Skip to comments.U.S. and German Lutherans sign agreement
Posted on 10/23/2007 6:29:18 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
ELCA and Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) leaders signed an agreement committing the churches to information exchange and care for German-speaking congregations in the U.S. and English-speaking congregations in Germany during a Sept. 24 worship service at the Lutheran Center in Chicago.
The agreementwhich provides for exchange of clergy, EKD deacons and diaconal ministers, and Christian education teachersrenews a 1991 agreement between the two churches, said ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson.
Bishop Wolfgang Huber, chair of the EKD Council, told the ELCA News Service that the agreement will help the churches work together to prepare for the 500th anniversary in 2017 of the start of the Reformation, when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany (see "It's all about grace").
Later that day, representatives of the ELCA, EKD and Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod discussed concerns related to ministry centers in Wittenberg.
The Wittenberg Center, established in 1999, is one of three international ministry sites run by the ELCA (the others are in Bethlehem and Mexico City). Robert O. Smith, continental desk director for Europe and the Middle East, ELCA Global Mission, said the Wittenberg Center provides a global perspective on ministry and mission, as well as learning opportunities for Lutherans traveling in Germany. Some EKD leaders plan to support the center with finances for a pastor to serve there through 2017.
The LCMS plans to soon open its Wittenberg center in cooperation with its partner in Germany, the Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church. David L. Mahsman, assistant to the executive director of the LCMS Board for Mission Service, said the denomination doesnt want to create a problem or confusion.
When Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of Global Mission, asked about possible collaboration between the ELCA and the LCMS in Wittenberg, Mahsman said he was open to conversation.
Huber cited a need to coordinate these presences and ensure local congregations and institutions are respected as the number of Wittenberg centers grows. He proposed that a working group reflect on an integrated strategy about the Lutheran presence in Wittenberg.