The Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, and Bishop Ray Schultz, national bishop of the
Lutheran-Anglican cooperation in planning the Church Depot congregational development series is a great example of the good that can come from our partnership.
Our Lutheran synod office is a small one, and our staffing resources are limited - so this extensive programming is not something that we could have done easily on our own. I have always made an effort to find ways to access and share resources.
It became clear right at the start, that our congregations share the same challenge...how to be a relevant church...how to organize ourselves effectively and empower our members to share the Gospel and do God's work.
By working with your diocesan staff team, led by Rev. Paul Borthistle, we have been able to pull together some of the best resources from each of our denominations in order to create very high quality events that address these issues. It was very satisfying for me to be able to participate in this effort and to offer these resources to our Lutheran congregations.
I must also add that beginning with the first invitation to participate in the Church Depot series in 2002, I have appreciated the spirit of hospitality, warmth and openness that is always extended to us by our Anglican partners. This is felt by the planning team, and it is also reflected in the feedback I have received from our members who have participated in the events.
There is always a positive sense of working as a team, with mutual respect and desire to learn and understand from one another. Our synod covers the territory of the province, and some of our congregations in other regions are asking how we can offer similar resources to them. I encourage them to build relationships with their local Anglican and ecumenical partners, and to pool their creative resources together.
I am also very encouraged by the cooperation that has developed over the years between the diocese's Justice and Peace Committee and the Diocesan Environmental Unit, and our synod's Faith and Society Committee. I feel strongly that as a church we need to be far more vocal in addressing peace, social justice, and environmental issues in our society.
Working together in these areas, and ecumenically, we can be a stronger voice for God's alternative vision - a world where no one lives in poverty, and everyone lives with dignity.
Tina Klasen until recently was Director of Ministries for the
A relationship that can be risky, but fulfilling
|Brian Heinrich at Christ Church Cathedral, where he is an honourary assistant|
When I was asked by TOPIC's editor to write a few words about my personal experience of five years of full communion between Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans it was immediately after I'd just presided for the first time at the principal Lord's Day Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral.
I'd agreed to try to write something, but hedged, as I knew I had a very busy couple of weeks approaching and was trying to avoid taking on more tasks temporarily.
The next day your editor followed up with an email in which he articulated the parameters of the article, in which, among many other helpful things, he said "I think our relationship is something we should repeatedly bring to peoples attention -a good thing in our often broken (Church and) world". Hence my title and focus.
At our local BC Synod Convention of the
I then came out and confessed to a long time friend, from a rather conservative congregation, about the importance of my partner Nathan in my life. To my surprise she responded that Nathan deserved to be acknowledged because our relationship was obviously such an important and nourishing part of my life.
We live in schismatic times. The current trend is often toward separation, divorce, and alienation -weeding out. In fact just confessing what I have here in print opens me to prosecution/persecution in my own church and throughout the Oekumene. We are not all universally welcome.
Relationships are about taking risks, opening ourselves to vulnerability. That is something worth touting in these retrenching and retrogressive, inquisitionesque times.
I am proud to be a Lutheran affiliate of the cathedral church of the diocese of
The diocese that has courageously taken the initiative to struggle with this contentious unresolved issue and has taken the brunt of being a forerunner. The consequences have included being singled out in the Windsor Report, being asked not to attend the Anglican Consultative Council, uncertainty about an invitation to Lambeth, and now with the similarly daring Episcopalians being asked to consider some sort of secondary -that is, outside-status in the Communion.
In seminary I was taught that Lutheranism was a confessing movement within and for the catholic Church. In fact, our original confessors, when threatened with expulsion from the Roman Catholic Church, didn't want to confess, but were backed into a corner and had to - no other option being available.
I am honoured to stand with the confession this Anglican diocese makes about inclusivity of those who are inconvenient and discardable.
I personally as an outsider have found a welcome among you. I have had a long association with Anglicans. Often I have been held at arms length, illegitimate, not-quite-good-enough, but my personal experience at Christ Church Cathedral has made me feel entirely welcomed and valued. It is a worthy and laudable thing in these contentious and fractious times, to swim against the current, to build communion rather than expel.
I was a Lutheran clergy delegate at the Waterloo Synod Convention where the Declaration of Full Communion was endorsed at the Sunday morning Eucharist. Worshipping beside me that morning was Dean Peter Elliott. Little did I realize that five years later I would be an honourary assistant at Christ Church Cathedral!
I look forward to many more years of risky relationship with my co-confessor Anglican sisters and brothers in Christ.
Brian Heinrich is a Street Priest, Lutheran Urban Mission Society, and an Honourary Assistant, Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver.