One pastor, two faith traditions

Ecumenical solution for Epiphany Church in Wilbraham

Posted May 30, 2014

[Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts] Beginning this Sunday, June 1, the Rev. Nathaniel Anderson, of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Wilbraham, will preside at neighboring Epiphany Episcopal www.epiphanyma.org as well. As the cost of a full-time rector became prohibitive, the community at Epiphany decided to make a change – a big, bold change which will, undoubtedly, stretch both communities as they share an ordained minister. The vision governing this experiment came after the leadership of both congregations met over the course of a year.

“For Epiphany and CTK to enter into a partnership that both respect one another’s confessional tradition while also carrying out a unified ministry. CTK and Epiphany will not only share a pastor, but also collaborate in carrying out God’s work wherever possible.”

The ELCA and the Episcopal Church are in full communion. That means mutual recognition of one another’s ministers and the sharing of the sacraments. There are several Lutheran ministers serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and we have an Episcopal priest serving a conjoined Episcopal/Lutheran church but this is the first time that one Lutheran pastor will serve two communities in two separate locations – a pastoral “time-share” of sorts. While the metaphor works to a certain extent, Anderson sees himself as a full-time pastor with a congregation that has doubled in size. He has already written his first bulletin column to both churches.

In it Anderson acknowledged the challenge ahead. “Of course, central to these exciting possibilities [of shared ministry] is that we take a risk – that we work together and even simply get to know one another… I hope you will join me in taking a risk and doing something new and exciting in God’s name.”


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Comments (1)

  1. Deacon Mary Gieseler (ret) says:

    As a practicing Luthepalian (raised United Lutheran, became an Episcopalian as an adult), I expect these communities will work out the kinks and do well together. The liturgies are very similar, the mind-sets match pretty well, and with good will on all sides, this may be a solution many congregations will reach. God bless all of you!

    mmg/
    Mobile, AL

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