On Saturday, January 19, members of LCM will participate in a service of Prayer for Christian Unity at Heritage Presbyterian Church. We will pray together with Methodists, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics remembering these words of St. Paul to the Ephesians (2:19), “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

The service is at 6:00 p.m.; Heritage Presbyterian Church is located at 965 Kuhn Road in Carol Stream.

Our Lutheran Church has a long history of ecumenical cooperation with other Christians.

We cooperate with the Lutheran World Federation based in Geneva, Switzerland recognizing with other Lutherans a faith identity as evangelical, sacramental, diaconal, confessional and ecumenical.

We participate with the World Council of Churches with administrative offices in Geneva, Switzerland and a United Nations Liaison Office in New York City. The WCC represents more than 500 million Christians in over 110 countries seeking to advance towards a Christian unity expressed in Jesus’ prayer “so that the world may believe” (John 17:21).

We participate with the National Council of Churches, headquartered in Washington D.C., in an effort to be faithful to Jesus’ prayer that we might all be one. The work of the NCC is inspired by these words of Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist theologian and social activist writing in 1907, “No one shares life with God whose religion does not flow out, naturally and without effort, into all relations of his life … Whoever uncouples the religious and social life has not understood Jesus. Whoever sets any bounds for the reconstructive power of the religious life over the social relations and human institutions, to that extent denies the faith of the Master.” Currently, the NCC is focusing its work addressing mass incarceration and peace.

Lutherans enjoy full communion agreements with the Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church, the Moravian Church and the United Methodist. “Full communion” means that with each of these churches we share a common confession of the Christian faith, mutual recognition of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, mutual recognition and availability of ordained ministers, common commitment to evangelism, witness and service, a common means for decision-making on critical issues of faith and life and a mutual lifting of any condemnations that exist between the denominations.

The ELCA also works with the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign standing with American Muslims upholding American values including religious freedom. “Religious freedom,” writes Catherine Orsborn, Director of Shoulder to Shoulder, “isn’t religious freedom unless it is equally available and equally applied to all. It must not be used as a cover for bigotry or discrimination. We can judge the health of a pluralistic society by looking at how religious minorities are treated.”

Special thanks go to the Rev. John Armstrong for organizing and planning the Service of Prayer for Christian Unity at Heritage Presbyterian Church this Saturday. We know Pastor Armstrong as a friend and member of LCM; Dr. Armstrong is also President and founder of ACT3. ACT3 began informally in 1981 and was formally launched in 1992 to “empower leaders and churches to engage in missional partnerships within the whole body Christ.” In 2018, ACT3 transitioned into “The Initiative.” The newly formed “The Initiative” is a “covenant” community open to any and all who will “covenant together to live in an intentional initiative, practicing deep and growing friendship with God and others, that the love of Jesus might exceed all divisions.” To find out more about The Initiative, please go to http://theinitiative.org.