Dear partner in ministry,
On Oct. 31, 2016, we will make history. Lutherans and Catholics from around the world will come together for the anniversary of the Reformation. The Lutheran-Catholic commemoration will take place in Lund, Sweden, with a Common Prayer service led by Pope Francis, The Lutheran World Federation President Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan and its general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Martin Junge.
After 500 years, both Lutherans and Catholics share the joy for the positive elements of the Reformation, rejoicing together in the gospel and acknowledging that we are sent together as the body of Christ to serve the world. The joint commemoration witnesses to the reality that what unites us is more powerful than what divides us. This event is an opportunity to open doors to new possibilities, strengthen relationships, work together to promote peace, reconciliation and joint diaconal work around the world. As a sign of unity, Lutheran World Service and the Catholic agency, Caritas Internationalis, will commit to a Declaration of Intent, promising to work together in programs world-wide.
You can be a part of this exciting moment in history.
- Pray for Christian unity, and commend and encourage continued local Lutheran-Catholic dialogue and engagement.
- Consider ways you or your congregation could support the joint ecumenical commemoration. Gifts are needed to help support this unprecedented event.
- Attend the event, register for updates and get notified when tickets become available at lund2016.net.
- View the recorded service in the Lund Cathedral with a group in your congregation and consider inviting Catholic parishes to join. You can download a template of the liturgy, Common Prayer, to follow along.
- Find resources to use in your congregation. The 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly commended these resources to the church: "From Conflict to Communion," which is the basis for the joint commemoration and has a helpful study guide for local use; "Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry, Eucharist," a pioneering ecumenical document whose statement of agreements was overwhelmingly received by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly; and the 1999 "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification."
- Discover other events and resources the ELCA is lifting up at ELCA500.org. as we prepare to observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Thanks be to God,
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America