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Primate’s joy as united churches unite

Posted on: October 22, 2015 3:00 PM
Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada with Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
Photo Credit: Michael Hudson / Anglican Church of Canada General Synod Communications
Related Categories: Abp Hiltz, Canada, Ecumenical, USA

[ACNS] The Primate of Canada has welcomed the new full communion agreement between the Canadian-based United Church of Canada and the US-based United Church of Christ.

“As united and uniting churches, both of your denominations have at your very heart a vision of the full visible unity to which Christ calls his church,” the Most Revd Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said in a letter to the two churches.

“You have inspired other Christians with this vision by the daring manner in which you have expressed it through organic union. It is very much in keeping with your churches’ uniting ethos that you are embracing a new model of unity: full communion.”

In his letter of “fraternal greetings”, which he sent “with joy”, Archbishop Hiltz pointed out that the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have been in full communion since 2001. “It is a relationship that bears new fruit with each passing year as we discover yet more ways our churches can work together as partners in God’s mission in and for the world.

“As full communion partners we are growing more and more interdependent, even as we remain autonomous, celebrating and exchanging the gifts of our respective Anglican and Lutheran traditions. I share your excitement at the possibilities that lay before you as you begin your journey as churches in full communion.

“In the report Journey to Full Communion your churches are invited ‘not only to go deeper to live out this full communion agreement, but also to go wider.’ Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans are also seeking to do this with our U.S.-based full communion partners, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

“It is exciting to contemplate the possibilities for our churches’ collaboration on urgent matters that affect us all as North Americans, such as climate change, Indigenous peoples, and immigration.

“May God richly bless your two churches as you begin this new journey together, and may you be witnesses to the full communion to which Christ calls all of his disciples, so that the world may believe.”

The new relationship between the United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ has also been welcomed by the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

“The witness of the United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ is vital today,” he said in a letter to the two churches’ moderators. “Through commitment to Christian solidarity, your churches are closely identified with the whole ecumenical movement, and are models of what can be achieved when, while respecting differences, churches recognize and encourage each other’s spiritual life, commitment to ministry and public witness.”