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Ninth Biennial Convention
Augustana University College, Cambros AB
June 12 - 15, 2003

Sing to the Lord a New Song
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Report of the Joint Anglican/Lutheran Commission

Lutheran Members: Michael Pryse (Co-Chair)
Cam Harder
Ilze Kuplens-Ewart
Paul Johnson (staff)
1 vacant position
Anglican Members: Fred Hiltz (Co-Chair)
Gay Richardson
Richard Leggett
Eunice McMahon
Alyson Barnett-Cowan (staff)
Ecumenical Partner: Sandra Beardsall (UCC Partner)

The members of the Joint Commission have met on three occasions since ratification of The Waterloo Declaration by our respective denominational bodies in July 2001; in February 2002 in Halifax, Nova Scotia; in September 2002 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and in February 2003 in Oakville, Ontario.

In fulfilling its mandate to coordinate the implementation of The Waterloo Declaration, the Joint Commission began its work by reviewing the nine commitments of the declaration and identifying areas where those commitments may have specific implications for our shared life and ministry. It is our hope that we will be able to effectively address many of these issues as we fulfill our six-year mandate "to nurture our growth in communion, to coordinate the implementation of this declaration, and report to the decision-making bodies of both our churches."

Commitment 1:

To welcome persons ordained in either of our churches to the office of bishop, priest/pastor or deacon to serve, by invitation and in accordance with any regulations which may from time to time be in force, in that ministry in the receiving church without re-ordination.

  • Articulating protocols for clergy serving in one another's churches.
  • Addressing shared ministry issues.
  • Addressing common discipline issues.
  • Determining eligibility of for electoral processes in one another's churches.

Commitment 2:

To invite one another's bishops to participate in the laying on of hands at the ordination of bishops as a sign of the unity and continuity of the church, and to invite pastors and priests to participate in the laying on of hands at the ordination of pastors or priests in each other's churches.

  • Ensuring that invitations are issued in a timely and effective manner.
  • Publicizing the fact of such participation as effectively as possible.

Commitment 3:

To consult with one another regarding developments in our understanding of the ministry of all the baptized, including the ordained ministry.

  • Engaging in shared studies and reflections concerning ordered ministries.
  • Exploring the development of alternate forms of lay and ordained ministry.

Commitment 4:

To work towards a common understanding of diaconal ministry.

  • Reviewing present status of diaconal ministry in our churches.
  • Developing shared standards for theological education and formation.
  • Engaging in consultation with ACC and ELCIC diaconal ministers.

Commitment 5:

To establish appropriate forms of collegial and conciliar consultation on significant matters of faith and order, mission and service.

  • Encouraging continued joint meeting of bishops.
  • Encouraging joint study days for clergy.
  • Encouraging development of provincial/synod/diocesan implementation committees.
  • Taking action together on significant issues of church and society.

Commitment 6:

To encourage regular consultation and collaboration among members of our churches at all levels, to promote the formulation and adoption of covenants for common work in mission and ministry, and to facilitate learning and exchange of ideas and information on theological, pastoral, and mission matters.

  • Developing guidelines for common worship.
  • Addressing shared ministry issues.
  • Encouraging more co-operation in theological education for ordered ministers.
  • Encouraging more co-operation between ACC/ELCIC committees at various levels.
  • Encouraging more cooperative work in new church development.
  • Developing a shared forum for theological inquiry.

Commitment 7:

To establish a Joint Commission to nurture our growth in communion, to coordinate the implementation of this declaration, and report to the decision-making bodies of both our churches.

  • Continuing to work at implementing and evaluating our work.
  • Collecting and telling stories.
  • Ensuring that the Joint Commission meets on a regular basis with local representatives of our respective churches.

Commitment 8:

To hold joint meetings of national, regional and local decision-making bodies wherever practicable.

  • Encouraging joint meeting of National and Diocesan/Synodical Councils.
  • Encouraging a shared 2007 General Synod/National Convention.
  • Promoting collaboration between staff in all expressions of our churches.

Commitment 9:

To continue to work together for the full visible unity of the whole Church of God.

  • Inviting Anglican participation in the LWF Assembly.
  • Communicating with other ecumenical colleagues.
  • Communicating more effectively to the wider community.
  • Including an ecumenical partner on the Joint Commission.

To these ends, the Joint Commission notes the following developments:

Clergy Guidelines

The Joint Commission has prepared a document entitled Guidelines for Anglican and Lutheran Priests and Pastors Serving Term Appointments in Each Other's Churches. The ELCIC National Church Council and the Anglican Council of General Synod have now approved these guidelines.

Guidelines for Common Worship

The Joint Commission has prepared a document entitled Guidelines for Common Worship. The ELCIC National Church Council and the Anglican Council of General Synod have now approved these guidelines.

Shared Ministries

The Joint Commission is in the process of identifying and surveying representatives of existing shared ministries within our churches so that we might learn from their experiences. It is our hope that we will eventually be able to draft appropriate guidelines to govern such shared ministry relationships.

Joint Meeting of Bishops

The bishops of our respective churches continue to meet with one another on an annual basis and have, to this point, made sure to include a significant portion of agenda time to addressing items identified by the Joint Commission.

Joint Meeting of Councils

The Joint Commission has asked our respective National Councils to consider the possibility of holding a joint meeting.

Lutheran World Federation Assembly

Anglican representatives have been invited to play a significant role in the planning and execution of the LWF Assembly in Winnipeg July 21-31, 2003.

Common Youth Events

Representatives of Anglican youth were invited to participate in the 2002 ELCIC Youth Gathering in Vancouver, British Columbia and will also be invited to participate in the 2004 Youth Event in Hamilton, Ontario.

2007 General Synod/National Convention

Plans have begun to ensure that these events will run concurrently in 2007.

Diaconate

The Joint Commission has engaged the bishops of our churches in conversation on two occasions and is now in the process of surveying those persons who are serving in diaconal ministry within our respective churches.

The Joint Commission has considered the possibility that a series of publications might eventually be forthcoming from this work and is committed to helping our churches move further toward the goal of articulating a common understanding of diaconal ministry.

Ecumenical Partnerships

The United Church of Canada has responded favourably to our invitation to appoint a representative to our Joint Commission.

The Joint Commission is also working in support of initiatives that might lead to the establishment of a full communion relationship with the Moravian Church.

Church to Church Collaboration

Members of the Joint Commission have toured the Anglican Church House in Toronto and met with various members of the staff. A similar visit to the ELCIC National Office is planned for September 2003.

The Joint Commission has also received a number of favorable reports of collaborative efforts that are taking place in different regions of our church. Lutherans and Anglicans are sponsoring joint worship and stewardship education events and are beginning to collaborate on new mission developments.

Theological Education

The Joint Commission has surveyed the theological colleges of our churches and will be sharing the collated materials with the Anglican Heads of Colleges (June 5-7, 2003) and the meeting of Lutheran seminary presidents and bishops (November 30-December 4, 2003).

Confirmation

The Joint Commission has asked the Council of General Synod and the National Church Council to establish a joint task force to undertake a study of the theology and practice of confirmation in our two churches that examines:

  • the use of confirmation as a requirement for membership and enfranchisement;
  • the connection between a mature affirmation of faith, not necessarily confirmation, and the exercise of governance roles in our congregations and synods;
  • the current confirmation practices of our two churches, including our commonalities and differences;
  • the place of confirmation within the faith formation of our children and youth; and
  • the preparation of joint resources for study and action that will help congregations work together in joint programs of confirmation preparation and celebrations.

Eligibility for Election

The Joint Commission has requested that our churches make the necessary constitutional and canonical changes to allow:

  • for Anglican and Lutheran clergy serving in a congregation of the other church to be eligible for the same rights, responsibilities and privileges of clergy serving similar charges in their originating church; and
  • to provide for parity in the eligibility of clergy for election to the Office of Bishop in either church.

The Joint Commission has further requested that the respective churches consider adopting interim measures to make such participation possible until constitutional and canonical changes have been made.

Conclusion

The prophet Isaiah writes, "Behold I am doing a new thing says the Lord. Even now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it?" The members of the Joint Commission are profoundly thankful for the "new thing" that God is doing in our midst. We take great delight in experiencing the many gifts that are present within our respective churches and consider ourselves to privileged to live in a time when we are able to celebrate and experience the gifts of an ever-widening Christian community.

We look forward to embracing the work that remains to be done in the next four years. But especially, we look forward to embracing the new opportunities for faithful discipleship and mission that will be made available to us as partners in ministry, as a result of the very significant action that was taken by our churches in July 2001. Thanks be to God!

Respectfully submitted,


Bishop Michael Pryse
Bishop Fred Hiltz

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
© Copyright 2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada