additional tickets are available at this site:

Please tell anyone you know who might want to attend – especially anyone who might have tried for a ticket and found them sold out at the first Ticketmaster site.

ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations Updates

August 2016 In II Corinthians, Chapter 5, we read: “All this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (NRSV). As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the ministry of reconciliation was at the heart of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly’s ecumenical and inter-religious witness. We want to lift up three significant dimensions of this witness:Racial justice and reconciliation Reconciliation among religions Reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics and among all Christians With regard to racial justice and reconciliation: in addition to our church’s important internal work, this Assembly gave witness to our decade-long discourse with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and our churches’ joint statement of mission, adopted in 2010. We welcomed the senior bishop, four episcopal district bishops, several general officers, and their colleagues and families as our special guests. We received the Wor…

The Arts and Ecumenism

Visit for more information.
Launching the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017, a joint Lutheran-Catholic commemoration will take place in Lund and Malmö, Sweden, on Oct. 31, 2016. The Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) are hosting the event, highlighting solid ecumenical developments and the joint gifts received through dialogue. Pope Francis, The Lutheran World Federation President Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan and its general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Martin Junge, will lead the Common Prayer service in Lund and the event in Malmö in cooperation with leaders from the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm. This historic event will bring together Lutherans and Catholics from around the world to commemorate the Reformation and look to the future. Ways you can participateAs members of the ELCA, we are committed to fostering unity among God’s children for the sake of the world. Your gifts are needed to help continue this mission and …

Declaration on the Way Commentary

Michael Trice has made available to us a copy of his recent article in Ecumenical Trends, "Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry, and Eucharist: A Commentary." Click here to read it.

Dr. Michael Reid Trice is Assistant Professor - Theological Ethics and Constructive Theology and Assistant Dean - Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue at the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, Seattle, Washington.

Future directions input sought

Dear Members of the Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representatives Network,

As you are likely aware, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has been looking toward our future in a process named “Called Forward Together in Christ.” Many of you have no doubt offered feedback about future directions through conversations at your synod assembly or in another setting or by participating in the online survey. The LEIRN board engaged the process in June and offered input on behalf of the network.

A future directions paper that summarizes the input gathered from across the church is now available at Two statements in the section entitled “Key Messages From Across This Church” reflect the importance of ecumenical and inter-religious engagement to our self-understanding:

“Ecumenism is at the core of the ELCA’s confessions and beliefs. We are committed to our full communion partners and to dialogue with ecumenical partners locally and globally.”

“We engage in…

July update

Staff update from Kathryn Lohre and Kathryn JohnsonSynod Assemblies In June Kathryn J represented the Churchwide Office at the Southern Ohio Synod assembly. At the Indiana-Kentucky synod assembly, she joined Andre Gingerich Stoner from the Mennonite Church USA to talk about ongoing Lutheran-Anabaptist reconciliation. They were joined by the president of the Mennonite World Conference, who pastors a congregation in Indiana, and a Mennonite choir which sang during the closing worship. After the Assembly Bishop Gafkjen led a group of synod leaders and Mennonites to Menno-Hof, an interpretative center for Anabaptist history, to inaugurate the site of a new exhibit on reconciliations.
Vocation of a Lutheran College Conference Kathryn L. and Bishop Eaton attended the 2016 Vocation of a Lutheran College Conference, “Preparing Global Leaders for a Religiously Diverse World.” Bishop Eaton offered the keynote, underscoring the church’s commitment to inter-religious relations and formation, and …

Celebrating Ecumenism and the Arts in 2017

An invitation from the Mount Tabor Ecumenical Centre for Art and Spirituality

Dear Friends, The year 2017 marks an incredible anniversary: the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. In the half millennium that has passed since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door at Wittenberg, the Church universal has evolved from a body painfully divided, to one that together seeks true ecumenism through a host of expressions. The Mount Tabor Centre invites you to join in celebration of the unity that continues to grow in the Church throughReformanda 2017: a three-week exploration of ecumenism, art and architecture in France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy in May 2017. The focus of Reformanda 2017 will be a Symposium on “The Arts and Ecumenism: Theology and the Risk of Artistic Creation,” to be held over three consecutive weekends in Paris, Strasbourg, and Florence, organized by Monsignor Timothy Verdon, Jérôme Cottin and Denis Villepelet.  Monsignor Verdon is a renowned author, art historian (…

Summer Update

It's been awhile since we posted an update, so let's call this an early-to-mid-summer recap! The board has had one conference call (in May) since the National Workshop on Christian Unity. Below you will find the update from Kathryn Lohre and Kathryn Johnson discussed at that meeting, as well as a listing of board members elected at the NWCU and officers then elected by the board. In June the board plans to participate in the Called Forward Together in Christ conversation currently taking place across the ELCA, so there will not be another update until late-July covering both June and July.

If you are the Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representative for your synod, could we ask you to take a moment to check your contact information in the membership directory (a link is at the top of this page)? If anything is amiss, scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the "Send a Message to the Editor" feature to provide the correct information.  Having an up-to-date direc…