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Church and Church
Abstract: Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and American Association of Lutheran Churches approve altar and pulpit fellowship.
The American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC) and The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (LCMS) have reached accord on altar and pulpit fellowship between the two groups. On July 16 the LCMS convention in Houston, Texas approved a fellowship resolution by a vote of 846 to 345. The LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations recommended altar and pulpit fellowship last February, following two years of formal dialogue between representatives of the two church bodies.
By a vote of 117 to 27, with one abstention, the AALC approved a similar resolution at its convention June 20-23 in St. Paul, Minn. The AALC also voted to join the International Lutheran Council (ILC), an international association of confessional Lutheran church bodies. That resolution was approved with just three dissenting votes. The LCMS also is a member of the ILC.
The AALC was organized by pastors and congregations with doctrinal concerns -- particularly about the authority of Scripture -- when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed in 1988. AALC membership now includes 79 congregations, 107 active pastors, and 14,137 baptized members.
As LCMS delegates debated the resolution, questions were raised concerning the AALC's subscription to the complete Book of Concord and about pastors removed from the LCMS roster and now serving in AALC congregations.
LCMS President Gerald B. Kieschnick assured delegates that "all matters will be taken into consideration, as we continue to present a united witness."