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Religion | Religion IN BRIEF

Lutherans Urged to OK Episcopal Pact

March 18, 2000|Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have sent 5.2 million church members a pastoral letter acknowledging "deep concern and opposition" regarding a unity pact with the Episcopal Church but urging Lutherans to accept it.

The "full communion" pact, which allows sharing of ministers and sacraments, passed overwhelmingly at the Lutherans' convention last year and comes up for approval at the Episcopal Church convention in July.

Some Lutherans object to the requirement that they accept the Episcopal concept of the "historic episcopate"--a succession of bishops dating from the origins of Christianity--and the rule that only such bishops have the power to ordain clergy.

Lutherans historically have allowed a variety of church structures, and have emphasized the "priesthood of all believers."

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