Seeking unity with other Christians is essential to who we are as Lutherans. One of our Synod benchmarks is “Promote Unity.” We cherish our unique Lutheran heritage and emphases. But we also seek common ground with others who follow Christ. As a denomination, the ELCA has full communion agreements with 6 other churches—The Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ, the Reformed Church in America, The Moravians, The Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church. And we have significant agreements and conversations with other groups, including AME Zion and Roman Catholic, as well as Orthodox.
In the Montana Synod we work together ecumenically with the Wyoming Association of Churches and the Montana Association of Christians (formerly Montana Association of Churches.) Both organizations are made up of a majority of mainline Protestant denominations, and both are working on state legislative agendas during the legislative sessions. MAC has recently re-organized, and now welcomes not only denominations, but also congregations and individuals as members. You can find a link to our website, where you will find both an invitation to join and a congregational membership covenant. I encourage you to consider congregational and individual membership in MAC.
And Monday, January 26 will be MAC Day at the Legislature. You can find information on our website as well. We’ll begin at St. John’s Lutheran Church, at 8:30 AM with prayer, and move to the Capitol. This is a good way to thank our legislators for their service, and to let them know what we, as Christians, are working on together. MAC does not take on every issue—just the ones we share across our denominations. This year’s issues are: abolition of the death penalty and replacing it with life imprisonment without parole; well-being of children; care for immigrants; returning prisoners to society.
Another of our Synod benchmarks is: “Serve the world, especially the poor and those in need.” Through MAC and WAC we attempt to do just that. As Christians we believe that God loved the world, the whole world. And we are called to love the world, too. As Christians working together, we can show God’s love to a world in great need.
Bishop Jessica Crist