CA-NV Annual Conference to Celebrate Full Communion With ELCA in November

September 11, 2009

Sacramento's First UMC will play host

On August 20 of this year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted to enter into full communion with the United Methodist Church, following the lead of the UMC General Conference in 2008. That is, the two denominations now have formally agreed to acknowledge each other as partners in the Christian faith.
 
In recognition of the historic agreement, Bishops Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the UMC and Mark Holmerud of the ELCA will officiate at a Conference celebration with Holy Communion on Sunday, November 15 at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Sacramento.
 
All clergy and laity of both denominations are invited. 
 
Full communion is not, by any means, a merger of the two denominations, but rather the recognition of similarities with an acceptance of differences. By being in full communion, the ELCA and UMC recognize the authenticity of each other's Baptism and Eucharist. Full communion observes the validity of respective ministries and a commitment to work together toward greater unity.
 
The resolution on full communion is the culmination of in-depth conversation between the two denominations spanning more than 30 years. The dialogue began in 1977 with a study on Baptism. The second round of dialogues (1985-87) explored issues of church government, which led to a third round of talks on an understanding of the Eucharist.
 
As partners, ELCA and UMC will engage in common decision making on critical issues of faith and life. Fundamentally, full communion is about strengthening relationships and allowing for new opportunities, which include the exchange of clergy, missionary training, and a sharing of resources.
 
For local churches, the partnership allows for joint worship and an exchangeability of members with mutual recognition of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. It allows, also, for ordained ministers to serve members of both churches.
 
The Conference Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns has issued a statement urging local churches to plan a worship service or other event with a neighbor ELCA church this year. It reads, in part:
 
"The California-Nevada Conference (UMC) and the Sierra Pacific Synod (ELCA) embrace full communion as a common commitment of both churches to evangelism, witness, and service. We are partners in faith, siblings in Christ. We celebrate this relationship November 15 and invite local church participation."
 
First UMC is located at 2100 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95816.