Full communion proposal of Episcopal Church-United Methodist: A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release]
The Episcopal Church – United Methodist Dialogue group have prepared A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness; The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church – A Proposal for Full Communion, the result of dialogue for a formal full-communion relationship.
In a recent letter, Bishop Frank Brookhart of Montana, Episcopal Church co-chair of the committee, with Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, the United Methodist Church, Ohio West Episcopal Area, offered, “The relationships formed over these years of dialogue, and the recognition that there are presently no theological impediments to unity, paved the way for this current draft proposal.” The entire letter is available here.
A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness; The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church – A Proposal for Full Communion, is located here.
In the coming months, opportunities for feedback, regional gatherings, and discussions will be slated.
Additional related information, including historical documents, is available here.
The work of the Episcopal-United Methodist Dialogue is enabled by two General Convention resolutions: 2015-A107 and 2006-A055.
For more information contact the Rev. Margaret Rose, Episcopal Church Deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the Episcopal-United Methodist Dialogue
Bishop C. Franklin Brookhart
Bishop David Rice
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson
The Rev. Dr. Deirdre Good
The Rev. Jordan M. Haynie Ware
The Rev. Margaret R. Rose – Staff
Bishop Gregory Palmer
Reverend Patricia Farris
Reverend Dr. James Howell
Reverend Dr. Pamela Lightsey
Bishop Michael Watson
Reverend Dr. Robert J. Williams
Kyle Tau, PhD, MTS – staff
Religious Freedom, the First Amendment, and Common Sense
For Montana residents it turns out that the political season is not over yet. Our lone representative in the US House became the Secretary of the Interior, leaving us without any representation in the House of Representatives. I have certainly felt that lack, as I have written to my senators about various issues in these last months. On May 25 (ironically, it is Ascension Day) Montana will have an election for our representative in the House.
Although there is some talk out of Washington about allowing religious organizations to become more partisan in their advocacy, even endorsing candidates without losing tax-exempt status, do not yield to the temptation, no matter how strongly you feel about the candidates, the election. In the ELCA we do not endorse candidates. We talk about policy. We encourage discernment. We encourage voting as a way not only to demonstrate civic responsibility, but also to show love for your neighbor. Voting is a way to be accountable for policies that affect the least and the lost.
Presiding Bishop Eaton has written an important statement on Religious Freedom. You can read it below:
On May 4, President Trump signed an executive order titled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” The measure addresses the IRS ban on political campaigning by tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations, an important protection for houses of worship. That regulation is codified into law, so it would take an act of Congress to reverse, but President Trump signaled his administration’s opposition to the rule by directing the IRS to use maximum discretion to refrain from enforcing it.
The Lutheran Confessions state “the power of church and civil government must not be mixed ... [while] both be held in honor and acknowledged as a gift and blessing” (Augsburg Confession, Article 28). The ELCA Constitution affirms that one of the purposes of this church is to “work with civil authorities in
areas of mutual endeavor, maintaining institutional separation of church and state in a relation of functional interaction” (ELCA Constitution 4.03.n.). Our social teaching encourages members and leaders to be politically active as citizens and to provide moral leadership that advocates for just and fair policies.
Nothing in the current IRS rules prohibit such activities. Neither our theological heritage nor our social teaching lift up what we would understand today as partisan activity by church officials—endorsing or funding specific candidates, for instance—because
that confuses the appropriate responsibilities of church and state leadership.
Exemption from taxation is an appropriate benefit granted to churches and other charities.
The restriction on endorsement of political candidates in no way restricts freedom of religion. In fact, it allows churches to continue to focus on ministry and protects them from being lured into participation in partisan politics to the detriment of their proclamation and mission. The ELCA provides this guidance to ministries on participation in the electoral process.
Earlier this year, the ELCA joined with 99 diverse faith groups in sending a letter to Congress opposing any effort to undermine the so-called Johnson Amendment—those IRS regulations that protect both the taxpayer and our houses of worship. We do not seek or desire a change in tax law that could prove divisive in our congregations or detrimental to our witness of Christ.
Let us not be tempted to participate in partisan politics, but rather focus on being part of God's reconciling work through Christ in the world and proclaiming the gospel word.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Words from the Bishop - A Social Message on Homeless
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25: 35)
The ELCA has long been concerned about homelessness, and adopted a Social Message “Homelessness: A Renewal of Commitment” in 1990. Like so many of the social messages adopted several decades ago, this message is still quite relevant. Some of it is prescient: “Without major changes in our society, homelessness will be more pervasive in the 1990’s than it was in the 1980’s.” And indeed it has become more pervasive.
The message affirms the long-standing efforts of Lutheran congregations, individuals and agencies to assist homeless individuals and families, acknowledging that the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families. Since this message was written, a number of communities in our Synod have enlisted in Family Promise, a program designed for groups of churches to help homeless families find long-term housing and employment.
Another group with high rates of homelessness is veterans. Montana and Wyoming have a high proportion of veterans, and homelessness is a significant issue. A large number of veterans have returned from our ongoing wars in the middle east since the message was written.
There are many root causes of homelessness articulated by the message, including: poverty, lack of affordable housing, unemployment, health issues, mental illness, addiction, racism, domestic violence, natural disaster. In the intervening years since the message was written, the ELCA has taken on many of these issues in social messages (Mental Illness; People Living with Disabilities; Suicide Prevention; Community Violence; Gender-based Violence), or social statements ( Economic Life; Race, Ethnicity and Culture). And ELCA congregations and individuals are responding to a number of these issues as part of their ministry.
The message note that Christians’ responsibilities for homeless and not simply responding with temporary assistance. Helping to prevent homelessness through prevention and advocacy is essential.
“Christians walk with the homeless when they join with others to voice deep concern about homelessness, ask hard questions, ad advocate policies that seek to provide job training, employment opportunities, housing, education, health care, and support for the homeless. While as Christians we may differ in our views on what policies will be most effective, we ought not overlook the need for new and sustained initiatives by government, businesses, and non-profit organizations, including church groups. Church leaders are challenged to help create the public will to eliminate homelessness.”
The message concludes:
“Let the church pray for a renewal of commitment to walk more closely with and among peole who are homeless and who are at risk of becoming homeless in their daily struggles, sufferings, and hopes.”
Jessica Crist, Bishop
Letters & Publications from Faith Leaders Across the State & Region that coincide with MAC's Mission & Work.