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Reformation 2017: Praying for Christian Unity

January 19, 2017 No Comment

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WORLD – Christians around the world are recognizing the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes this year from January 18-25. The call for Christian unity takes on renewed significance in 2017, as this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Lutherans recognize the Reformation as a tragic necessity—tragic in that it led to the division of the church, but necessary in its move to restore biblical clarity to the church’s teachings on justification, among other doctrines.

Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) takes seriously Jesus’ call for unity in His church, and engages in responsible ecumenical relations with a number of other church bodies. First and foremost is its relationship to other confessional Lutheran churches around the world, both directly as well as through the work of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). At its most recent World Conference, the ILC adopted a statement noting that “confessional Lutherans are obligated to cooperate in overcoming the divisions within Christianity in the spirit of biblical truth and Christian love.”

LCC puts that commitment into practice through direct dialogue with a number of other Christian church bodies. In 2016, LCC and its sister church The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCC), together with the Anglican Church in North America, issued a report on their six-year dialogue, highlighting the significant doctrinal agreement reached thus far. At the same time, positive dialogue between LCC and the LCMS on one side and the North American Lutheran Church on the other also continues, with the three churches issuing a joint statement on Scripture last year.

LCC has also been engaged in dialogue with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) since 2013. LCC President Robert Bugbee brought greetings to the CCCB’s annual conference this past September, at which time he noted LCC’s gratefulness for the ongoing dialogue between the two churches. The Canadian dialogue complements world-wide discussions between the International Lutheran Council and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, meeting most recently in Paderborn, Germany.

Lutheran Church–Canada is also an observer member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), and has been engaging in greater cooperation with Evangelicals in recent years. LCC joined the EFC, along with Roman Catholics and other Canadian church leaders, in issuing several joint statements recently, including a statement drawing attention to the dangers of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, as well as another statement calling for increased support for palliative care in Canada.

LCC also engages in regular contact with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada through cooperative work in Canadian Lutheran World Relief and the Lutheran Council in Canada.

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