Lutheran-Anglican-Episcopal leadership of Canada, US issue report following annual meeting

The Lutheran-Anglican-Episcopal leadership of Canada and the United States met on December 8 at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City.

Attending were:

The Rev. Mark Hanson
Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The Rev. Don McCoid
Assistant to the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Archbishop, Anglican Church of Canada
Archdeacon Paul Feheley
Principal Secretary to the Primate of Canada
The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson
General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada

The Rev. Susan Johnson
National Bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Rev. Andre Lavergne
Assistant to the National Bishop

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church
The Rev. Dr. Canon Charles Robertson
Canon to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

The members have issued the following report:

The Second Annual Gathering of Lutheran-Anglican-Episcopal leaders from the United States and Canada met in communion, collegiality and with the spirit of our Lord.

Our four churches have a common understanding and commitment to the Gospel. At this meeting, we explored a deepened commitment to the witness that we share together and looked at new possibilities working together.

We were in conversation on a series of topics of mutual interest and common concern. Among the topics discussed at the one-day meeting were:

·Immigration reform, environmental issues, poverty, First Nations, and refugees. From those issues, we are encouraging the senior staff of all our churches who have responsibility in these areas to work collaboratively as we believe these are important issues.

·Ecumenical and interfaith issues. We discussed ways in which to share our resources.

·Middle East: We support our partners, and we are respectful of addressing the realities of the Middle East policies of our countries while respecting dreams of our partners.

·We raised possibilities of areas of partnership, focusing on common experiences as well as things we do in different ways. For example, some of our ministry work is addressed on the national or churchwide level, while the same work is addressed on a diocesan or synodic level. We are looking at bi-lateral or tri-lateral partnerships in these areas.

·Relief and development work, global mission, United Nations advocacy: We are seeking a better alignment of these challenges.

·We reviewed the possibilities of producing materials, study guides and resources that parishes and congregations in all four churches could use in various seasons of the liturgical year.

·We addressed the challenges of church planting and how we need to strategize with our full communion partners

We decided to:

·Form a subcommittee to further consider how we can make our bi-lateral full communion relationships effective among the four churches.

·Plan for our 2012 meeting to be held in Chicago and 2013 in Winnipeg (2010 was held in Toronto). At those meetings, our staff will be asked to provide updates on the collaborative work.

·Discuss the upcoming February meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario where the co-chairs of the Lutheran Episcopal Coordinating Committee (LECC) will attend the regular session of the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission (JALC).

We worshipped together at noon, with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori celebrating and Archbishop Hiltz preaching. We met with Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church, and with senior management members of Episcopal Relief & Development, Episcopal Church Foundation, and Episcopal Migration Ministries.

We believe that this meeting and our work together are hopeful signs for the church.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 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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