March 24, 2009
On March 17 and 18, senior management from the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) met at Church House in Toronto, to discuss cooperation between their churches. Since 2001, the two churches have been in a full communion relationship, which means that confirmations are mutually recognized and clergy can serve at a church of the other denomination.
Thirteen leaders attended, including the national leaders—Archbishop Fred Hiltz (ACC) and National Bishop Susan Johnson (ELCIC)—and directors of communications, finance, and other departments. They shared their current work, challenges, strategic plans, and mapped out their relationships with partners.
The group agreed that although the churches have deepened relations since 2001 (by establishing joint congregations, cooperative local ministries, etc.) there is a need for dramatic and visible next steps. Among many possibilities, they discussed the idea of a joint national office. A small staff and volunteer group will be created to explore this further.
One future cooperation is a joint national gathering planned for 2013, when the Lutheran National Convention and the Anglican General Synod will meet together in Ottawa. Several smaller, joint meetings have already been held and will gather again before 2013. The leaders agreed that this particular meeting of Anglican and Lutheran management teams should happen yearly, alternating between the Winnipeg ELCIC offices and the Toronto ACC offices.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
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