Last night the inaugural service celebrating full communion between the Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in North America was held at at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori joined the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Miller and the Rev. David Guthrie, the presidents of the two Moravian Provincial Elders' Conferences celebrated.
Bishop Stephen Miller of Milwaukee and member of the Moravian-Episcopal dialogue preached. In his sermon, MIller emphasized the importance of our putting what was done symbolically at the service into concrete action.
Dr. Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies also participated.
The liturgy formalized agreements voted by the General Convention in 2009 and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian church at their conferences in June and September, 2010. The Moravian Church is formally known as the Unitas Fratum.
The Reconciliation of Episcopal Ministries took place in this way: the Episcopal Bishops present faced the Unitas Fratum bishops. The Moravian bishops knelt and received laying on of hands and the "Right Hand of Fellowship" from the Episcopal Bishops. After that, the Episcopal Bishops knelt before their counterparts, and then received the laying on of hands and "Right Hand of Fellowship" from the Unitas Fratrum Bishops.
In an e-mail to the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem, Bishop Paul Marshall wrote:
In the 1780s, the Episcopal Church's leadership chose not to receive episcopal orders at the hands of Moravians, so our kneeling before each other tonight for the laying-on of hands and the right hand of fellowship was more than symbolic--it was a moment of healing. Ghosts can indeed become ancestors.
Read this introduction to the Moravian Church in this post on the Diocese of Pittsburgh blog.
The full text of Finding Our Delight in the Lord:A Proposal for Full Communion Between The Episcopal Church; the Moravian Church–Northern Province; and the Moravian Church–Southern Province may be found here.