Attendees at Joint Assembly rose to their feet in a standing ovation after 98 per cent of delegates voted to support the ongoing work of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission (JALC). The resolution, presented by Richard Leggett of the diocese of New Westminster, read: “That this assembly confirm and support the work of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission and affirm its continued work, with both the size and membership to be determined by each church.”
Led by commission co-chairs, Anglican Peter Wall and Lutheran Michael Pryse, the July 4 session featured short presentations from JALC commissioners, including both a Presbyterian and a United Church representative, who confessed to a “twinge of envy” at the success of the Anglican-Lutheran communion.
Speakers reminded the audience of the many positive joint initiatives undertaken recently. These include 2011’s cross-border celebration of the first decade of full communion and the signing of the 2001 Waterloo Declaration in Canada and the Called to Common Mission accord in the U.S., as well as ongoing meetings of the four church heads in both countries.
Other advances are the Waterloo Ministries Directory, work on shared guidelines for confirmation and baptism, cycles of prayer for full communion, and the full-communion visit to Jerusalem to support Lutherans and Anglicans there who want to enter into a similar partnership. Anglicans have also included Lutheran representatives in their dialogues with the United Church of Canada and the Roman Catholic Church.
Presenters told encouraging stories of Waterloo Ministries in action. Pamela Harrington, a Lutheran, told of St. David’s, a thriving Anglican-Lutheran church in Orillia, Ont. Jim Halmarson, a Lutheran pastor, spoke of his work as an Anglican rector at Christ Church in Saskatoon, describing himself now as “fully bilingual” in the vocabulary of both churches. Particularly interesting was the evolution of the joint Lutheran-Anglican parish of St. Stephen and St. Bede, which took its first steps toward communion in the late1960s.
The commissioners pointed to JALC’s future commitments. Mark Lewis, a Presbyterian observer, for example, outlined the goal to “support both churches in restructuring and reallocation of resources through the best ways of working together, knowing that together we are stronger than apart, and acknowledging our common affirmation of the 1952 Lund Principle.”
Mary Conliffe spoke of the commitment to maintain and strengthen the Waterloo Directory and ensure that it remains a current and comprehensive resource for the church. Gerald Hobbs, of the United Church, called for support for the “model of Fred and Susan” and highlighted JALC’s commitment to encourage and develop joint pastoral letters, study materials and reflections for use in both churches on both sides of the border.