In a new step toward the "ecumenical opportunity of the century," the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has released a revised proposal calling for full communion with the Episcopal Church.
Emphasizing unity but not merger, "Called to Common Mission" replaces the Concordat of Agreement (CT, Apr. 7, 1997, p. 55), a document narrowly defeated by the ELCA last year (CT, Oct. 6, 1997, p. 61).
The revised draft affirms the "historic episcopate," acknowledging the apostolic succession of bishops as a link to the early Christian church.
Unlike the corcordat, the new proposal eliminates the mandate that three Episcopal bishops participate in the ordination of Lutheran bishops, but it keeps the requirement that only bishops can ordain pastors.
Currently, a Lutheran bishop can authorize a pastor to perform the installation and consecration.1