As with Episcopal priests, Lutheran pastors often serve more than one small congregation at the same time. The Revd Mary Duersken was pastor to both Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Waterford MI and Sylvan Lake Lutheran Church in West Bloomfield MI.
In SEP 2012, Advent Episcopal Church, also in West Bloomfield, lost its building. The Church of the Ascension, a mere mile and a half away, invited Advent Church to share Ascension Church’s building and accommodated the invitation by moving its traditional Lutheran worship service to 9 am and gave Advent Church the 11 am time slot. This allowed the two congregations to fellowship during the time between the two services. By the summer of 2013 the two congregations had merged to a combined Lutheran/Episcopalian service.
In SEP 2014 Church of the Ascension sold it’s building and moved to worshiping with the combined Sylvan Lake congregation. In MAR 2015 the two Lutheran congregations voted to merge. In APR 2015 the Lutheran congregation and the Advent Episcopal congregation voted to merge and become a federated congregation holding full membership in both The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Church in America (ELCA). The new federated congregation is calling itself the Spirit of Grace Church. The service celebrating the federation was attended by the Revd Dr Donald P. Kreiss, bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod of the ELCA and the Rt. Revd Wendell Nathaniel Gibbs, Jr, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan of TEC.
TEC and the ELCA are in full communion, meaning that the denominations accept the baptism and ordinations of each church. The document establishing full communion, Called to Common Mission, was ratified by the ELCA in 1999 at it’s Churchwide Assembly and by TEC in 2000 at its General Convention.
photos: Spirit of Grace Church Facebook page
posted by David Allen