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ELCA Montana Synod lifts up, lives out Common Mission at annual Pastoral Conference

ELCA Montana Synod lifts up, lives out Common Mission at annual Pastoral Conference

The Montana Synod Pastoral Conference for ELCA clergy opens today, and for the first time opens its invitation to all Episcopal clergy in the area to attend. The Presiding Bishops of both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church will address the conference.

The Billings Gazette reports on the historic meeting.

“Montana is not the biggest player,” said the Rev. Jessica Crist, bishop of the Montana Synod of the ELCA, in a telephone interview from Great Falls. “So to have either one of them there is noteworthy, but to have them both there is additionally noteworthy.”

Lutherans and Episcopalians entered nationally into a full communion agreement in 1999, based on the document “Called to Common Mission.” …

The agreement allows the two denominations to share resources and people. For instance in Montana, a Lutheran pastor serves a trio of tiny congregations, two Episcopal and one Lutheran, in the northeast part of the state. In another instance, an Episcopal priest has covered for a Lutheran pastor who was on sabbatical.

The annual pastoral conference, in the past, included only Lutheran pastors. One of the three pastors who helped organize this year’s events suggested it be opened up to Episcopal clergy, and that both presiding bishops be invited.

The Rt. Rev. C. Franklin Brookhart Jr., bishop of the Montana Diocese of the Episcopal Church, also will attend the four-day conference. He was elected to his post in 2003.

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will address the conference on Wednesday, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Thursday. All four bishops will present a panel together on Friday.
Read more about the meeting in Montana here.

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William Bockstael

And sin boldly


What great news for contemporary Episcopal congregations and clergy! It’s a bit too late for two of my congregations in northeasternmost Montana. Successors decided on their own that they would not serve a small congregation some distance from the “resident parish.” In an area where the two largest number of Christians are either ELCA or Roman Catholic, this proposal would most likely have let those two Episcopal congregations continue.

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