The ELCIC Special Convention and ACC General Synod, have approved motions that will bring the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Canadian churches of the Moravian Church in North American into full communion.
The resolution, One Flock, One Shepherd – Lutherans, Anglicans and Moravians – Called to Walk together, was introduced during a joint session of Assembly 2023 on Friday, June 30.
During the joint session, delegates heard words of greeting from Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller, president of the Moravian Church Northern Province.
“I’m delighted to share that June 23 our synod unanimously approved moving to full communion relations with the ELCIC and ACC,” she said. “Your Moravian siblings both in the US and Canada join in praying for you. We look forward to hearing how your deliberations lead us forward in the prayer that Jesus offered – that we may be one.”
In the United States, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has been in full communion with the Moravian Church in North America since 1999. The US-based Episcopal Church has been in full communion with the Moravian Church since 2011. In 2019, the conversation began considering a similar relationship between the ELCIC, ACC and Canadian churches within the Moravian Church in North America.
There are Moravian congregations and ministries in Canada, with congregations in Alberta, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
To officially pass the motion, the ELCIC Special Convention and ACC General Synod needed to consider and discuss individually. Both churches passed the motion unanimously on Saturday, July 1.
The resolution means that all three churches will now commit themselves to: welcome members of their churches to receive pastoral and sacramental ministrations of one another’s churches with complete hospitality; welcome persons ordained in any of our churches to the office of presbyter/priest/pastor to serve, by invitation of the local ordinary; work towards a common understanding of diaconal ministry; invite one another’s bishops to attend and participate as appropriate in the laying on of hands at the ordination of bishops as a sign of the unity and continuity of the Church, and invite the members and clergy of one another’s churches to attend and participate as appropriate in the ordination services of each church; consult with one another regarding developments in our understanding of the ministry of all the baptized; encourage as appropriate consultation and collaboration among members of our churches at all levels and to facilitate learning and exchange of ideas and information on theological, pastoral, and mission matters; establish a Trilateral Commission, with appropriate Lutheran, Anglican, Moravian and Indigenous membership, to nurture our growth in communion, to coordinate the implementation of this Declaration, and to report to the decision-making bodies of each of our churches; and, continue to work together for the full visible unity of the whole Church of God.