Anglicans, Lutherans working together in areas of advocacy around homelessness, affordable housing, and emerging interfaith work and dialogue

June 29, 2023

In the second of four joint sessions at Assembly 2023, delegates to the ELCIC Special Convention and the General Synod reflected on 22 years of full communion and took a deeper look at how this history shapes the work of the two churches and the journey going forward.

A powerful 10-minute video opened the session, reminding delegates of what was going on in the world back in 2001 when the Waterloo Declaration was signed. The video also provided key highlights of the growing relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada over the years.

In July 2013, the first joint Assembly was held in Ottawa, focusing on the theme Together for the Love of the World. It was at that gathering that The Joint Assembly Declaration was adopted, committing the two churches to shared work in the areas of homelessness and affordable housing and responsible resource extraction.

Rev. Paul Gehrs, Assistant to the ELCIC National Bishop, shared how these commitments to housing and resource extraction have shaped the work of staff and included national expressions of this work around National Housing Day (November 22), Earth Day (April 22) and shared statements, calls to prayer, and advocacy from the Primate, the National Bishop and the National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop.

During the joint session, Rev. Scott Sharman, the Animator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Anglican Church of Canada, reflected on some of the emerging interfaith and interreligious work and dialogue that Anglicans and Lutheran are doing together.

“In my own experience, seeking conversations and building bridges with people of other faith traditions, it’s pretty rare that our partners in those conversations are worried about whether they are speaking to Anglicans or Lutherans,” said Rev. Sharman. “As followers of Jesus together, interfaith work is an area where it makes a lot of sense for use to work as fully together as possible. This is an important area for our relationship.”

Sharman introduced Rabbi Ibrahim Long, who has worked alongside the two churches in developing resources available on – a website of resources for Canadian Christians and Canadian Muslims who want to know one another more deeply and grown in understanding of their respective faith traditions.

“You make me want to be a better Muslim,” Rabbi Long told delegates. “There’s something unique about speaking to someone outside one’s faith tradition… I see you as people who strive to adhere as scripture, and that’s a commonality among us.”

“Of course, our theologies differs and aspects of our practices differ – in significant ways…,” he continued, noting that everyone at Assembly 2023 are, “people who strive to be close to our Creator.”

“That sense of shared community is even more needed in today’s world,” said Long. “Yes, we differ in faith, but you and I, we have faith. In a time and age when many are confused and struggling.”

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”