Waterloo Ontario, 8 July 2001 -- An exuberant service of joint worship between Anglicans and Lutherans here today marked the capstone of celebrations concluding nearly two decades of discussions culminating in this week's historic entente between Canada's two largest episcopally-based protestant religious denominations.
The historic celebration of [the] Eucharist at Waterloo's civic stadium, bringing together more than 1,000 members of the two churches attending their respective national conventions, represented the first joint worship service following the successful passage, on July 6 , of "The Waterloo Declaration", extending mutual recognition and full communion rights between the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).
Throughout the week at adjacent university campus locations in this southwestern Ontario city for their respective national governing council meetings, Anglicans and Lutherans held simultaneous votes, with all but unanimous support, on the carefully-framed declaration of cooperation -- "The Waterloo Declaration : Called to Full Communion" -- which had been under extensive discussion and review by both churches since the mid-1980s.
"This marks a pivotal moment in the movement toward Christian ecumenism in Canada, and a landmark in the history of the Anglican Church," said Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada following the all-but-unanimous vote at the 36th meeting of Anglican General Synod. "For me personally, it marks the climax of nearly 30 years of personal hopes and aspirations."
Bishop Telmor Sartison, ELCIC National Bishop and Lutheran counterpart to the Anglican Primate, said following the vote at the ELCIC convention, "it was so moving, it was hard to hold back the tears of happiness". In a sign of the times, the two bishops announced the outcome of their respective ballots in a cellphone conversation relayed to cheers and applause from more than 300 delegates attending both Anglican Synod and the Lutheran Convention.
The Waterloo Declaration -- so named because both ACC and ELCIC delegates held simultaneous national conferences in this namesake city in anticipation of a successful outcome on inter-church partnership -- sets out terms under which Anglicans and Lutherans acknowledge a broad range of parities between their respective denominations, both forged during the Reformation in 16th century Europe.
While stopping short of a "merger" or "union" between the two churches, "The Waterloo Declaration" formally acknowledges agreement on a wide range of liturgical issues, establishes full interchangeability between clergy of both churches and permits full "communion rights" among members of each denomination.
The agreement creates a religious fellowship numbering more than one million formally registered church members throughout Canada, linking the ACC's official parish membership of well over 700,000 with the ELCIC's membership of more than 200,000. Official statistics of church membership are difficult to assess accurately. In the case of the ACC, official Census Canada statistics list the number of Anglicans at more than 2.2 million while parish membership of regular attendees produces the smaller statistic.
This week's Anglican-Lutheran cooperation agreement mirrors similar ecumenical partnerships already forged between Anglicans in Great Britain and Lutherans in Scandinavian countries, as well, between the two denominations in the United States.
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For further information contact: Anthony Whittingham, ACC Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 324; 6416-738-8909 (Mobile)
Brief report about changes to marriage canon at General Synod. "Marriage between people who have previously lived in the same household, or who still do live in the same household and where one has been treated by the other as a child or parent, will be prohibited, according to a key amendement to the Anglican marriage canon".
Order of service for joint service (Anglican Church of Canada and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada) to celebrate the inauguration of full communion between the two churches.
Contents divided into sections: The Gathering of the Community -- The Proclamation of the Word of God -- The [Waterloo] Declaration -- The Prayers of the Community -- The Holy Communion -- The Commissioning of the Community -- Principal Ministers.