LCA Bishop John Henderson and Archbishop Christopher Prowse of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference have signed a joint statement issued to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
The statement says that while much has changed in the world – and the church – since the time of Martin Luther, ‘the effects of the Reformation endure’.
It says there are three elements to the commemoration of the anniversary: ‘We are deeply aware of the past and of the damage that was a consequence of conflict and division; we thank God for the healing of the relationship between Catholics and Lutherans that has taken place in recent decades and for the impetus for unity that we share; and we look forward to walking a common path in the future, witnessing together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world.’
The statement was signed by Bishop Henderson and Archbishop Prowse during a daylong series of events under the theme ‘Together in Hope’, which was held in Adelaide on Tuesday 31 October 2017.
Bishop Henderson said the joint statement was an important commitment between the Catholic and Lutheran churches in Australia to continue to work positively together for the sake of the gospel.
‘It’s important for all Christians in the modern world to find their common voice and their common witness to the gospel’, he said. ‘I think that’s nothing less than Jesus would expect of us. This statement is built on 40 years of solid dialogue, challenging dialogue, between the LCA and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
‘And I think it’s important to realise that the Catholic Church is graciously acknowledging the importance of the Reformation and that the Christianity that we hold, we hold in common.
‘While we continue to have differences, things that will separate us, we believe in the same Saviour and all believers are justified by faith.’
With events commemorating the Reformation anniversary being held across the globe, ‘Together in Hope’ featured a morning matins, a visual arts display, history, dialogue and aid presentations; a public outdoor lunch, a tree planting by Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson and Bishop Henderson, a choral and organ concert, and an evening prayer service.
To read the joint statement go to: www.50500.lca.org.au/joint-statement-on-the-reformation/