On Wednesday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, Episcopalians, Moravians, and friends are invited to gather for a 10th Anniversary Celebration of Full Communion between The Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church. While the welcome will be offered from Central Moravian Church by the co-chairs of the Moravian-Episcopal Coordinating Committee (MECC), the virtual service will include worship leaders from various places where Moravians and Episcopalians live and serve.
Full communion is a significant expression of Christian unity that allows churches to share in ministry and mission, including the exchange of ordained clergy. It helps us live into Jesus Christ’s prayer (in John 17) that “they all may be one,” to witness to that unity, and to extend Christ’s mission in the world.
“Ten years ago, when we celebrated the beginning of our full communion relationship, the focal point of the service was the reconciliation of episcopal ministries, which, in part, allows the exchange of clergy between our churches” the Rev. Canon Maria Tjeltveit, Episcopal co-chair of MECC, said. “Today, a primary challenge to our churches is racial reconciliation, as we seek to build the beloved community. So, it is fitting to have a call to repentance for racism and a commissioning to a ministry of justice and reconciliation as a focus of our service.”
The Moravian and Episcopal Churches are both looking critically at their legacy of racism and white privilege. A year ago, Dr. Catherine Meeks, executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, led a pilgrimage for the leaders of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church to Montgomery, Alabama, to help them develop racial justice training for their clergy. In 2020, the co-chairs of MECC facilitated Sacred Ground: A Film-based Dialogue on Race and Faith with their Episcopal and Moravian congregations, a collaboration that they hope will be a model for other churches.
The Liturgy for Christian Unity, from the Moravian tradition, will include reflections on scripture texts by the Rev. David Guthrie, president of the Provincial Elders Conference of the Southern Province of the Moravian Church, the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Miller, president of the Provincial Elders Conference of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church, and the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church. The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, will introduce a Call to Racial Reconciliation, which includes a Litany for Repentance and Commissioning for the Ministry of Justice and Reconciliation. Music will be offered by both Moravian and Episcopal musicians, including a combined virtual choir.
The 10th Anniversary Service will be aired on Wednesday, February 10, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on The Episcopal Church YouTube channel; The Episcopal Church Facebook page; and Presiding Bishop Curry’s Facebook page. It will be available on demand at The Episcopal Church’s Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations website and the websites of the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church.