IT WAS a sweet moment – the human face of full communion.
Lutheran pastor Hugh Farmer of Saskatoon stepped down from a bus bringing him to a special luncheon seminar at the Anglican synod, into the waiting and surprised embrace of his friend Archdeacon Ed Lewis.
“We congratulated each other that it (the Waterloo accord) had finally happened. It brought tears to my eyes to see him get off that bus,” Mr. Lewis said later.
Pastor Farmer was with a group of Lutherans who were coming to have lunch with the Anglicans at General Synod. Simultaneously a group of Anglicans bussed over to Wilfrid Laurier University to be with Lutherans.
The tears at the bus were understandable. Both ministers have been forging ties between their two congregations – St. Timothy’s Anglican and Redeemer Lutheran churches – for three years. In the process, they have become good friends.
“We are close in age and life experience,” said Mr. Lewis. “We are both former teachers, and we joke around a lot”. They even share the occasional round of golf, he added.
The two have “exchanged pulpits” as well asked their vestry members to attend one another’s meetings. “We’ve gone and explained what we are about,” Mr. Lewis said.
“In Saskatoon, we’ve been in a twinning relationship in our ministerial for the past three years,” said Mr. Lewis. They are so pleased with the results that the two have now become three, adding a Roman Catholic parish to the mix.
“There is real intentionality around ecumenism with us,” Mr. Lewis said. “Our ecumenical ministerial has been meeting once a month for about 10 years. We talk about baptismal rites, advertising among Christian churches, encouraging food banks, and give workshops on health and pastoral care.”
The bond between the Anglicans and Lutherans ministers is so strong that the Anglican archdeacon said he goes to services at Pastor Farmer’s church when he is on holidays.