Lutheran Church of Australia – Uniting Church in Australia Dialogue
The Assembly Standing Committee (ASC) at its first meeting of the new triennium in August re-appointed the UCA members of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) – UCA Dialogue.
Appointed for the three years of the triennium, the members are:
- Rev Dr Anna L. Grant-Henderson (UCA co-convener)
- Rev Denise Liersch
- Rev Paul Stephens
- Rev Dr John Adsett Evans
- Rev Dr Edward Craig Thompson
The ASC also approved the key areas of work for the Dialogue for the triennium. These areas of work include:
- Through the Dialogue, maintain relationships between the LCA and UCA and provide feedback to the ASC of emerging areas of interest or emerging issues that may need to be pursued by other parts of the Assembly.
- Incorporating the feedback from both churches into the At the Table document and re-present to ASC in 2022.
- Beginning work on a document which explains the purpose of a Concordat /Agreement and suggest areas of work that need to be included in it.
Update from the Dialogue
The UCA Co-convenor Rev Dr Anna Grant-Henderson also presented a report of the work undertaken in the last triennium.
Highlights of this report included:
When the UCA came into being in 1977, dialogue with various churches was part of its very DNA. The LCA/UCA Dialogue is one that has maintained momentum and is very keen to work towards mutual fellowship.
The Dialogue was set up in 1978 with the general aim “to establish pulpit and altar fellowship between the two churches”.
In the next decade a number of Agreed Statements were produced (The Word of God-Justification by Faith 1981, Law & Gospel 1982, Baptism 1984, Ministry 1987, The Church 1988, One Christ in Church & World 1990, A Pastoral Statement on Marriage was also agreed to in 1987).
These Statements were all received by both churches.
Following this the dialogue was tasked with working on more practical issues to help the churches.
In the following years we worked on practical matters such as Guidelines for Co-operating congregations and templates for commissioning services for these congregations.
We then moved forward to a Commentary on a Eucharistic service.
In 2016, at the suggestion of the LCA Co-chair we began work on a Concordat.
We began by working on the eucharist and called the Document, At the Table.
These documents were distributed to a number of scholars for comments. Some members of the ASC also met with members of the UCA Dialogue team to talk through issues.
The Lutheran Dialogue members have also been given feedback from their Church.
The Dialogue will now work on a final At the Table document. We hope to bring a revised edition of At the Table incorporating the principal comments and concerns expressed by the both churches. and the revised document will be presented to both our churches.
The UCA members suggest that this revised document be sent to external readers for comment before submitting to ASC.
Given this focus, the dialogue will discontinue work on a statement about Ministry. We have gathered a significant body of material from both churches and decided this would be gathered into one resource document and kept until such time we could work on it.
Instead we made a decision to work on a document which will explain why we think it is important to work on a concordat and rather than use that term which is unfamiliar, looked at a possible heading, Bases for Communion. We hope it will clarify the ecumenical journey we are taking and make engagement with our church bodies easier.
The report concluded with some comments indicating the significance of the Dialogue for both the LCA and UCA and their respective Dialogue members.
Finally Rev Dr Grant-Henderson noted that Dialogue takes time, listening, patience, coping with frustration and believing in John 17:20-25. Please hold us in your prayers.
We will update this page as further information from the LCA-UCA Dialogue becomes available.