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Anglican & Lutheran leaders in US & Canada met SEP 24 & 25 in DC

Anglican & Lutheran leaders in US & Canada met SEP 24 & 25 in DC

The episcopal leaders of the Anglican and Evangelical Lutheran Churches in the US and Canada have been holding annual meetings since 2010. This however, was the final meeting of the four that the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (TEC), would attend. +Katharine and the Most Revd Fred Hiltz, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC), the Revd Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Church in America (ELCA) and the Revd Canon Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCiC) gathered in Washington DC over 24 & 25 SEP.

TEC and the ELCA maintain a joint policy office in DC. The meeting was an opportunity for the Canadian bishops to observe first-hand how the office handles US and international policy issues, as well as, the coordination of the two churches advocacy in the US seat of government. The two Canadian churches are in the trial stages of developing an effective public voice in Canada. The churches hope to learn from their US counterparts.

The primary topic for the conversation of the bishops was to be lay presidency at eucharist in the ELCiC. The ELCiC approved limited lay presidency at it’s recent national assembly. TEC and the ELCA have previously dealt with lay presidency in the lead up to full communion between the two churches. The US bishops hopefully were able to share insight from that experience with the Canadian prelates.

Even though their meeting placed the four leaders in Washington DC at the same time as the Roman Pontiff, they did not meet with Pope Francis.

The image is a file photo from
This story was first reported in the Anglican Journal.


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Sherwood Glover

The ELCA Presiding Bishop is Elizabeth Eaton; she does not use her husband’s name in her official capacity.

[Somehow we typed “Seaton” rather than “Eaton”. Thank you for the correction. – ed.]

Deacon Jim

Bishop Eaton’s husband is an Episcopal priest.

Deacon Jim Brown

Mary Ann Green

Is the Lutheran Church more like the Episcopal Church than the Methodist? Been trying to find out. Hope you can help. Thank you .

Marshall Scott

Mary Ann, both sacramentally and structurally the ELCA and the Episcopal Church are more alike. On the other hand, in the ELCA, as in the United Methodist Church, bishops are elected only for a fixed term. The concept of the episcopate as sacramentally permanent (to separate it from institutional responsibilities) is new to them; and so far I’m not aware of an ELCA bishop who has continued to be addressed as bishop after ending his or her term.

However, we really took much of our theology of the Eucharist from Martin Luther and colleagues; and both Lutherans and Episcopalians/Anglicans have structured episcope – our theology of “oversight” – in reaction to, if not exactly in continuation of, Roman practice.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Yes, the Lutherans are more like the Episcopalians. Someone else can probably give a lot more specifics. Both are more oriented to the sacraments than the Methodists, which are more Protestant and more oriented to the Word. The Methodists reject the idea of a central governing authority. While we also have democratic processes, I believe our episcopacy is a much more central authority than the Methodists would accept. Those are the big picture differences. I think of Methodists as totally Protestant, while Lutherans and Episcopalians have a foot in each camp, catholic (small “c”) and Protestant.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Marshall’s answer is very helpful. David, I do believe that the emphasis on the sacraments is quite different, even if the governing structures look similar.

Rod Gillis

This part of the report in the original Anglican Journal article linked above is kind of interesting;

“One the topics to be discussed this year include lay presidency, a dispensation which allows for lay people to preside over Eucharistic services in some circumstances and a circumscribed form of which was adopted by the ELCIC in July.

‘Some in the Canadian church have expressed concern over what this means for the full communion agreement between Anglicans and Lutherans in Canada, as the Anglican Church does not allow lay people to preside. … This is something our American full communion partners have lived through, and they’ve come through the other end of it still in full communion. I think there will be great value in hearing from the American churches on what their experience of this was.’ “

Marshall Scott

Actually, Rod, there is provision in the Constitution of the ELCA for licensure of Diaconal Ministers (not yet recognized as ordained, although that change is in process) and lay persons to be licensed to officiate as an exception for mission reasons. I think, though, that it is indeed very rare.

Geoff McLarney

That’s true Marshall. One of the ways in which the first attempt at CCM was watered down after its initial rejection by the ELCA (the provision to petition for presbyteral ordination is another). One of the topics that came up at last year’s SCP provincial conference in Toronto was that the Canadian churches, through the Waterloo Declaration, have fewer EU-style “opt-out” provisions than our cousins do.

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