Representatives of the American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod met Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in Burnsville, Minn., to continue developing formal operating agreements between the two church bodies that declared altar and pulpit fellowship with each other last year.
LCMS First Vice President William Diekelman said that all who attended this meeting of the Commission on AALC/LCMS Fellowship agreed that the dialogue was “very helpful and productive.”
Discussion centered on developing a formal operating agreement to govern movement of pastors between the two church bodies. Members of the commission will review a draft of the document concerning the agreement –- which specifically will govern when a congregation wishes to consider calling a pastor from the partner church body, or when a pastor expresses his interest in becoming a member of the partner church body –- at their next meeting March 25 in St. Louis.
According to a joint press release issued after the meeting in Minnesota, the commission also will develop “other operating agreements necessary to facilitate day-to-day relationships and cooperation between the two church bodies and their pastors and congregations. Until formal agreements are in place, LCMS district presidents and [AALC] regional pastors are being encouraged to consult with the commission as questions arise.”
The release also states that as the meeting concluded, “the members of the commission noted that the close proximity of [AALC] and LCMS pastors can offer opportunities for mutual nurture and support through study, worship, and fellowship events. The commission encouraged those who host meetings, conferences, and gatherings of other church bodies to remember the partner church when extending invitations.”
Besides Diekelman, LCMS representatives at the Jan. 31-Feb. 1 commission meeting were Secretary Raymond Hartwig, Commission on Theology and Church Relations Associate Director Joel Lehenbauer, and Minnesota South District President Lane Seitz.
Representing the AALC were Presiding Pastor Franklin Hays, Administrative Assistant Fred Balke, and Commission on Doctrine and Church Relations Chairman Phillip Hofinga.
Posted Feb. 28, 2008