ELCA adopts accord with Methodists, stance on Israel, new hymnal

Lutherans and Methodists to share communion
In what one official called the “penultimate” step toward full communion with the United Methodist Church, delegates at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s biennial assembly overwhelmingly approved an interim agreement to permit the sharing of the rite of communion.

The step followed years of theological dialogue. One delegate said he could think of no church that was less offensive to Lutherans than the UMC. The Methodist bishops earlier this year endorsed the pact.

The ultimate goal, leaders said, is an arrangement in which clergy could move freely between both churches, especially in areas where small congregations struggle to afford full-time pastors. “We are committed to working for the goal of full communion, but there is no timetable for that at this time,” said Randy Lee, the ELCA ecumenical director.


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